Antipole cruises

Schleswig to the Danish Lille Bælt

Schleswig from marinaWe really enjoyed our time in Schleswig, which is an attractive city. We had a berth close to the old city and the shops were also only a few minutes away too. The alter carvings in the cathedral Dom are extraordinary and well worth seeing, as is the restored very early earth globe and planetarium in the Barock Gardens.

With easterly winds forecast indefinitely, we had no alternative but to motor the 20nm out of the fjord. We spent a final night at anchor inside the entrance before setting sail for Denmark.

Our course took us ½nm outside a military closed area and as we proceeded a warship intercepted us in a rather alarming way. Now we had right of way and it was up to the warship to avoid us. The problem was that if we blinked and changed course the responsibility would then become ours. We were relieved to see we were being observed with binoculars. From very close we were then addressed by loud hailer but could not make out what was being said and had no way of asking them to repeat it. Eventually we managed to establish communications by VHF and learnt that a drone was operating in the area to the north of us. We also established that our present course would take us clear of this and we did not need to make any changes to our course. We transmit our identification, course and speed repeatedly over AIS and what mystified us is why the warship did not simply call us over VHF and discuss any concerns as is usual. Anyhow, we tried hard not to feel intimidated but in the best British tradition just “Keep calm and carry on”.

Beach hutWe were soon in Danish waters where things seemed quieter – literally as we were becalmed for an hour. The wind returned and we entered the archipelago south of the large island of Fyn. We came to Marstel on Ærø. Ærø island is some 14nm long and consists of low rolling farmland along with a few villages and two towns and is a delight. As well as its agriculture, it is a popular holiday destination although it is not yet the high season for visitors and we had plenty of space in the yacht haven.  We enjoyed a walk along the beach with its colourful beach huts.

On Friday we got out our cycles and rode along the byways and a cycle path to the main town of Ærøskøbing which is very picturesque with lots of old houses in their bright earth colours. Many still have two small angled mirrors in a frame on the outside of their windows, so the occupants can see along the street and keep an eye on what the neighbours are up to.  Have a look at the gallery of our photos – you can click on them to enlarge them.

We like what we have seen of Denmark – it has a good feel about it. As a country, it has been progressive socially. On Ærø a bus connects the various communities and is free to use, thus helping people minimise car use. The towns have free and open WiFi. Ærøskøbing has a community hot water and heating system whereby hot water is supplied from a nearby solar farm, supplemented in winter by burning straw from the farms. Denmark’s social credentials have recently had a setback – it now has a minority conservative government supported by an anti-immigration party (UK readers: imagine a Tory/UKIP alliance) and trains carrying refugees heading for Sweden have been turned back at the German boarder. This is causing outrage amongst many liberal Danes.

Food and drink seem rather expensive compared with Germany. On the other hand marina fees, as in Germany and the Netherlands, are less than half the cost in Britain, where many are now operated by one or two private companies that charge as much as they can. We have heard many sailors say they would like to cruise to Britain but are put off by the high marina fees.

Jottings while anchored in a quiet bay off Ærø:

With no swell or tide, fair weather and our shallow draft, we can anchor almost anywhere. We slipped into a bay, dropped anchor and watched the sun sweep down. This far north and nearing mid-summer it sinks at quite a shallow angle. Woke about 9:00am; swim before breakfast; baked the bread prepared last night; reviewed the weather – sun all day and hardly any wind with better sailing tomorrow – we decide to stay another night; put up the bimini (sun shade) and lazed about. Sunset over ÆrøMid-morning tea with still-warm bread and home-made marmalade. Read a while. Another swim before lunch – the water really is warm. After lunch a siesta, dozing in the sun and part shade from the bimini. Woke for tea – more fresh bread this time with honey we brought back from New Zealand. Read some more and watched some activity on the jetty on the distant shore. Another last swim before aperitifs with crisps and nuts before supper. Watched the sun go down again.

We are extraordinarily blessed to enjoy all this. There is so much trouble and grief in the world, not to mention recent floods in Germany, France and now the UK.  We take none of what we have for granted.

From Ærø we sailed to Fåbourg on the island of Fyn – another lovely town and then the next day up to the Genner Bucht, a quiet inlet on the Jutland mainland. We plan to visit the small island of Barsø at its mouth.

That’s our news for now.

Ynskje & Tony x

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