Saturday 5th September 2015
After an early breakfast at the Stella Maris hotel in Hamburg I was collected by some of my friends, ready to pick up a hire car and drive up to Brunsbuttel. This is the town at the end of the Kiel Canal, on the River Elbe. We planned to sail on the 12.10 ferry across to Cuxhaven, near the mouth of the River Elbe.
The weather was bleak, grey and wet, with occasional sunshine. The ferry was late arriving at the pier linkspan because of the strong wind so we didn't leave until 1.10, but hot soup and rolls in the ship's cafe soon restored our spirits. The ship was SAAREMAA, built in Norway in 2010, and joining this route only on 20th August this year.
Once in Cuxhaven and in sunshine we could be tourists and enjoy coffee, apple strudel and ice cream, before driving around to see the famous ATLANTIS at her berth.
It was interesting to note that the ferries out of Hamburg today had been cancelled, because of the strong winds. It seems that even the never-to-be-forgotten HALUNDER JET has had to stay in port and not travel to Helgoland, in South Utsire!
Today's ferrying trip was in fact our Plan B because we had booked to travel today on the new HELGOLAND ferry from Hamburg to Helgoland and back. She was built but having problems, before being handed over to Casson Eils for use. We saw the advertisements for her in Cuxhaven but no starting date was now shown.
We three travellers had all experienced what felt like life-threatening sailings on other journeys to Helgoland and were really looking forward to a safe and enjoyable trip on the new ferry. Ah well, we each received refunds on our tickets and looked forward to being able to sail on her in the future.
Then it was time to catch the ferry MUHUMAA back to Cuxhaven, leaving at 5.05 p.m and arriving at 6.30 p.m. Once back in Brunsbuttel it was decided to head a few miles alongside the Kiel Canal because there was a tiny ferry there, just waiting to be used to take us across the Canal!
This was the little STETTIN, which held 4 cars and some pedestrians.
Then we returned to the main route back to Hamburg, following the end of a rainbow, under a grey sky. The hire car was returned and we made our way back to the hotel for a very satisfying dinner.
Ships seen: Saaremaa, Arabian Breeze, Elizabeth Rus of Transferrica, ER Athina, Yan Cux 2, Neuwerk (Coastguard), Blue Bella, Patricia Esberger, Blue Antares, Deo Volente, Neckar High, Atlantis, Flipper, WMS Groenigen, Muhumaa, Timbus, Wolf 7 tug, Seagard of Transferrica, Nautica the cruise ship exiting the Kiel Canal on her way to Amsterdam, APL Changi, OOCL Montreal, Stettin the tiny ferry across the Kiel Canal, St. Johannes, Berlin
To be continued...
This trip is going to be quite different, as I will be sailing on a German ship, from a German port, with all my arrangements made in German on the TUI website. I was glad of the Google Translate website to help me book one of the few cabins available for single use: this year's Ocean Liner Society group cruise is to be 5 nights on the ship MEIN SCHIFF 4.
Friday 4th September 2015
I flew from London Gatwick airport on a supposedly early flight, delayed apparently by volume of traffic, direct to Hamburg in Germany. The queue for Passport Control after we arrived there was long but I was entertained by fellow travellers from the Apple Corp. I was soon on the S1 train heading for the River Elbe and the Landungsbrucken station. I was booked into the nearby Hotel Stella Maris for 3 nights so I could enjoy the sights of this delightful maritime city. Once again in my life I knew I was "Following in Father's Footsteps": he was here on the Blue Star cruise ship ARANDORA STAR as a junior engineer in the early 1930s.
I joined friends for dinner and felt the holiday had started in a very convivial way, especially after receiving a gift from one of my friends.
Ships seen: Cap San Diego, various tugs and small river craft, the 3-masted Mare Frisium, the little white-hulled Schaarhorn with her yellow funnel, Rickmer Rickmers with all her flags out, many small river craft, Peter Pan (I sailed on her in January 2008) and Huckleberry Finn tiny ferry models
To be continued...