Crossing the North Baltic Sea Canal

Day 4: Heligoland – Brunsbüttel, 9.5 hours, 55 nm, departure: 9:40am
Day 5: Brunsbüttel – Giselau Kanal, 4.5 hours, 40 nm, departure: 9:45am
Day 6: Giselau Kanal – Kiel, 8 hours, 60 nm, departure: 9:30am

Leaving Germany’s only offshore island Heligoland, we’re heading for Kiel. Given the roughly 100 km landmass between the west and the east coast of Germany, boats have two choices. Either making a detour of about 240 nm (440 km) passing the northern tip of Denmark, or crossing the NOK (Nord- Ostkanal or Kiel Kanal). Rather strong winds made us go for the latter.

First, we sailed up the river Elbe which looks more like a lake or a fjord than a river, at least in the beginning. Strong tidal currents pushed the Maranea upstream all the way to Brunsbüttel at record speeds. There, boats have to go through a lock if heading for Kiel, or alternatively, continue toward Hamburg.

We spent a night in a small harbour right after the Brunsbüttel lock. The propeller of many passing container ships made the water vibrate to the extend, that we could feel it inside Maranea. The ships seem to say: “Don’t get in our way”…

Then started a long, leisurely ride to a sidearm of the NOK called Giselau Kanal. We wondered whether we should spend a night there. But right after turning into the channel, an incredibly calm and peaceful landscape with exuberant bird chirping made the decision an easy one. We stayed.

After a good night of sleep on steady Maranea, we continued to Kiel, enjoying homemade chickpea curry on the way. We had one more lock to pass at the end of the channel and spent the night at the beautiful Kiel-Hagenau harbour.

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