The voyage from Rostock to Stralsund had everything… Over fifty miles of pure sailing in growing adverse conditions and an approach, in a near gale, into the backwater channels to the east of Hiddensee, where the water shallows up to only two metres in places.
Somehow I managed to keep my nerve and sail as close to the wind as possible until being forced to start my engine to round the top of Hiddensee Island into what I hoped would be a safe anchorage. I should have known better with the wind roaring at thirty knots out of the southeast… Not a chance.
Big angry seas forced me to put on my engine in an attempt to round the headland into the backwaters. The only alternative was to carry on all the way to Stralsund and put in a massive seventy mile day.
This in itself would have been okay if it hadn’t have been for another massive hammer blow as a storm roared across the backwaters, turning the visibility to nothing and producing large, angry waves that rolled across extremely shallow mud banks. If you look closely you can just see the lateral buoy marking the channel up ahead.
I fought to follow the tenuous channels with their lateral buoys, praying that ‘Free’ wouldn’t take the ground, and somehow managed to fight through into the final approach to Stralsund, another of the Hanseatic towns on my passage.
As evening fell I dropped my anchor again for the fourth time in the past few weeks and collapsed into an exhausted, fitful sleep. What an amazing day it had been With everything possible flying from all directions. It put me in awe of those great sailors whose genes I carry, and what they used to do back in those great days of the old tall ships. Rugen has everything and demands the highest vigilance and respect.
I have now been at anchor for three nights off the town, which is a little too touristy for my taste with more ice cream shops than Naples. It is pretty in an Hanseatic way, but lacks the reality of Rostock. The old town resembles a building site at present and I soon tired of the noise and tourists, pining for the peace of my little ship as she bobbed at anchor.
Tomorow I shall leave for the midday opening of the bridge and sail south eastwards toward Wolgast. The Polish border becomes ever closer and Swinoujscie is only fifty miles away.
Helgoland seems such a distant memory now!