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Baltic Cruise 2007 (continued) part 2  

Up:   Baltic cruise 1:     Baltic Cruise Tønsberg- Gdansk         
       Baltid cruise 3 :    Riga to Tallin,  Helsinki, Åland and Stockholm  
          Baltic cruise 4 :    Stockholm to Gothenberg

Gdansk to Riga

to Klaipeda 8th. - 11th. June
     The Polish authorities aren't easy to please. They say one thing and do another. After we thought evrything was in order to leave Polish waters we were stopped by a girl waving to us from the shore. She had to check again all the details including our boat's insurance and took about an hour to do so. Eventually on the way, we made sure that we were well out to sea, 15nm, when passing Kaliningrad.  The sunset  was wonderful, as was the sight of the moon rising like a sailing boat with an orange spinaker coming up in the distance. We arrived at Klaipeda, 55 42N / 21 07E,  20 hours later, 129 nm sailing - our longest stretch this year.   

If Poland was pernicity, Lithuanian authorities were exactly the opposite. They never replied to VHF, the noticeboard gave wrong information, the Immigration office was almost impossible to find and no one was there, meaning a long wait. All this repeated itself when we left 2 days later. Why don't they use hand-held VHF communication and have noticebords with correct info.? The Smiltyne marina was OK as regards mooring but the buildings and facilities were the same as in Russian times. Waitresses in restuarants, harbour personell and shop keepers were very nonchalant. 

Immigration control noticeboard - where is the office?                  Some of our Lithuanian friends

We met great hospitality in Klaipeda, with several friends visiting the boat with gifts of books, wine, beer, Lithuanian food and chocolates. We had an inspiring evening with Antanas and Egle, a fantastic day with Asta in national costume and Vitatas who drove us south to the picturesque summer resort Nida with sand dunes all around and we even swam in the Baltic sea 12deg.! An evening with Nijole and Algis was a perfect finish to our stay.   Ingvald walked to Akropolis, an enormous supermarket an hour from the centre of Klaipeda, didn't find what he was looking for so just walked home again!  

Snack served with beer: Fry chip size pieces of Lithuanian bread in oil and garlic. Grate some cheese aver and heat in an oven until melts. Scrumptious!

Klaipeda to Leipaja 11th. June  As usual, the wind was head on to begin with but we managed some sailing before it died out.  We reached Liepaja 56 31N / 21 01E  9hours later, covering 56nm.  Liepaja was an inviting town with good shops in the vicinity, a church with an organ that was Europe's best until about 1920. Good harbour with new facilities, 20 euro per night.We enjoyed  really good dinner along with the crews of 2 German boats and decided to utilise the SW wind promised next day and sail to Ventspils. 


Ventspils beach                                                                        One of the many blomster decorations

Ventspils 12-13th.June.     
The sunny, warm weather continued, wind SW-S,  5-12 m/s. Sailing conditions exciting and fine for us with good sea legs. 10 hours and 71,6nm - superb. Good harbour with the hope of being one of Latvias best harbours in the future.  Internet connections, 30 euro pr. night and very  helpful staff.  We will remember Ventspils because of all of its paved streets in different patterns and colours, its floral decorations and its immensely long sandy beach. 
Coloured, paved streets                                                       Floral bird

Ventspils to Ruhnu    14th. June    Fine start again, 70 nm to Ruhnu, a pearl of an island in the middle of Riga bay. Pleasant meeting with the effective Estonian Coastguard and the local harbourmaster. We are only the second Norwegian sailing boat  to visit the new harbour here. We decided to give away  our spare flag to complete the island's  collection. We recommend Ruhnu warmly to other sailors. 


The harbourmaster and Estonian coastguard                    Jon Erik gives the Estonian island Ruhnu a Norwegian flag

Ruhnu to Riga  56  58N / 24 06E  56nm   15th. June

Some good sailing with a westerly wind 6-12ms, but motoring up the Daugava river 8nm into Andrejosta Yacht centre near the old town of Riga. The pontoons were good,  the harbour master helpful and immigration control effective. The facilities ashore could be better. Why not advertise a "Happy hour" for example to entice more sailors to use the bar and cafe?   Harbour fee 22,5 euro.  We have sailed 1204 nm so far this trip. Jon Erik was still having problems with the communication systems  he was experimenting with.  Internet connections weak.   
Riga Townhall      

It was delightful to visit Old Riga again, especially for Ingvald who left us after 4 days to go back to Norway for Midsummers Eve celebrations.  He was a fantastic history guide and storyteller.
Our friends in Riga did their best to make us stay over for the celebrations which they maintain are even greater than Christmas. We had some unforgettable days together with Rotary friends, and others who have visited us in Kongsberg  earlier - visiting museums and other places of interest, eating out with them and visiting their homes.  
We had interesting discussions about the Vikings, the Hanseatic period and  Latvia's situation  now in 2007.  Thanks indeed to Guntis and Laima, Adrija and Ritvars, Elena, Raymonds and Viktors and many other friends at Riga Hansa Rotary.  What a holiday! 

Raymonds paprika snack: Cut red and yellow paprika in two, take out the seeds, fill with small tomatoes, mozarella cheese, olives and garlic. Sprinkle with balsamico vinegar and oil and marinate for 24 hours. Bake at 200deg. until the paprika is as soft as desired. Scrumptious served with white or red wine! 

Riga to Tallin, Helsinki,Stockholm            Stockholm to Gothenberg

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