A Mean Fishnet Flag, Fog And Calm: Sailing From Liepaja To Estonia

The wind forecast showed no winds or some weak headwinds for the whole week. For today the promise was sunny, but no winds. We had to go out so that we’ll be home before the end of our holidays…

Burning calories?

This is an issue Jussi and I dissagree with and we have a bet on. I think that sailing doesn’t rise the basic consumption that much, where as Jussi believes that it does. I think a sailor is cheating himself if he lefts himself eat more than normally. What’s the truth? We have to find a valid study on the subject! 🙂

The best book in a long time.

I just finished a book by David and Daniel Hays, My Old Man and the Sea. In the book a father and son are going around Cape Horn with a 24 feet boat called Sparrow. I was feeling wistful, as always when a good book is finished. I have to leave that world and step back to reality.

Liberta’s bookworms.

Not that there’s anything wrong with the present reality either. If you don’t count the calm weather. A sunny, sweltering day is on it’s half. I’m writing here in the saloon, with the motor roaring close by. It’s too hot and bright outside. And we’re only at the Baltic Sea!

That was close, I guess?

We left Liepaja a couple of days ago. We spent 46 hours at the sea. The most vivid memories: the thick fog and the weak winds. We didn’t see much more than 50 meters as we left the Liepaja marina around 8:30 in the morning. The guest boat marina is deep in the river, behind an industrial area. Besides the river is parked some fishing boats, war and cargo ships. They popped out of the fog just as we passed them. Also the cardinal marks were visible when they were at a collision distance. I don’t even dare to think how blind we would have been without a chart plotter and the AIS system.

Visibility was good enough?

I fishing boat came out of nowhere. A fast dodge from the both of us, and a greeting. When we got further out at the sea, the fog disappeared in a few minutes.

At the time the wind was blowing well and we were heading fast towards the north. Suddenly Jussi yelled: “Net!” A fishnet flag was rocking only 100 meters from us and we didn’t have a clue where it was going. Just one flag was seen. We did a U-turn in an instant and fired on the engine.

For a while after the incident we got worried about every flock of birds floating on the sea.

After a while we got the genua rolled in. Then we were heading back to the open ocean again. We tried to find the other flag for the net, but we couldn’t see it. We figured it must continue towards the coast where the wind was blowing. Also a flock of sea gulls might have spotted the little focker, as they were hanging out on a small area a short distance away from the fishnet flag.

Wave break of Liepaja. Thank god for the plotter.

For a while after the incident we got worried about every flock of birds floating on the sea. Later we came a solution that they just like to hang out on the rocking waves. Even without a huge bunch of fish underneath. But: who brings his nets so far out at the sea?!

Irbe Strait in a Fog

Then the wind died. The sails were flapping and the old waves kept rolling, tossing us around. The dishes were clinking, the boom was swinging. We were frustrated and we had to turn on the engine again.

The wind said no. Luckily the camera said yes…

We were motoring the next 12 hours, from five in the evening till five in the morning. At night we arrived at the burial ground for ships, Irbe Strait, a busy shipping channel going between Estonia and Latvia. A cargo ship after another.

I was on my watch as I noticed that I can’t see nothing with my other eye. I took of my glasses and noticed the moisture on the lens. I hope this is not… I took a look up the mast. The Windex was barely seen. I looked back. The moon was behind a thick veil. I took a glimpse on my right. Only the closest waves were seen. The fog struck again.

If a boat appears from the fog without AIS, the end is near.

I pondered a moment weather I’d wake up Jussi, but I decided to sit still and see what’s coming. This is not that different from sailing at night. We don’t see that much then either. Exept that now I can’t see any light in the horizon, or the lights from the other ships. I have to rely 100% on the plotter and the AIS. If a boat appears from the fog without AIS, the end is near.

The foggy Irbe Strait with it’s busy traffic and ship wrecks.

I went to sleep when Jussi woke up. He took a turn from three to seven in the morning. The next time I looked out, the sails were up, motor out and the Irbe Strait was passed. Jussi had taken us safely through the highway in the thick fog and also pulled up the sails all by himself. Jussi is the best!

The wind knew it was my turn to take the helm and it almost stopped blowing.

It was magnificent to begin my watch without a worry. But of course the wind knew it was my turn to take the helm and it almost stopped blowing. We were doing some three knots with the sails flapping.

We took a turn at Saarenmaa in the port of Kõiguste. We only popped by to sleep and we continued our journey in the morning. The marina is hosted by a Finnish-Estonian couple. Smoked perch and the sauna. The harbor is also used by the caravan people. We didn’t like it so much that we would have spent more time there. Now were on our way to Kärdla in Hiiumaa. Let’s see if we can spend a few nice days there. The vacation is ending soon.

Evening moods from Kõiguste:


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