This is "Onbekommerd"!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Ems - Jade canal 10/09/2013

We did two thirds, 25 miles, of the Ems - Jade canal today. This canal was dug between 1880 and 1888 to provide a means to transport peat from the East Frisian region. It was also meant to transport coal, ammunition and spare parts from the Ruhr area to the Wilhelmshaven Naval base (the Dortmund - Ems canal being the other part of that route). As the canal is quite small and shallow (officially 1.70m but we have had readings down to 1.50), it is nowadays almost exclusively used for pleasure craft, especially the Wilhelmshaven to Aurich part that we covered today. In fact, this part of the canal closes for the winter next week, on the 16th.

It was a pretty miserable day, weather wise. Almost non stop rain, the East Frisian lock keeper called it 'nice, dust free, East Frisian weather'! Also cold, we had the heater on for most of the day, for the first time since 25 May.
The nice thing about the organisation of this canal is that once you are 'in the system', everything happens sort of by itself. The bridge- or lock keeper either accompanies you (in his little black car) to the next bridge or lock or he 'passes you on' by calling his colleague 'down the road'. The result is that normally the bridge or lock is ready for you as you arrive, with the exception of the two railway bridges which of course need to take the train time tables into consideration.
I say 'normally', because one of the bridges early on in the trip had a technical problem, which held us up for about an hour and a half. Fortunately a bit later a lock keeper was kind enough to operate his two locks during his lunch break which meant that we made it to Aurich before the operation closed for the day.
25 miles in 8 hours is not a lot, but there are 4 locks in it and the speed limit is 8 KM / hr which is about 4.5 knots.
Aurich is a pleasant enough stop. Excellent, brand new facilities and the first night is free! We found the supermarket and afterwards treated ourselves to 'dinner ashore'.
Tomorrow we'll do almost the other third of this canal. Just before Emden we will turn off into the Ems Seiten canal which will bring us to Ottersum. There, depending on time and weather, we will either make a stop to catch the next morning's tide or continue to Delfzijl.


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