This is "Onbekommerd"!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

A different lock

As mentioned in the previous blog post, we went through a very different lock (and a very different canal). This is the Otterndorf lock and the connection between Elbe and Weser, made up of two canal stretches and a small river, the Geeste.

To start with, you enter the lock through a tunnel under a dyke. You have to wait for the tide to have dropped enough to get through the tunnel.

Once the water is low enough, the lock keeper opens the gate and directs the boats to their places. He is very particular about this, you choose your own spot at your peril.

When everyone (just 5 of us) is in position, you get 'invited' to come to his office to pay the locking fee and the canal charges, all of €8 in total!
During this time, the gate is still open for any latecomers.

Finally, the gate closes, the water drops and he directs each boat, one by one, out of the lock and into the canal.

Unfortunately we did not take any pictures of the canal. It is narrow, shallow and has a headroom restriction of 2.7m, so few boats can take this safe route between the Elbe and Weser rivers.

It's a total of 60 Km, but at a maximum speed of 8km/hr, it takes some time to negotiate. As we only got out of the lock by 15:50, we stopped halfway in Berdekesa. After that there is a self service lock at Lintig (you just push some buttons) and a final lock at Bremerhaven.

We gave ourselves a rest day at Bremerhaven and plan to go on to the tidal harbour at Fedderwardersiel tomorrow.

Sadly, the Otterndorf lock will be renovated over the next three years. It will be closed and surely when it reopens a bit of nostalgia will have disappeared.


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