Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Monday 21st April 2014 Schmöckwitz to Märkish Buchholz 40.6kms 3 locks

Six empty coal pans moored at Koenigs Wusterhausen
9.7°C Sunny with white clouds, turning grey later and showers. We went out in the car to get some bread and a few groceries from the Rewe supermarket, but it was closed for the holidays so we went to the Total garage, which sold bread, and Mike bought six buns. Back to the boat, we got ready and set off at 9.50 am. Two large loaded commercials had gone past already, heading up the Dahme on the Zeuthenersee – same way as we were going – but they would be stopping in the Hafen at Königs-Wusterhausen. A rescue boat had just been launched and was s
Boat loaded with scrap in the Nottekanal hafen
etting off so Mike took a photo of it as we went past. Not much was moving yet, a few rowing skiffs and one solitary yacht under sail. The first boat moving was a Kuhnle hireboat with crew out on the top deck – they’d just set off from the hire base a few kilometres up the lake – they all looked stunned. Further up the lake, at Zeuthen, we spotted a small moored Luxemotor, couldn’t see a name on it - and it may have been longer than 15m; it was moored next to a tripper called Olympia. A collection of six big empty pans was moored by the A12 autobahn bridge, they were waiting to be loaded with brown coal for the power station from a loading staithe a
Two canoeists being apprehended by the police 
bit further on, each one was 67m long by 8.2m wide and carried nearly a thousand tonnes. Tugs usually push either two or four pans. Mike took photos of the boats in the Nottekanal Hafen at Königs-Wusterhausen, one large boat was loaded with scrap metal. We’d passed a cruiser at the top end of the Möllenzugsee (one of the smaller lakes on the Dahme) who had gone past, winded, and overtaken us and was now hovering in the middle just beyond the silent (on holiday) loading station for brown coal. Looked like he’d decided to get some fuel as
Leaving Neue Muhle lock
there was a useful (if expensive) bankside Tankstelle. Mike took a photo so he could have a look later to see how much they were charging. 1,42.9€/litre! We’d paid 1,35.9€/litre yesterday. A police boat was just in the act of apprehending two canoeists, what for we have no idea. As we approached Neue Mühle lock two cruisers came out of it and we got a green light to go in. Another cruiser (called Santana) joined us and we rose 1.4m. The skipper told Mike he had a book on English canals with lots of pictures of boats like ours. The keeper went to 
have a chat with him. Above the lock the crew of another Kuhnle hireboat were having
No sooner had they got it tied up than the lock was ready!!
great difficulty (even with a bow thruster) with the light breeze to get next to the 1.5m high fence for boats to moor next to and wait for the lock. A small yacht was cowering at the end nearest the lock. They got a rope around the stumps just as we left the lock. The yacht’s skipper called them past him to send them into the lock first, sensible chap! Out on to the Krimnicksee which joins the Krüplesee forming an upside down W-shape (with an additional long narrow lake pointing north) heading eastwards back into the river. As we crossed the lakes there was one lone rowing boat and a windsurfer, nothing else moving. No signs of the cruiser,
Smarter than your average floating shed, eh?
maybe he’d tied up, there were loads of moorings all around the lakes. We were sheltered from the wind by the forest as we went into the next river section. Before Bindau we saw a very unusual hire boat, an elegant designer shed. A smart open boat, with two couples having a picnic, overtook us - the type of dayboat very popular in the Netherlands with a thick rope fender all around it. At KP17 there were fishing nets with sticks for markers (lots of these about) that stretched out to the middle of the river from the right hand bank just before a left hand bend – under normal circumstances we always take the outsides of bends where the water is usually deepest, luckily here the middle was about 1.5m deep. Mike saw the first FKKs (nudists) of the year,
Half sloping sided lock - Hermsdorfer Muhle
a not-so-young couple paddling a canoe. At the entrance to Dolgensee we were overtaken by two very large and expensive cruisers – they won’t be going where we are, too high and too deep in the water. It was windy on the lake and nothing about except the two big boats, who were very quickly leaving us behind. Mike noticed that our chart said the next lock, Prieros, was closed until 1
st May. We carried on to have a look anyway and as we got closer the lock started to empty. The keeper, a man with white hair, came out to say hello and work the lock for us.
Goldeneye ducks. Beautiful but shy.
The notice board said the lock was open all year, but with different hours in the winter to the summer. He asked if we were going on to Märkisch Buchholz and I said yes, coming back through the next lock, Hermsdorfer Mühle, tomorrow and back here on Wednesday. OK. Mike gave him one of his pots of seedlings and told him it was for the house and would have beautiful flowers in two years’ time. He looked very pleased. We continued up the next section of river and into the Streganzersee, a small lake with a reedy island at the top end by the entrance to the next river reach where our friend Bob got his boat stuck back in 1999. There were nice little houses and chalets around the lake, two fishing boats went past, their crews smiled and waved. It was surprisingly quiet beyond the lake with few moored
Trolley on the bootschleppe
to take canoes up to the canal above the weir
boats and just a couple of bungalows in the forest. The further upriver we went the more it became remote, with water meadows backed by forest. The old quay we’d planned to moor at on Tuesday night had gone, now the layby had sloping rocks to the meadow above and had a fence around it. Disappointed with that as we’d been thinking of having a BBQ there as we’d done twice before. Below Hermsdorfer lock there was a crowd of fishermen, all fairly amiable, their cars were parked by another old quay. Sandbanks were forming below the weir off to our left, so the channel was marked with red buoys to keep boats very close to the right hand bank. We’d
Greenfinches by the bootschleppe
forgotten that the lock had been rebuilt shorter (28m long instead of 43m) and with the right wall sloping. We attached to the vertical poles on the right and Mike took photos then went to see the keeper and gave him a pot of seedlings. Beyond the lock we chased a pair of goldeneye ducks for ages, they would fly off in front, land, we’d catch them up and they’d take off again. Mike stood on the front deck and took photos of them. Two trees had fallen across the navigation at KP 36 and were blocking
Moored across a slipway for small boats.
Markisch Buchholz
three quarters of the river. A bit further on, at KP37.5 another tree had fallen in the river and was half way across the navigation. Neither looked like it had been felled by beaver, although there was a lot of evidence of the presence of beaver in the forests. A couple were hauling canoes into the river in Märkisch Buchholz and asked if we were stopping there. No, we’ll see what the mooring is like at the very end, up by the weir. There was a sign board that said charges for overnight were 5€ per person, so we wouldn’t have stayed there anyway. As they paddled past the man (who spoke good English) told us there was a place for cooking with toilets and showers. We told him that it
The weir and the inaccessible (for us - no lock) umflutkanal beyond it
was very good for canoeists and campers but we were OK we’d got all mod cons on board. We winded and moored across the trailer boat slip (which didn’t look used) and tied the stern half to a little landing stage for launched boats and bows to a stump. If anyone wanted to use it we’d have to move, but no one did. Mike went to take photos of the bootschleppe, a trolley for hauling small boats past the weir and on to the navigation above. The canoeists had just used it and were setting off on the Umflutkanal.
 When they built the new weir they added a hydro-electric plant but omitted the lock, so now the link from the Dahme to the Spree via the Neuendorfersee and Alt Schadow and Kossenblatt locks is no longer viable. A great shame as it would have made a beautiful round trip for people with small boats, now it’s only usable by canoes. It was 5 pm by the time we’d tied up. When Mike took his walk up to the weir to take photos of the boat from the bridge he had a bonus of spotting of a small flock of greenfinches. By the time I’d done half the log I was nodding off. Mike had tried the Internet and found that although we’d got EDGE on full strength it was too slow to be useable.

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