“Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened”


Nr 4. Sailing the German Wadden Islands (UNESCO World Hertitage)

On the 1. May 2021, we left our home port Stavoren after 2 years, and started our world trip! We want to spend the summer in the fjords in Norway, so in May and June we are visiting German and Denmark coastlines on our way to Norway.

The first 2 weeks, we have visited 6 German Wadden Islands, they all have their own characteristics and are part of the unique eco-system of the Wadden Sea which stretches from Den Helder to Esbjerg in Denmark! Because of it’s special character, the Wadden Sea has the status of UNESCO World Heritage.

Borkum is the first German Wadden island you’ll see after you have left the Dutch Wadden islands. These German islands are also called the ‘Ost Fries’ Islands. We were surprised to learn that the Dutch Frisians also moved to Germany, but the word Fries appeared everywhere once we entered the port of Borkum! The flag of the East Frisian community is the Dutch flag, but “upside down”, so the colors are blue, white, red. One of the things you’ll quickly learn sailing the Wadden Sea or the North Sea, is taking into account the tides. The difference in water level can be up to six meters! Imagine you have just tied your boatlines to a pier in a port and the water goes down 3 meters during the night because of low tide! Luckily many ports have floating piers, so the boat moves up and down with the tides.

Norderney is an elegant island: white beach villas and the famous German ‘Strandkorbs’ (Beach baskets) which give a fifties look the beaches. The island has a length of 14 kilometers and has beautiful dunes and moorlands. We used our e-bike and e-step to explore the island. A (folding) bike is a must have on a sail boat: you can compare it to a car when you live on a sailboat. We use the e-bike for sightseeing, but also to do shopping, groceries, get information in the middle of a city (harbours can be far a way from city centers).    

Wangerooge is the last of the Ost Frisian islands, not many habitants, but with sandbanks where you can see seals! We anchored before the island of Wangerooge, but because of strong winds, we decided to go into the port to have a peaceful night. You don’t want to get up every hour to check if the position of the boat is ok in the dark. We heard a sad story that is connected to this island: on 5.May 1945, about 45 Dutch forced laborers stepped on a Dutch boat to go back to Holland. They saw the harbour of Delftzijl in Holland, but the boat hit a naval mine. Only 6 people survived.

After Wangerooge, we crossed the German Bend (Duitse bocht), famous for it’s strong winds, and many big ships entering the Elbe or industrial harbours like Cuxhaven. Once you passed this busy part in the North sea, you end up at the North Frisian islands!

Amrum is part of these North Frisian Wadden islands. It has a very small harbour, so a lot of the German boats owners walked on the pier to see our ship. Many sailors have heard about multihulls and the brand Lagoon, but never saw a lot of catamarans in real life. It’s nice to talk a bit about catamarans and our worldtrip. Amrum has a rich history of sailors, famous is the cementery with ‘talking tombstones’: each stone shows the story of a sailor, sometimes in the year 1630-1680 where they were emprisoned sailing the Mediterranean Sea by Algerian pirates, sometimes for a period of 12 years.

Sylt is a fancy island with beach clubs and nice restaurants. To our big surprise, there were 2 Lagoon catamarans in the small harbourin Sylt! We talked to the 2 German couples who were the owners. We stayed at Sylt for 3 days, also because I had 2 online training days. Thanks to our 4G router aboard and a prepaid card with unlimited data of German T-Mobile, the online trainings went smoothly! It was fun to talk to the participants while being on the ship and on this German island.

Föhr is afriendly island with lots of little villages. We also spend 3 days there, to do washing, cleaning the boat because all the salt water really makes your ship greasy and the windows hard to see through. Again, we used the e-bike and e-step to cruise over the island and eat of course curry sausages 😊.

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