Stumbling upon the Kiel canal

Tony checking out a small container ship (taken with my fisheye)
Tony checking out a small container ship (taken with my fisheye)

I have a faint obseession with container ships. It emerged – when Tony and I were driving back to Amsterdam from a family holiday in Denmark in July of 2011 – that he has an obsession with the Kiel Canal. This is a sign that we were meant to be together (one of several such). Fortunately it was on our route, and we stumbled across it mostly by accident owing to my poor navigation skills.

Signboard proclaiming the presence of the Kiel Canal
Signboard proclaiming the presence of the Kiel Canal

Called the Nord-Ostsee-Kanal in German, it is the world’s busiest artificial waterway, and is about 100 kilometres long. It slices across the top of Germany, joining the North Sea to the Baltic. This saves considerable sea distance for shipping. The access point that we found was a short walk down a tarred road to a viewing platform near a bridge, which I think is the New Levensau High Bridge.

Peaceful Kiel Canal
Peaceful Kiel Canal

It was quiet and calm when we arrived, but only remained thus for a moment…

We hung about a bit, and were soon rewarded with a nice container ship called Eilbek approaching from the Baltic Sea direction. It just fit under the bridge!

The Eilbek departs the vicinityorth Sea direction
The Eilbek departs the vicinity

To get an idea of how much traffic the Kiel Canal experiences, go to this AIS tracking site, type “Kiel Canal” in the box on the top left where it says “Go to Area”, and marvel.

 

A visit to a boat shop in Denmark

Outside the boat shop
Outside the boat shop

While we were in Denmark just after Christmas we paid a visit to the Tempo Bådudstyr in the suburb of Greve, just outside Copenhagen. It was fabulous. Tony was genuinely browsing the wares, while I photographed things that looked cool. My favourite items were the mini life vests for dogs (we have seen a lot of dogs on the sailing boats that frequent the small marinas throughout Denmark).

We got a ride back from the boat shop with the pastor of the local Lutheran church, who lived in Glostrup where we were staying. He took us home via the hard standing at the marina where he keeps his little sailing boat. In winter all the pleasure boats are removed from the water because the harbours ice up. They are placed on stilts in huge boat parking areas. In spring when the weather softens, they are returned to the sea.

Please enjoy a small selection of photographs of the maritime delights that can be found in this particular Danish boat store:

Humboldt penguins at Copenhagen Zoo

While we were in Denmark between Christmas and New Year we visited the Copenhagen Zoo. I was specially enchanted by the Humboldt penguins (they look a lot like African penguins, but originate in Peru and Chile). Their exhibit was set up so that you could see them swimming underwater. Even though it was very cold, they seemed quite happy and well insulated.

We occasionally see penguins while boating around False Bay, but I’ve never had a chance to swim with one on a dive. I think they’re shy that way.