22-Jan-2004 -- After more than three weeks discharging in Königsberg/Kaliningrad (Russia),
we left this port on 21st January late evening.
As our next employment is still unknown, the owners of the ship decided to
send us to Mukran (Germany), in order to replenish us with provisions and
Mukran is today used as the ferry port for Sassnitz (Rügen Island). Most
ferries go to Trelleborg (Sweden) and some to Klaipeda (Lithuania).
When the German Democratic Republic was still in existence (until 1989),
Mukran was used by the Soviet Red Army for its shipments of military
equipment to East Germany. Mukran is therefore the only port in Western
Europe being able to receive and handle the Russian wide gauge railway
55N16E is usually "nowhere", but on clear winter days the
visibility in the Baltic Sea can be amazing.
So I expected to see something, even on a distance of more then 50 km.
When I had a first look out of my bulleye this morning, I was surprised to
see the Polish coast so well, far better then the Island of Bornholm, lying a 7 km or so
closer to the confluence than the Polish mainland.
The reason for the Polish coast appearing closer is a mirage effect towards
the low sun, which can be clearly proved by the fact how well the wind
rotors in the
area of Jaroslawiec/Jershöft and Darlowo/Rügenwalde can be seen. Under
normal circumstances they would not be visible at all.
Frequent snowfall in Königsberg/Kaliningrad turned our ship into a romantic
Since many years I am complaining about the fact that seamen usually suffer
from a lack of physical activity due to the restricted sports facilities on
board. For sports we have available on board only a selfmade pool billard, a
TV-set, some cases of beer and plenty bottles of Scotch. So I decided today
to change that and ordered the crew to remove the snow from the Upper Deck.
That is fun! - especially for the younger ones of my Filipino crew, coming
from a tropical country around 12° North of the Equator. Most of them had
never seen snow so far and certainly they had never to remove some!
They still have to exercise. Frequently they have been told never to work "against" the
wind. I explained them many times "either you are vomiting when seasick or
when having a piss, - do it always "with" the wind, and never "against" it!"
But they are lacking abstract thinking, so they make the same beginners'
mistake with the snow. Shovelling it to the wrong direction causes immediate
return onto their faces.
But probably they like it this way???
Cadet Ernesto is exempted from snow removal. His assigned duty is sweeping the
navigation bridge, in order to develop a good sense for cleanliness, being
essential for a future officer. And he learns the benefits one can enjoy
when deciding himself for the officer's career. Sweeping with a corn broom
instead of shovelling snow :-)