28-Dec-2003 -- Only five hours more to go to Königsberg/Kaliningrad. Eighteen days of a
non-stop seapasssage from Southern Brazil to Russia are over soon.
Days are short in winter on 55°N, and as I calculated yesterday, the sun was
supposed to rise on 18°E at 09:13 Local Time (equals to 07:15 UTC, to which
our GPS is set). And we were supposed to pass 55N / 18E
exactly at sunrise.
The coast is 18,5 km South
of the confluence and seems not too populated.
Further we attach a closer look towards SSE.
The Polish state was founded in 966 and became a powerful kingdom following
union with Lithuania in 1386. In subsequent centuries the monarchy survived
many upheavals before going into a period of long decline culminating in the
partition of Poland in 1795 by Russia, Austria and Prussia.
Following calls for an independent Poland during World War I an independent
Polish Republic was proclaimed in 1918. A turbulent period of parliamentary
democracy followed until 1926 when an authoritarian regime was imposed which
lasted until 1939, when Germany invaded Poland.
The War began close to the confluence area, at Danzig/Gdansk, when the
German battleship "Schleswig Holstein", being on a courtesy visit in the
city's port, started to take under fire the Polish garrisons on the
Westerplatte, a peninsula East of the entrance to the port.
At the end of World War II in 1945 the country was liberated by Russia and,
under the Yalta Conference Agreement, a Polish Provisional Government was
formed. Despite this agreement calling for free elections a communist
dominated government regime was established in 1947.
In 1970 workers discontent over living and working conditions led to riots
in the Baltic coast region and Edward Gierek was imposed as leader. He
improved economic conditions and modernized industry with large amounts of
foreign borrowing but much of this was wasted and a period of economic
decline followed, culminating in 1980 with nationwide strikes and the
formation of "Solidarity/Solidarnosc", the National Confederation of
Independent Trade Unions by workers of the "Lenin Shipyard" at Danzig/Gdansk
under Lech Walesa, who worked as an electrician there.
In 1981 martial law was imposed and "Solidarity" was banned. This situation
lasted until 1988 when, after further unrest, the government resigned. A
period of instability followed, with the communists unable to form a stable
government, until unconditionally free elections were held in 1991.
Poland is well endowed with national resources. It has substantial reserves
of coal, oil and natural gas. Sulphur, copper, lead and zinc are also
produced. There are large forest areas, The country is a leading
agricultural nation, but it became intensely industrial during the last
A major industry is shipbuilding.
Meanwhile we received a message from our agent at Königsberg/Kaliningrad,
advising us to drop anchor off Pillau/Baltiysk, the port at the entrance
into the Frisches Haff/Vislinskiy Zaliv, as the port is congested until well
after New Year.
Information about Poland obtained partly from
Nautical Publication Nr. 19, Baltic Pilot, Vol II, "South part of Baltic Sea
and Gulf of Riga", 12th ed. 2002, The United Kingdom Hydrographic Office,
Taunton, Somerset, England)
A note from coordinator: the coast may look not too populated on winter sunrise, but during summer Polish coast offers a wide choice of great sand beaches.