Engure – beware of minefields 8.7.2016

Approaching Engure at over six knots was exhilarating. Forty miles of bumpy sea but only six hours of travel on a mostly sunny day can only be classed as fun..

The skipper had plotted a course to a safe water spot, where the entry fairway is marked on the map. For some unknown reason, probably the great wind, he started to take a little shortcut. BIG mistake! Huge, like Julia said in Pretty Woman.

The area around the marked fairway is still mined, with fishing nets. And they are so easy to spot looking into the sun. We flew pas the first marker, which was just a black stick sticking out, and the binoculars quickly came out. Suddenly we could spot dozens of small red, yellow and black flags on our route. We quickly rolled in the genoa and made a u-turn and doubled back in our track. Aliena was close by and managed to navigate through the maze. Not knowing if they were surface or bottom nets, it was better to head for safe water. Looking at the map, the nets seemed to follow the 10 m depth curve, and right next to the entrance and marked line. Shit.

One of the visible ones
One of the visible ones

After this little episode we continued towards port. Wouldn’t you know it, the tens of optimist and star sailors we had seen from miles away, had their race track and buoys right accross our fairway. It seemed that their race was over, but we had to zig-zag through the pack. Race leaders, come on!

And things got better. Following the straight line marked on the map, might be called hazardous in this case. Suddenly I felt a small jolt as we hit a small sandbank and skipped over it. The chairman of board didn’t notice it. She’s so used to it, since she is usually the one who finds the rocks. When we reached port, Jukka asked if we had felt something, so the skipper wasn’t dreaming. Later we looked at the CA cruising guide and actually saw some lateral markers which were not visible in the afternoon sun, but could be seen clearly the next morning.

On arrival, Engure port cannot be said to be anything else than shit. It is run down, and if it hadn’t been for the two 40-ft boats parked there, I don,t think we would have stayed. The dogs needed to go, so we needed to find a way. The first building we parked at, was run down but there was a buoy with a boat and it was deep enough. But it was built a bit from land with no working bridge, so we could get across. When we tied up, we didn’t go looking for a harbour master, and none came looking for us. We did see that the neighbouring boats had drawn cables to a really run down electric box, but we thought best not to.

So, there was some sort of yacht club there since we could se the juniors with their dinghies, and they had quite nice service buildings. Once they packed it up, we were left by ourselves. In a run down boatyard.

Once you ventured just behind the harbour village, you found an idyllic little village. We followed the children’s band on their way to a performance and found a lovely new restaurant. We thought the price level here would be even lower than in Estonia, but we seem to have found the only gourmet restaurant around. The food was great, the service friendly and the prices well above what we were expecting.

After dinner, we snuck back to our boats for some hot chocolate in the cool evening, and turned in early so that we could get an early start in the non-existent wind. Riga, here we come!

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