Brunsbuttel to Cuxhaven

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After three exceptional days on the Kiel Canal, we followed five large commercial ships into the Brunsbuttel lock and out into the busy Elbe River. We made a short run downriver to our final stop in Germany at Cuxhaven, where we had a berth waiting for us at the YC marina.

Below are trip highlights from October 20th in the Kiel Canal, Germany. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at

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The view from our boat at 9:30 this morning to a group of commercial ships waiting to lock through at Brunsbuttel as we prepare to get underway
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The 472ft (144m) cargo ship Exeborg exiting the lock adjacent to our berth. We loved the view from the berth and you could almost reach out and touch these big cargo vessels. Some might find the ship movements loud during the night, but we found it kind if exciting.
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The convoy of waiting ships approaching the northernmost locks, viewed from the Kiel Canal web cam. This is the load of ships we will be locking through with.
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Green Light

A green light on the lock signal mast indicating only commercial ships can enter the lock.
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White Light

After the commercial ships had loaded, the lock signal mast changed to a single flashing white indicating recrational craft can enter. We quickly dropped our lines and got underway and you can see the pleasure craft Joker, who has been waiting off the lock, is getting ready to enter.
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Entering the locks behind the power boat Joker. Its normal for recrational boats to tie off on the floating pontoon on the side of the lock. Joker bounced off Annika in the middle of the lock, before tying off directly to the ship near the stern. We were initially a little nervous that the boat was out of control, but we think they they just prefer to tie off with visibility down the center of the lock so they can see when the gate opens and leave before the commercial boats.
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Our fenders floating in water against the low-freeboard pontoons in the Kiel Canal locks.
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Viewing Platform

Onlookers in the viewing platform we were at yesterday afternoon.
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Gate Closing

The gate closing behind us.
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Locking Through

Locking through the Brunsbuttel Locks, viewed from the Kiel Canal web cam. Dirona is just visible at the top right along the far side of the lock chamber.
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A burst of wash from Annika as it prepares to depart. Normally recreational craft can exit as soon as the gate opens, but we couldn’t see the gate from where we were and the lockmaster didn’t announce that we could leave. Once the commercial boats are underway, and they do get underway as soon as the gates are clear, the safest thing to do is to stay tied off until the commercial boats have moved forward.
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Line Handlers

Ship line handlers walking off after their job in this lock is complete.
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James guiding Dirona out of the locks.
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Last Look

A last look behind us to the Kiel Canal locks. We had a fabulous trip through.
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Brunsbuttel Light

The Brunsbuttel Light at the large lock approach with significant damage to the concrete at right.
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The River Elbe is an extremely busy waterway. Our RADAR display was lit up with targets.
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Seajacks Scylla

The 456ft (139m) jack-up offshore wind farm installation vessel Seajacks Scylla taking on wind farm components at Cuxhaven.
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Baltic Breeze

The 538ft (164m) Baltic Breeze vehicle carrier moored outside our destination of the YC marina in Cuxhaven.
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Ocean buoys on the dock above as we enter the YC marina.
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Yacht Controller

James getting some expert feline help from Spitfire as he investigates a wiring issue with our Yacht Controller wireless remote control. In the last locking, and in the docking at Cuxhaven, the remote control hasn’t been working. James relies on it fairly heavily in most dockings where we’re moving forward. He uses it essentially as a bridge wing station since a hard-wired bridge wing station doesn’t really fit on the Nordhavn 52. The system has been rock-solid since the boat was new, but we found a bad wire crimp.
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Changing Oil

Time for the 250-hour oil and filter change on the main engine.
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Oil Storage

Our oil storage location in an alcove behind the generator. The new and used oil drums are stacked and set into a circular cut-out in a marine-board base, with a matching top piece that is trailer-strapped in place to prevent any motion. It looks like we need to modify our spare oil retaining system to fit the square-shaped containers popular in Europe.
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Gen Fuel Filter

The generator primary filter is due for change every 12 months of 750 hours, and the secondary every 24 months of 1,500 hours. We changed both today. Its technically a bit early for the change, but the generator has been running 2-3 amps lower maximum load than usual. We don’t know if the fuel filters are the cause of the problem, but before looking for more complex solutions we’ll try the easy one.
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Oil Drain Fitting

The main engine oil drain fitting has begun to leak a fair amount. James took it apart today to correct the problem and found an O-ring boss fitting with a cracked O-ring.
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Oil Fill

In order to remove the oil drain fitting from the oil pan, the oil fill tube has to first come off. Here you can see the oil fill tube off the pan and the opening below for the oil drain fitting.
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Enjoying a warm and calm evening on the back deck under the patio heater at the YC marina in Cuxhaven.

Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at


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2 comments on “Brunsbuttel to Cuxhaven
  1. Andy says:

    That fuel filter from the generator primary looks pristine

    • Yes, the filter looks pretty good. No foreign debris and just slight blackening at the bottom from asphaltenes falling out of the fuel. A couple of years ago it was much blacker on changes. I suspect the primary difference is, over the last 2 years, we have been running US and EU fuel which is fairly high quality and the fuel distribution channel takes good care of it so what is pumped is of fairly high quality.

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