Every once in a while, the sea gods smile on us and from Langeoog to Borkum we had that rare thing, a perfect day’s sailing – lovely breeze, calm flat sea and plenty of sunshine. In short; a delight. We ripped along at 4-5 knots, made the Wester Ems fairway buoy at the ideal time, just as the tide was turning to sweep us up the estuary towards Borkum, and even the entrance to Borkum harbour was relatively calm (the harbour channel runs perpendicular to the main estuary and the cross tides usually cause havoc with each other).
The normal marina in Burkana haven was full when we arrived at 11pm, but we moored very happily at the alternative establishment on the large jetties in the north of the basin, by the wind turbine transfer boats. There were some other yachts there but we managed to wedge ourselves in right at the end. Handily, the harbourmistress for this pontoon was around, otherwise we wouldn’t have known that we were allowed to be there, or that they now have a toilet block!
I spent a worrying minute trying to work out how we were going to moor to this enormous pier intended for ships because the tidal range is reasonably large here and there was a lot of crumbling concrete and rusty metal around. Luckily I then twigged that the entire jetty is actually an enormous floating pontoon, so would move up and down with the tide, taking us with it. No complicated mooring arrangements required after all.
Not wanting to push our luck (and mindful of the forecast for westerlies coming) we grabbed a few hours sleep and then set off again, this time for Delfzijl, further up the estuary on the Dutch side. There we could lock into the canal system and take the standing mast route through to Harlingen in 3 days or so.