Friday 21st July - Eider canal
The Nordfeld lock which brings us out of tidal waters for the last time (the Baltic Sea doesn't really have tides) is only a couple of miles from Friedrichstadt and once through it we are in the Eider Canal.
Canal it may be but it looks and feels like a river wending its way northwards and eastwards in big sweeping curves for mile upon mile.
Most of the supposed boaty stopping places from now on (marked on our chart there with a yacht symbol) are tiny: just a few posts by the bank with a few small motor boats in and almost no sailing boats. Süderstapel is an exception and is somewhere we might stop another time to have a look round. Our rather ancient pilot book tells us to look out for a colony of storks near the church and we are lucky enough to see one stork fly over as we pass.
Another highlight spotted on the river bank is a pair of musicians: one playing some kind of squeeze box and one a cello. We throttle back to listen but the breeze carries the sound the wrong way. (Yes, I did take a photo but with camera not the phone so that will follow as and when laptop resumes normal service).
We won't get all the way to the end of this canal before the last lock closes at 7pm so we choose a suitable spot to anchor for the night in the middle of nowhere between Palhude and Lexfähre. It's not narrow so there's plenty of room for us to lie without causing an obstruction.
Observed while at anchor:
One small motorboat with man fishing.
One canoe with 2 men fishing.
2 men swimming (same 2 from canoe but not both at the same time).
Waterboatmen (of insect variety) dashing to and fro on surface. Lots of them, risking life and gangly long limb to go wherever it is they need to go.
Fish rising, perhaps to snatch the aforementioned pond skaters, although, concentrate as we might, neither of us ever once actually sees this happen.
Flock of starlings colonising nearby tree.
Flock of starlings rising as one black cloud to scoot about the sky and then settle again for no apparent reason.
Swallows performing acrobatics around the boat. Munching midges we hope.
Cows on the bank whose chomping and chewing we can clearly hear.
One rather noisy party on a small trip boat, drinking.
Same noisier party on return run, drunk and singing badly. (The din reaches us before they round the bend into view).
Beautiful sunset over the fields.