German Summer Dispatches Part I: The Ferry and Telgte

Like every year, we did a trip to see family in Germany at the end of August. This year, like so many before, I took a selection of bottles with me:

August 19th North Sea

My bottle number 107 and Peter’s “Do not Open!” looking out of our cabin’s window to watch the English coast go by

On Monday August 19th we boarded the “Pride of Rotterdam”, the ferry that goes between Kingston upon Hull in England to Rotterdam in the Netherlands. In my luggage I brought 9 of my own little bottles, and one of Peter’s.

Our schedule on the ferry is pretty much the same every time we go: We arrive at between 5 and 6 on the ship and “move in” to our cabin. The kids are given a chance to explore the ship (every time delighted that it hasn’t changed from last time). Then we eat dinner on board. If they feel like it, the twins can watch some of the entertainment program targeted at kids. And then, because we are all sleeping in the one cabin, all go to bed at 8.

What sounds awfully early from an adult perspective usually suits me quite well. We have to get up at 6 o’clock local time (i.e. 5 o’clock English time) for our breakfast the next day, so getting to bed early is a good idea anyway. And after several weeks of summer holidays and a day of packing, I am usually tired enough to fall to sleep immediately. The ship, however, doesn’t leave the harbour before 8.30 pm; something I often notice vaguely on the brink of sleep.

ferry route from Hull to Rotterdam

This time, I decided, I’d stay awake a little longer, and put the bottles into the North Sea. Since Peter’s bottle made its way from Germany to me, it made sense to put it in closer to the English coast.

So when Matthias and the kids all slipped into their beds I packed a book, the bottles, and a camera and headed out to find a place where I could wait. As you might imagine, the “board entertainment” was in full swing by then. Music and shows everywhere I went, and I found it hard to concentrate on my book. – And I got more tired by the minute.

last glimpse at the bottles before letting them go

I managed to hold out until shortly after 9. At least the ship was moving. The coast was still visible, but maybe we’d be lucky, I figured.
It was already dark, and taking photos was difficult. I thought had taken more images, but when I returned inside (without the bottles) it turned out I only had the one on the left. – Sorry!

Asking the ever wise internet, I read:

On Monday, 19th of August of 2019, the sun rose in Hull at 5:47 h and sunset was at 20:21 h. In the high tide and low tide chart, we can see that the first low tide was at 3:23 h and the next low tide at 15:48 h. The first high tide was at 9:04 h and the next high tide at 21:40 h.

We had 14 hours and 34 minutes of sun. The solar transit was at 13:04 h.

So apparently the water was still rushing toward the coast when I threw the two bottles overboard at about 9:10 pm. So far I have not heard anything from them. I hope their happy finders wait for them!

August 21st Telgte, Ems

Cardinal von Galen Platz, the plaza in front of the Clemens Church in Telgte

I have already dispatched a couple of bottles in Telgte, the famous little town near Münster in Westfalia. It has a proud past and a couple of proud buildings in its neat little old town centre. Apparentlz in recent years there has been a noticable rise in tourism there, and I was surprised to find the old market square lively and full of people in restaurants and outside seating areas.

I went to the river in the morning of the 21st (Wednesday). In the photo above you can see the plaza in front of Clemens Church, the big church where the mass related to the pilgrimage is held (although the goal of the processions is the chapel just beside it, and not visible in the photo). Just behind the cars you might be able to guess at a foot bridge across the Ems.

Bridge across the Ems

This is the bridge. At this location the Ems splits into two branches with a large island in the middle from where I put in my bottle – like I did on previous occasions.

See that little plaza there? Just imagine me standing there right in the corner to throw in the bottle. I compiled a little map for you to scroll in and out if you wish to have an idea where this is:

non-flowing river

I don’t remember seeing the river quite as empty. The weir was shut, and the river was not actually flowing (much). Just compare that to the images I took in 2014.

Well, one last look at the bottle, and then it went in. I figured, if it gets found right there, nothing is lost. If it stays there for a couple of weeks until it goes on – it doesn’t matter either.

That mentioned, it has to be said that I was not lucky with any bottles I left there. Over the years I put in 6 bottles, and never heard back from a single one.

there the bottle floats, right on top of a sunken bike

Looking downstream: the river is beautiful here, the shores overgrown and almost inaccessible. The best chance to find the bottle is probably from one of the paddling boats that can be seen quite often here

The view above is from that footbridge mentioned above, and when you look the other way…
This is one of Christel Lechner’s Alltagsmenschen (everyday people), part of an art installation. I must admit that I briefly startled when I saw it from the corner of my eye.

I returned tot he river by night. The photo was taken from the other shore, looking upon the dispatch location. It was too dark to actually spot the bottle, I suppose. In any case I couldn’t see it. The place from where I took this photo, by the way, would usually be on the river bed.


Bottle Found after 9 Months and Blogiversary

Humber Bridge and Bottles numbered 24 and 31

On July 30th I put three bottles into the Humber. (For the related blog post click here.) Yesterday I received an email letting me know that bottle number 31, the one on the right in the photo, got found on April 23rd. It was washed ashore just after the next turn of the river and did not reacht the open sea. The finder apparently was a little disappointed about that it didn’t travel far, and offered to send it to me through the mail so that I can put it in somewhere else again. I suggested she put her story, name and address in as well and set it afloat again where she found it, if she prefers it to travel on. I have not heard from her again. I would be curious to hear what she decided to do.
As always, I am revealing more about the content of the found bottle in the photos below.

Am 30. Juli habe ich drei Flaschen in den Humber geworfen (den entsprechenden Blogartikel findest du hier). Gestern habe ich nun erfahren, dass Flasche Nummer 31, das ist die auf der rechten Seite im Bild, am 23. April gefunden wurde. Sie hat es nicht weit geschafft, schon an der nächsten Flußbiegung (der letzten vor dem offenen Meer) ist sie an Land gespült worden. Und da hat sie dann fast 9 Monate gelegen bis sie gefunden wurde. Offenbar in gutem Zustand: Die Finderin war enttäuscht, dass die Flasche so wenig weit gekommen ist, und hat mir angeboten, sie mir zurückzuschicken, damit ich sie nochmal reinwerfen kann. Ich habe ihr vorgeschlagen, auf einem Zettel ihre Geschichte und Kontaktdaten dazuzuschreiben, und sie dort wieder reinzuwerfen, wo sie sie gefunden hat. Ich habe noch nicht wieder von ihr gehört und bin gespannt, wie sie sich wohl entscheiden wird.
Wie immer zeige ich einige Bilder von der gefundenen Flasche vor:

flaschenpost no 031-01 kleiner

The wrapper and the content of the bottle – of course there is also a slip of paper inside with information about the project and my contact data

flaschenpost no 031-03 kleiner

I don’t remember exactlz how many pages the booklet had. Here it looks like there were 12 pages.

flaschenpost no 031-04 kleiner

another sample page

I also realized that my first blogiversary here passed a couple of days ago. My first blogpost was on April 23 last year, by coincidence the day this last bottle was found. I discovered this while writing this post, and I have not thought of a way to celebrate it. Maybe with a special birthday bottle that I would still have to do. What should it be? Should it have a special topic? And how and where should I dispatch it? Any suggestions?

Ich habe außerdem während ich diesen Artikel hier geschreibe gemerkt, dass mein erster Bloggeburtstag hier vor einigen Tagen war: Den ersten Artikel habe ich am 23. April vor einem Jahr geschrieben. – Zufällig der Tag, an dem Flasche 31 gefunden wurde. Weil ich das gerade erst bemerkt habe, habe ich mir noch gar keine Gedanken gemacht, wie ich das nun eigentlich feiern will: Mit einer besonderen Flaschenpost? Was sollte der Inhalt oder das Thema sein? Wo sollte ich sie aussetzen? Hast du irgendwelche Vorschläge?

Tossing three bottles from the Humber Bridge

map generated with googlemaps

click to zoom in

Apologies again for the last blogpost being solely in German. I was in a hurry to finish it, since I only came back home on Sunday to leave on Monday for Nottingham. My plan was to toss three bottles into the North Sea from the ferry (Rotterdam → Hull), however, there were warning signs everywhere, warning that is was illegal to throw anything over board. So instead I decided to toss them from top of the Humber Bridge instead.

Humber Bridge, West Walkway

It was hubby me and the twins in the car. We first crossed the bridge by car, then parked in the Humber Bridge Park, and I walked onto the bridge while M. was entertaining the kids. It took me a quarter of an hour until I stood where I took the above photo. So unfortunately I didn’t make it to the middle of the bridge. My guess is that I crossed in to a third. Then I dropped a first bottle to see whether it would survive the fall.

Humber Bridge and Bottle No. 18

It did, so I also tossed in the last two bottles that I had prepared:

Humber Bridge and Bottles numbered 24 and 31

I am not sure what the tide was. It clearly was not high water since I could see the mud on the banks. I believe (and hope) the water was still retreating. Unfortunately the wind was blowing hard (I stumbled over my blown about legs a couple of times) onto the bank I was nearer to. Well, it could not be helped. Now I am waiting for replies…