the Degree Confluence Project

Germany : Schleswig-Holstein

20.1 km (12.5 miles) SSE of Helgoland, Helgoland (Island), Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
Approx. altitude: 0 m (0 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest OpenStreeMap ConfluenceNavigator)
Antipode: 54°S 172°W

Accuracy: 50 m (164 ft)
Quality: good

Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: Morning Twilight #3: Butter Ferry "Helgoland" at Bremerhaven #4: GPS #5: Chart #6: Peter charting the course #7: Allan #8: Manoeuvering #9: Bremerhaven

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  54°N 8°E (secondary) 

#1: Helgoland

(visited by Captain Peter, Valentyn Smirnov and Volodymyr Kokorev)

17-Dec-2001 -- After having visited the first Confluence in Russia on 12/12/2001 we sailed from Kaliningrad/Königsberg after completion of discharging on 15/12/2001 in direction Bremerhaven on the mouth of the River Weser, Germany, in order to load frozen fish for Nigeria.

The shortest route from the Baltic Sea to the North Sea is through the so called Kiel-Kanal, formerly known as Kaiser-Wilhelm-Kanal and officially named North Sea-Baltic Canal, is a canal of about 100 km (63 miles) length between Kiel on the Baltic Sea and Brunsbüttel on River Elbe/North Sea.

Choosing this canal abbreviates the route considerably. From Kaliningrad/Königsberg to Bremerhvan the distance around the Skagerrak (North of Denmark) would be 781 nautical miles (1446 km), via canal it is only 500 nautical miles (926 km).

We arrived at Kiel on 16/12/2001 at 18:00hrs, took the pilot and entered the lock at Kiel-Holtenau at 20:00hrs. On 17/12/2001 at 05:00hrs we had completed our transit by clearing the Brunsbüttel-Lock.

From there we proceeded downriver the Elbe until the Elbe1 Light Raft, the point, where River Elbe for ocean going ships begins/or ends. Meanwhile it was 07:30 hrs and morning twilight.

Now I had to proceed Southwest to the Mouth of the River Weser, namely to the "Neue Weser" pilot station, to embark a pilot bringing me up to Bremerhaven.

"German Bight Traffic", the mandatory ship reporting and traffic control system meanwhile informed me via VHF the Lock at Bremerhaven not to be ready for me yet at my intended arrival time. So they advised me to go adrift and adjust my arrival time at Neue Weser Pilot Station for 09:00hrs.

Well, delays in shipping are not uncommon, so I thought about how to kill the time and I checked the chart. I was about a half nautical mile away from the Confluence 54N8E.

Right below is the Elbe1 Area, the divider shows the distance and direction from the CP to the Island of Helgoland.

Helgoland has a very interesting history and is still an interesting place to go.

In 1856 a German poet, Hoffmann von Fallersleben, wrote there "Das Lied der Deutschen", (the song of the Germans), the still today German National Anthem after a melody of Joseph Haydn.

Originally Helgoland was a British possession. In the end of the 19th Century the German Empire and Great Britain signed a Treaty, the so called Helgoland-Zanzibar Treaty.

Germany changed with Great Britain his African possession for Helgoland. So Helgoland became German and Zanzibar in East Africa became British.

At the end of WWII the British Air Force had the intention to destroy Helgoland completely, in order to avoid any future installation of a military base there by the enemy. Thousands of bombs where thrown on this small rock, but as it consists of hardest granite, they not succeeded, and so Helgoland exists still today.

Nowadays Helgoland is a duty free zone of Germany, and in summer season thousands of visitors embark on the so called butter-ferries at Bremerhaven and Hamburg for visiting Helgoland, to buy there duty free booze, cigarettes, sweets and - in the old days - especially butter.

Purchase is duty free on Helgoland, but it is not allowed to bring dutiable goods in unlimited quantities into the German mainland. 200 cigarettes and 1 liter of booze is allowed. People normally forget this, when they see, that a carton of cigarettes costs only the half at Helgoland as on mainland, and later when going back with the "butter-ferry" to their home, coming closer and closer to the home port and the customs, they start to consume their quantities in excess directly on the spot.

One must once have seen in what very merry condition sometimes passengers to disembark at Bremerhaven or Hamburg, coming back from a Helgoland- trip.

On Helgoland there are about 1,000 permanent inhabitants, almost all engaged in this duty-free biz, cars with combustion engines are not allowed there, only electric trolleys or golf-caddies.

Well, I directed my ship as close as possible to the Confluence, - here I am about 50 metres away. On board ship I have not a normal GPS, but I am using the far more exact DGPS (Differential GPS), having an accuracy of a few centimetres/inches.

When manoeuvering my Chief Officer and Chief Engineer assisted me. They are from the Ukraine and since my successful visit in Russia they do already plan to visit confluences in their home country during next vacation. Seaman Allan from the Philippines was on the wheel.

The Island of Helgoland, when daylight came, was then clearly discernible.

Of course it is more than 20 km away, seen from near the rock offers three colors, and so is Helgoland flag:

3 horizontal stripes, RED / GREEN / WHITE

In German there is a mnemonic aid to remember the flag design:

ROT der Felsen,
GRÜN das Land,
WEISS der Strand.
Das sind die Farben von Helgoland!

(Red the rock
Green the Land
White the strand,
these are the colors of Helgoland!)

It's easy to add a point to an already "complete country", if you have a ship and you are the Captain!

At 12:00 hrs we were in the Bremerhaven Lock and at 13:30 hrs almost alongside the quay in Bremerhaven Port.

 All pictures
#1: Helgoland
#2: Morning Twilight
#3: Butter Ferry "Helgoland" at Bremerhaven
#4: GPS
#5: Chart
#6: Peter charting the course
#7: Allan
#8: Manoeuvering
#9: Bremerhaven
ALL: All pictures on one page