With full sails, the Zeesboote plow through the shiny pre-Pomeranian Bodden waters. Looking at the reddish-brown sails and the shiny, light wood of the boats, it is hard to imagine that they were traditionally used for fishing - and that for several centuries. Today, atmospheric passenger cruises are offered on them.
"Rasmus, old turnip pig, bring us wind and sunshine, not too little, not too much, bring us safely to our destination!" Axel raises his glass meaningfully, nods to his sailing friends, and tips the high-proof grain behind his bib. Jochen, who has poured the contents of his glass into the water, as is proper, spares himself the protest. Axel himself knows that the high-proof alcohol is actually tipped overboard before the trip. But he thinks the turnip pig has already received enough victims over the years!
It is one of the old seafaring traditions that still holds today. The toasted Rasmus, who is actually called Erasmus or St. Elmo, is one of the fourteen emergency helpers, who is also responsible for the sailors. So that he does not throw anyone overboard, he is commemorated everywhere with a "sip" for safety's sake. This also applies to the shallow Saaler Bodden between Wustrow, Dierhagen and Zingst, which in many places is barely one meter deep.
Axel, Peter and his son Jochen are on it today. They sit on the shiny oak wood of the "Butt" and enjoy the wind that blows up the red-brown sails above them. The Butt is a Zeesenboot, or Zeesboat in Low German. It is one of just under 100 that still sail the coastal waters of the region today. A few hundred years ago there were many more of them. They were used for fishing since the end of the 15th century, as their shallow draft and special design made them particularly suitable for the shallow Bodden waters. The sails got their characteristic color from painting with a preservative mixture of ocher, cod liver oil, wood tar and a decoction of oak bark and tallow. And the unusual name comes from the zeese, the sack-shaped catch net of the boats.
Already since the end of the last century is no longer gezeest. However, the boats continue to grace the Bodden. This is thanks to people like Peter and Jochen Eymael, who lovingly care for the family boats. The two, for example, own the 11.5-meter-long Butt, built in 1936, and the somewhat older lady Bill. Boats are traditionally female, as this is supposed to bring good luck - another old sailor tradition that already existed with the ancient Greeks. On the two Zees beauties Jochen offers regular trips from the port of Wustrow during the sailing season. Also at many other Bodden harbors on the peninsula it is possible to sail on the Zees boats during the summer season. And between June and September, up to 50 Zeesboote are underway on the Bodden during the region's traditional regattas. Whether as a spectator or active sailor, such a day at and on the water is a real experience.
A lot of comfort, fresh fish specialties and a maritime atmosphere await the visitors in the Ribnitz harbor close to the city center. During the traditional dragon boat races and the big harbor festivals in spring and summer, the quay is particularly colorful.
By train comfortably and without traffic jams to Ribnitz-Damgarten: Plan arrival.
The Baltic resort of Dierhagen at the entrance to the Fischland-Darß-Zingst peninsula is the ideal place for boat lovers, fish sandwich fans and windsurfers. The surfing beach, which is about 200 meters long, is located right next to the harbor and the water hiking rest area. There is a cutter selling delicious fish rolls, a boat slipway and modern sanitary facilities. A surf school with equipment rental is located at beach access 17.
By train and bus comfortably to the Baltic seaside resort Dierhagen: Plan arrival.
35 guest berths, Zeesbootfahrten, a sailing school, a pottery and painting studio and daily fresh smoked fish: At Fischländer Hafen on the western shore of the Saaler Bodden, guests and locals are offered a lot.
Colorful boathouses and old wooden boats: the port of Ahrenshoop-Althagen is a picturesque window into times gone by. In the past, it was the local fishermen who sailed out onto the Saaler Bodden in their Zees boats; today, it's recreational captains with their guests. From the wooden benches of the fish restaurant "Zur Reuse" you can relax and watch the boats coming and going. Beer from the Fischland brewery is served with home-smoked fish such as eel, salmon and mackerel.
By train and bus comfortably to Ahrenshoop: Plan arrival.
Commitment to the environment and guests: Born harbor between Bodstedt and Saal Bodden has been awarded the "Yellow Wave" and three "Blue Stars" twice. The small harbor has 35 guest berths, sanitary facilities and a barbecue area. A restaurant and an ATM are in the immediate vicinity. Fancy an excursion? Passenger ships depart from the harbor to Ribnitz, Ahrenshoop, Fuhlendorf and Prerow.
Small but nice: The Wieck harbor in the north of the Bodstedter Bodden is a marina and resting place for water hikers with 18 guest berths. In Wieck harbor, where the pretty Zeesboote are also moored, there is a guest kitchen and a barbecue area. There is also a beautiful bathing area.
By train and bus comfortably to Wiek am Darß: Plan arrival.
Blue flag, yellow waves and four stars: the port of Prerow is excellent. And not only the guests think so, but also the inspectors of the DGU (German Society for Environmental Education, Blue Flag) and the DTV (German Tourism Association, Yellow Wave). There are 50 guest moorings available at the water recreation area. Those arriving without a boat can rent one at the Prerow boat rental directly at the harbor.
By train and bus comfortably to Prerow: Plan arrival.
Pier, diving gondola and Bodden harbor: there are many reasons to visit the Baltic Sea resort of Zingst. Especially the harbor at the Zingster Strom is a real attraction due to events such as the Zingst harbor festival and the net and Zeesboot regatta - and it is only a few minutes walk from the pier.
By train and bus comfortably to Zingst: Plan arrival.
One of the most modern harbors of the Baltic Sea is located at the gates of the historic town of Barth. The Barth city harbor is equipped with a boat motor service, a bar and three floating docks. And for those who dock with the river cruise ship: The center of the resort is just a few meters away.
By train comfortably and without traffic jams to Barth: Plan arrival.
Even without a harbor, the traditional spa town of Graal-Müritz is a place to relax and unwind. The 13-hectare spa forest and the large rhododendron park with over 2,500 plants are located directly by the sea. In May and June the park shines in full bloom.
By train comfortably and without traffic jams to Graal-Müritz: Plan arrival.
Cover photo: What a sight: The eye-catching Zeesboote look like they've stepped out of a nostalgic commercial © TMV - Markus Tiemann
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