A trip by ship or raft is always an exciting experience. You go on board at a pier over a jetty, the lines are loosened and you are already on the water – off you go!
(Your equipment: telescope and compass, if possible)
There's plenty to experience:
- Everywhere hikers and cyclists cavort, many water birds, e. g. seagulls, herons and interesting plants on the shore.
- The nature reserve Zugwiesen is located directly on the Neckar river and is particularly suitable for observing animals with a telescope or very close up.
- The harbour with its huge container loading facilities and large cranes is clearly visible from the ship.
- Locks are exciting, where ships are lifted up and down.
- If you meet a big inland ship on the way, you can take a close look at the cargo ships and wave to the captain and the children on board.
- Much of what you know looks very different when you look at it from the ship.
- With a compass you can find out exactly in which direction the ship is heading.
What are locks for, anyway?
The rivers we know today are mostly straightened and dredged so that ships can travel on them. To compensate for larger unevenness, locks, (or watergates), are built. They can be used to transport ships up and down. In the animation you can see it.
- Uphill travel, (upwards/upstream): retract – close gates at the bottom – fill lock chamber –open gates at the top – move out,
- Descent, (downwards/downstream): retract – close gates at the top – empty lock chamber – open gates at the bottom – move out.
Depending on the direction in which the ship goes, the water must be pumped out of the chamber or it is filled with water. The water can lift a large ship, so that it can continue at an elevated level in the river. If the water is drained, the ship can leave the lock further down.
The most fascinating moment comes ...
when the ship enters into a lock. The locks are so narrow! Are they big enough for our ship? But everything is okay. Downwards in the lock, the ship slides slowly along the lock walls. When the lock gate opens, you will see the river again and we keep on going, just one “step” deeper. Going upwards in a lock, our ship enters into a very high lock. After the lock gate has been closed, our ship moves upwards, as if a ghost hand would lift it up.
Advantages and disadvantages of sluices – why fish have to swim upstream
Sluices are therefore very useful, but have a disadvantage. Fish that have to swim upstream from the river to spawn, (to lay their eggs), cannot pass locks. In the nature reserve Zugwiesen, a small canal has created, whis is a possibility for fish to swim past the lock, (fish ladder). However, this should be the case everywhere.
The Neckar has a lot of locks. You can see this on the Neckar map.
Maybe your birthday will be celebrated on board, then there will be cakes and lots of sweets. You can paint and do handicrafts at the large tables along the way. Or practice knotting.
If you can sucessfully knot one of our examples, you will receive a small reward from the crew on board. Have fun on the ship or on the Party Raft!
The figure eight knot or eye knot
The “figure eight knot” is often tied to the end of a line to prevent it from slipping out, for example on the anorak hood, or at the end of a sheet when sailing. If you have to hold a line tight, such a knot is very handy at the end.
The crown knot or square knot
This knot is used to connect two “ends” of the same thickness. Also a scarf or a belt look better this way than with a so-called “housewife knot”. There you go: You make a simple knot and keep the end in your hand you used to wrap around the other. With this end you make a second knot. The simple rule is: what is above must remain above; what is below must remain below.
The half hitch
This simple knot is also used to attach a “loose end”, (i. e. rope), to a ring or pole. To be on the safe side, you make a second “half hitch” on the first.
The clove hitch
With this knot you can for example attach a horse to the saloon or a fender to the railing. The easy-to-detach knot has its name from the time of the tall ships. In a net of woven lines braided between the shrouds, the sailors could climb up into the yards, (very far up to the upper sails).
The bitter forms the end when attaching a rope to a cleat.
The belaying of a cleat is started in such a way that the line is led once around the “foot” of the cleat, in such a way that the ends do not lie over each other. Then one crosses several times and ends with a “bitter”; in addition simply turn a loop of the line in your hand and lay it over the cleat. (Do not thread through!) It is important that the bitter is not parallel to the cleat!
Our favorite drawings from you
Can you draw so beautifully? Then bring your drawings or paint a picture for us on board. Give it to us and we'll give you a reward. The most beautiful pictures will be published here.