Ahoi Kids – it’s your site

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.


The lock: an “elevator” for ships

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 lock gate opens!

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.


Small knot lessons for large captains

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!


Lesson 1:

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.


Lesson 2:

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.


Lesson 3:

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.


Lesson 4:

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).


Lesson 5:

The bitter

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!

Source: www.seemannsknoten.info


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.


We have been awarded by: