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History of Admiral Grog navigation


                                                                           

 

ADMIRAL GROG

1997 - 2012

 

PROLOGUE

Once we were kids too. Kids as you know have an amazing gift – dreaming. They travel on a routes of adventure without any limits and they dream how to fulfill their journeys into fantasy word as soon as they become adults.

Unfortunately most of those kids lose these dreams as soon they reach the adults age.

In most cases they turn in to adults whose dreams are only about how to earn more money and  what to buy for it.

I was  extremely privileged to meet people who despite their age did not lose their child´s dreams. They were never convinced that foreign countries could be travelled and adventure could be experienced from any hotel room in a holiday complex.

Without them Admiral Grog would never leave the port.

 

 

WHY ADMIRAL GROG

There were always problems on ships. The water  wasn’t  nice, wine got sour and beer, well it is not worth to mention. But RUM is the right for the sailors, it doesn´t go off, lasts long and with it you can survive any sailing trip. Although sometimes can happen that the crew is not able to do their duties afterwards. There was a daily limit of on HMS ships. Since 1655 when Jamaica conquered every sailor got a pint of rum. But since all  the sailors got lazier after their pint Admiral Sir Edward Vernon ordered to mix with hot water in the year of 1740. He was very popular, honored and brave commander and got himself a nickname OLD GROG just because he was wearing his special coat from grogam ( rough piece of fabric from silk and wool). Then the English sailors called this mix rum and hot water GROG. This drink becomes very famous and popular not only on ROYAL NAVY ships. Even we favored this beautiful warm liquid on our trips on wild rivers. So when in 2000  our boat was afloat in the waters of Danube River in Vienna it was already decided what name will decoration it. ADMIRAL GROG

We have chosen this name in honor of Sir Edward Vernon who wisely invented our favorite hot drink. Trough out 230 years this drink was a daily routine for all sailors in Royal Navy. But in 1970 Royal Navy abolished rations of this drink altogether .

 

So the crew of Admiral Grog takes the liberty from RN of carrying on this tradition regardless. On board of Admiral Grog anyone can be served this delicious drink in any amount and any given hour.

 

 

POLAND 1997

When I look back on our first journey ,I must admit it was the most adventures and probably the most dangerous one.The idea of sailing trough Mazur’s lakes from north down to the south (from Wegorzevo to Piszi) whit normal boat or speed boat would not be that dangerous task, but we sailed down whit wobbly raft assembled from shattering boards and timber attached to inflatable drums. Manoeuvring was down to one big sail and unreliable hooked on engine. We were inexperienced  with sailing through vast open areas and weather which was  anything but brilliant didn’t  help either. Thank to those poor conditions the whole gained their first experience. The whole gained their first experience. The whole raft was swinging on a rough lake like a Chinese dragon in theme park. We were  seeking shelter in water proof overalls in rain and sharp wind and we watched if the raft is not breaking in half with big worriers. Every item we  didn´t  want to see go down into deep waters had to be nailed on, tied on or just held. One of our engines often died on us and the wind forced us on to a shores from which took us great deal of work to get off again. We also experienced night fall on a lake in storm, it was indeed a great task for all of us. Finally we reached town called  Pisz – the destination of our journey with no harm on any of the crew. As soon we dropped the anchor we followed code of all sea shipś crew and officers like back in old days. We indeed found realy nice pub and started to celebrate. Despite all difficulties the real strong crew was formed and  we  the  saying  “Anything what doesn´t kill me, makes me stronger” those who were not scared by our first  journey were ready for the next one.

 

 

FINLAND 1998

When we were planning our second journey we took a map of Europe and looked mostly for countries whit lots of lakes.

Most of them are located  in Finland so the decision was clear – we are heading to Finland. During a year we spend lots of time upgrading our raft. We  unforced  the structure of our raft, made folding shelter for unpleasant weather  and improved helm and kitchen. With bit of modesty we could say it’s now more of a boat then a raft. Also our crew slightly changed and enlarged. We took on some new members who showed enough sense of madness which is necessary  to have for sailing with us. They have most certainly drought new under as and became real core of our crew.So as we said earlier our first journey was tough and full of unpredictable weather and technical problems, with the second one we took the buiscuit (as they say).    Everything was perfect even travelling there and back by our coach. We crossed foreign borders without any delays. Basically smooth as a velvet. The weather for sailing was ideal and even technical problems were vary rare.Lakes in Finland are absolutely beautiful. Great vast water areas are so clean it´s  almost drinkable. Hundreds of thousands little islands, stunning shores and breathtaking capes and bays. Especially reservation called Linnansaaren in which  we sailed trough towns called Varkaus and Savonlina. Thad was unforgatable experience. Islands with camping sites equipped  down to the last detail were almost too good to be true. And besides- mushrooms, millions of them. For every visitor from Czech where mushroom picking is almost national sport it was pure pleasure. Mushrooms were ingriedience in  all our meals including pancakes. We loved it! We realized  thad   two weeks in a  year sailing with a bunch of friends on a raft (boat) is certainly worth all the hussle.

foto: http://kcikcao.rajce.idnes.cz/Finsko_1998/

 

FINLAND 1999

If our first journey to Finland in 1998 was the heppy one, we can,t really say the same obout our next one.

Yes we decided to go back to Finland.The lake resorts over there are so hoge that it wouldn´t také two but at lest ten journeys.This time we Hradec to sail lakes around Joensuu hear estern bordur of Finland. We decided not to go by ferry from Helsinky to Talin And trough Baltic states like last zdar but we went for copying Finnish bay to Petersburg which we wanted to see. During a year our boot was upgraded again. We manager to enlarget our boot about a   

meter, we added one more air drum, made walkway with railing around the boot which was separated from the main deck And on the deck has risen sekond mast connected with first onr by smart  collapsing mechanism. Unfortunately this refurbishment spli our crew. We didn´t manager finis all o fit back home so we had to finis it one the spot in Finland. The assemblage of the boot was delayed beecause o fit And it the same time our crew was split in two halves the one wich wanted to sail properly And the other one which wanted to use the boot only as a mobile to see diffrent place. The sailing itself was without any probléme.We went trough all our journey very smoothly only the atmosphere amongst the crew was not as relaxed as it was last year. Around Karela was extremly dry Conditions water surfaře was 1 m košer then average,everything was dried out And of cource mushrooms we missed too. As they say you can´t step into same river Twice. The most iteresting pint of our journey was the way back home trough Russia with a brief stop in Petersburg..That gave us an ideas for future trips.With slightly changed  saying „ Go east zouny man, go east!“!

 

DANUBE 2000

                                      

At first we were determined to go to Russia, to sail river Volga from Stalingrad all the way to Kaspic sea. Unfortunately that fell trough.

We didn´t manage to organize  everything it that way that would allow us travel that far without any serious worries. After long discussion we have chosen to sail. The Danube river from Wessenfurt (slightly down the stream from Pasov) to Budapest. This choice turned out to be the good one. We never  realized  before that we have such a lovely river near our homeland. As we said earlier our crew was divided to two groups. For us it bacically meant to built a new boat. We chose happy medium decision. We kept six airdrums floating deck with walkway around and also we kept only one mast with easier cdlapsing mechanism. But to that we added one more engine. For sailing on the rivers is very important to have a proper moving power. Those two engines were connected to ruder. We sailing happily trough Austria and in Vienna we named our boat “ Admiral Grog”. We admired a beautiful hisatorical heritage of Austria well as lovely forestry around the river, and meeting with locals and sharing a jugs of beer with them. Finally when we reached Budapest we could openly say that Admiral Grog will return to those waters again. 

 

 

ELBE  2001     

Actually not only Elbe. We started in Radotin on the Berounka river down on the Vltava river trough Prague and Melník to the Elbe river.We aimed to go all the way to Berlin but the weather conditions did not allow us to do so. Torrential rain with the wind ocassionally changing in to a gale left us soaked down to the bones. So basically it wasn´t great pleasure to be on the water and we had to finish in Coswig about 100 km before Magdeburg. For this annual sailing trip we decided to make uniforms for every member of our crew to spark up our presentation. And it turned out to be a 100% success. During our sailing we could not use them at all (it was  constantly raining) but they did get definitely useful when we got to Coswig. Unfortunately the date was 9/11/2001 and we just heard about terrorist attack on Twin sisters in NY city. The order was clear “ everyone in to the uniforms” our mobilizate against terror was under token “destination – Coswig” What was happened in local pubs and bars later to our golden found of memories. But anyway to the  Elbe river all the way remains a challenge to be done for us.

 

 

VOLGA 2002

If anyone would tell us what we are going to experience in Russia that year we would definitely call him slightly retarded dreamer. Probably it’s down to travel agencies you choose. Some travel with Cedok, our trip was organized by friends from Russian Army. During that upcoming year we carefully prepared all the necessary stuff. We were seeking  for contacts and finally we made one, very good on. Our  futlire   friends prepared everything for us with army precision. And for purpose to make things  easier the disguised us as a officers of ministry of defence the Czech Republic. Apparently our journey was not from Stalingrad to Kaspic sea as we planned but we sailed from Samara to Saratov. Volga is a great river. In same places many km wide. It was all about vodka, fish and beautiful nature and people living in small cabin on the river banks. It was like the Mississippi river for us, like Mark Twain one described. It was amazing. We definitely have to go back to Russia again.

 

DANUBE 2003

    Our second sailing trip down the Danube river was again very pleasant. This time we decided carry on beyond Budapest trough Hungary and copy in those days still unstable Sarbian – Croatian border line. On this  occasion we  chose our final destination somewhere near capital of  Serbia – Beograd. Last time we sailed mainly to the south and because  it was extremely hot we decided to call it “ holiday in Carribean ”. We had a privilege to visit our good friend Mr. Dodo who lives in Wolf throat - port Bratislava. We met him in our last sailing on Danube river. Mr. Dodo was again very helpful to us. He managed to get us supplys of lovely wine (from Karpaty region) and also he helped us get priceless information for every leisure sailor essential for sailing into region torn a part by civil war. And you can imagine that not many sailing boats of  our kind going there after US bombing of  Novy Sad in 1999. We were assembling our boat Admiral Grog in scorching summer heat in Sturov near the bridge opposite of Ostrihom cathedral. Those extremely hot temperatures even created a routine on our sailing.

We started early in the morning  and by noon we were desperate for some  shade under trees in a bay or in any welcoming  beer garden of local pub. We finally got to Novy Sad went under the bridge destroyed the war and dropped our anchor in Sava river in Shanghai town of Beograd ( all the bars on the eater). It´s still 1170 km from Beograd to the sea so only two more sailing trips and we are there.

 

 

Danube 2004

     Again deep to heart of Balcan peninsula. From Beograd down to the river, over Danube cataract „IRON GATE“ along Bulgarian – Romanian border to Ruse navigation distanc 676 km.

 

Who want enjoy adventure in Balcan, hi wos satisfied.

Balcan – costom houses, Balcan firewatwer, Balcan order. Balcan not sploit turist indastry.

Meeting with lovely people- arrives foreigner, guest, not sack of mony.

 

Whwn ending aur voyage in Ruse, distans to hte Balck see 517 km.

 

Danube 2005

Finally we are reaching the end , Admirál Grog is sailing trought salty waters of Black Sea. Last remaining 500 km to the Black Sea has taken us 4 years, 4 expeditions from German Passau to estuary of the great river Danube in sleepy little town Sfint Giorgiu.

Assemblage of our boat in Romanian Giorgiu went smooth without any problems.All our crew was pleasantly aurprised by friendly reception of Romanian border patrols and officers. Finally we are experiencing Balkan in his truly colours, twice we had unexpected visitors after only tree days of sailing “pirates”.Some of our tin food and fishing rots have gone missing after their first visit, and after the second one we lost our jetty with hook-on engine. All this presume is our contribution to charity after earlier

floods in easter Romania. Nothing can spoil this beautiful enjoyment of Danube´s delta´s  scenery. And now is the moment when Admiral Grog leaves fresh waters of Danube under the sails and floats on the Black Sea´s  waves.

 

And now we cen truly call each other sailors !

Fill our long past boyish dream !

 

 

UKRAINE 2006

TO COSSACK ON DNEPER

We are going to talk about vast horizon of Dněpr for a long time.

About the wind which glides over a water surface and about seeking quiet bays on  river banks after dusk.

 

Also about concrete towns,smoking factories,busy markets and fish and vodka in local pubs.

Mainly all this was about people who live along side the river,all those humbl people who carry weight of story history.

The merciless history was passing through all that region cross the small gardens in front of those wooden cottages. And finally it was about the great will of local people who tried not to be brought own on their knees by all those historic events but mainly keeping their dignity.

 

Mazury 2007

Eleven years easy go. We return on Mazury lakeś. Only few manś from first crew 1997, is here.

Everything changing.Before eleven yarś splendid and bemused coutryside,faw and far berween harborś,storeś and pubś.

We did meet ounly few peopleś on shipś and in the pobś

 

Naw is business every where,yacht clubś,charter shipś,harborś,pensionś,shopś,pubś merry-go-roundś and many others.On every placeś make mony.During ten yarś this region go trough great devlopment.

Everywher we meet with friendly peopleś and we do not have problemś with language.All sailing was great and wild party.

 

Wat has been betther?        It is  guestion?

 

 

Bodrog –Tisa 2008

  And again we have chosen  the Balkan. After last year experience this year we are taking both boats. We have done our research last autumn and the truck fully loaded with our boats is ready to for his journey to Streda above Bodrog.We have chosen very nice spot for assembling our boat and therefore does not take long before they are both afloat on river Bodrog. We are sailing through Slovak republic for the first 10 k and after another 20 k we anchored in well know Hungarian town called Tokaj. Here both crews are busy exploring local wine cellars. The morning after those who suffer no hangover are busy stocking up the boat. Our fleet is heading to Hungarian area Hordobad one the river Tisa. You can see only few boats around Tokaj otherwise the river is pretty quiet. The muddy shores are covered with thick vegetation. From the boat you hardly see any people around. Last year when we went to Mazur lakes  we  didn´t have any problem communicating whit people. Hungary you are practically mute. We had to chose an officer who would communicate with locals. God body language and imunity against moon shine spirit were the criteria and they were proved good. The Tisa river looks more like some South American river, if only the birds were more colorful and the snakes fatter and longer.

Then even the most experienced ranger would get lost. Some could find sailing the Tisa river quite boring but both our crews didn´t have this problem. They made it to pleasant town Szeged in centre of southeastern Hungary. Over there both boats tried to leave river waters of European Union.“This is the end of your journey” said captain Drago and would not allow us sail trough Serbia. We in this yar will unsighted  Beograd. Never mind next year will be better. 

Our battle cry is META PRO HORIZONT EST.

 

Elbe 2009

It is 28th of May and the bus with trailer with the boat Admiral Grog and its crew is leaving Jarov to head for a new adventure. Yes, we are ciming back to small german town Coswik after 7 years and 8 months.On 11th of September 2001 we here ended the first leg of our sailing trip from Radotin in Czech Republic to Hamburg. We now want to finish the Elbe river which we started few years ago. Hamburg is thedestination of all Czech sailors, the only connection between our country and the sea. We assembly the boat as usual and both evening in Coswik are turing into wild party with locals whose base we are temporarily using. We say our goodbye and off we go. We saill trough Magdeburk,  strait quite safely and easily even with the broken stern.After few kilometers we sail into canal which leads to Berlin lakes.We sail trough Brandemburg then Podsdam and then sail the Havel river to get back to Elbe River. Everywhere people are very friendly and of course every evening we end up plaing the guitars and drinking local beer. We are passing the estuary of Elbe river- Libek Baltik Sea in town called Lauenburg. Our last stop is about 11 km past Hamburg. After a hectik night everithing is dismantled, the truck is loaded and we are heading for a city tour Hamburg. We never forget the Navy museum, the large port and visit of lokal pubs.

 

Danube 2010

    It has been 10 years since 2000 when Admiral Grog first sailed the waters of Danube from Austria village of Wessenfurt to Budapest city.As last yar sail Berounka with us.  We come back to sail Danube river three more times to go all the way to Black see.The fifth phase of our sailing trip from Kelheim to Bratislava was the last on this second biggest Europen river.The river is 2 357 km long and we made in from the beginning to the end – from German town Kelheim to Black see.

 

Wisla 2012


In 2011 we had to cancel our sailing trip to Poland on river Wisla.

There was a catastrophic flood throughout Poland just one week before our planned departure. In 2012 we try again to sail river Wisla from Krakow to Warsawa. No one really knows the condition of the river and if it is possible to sail. Because of our nonfuctional ship lock we had to stop few km behind Krakow and go back 60 km up stream Wisla to Osvetcim and then go back again. It means lot of time for pubs and our new frends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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