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BORNHOLM TO RIGA, AND THE ENTRANCE TO THE
VESSELS bound to RIGA, and taking their departure from Bornholm, will make their course E. by N., about 50 leagues, and then E.N.E., 34 leagues, which will take them to a fair berth off Windau. In clear weather, they will perceive the land to the S.-westward of the town, from 24 fathoms, and can then gradually shoal their water to the northward; the distance from Windau to Lyserort, the N.W. point of Courland, being 4 leagues. In their passage from Bornholm, they will go to the southward of the Island of Gottland, the south point of which lies N.E. by E. E. from the north end of Bornholm, distant 50 leagues; and E.N.E. from Oland Light, distant 24 leagues.
GOTTLAND, or GOTHLAND.—This is a large and fertile island, belonging to Sweden; it produces corn, timber, chalk, and sand-stone; its fisheries are productive, and prosecuted with much activity: its capital is Wisby, and situated on the N.W. part of the island; it is fortified, and has a small harbour, which is by no means commodious. A breakwater has been built at Wisby, as a further security for vessels in the port. The southern end of Gottland is 2 leagues broad, and has a bank, running 10 or 11 leagues from it, to the southward, over which are from 7 to 15 fathoms, stony ground; you may know this part by a round hillock, called Hoborg, near its S.W. end. This island may be considered of a semicircular shape, running N.-easterly, including the island Faro, which is only separated from it by a narrow channel, called the Sound of Faro; the breadth of its widest part, which is about the middle of the island, is 2 miles. On the western side of Gottland are the two Carlso Islands, having passages between them; and to the northward of these is the small Island of Utholm, surrounded by a reef; on this side is also the small port of Wisby; but vessels bound to the Gulf of Finland, always pass on the eastern side of the Island of Gottland; in doing which, it is requisite to give the shore a good berth, as several reefs stretch out to the eastward a considerable way, some of which are dangerous.
SHOAL BETWEEN GOTHLAND AND OLAND.-By a notice, dated Stockholm, 25th August, 1843, this shoal lies in lat. 57° 33′ 30′′ N., and long. 17° 52′ E. of Greenwich. Its length from north to south is 4 cables, and its breadth from east to west 2 cables, with 6 fathoms on its shoalest part.
On the eastern side of Gottland, about 12 leagues from the S.E. point, lies Ostergarnsholm, an island, distant a full league from the Point of Nygarn, and low, having a reef running from its N.E. point, about 3 miles. There is a white stone-beacon, or lighthouse, erected on the highest part of Ostergarnsholm, the top of which is composed of black iron plates, with a ventilator. Its height, from the base to the uppermost edge of the light-room, is 63 feet; and the rays of light, perpendicularly from the surface of the water, 80 feet. The light is from coals, and is exhibited from the 1st of August till the 15th of May following.
The course from the S.E. end of Gottland to Ostergarnsholm, is N.E. by E., distant 12 leagues; and N.E. N., will take you from abreast of Ostergarnsholm to Avanas, the N.E. point of Faro Island, the distance being 10 leagues. To the northward of Faro Island is the Island of Gotska Sando, having several banks and shallows about it; but as these are out of the way of shipping bound to the Gulf of Finland, we shall not enter further into their description, than merely to state, that good anchorage may be had about the island on all sides, except the S.W., and that small vessels frequently pass through between them, and also between the islands of Gottland and Faro.*
The harbour of Sleete, or Slitehaum, on the N.E. coast of Gottland, having been lately declared a free port, we give the following remarks on it, by Mr. S. Browning, Master Mariner, 1835.
“SLEETE HARBOUR, in latitude 57° 42′ N., and longitude 18° 47′ E., is one of the safest and most commodious in the Baltic. It is situated on the eastern side of a well-sheltered bay, or inlet, that leads up to Lenna; is about 3 miles deep, and a mile
*The Swedish Government have given notice of their intention to erect two new lighthouses on the island of Gottland; one on the S.W. end of the island, near Hoborg, and the other near the N.E. end of the island. It is expected these lights will be completed by the spring of 1846.
broad, and completely protected by islands, to the southward and eastward, with good holding ground. Here ships may safely anchor, sheltered from all winds, in 4 to 5 fathoms water, muddy ground.
"Sleete Harbour lies off a small village of that name, having from 2 to 3 fathoms water close in, the depth gradually decreasing towards the shore, from whence proceed jetties, so that vessels may lie alongside, in about 1 to 2 fathoms water, and moor in tiers, there being about 8 or 10 dolphins, of about 24 feet square, built of timber and stone, which form an artificial pier. Vessels may unload their cargoes, and heave down alongside the jetties, there being every convenience for that purpose, close by a shipwright's yard. There are storehouses, where every necessary article may be procured; and provisions may be had at a reasonable price. Within a few fathoms of the beach, is an excellent well of water. Taking it altogether, this is one of the most desirable harbours a vessel can enter, both for materials and workmen; carpenters, a good blacksmith, and ropemaker, reside in the village; and the whole are under the direction of a gentleman, named Nils Enequest, who will furnish every thing that may be required.
"The harbour is easily known by a windmill on the top of a hill, to seaward, and at the back of the town, which, with the lime-kilns, and a few rising rocks of lime-stone, appearing like old walls, or ruins, on the point, plainly show the south-western point, that forms the harbour before the town. You can always get a pilot before you arrive at the port. Vessels may also, with safety, enter the bay without anchors, and beach without injury, in various parts; or keep under way, the bay being capacious, and the water smooth, until they can be furnished with assistance from the shore; they may also run in for the bay, without a pilot, giving the main and the islands a proper berth.
"The bay of Sleete may be easily found, after having made the Island of Ostergarnsholm, which lies about 17 miles S. E. from the Bay, and on which there is a fixed light, discernible from 12 to 14 miles off. Having made the lighthouse, haul in N.W. by N., by compass, till within 1 or 2 miles of the shore; then run along the coast, which is all bold, and you will be sure to make 3 of the islands that shelter and form the bay. Between the islands and the main, you will have from 5 to 7 fathoms water. The southernmost of the islands is called Maga, and has a beacon upon it; leave this and the Island of Eneholm, which lies about N.W. by compass from it, and on which is an old castle, on the starboard hand.
"This harbour is capable of containing from 400 to 500 sail of vessels, and may be left with all winds."
Sleete Harbour is so far a free port, that ships of all flags, running in from contrary winds, or in order to repair, or for taking in provisions, have to pay no other port charges than a moderate remuneration to the pilot, and such not to exceed the rate at which Swedish ships are charged. Repairs can be effected at Sleete on very moderate terms, the supply of oak timber and planks being abundant, and at uncommonly low rates. The depth of water admits of ships, of any tonnage, close to the quay; and the ingress and egress are extremely easy.
The channel between the Island of Gottland and the Courland shore, has very deep water, generally decreasing as you approach the land. Your course from the S.W. end of Gottland to Lyserort, will be E. N.
LYSERORT, or the N.W. point of Courland, is a low sandy point; abreast of which runs out a reef, to the distance of 4 or 5 miles, and 5 fathoms close to it, having some small knolls, without that distance, with deep water between them. There is also said to be a shoal in the offing, of 5 fathoms, bearing due west from Lyserort, distant 20 miles, called the Span Bank; and another, of 8 fathoms, about N.W. by W., distant 22 miles, named the Apollon; a third, N.W., a little northerly, of 6 fathoms. But none of these outer shoals are dangerous; they only serve to show, by the inequality of your soundings, your approach to the entrance of the Gulf; indeed, from Lyserort to Svartverort, the whole channel is encumbered with broken ground, some parts of which may be dangerous to large ships; and the depth of water is so irregular, that your soundings cannot be depended upon.
There is a light erected on Svartverort Point. This, by the Russians, is called the ZIRLICH LIGHT; which, being placed on the southern extremity of the Island Oesel, is of great utility in pointing out the northern boundary of the channel; it is 114 feet
high, and may, in clear weather, be seen 16 miles off. It exhibits 2 lights; the upper light enlightens the whole of the horizon towards the sea; the lower one, about 50 feet high, is placed in such a manner, that vessels from the westward will see it when bearing N.E., while those coming from the eastward will have it when due north. The reason for lighting it in this way is, that a ship may know her distance from the coast of Courland, and the shoals lying south-westward of Oesel. The distances at which these lights may be seen, are marked on the charts; you may, therefore, in the darkest night, pursue your course without danger. In entering the Gulf of Livonia, it is not advisable to go near the Oesel side, as a long reef stretches out S.W. by S. from the light, nearly 9 miles, or almost half-way over the channel, the water on some parts of it being very shallow; this is called the Dwal, or Dvalden; it is distant 6 miles, S.S.W., of the lighthouse, and is now distinguished by a red beacon being placed near its extremity, having a broom near to it, with its branches downwards, denoting that it is to be left on the north side; you must, therefore, incline more to the Courland shore; and an E. N. course, will take you to Domesness Lights, a distance of about 11 leagues from abreast of Lyserort. Observe, that the angle made between these two lights keeps enlarging; for if it decreases, becoming more acute, you will be getting too near the Courland coast.
The shore of Courland, near Pisa, and opposite Svartverort Point, has a whitish appearance, which is remarkable; and when nearly abreast of it, you will have cleared the Lyserort Reef, and be up with the Dwal Ground, which, by borrowing to the Courland shore, you will avoid.
Give Domesness a good berth, in passing, of at least 4 miles; for, to that distance, a bank runs from it in a N.E. E. direction. Observe, that when both of the lights are in one, you will be in the direction of the reef, at the point of which is 8 and 15 fathoms water, shoaling suddenly to 6 and 4 fathoms. This reef is now marked by a white beacon, and a broom near to it, with its branches upwards, which denotes it is to be left on the starboard side in entering the Gulf. Having passed the reef, you will soon see, to the eastward, another light, which is placed on the little Island of Runo; this lighthouse is 79 feet high, and may be seen 14 miles off, at all points of the compass, except from the N.E. by N. to the S.E. by S.
The ISLAND OF RUNO is situated almost in the middle of the Gulf of Livonia, and surrounded by a sand bank, which is shallow. Off each end is a rock; the north rock has 4 feet over it, the south rock 6 and 7 feet; this is also called the Great Ground; close to it are 6, 9, and 11 fathoms. Vessels, in the spring, sometimes go to the eastward of Runo, thereby avoiding the ice; and thence up to Pernau; but the western channel, or that beween Domesness and Runo, is more commonly used.
Having cleared Domesness, your course to Riga will be about S.S.E. 4 E., 20 leagues, clear of dangers of any kind, and with from 13 to 26 fathoms. With westerly winds, it will be better to keep towards the western shore; but if the wind is from the northward, then steer S.S.E. E., and S. by E. E., till you find yourself in 13 fathoms; and then, if it is night, or dark weather, let go your anchor. The steeples of Riga churches may be seen a long way before you discern the shore. At the entrance to Riga, commonly lies a ship of war. Should you heave ballast, at any time, in her sight, you will be subject to a fine.
RIGA.-The bar of the River Duna, or Dwina, extends full 2 miles from the entrance; and outside of the bar is placed a fairway beacon, within which, the channel is regularly buoyed. Two lights are now established at the entrance of the Duna: these are shown from one building, erected at the dam of Fort Connet. The highest of these lights is 106 feet above the level of the sea, and visible 16 miles off; the lower one is 25 feet high, and may be seen about 7 miles. When the lower light becomes visible, you should anchor. There are 2 beacons on Aoute Island, which were originally intended to point out the direction of the bar, when brought in a line; but they are now of little use, as one of them is generally struck, indicating that the bar has shifted, and you must not attempt entering; indeed, the shifting nature of this bar, occasioned by the ice and spring freshes, makes it even difficult for the pilots to navigate; and we have been informed, by a respectable master-mariner, that upon visiting the port, in 1840, he found only from 5 to 6 feet water, precisely on the spot where he had, 3 years previous, laid with a ship of 600 tons.
A letter, transmitted to Lloyd's, from Riga, mentions, that the Pilot Commodore, at [CATTEGAT & BALTIC.]
Bolderea, had succeeded in removing the sand bank within the lighthouse at that port. A depth of 13 feet (Dutch) has been obtained, which is fully more than there is at present on the sea bar, and will enable vessels to proceed to sea from that port with full cargoes. Land-marks have also been put on Maguno Holm, which may be seen, in clear weather, at a distance of 2 German miles; by keeping these in a line, vessels can find out, and sail for the bar. The distance between the two marks is 1,950 feet, and the respective heights 85 and 90 feet.-Times, August 4th, 1845.
There are 14 feet on the sea bar.
Extracts from the "Directions for Shipmasters visiting the Port of Riga," dated Riga, July 17th, 1841.
1. Every shipmaster who arrives through the Sound, must bring with him a quarantine pass, or a receipt for the Sound duties on the voyage. All vessels from Spain, Portugal, and other still more westerly ports, must bring a quarantine pass, or a receipt for Sound duties, from the Russian Consul, at Elsineur; and if unprovided with these documents, will be subject to a fine of 140 roubles, silver. Every shipmaster must have duplicate (exactly corresponding) bills of lading of the cargo. If a vessel arrives at the Bolderea in ballast, or with a cargo on speculation, and may propose proceeding, without breaking the same, to any other port, the master must not come to anchor nearer Riga, than the white Church on Maguns Holm; and it is also ordered, that in such case the vessel's pass, as well as the corresponding bills of lading, without specifying any particular port, should have these words inserted::-" To a port in the Baltic.” If, on the contrary, Riga is named as the destination of the ship or cargo, either on the pass or bills of lading, the ship and cargo are jointly bound for the payment of all the legal dues of the place.
2. On arrival in the roads, no one, with the exception of the pilot, can be permitted to come on board, or go a-shore, without special permission from the guard ship. If the master desires to leave the vessel, he must first produce the necessary documents, as prescribed in No. 1.
3. A pilot comes to the vessel in the outer roads. In stormy weather, the course is shown from the telegraph. If, however, the Russian merchant-ensign is not hoisted (striped white, blue, and red, horizontally), it is advisable to keep under sail. Should the master, however, wish to anchor, he must use every proper precaution.
4. The pilot-money, for bringing in or taking out a vessel, is to be paid by the consignee, at the place of lading, and at the time of clearing out, according to the number of feet the vessel draws. It cannot be increased or diminished. The pilot is not permitted to ask for any fee for his personal use.
ON ENTERING THE STREAM.-1. Every shipmaster is bound to bring-to abreast of the Guard ship; if he be prevented by circumstances, he is required afterwards to declare the same. For every shot fired, 5 roubles silver will be demanded.
2. To the Officer of the Guard ship, who comes on board, must be delivered the quarantine pass, or the Sound toll receipt; the muster-roll, or shipping articles, must also be shown; and, in case of any change having occurred during the voyage, it must be particularly pointed out; and if there are passengers, their names must be stated, as also where they have been taken on board. A severe punishment will be inflicted on those who allow any one to be secreted in the vessel. The custom-house pass, register of measure, and bills of lading, must be produced. The penalty for disobeying the orders of the Commander of the Guard ship, is not less than 500 roubles.
3. The Custom-Officer on duty in the Guard ship, takes from the before-mentioned ship's papers, those destined for Riga custom-house, seals them, and delivers the packet to the shipmaster.
4. So soon as the vessel is in the river, a Custom-house Officer will come on board, who is to receive the packet which has been sealed up by the officer in the Guard ship, to send it to Riga by the post. He places a searcher in the vessel, seals up the hatches
and other passages, and gives a certificate of the number of these seals. This the captain must take, for entry, to the harbour master's office, near the bridge. He then takes it, for declaration, to the custom-house; and from thence, it will afterwards be carried to the harbour-master.
5. Before the seals are put on at Bolderea, none of the crew or passengers are permitted to leave the vessel; and no one can be allowed to come on board.
6. For every seal, either accidentally or intentionally broken, the fine is 100 roubles silver.
7. All letters, opened or sealed, which the master, crew, or passengers may have with them, must be given up forthwith to the Custom-house Officer who takes the ship's papers; but such letters may be returned, if required, after being sent to the Bolderea post-office, the postage paid, and the letters stamped. For every letter found secreted, a fine of 5 roubles silver will be incurred.
8. The master must repair to the pilot-office, answer the questions put to him relative to the vessel and voyage, and receive from the Port Commandant the direction where to discharge his ballast; and, with the first fair wind, may proceed to his destination.
9. Within 24 hours after the harbour-master has sealed up the ship at Bolderea, the master must make his declaration at the custom-house in town, there producing his measure bill (register) from abroad. For this purpose, a printed sheet is laid down before him, in a language which he understands, and in which the questions must be answered in writing. He is at liberty to ask any explanation of the officers. He may also, within the next 24 hours, without incurring any penalty, rectify any error; and if he has omitted any thing in his declaration, correct it. If a shipmaster has reason to believe that his cargo is in any way damaged, he must, within 24 hours of his arrival, make his protest before a notary public, and state his having done so in his declaration at the custom-house.
10. Under particular circumstances, the captain may immediately make his declaration at Bolderea; but only when he might incur damage by delay.
11. As soon as the harbour-master has received the declaration from the customhouse, the cargo may be discharged; and when the vessel is entirely unloaded, the inspection takes place. This must be done in the presence of the captain, and with his concurrence. A fine of 100 roubles silver will be exacted, if any thing is found concealed in the hold, &c. After this, the captain takes the ship's register to the measurer, at the harbour-master's office, near the bridge, to show the size of the vessel, which may then commence loading.
12. Previous to taking on board provisions, dunnage, or other ship's necessaries, the captain must obtain, through his consignee, two permits from the custom-house, which, in the first place, have to be entered at the harbour-master's office, near the bridge. The searcher notes on the same, whatever is taken on board; and when the captain wishes to clear, he gets both these certificates, called yerlicks, attested by the searcher under whose superintendence he may be placed, and next by the harbour-master; he then gives them to his consignee, who delivers them into the custom-house.
13. When a ship is obliged partly to discharge at Bolderea, to enable her to come to town, and when it is desired to return again to Bolderea, either with full or part of her cargo, the captain must, in every case, inform the harbour-master, that he may fix the seals, give a certificate of their number, and note down the number of them. The shipmaster is not permitted to take his vessel, unsealed, from one place to another, except when empty; and after having undergone inspection, he can then do so, taking care previously to acquaint the harbour-master. The seals can only be removed by the custom-house officer.
14. Shipmasters coming from the North Sea, can bring with them, duty free, as stores, for each man (master included), the following articles:-Three ankers of porter, or beer; 3 ankers of rum, or any other spirituous liquor; 10 lbs. of coffee; 40 lbs. of sugar; 1 lb. of tea; 1 anker of wine. For any excess of this quantity, the legal duties will be levied; while on the contrary, all necessary provisions, for the use of the crew, without restrictions as to quantity, may be admitted duty free. Shipmasters arriving from this side of the Sound, are only allowed to bring, duty free, for the use of the crew, one-half of the quantity of the above-mentioned articles.
15. It is forbidden to give money, presents, or the promise of such.
16. Before the ship is inspected, no stranger can be suffered to come on board, without the permission of the harbour-master.