Lithuania [legacy]

Note: as this is a legacy page, we are no longer checking the links periodically. The information and links (if they still work) are here for interest only.

Having only one port of entry (Klaipeda) which is the only port for yachts, Lithuania has a brief description.

Klaipeda

  • Customs and Immigration Formalities
    Immediately after the Winter Harbour on the north side of the harbour is a sign instructing yachts to clear Immigration and Customs on what appears to be an old car ferry wharf. It is covered in those black heavy rubber fenders that don’t bother ferries and ships but are incredibly annoying to yachts (especially those with white hulls). Quite often a RIB is patrolling the waters directing yachts to the clearance point. Passports and a crew list are required. We were directed to the Old Castle Harbour to precede through formalities. Immediately upriver from the Customs and Immigration sign is a canal leading up to a passenger ferry dock (the ferry runs twice per hour)The Old Castle Harbour is along this canal and on the east (starboard) side as one enters the side canal. After a small pedestrian swing bridge is a lagoon (beware that relatively large power boats come out of the lagoon with little warning due to blind corners and no concern for foreign yachts). After the bridge the port half of the lagoon is a mixture of fishing boat moorage and small excursion boats, to the right is a yacht club with some pontoons along the bank and others under construction. It seems to be at the whim of the individual immigration officer where you clear. Formalities are quite perfunctory and you are allowed to precede to moor.
    When clearing into Lithuania we were told we did not need to clear out but simply tell the manager of the marina when we departed. A Customs RIB pursuing us down the river convinced us that we had misunderstood or the rules had changed etc. The officer clearing us in was perfectly bilingual so we do not feel we misunderstood him but nevertheless we had to return to the wharf and submit passports and a crew list for departure.
  • Money Matters
    Near the main square near the tourist information is a corner building with two banks in the same building as we ended up changing money at both of them and only after getting different paperwork the second time realized they were two different banks in the same building.

The choice for mooring is the yacht club in the lagoon (which for lack of a better name we will call the Old Castle Yacht Club) or the Klaipeda Yacht Marina across the river. We stayed at both, both can be noisy with boisterous (Lithuanian) neighbors and security is not much in evidence.

In the marina there are 2 mens showers and 2 womens showers, 1 toilet each. Hot water was available some of the time. During our stay virtually no English was spoken, weather information was not available excepting the predicted wind strength and direction for the following day. Electricity was available for most berths (Scandinavian/European style connections) and water was available along the quay. Berthing is nose to quay and stern to poles. A snack and drinks bar is open during evenings. The marina operates (or at least used to operate) as a hotel which share the facilities. Drinking parties seem to locate here and can get boisterous including climbing onto foreign yachts to “speak English”. What security there was did not really involve itself in such situations leaving it up to the foreign skippers to resolve such fracasses. Pricing as of summer 2000 was 4 Latts/meter and 6 Latts/crew member.

In the Old Castle Yacht Club berthing is alongside the pontoon (with a depth of 2 meters when we were there). Toilet facilities were available with showers although only cold water. The building was being renovated at the time and so this may change soon. Pricing was 2 Latts/meter and one can walk into the town where as the marina walk to the passenger ferry and a 15 minute ride (1.4 Latts/person). The complicating factor is that the Old Castle Yacht Club is approachable from either side around the lagoon. One side requires crossing through a large (predominantly disused) ship yards with a security gate, the other option is to cross by the pedestrian swing bridge. During our visit the city had stopped operating the pedestrian swing bridge and it was unclear whether this was temporary, permanent, intermittent etc. We had to pass through the ship yards which was easy enough but the ship yard security guards spoke no English and it was not obvious whether we would get in and out easily. We stayed there on a Sunday night and so it may be easier to pass on weekdays when the yard is working. Also if the pedestrian swing bridge is operating then there are no concerns what so ever.

Klaipeda is a pleasant town with most food stuffs available. The tourist centre on the main square (across the road from the pedestrian ferry terminal) is very helpful, there were no Internet Cafes when we visited. Traveling to Vilnius is slightly complicated as there are only 2 trains and one night train per day. The price is about 40 Latts one way per person but the timing give only 5 hours in Vilnius between arrival and departure unless the night train is taken. The opportunity to go down to Neda at the base of the sand spit exists although we did not have favorable winds and had to forego the side trip.


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