Date: May 22nd to 29th 2005
Distance : 70 miles
Weather : Sun and Showers. Wind S to W, 10 to 24 knots.
Its been an odd week. We left Nyköping intending to hangup in a Nature Harbour, but the wind chill was serious, and the weather overcast, so we decided to make straight for Trosa, thus cutting out a day. We arrived in Trosa and I decided to be cute and lie alongside the harbour rather than in the Gasthamn, so we stylishly reversed up the length of the quay, only to run aground three feet from the bank. "Shouldn't have such a big boat" said a wag on the quayside.
Later, tied up in the gasthamn, we spotted some suspicious behavior. A gentleman on a pushbike wearing a pair of headphones and holding a toilet roll (er, yes) seemed to be 'scanning' for something. As we watched he slowly rotatated, pointing his toilet roll at all points of the compass whilst listening intently. Perhaps the Swedish security services were on exercise...
We left Trosa the next day in misty weather. It made me realise that despite the radar, picking the right routes through the rock channels in fog could be difficult. The trek up to Södertälje is long and rather unadventurous, until you get to Södertälje itself. It was at this point we realised that we didn't have a clue what the light signals controlling the canal meant. After a hurried search round the boat we decided that as long as it wasn't flashing red we should be OK, so off we went up the canal.
Södertälje is not a stunning destination. A number of winos and other n'er do wells hang around the harbour, and Pat is convinced the red lights in the nearby tower block windows had a code which meant more than 'they had the light on'
Next to us on the pontoon was a boat which had a seagull nest on it. Everytime we left our cockpit the seagull rose into the air screeching and wheeling about. At dusk it started attacking - like something out of Hitchcock's The Birds. Oddly, during the day, it just sat tight. Stupid bird.
To get to Mälaren you need to go through a lock. We understood this to open every hour, but actually, out of season, it was every two hours. About 11:30 (We've gone 'Swedish' and stopped getting up early these days) we upped sticks and locked in, but when we left the lock and asked for the following bridge to be lifted (it has a 15m limit and we need 17m) we were told we had to wait 90 mins. Great, we'd gone all of 50 yards. Time for another cup of tea.
We'd arranged to stay in Stockholm at Pampas Marina. This was fine, but they put us on the outside in 23 knots of wind. A little bumpy to say the least!
Pampas seems to have got bored with offering places for boats, and seems to be cramming the marina with houseboats. There are all sorts, old and new, but the latest come in three versions - the Classic (like a Mississippi Steamer), the Futura (all glass) and the Avanti (just plain weird). These things have three floors, the bottom one below the waterline, and many of them have a letter box!
We've had a niggling fresh water leak. It appears that when the yard drained the water last winter they nicked one of the pressurised water pipes which has been leaking into the bilge. Well I've now discovered that duck tape isn't waterproof, or at least wont stick in the presence of water so I had to change the pipe. It took me two trips across town to get the right size.
Finally, on Saturday morning we were ready to go. The we discovered the marina office was closed until Monday...