Date: June13th to 21st 2005
Distance : 124 miles
Weather : Glorious - Summer is here!
The last couple of weeks have been spent just chilling in the Stockholm Archipelago. Pat has to go back to the UK for a few days, and her flight was arranged from Sweden, so there was no point rushing off east.
We spent a couple of days in Ostholmen, a small pool just by Möja. It was such a change not rushing around. On Pat's instructions, we even got the dinghy out for a spot of exploring. Not a trivial thing, as the effort is so great, once, out, it stays out! (Old Morecambe & Wise joke). Ostholmen is lovely, and just over the other side of the island is a Bastu you can book by the hour.
The new solar panel is doing well topping up the battery, but up here the sun doesn't so much as pass overhead as go round in a complete circle, and you have to chase it with the panel. However we now tend to run out of food before anything else.
To that end we hopped over to Möja Kyrkviken, to top up, thus discovering the delights of the Swedish island opening rotation. (Mondays they open in the morning, Tuesday's in the afternoon...) so we pushed on to Lökholmarna, and stayed there overnight.
The next day we popped into Sandhamn to get the food. (they open all day there...) The marina was much less full than on previous occasions, so we topped up and trolled off to Björkskär, one of the outer island groups. This was our first taste of solo off-piste sailing, so we took it carefully. We nearly went past the entrance for Björkskär, partly because you forget the scale of these things, and partly because we expected it to be packed with boats, and there wasn't a single one.
Björkskär is wild and rugged, and we found difficulty climbing over the rocks and scratchy gorse to go too far from the boat, and so we used the dinghy to get round the island instead. Later a Swedish family put us to shame, with Dad, Mum in shorts and a 12 year old bopping across the steep rocks as though they were on a playing field.
Round the corner from our mooring was another Bastu, but a wood-burning one this time. You even had to bring your own logs, although they thoughtfully supply an axe. On the second day we were there, a Finnish boat with 6 guys arrived. It was a strange sight to see then trotting off, some with towels, and one with what looked like a telegraph pole.
We'd had enough of boat cooking by now and fancied some nightlife, so we went back to Sandhamn to eat in the Värdshus. We've discovered that along with their love of alcohol, whenever they have a drink, the Swedes like to sing. I think the waitress took me seriously when I said you can get arrested in the UK for singing in restaurants. Anyway, it was a Fab meal.
At the weekends, locals rush to their boats and make for the islands, holing up in a bay and having barbecues and parties on the rocks (just like home, only with more ants). We'd been invited to join one group on Braka, just south of Sandhamn. It was a great occasion, and thanks to Ann, Janet, Hilkka, Torbjörn, Anders and Alfred, we had a great time, although we do mavel at their choice of headgear (see photo). We had three generations of Hallberg-Rassy's tied up together.
The following day we sailed south and were almost alone in Fjärdlång, as everyone else had rushed back to work after the weekend. We spent a further day in Utö, where you can get fresh baked bread and smoked prawns, and then made our way back to Bullandö, where we had something of a bad hair day getting into the marina.