Thursday, August 21, 2008

Three and a half adventurous weeks

This year's cruise was probably the longest ever in time. I was living on the boat continuously for 24 days which is three days more than last year. Even this time I started together with my wife, who left the boat after two weeks. I then was alone a few days before my father joined me for another week. Weather wise it has been mixed, the first week was really hot and warm, but then the weather became more traditionally Swedish with lows coming through. This summer we also had a real storm, in fact the worst one I have been through on the boat (or any boats). But let's start from the beginning.
Our plan this year had been to head north through the main ferry lane. We usually avoid this because of the heavy traffic but after several years going out into the outer archipelago via the "middle route" we got fed up with it and decided to try something else. Of course this was not to be. Due to persistent northerly winds we decided to take the southerly route through Baggenstäket instead, this forcing us to have to lower the mast to get under the Lidingö brigde first. This bridge is a lifting one, but the town being responsible for it's maintenance finds it too expensive and has been dragged thought the courts for years while not opening the bridge in the process.
At first we had some trouble getting out the lower bolt in the mast tabernacle but after some serious wriggling it came out and the mast came down. After a short motor under the brigde we raised the mast again and set sail at last. Of course we discovered that the wind was not northerly at all. Having been overcome by the sea breeze it gave way to light southerlies instead. Still we made it to the entrance to Skurusundet by sail. There we had to start the engine and basically motor through the whole narrow passage of about six nautical miles. This passage is one of three ways to get out into the archipelago from central Stockholm and of course this made it paradise for wash-creating motorboats.
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The picture shows one of the nice houses along the route. Unfortunately the camera did not work that well this season and some pictures have interesting color effects.
After having made it through the narrowest part we could set sail for about an hour and make way towards the next passage when we got a strong headwind again. By now it was late in the afternoon and the engine had to work again in order to make it to Harsö, our club harbour in resonable time. After seven hours of passage we finally made it there. We stayed there for three nights, enjoying the quieteness. For some time we even had the dock for ourselves.
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The weather during that first week was really hot and sunny with only very light winds or the sea breeze. Unfortunately this had caused the algae to thrive in the Baltic and we had to cope with quite of it in some anchorages. However concentration was erratic and some places where completely free of the stuff.
On day four, July 30 we left Härsö and sailed almost all the way to Kymmendö in mostly light winds and sunny weather. It was no fast sail, but quite pleasant. Kymmendö is known as the island where one of Swedens more famous writers, August Strindberg, used to write his books. We stayed in an anchorage that is quite open towards the north but has good shelter against anything from the south.
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The water really isn't that green, it's the camera playing up again.
Albeit the anchorage was nice enough there were quite a few boats so we decided to make for a more quiet place the next day. It started with some engine trouble which, however, soon was fixed by actually opening the fuel vent (oops). We then had another great sailing day in a little stronger winds, mostly on a beam reach and with bits of open horizon to the east. After about four hours we had found our quiet place, on the northern end of Jungfruskär. Two nights without another boat in sight. First we stayed on the northern shore but moved the next morning when the wind shifted into the northeast. The second spot was really perfect. A small lagoon with an entrance only about four metres wide. Inside the depth was one meter (1.3 according to the chart, but we had high pressure long enough to make the water level sink) all the way to the rocks. Mud bottom without a single rock inside.
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This is the view from the inside of the lagoon. The narrow entrance is to the right.
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And this is the view inside standing next to the entrance. That noon there was a partial solar eclipse which we actually saw. I even tried to photograph it but it did not work very well.
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During the second evening a big thunderstorm passed right over us, I think there were lightning strikes on the island on the opposite side of the lagoon. Afterwards we got a nice evening. Just before sunset some sheep suddenly appeared on the shore...
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Continue to part II

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