Heading South with Jo
9th – 17th May – I had been keen to visit Trosa – but with a channel that was too shallow for us and the only anchorage being in the wrong direction, we needed to go bus. A beautiful wooden village that is built around a fast flowing river.
Mags summed it up well “It was a sleepy village that was just being to emerge from its winter slumber” so not much was open but we did manage to find a delicious buffet for lunch and was packed with locals and you could see why.
By mid day we were back at the boat and Jo arrived safely that evening carrying several items that we had forgotten and various spares that we needed. Plus some Bacon – yum Bacon Butties.
With no tides and we had a leisurely start, the initial route was narrow but it was thankfully a quiet day for the canal. As soon as the water opened up we were able to hoist our sails and sailed to our anchorage at Fifang. Everywhere we have sailed has been deserted so it was surprising to see 2 other boats in this anchorage but in typical Swedish fashion they were hanging off the rocks.
The Island of Oja was our next destination which was only 7nm away which would give us time to explore the island. We set off and we were quite content tacking at a leisurely pace to the harbour till Mags spotted that it had about 10 masts in there already – so rather than tack again and take another hour to arrive it was engine on to grab a spot. Which we thankfully managed to get the 3rd last space at 1pm! Despite the rest of the archipelago being empty – Oja was clearly a top destination but given that it was a bank holiday and stunning weather we shouldn’t have surprised. We were able to hire a bike for Jo and cycled the 3.5km south to the village centre through woods that were carpeted with white wood anemones as far as the eye could see. A typical quaint village full of red houses built around the rocks – which still has 20 permanent residents. We cycled up to the Landsort Lighthouse and then back to a café and rewarded ourselves after an arduous passage (not) a beer overlooking the village.
The next morning, we were able to sail for about an hour before the drift elicited that look from Mags – followed by the seemingly innocent question of what time are we planning to arrive. This is her very unsubtle way of asking why we haven’t we got the engine on yet. Admittedly 1.9knots wasnt going to get us there any time soon so on went the engine and we soon arrived at a very secluded anchorage of Ringson. After lunch we got the dinghy out and went for an explore. Ringson is a totally sheltered and tranquil natural harbour – bounded by reeds trees and smooth granite rocks that turn a wonderful pink in the evening light. One item Jo had brought out was the central hub for Bertie our wind generator. Jo and I spent the afternoon reattaching the blades and ensuring there was the exact measurement between each tip. A tedious job as it involved readjusting the blades many times. I as just glad that Jo was there to help as I am Mags would have got bored after about the 2nd attempt. Success – Bertie is now burling ( Scottish for spinning) beautifully and a great deal quieter with no vibration than previously – our efforts were rewarded with a cold beer.
After a short motor our of Ringson we are able to sail winding our way through the rocks. However just as we are about to have lunch the wind died and we drifted at 0.5 knots. I manage to negotiate keeping the sails up till after lunch so that we can eat it in the peace and quiet. The wind then filled in and we were able to have a cracking sail tacking amongst the rock till we couldn’t quite make it safely past one rock under sail. But by that point we were so close to Arkosund we were going to motor soon anyway. The harbour was empty so we were just getting ready to come alongside when Jo decided to try walking on air only she thought it was solid and fell badly twisting her ankle painfully. So we headed back out to sea. Got the ice pack out of the fridge and had her ankle elevated as Mags and I brought the boat in. Safely tied up we considered amputation but decided it would make too much mess – so applied more ice till Jo was squeaking that it was too cold. Judging by the swelling it was definitely sprained. I strapped it up – later refined my technique with the help of YouTube! She decided a shower was medicinal and so hobbled to the showers.
The next day Jo stayed on the boat to rest her ankle while we went for an explore round the attractive village. A series of Islands had been connected by walkways that led to a wooden staging which edged the harbour. You could see that in the height of summer this would be packed but as it was early in the season it was still very empty, another “sleeply little village”. But thankfully the shop was open and we could get some more beer ( medicinal of course) and some other bits and pieces.
We managed to sail for a couple of hours to the island of Harstena – I had wanted to moor in the shallow harbour which was closest to the village to prevent Jo having a long walk. But we tried twice and couldn’t get it to hold. We had anchored there before but near the spot that we had anchored there were submerged rocks that are now marked but weren’t before – one of which we had found on leaving so it rather put me off getting to close in. Also the harbour was more exposed than I wanted to that wind direction. So we motored to a much more sheltered harbour with a rather skinny entrance and found a lovely spot.
Next morning Jo felt up to walking into the village – however we rather underestimated the distance and I am not sure she was expecting a 25 min hike. But she coped admirably and hobbled along. Harstena is a beautiful community built around the waters edge, lots of red houses, beautiful white apple blossom and little purple violas everywhere. But it lacked vibrancy as it was off season so it meant you had to imagine the community – yes I am afraid another sleeply village but this one was still to wake from its winter slumber.
Back on the boat we set off to our next anchorage – which was only a couple of hours away at Stora Asko. The location was perfect for going against the rock. So we nudged in gingerly to check the bottom was deep enough then Jo dropped the stern anchor and Mags leapt off onto the rocks and knocked in the stone hooks to small little crevices to tie the ropes to.
Tied up safely with a whole 25cm under the keel we had Dinner in the cockpit. The wind died and all the reflections made it a magical spot in the evening sun. The final treat was a beautiful sunset – the Archipelago at its best.
The fun of mooring on rock is the challenge of getting off with everyone on board. As you have to hold the boat , knock out stone hooks and get back on board. So there was Plan A, B and C hatched and the later being picking Mags up in a Dinghy. Plan D – Mags swimming was rejected by the mutinous crew. But having 3 onboard makes such a difference and we got Mags off the rocks with plan A and we were soon on our way to Vastervik. We attempted to sail but there really was no wind and so we had a long old motor. We arrived at the Gasthamn and were met by a friendly harbour master – a first this season. Another first was that the facilitiess included a swimming pool but as it wasn’t heated yet – there was no chance of me getting in. Once showered we had a wander round town sussing out where the bus stop was. Jo by this stage was hobbling less but the bruising was beginning to come out.
It was a much larger town, some nice old wooden buildings. But clearly a town that was alive and kicking. Whilst their summer guests were not yet evident you could tell this would be a fun summer place to chill out. We were then treated to a delicious meal by Jo. The restaurant was small but the food was fantastic. A lovely way to finish a great week with Jo.
The next day, we said goodbye to Jo and went off to the Supermarket to reprovision. After that it was an admin day laundry and boat jobs. Later in the day we were joined on the pontoon by Blue Orchid and it turns out they are on the same Rally as us – so we invited Paul and Gynneth onboard for drinks.