Plague and Pestilence hits Carra
Jill arrived in the evening bearing gifts – a new rev counter and bacon – what else could a girl ask for! Plus more importantly a puzzle book for Mags as she had finished her last one. The next morning we left in time for the 12 o’clock bridge – given that it is the third time we have past through it in a week – it was positively routine. A great sail across to Lumparland and we were tucked up nicely in Bomarsund as the wind built throughout the day. After lunch of – surprise surprise – corned beef sandwiches, we wandered up to the fort – through the woods. It was a glorious sunny day and a beautiful walk – the path meandered through the trees that were clinging onto the rocks clearly marked as the rocks had been worn smooth, elsewhere the rocks being covered with pillows of sage green lichen. As Jill said “you expected pixies and fairies to be living here”.
The fort with its old Russian canons with the double headed eagles over look the approach to the harbour. We then walked down to the garrison fort and to the plaque for the first VCs that were awarded here.
Bomarsund was a decision point, do we go north about and cross from Sweden from there or do we go south to Rödhamn and cross from there? With strong southerlies for the next few days – we elected to go north about and had a gybe-athon through some rocks. We had both sails up and it was fun getting the gybe angles right for some narrow passages between the rocks.
Once through it was a reach to our next harbour – through quite a wide channel to Hamnsundet. It was completely deserted, so we decided to come along side – as I wanted to polish one side of the hull. It needs to be done once per year and it is much faster and easier from a pontoon than once in the shed where the topsides are 3m from the ground.
We were due to go to an anchorage the next night before turning the corner and coming south to Karingsund. With 2 days of southerly winds ahead I knew we would need to motor and the next day the winds were lighter so we elected to go straight to Karingsund. Which in the end was very fortuitous, but more of that later…..
Frustratingly as we turned the corner to head south so did the wind – but at least with lots of islands and rock to negotiate it did flatten out the sea. According to the chart there were navigation buoys directing you around the shallow, narrow entrance into the harbour– but all bar one set were missing. Karingsund is a perfect harbour, very sheltered from all directions and an old fishing harbour with lots of fishing huts lining the natural bay in various states of repair.
About 2 weeks ago Mags had been bitten by a tick. Ticks here can carry lyme disease and TBE. We had been vaccinated in Finland against TBE on the Punkkibussi – a bus that came to the supermarket. But there is no vaccination against lyme disease. I had removed the tick but it was very small and didn’t appear to be full of blood so didn’t think it would cause a problem. After a few days the bite disappeared, so all was well…… Until today when Mags had a red rash about 8cm wide. I was 100% sure this was Lyme’s disease, which can be a life changing, disabling disease if not treated quickly. So we got into a taxi and went straight to the hospital and sure enough Mags was diagnosed with lyme disease. So next stop was the chemist to pick up some very strong antibotics. As the Doctor said she was lucky to have had the rash – not everyone does and that is when it goes untreated with unexplained debilitating symptoms . But he was confident catching it so early meant that she would fully recovery. Also we were grateful that Mags got treated in an area where it is prevalent, so they knew the signs and issued the antibiotics immediately rather than waiting for the results of a blood test which don’t appear positive for some time. Hence many places delay the treatment and then wonder why they have high rates of untreatable lyme disease.
Although Mariehamn looked empty we found a restaurant full of locals and the Schnitzel lunch hit the spot – thanks Jill. The trip into town also allowed us to do some food shopping and overt a beer crisis onboard Carra. Throughout the day Mags had been feeling more unwell. Amongst other symptoms extreme fatigue is one of the impacts of the disease.
There was an early morning fog in the air when we left Karingsund, but it soon cleared and with F2/3 wind just forward of the beam we had a lovely sail with all 3 sails up we were making great progress. Bacon butties were most welcome as a mid morning snack – given that breakfast had been early o’clock. The smell of bacon buttie didn’t even raise Mags, so I knew she wasn’t well. Quite quickly we lost visibility of the Aland’s and Jill and I sailed ….. Mags slept.
Soon we were weaving our way into Arholma’s West harbour- a pretty harbour with your typical red houses and wooden boat houses supported on stones. We tucked in behind the floating loo and anchored.
Jill and I went for a stroll round the island – in theory to look at the island but in reality in search of cinnamon buns. With all tourists gone there were only locals (70 live here all year round) and they seemed to be able to survive without cinnamon buns! We returned having failed in our mission but having explored the church and the beacon at a giddy height of 25m above sea level….. Mags slept.
Jill was determined to use all items of clothing she had brought and the swimming costume was yet to be used. So decided to visit the loo by swimming to it. Mags occasionally surfaced but soon went back to bed and ….Mags slept
Our next destination Sjalbottna, a lovely anchorage but we couldn’t be believe it was to be the last of our cruise. With a gentle breeze we were able to tack our way between the rocks, it is great fun – planning your tacks to avoid the rocky islands. Jill and I dodged the small yellow ferries that shuttle between islands and managed to sail virtually all the way to the anchorage..….. Mags slept.
As we were taking Carra out of the water we needed to fill up Carra with fuel – so headed for Vaxholm and were able to sail all the way. This time ferry dodging was with the big ships that come into Stockholm and if it wasn’t for our ability to see them electronic – you would get quite a shock as you don’t see them behind the islands……. Mags slept…. only surfacing for the ferry.
You could tell we were back in the Stockholm Archipelago as there were the white ghostly islands – all vegetation being killed off with Cormorant poo. Once anything growing us dead, the birds move off and after a while it regenerates. You know when you are downwind of one of these islands. Once tied up at Vaxholm – Jill went off in search of cinnamon buns and was successful! We made our way back to the Marina. Sad that the cruise was over but pleased that we had completed our trip and had seen everything that we had wanted to see and been able to share our adventure with so many friends……. Mags was awake!
The joys of Lymes disease is that that once you have started the antibiotics you feel worse as the dead bacteria appear to have their revenge as they float around your system waiting for your body to remove them. Mags has had some rough days since coming back to the marina but every day has felt better and is nearly back to normal.