We were planning to leave at 10am but due to various reasons – some welcome – a lovely old rigger Bjorn had brought us some cakes to celebrate our cruise – some less welcome – a jubilee clip failed which meant that our water tanks were slowly dripping into the bilge – we finally managed to cast off at 2pm.
The main fairway out of the Archipelago is also used by the big ferries and cruise ships to Stockholm. I say “main”, most UK sailors would describe as a narrow passage with some passing places. Passing one ferry is somewhat routine, the best bit comes when you have 2 ferries coming in opposite directions and you are at the narrow bit. It concentrates the mind.
The next day was due to be very wet and windy and we don’t do wet and windy if we can at all help it. So we found ourselves a nice tranquil anchorage, the entrance of which was narrow and shallow so with only 60cm under the keel we crept in. But inside it was a windless zone. Perfect place for the storm to pass.
Each year we have a crisis on board due to lack of the right equipment. 2 years ago our 1st world problem was lack of a pestle and mortar. Last years was solved by Jill – thanks for the zester. A shout out for Jill who is currently sailing single handed around Britain in Vela, her 25ft boat – she has a hilarious blog https://velatour.home.blog/. I think the single handed refers to the fact there is gin in the other hand…..
Having survived what felt like sub zero temperatures, it was more than a 3 jumper day and hot water bottles needed to be fully deployed at night. We set off kitted out in thermals and had a cracking sail up to Arholma – a former Leper Colony on the edge of the Archipelago but these days is a quaint little island which is still inhabited all year around. We dropped anchor not bothering to go ashore as we have visited several times.
An early start saw us capture the best of the day. Clear skies and the wind from behind us. My ego was slightly dented by a German boat who caught us up despite all my tweeking of sails. Mags adopted her normal cruising position of puzzle book in hand, occasionally helpfully commenting that the Germans were getting closer. As they passed us, I felt vindicated as there were using their engine…. There were some very politically incorrect comments about sunbeds and towels, as they sped past us to get to the harbour first.
Our early start had been designed to miss the rain – only the rain hadn’t read the forecast…. And it was proper 2 blobs of rain – visibility was non existent. Just as the worst was passing we spied in the distance a rib doing mach 2 towards us. We were stopped by the Coast Guard and quizzed us about our purpose before they sped off and visited a little fishing boat that was hanging off a navigation mark who got more of a grilling that we did.
Thankfully the rain ceased as we past the light ship that guards the entrance – we were soon tied up in Öregrund – a charming historic wooden town. Coloured wooden houses and many restaurants lining the small harbour.
The next few days were due to be windy but sunny. So we got the bikes out and took the ferry over to Gräsö, a nearby island. Old farms bounded by traditional wooden fencing with unusually lush small pastures.