A clunk, a kiss and we help the Sweds find more rocks
Given that the dominant scenery is tree lined coast – miles of it infact, the tree pollen season is like being attacked by a giant pot of custard powder. The boat, the water everything gets covered in yellow. No matter how many times you clean it – 5 mins later it looks just the same.
A quick run around the beautiful Tullpark – woods carpeted with alpines and Lilly of the Valley just on the cusp of flowering.
A last visit to Café Vilma to stock up on some tasty treats: freshly baked rolls and cakes and we were ready for the off.
A cracking sail all the way to Ängskär – through rather lively at the end. Lively means – doing 8 knots screaming into a rocky passage….. “quick get the sails down”.
Harbours and anchorages are few and far between on this bit of coast. With an added complexity of the wind going from south to north west and the bay we were stopping in was very open to north – a few hundred miles to the next bit of land = very lump sea if the wind comes from that direction. Unusually for this time of year there was no room at the Inn, which was a shame as the harbour did afford some protection from northerly winds, so we needed to anchor. Keen to tuck ourselves in to get out of the NW, I wanted to go close in. Before anchoring you need to check out the depth of where you might swing on the anchor. But with little (believable) detail on the chart I was proceeding very slowly. The depth suddenly varnished in a flash 3 metres, 2.4 metres I put the engine in reverse – but not fast enough to prevent the dreaded clunk …. We had hit a rock. The second one since being in the Baltic. Thankfully at slow speed and we didn’t hit it hard, so it will be a slight mark on the keel to be mended over the winter. Grateful we didn’t stick on it – always a danger with no tides.
With the wind due to change direction at midnight, we set an alarm to check on the anchor but about 10pm there was a rumble from the chain as the boat swung around and settled. Only it was northerly – not what was forecast – although gentle not enough to be peaceful. So I got dressed ready for action. About an hour later the NW kicked in and tranquillity was resumed. This wasn’t going to be a restful anchorage.
Keen to leave we set off just after 7am and picked our way through the rocks out to open water were we were able to sail…just in the wrong direction. After some lovely tacking we decided that it was time to admit defeat and put the engine on.
Expecting some more windy weather, our next anchorage needed to afford us protection from strong southerlies. There is little info about harbours here – so we had a plan A and plan B. Granskär (plan A) turned out to be perfect – a natural anchorage nestled between some sailing club islands. A relief after the previous sleepless night to have a secure, safe harbour. With the windy weather expected, it was a lovely secure anchorage so we decided to stay for 2 nights.
With lots of anchoring, my Fitbit showing less than 1000 steps, half of those I am sure were winching, we decided we needed to get the legs moving. Mags activity was swimming, as she put on the wetsuit I could see the icebergs floating past – water temp 12C. My activity was a little more sane. Though the Island wasn’t exactly massive – so on my run I needed to explore every path many times to do 2.5 miles.
Light winds saw us ghost up the coast to our next harbour Iggön, as it was only 10 miles away it didn’t matter that we were only doing 3 knots – normally at this speed Mags is asking the pointed question of “what time will we arrive” – coded speak for – put the engine on.
Without the luxury of pilot books you rely on the charts for depth of the entrance. The chart showed the wiggle through the rocks was less than 3m but greater than 2m at the shallowest point….. Given that we need 1.9m of water, we proceeded at funereal pace. We followed in some markers – well they looked more like pipe cleaners – had someone lost their ski poles? In the end we never saw less than 3.6m….. so much for the chart accuracy!
Dinner in the cockpit – the first of the trip. The wind died and the waters became glassy still and all the reflections that make evenings here so special appeared plus we were treated to a fabulous sunset with a large halo around the sun (there is no editing on the photo)
Synskär was our next destination, another short hop, to yet another rocky narrow entrance. To a little bijoux bay – with a buoy exactly were we wanted to anchor. But it looked like I could nudge up into the corner…. Then we very gently kissed a rock – not the clunk of the last one. …but our depth instrument was telling us we had 5.6m under us. Clearly a very large single bolder. The Swedish charts say for some areas – all known rocks over 6m shown….. well we have found 2 more for them. We decided we didn’t want to find any more and it was too bijoux for us – so we headed out back to the safety of the open water and I looked out for plan B.
Plan B was Axmar Brygga. Accessed though a long but winding route that was well marked though the most extraordinary landscape – a large mere that was littered with these massive bolders, not exactly reassuring. We moored on the staging without drama and rather relieved I don’t have a heart condition.
The harbour just appeared to have a restaurant and the carpark was full of camper vans. Deciding to stretch the legs we followed the dusty road and came across an old iron smelting works with beautifully preserved workers cottages and English garden of a former mansion. This explained the glass like bricks that had been used to construct the restaurant. A real hidden gem.