No Big Virgin for us but we see seals
Mosies – that was the buzzing sound we awoke to – hoards of them. Slow moving, as they had feasted all night – on us! All thoughts of preserving the insect population disappeared rapidly and we killed at least 20 before breakfast. We left early, keen to benefit from the windless, mirror like conditions. We were wanting to make a lunch stop at an island with a rather exposed harbour. Given that there was only 2.5m water depth in the harbour we needed no swell and benign conditions. So we set Carra on a path to her date with Big Virgin or Storjungfrun in Swedish – the name of the Island. Which is supposed to be very attractive. As we rounded the southern tip of the Island there was a slight swell from the last few days of SWs…. Whilst very slight it was about 20-30cm. 2.5m minus 1.9m minus 0.3m is the square root of bugger all – so no landing for us. With inuendos aplenty, we had a quick peek at the Big Virgin and then set sail.
Just south of our harbour Agön lay a couple of islands with a red box around them on the chart. It was a seal protection area. Keen to know whether we could pass through it, I googled rules for seal protection areas. To find lots of articles about seal hunting in Sweden and that they can kill 600 a year. So I am not sure if this about protection area or target practise! Eventually I found that you cant go through them from 1st Feb – 31st Aug……so we went as close as we could to see them.
Plan A was to anchor, but it failed to set the first time and there was a rather tempting wooden staging with a cluster of boats on it. We dropped the stern anchor for the first time this year and moored up. The idea is to drop it about 3 boat lengths from the dock. We had dropped it a bit late – so pulled it back up – under the watchful eye of the entire pontoon. Attempt 2 I was happy with – and we were at a better angle too. There were loos, rubbish, bbq areas, a sauna and a library – and all for £1.50 a night- a bargain! Sheltered from the wind it was a real sun trap.
Below we had some more stowaways onboard as some of the mosi population had hitched a ride – 30 mins of fun playing chase the mosi. Happy that the cull had been successful. We decided to cross the island to the old harbour. Clearly our slaughtering activity had made the mosi-net and their friends came out on the walk to seek their revenge. So we walked the 2km path waving our arms frenetically in the vain hope of preventing the inevitable.
During the last Ice age the weight of the ice in the Baltic was so great that it pressed down on the rocks keeping them surpressed. When it melted the rocks started to rise – to “Spring Back” as it is called here – and they are still rising at 8mm a year. It doesn’t sound much – but it is 2m in 250 years.
The harbour we were visiting was hundreds of years old. Tiny little red houses (would it be anything else) and boat houses bordered a little inlet. Full of atmosphere of days gone by from the lichen covered racks used to dry the nets to the tiny houses designed to preserve the heat in the cold harsh winters. Everything looked very functional til you realised that all the boat sheds were about 2m higher than the water.
We had 2 relaxing days there, a few boat jobs done, Mags went swimming – it is getting warmer – now a positively barmy 14C and I practised my guitar – is that why all the boats left our side of the pontoon?
With some very windy weather expected, I was keen to get to Hudiksvall early – where I would leave Mags and the boat to fly back to the UK for a few days. The challenge with the stern anchor is getting it up – especially having been hanging off it for 2 days, it would be well dug in. Without an electric windless – it is all muscle power. With 2 of us pulling we managed to retrieve it – always a great relief. We are still scared from an earlier occasion when it took us about 10 mins to break it out in a small harbour watched by the entire harbour. We saw the best of the day by leaving at 0630 – good wind and blue skies. We arrived in Hudiksvall where the only place to park was at 90 degrees to the expected strong wind.
So we made use of the stern buoys to take some of Carra’s weight to save the fenders and gelcoat from getting a pounding. Within a couple of hours it blowing a hooley F7 – a day for staying on the boat.
The next day we went to explore Hudiksvall – I have decided it has the same charm as Lowestoft – I can say that as I grew us about 8 miles away from there.
The harbour is surrounded by attractive wooden buildings – screaming out for development which could fostering a café culture around the harbour. Instead they are derelict and unloved. But at least they are painted which in Lowestoft they wouldn’t be… so maybe I am being too harsh.
Next day I went back to the UK for less than 2 days – which involved a home visit for an hour. On my list of things to do was water the garden – but it was clearly not needed. Then up to Beccles to visit Mummy and take her to the hospital for a Consultants appointment. The 2 days flew by and I was back on board having brought the rain from the UK with me. Mags was a star whilst I was away and all the boat jobs were ticked off.