With the luxury of time and no set schedule, we could pick our direction according to the wind. So we had a tranquil sail downwind to Trasko Stora, a beautiful anchorage that shows the archipelago off at it’s best. After the frantic activity of getting the boat into the water, the peace of just swinging on the anchor was bliss – just to take in the scenery – the warm tones on the red rocks – it was good to be back living aboard. Mags went for a swim – a pleasant (for a Scot) 21C – unless there is steam coming off the water it is too cold for the southern softy.
Getting the anchor up the next morning was problematic, in that a twist in the chain has caused it to seize solid on the drum of the anchor windlass (the electric motor that lifts up the anchor). Which meant that Mags had to take the windlass apart – whilst I did circles of the anchorage. Thankfully, as she services it annually, she knew how to take it apart quickly. So in no time the anchor was shipped and we were on our way. With northerly winds for the next few days, we decided to meander down the chain of islands to the south of the Archipelago. This would leave us in a good spot to sail to Denmark should Anders sell the boat….though a diminishing prospect. We spent the night in a natural harbour Bjorko which was rather spoilt by a ramshackle marina – but it was more of a passage anchorage.
With the wind directly behind us, ( would the mainsail ever make an appearance?) we sailed down a large stretch of water – gently cruising, avoiding the occasional lump of granite. The last time we had been in these waters we had been beating into a strong winds. What a difference it makes going where the wind takes you.
Our destination was on the Island of Ornö– Kyrkviken – or Church bay. A straight forward but narrow entrance – the kind that you don’t go down if anyone is coming the other way, as there was only a few metres either side of the boat. The large harbour was overlooked by the white church that sat high above the bay and glistened in the morning light. The harbour had a small marina – but we chose to anchor further in the bay.
We explored the harbour by dinghy – bought some freshly basked bread and had an ice cream. We decided it was a nice spot to spend 2 days. Mags baked some oat biscuits then went swimming to cool down. 25C, an oven and hot flushes aren’t a great combination. We had arranged a facebook tea and cake session with my mother and had had some mini cakes from Betty’s sent to her. It lifted her spirits albeit for a short while, as she has been very low.
We saw our first sea eagle of the season. I did some work for Captain’s Mate – an app I have helped design and has taken up much of the winter months. The next morning ,after our boat jobs – we headed into the village and went to the museum and the guide told us of the history of the island and the village school where the museum was situated. With only 30% in private ownership, the Island is ruled by 2 sisters – and this was reflected in the houses: those with dodgy jetties and well worn red traditional houses – as opposed to those with proper little mini harbour jetties and smartly painted houses. No guesses which belonged to the landlord of the Island. The island had been a source of Feldspar ( used in Porcelain in Europe) and I walked to the quarry that is now filled with water.
There are a couple of harbours in the Stockholm Archipelago that I have been on my list of must visit. Utö is a holiday island, the main harbour which we have visited before but it would be packed and I was keen to anchor in the Kyrkviken as it was on the list. Arriving there at 10am afforded us the best chance of getting a spot, as it is when most Swedes leave. Sure enough the anchorage was empty. The corner of the inlet is over looked by the simple yellow wooden church which was glowing in the sun as the anchor bit the mud. Close by was the church pier where the islanders of yesteryear would land, having rowed in large church boats – driven by as many as 12 oarsmen. After lunch, we set off on an expedition to the main harbour by dinghy with Dizzy our electric outboard – attracted by the famous Utö Bakery and their fab cakes. It was just over a mile to the main harbour – and we have been using the dinghy a lot in the last harbour. With 51% left in the battery, we set off into a brisk head wind. The battery started to drop and drop 40%, 30%….. we went a bit slower – we got there with 26% left. Cakes on board, we set off and with a downwind advantage we got back with 8% left…. I now understand the range anxiety with electric cars. Though in fairness to Dizzy, we had managed 4.5 miles in total on 92% of the battery. Kettle on and a nice cup of tea with our first cinnamon bun of the trip. Bliss. Mags – the water baby did a few laps of the bay whilst I practised my guitar.