Monthly Archives: August 2021

Dame Edna Comes to Visit

We try to avoid sailing in the rain if we can help it. It was due to rain by mid-day – ergo it needed to be a short sail – a whole 5nm to a perfect all weather anchorage – the kind you snuggle down into – cocooned by trees to the waters edge – Kolnäsviken, Ornö. The next day it was another quick hop to a neighbouring island,   Mörtö Bunsö. It is a nature reserve with a natural harbour,  and when we arrived there were just 2 boats and a pair of white tailed eagles gliding effortlessly above us – we anchored and a cup of tea and some of Mags’ home baked oat cakes and we enjoyed the peace and quiet ….but to our surprise it  just  kept filling up and by the end of the day we had 40 boats in there.

The Big House

Needing to stretch our legs, we walked to the south of the island in search of “The big house”. A good path led past tiny pastures – a sign of its  former farming life,  The Big House was perched on a cliff ( it is a relative term here) – to the rear small stubby pine trees that seemed to float above mounds of silvery lichen and to the front stunning views over the Archipelago from a massive picture window.  Build in 1905, in a Finnish Romantic style it looked rather incongruous in the middle of nowhere. Incredible ornate hinges and door handles. On the way back Mags spotted a fawn that was less than 1 month old – it was tiny.

Level 3
Dame Edna Glasses

When we got back, a yacht had anchored and sat over our anchor – so we moved up to level 3 – on our scale…. Mags went off in the dinghy. But by then they had had a few drinks and weren’t going to move – actually she decided they would do less damage staying put till they sobered up.

Crunch was the noise I heard as I sat on my glasses – the archipelago has many wonderous things but a surfeit of opticians is not one of them. Out came the super glue, and the clamps – I adopted the Dame Edna look. The glue only worked for a few days – so the clamps became a feature.

We were lucky with the weather, the next 2 days were settled so we could visit some more of the outer archipelago. Another rather hairy entrance – and then just one spot for one boat to anchor – we bagged it. The rocks were much lower – with little vegetation. Mags went for a swim – it looked lovely but Iwasnt tempted! The pilot book recommended climbing the “hill” on the nearby big rock …. We did – it was 15m tall but it was highest point round here.

We fancied going to the Island Bullerö – but it was less than ideal as you needed a northerly wind to visit – and we had southerly one – a direction which was very open –  but the wind was light until midday – so we had  could have a quick visit. Former fisherman’s huts lined the little harbour, but the water looked less appealing as the lime green streaks indicated an algae bloom – the odd area beginning to turn cyan blue – this is when it is poisonous. We had come to see Hunting Lodge – which had a spectacular picture window and painted ceiling – quite a party room I would imagine. 2 such party guests were Charlie Chaplin and Errol Flyn!  We were soon back on board and sails up and we headed to Sandhamn but anchored in a nearby island.

Out on the Edge

With Denmark now a lost cause, we had a new plan – to head east and explore a new patch of rocks – the outer Archipelago. An area on the chart marked as “known rocks over 6m shown”. As Donald Rumsfeld would said “what about the unknown knowns”. We made an overnight stop in the imaginatively named Djup Viken – deep harbour – then headed east to the Island of Fjärdlång – a nature revere. We entered the bay but you had to be right at the end to see the entrance to the inner lagoon. Hugging the shore,  just 10m off with rustling leaves almost touching the sides of the boat …we crept in. A little lagoon came into view already full of boats attached to the rocks at their bows. We anchored, visited the amenities….. a compositing loo. The ground had big voluminous mounds of  bright green moss and blueberry bushes full of tiny berries clung to the rocky slopes – the result of a very dry year. No sooner had we got back than a boat anchored next to us. He dropped his stern anchor – with no attempt to dig it in (making sure it would hold you) then left it attached to his stern – rather than taking it forward to the bow.  We have a scale of 3 when it comes to people who anchor too close –  1  The look – mildly concerned. 2 – Sarcastic comments. 3 Send Mags over by dinghy for some words of advice. He was a 2 – so  I asked him if he was planning on joining us for lunch. His reply was we were swinging about. I did point out that there is a reason it is called swing anchoring and suggested that if he moved the rope to the bow he would lie in the same direction as all the other boats anchored. He did and his boat moved away.  

We were quite close to some rocks behind us – which had a resident tern and her annoying adolescent  offspring who screeched the incessantly demanding attention –  sometimes  doesn’t appear to be much separating us from other members of animal Kingdom!

The next morning, we went to explore the island which had a soft centre with lush grass and sheep – a contrast to the rocky terrain with stumpy pine trees growing out of barren rock that we could see from the boat. Mags did a pilates class on the deck and I had a Cruising Association meeting. As soon as the meeting was over, the engine was on and we headed out.

Ghosting along under the yankee (the front sail)– with still no sign of the mainsail we arrived at the islands of Finnskar – well a formation of about 200 rocks might be a better description –  Carra entered dancing a slow dance choregraphed by the rocks lurking below the surface. Once safely into a large pool, the chain rattled down and we dug in the anchor. It proved to be a popular location. At one point boats were queuing up in an orderly fashion to moor on the rocks surrounding us, it was a hive of activity – metal on metal clanging as they secured their hooks into granite crevices.

The Compass

We took Pikku Carra (our dinghy – Little Carra) on an expedition – we had a photo of the chart and zig zagged around the submerged rocks to a hamlet  – we were in search of a compass carved into the rocks by fishermen from 1826 – Da Vinci Code stuff it wasn’t –  you could just about make it out – though blink and you might have missed it.

We had an early start to sail south – and we actually sailed with the mainsail up – second outing this year!  Proper sailing – I had  forgotten the pleasure of trying to get every inch of speed whilst sailing into the wind and seeing if you could make past the odd inconveniently placed rock. All rocks safely passed we entered  Huvudskär – an old fishing harbour which had been an pilot and Customs post. It is right on the edge – nothing between it and Estonia. It must have been a grim existence in the winter months. Even today’s summer residents don’t get the mod cons of other islands’ summer cottages, given that there is a well for water and communal compositing loos in little blocks.

Mags has turned native and was seen skinny dipping – but it was a lot chiller than other places so she was soon back on board.


We have noticed quite a few Super Yachts have discovered the Baltic this year – I assume Covid has made them desert the Caribbean and Med for the safely of the Baltic. Anchored close by was a 72m British  boat – a study in grey with grey hull, grey mast, grey boom, even grey radar…. It oozed money and paid crew. Normally, we would invite over the crew of a British boat – but we felt that they wouldn’t want to speak to the common people. Let’s hope they don’t like the Baltic and bugger off back to where they came from.

With some windy weather expected, the low lying rocks of the outer archipelago offering no protection – so we hightailed it back with a bit of a windy sail to the shelter of Brunnsviken – a rather quaint marina. Every now and again it is good to be ashore – we can plug in, catch up on admin and stretch the legs. We cycled to the shop on the other side of the island for an ice cream and some essentials. Later the heavens opened – the wind  blasted the trees above us – we were nicely tucked up with a cup of tea and some of Mags’ latest batch of oat cookies. Bliss.

Virtual Life and the Virus shows up

With some windy weather expected, plus it had been along time since we had seen a washing machine, we set off in the search of a marina and settled on Nynäshamn. With little wind, we motored past the commercial port – clearly a cheap parking spot for a redundant Mediterranean Cruise ship – though ship seems to be a rather generous term for something that looked like a towering apartment block that defying the laws of physics in terms of stability. We were on a deadline – our Pilates class started at 10:30 and it was 10:25 when we tied up. Speedily we closed the boat electronics down/abandoned the rest of the boat, yoga mats on the deck, moving the multiple lines that run across the deck to find a bump free but not level place. We joined the class, much to the surprise of our Pilates teacher in the UK – though the class was international as there people joined from Portugal and Spain. I am not sure our neighbours knew what to make us as we adopted strange positions – negotiating ropes that were inconveniently placed and the ferry wash adding to the challenge of balancing moves.

Following our class we then went to check in. Realised there was a much nicer berth closer to the facilities – important for the early morning dash to the loo, close to the wifi – oh and yes not forgetting the nautical stuff – more sheltered. So much to the amusement of neighbours we upped and left.

We had previously been here at the start of a CA rally – but have never bothered to explore the town. The positive vibe that surrounds the harbour with little shops and cafés, and fabulous fish smokery ended there and the town was a non event – a homage to boring brick buildings and devoid of character. Apart from the Harbour,  its other redeeming feature was the network of cycle paths to explore the coastline.

Lockdowns in the UK had seen a friend and I jamm virtually every week. Me on guitar and Casey on the piano. Part therapy, a lot of fun and developing our musically ability, it has been the highlight of some of our lockdown weeks – like the curates egg we can sound good sometimes , bad others and always have the luxury of blaming any timing challenges on the technology. So we were determined to carry on the boat– though my mini guitar sans amplifier was no match for the piano – but still great fun.

Having been away from Marina life for 2 years,  we had forgotten what fun it is to people and boat watch when someone comes into moor  – the onlookers turn into Meerkats. Thankfully that what ever mess we are all watching unfold from our ring side seats, that we aren’t the providers of the entertainment. Or if the move goes smoothly – everyone averts their gaze quickly as if we weren’t really that interested. However there was one boat that caught everyone’s attention – a steel hull German vessel called Virus came into view. I am quite sure it seemed a cool name 2 years ago but I think it was crying out for a renaming!