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.
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.