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Hobbit Holes for Wet and Windy Weather

There was some windy weather expected and whilst our anchorage would afford us protection, we decided that we would rather be in a harbour so that we can easily get off the boat and catch up on some admin task such as laundry – which always take longer on the boat. So Gräddö was ideal, only 6 nm away so sailing slowly was allowed. Then came the conundrum. All the entries on Capt’s Mate (an app that gives people views on the harbour) had all said go on the inside of the guest pontoon to get out of the way of the wash of local speed boats that enter the harbour but that would mean that we would have our stern into the gale. I wasn’t keen as it would be much better to be head to wind. Whilst the harbour was sheltered, it would mean we were hanging off a buoy with the full weight of our boat plus windage on whatever stone was used to anchor the buoy. We arrived and you could see the boats on the outside of the pontoon wildly bucking and snatching at their bow lines. Bows crashing down close to the pontoon. Very uncomfortable – so decision made and I resolved the dilemma by three lines – 2 to our buoy and a rope to the neighbouring buoy which had another boat attached to it and also decided to reduce our windage – by taking down the spray hood and putting on our winter cover – our hobbit hole. We weren’t going to go anywhere. The windy weather came and went without drama.

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The Hobbit hole – getting ready for the windy and wet weather

It is quite normal for 2 boats to be on a mooring buoy here – but our neighbour who wasn’t Swedish informed me with bags of confidence that the rule here was one boat per buoy. As I pointed out to him the buoy on the other side of him had 2 boats on and if he was concerned he should but another line on the free buoy next to him. Mr Rules as it turned out was a 2 week holiday in a club boat – so had little knowledge of local custom. It was only after they left did I see the sign that they were parked next to which said max 3 boats per buoy….. what a shame I hadn’t been able to point that out at the time!

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What could possibly go wrong?

This was the first time we had been on the mainland – as opposed to an island for nearly a month. As water is rationed on islands, boat washing is a no no and Carra was looking a bit grubby. So Mags decided to wash the decks and provide entertainment to the marina – act 1 – hose parts company from tap when she turns it on – Mags gets soaked. Act 2 the spray nozzle separates from the hose and flies over the side and is declared Man Over Board. Thankfully they float – so Act 3 was fishing to catch said nozzle. Once retrieved, we rewarded ourselves for the many tasks ticked off with some cakes – It is always good for morale when the marina is next to a cake shop!

FejanNext stop was Fejan, a former Cholera quarantine island. In the 19th Century, the disease killed 60 million people in Europe and in order to prevent it spreading to Sweden, the very smart Swedes set up quarantine stations where ships arriving from infected areas had to spend 48 hours – which is the incubation period. Fejan was one such island, the buildings are still there including the Doctors House – a very ornate wooden building – which was also known as Congo – as it was originally destined to be a chapel in the Congo. The morgue and autopsy room are now a beautiful restaurant – but sadly shut up during the weekdays as the season closes as soon as the schools go back. IMG_20190813_123826One of the other reasons for coming here was that it had a pontoon – which meant that I could polish one side of the hull – one task on our annual maintenance task list – which is easier at pontoon height than it is when she is out of the water.
We had 2 lovely chilled days in 2 anchorages – one new one and one favourite. The peace of being in a secure anchorage which is more like a lake when the only sign of it being windy are the tops of the trees rustling in the breeze. I have just been told that is too romantic an image – they were whipping around in the gale – either way there wasn’t a ripple on the water.

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Sjalbottna – one of our favourite anchorages near our Marina

dsc01650.jpgWe left the anchorage and had an entertaining time dodging the ferries that use this fairway into Stockholm. We headed off to Vaxholm to fill up with fuel before heading back to our home Marina. As we store the sails on the boat –we need to ensure they are dry. With no rain forecast, sun and a gentle wind it was the ideal day to take off the sails. We had just tied up a Vaxholm and started filling and the rain came from nowhere – short and sharp but enough to soak the sails and then back to bright sunshine all within 30 minutes. So we then had to spend the next 1:30hrs sailing up and down the fjord by our marina drying our sails…..IMG_20190815_174532

Good bye to Finland…..for now

As thunderstorms were forecast for the next few days – missing out on Gullskrona did give us time in hand, if we needed to miss a day. I had been looking at the weather forecast as to when we might cross back to Sweden. A passage of only 30 miles but it is in open sea and needs the right wind – plus the weather window closed on the 10th as after that there was a period of very strong SWs for over a week.

In the morning, I was expecting to see black skies given the forecast of thunderstorms but we awoke to bright skies without any signs of cumulus nimbus clouds the towering clouds that are needed for thunder. So we decided to go and we had a lovely sail with a gentle F3 wind; we were leaving Turku Archipelago and arriving at Lappo on the outer edges of the Aland Islands.

As I took down the Finnish courtesy flag, I felt quite sad. We left Finland 3 years ago but having the boat has meant that we have still had our home here. Even though the language is impossible, we love the fact that we still remember a lot of the vocabulary and can surprise Finns by the fact that we can still speak some Finnish – though I am not sure “I drive a blue car” and “I live in Espoo” is the most scintillating conversation. As we are moving Carra to Denmark next year, we know that this is the final goodbye to living in Finland – from now on we will just be visitors. Up went the Aland Islands Flag.

Now was about getting the right weather to cross, so we missed out Seglinge and had a cracking 30nm sail to Degerby – I was even allowed to do some tacking – as they were quite long tacks.

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Spot the ferry in the right hand picture – in a very narrow channel

DSC01586I was about to put the engine on then saw the yacht up ahead – so decided I would see if I could pass it and then put the engine on – otherwise it would be cheating. Thankfully they had someone inept on the helm and so I was able to pass them easily – so on went the engine for the final wiggle to Degerby. A wiggle that large ferries (think cross channel ferry size) do daily down narrow channels.

We had been to Degerby before, 5 years ago in a charter boat – and I had forgotten how attractive it is with its colour houses – they must have been rebels here as they had colours other than red!

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Rod 2Our final stop is one our favourite harbour Rodhamn with its lovely red rock and heather in full bloom – isolated but very secure; that has been a harbour for many hundreds of years. IMG_20190808_160347Sadly we left too early to get the freshly baked rolls that they deliver to your boat – though don’t worry we had made up for it with their home made cakes the day before.

We had both sails up as we sailed … well ghosted out of the harbour. The perfect spot to say goodbye to sailing in Finland …….for now!

The early start meant that we would get the best of the NWs allowing us to sail in relatively light winds. At 60 degrees to the wind we were romping along at 6.5 knots. A large black cloud loomed over head and the wind built – we were doing 7.5 knots with all three sails up. It was either going to get very wind or very wet or both. We put 2 reefs but thankfully we missed the rain.

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Leaving Finland behind. Note to sailors – yes I did move the lazy sheet….

A speedy crossing saw us arrive at Arholma anchorage before 1pm and watch a flotilla of yachts coming in having crossed from Finland. The most impressive of which was a yacht with teenagers onboard and a young skipper and they sailed on to the wooden bow to and dropped the stern anchor and all with no engine. It is a lovely anchorage surrounded by wooden boat sheds and lots of reeds! We were back in Sweden so up went the Swedish courtesy flag.

The itch that won’t be scratched…..

 

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Still not close enough to the camera!

As we left the harbour, a white tail eagle flew overhead, just as we were in the middle of putting the main up. We have seen several at close quarters but never when the camera is to hand. So I abandoned my duties and went into Blue Planet mode – and Mags was left to sort out the sails.

 

Our destination was the island of Jurmo – a pretty harbour, with the ubiquitous red boat sheds. But this Island’s claim to fame are proper highland coos. I went for a run but couldn’t find said coos but their relations provided mince which was made into a tasty meal with lentils.

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Jurmo

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The next day, we had peaceful sail to Nasby and we tried a new sail plan for running before the wind – using both our foresails goose winged (one either side). We have a spinnaker pole but it makes me nervous using it with all the rocks around.

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Goose winging

But this worked a treat. Nasby had a little supermarket and it had been 11 days since our last visit to a supermarket – so I knew Mags was getting twitchy about running out of food – her fear and reality are poles apart due to the many tins of corned beef onboard – for some reason this doesn’t seem to placate her fears.

Coming into Korpo we attached to the buoy as usual, with the mooring hook or clicky buoy as we call it – but it fell at an awkward angle. It is a long metal pole with the hook at the end of it. I stopped the boat on the webbing as normal – but this bent the pole with load of the boat pulling at the wrong angle. It was only when we rode out to it to put a second line on the buoy did we realise it was bent and we couldn’t get it off. We removed the webbing leaving the mooring hook permanent attached to the buoy. This would be a hazard to us and anyone else when we left the mooring. But it was stuck firm…….so after a large dose of spinach and a tip from a local – I went off to try and unbend it. Success – well enough to get it off but not to be used again. Thankfully we had bought a spare – fearing this would happen as it was already slightly bent.

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Yes my face is doing more work than my arms!

Some friends Pia, Jukka and Anni arrived by speed boat late afternoon from their summer cottage – they “popped over” – an hour away – it was lovely that they came over to see us. We had drinks on board and then had some yummy sticky spare ribs in the local restaurant.

Pia

I have decided I suffer from FMOONH – a fear of missing out on nice harbours – an unvisited top spot is like a scratch you have to itch. Last year, we hadn’t been able to go to a beautiful anchorage Toras Viken and then there was the one that Sakku had just told us about Gullskrona – apparently it had just reopened after a 10 year closure and used to be the most popular in the archipelago.

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Well marked – 2 leading lines and channel marker

Though narrow channels, we had a lovely downwind sail 20nm to Gullkrona – Mags likes this point of sail. As there is no danger of tacking (interrupts the puzzle booking). The wind gradually built throughout the sail. Although there are no tides here, the water level does vary and we were -25cm below normal. Which meant there was only one place we could go in the harbour. It was down wind and slightly cross wind pick up of the stern buoy. We approached, Mags picked up the buoy and handed the webbing line over to me. I was focusing it rather than looking where we were going – and next thing I know Mags is screaming to go back. Not sure if this was due to a rock – I put into reverse at full speed – which then leaves you with the challenge of unhooking the stern buoy. All a bit hectic. We had been going in too fast and she wanted me to slow down. The reality was that this mooring spot was too exposed in this wind direction and we decided that we could live without the stress. This was definitely a case of wanting to visit and not really being realistic about the shelter of the harbour…. A lesson learnt. So Gullkrona will remain as a scratch not itched.

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Unwelcome visitors in Toras Viken

The only problem was that the next harbour I wanted to go to was 20 miles in the direction we had just come from and back head to wind into a freshening breeze…. I was very popular. So by the end of the day we had done 40 miles to actually go 9 miles. We did manage to sail for about the last 2 hours – but it was a very long day. On the brightside, we arrived in Toras Viken, a natural harbour in glorious sunshine which scenery to life. It was over 6 weeks since we had anchored – so it was lovely to have the peace and quiet that an anchorage affords. Lots of reeds meant a good night’s sleep as you know the anchor will dig in well.

Chance Encounters with old friends and meeting Foss and the Nauticat

Despite the lack of wind, we set off – with only 9 miles – we were able to drift at under 2 knots and as expected the wind picked up and we arrived at Katanpää in a reasonable time. It is an island with a military history, built in the Russian occupation of Finland as part of a defence plan for the Baltic that was created 200 years earlier by Peter the Great. Later it saw life as a prison. The Gun emplacements and many of the wooden buildings housing the troops were still intact, all connected by cobble stone roads and built by forced labour. The cobbles, we now are the result of uplift of land that we had seen on the High Coast.

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We had noticed a British boat in the harbour – so I went over to invite them for a drink….We met a lovely spaniel with blonde highlights called Foss and the Nauticat – and their owners Julie and Yvonne. They bought their boat in Finland and 4 years later they are still here. They love it just as much as we do.

1Conversation flowed easily and drinks turned into dinner. Before we knew it was well past our bedtime. The next night they invited us on board for Dinner…. which included delicious home made ginger cookies and home made bread – we needed to stalk these two! Lulling them into a false sense of security….we went our separate ways the next day. However, you can sail….. but you can’t hide!
The sun was pulverising and with only a light wind, we arrived at Brundalsviken hot and bothered. I popped into the shop to see what the depth was at the fuel pontoon. In a bit of a dwam (Scottish word) with the heat – I suddenly heard my name being called – it was Tommi Paattakainen – we had worked together closely in Nokia. It was lovely to see him – he and his son Aaro came on board. It is a small world. We ate ashore at the Thai Summer pop up restaurant and it was definitely worth the trip here.
With strong northerlies due, we were keen to tuck in out of the way. Moonstar (Yvonne and Julie) don’t have AIS – so it is difficult to stalk them without their knowledge – so you need to be less subtle – we messaged them and agreed to hole up in the same harbour. A family owned harbour with a lot of charm and tastefully developed – Parattula/ Peterzens. It was a little hurricane hole sheltered in every direction – if a little shallow in parts -thankfully it is mud as we arrived and it showed 2m under the boat. When we left it was a mere 1.8m!

Peterzens
img_20190730_113651.jpgLater that day, Mags was just returning to the boat when she heard her name being called – it was Sakku and Merja. We had met them last year and then we had seen Sakku on the High Coast in July. It was lovely to see them and we joined them for a drink aboard Duo and catch up on their news. Next morning we invited them over for Coffee and Pulla ( Finnish Cakes) before they headed off.

We had a list of admin and maintenance jobs to be done – including changing the secondary fuel filter which was long overdue.

lifeOnce they were all ticked off, we went for a dog walk out to the lighthouse.

dsc01490.jpgFoss, unlike Magoo, was beautifully behaved and was desperate to go swimming but wouldn’t unless she was given permission. It wouldn’t even have crossed Magoo’s mind to have asked. He belonged to the school of “ask for forgiveness after” … though come to think of it, he didn’t do that either. For the next 2 nights, we ate alternatively chez nous then chez Moonstar.

We awoke to the rain, it was the first time for weeks – so we wouldn’t be leaving today. We headed over to Moonstar – they were getting ready to go. So this time, we needed to deploy another cunning tactic. The mention of cheese on toast worked – they don’t have a grill and had said they missed it….. they decided to stay another day. After cheese on toast and cheese toasties – we had a movie afternoon and watched Hidden Figures followed by walking Foss.

Before they took out a restraining order, we decided we really couldn’t detain them any longer and so waved goodbye. We have really enjoyed their company.

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They managed to escape!

Sam faces her biggest fear!

Ever since our Finnish lessons, I had always been intrigued by the town Uusikaupunkki, because I had felt rather pleased that I could translate it. These early gains in my Finnish linguistic ability soon came to a grinding halt when Paivi, our lovely tutor, introduced us to the grammar. Anyway it means New Town or Nystad in Swedish. The “new” town was founded in 1617 as a trading town but rose to fame internationally due to the Treaty of Nystad (1721). The treaty ended the Great Northern War and saw the might of the Swedish Empire decline and the Russian Empire come to the fore. The two countries divided up countries, even though Russia had occupied much of Finland, it gave most back to back to Sweden and Russia kept Estonia and the Latvia/Lithuania.

We had an uneventful but frustrating motor for much of the way. As we approached our destination the scenery changed and it was more like the Stockholm Archipelago – only with lots of leading lines – it is a science here. I am sure it is so their big neighbour – the big bad bear can’t paralyse them by turning GPS off.

There were lots more boutique summer cottages – and the last thing you want on your door step is the local cormorant community taking up residence on a nearby skerries – industrial quantities of bird poo turn an island into a barren white ghost and down wind is quite grim …. Bang went the bird scarer and I jumped out of my skin wondering who had been shot – for it to happen 20 mins later – whilst I jumped not a bird moved.

uusiThe marina was situated down a narrow inlet with boats on all sides – it looked like it was Finland’s equivalent of the Hamble. The harbour was very friendly and was definitely the heart of the town – great vibe, cafes and restaurants along the harbour.

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Shopping trip without a car

Free hammocks hung between trees and everywhere in the town there were decorated happy chairs. Like Rauma it had a lot of wooden buildings though it didn’t quite have the randomness of Rauma.IMG_20190723_080808

But it did have the Bonk Museum – part art installation, part science but 100% spoof. The museum that traces the history of a fictional Bonk dynasty – and the machines that made their fortune – from anchovies. Yes everything can be made from these fish – from electricity, to potent love potions to rockets and much more. Think Willy Wonker’s chocolate factory and this was the equivalent. It was very well done – lots of period photos – someone had a lot of fun doing it, completely bonkers. But also there was a workshop which encourages children to build their own machines from disused parts.

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The power of Anchovies

An early start was needed to get to our next harbour Isokari – which means Big Skerries, the harbour was an old pilot harbour and was small and we wanted to get there first – but lots of others were leaving at the same time and it felt like a bit of a race to leave – but as it turned out they were going elsewhere. We eeked out as much sailing as possible but the heatwave that we were finally having meant very light winds. We arrived to find all places taken, but the harbour master was very helpful and moved a motor boat who had abandoned their boat taking up 2 places.

When I was little and I visited my Granny, she drilled into me the dangers of snakes. Concerned that I would try to pick up a basking adder, I was told to bang my feet if I saw any twigs on the ground. I did a lot of foot banging on my holidays. Ever since then I have had a phobia – even as I write this I can feel the hairs on the back of my neck raise just taking about them. I can’t look at pictures, let alone meet once face to face without a very uncool squeak…… we were just about to leave the previous lighthouse island Kylma-pihlaja – our boat neighbour went into the electric cupboard on shore that was 1 foot from our boat and warps, to unplug his shore power all I heard was “don’t tell Sam” – I knew exactly what it was – hissing sid was in there…… mightily relieved we didn’t take electricity that night. To think it could have come on board….urgh. Well we had just tied up at Isokari – an island with a light house – and the lovely harbour master had just taken a line – she stopped dead – out came the phase again – “don’t tell Sam” which triggers some pavlovian response in me, which means I look straight away – just by her foot was a snake. Trying to retain some modicum of control, I moved quickly to the other side of the wheel – I still needed to park the boat without screaming and running down below and shutting the hatch – which is what I wanted to do.

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Take off, Flight and Landing

After a while both Mags and the Harbour Master decided it hadn’t moved – and it turned out it was a plastic snake – left by some horrid child ……. My thoughts about said child are unprintable!

Thankfully there was some more appealing wildlife in the harbour, it was teeming with bird life – black guillemots flapping their wings like little wind up toys you get in Christmas crackers, busied themselves criss-crossing the harbour with small fish in their beaks. Their big orange feet coming out for their rather inelegant landing.

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When Russia built the lighthouse on Isokari in 1833, at this point Finland belonged to Russia; this lighthouse was all about Russian status and so was designed to impress the western neighbours. It stands 35m tall and can be seen for miles. You get a fabulous view from the top. The surrounding grass meadow was in full flower with wild oregano and other colour flowers.
iso 2The harbour master packed in every boat that wanted to stay, we had 3 boats on the outside of us. An old trading ship skilfully manoeuvred and tied up oppose us onto the ferry pontoon. We assumed it was just an afternoon stop – but in the evening out came a series of tents which they put up on deck. Not sure this was glamping!

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Mags avoiding the shipping

Tall Ships and All that Jazz

The water was oily still with not a breath of wind. But given that we had to drive in a convoluted pattern of straight lines to get into the harbour it didn’t matter as you

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Watch tower over looking the entrance

couldn’t have sailed anyway. Another narrow shallow passage ensued and we picked up a stern buoy. It wasn’t in the inner harbour where we had hoped to go, as there was a boat in the only space we could go into. Akko and Ada our Dutch friends had sent us a mail to say they had got into the inner harbour – which at 2m deep and they draw the same as us 1.9m though the bottom is mud.
Once tied up the heavens opened and it continued to rain for the next 12 hours. The moisture in the cabin was very high, with condensation forming on the port holes and it was very chilly – what happened to summer?
The next morning there was a dire forecast of more rain but a gap in the rain made us poke our heads out of the hatch to see that the space in the inner harbour was now free. So we dropped lines and headed off…… we need 1.9m to float. We started at 3m down a narrow channel and as we got to the pontoon, the water was quickly evaporating and we were down to 2.3m, 2.1m – all the time I had in my mind White Haze did it, so can we….. tied up with 15 cm to spare. Whilst there are no tides here, the water level does vary…. and can go 0.5m either way. But there is a 2 day water level forecast so I would keep an eye on that. But we certainly wouldn’t be filling up our water tanks here!
DSC01314The inner harbour was very sheltered, closer to the loos plus we were surrounded by 3 Tall Ships – trading vessels from the age of sail. Very Onedin Line. 2 were still active ships – but had a summer use as a restaurants and the other was a permanent restaurant. We had a delicious meal on Katarina. She had last carried cargo in the 1950s; below decks the tables were close to the hull in the bow- very atmospheric – the wood oozing the salty, tarry, smell of days of old.
raumaWe explored Rauma, the old town has 600 full fine pastel coloured old wooden buildings, reflecting its trading past with some fine merchant houses. Wandering off the main street there was an intimate feel about the town, with the winding cobbled street and wooden houses, each displaying its name plate.

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Left: Wally Dogs    Right: Gossip Mirrors so that you could see who was in the street

Many houses belonged to sailors and had 2 wally dogs in the window – facing inwards displaying that the master was at home, outwards – he was a sea. What nefarious activities went on when the dogs were facing outwards – doesn’t take much imagination.

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Lace from Rauma was traded around northern Europe. It was a cottage industry where the work was done by the poorer men and women of the town. Very intricate patterns created with many bobbins and pins – painstaking detail.

 
Jazz

 

Just up the coast is Pori, home of the Pori Jazz Festival, and it was on – Finland’s largest outdoor music festival. So we decided to take the bus up to visit. The town was heaving with people, the sun was shining and the cafes spilt onto the streets. We walked to the jazz park, one stage, the free one, was playing a jazz set. But the 3 others were ticketed and playing Finnish heavy metal, very loudly – not our cup of tea. Later in the evening Stray Cats and Toto would be playing. Toto was my old boss from Nokia’s favourite group – they used to make an appearance frequently on team days out. We ate in town – a jazz band struck up in the nearby restaurant. Sadly the last bus back meant that we left at 7:30pm but we realised the best part of the festival is not the ticketed arena but the vibe of summer cafes, live music in the town that makes for a great atmosphere.

Now all we had to get out of our berth!  Since we arrived the water level had gone done 10 cm… so only 5cm to spare – what could possible go wrong! Well for a start I should have reversed out exactly the way we came in … but didn’t .. I backed out and turned ….and felt us touch the bottom – but it was mud. The back of the keel acted as a pivot on the mud and with a bit of oomph from the engine we were able to drive her off. Thankfully it was too early for an audience. Back out into the channel, 3.2m on the way in had felt shallow – now it felt positively deep. The beauty of perspective!

We returned to the lighthouse island Kylma-pihlaja, which was much busier than on our last visit and it would set up well for our next destination.

Sam jamming with the sea birds and revenge is a dish….

Elaine left us in the morning and our plan was to look for a weather window to cross the 132nm to Finland, we wanted a good wind direction, but not too windy so that we could sail all the way without it being too lumpy. I looked at the long term weather and there was a distinct lack of wind for the next 4-5 days. Not what I was hoping for as it would mean we would have to motor. We had a choice wait 5 days or go and hope to catch the last of dying the wind. Härnösand wasn’t really a place we wanted to spend any more time than we had to – so we decided to go for it.

We set off east out of the fjord – frustratingly we were head into the wind. But once clear of the headland, we could set all 3 sails and head roughly in the right direction – close hauled into the wind. Which was great as it made what little wind there was appear stronger. 6.5 knots was more than I could hope for. We managed to sail for 6 hours but with the wind progressively coming round first at 90 degrees then from behind us it meant the wind we saw got lighter and lighter until we only doing 2.7 knots. Time to capitulate and turn on the engine…..

sailingWe were sad to be leaving the High Coast – it is a stunning area to sail in and had exceeded our expectations – dramatic scenery, pretty little fishing villages and unique geological features. But with each mile travelled, the view of the High Coast disappeared over the horizon and soon it was just sea that was visible. Given that we were expecting the trip to last 26 hours, we set up a watch system. Having had dinner, Mags went off watch and went to sleep. There were a couple of large ships to watch out for – but with electronic tracking (stalking or its proper term AIS) it was like playing a very slow electronic game. It was interesting seeing all the exotic destinations they were bound for – one was going to Alexandria.

But with no sails to tweak – few ships to watch out for…. I was getting bored and that meant I would start feeling sleepy. I got out the sweetie box. But there are only so many mint humbugs you can eat….

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The guitar mid crossing

So out came my guitar and I decided to have my only concert in the middle of the Gulf of Bothnia. From Bossa Nova, Ed Sheeran, Tracy Chapman, The Beatles, Oasis, James Blunt, the Shadows – Strumming away, I gave it rooty toot – singing at the top of my voice – my guitar teacher would have been proud of me as I even played Paranoid by Black Sabbath (not my favourite but apparently a useful technique he tells me) – all on my ½ sized classical guitar……The engine drowned out the many dodgy notes and I was able to labour until the misguided belief that I was the next cool acoustic guitar soloist. But just before you rush to book me up for your next party:

a. I cant sing
b. My “set” wouldn’t last long – as I only know one song from each
c. I would still like to have some friends.

It never really got dark – at about 2230 the sun was setting but it would rise again at 0300 so the sun just went below the surface and only had 4.5 hours to rush round to the other side of the sea so it was like having a permanent sunset and sunrise.
Mags took over – she had been oblivious to my gig. It rained for a bit and she saw a weird horseshoe rainbow then I was back on watch for a couple of hours, then Mags took over again. 10 am we had bacon butties – always good for morale plus we were able to sail from there – a relief turning off the engine.

DSC01112Our destination was the light house island of Kylma-pihlaja about 5 miles off the Finnish Coast – close but very isolated. We arrived 26 hours after setting off – into a small harbour which had been hewn out from the rock, was a former pilot station harbour and we were the only yacht and a hand full small motorboats out for a lunch stop.

DSC01102Tip toeing through the goose poo, this was a bird sanctuary – we walked round the island – and climbed the lighthouse which was now a hotel. By 2030 we were completely pooped and fell into bed….. next thing we knew it was 10:30…. It was a lovely sunny day and we were the only boat here. A fine harbour so we were quite happy to spend another day here.

Boats came and went all day – it appears to be a coffee stop for the coast guard and pilot boats, the ferry made frequent stops. One couple will be rueing the day they didn’t check the time of the last ferry and with no beds in the inn – a water taxi came out to pick them up….ouch – expensive!

IMG_20190714_171424With the harbour deserted all bar one small motorboat, a yacht arrived…..with the whole harbour to park in – he chose to moor 2ft in front of us at right angles by picking up a stern buoy. Making it more difficult for us to get out. It was totally out of order and inconsiderate. So I took great delight the next morning in springing Carra out – this is a technique where you pivot the boat using just the engine and one warp – which brought her stern out perpendicular to the harbour wall. He came out to watch, initially he looked worried as it isn’t a commonly used technique in these waters. He was about to make a very “helpful” comment then stopped to watch –– we exited perfectly…..I felt satisfaction for all the mansplaining I have had to endure as a skipper – this was womansplaining to an inconsiderate skipper without saying a word and it felt great!

Ed Note: Spell checker recognises mansplaining but not womansplaining!

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