Tag Archives: Sweden

Wrapped Up for Winter

The next 9 days were governed by a detailed spreadsheet – a glorified list of things to do. With temperatures reaching -25C, Carra has to be ready to withstand the winter. The mast off was due off on 4th and Carra due to lifted the next day, there was a lot to do. However, Mags was still suffering and was on very light duties. But gradually she regained her strength and we were able to crack on with our tasks. The days flew past, spent taking sails off, cleaning the dinghy, oil changed, the new rev counter fitted to name a few of the tasks. We had clearly been transporting a colony of spiders round the Baltic – which all needed to be removed. They had even established a home and a few spiders webs up the mast….how do they get up there.

Soon we were taking the boat around to get the mast taken off. This is our 4th year over wintering here so it is becoming routine. With the mast off we were able to track down the cause of an annoying squeak from the main halyard. We had been in touch with Selden (mast manufacturer) as there was also wear on the halyard. We knew it was partly due to a crossed halyard but when the mast came off we looking inside the top of the mast you could see the halyard was fed the wrong side of the bar. Next year it is going to be so much easier to pull the sail up without all that friction! Plus they are going to replace the main halyard and topping lift free of charge.

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Marcus, Nicholas and Tommi

As we pulled Carra along the pontoon to the awaiting tractor and trailer, she felt heavy as if we were leading a reluctant animal away from her summer pastures into her winter shed. Soon she was out of the water and still no growth underneath – we last put antifoul on her in 4 years ago in the UK!

 

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Going, going, gone

 

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Mags blowing through the water

 

 

 

 

 

To ensure Carra can cope with the winter all water needs to be removed – so no food with water can be left on board, all water is blown out of all the pipes in the drinking water system or replaced with antifreeze for other systems.

 

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Changing the oil and greasing the prop

This involved my favourite activity – taking the heads apart. Which had its final revenge as the contents of the outlet pipe blew back over me. Thankfully I had washed it out many times and so was only antifreeze…..or that was what I was telling myself.

DSC07623 - CopyAfter 5 days of being in the shed – the need to climb down a ladder and walk 500m to the loo was wearing rather thin. The thought of an ensuite loo was very appealing.

With all jobs done – we left Carra. Over the last 4 months we had sailed 1800 miles and all that remained was to drive 1000 miles home in 2 days.

 

 

 

 

A few stats from our cruise:

• Summer cottages visited: 3
• No of boats seen crewed by all women: 3 excluding us
• Puzzle books completed: 6
• Corned beef tins consumed:25
• Guests onboard: 53
• 57 new fish collected (each one represents a new harbour)
• Days since a bath: 138
• Hero of the day : Antibiotics!

That is it for this year, thanks for following our adventures

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Plague and Pestilence hits Carra

Jill arrived in the evening bearing gifts – a new rev counter and bacon – what else could a girl ask for! Plus more importantly a puzzle book for Mags as she had finished her last one. The next morning we left in time for the 12 o’clock bridge – given that it is the third time we have past through it in a week – it was positively routine. A great sail across to Lumparland and we were tucked up nicely in Bomarsund as the wind built throughout the day. After lunch of – surprise surprise – corned beef sandwiches, we wandered up to the fort – through the woods. It was a glorious sunny day and a beautiful walk – the path meandered through the trees that were clinging onto the rocks clearly marked as the rocks had been worn smooth, elsewhere the rocks being covered with pillows of sage green lichen. As Jill said “you expected pixies and fairies to be living here”.Bomarsund

The fort with its old Russian canons with the double headed eagles over look the approach to the harbour. We then walked down to the garrison fort and to the plaque for the first VCs that were awarded here.

Bomarsund was a decision point, do we go north about and cross from Sweden from there or do we go south to Rödhamn and cross from there? With strong southerlies for the next few days – we elected to go north about and had a gybe-athon through some rocks. We had both sails up and it was fun getting the gybe angles right for some narrow passages between the rocks.

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Mags and her new puzzle book – order is restored on Carra

Once through it was a reach to our next harbour – through quite a wide channel to Hamnsundet. It was completely deserted, so we decided to come along side – as I wanted to polish one side of the hull. It needs to be done once per year and it is much faster and easier from a pontoon than once in the shed where the topsides are 3m from the ground.

We were due to go to an anchorage the next night before turning the corner and coming south to Karingsund. With 2 days of southerly winds ahead I knew we would need to motor and the next day the winds were lighter so we elected to go straight to Karingsund. Which in the end was very fortuitous, but more of that later…..

DSC07364Frustratingly as we turned the corner to head south so did the wind – but at least with lots of islands and rock to negotiate it did flatten out the sea. According to the chart there were navigation buoys directing you around the shallow, narrow entrance into the harbour– but all bar one set were missing. Karingsund is a perfect harbour, very sheltered from all directions and an old fishing harbour with lots of fishing huts lining the natural bay in various states of repair.

About 2 weeks ago Mags had been bitten by a tick. Ticks here can carry lyme disease and TBE. We had been vaccinated in Finland against TBE on the Punkkibussi – a bus that came to the supermarket. But there is no vaccination against lyme disease. I had removed the tick but it was very small and didn’t appear to be full of blood so didn’t think it would cause a problem. After a few days the bite disappeared, so all was well…… Until today when Mags had a red rash about 8cm wide. I was 100% sure this was Lyme’s disease, which can be a life changing, disabling disease if not treated quickly. So we got into a taxi and went straight to the hospital and sure enough Mags was diagnosed with lyme disease. So next stop was the chemist to pick up some very strong antibotics. As the Doctor said she was lucky to have had the rash – not everyone does and that is when it goes untreated with unexplained debilitating symptoms . But he was confident catching it so early meant that she would fully recovery. Also we were grateful that Mags got treated in an area where it is prevalent, so they knew the signs and issued the antibiotics immediately rather than waiting for the results of a blood test which don’t appear positive for some time. Hence many places delay the treatment and then wonder why they have high rates of untreatable lyme disease.

Although Mariehamn looked empty we found a restaurant full of locals and the Schnitzel lunch hit the spot – thanks Jill. The trip into town also allowed us to do some food shopping and overt a beer crisis onboard Carra. Throughout the day Mags had been feeling more unwell. Amongst other symptoms extreme fatigue is one of the impacts of the disease.

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Early morning in Karingsund

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Back in Swedish waters

There was an early morning fog in the air when we left Karingsund, but it soon cleared and with F2/3 wind just forward of the beam we had a lovely sail with all 3 sails up we were making great progress. Bacon butties were most welcome as a mid morning snack – given that breakfast had been early o’clock. The smell of bacon buttie didn’t even raise Mags, so I knew she wasn’t well. Quite quickly we lost visibility of the Aland’s and Jill and I sailed ….. Mags slept.

Soon we were weaving our way into Arholma’s West harbour- a pretty harbour with your typical red houses and wooden boat houses supported on stones. We tucked in behind the floating loo and anchored.

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Arholma

Arholma

Life on Arholma

Jill and I went for a stroll round the island – in theory to look at the island but in reality in search of cinnamon buns. With all tourists gone there were only locals (70 live here all year round) and they seemed to be able to survive without cinnamon buns! bakenWe returned having failed in our mission but having explored the church and the beacon at a giddy height of 25m above sea level….. Mags slept.

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Jill visiting the floating loo

Jill was determined to use all items of clothing she had brought and the swimming costume was yet to be used. So decided to visit the loo by swimming to it. Mags occasionally surfaced but soon went back to bed and ….Mags slept

Our next destination Sjalbottna, a lovely anchorage but we couldn’t be believe it was to be the last of our cruise. With a gentle breeze we were able to tack our way between the rocks, it is great fun – planning your tacks to avoid the rocky islands. Jill and I dodged the small yellow ferries that shuttle between islands and managed to sail virtually all the way to the anchorage..….. Mags slept.

As we were taking Carra out of the water we needed to fill up Carra with fuel – so headed for Vaxholm and were able to sail all the way. This time ferry dodging was with the big ships that come into Stockholm and if it wasn’t for our ability to see them electronic – you would get quite a shock as you don’t see them behind the islands……. Mags slept…. only surfacing for the ferry.

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You could tell we were back in the Stockholm Archipelago as there were the white ghostly islands – all vegetation being killed off with Cormorant poo. DSC07430Once anything growing us dead, the birds move off and after a while it regenerates. You know when you are downwind of one of these islands. Once tied up at Vaxholm – Jill went off in search of cinnamon buns and was successful! We made our way back to the Marina. Sad that the cruise was over but pleased that we had completed our trip and had seen everything that we had wanted to see and been able to share our adventure with so many friends……. Mags was awake!

Update
The joys of Lymes disease is that that once you have started the antibiotics you feel worse as the dead bacteria appear to have their revenge as they float around your system waiting for your body to remove them. Mags has had some rough days since coming back to the marina but every day has felt better and is nearly back to normal.

Rally and Painting

The challenge with a Rally is that there is a timetable which is fine till the weather hasn’t read the programme. It was decided that due to some expected bad weather we would miss out one harbour and do a 40 mile sail into the wind. Leaving Nynashamn as usual we instructed our chart plotter to follow the course I had entered the night before. It refused. So I tried again – no joy. I rentered the route – again it refused. This isn’t really an issue as you can see the boat on the chart. Later we noticed that AIS ( it shows us information about other ships) was not visible on the chart plotter. Also a couple of other functions were no longer working on the chart plotter. We had a sinking deja vue feeling. In 2015 when bringing the boat over  a problem with our GPS caused most of our electronics to fail. Was this the start of that again? For now there was no real issue so we got the sails up and was able to sail in the right direction albeit close hauled. 7-8 knots meant we were making good progress. However there comes a time when tacking is lovely but if you want to arrive at a reasonable hour you need to put the engine on. But from the speed we were able to achieve for the revs – something was amiss. The engine was not overheating but we were only able to achieve 3.5knots – it would be a long day. Either we had something round the prop but it was still functioning or it was something else. In 2015 we had got some nylon fishing twine round the prop – was it a repeat?
We decided to take a more sheltered route that the others to enable us to make slightly better progress and past the delightful town of Dalero – lots of different coloured wooden houses nestled into a hillside. But soon we were back in open water trying to motor into a Force 5, our speed sank to 3.2knots directly into. Had we not been on a rally we would have diverted into another harbour. So we rolled out the yankee with a couple of reefs and sailed. Cracking along at 7.5 knots was great only it was 45 degrees to the direction we wanted to go in.

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After a long 12 hour sail we got in at about 8pm to Sandhamn. There was a welcoming committee who directed us to our space. It wasn’t the best place but we tied up. Having put out extra lines we tidied the boat and went to eat. But I felt quite low – after a long days tiring days sail, fed up with all the equipment failures and in a pretty rubbish position which would be exposed to the wind the next day. There was one element I could change – so we moved and it was worth the effort as I felt much happier and could rest easy.
Mending a boat is part of normal cruising life but I had thought owning a boat from new would mean that once the teething troubles were sorted them there would trouble free for some time. So far the pieces of equipment that have failed:
• Air X Breeze The wind generator – failed after 1 year
• Offshore Systems fuel gauge sensor, water gauge sensor, holding tank sensor
• Raymarine – GPS failed knocking out all the electrics . GPS replaced
• Gas regulator – 3 years
• Propeller – replaced after 1 year
• Selden – reefing lines incorrectly threaded and halyard crossed

Thankfully all have been done under warranty but each comes with the effort of solving it and getting replacement part – and don’t get me started on the heads ( the toilet) that is a work in progress.
The windy weather kicked in and I was very pleased we had moved although we were away from the other Rally boats we were in a very sheltered spot. We were keen to see if there was anything wrapped around the prop. Attaching the gopro ( waterproof camera) on a stick we were able to see under the boat and have a look. There didn’t appear to be anything on the prop. On speaking to Rustler they suggested rotating the blades to see if they could rotate freely. This meant Mags putting on the wet suit and diving under water. I attached a line under the boat so that she could pull herself down to the prop. Thankfully the water was very clear – but it was 14C. There is a reason I bought the wetsuit to fit Mags. Everything seemed fine.

 

 

By then most of the day had gone and it was time for some more socialising – we had nvited the crews of Celtic Warrior (Derek and Julie), Blue Orchid (Paul and Gwenneth), Gilliat ( Christine and Martin), Galtea of London ( Douglas) onboard for drinks which was fun to get to know some more people and hear about their adventures so far. Later we joined the crews of Gilliat and Blue Orchid for an enjoyable meal in the Vardhus bar.
Douglas (Galatea of London) is a talented artist and always captures his environment with a watercolour sketch – we now have a picture of Carra at Sandhman – how special is that! He keeps encouraging me to take up my watercolours…

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Prior to leaving the next day I was hoisted up our Rally leader’s mast as he had lost a halyard up it. Job done we were off. Robert on Trenelly had a similar prop and he suggested once out on the water putting it into full throttle forward then neutral then in reverse to see if it would clear anything that was trapped under the blade. I did this the first time and then repeated it but noticed that now in neutral she was idling at 1900 revs but the engine was not doing 1900 revs. This highlighted the issue – the rev counter was misreading. So I ignored the rev counter – used engine noise to select the revs as opposed to the rev counter and we were back to normal cruising speed of 5.5knots under engine. So our rev counter was misreading – another thing to add to the list. I think over the cruise this year it was been getting progressively worse and putting it up to high revs just forced the issue and it then became obvious. That is a real positive about the Rally – you can take the advantage of those with more engineering experience to give you different strategies to try to solve issues.
With a short passage to our anchorage and it was a fine sunny day, wind on the nose (as per normal) so we had plenty to time to tack. We got out all three sails and had a cracking sail. Rallies aren’t races….. but when you have several boats setting off at the same time everyone tweaks the sails to go just a little bit faster. Paul and Gwenneth ( Blue Orchid) had a cracking good sail and a good tactical decision to hug one side of the fjord saw them over take us – but it did allow me to take some really good shots of them sailing amongst the rocks.

Gallno was a scheduled anchorage with a small entrance it gave the appearance of being in a lake once in. As will all the islands of the inner archipelago – it is a low lying Island that is densely wooded but importantly with a good dose of reeds at the edges which is always a good sign when you are anchoring. The weather was colder than it had been for a while – typical as we had a BBQ planned for that evening. We moored near to Galetea and Douglas invited me over to plaint with him. This has to be one of the hightlights of the trip. He is a very good teacher and it was a very relaxing hour I spent with him. He taught me to really look at the colours and not to worry about the detail. But I still have much to learn.

About 6 we gave him a lift to the BBQ which was on a small island in the middle of the anchorage, which was thankfully sheltered from the wind. Followed by drinks with Derek and Julie (Celtic Warrior).

There was a loose organisation around the rally with no skippers briefing everyone would try and find out when everyone was leaving – which appeared to be about 9 am. We had decided we would leave at 8 as we wanted to get into Vaxholm early and clearly so did everyone else. As we left at 8 – so did all bar one other boat! So much for 9am.
The rocks always provide interesting tacks – once again it was head to wind and we were now back in home waters as it was close to our marina. We hade a brilliant sail with Blue Orchid – this time we were able to even the score. But we weren’t racing of course!

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Mags picked up the lazy lines with our Boat Show gadget which had a trial place on the boat until it proved its worth. Mags has decided it can stay.

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Vaxholm is a lovely old town overlooked by the Castle but has a very bouncy harbour due to the wash from a large number of yellow car ferries that plough their way to Rindo and back every 15 mins. We had drinks onboard with Trenelly’s crew ( Helen, Robert and Steve) after which we were invited onboard Gilliat for an evening meal and we took along a Princess cake in the shape of the Swedish Flag. Martin and Christine were great company and the social aspects are a real bonus of the rally. They have had an issue of charging on their boat so they are going to stay in our Marina berth after the Rally whilst they go home and let Marcus our friendly NZ electronics/ electrics expert in the marina fix it.

DSC05856Despite being close to Vaxholm and sailing past the Castle many times we have never actually visited it. But it was part of the Rally activities – so we boarded the little ferry across to the Island. The island fortress was one of the principal old naval defences of Stockholm. As you might expect it is made of thick stone – but surprisingly refined inside. The castle was used at the time of the Russian invasion in 17th and 18th Centuries. That night all the Rally had drinks onboard Duo our Finnish Boat ( Merja, Saku, Kirsti and Heppo) – Kirsti starting the evening off with a song about the Rally.

The next day the Rally which headed off to Stockholm. We had already decided not to join them with but to go back to the marina to get ready for the trip to Finland – but we would join them in the evening. Arriving back at our marina at mid day gave me the chance dedicate some time to the heads – which has begun to be a feature of the cruise. Firstly I replaced the pump and next I wanted to place an inspection hatch in an area of pipe work that you cant access to see if there were any clues as to the issue. That job alone took about 3 hours as I needed to remove the toilet bowl as well and by a new saw. Frustratingly after half a days work the loo is still isn’t working as it should.

Sunday we had a lunch invite to Goran and Lena’s summer Cottage which is on the waters edge overlooking Vaxholm. It had previously belonged to Lena’s parents and was an idyllic spot. We also met their son Jacob and his wife Eva and their 3 month old baby Olivia. It was a baking hot day, so eating lunch by the waters edge over looking the busy harbour was a perfect way to spend a relaxing Sunday afternoon and Lena and Goran are great company.

Later that evening we went into Stockholm to join the rally for drinks on Celtic Warrior.
Monday we spent provisioning the boat and following a conversation with Paul from Blue Orchid I took the valves out of the vented loops and blocked one with clingfilm to see what happened. Success the heads worked perfectly…. But the vents shouldnt be blocked but at least it means there is no blockage in any of the pipes.

We joined the Rally for the last night and had a meal out. Mags did a speech to thank Nicholas and we gave him a present to thank him for organising the Rally. We then retired for drink on Blue Orchid before leaving. It was sad saying goodbye to everyone as for a just over a week we had become good friends.

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Northern Fender Challenge

29th May – 3rd June We delayed our start as there was due to be more wind later – but it was all relative and after the first hour I had assumed it would be a motor all the way. But eventually there was enough wind to sail. Whilst much of our sailing has been past wooded islands, today we were on the edge of the archipelago and the islands were just a series of small bare skerries devoid of vegetation. Occasionally you could hear a strange moan – which sounded like seals and sure enough when we got the binos out the rocks were littered with seals. Thoughout the day, we saw navy boats and helicopters buzzing about – clearly the Navy war was still going on. Idklubben was another sheltered anchorage – patrolled by a somewhat testosterone driven male Swan – who appeared to do circuits of the Island all day in full feathers puffed up mode.

DSC05733Previously we had done this passage when we brought Carra up from Germany – though under engine. But with time and familiarity of sailing close to big lumps of granite our confidence has grown and we have plucked up courage to sail though these rocky passages – now we enjoy sailing through them. Though at the particularly interesting narrow, shallow passage with a double dog leg we did roll up the Yankee ( the big sail at the front) to slow us down; as doing 7 knots with 3.5m below you would be a tad uncomfortable. We entered the wonderfully sheltered natural harbour of Ringson which we planned to make home until the southerly winds arrived in 2 days. Tucked up safely waDSC05739s Blue Orchid ( we had met them in Vastervik) – we had been playing boat leap frog with them since then, so it was nice to catch up them again. They invited us over for drinks in the cockpit – very civilised.

It was so hot Mags decided to go for a swim and complete the fender challenge. Ringson is an enclosed harbour and with only 4m depth the water does heat up. Though at 20C it was still too cold for me. The fender challenge is you need to climb onto a fender (not easy) and raise your hand in the air.WP_20180531_16_05_38_Pro

We were due to join the Cruising Association Rally in a couple of days, so we had time to fit in one more anchorage. We set off from Ringson without a breath of wind – but within about 1hr the wind had filled in an we had enough to sail. Sails tweaked we then comfortably passed a yacht – not that this is a race of course! There was a cut through we could take that would avoid us going round a headland. As to be expected round here it was narrow with 2 dog legged. We rolled away the Yankee but managed to sail through the passage – then sails out and home for the night was the sandy natural harbour of Nattaro.

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One of the stats I monitor is how much sailing to motoring we do. Currently it is at 51% motoring and I am keen to get it below 50%. Which does mean whenever possible I will try and sail. However the short trip of 7nm from Nattaro to Nynasham was going to be a very long one at 1.5kn – so reluctantly I put the sails away and we motored. It was pulverisingly hot – no wind and the sun beating down. Mags decided her PJs bottoms were the best way to keep cool in the midday sun. Thankfully she changed before mooring in Nynashamn with most of the Rally boats watching.
We arrived and the marina had the dreaded boom moorings – short, thin bits of metal with hoops at the end. The challenge is how to do get your ropes through the hoops when they are just above water level whilst trying to park the boat. A previous bad experience with one – had left us and Carra scared by the experience – so we had invested in one of those gadgets you see at boat shows – a hook that attaches to the boat hook and you can attach your rope to the hoop at the end of the boom. It worked! Though we were glad of help from Paul who was able to fend the bow as we needed to then replace the hook with ropes through the loop – which was not an easy task.

 

Exercise Viking 2018 and a Milk Crisis

We set off early for the Baltic ( early in Baltic time is 0730) and no sooner were we out of the busy harbour all 3 sails were set and with a light north easterly wind we were managing to cruise along at 8 knots. It was the perfect weather for a long passage – calm seas, 12-15 knots of wind from just forward of the beam and blue skies -topped off with bacon butties – it was perfect sailing.WP_20180525_08_01_36_Pro

We saw the Swedish Navy in stealth mode as we have been sailing in the middle of their big Exercise Viking 2018. About 4pm we dropped anchor in a delightful bay of Stora Alo.

DSC05712After breakfast we went for a walk around Island. We tied up the dinghy to a rock and went to investigate the red wooden information hut which even had a library inside. The small island is a nature reserve and still has a working farm with animals – which allows you to see how farms would have been in the archipelago in former times.

Back on board we upped anchor and had the sails up straight away for another cracking sail through rocks, well till the wind died. DSC05766At one point we were shadowed by a minesweeper that was about 200m astern of us and it shadowed our every move and maintained our speed for about 30 mins….. it felt like a slow motion car chase at 5 knots. We then lost them by turning down the equivalent of a pedestrian alley that led to the entrance to our anchorage which was about 10 m wide and 2.9m deep ( we are 4m wide and 1.9m deep). Once into Kupa Klint it deepened and we were nicely sheltered by the 30m cliff ( tall for here) that bounded the anchorage on one side, the other side being a series of small skerries. The anchorage was very still and you could hear and see the fish jumping all around. As evening fell the wind died completely in the distant archipelago and it was as if the islands were sitting on a mirror. With the sun setting the rocks glow pink and it is what makes evenings so special here.

Our normal morning routine of a cup of tea in bed didn’t go well. We had managed to buy a white liquid that wasn’t milk – but turned our tea into the French dish of Isles Flotant – with white blobby bits floating on the surface. So out came the emergency marvel powder. But as avid tea drinkers you can only cope with that for so long. So our planned anchorage was scrapped in favour of a place with a shop that was to be Arkosund. There was more wind today which built as the day progressed so we had a somewhat lively sail. 8.5 knots into a deep narrow gap between rocks was a bit too exciting and so we took the opportunity to reef ( make the sail smaller) the yankee (sail at the front) as soon as we were in the lee of an island. Arriving at Arkosund there was a strong cross wind so we had fun tying up and finally the milk crisis was over and calm was restored on Carra.

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With an even stronger wind the next day in the direction we WP_20180528_11_35_13_Prowanted to go, it meant that we had decided to stay put for the day. Giving me the chance to try and resolve a problem we had with the heads ( the toilet). So I spent much of the day with marigolds on fixing the pump. Having replaced the valve gasket, I reassembled the pump and performed the banana test. A simulation test – which it passed but the proof is in the pudding or the aftermath of the pudding!

Holiday in Visby

20th- 24th May Visby (our second Baltic Capital) is the small capital of Gotland which in a former life used to be the centre of the Hanseatic world – a 14th-17th Century trading and defensive

alliance. The town is surrounded by impressive city walls which was more about keep the natives away from the foreign traders who lived in the town. We had a chilled start before wandering around the town; a mixture of impressive grand houses of wealthy traders to some very small houses in the what had been a poorer quarter. There was a lovely Botanica Gardens ( think small park with flowers). We invited our neighbours around for drinks Nicholas, Max and Lynnie (Juanona) – a fascinating couple who had sailed all the way from Maine, USA.WP_20180522_21_11_34_Pro

We dug out the bikes the next day and went for a 5km cycle up a coastal cycle path, big boulders litter the beach and you started to see a glimpse of the unusual rock formations that characterise the island’s shoreline. Back on the boat we spent the rest of the day catching up on boat and admin jobs. After which we were iDSC05582nvited back to Max and Lynnie and had a lovely evening.

 

The island is about 90 miles long and to see more of the island we hired a car for the day and headed to the north of the Island. Inland the landscape was very rural with many small farms island. Many of the roads where line with Lilac trees that were in full blossom, deep purple, lilac and white with a wonderful smell too.

dsc05675.jpgWe visited the little harbour of Lickersam and saw the Maiden raukar, tall imposing limestone stacks rising from the sea. At the top of the island we took a small car ferry to Faro a small off the north coast. It had a much more open landscape with incredibly neat stone walls and windmills.DSC05617

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We stopped off to see Faro Church – who famous resident of the church yard was Ingmar Bergman – so in his honour I started taking Black and which photos.

At the north of the island there was the most extraordinary Rauka field – these majestic columns of limestone were enormous and the weather had craved out features that gave the appearance of faces – just like the statues on Easter Island.

 

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DSC05653We took the coast rodDSC05644e back and came across some old fishing huts standing in complete isolation on a beaches miles from any habitation.

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On the return journey we visited Bunge as recommended by Lynnie and Max – inside the walls were adourned with simple paintings dating back to the 13th century. Both churches we visited were completel open with no one DSC05667around. There is a real trust based culture here which is lovely. After supper we headed south to see the sunset over the beach at Tofta.

We waved Max and Lynnie off in the early morning – we then got the boat back into sailing mode having been in holiday mode for the last few days, after we completed our boat jobs – we just relaxed before heading into town to the Cinema to watch “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society” – it was a private viewing as we were the only ones in the cinema.DSC05678

A Very Rocky Passage and Plans Change

It was all downwind the next day so we just had the Yankee (large sail at the front) out.
P1080735We had a lively sail to Figeholm particularly going down wind through a narrow and shallow gap – despite putting most of the sail away we doing 5.5 knots through the gap…… sigh of relief when through. We sailed most of the way til we came to a Nuclear power station and the rocky passages got a bit more tricky. We have sailed here for 3 years now but this was the narrowest rocky passage we have done – it was about an hour of intricate turns mostly marked with red and green posts but at one point the gap between the red and green was only about 7-8m….and we are 4m. But the time we got to “Figeholm’s narrow winding entrance” described in the pilot book it felt like a motorway. By the time we arrive I felt I had earnt my beer!

DSC05509Figeholm was an immaculate little village with a gasthamn that is run by villagers – who couldn’t do enough for you. The place oozed pride and everything was very well tended. On the Saturday morning there was a works party, flowers were planted, grass cut – none of which needed doing as it was already looking good. Beautiful old wooden building lined the small inlet. We decided to stop here for a second night as it was just such a lovely place.

Our plan the next day had been to sail to an anchorage at the top of Oland Byxellrok – but when we left Figeholm we were having such a cracking sail 8knots and all 3 sail up we decided we would push on to Visby. Particularly as the wind the next day looked lighter and we might end up having to motor. At 7.5-8knots we were eating up the miles – it is about 60 miles from Figeholm to Visby. It was lovely to be able to sail without looking out for rocks though we did need to watch out for ships as it is a busy Baltic route for commercial vessels. We had a few patches of lighter wind and just as I was considering putting on the engine to make Visby when it was still light – the wind increased just enough to allow us to sail the last part and we only took the sails down at the harbour wall. We arrived just as the ferry arrived – one that we had past us 3 times enroute. We tied up about 8pm after a cracking sail.DSC05519

 

 

 

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