July 2013 - Finland, Aland Islands, Sweden, Gotland


July 30, 2013

Hi Everyone, We heard from our Swedish sailing friends Carin and Lars and discovered they were at a family reunion this week. We decided to plan our week to arrive in Abbekaas and meet up with them. We haven't seen them since Israel 2008. Wednesday we had a quiet day as we motored down between Oland Island and mainland Sweden from Kalmar to Sandhamn. We moored alongside off the end of the quay. Not a lot here mostly a small restaurant/store, maybe 20-30 houses and a farm nearby. Lots of families on the docks with kids running and playing. The marina had bicycles on the dock free for our use. So after dinner we rode around the neighborhood.

Sweden | Baltic Sea | Karlskrona

Sweden | Baltic Sea |Karlskrona | Artemis alongside by hotel

We left early Thursday morning for Karlskrona, Sweden where we moored alongside by the hotel. The city was an old naval port and it's a series of islands connected by bridges. We walked the grounds of the Naval Museum but didn't go inside. Great central square with the usual shops and restaurants and a MUST visit ice cream parlor. We bypassed this as the line to get in was so long! It was a nice town to just wander around in.

Sweden | Baltic Sea | Hano Island | English Cemetary

Friday we went to Hano Island Sweden, . Just a small village but the ferry boat arrives on the hour to bring day trippers who want to hike, swim or have a picnic among the rocks. Great well marked hiking trails. We spent four hours walking to the lighthouse, English cemetary, a secluded beach, and then a forest walk on the southern part of the island making a full loop back to the boat. We've been so spoiled with this beautiful weather. We've had a little rain during the night very little during the day.

Saturday we went to Simrishamn, Sweden another medieval town. Pretty cobbled streets, painted houses and a festival going on in the main square. The music up town was very good but way too loud to enjoy. Where as the music in the harbor was pretty bad and we were glad to close up the boat and dampen the sound.

Sweden | Baltic Sea | Abbekaas | Artemis alongside in Abbedaas marina

Sunday we met up with our friends Lars and Carin in Abbekaas marina, Sweden. It's a very small marina with a few alongside spots where we were able to moor. Lars and Carin invited us aboard Ymer for cocktails along with their relatives from America. They had a week long family reunion with 40 people. Some living in local homes others staying at a B&B in town.

Monday we took a bus with Lars and Carin into the city of Ystad. Very pretty, cobble streets, Hanseatic town so some of the red brick buildings we saw through out the Baltic, ornate mansions and many colorfully painted traditional Swedish cottages with beautiful gardens. We had lunch in a cute courtyard and then visited the Krukmakaren (art and craft workshops)and the 13th century monastary. Great town. The marin would have been nice to stay in but our friends were 8nm further west. We were invited to have dinner with Carin and Lars family at Carin's nieces house. Lovely home, lively fun conversation and great lasagne:-) Big families are so much fun. It felt like a Pribyl or Fraher gathering.

Rain during the night and early morning. We decided to head for Hollviken in the Falsterbo Canal about 28nm. Good bye to our friends but we may see them again in the next weeks as the pass through Copenhagan/Malmo area on their way home to Gothenburg. Wind on the nose and waves building slowing us to less than 4kts under power. But we were able to take a better heading as we approached Gislovs Lage our alternative harbor so we decided to continue on and we were able to sail the last 10nm. We arrived in the canal 20 min before the bridge would open but we were out of the waves. We had 25+kts of wind when we were berthing the boat at Hallviken but we were able to find a "box mooring" wide enough to handle us that we could head straight into the wind. Glad we didn't choose to move on to Malmo as the winds have really picked up and are gusting 30-35.

The marina has bikes free for our use so we plan to ride through the nature reserve to Skanor tomorrow. Much easier than digging our bikes out:-) The marina manager was excited and proud to have Americans in the harbor. He also manages a new marina in Bergen Norway. We are only 21nm from Copenhagan so we are in a good position to cruise around this week and then meet up with our son Justin, wife Chris and 18 month old grandbaby Sara arriving Aug. 5 for 10 days. Hope all is well and thanks for the emails. Love Sally and Al

July 22, 2013

Hi Everyone,

We left Stockholm last Tuesday and traveled one of Stockholm's "back entrances" through a narrow fiord like canal Baggensstaker to Saltsjobaden (almost an inland like area) Gorgeous passage. We were able to start sailing once we were into Saltsjobaden. We found a lovely anchorage near Uto called Ranohamn. Many boats were anchored and tied to shore and a few anchored but it was a big well protected area. We were able to grill porkchops and enjoyed a lovely evening. Lots of Swedish families out cruising. It's so fun to see them doing the same things we did with our kids when they were young.

Wednesday Unfortunately a boat arrived in the night and free anchored not knowing where our anchor was and when we woke at 7AM Al yelled there's a boat out there. Now he does dream these things but in this case there was a 40+ ketch alongside of us nearly close enough to touch. We decided to get up and head out early. We sailed then motored to Kappelhamn on NW Gotland Island about 65nm. We anchored outside the harbor off some cute farms and summer homes.

Thursday we sailed off anchor and had a great sail for 6nm then we had to head right into a SE wind. After sailing 5 hours and only gaining 12nm to destination we gave up and motored the last 16nm to Visby. Visby is a beautiful medieval walled city on Gotland.

Great to just wander and snap pictures of beautiful flowers and neat old houses. We tied alongside the NW breakwall in front of the "party boat" The guys had set up camp at the picnic table on the quay. They slept all day and partied (we assume) all night. We didn't hear them after 10:00 as we walked all day and tired old Grandma and Grandpa went to sleep. Gotland gets over 700,000 visitors per year (mostly Swedish) We never felt there were that many tourists around.

Saturday we had a full day of sailing. (62nm) Wind slightly ahead of the beam but some big 2 meter swells rolled us a bit. The wind died as we approached shore. We were headed for Kiddeholmen anchorage near Oscarshamn. The diagram showed 3.2 no problem we draw 2m. But the entrance looked very narrow we approached oh so cautiously. Crunch! We hit bottom and chickened out. We went two miles to Oskarshamn Ernemar Marina. Great spot. Tied alongside paid app. $18.00 a night including electricity. Did three loads of laundry and Al got many boat projects done on Sunday. He re-seated a prism, rewired the alternator leads to use the internal regulator as the external regulator quit, mixed epoxy to replace some bungs and fix some screw holes that hold our enclosure and finally he washed the boat. I think doing laundry was the easier job:-)

Monday we had a great 42nm sail to Kalmar, Sweden. We were sailing 7.5-8 knots for 26nm then our course change forced us to furl the jib, tried the staysail for awhile but finally sailed with just the main for the final 15nm. Kalmar we picked up a stern buoy and enjoyed visiting with neighboring boats for the evening.

Tuesday we took out our bikes. We took care of provisions first then touristing. Great city to ride bikes in. Another walled city with cobbled streets. We visited the 12th Century castle. Nice tour in English. Lots going on for kids. Just fun to enjoy. Planning to head south tomorrow maybe Kristianopel or Karlskrona area depends on the winds. Hope all is well. We enjoy emails:-) Love Sally and Al

July 15, 2013

Hi Everyone,

Stockholm What a beautiful city. Very impressive buildings everywhere you look. Great bike trails throughout so we felt comfortable riding everywhere. Saturday after we arrived and got settled we got our bikes out. We rode over to Gamla Stan (Old Town). Actually once there we walked our bikes about as the streets were very crowded. It was a gorgeous sunny 27C day so lots of people enjoying the day, sunning in the parks and along the waterfronts too. Gamla Stan is three islands connected by bridges and lots of ferryboats.

Medieval alleys, and 17th 18th century buildings. Stockholm is very clean and lots of flowers even on the bridges as you cross back and forth between the islands.

Sunday we visited two of the many museums, Vasamuseet and Skansen. The Vasamuseet is built around the sailing ship Vasa. The Vasa was a newly designed warship with two gun decks but she never made it to a battle. Vasa sank in 1628 on her maiden voyage 25 min. after leaving the dock. The wreck was salvaged in 1961 after 333 years under the sea. 98% of the reconstruction is original. Fantastic exhibit, beautifully displayed and in English as well as Swedish:-)

After lunch we went to Skansen an open air museum like no other Open Air Museum we've ever experience. Perhaps Skansen is so successful because it was founded in 1891 when the first buildings, farmsteads were purchased and moved here from different regions around Sweden. The oldest building is from the 1300's. Each day different regions inside Skansen have different activities. Many buildings have guides in traditional dress to answer questions and show you how the family lived during that time. We had the good fortune to experience a music festival at the Manor House. Three young musicians (flute, violin, cello) played several pieces by Bach. Very enjoyable and talented young ladies. The buildings are set among gardens and countryside that is typical of their origins. There's a small zoo and Scandinavian Wild animals area. There are fences but the animals live in natural habitat much like the Minnesota Zoo. The farmsteads have cows, pigs, chickens, sheep geese..

.We happened upon the outdoor dance floor at the right moment and enjoyed watching folk dancers perform. So much to see, so much to do! We spent over 5 hours walking this 75 acre museum. Much of the time you forget you are in the middle of a big city! I'm sure there were lots of people visiting but you never felt like you were in a crowd. The larger eating areas were the busiest.

Today we rode our bikes all day. We had provisioning to do so we were back to the boat a couple of times during the day. It was a bit windy but warm and lots of sun! We had planned to tour City hall but got lost and arrived too late as they closed at 1600. We were able to walk the courtyard and the grounds and enjoy the exterior of the building. We arrived back at the boat just as a huge 3 masted schooner pulled into her berth not 100 m away from us. Her name? ARTEMIS! Now what are the chances...

Tomorrow it's time for us to move on. We'll head out of Stockholm about 35nm to the Island of Uto where there's a nice anchorage awaiting us. We could spend many more days here and still feel like there is more to do than we have time for. Perhaps another visit someday. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

July 8 - July 13, 2013

Hi Everyone, Mon. July 8 We stayed a second day in Sandvig Marina on Kokar Island Aland Islands. We were on a stern buoy and a floating pontoon with a near gale blowing onto us. we decided not to leave the boat until the winds settled down later in the day so no bike ride.

We did have a nice walk up to some ancient Seal Hunters Camp ruins. We can't say enough nice things about the Finnish people. They always come up and greet you and when you pass them on the sea they wave at you two or three times before you pass. Very helpful happy people.

Tues. July 9 We had a quiet slow sail wandering around the Aland Islands reaching Rodhamn our destination for the day about 1500. No room at the docks so we dropped anchor for a while. We decide with rain and near gale winds forecast for next day that we'd rather be somewhere where we could leave the boat and explore so we hauled anchor and headed for Mariehamn the capital of Aland Islands. Pulled out our jib and flew 7-8kts. up to Mariehamn (10nm) We were all settled in the West Harbor by 1730. The marina is open to the weather so the boats bounced a bit but we felt secure.

Wed. July 10 We had expected things to be cheaper as Mariehamn is outside of EU taxes but that didn't prove true. Fuel prices were higher than Finland so no deal. But that said the town was clean and had some beautiful old wooden houses. We walked to the East harbor and decided we were glad we hadn't headed to that harbor when the winds were blowing. The harbor had all box type moorings and we didn't see any boats our size in the harbor. So we don't think we could have gotten in and it would have taken us an hour or more to get to the other side.

Thurs. July 11 We shut the engine off as soon as we left our slip and sailed to Sweden. The winds were a perfect direction for us. We started out with mizzen, full main and jib. But as the winds built the sails came down. First the mizzen, then a reefed jib, then no jib and switched to staysail. Only 24 nm of open water and 2 meter beam seas before we tucked into the Swedish archipelago. Our first anchorage Grandhamen didn't look right from our pictures and diagrams so we moved on to a lovely anchorage Bergsholmen. We thought Finland was the Canadian northshore but now we think this Swedish archipelago is even more so like Northern Lake Superior. Beautiful secure anchorage with a few family boats bowed to shore.

Fri. July 12 no wind so we decided to motor over into the central part of the archipelago and stay in one of the natural harbor. We found another perfect spot at Gallno. Gorgeous traveling between the islands many sailors sailing along at 1 or 2 knots just enjoying the day. We got the dingy and motor out for the first time this summer. Al had to make some minor repairs to the engine fortunately he knew how to fix the problem:-) Then we motored into the little village. This island is one of the best preserved islands retaining it's old traditional character and land is still farmed. We had a nice walk down past the farms to the ferry landing. We grilled for the first time this summer and Al got all excited when the cow came down by the water. It was a quiet gorgeous night at anchor.

Sat. July 13 No wind again as we motored 20nm to Stockholm. Another pretty route between the islands. Unfortunately it turned into a major weekend traffic jam. Everyone and his brother was leaving Stockholm by boat. Lots of waves but not from wind:-( Swedish boaters are not as friendly as Finlander. The Finnish sailors as I mentioned before continue to wave and shout greetings as they pass. Most Swedish boaters look but don't wave back. The exception is when there are young kids on board they always wave. We are tied up alongside the pontoon outside of the marina at Wasahamnen Marina in Stockholm. The ferry wake makes us bounce a bit but it's worth it just to be where we are. I'll write about Stockholm tomorrow. Love and God Bless. Sally and Al

July 4 - July 7, 2013

Hi Everyone, Thursday July 4 we rented a car in Tammisaari, Finland with Alchemy and visited several towns in the area. Snappertuna had a nice castle and a great trail around the village. We were able to explore the nicely restored horseshoe shaped castle on a huge rock but the museums didn't open until 1100 so we moved on. Next we drove to Fiskars Village. This the original factory where Fiskars Metalworks made plows and yes Scissors:-) It was a water powered factory. Today the village has a blacksmith, sawmill, glass blowing and several other artisans. Nice play area for kids and pleasant walking around the village and lake. We had very picturesque drive around the lakes area in Karas, Finland

Friday July 5

Al and I said good-bye to Alchemy and started our cruise back toward Denmark to meet Justin and family Aug. 4th. We may see them again later in August but for sure we'll meet up again in London in October. We motored the first part of the day but then had a great 6 hour sail to Vano Island, Finland. We took what appeared to be the last spot on the dock about 1730. They were having a celebration on Saturday of some sort. Making and serving a big pot of summer soup and having music and a dance. But we decided to take advantage of NW winds and move on.

Saturday July 6

we did move on from Vano and had a great sailing day. We thought we'd go further but when the winds piped up to 30+ and a weather warning came over the radio we decided to go into o. Never thought I'd say I was glad the wind was blowing 25+ kts as we landed the boat along side a Dutch boat about 1330. The wind progressively increased throughout the afternoon and boats kept coming in trying to land in 30-35 kts of wind and doing it (maybe a try or two). Glad to be on the SE side of the dock as chop built up and spray flying up as it hit the NW side of the dock. We went for a walk around the island. The wind trying to blow us over but as we moved inland among the rocks and few trees we found some protection and we were able to walk without leaning into the wind.

We found the stone circles and mazes the island is known for. Some may date to the bronze age but their original purpose is unknown. Oh well it gave us a reason to walk there. We think some kids made another newer version where they made a small circle of rock, another circle and so on, created a bulls eye effect. Cute I think they thought if people should walk out there to see the stone circles theirs would be the better of the two:-) We had a nice walk but glad to be back on the boat out of the WIND!

Sunday July 7

Sunny quiet day. No wind flat calm seas. We uncovered the sails hoping the S-SW winds predicted would arrive but just light winds from the NW so we motored into the Aland Islands. The Aland Islands are an autonomous province of Finland within the EU but outside of the EU tax area. It has it's own parliament, police, flag, stamps, and is legally a neutral zone so it's citizens are exempt from military service. It is thought to be the oldest inhabited part of Finland.

We arrived in the beautiful Kokar archipelago around 1300 and picked up a stern buoy at Sandvig marina. We had lunch then went for a short walk to Kokar church and the ruins of the 15th century Franciscan monastery. The Franciscan chapel beside the church had artifacts found during archaeological excavations on Hamno. We followed a nice hiking trail through the woods and along the sea back to the marina. Weather forecast is calling for near gale northerly winds tonight but everyone assures us we are we ll protected back in this natural harbor. We may stay tomorrow and take out our bikes. There's another marina on the southern part of Kokar about 4km away that we may visit. Hope everyone is having a nice weekend. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

July 3, 2013

Hi Everyone, Happy Fourth of July! We left our beautiful anchorage last Thursday and ended up in dense fog for two hours before we pulled into another beautiful anchorage. Of course the fog lifted shortly after we got settled but we decided to stay and just enjoy this new spot.

Friday we went to HSS Yacht Club Marina near Helsinki. We got all settled using our stern buoy/bow to dock routine. But when we went to check in they said we had to move. This time to a finger pontoon. Settle once again we got a radio call from Alchemy "Where Are You Guys?" Wrong marina we were suppose to meet them at HSK Yacht Club 2nm further east. This marina wasn't even in our Cruising Guide so I guess it truly wasn't all my fault:-) We finally pulled into a beautiful finger pontoon slip in the right marina! I did laundry. Had trouble finding the correct coins for the machine. I asked 3 guys in front of the bathrooms if they had euro coins only to realize suddenly that they were naked as they had come from the sauna. They did have towels:-0

Saturday We had a nice time walking the island of Lauttasaari where HSK is located. Visited chandlery, walked about town and in some parks. Then went shopping at Lidl's our favorite supermarket!

Sunday we had a quiet sail and moored at Porkala a small beautiful harbor with a cafe and store. We had a nice walk in the forest and along the sea. This is a park so we saw several small park cabins/campsites along the way.

Monday we sailed to Algsjo (Elissari) picked up a stern buoy.

Tuesday, We motored to Ekenas National Park, to Island of Algo and picked up a stern buoy at Rodjan. Another gorgeous spot. The archipelago is beautiful with many natural harbors, stern buoys to pontoons, rings in the rocks along the shore to tie to, saunas, and nature trail. So many islands there's no need to be with a bunch of boats unless you want to be.

We walked 2km marked trail more like 5 in a loop to the lookout tower, inland lake, forest and back to the boat. I can't say enough how much this area reminds us of the Canadian Northshore. Perhaps that's why so many Finn's settled in Canada when the immigrated.

Today Wednesday we motored and then sailed 8nm to Tammisaari, Finland. This is an actual town. So we shopped for rental cars, and checked bus schedules. We have a lead on a car for tomorrow so maybe we'll be able to explore several little towns in the area. Otherwise we'll take a bus to Fiskars for the day. I picked up brats and potato salad so we're all set to celebrate the 4th with Alchemy tomorrow evening. Happy Independence Day! Love and God Bless Sally and Al

#2013 #Finland #AlandIslands #Sweden #BalticSea

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