After three days out in the islands in 30c plus temperatures, we were in need of fresh milk for our tea, fresh water and probably showers if we were ever to come into contact with other people again!
Sailing through the islands!
Arkosund, a sail of 15 nm through the islands and which would take about 7 hours sailing could also be reached through an open water route, which although 20 miles we could sail faster in about 5 hours. And of course it would give us a break from the precise pin point navigation required when sailing through the islands.
Once out in the open water we rather questioned our decision, after the gentle winds and calm water of the Skargard, out at sea was all a bit lively! However we made brisk progress and were soon at the Nora Fallbaden light. Turning on to 292 for our approach into the Arkosund. This all coincided with an increase in wind speed, a change to sailing close hauled and carrying a bit to much sail – so we fairly tore down the well marked channel towards Arko island that acts like wind break and protects the mouth of the Sund. We were there so quickly that getting the sails in was a bit of a fight in the strong wind and deep swell. The Sund is a large pilot and lifeboat centre so I guess if it had all gone wrong then we would not have had to wait very long for help!
Disappointingly once in the Sund, the sea and wind remained relatively rough! The new guest harbour is rather exposed but as it was peak season they had people on the pontoons to take your lines and hold the bows. Absolutely essential in the big swell and strong cross winds and while I got to grips (or tried to) with our 9th new method for mooring – Lazy lines! Not so lazy in fact as they are big, heavy, weed slimed wet ropes that run from the pontoon out to a sinker. You are supposed to come in bows first, pick up the line at the bow and then run along it to the stern where you haul it in and cleat it, all in a 12 knot cross wind while you are still trying to secure the bow, which by now is wanting to wander and swing away! In addition you have the angriest one armed man I’ve ever met (not that I have met many on reflection!) on the boat next to you, pushing at your guard rails and yelling rather than offering to help. Not the smoothest of landings!
Once ashore my quest for Camping Gaz continued and spying a gas storage locker I found it was empty except for one gas bottle but it was the right size! Reluctantly, I swapped my nice shiny new gas bottle for last remaining one. It was obvious why it was the only one left – it was the most rusty and dented one I have ever seen! It will be a miracle if anyone will let me swap it next time…….but at least we now had gas!
So on the trip this year just how many different anchoring/mooring methods have we done?
⁃ Swinging at anchor
⁃ Mooring alongside a jetty
⁃ Mooring to a jetty with a stern buoy
⁃ Mooring to a jetty with a stern anchor
⁃ Mooring to a jetty with lazing lines
⁃ Mooring between booms
⁃ Mooring to a finger pontoon
⁃ Mooring between posts
⁃ Mooring to a buoy
The only method we have not done is mooring bows to rocks with a stern anchor – as Swedish a method of mooring as lkea meat balls, although those are supposed to have been a Turkish idea!
Arkosund was quite an interesting place, it developed as a holiday resort for rich people from Stockholm in about 1900. Becoming more popular as the railway arrived with many fancy villas being built and a boardwalk around the bay now the only thing left of the train is an old engine shed and a few metres of railway line. It also has rather a nice restaurant which we were force to try out as what had been billed as a supermarket was anything but super and only seemed to have bags of crisps and fly swatters. Any excuse will do!
Stockholm was now just about 30 nm away and in rather lively conditions we made for Ringso, a natural harbour that was well sheltered from the southerly winds. The approach itself was quite interesting as what we took to be a leading line on a large rock at the entrance to the channel turned out to be two women doing naked yoga in the sunshine! Downward facing dog and all that! After a very comfortable night at anchor we set off for Trosa.
We knew this to be a very pretty place but also one that in recent years has been silting up and so depth could be a problem. A few years ago they extended the mole using mud dredged from the harbour rather than more expensive stone or concrete but of course nature is now taking its course and is steadily returning the mud to where it first came from! However if we could get in then this would provide a handy start point for Stockholm by the island route rather than going outside past Landsort and into the open sea again.
Heading to Trosa
The approach was really pretty, a wide open Fjord with gentle hills sweeping down to the waters edge, very different from the deep gorges around Valdemarsvik or indeed Arkosund. We eyed up several useful places to anchor if we could not get into Trosa itself. As the town and its central canal came into view we spied an unused blue SXK buoy, so headed for it without delay!
The harbour guide – a brilliantly detailed reference for navigating to these places!
Cormorant HQ just behind our mooring!
As we made a beeline or it the depth fell, first to 2 m then steadily down to 1.4 m, by which point we should have been firmly aground! However we ploughed on through the mud until reaching the buoy where we stopped with our keel gently held in the silt. It was all very nice and stable and we certainly would not swing about too much! Inflating the dinghy we motored in through the canal and up to an empty bit of harbour wall, clambering up it we tied the dinghy to a very handy lamppost and set off to explore. The town was lovely, brightly painted timbered houses lined the canal, everywhere had scented roses growing round the doors and window boxes full of cheery tumbling geraniums. The town like many others on the archipelago was completely burnt to the ground in the 1730’s by the Russians out of frustration when they failed to capture Stockholm.
Fortified by drink and big bag of shopping, we realised that it was rather a long way back down to the dinghy and the harbour wall we had scrambled up was all rather smooth on the way down! I went down first with the shopping, ending up in a heap on top of the groceries (oh well omelettes all round tonight then!).
Our dinghy against the harbour wall – it is a bit of a drop!
Just as Anne was about to descend a helpful American helped to lower her down into the boat, in a slightly more elegant fashion than me! However in his enthusiasm, he cast us off sending us bobbing into the middle of the canal, with boats zooming past us in all directions I pulled at the starter in the hope the outboard would fire up! It’s a Honda so of course it did, second pull and we chugged our way back to Grace.
Steamers from Trosa to Stockholm