After leaving the Finnish archipelago, and a few hours of sailing across the first open water we have encountered for quite a while – the Aland Sea, we were back in among the densely packed islands of the Swedish archipelago. We anchored overnight at the very pretty island of Arholma, having found good holding with our trusty “Manson Supreme” anchor, and spent a very peaceful night.
The following day we called at Graddo, which in contrast was less peaceful, with continual Ferry and motorboat wash. We needed to stock up on food and fuel before carrying on, so we had to put up with this for one night, but it was one of those places that you feel hurried out of. It’s pleasant enough on-shore, but not a peaceful place on-board in high-season.
We spent the following night anchored off the island of Blido in perfect solitude. All this time we were slowly making our way south towards Stockholm. The Swedish islands have a subtly different feel to the Finnish ones. In Finland there is a very strong protocol of respecting peoples’ privacy, to the extent that it’s considered rude to anchor in sight of someone’s house. As most of the islands on the route we took through the Finnish Archipelago are occupied, this reduces opportunities to stop other than at recognised Guest Harbours. In Sweden there is less concern about where you anchor, as long as you don’t start tying up to people’s private landing stages, so we found ourselves anchoring more in Sweden, and even going ashore on some of the islands. Where “composting” toilets are often provided for campers and visiting boat crews. We were able to use our inflatable canoe to go ashore on Masskar, which always seems more fun than using the dinghy.
All through the Northern Stockholm Archipelago we had settled weather, and were content to just travel 10 or 15 miles a day. We came across a very friendly guest harbour, by chance, at Malma Kvarn. It is run by the local sailing club / sailing school, and doesn’t feature in any of the guides or pilot books we have. We took a chance on taking a berth that was marked as private, and then went ashore and enquired. It turned out that the owner was away for a few days, and we were welcome to use it. It is a truly idyllic spot.
Our next stop was one that we had pre-planned, as it gives easy access to Stockholm City centre by train. We spent a few days at the yacht club harbour in Saltsjöbaden, and visited Stockholm to see the Vasa Museum. We had heard that the Vasa was salvaged almost fully intact, but we were still rendered speechless by the incredible sight of a 17th century 64-gun warship in such amazing condition. (Due of course to the almost fresh water in Stockholm harbour, where she had lain for 300 years). Without doubt, the best museum we have ever visited.
From the rather posh atmosphere of Saltsjöbaden, we headed to Nynashamn. Here we met up with two other British boats from the CA traveling homewards. By now the weather was making itself felt again, and we spent longer than we would normally have wanted to in Nynasahmn. It’s a nice town, with a very busy waterfront. It’s also a ferry terminal, both for the large ferries to Gotland, Poland and Latvia, and the small island-hopper ferries. All this of course means that the moorings are a bit rolly at times.
After about 5 days we got a weather forecast which wasn’t strong South Westerlies. So we left Nynashamn early one morning and travelled on to Nykoping. We took the inshore passage through the islands, to avoid going right out to sea around Landsort. On the way we piloted through the tightest passages we have encountered so-far in this part of the world. Once again we blessed Jane’s insistence at having the chart plotter display outside at the wheel. When doing this sort of navigation we use paper charts as a back-up, and the person not steering continually updates our position on the paper chart. We haven’t yet found any anomalies between paper and our Navionics electronic charts. But somehow, with all these rocks only the proverbial biscuit toss away, we are not yet ready to throw away the paper and trust entirely to electronics and GPS……
On arrival in Nykoping I was delighted to discover that there was a large classic car gathering that night in the park adjacent to the Guest Harbour. (Jane probably less delighted….) So a happy evening was spent eating ice-cream, drinking beer and kicking tyres.
Weather kept us in Nykoping for a few days again, unfortunately this is becoming something of a pattern. Eventually we left, and sailed to our final destination for this year, Navekvarn. This is where we have arranged to leave Grey Wanderer for the winter. Our friends Les and Sheila joined us for a week, and we did some local sailing, and sightseeing, before starting on the lay-up process.
Navekvarn is a very pretty place, slightly off the beaten track for boats traveling between Southern Sweden and the Stockholm Archipelago. We only discovered it by a chance conversation with other members at the CA bar in London last winter. The booking process by email was efficient and friendly, and the storage service comes recommended by others, so we will see how it all goes.
It seems crazy to be contemplating the end of the season in August, but it all happens a bit earlier up here. If we were in the UK we would probably leave the boat in until after Christmas, but this is Sweden, and we need to see her winterised and tucked-up in a shed before we can return home for September. We’ve had a great season this year, despite some pretty awful weather at times. The CA rally in Estonia was a highlight, as was the run through the Finnish and Swedish Archipelagos. Latvia was fun, although we regret not seeing more of it. We have visited four capital cities and logged about 1200 miles since leaving Germany in May.