Friday, 10 May 2002

Wandering in Mälaren

Starting with Thursday afternoon...  packing, shopping for food and driving out to Ekerö.  We were a bit late really but the wind stayed up and we had an easy sail over to the guest harbour in Björkö for the night.  It is the first island you see when we leave port so it is not far – an hour with good wind.  Pål did most of the work. (He needs the practice if he is to keep the boat for next year)

Anchoring went smoothly – nice for the first time out.  We have embarrassed ourselves enough here in the past.  And then a short stroll out to the old Viking remains to enjoy the late sunshine.  
This is the harbour at Björkö seen from the ramparts of the old Viking settlement.  Somewhere among the masts is ours (last on the left..).  I love coming out here when the weather is good.  The views are just so refreshing.

Björkö  Guest Harbour

During the daytime the island is quite busy with boats coming and going dropping off tourists to look around the island and visit the small museum.  It is a treat to be there once they are all gone.  You see the place in a whole new light.  (maybe I should mention that I first came here on one of those tripper boats and thought how nice it would be to live in Sweden and sail these waters…)

We had picked a destination in advance.  By early afternoon we were about there so we took the time to sail round a bit to find the ideal spot.  Somewhere sheltered… I was still not sure about the weather.  We passed a couple of likely spots and came up a long enclosed bay weaving to and fro as the wind became fluky between the wooded slopes on either side.  There were a few houses and a few small jetties… was there nowhere more secluded?

The chart showed the last part of the bay had no houses and so it proved.  We picked a spot where a low cliff dropped off into the water and chugged slowly inshore.  We still have no sounder so we “swing the lead” in traditional style –Pål uses a weighted line to test the depth, and I cross my fingers and hope I can stop if we come on something too shallow.  This though was the ideal combination – deep water right in to shore and a shelving rock ledge at just the right height to step off onto.  So we tied up, and there we stayed.

And the sun shone… 

Late lunch came as a picnic on the cliff top – and then, well what was there to do?  A leisurely walk along the shore through the woods… a few of those “boat jobs”. 

So that was Thursday.  Friday saw a late start – well I thought so anyway…  I wasn’t sure about the weather forecast – it is hard to find one to trust and I thought the winds could have been harsh.  In the event they were ideal.  Pretty soon we were heading north pushed along by a lovely breeze.  The biggest problem was trying to find where the sun-cream was stowed!

We enjoyed the day to the last drop of sunshine, eating up in the cockpit before retiring inside as the evening chill drew in.  Another nice to find… the paraffin heater works… (and Pål’s work on the electrics!).

Which brings us to Saturday… and a leisurely breakfast before heading south for home.

This time though, those fresh winds had sprung up.  Not so much more than previous, and light at first where it was sheltered.  After weaving through a few smaller islands though we reached the sound that led home and zig-zagged our way through a wind driven chop with the wind on the nose.  Every once in a while a bigger wave would slap under the bows and send a shower of cold water back over us.  Back and forth across the sound watching for the gusts coming through, feeling the pull on the helm and the heel of the boat as they arrived.  Good fun in it’s way but needing steady concentration.  

Finally, after sailing around four miles extra from the tacking,  home was in sight. We did the last bit on a reach at top speed coming into port for a well earned late lunch.  Tidy up.. pack up.. load the car.. journeys end.