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Great Discoveries Nr. 2 – Stockholm Archipelago part one

Great Discoveries Nr. 2 – Stockholm Archipelago part one

 

After spending a day at the marina in Oxelösund, we were once again northbound for the Stockholm Archipelago.  But before I get into the anchorages, I’d like to provide a short review of one of the two marinas in Oxelösund, because it’s a good stop for provisioning if you want to spend the next week or so at anchor.  Oxelösund is the home of a big steel works, so it’s not exactly the most beautiful place you’ll see in Sweden.  There isn’t any smoke pouring from smoke stacks, so the air is clean — it’s just not a very pretty site.

Gamla Oxelösund - Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Sailing past Gamla Oxelösund (Old Oxelösund). Fisherman’s cottage.

Marina review: Oxelösunds Gästhamn (Gästhamn = Guest harbour)

You can chose between two marinas in Oxelösund. We stayed at “Oxelösunds Gästhamn” – it’s the closest one to the center of the small town – about a 15 minute walk.  The other one is the Femöre marina. It’s farther away from town but has the advantage of having a restaurant right at the marina.

Sorry about the lack of photos, but it was raining hard while we were there!

The Oxelösund marina provides great service!  We were met at arrival by a young man who showed us the best place to come alongside and took our lines.  Although the marina doesn’t have a restaurant, it does have a small café that serves cold and hot drinks, snacks and — ice cream!  All of the staff were kind and very helpful.  The large ICA Kvantum supermarket in town has just about everything you’d need to provision, and it’s open from 8.00-21.00 every day.  For those who hate to cook, there’s a good choice of ready-to-eat or -heat selections from the deli counter. It was still Swedish strawberry season, so we loaded up on some (a lot!) from a local organic grower.

Oxelösund Gästhamn Facts:
  • Total number of berths: about 100
  • Mooring Methods: Buoys, Alongside
  • Water depth: 1.2 – 6 meters
  • Facilities:  Toilets, showers, sauna, washing machines and dryers, microwave oven, free WiFi, fresh water, electricity (50 SEK per day), bicycle and kayak rentals, play area for children, basketball and boules areas, black tank pump-out self-service dock, fuel dock, snack bar with outdoor seating.
  • The small town hosts shops and museums as well as a children’s “adventure land” called Boda Borg.

Prices per day (2016):  200 SEK (electricity is 50 SEK extra per day)

Telephone: +46 70  600 1105. If you phone just before arrival, someone will come to help you dock.

Ringsön

The routing from Oxelösund to Ringsön takes you through a fabulous part of the east coast archipelago chain.  Be sure to pass through the “Stendörren” (stone door) on your way to Ringsön.  It’s amazingly beautiful and it’s appreciated by all Swedish sailors who pass through.

Stendörren - Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Approaching Stendörren (the Stone Door) passage.

Stendörren - Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Stendörren – not far from Ringsön

Stendörren - Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Going through the Stendörren (the Stone Door) passage.

We discovered Ringsön with our friend and coach, Leon Schultz back in 2015.  It’s a huge anchorage providing shelter from all winds.

Ringsön approach - Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Th approach to Ringsön via Stendörren.

Ringsön - Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

At anchor in the southern part of Ringsön.

The nature at this anchorage is exquisite, seemingly untouched by man.  We had a short swim, but the water was still rather cool at 18°C.

Ringsön - Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Anchoring spots on Ringsön.  GPS coordinates: 58°44’1N, 17°26’38E

Ringsön anchorage - Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

The weather had cleared up considerably.

Rånö

The route from Ringsön to Rånö takes you past the Landsort lighthouse, one of the most famous ones in Sweden.  It also marks the southern limit of the Stockholm archipelago.  You’ll also notice more  summer cottages and fishing cabins on the islands, as we are now getting closer to Stockholm.

Ringsön - Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Along the route, between Ringsön and Landsort

The inner route takes you past Nynäshamn, a medium-sized town know for its huge ferries to both Gotland and Latvia.  The marina is right next to the ferry terminal.  If you didn’t stop in Oxelösund to provision, you can do so in Nynäshamn, which is a bigger town with a greater choice of shops.

We actually tried to anchor up at the island of Nåtterö, famous around Stockholm for its sandy beaches.  We tried five times to get our anchor to hold in the cove called Östermarsfladden. To no avail – there was just too much thick seaweed growth on the bottom.  Each time, it seemed to hold, but as soon as we got to around 1,600 rpm during our backing down process, we started to drag. Since we’re not happy until it holds at 2,200-2,500 rpm, out we went!

We saw on the charts that Rånö seemed to have a well-sheltered bay called Rånöhamn.  It’s sheltered because the entrance is quite narrow, just as it is at Ringsön.  It then opens up to nicely sized harbour.  It’s great for all winds except for hard northerly.  Just be careful not to anchor on the east side – there’s an underground cable there.  Our Spade held on the first try, at about 10 meters’ depth.

Rånöhamn - Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Summer cottage at the Rånöhamn anchorage

Rånöhamn anchorage - Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Beautiful sunny day at Rånö

One helpful tip — avoid the urge to explore the island of Ängsholmen on the east side of the anchorage.  Cows are kept there and attract horse flies.  If you’re bitten by a horse fly you certainly know it!  Ouch.

Rånöhamn - Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Approach to Rånöhamn. GPS coordinates: 58°56’12N, 18°10’39E

Fjärdlång – Mörkviken on midsummer weekend

The route north from Rånö to Mörkviken on the island of Fjärdlång takes you past the wonderful marina of Utö.  You can read about it in this post.

Fjärdlång - Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Beautiful summer weather on the way to Fjärdlång

Fjärdlång - Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

The views are just incredible in the archipelago!

Mörkviken turned out to be perhaps a favourite anchorage in the Stockholm archipelago.  There are actually two parts to this anchorage — a small inner harbour which is perfect if you want to anchor up the “Swedish way” (two lines ashore with a stern anchor), and a much larger outer harbour – perfect for dropping your anchor off the bow.

Fjärdlång, Mörkviken - Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

The outer part of the anchorage in Mörkviken on the island of Fjärdlång

Fjärdlång - Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

That wonderful moment after the anchor is dug in, you’ve filled in your log book and you’ve gotten the dinghy in the water.  Jacques takes Senna out while I wait onboard to  really make sure the anchor isn’t moving  anywhere.  We usually wait an hour before leaving the boat unattended.

If you chose the inner harbour, you need to hug the western cliff face quite closely to get past the two underwater rocks.  We noticed that most of the to-land/stern-anchored boats were using the finger-shaped out-cropping on the southern edge of the anchorage.

Fjärdlång - Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

The inner part of the Mörkviken anchorage

We chose the outer harbour. We had winds from the southwest, and the forecast for the next couple of days was for weak winds from the S to SW. As you can see from the chart, the outer harbour would not be good in winds from the N to NE.

Fjärdlång - Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

The anchorage of Mörkviken – here you see the inner and outer parts of the harbour. GPS coordinates: 59°03’3N, 18°31’21E.

Our anchor held on the second try, in about 12 meters’ depth.  It was now time to get Senna into the dinghy and take her to one of the islands to take care of her “needs”.  Afterwards, it’s time for a swim. She loves to swim and we’ve started to follow alongside in the dinghy.  It’s great exercise and the low salt content in the Baltic waters doesn’t leave her sticky and crusted with salt.

Senna swims - Fjärdlång - Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Senna getting her exercise

It was midsummer — the weekend following the summer solstice — and everyone was celebrating with BBQs, herring and potatoes, music and lot’s of drinking.  We ended up staying here for three days — it’s just that lovely.  We worked on boat maintenance (mostly cleaning and polishing) had a few short swims and explored the anchorage by dinghy during long sunny days of midsummer.  It’s not always sunny and warm during mid-summer, but in 2016 it was!

Fjärdlång - Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

View towards the entrance of the anchorage.  Our boat Freja is on the left.

Fjärdlång, Sweden - Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

The beautiful midsummer light at about 10.30 in the evening.

City Visit: Copenhagen, Denmark

City Visit: Copenhagen | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55City Visit: Copenhagen

Many cruisers who visit Copenhagen only stay for a couple of days.  We understand, they perhaps have only a month or two in their cruising schedule — perhaps much less.  But Copenhagen deserves your time. We certainly had lots of time for Copenhagen.

It’s truly one of the most amazing cities in Europe (in our opinion, in the top 3). It’s charming without being cute.  Friendly without the fake smiles. Stylish without the pretension.  Historic, yet cutting-edge modern. Beautiful, yet humble.  Sophisticated, yet down-to-earth.

Perhaps the best word to describe the vibe in delightful Copenhagen is cosy or confortable.  You get the feeling that there is no  stress going on here — not even during rush hour.  We stayed in Copenhagen for a week and could have stayed for a month!

Our marina is a few metro stops from the center of town, but a 5-minute ride to the Amager Strand metro station. Copenhagen has a big bicycle culture, so we didn’t hesitate to unpack our folding bicycles and take them on the metro with us.  Bicycles are allowed on the metro outside of rush hours (7.00-9.00 and 15.30-17.30). You need to purchase a ticket for your bicycle (DKK 13 in 2016). The walk to the metro station would have taken us around 15-20 minutes.

We explored the Christianshavn area on our bikes on the first day. It’s the part of Copenhagen that most resembles Amsterdam with it’s criss-crossing canal system.  Some of the canals have guest harbours, but your boat needs to be less than about 45 feet to get a space.  The cobblestone streets, cafés, canals and beautiful architecture made for an interesting morning of exploration.

Christianshavn, Copenhagen | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

A common site in Christianshavn, Copenhagen

Christianshavn, Copenhagen | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Live-aboard boat in Christianshavn, Copenhagen

Christianshavn, Copenhagen | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Seagull protecting its territory in Christianshavn, Copenhagen

Christianshavn, Copenhagen | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

One of the marinas in Christianshavn

Christianshavn, Copenhagen | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Yet another marina in Christianshavn

Afterwards, we had  lunch on the sunny terrace at Almanak, part of the restaurant group housed in “The Standard” building.  The lunchtime smørrebrød is fantastic and we can recommend the superb dinner menu as well.  We had dinner there last summer.

The Standard, Copenhagen, Denmark | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

“The Standard” houses the restaurants “Almanak”, “Studio” and “Verandah”

Lunch at Almanak in Copenhagen | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Lunch at Almanak in Copenhagen

The next day, we did the shopping thing and hit the Strøget area.  The Strøget is Copenhagen’s pedestrian shopping street and includes most of  the major Danish brands and Design houses.  Ilum, Illums Bolighus, Georg Jenssen and Royal Copenhagen are all here.   We had lunch at Café Europa which turned out to be a nice surprise.  We weren’t expecting the food to be so good as it’s located just at the Amagertorv square.  Usually, restaurants that are well-located don’t have to try hard to get people in the door, so the food quality and the service suffers.  Not in this case.  We had a delicious 3-plate smørrebrød menu and the service was quick and friendly.  Then it was back to the metro before the 15.30 “bicycle curfew” and back to the marina and our dog, Senna.

Luckily, she’s used to us leaving during the day (for work) so she usually sleeps while we’re away.  We’ve been leaving her on the boat  for about 4 hours with no problem at all, as long she gets a long walk before we leave. And of course a long walk when we get back to the boat.  It hasn’t been very warm in Copenhagen, around 18 degrees, so if we leave all of the smaller windows open, it’s not hot in the boat. We leave a couple of fans running for Senna as well.

Day four was a rainy one, so we decided to walk to the National Aquarium, “Den Blå Planet” (the Blue Planet). It’s a large aquarium that’s a breath-taking architectural masterpiece in itself.  Five different wings show five different water environments, such as the deep oceans, the amazon jungle, coral reefs, or the baltic sea.  It’s well worth a visit on a rainy day.

We bicycled to Slottsholmen on day 5.  The tiny island of Slottsholmen is home to the former royal residence of the kings and queens of Denmark, Christianborg palace. It’s quite a huge place to visit, so you can buy tickets for the entire palace, including the stables, or for just some of it.  We opted for the royal kitchens and the ruins underneath the palace, this time around.  The ruins are fascinating because the tour tells the history of the palace, from it’s humble beginnings in the 11th century, through to the 20th century.  The palace was torn down and built up as a bigger and better version several times. It was also victim of fires three times in its more recent history and had to be built up again from its rubble.

We spent our last day just strolling through the streets of the city center and bicycling through Nyhavn, basking in it’s ambience, its cosiness. We had lunch at the fish restaurant on the top floor of the Illum department store — not bad but not the same standard as Almanak or Café Europa.

Outdoor restaurant, Copenhagen, Denmark | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Charming little outdoor restaurant next to one of the canals

The Black Diamond, Copenhagen | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

View of the architectural masterpiece the “Black Diamond” library and national photo museum.

Nyhavn, Copenhagen | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

It’s easy to see why Nyhavn is one of the most popular social spots of Copenhagen.

Nyhavn, Copenhagen | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Former lighthouse boat, now moored in Nyhavn

Nyhavn, Copenhagen | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Nyhavn on a bright and beautiful afternoon

Copenhagen, Denmark | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

One of the many renovated former harbour depots in Christianshavn

Copenhagen, Denmark | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

A beautiful morning in cosy Copenhagen

Copenhagen, Denmark | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Panorama of Copenhagen’s inner city from the Christianshavn district

Tomorrow morning, we will set off for Møns Klint, one of the most famous Danish landmarks, and the marina Klintholm

Kastrup – Amager Marina

Even though Copenhagen has a number of marinas, even a few  in the center of town, we chose the one in Kastrup because it was the most dog-friendly.

Located near the National Aquarium and just a 12-minute metro ride into the center of Copenhagen, it provided us with the best of both worlds — the space for dog walking and playing and nearness to the city.  In addition, it’s located next to Copenhagen’s most popular beach, Amager Strand.

It uses the system of green and red places — your can used any place marked green (meaning the owner will not be back for at least three days).  When in doubt, you can ask at the marina office.  We arrived early enough to get a place for our boat, which is no mean feat. There is only one place in the marina for a boat that’s 55 feet (17 meters) long.  This is the biggest disadvantage of having a long boat.  You can’t just fit in anywhere like a 36 or even 40 footer.

Here’s some basic information about Kastrup marina:

  • Showers and toilets
  • Laundry facilities
  • Marine supplies/clothing shop
  • Fuel station
  • Environmental station for disposal of hazardous waste (used batteries, oil, etc.)
  • Restaurant
  • Playground, beach and parks
  • Free WiFi
  • Telephone number for the marina office: 3250 2127
  • Email for the harbour office: kl.tf@taarnby.dk

Our sailing voyage begins

Our 2016 voyage begins | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Freja was finally ready to go.  Small repairs finished, hull polished, water tanks filled and galley provisioned.  We took advantage of having our car by buying more heavy items than we really needed at the moment (anything that comes in a jar or can).  We also drove to a big garden center to get some planks for Carl to make our fender boards.  We bought two “deck” planks – the ones you’d use to make a deck or a terrace.  They’re supposed to last about 10 years of normal “deck use” and are already treated for humidity ingress.  All Carl needed to do was to drill some holes, round off the corners and sand them a bit.

We decided to make the very first leg of our journey a short one, so that Senna, our dog, could slowly become accustomed to  the movement and heeling of the boat.  We chose a beautiful anchorage only 2 hours’ sail from Vindön, just before the port of Ellös.

We plan to do longer and longer legs to get her used to sailing.  Our limit will be 6-7 hours.  She can “hold it” that long.  We do have a small rug made of artificial grass that she can use, but she hasn’t had to yet.  Her first trip in the dingy to get to land was a big success.  She loved it!

Senna in the dingy | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Senna jumped right into the dingy from the stern stairs.

Mollösund

Our second leg ended at Mollösund, an incredibly charming fishing/summer cottage village with a small marina.  It’s worth the time getting there early or staying an extra night.  If you like seafood, you must walk over to Larssons Fisk (fisk=fish).  We bought some salmon and plaice almost right off the boat (the shop opens right after the fishing boat docks and unloads the daily catch).  They also have the most fantastic shrimp mix that they call “Mums”, which means “Yum”. And it is indeed yummy.  It’s the most delicious variation of “Skagen Röra” I’ve ever tasted. It even beats the one sold at Lisa Elmqvist at Östermalmshallen in Stockholm, for those of you who know Stockholm and that  famous seafood shop and restaurant.

Freja docked in Mollösund | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Freja docked in front of the “fish processing” building in Mollösund.

On the way to Larssons Fisk | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

On the way to Larssons Fisk

A window in the village of Mollösund | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

A window in the village of Mollösund

Looking into the window of a fishing cabin. Mollösund, Sweden | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Looking into the window of a fishing cabin. Mollösund, Sweden

A lovely mailbox in the village of Mollösund, Sweden | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

A lovely mailbox in the village of Mollösund, Sweden

The old windmill in Mollösund | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

The old windmill in Mollösund

A rowboat in swedish colours; Mollösund, Sweden | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

A rowboat in swedish colours; Mollösund, Sweden

Typical "fishing cottages" in Mollösund | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Typical “fishing cottages” in Mollösund. Many have been converted into summer cottages.

The marina in Mollösund is small, but if your boat is under 40 feet, you’ll be able to find a place unless it’s high season – the month of July.  Most Scandinavians are on holiday in July, so popular marinas are full by 14.00.  Some marinas accept reservations; otherwise you’ll have to get there early.  Needless to say, the beginning of May is not high season.  The electricity was not even turned on the marina, and not a single restaurant was open.  Mollösund does have a surprisingly well-stocked grocery store about a 2-minute walk from the marna, and two fresh fish shops.

Restaurants, cafés and bars surround the marina, but they don’t open until the beginning of June.  Diesel and gasoline is available at two different stations on either side of the marina entrance.

It's cold on the west coast of Sweden in the beginning of May! You need to dress for winter sailing | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

It’s cold on the west coast of Sweden in the beginning of May! You need to dress for winter sailing.