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Great Discoveries: Norwegian anchorages, part 1

Great Discoveries: Norwegian anchorages part one: the eastern Oslofjord area

Sailing the Oslofjord | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55It seems that most people who sail to Norway skip over the entire Oslofjord region.  If they’re coming from Sweden they’ll sail directly to Farsund or Eggersund. If they’re coming from Scotland, they’ll sail straight to Stavanger or Bergen.  It’s really a shame, because the Oslofjord region is breathtakingly gorgeous!

We use three different guides to Norwegian anchorages and marinas.

1. Havneguiden

2. Norske Los (free to download as pdf files)

3.  Norwegian Cruising Guide by John and Phyllis Harries (morganscloud.com)

We recommend them all, but the Havneguiden is the one with the most photos, taken from the air so you can really see what the anchorage looks like. If you download the inexpensive Eniro charts (charts for Norway and Sweden) for your iPad or smartphone, you see lots of anchorages marked.  In addition, the paper charts for Norway often have anchorages marked out.

Fredrikstad

If you’re coming up from Sweden, a good stop may be Fredrikstad.  It has a marina in the middle of town and a lovely historic old town, Gamlebyn, to visit.  We arrived from the east, first going up the fjord, then river Østerelva that leads to the city of Sarpsborg There’s quite a current here, so consider yourself warned.  You can also approach from the west side, in which case you’ll avoid having to wait for bridge openings.

Sailing the Oslofjord - Fredrikstad | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Vintage boats in Fredrikstad

When you enter from the east to enter the city, you’ll see an old mill in full working order — that’s how strong the current is.

Sailing the Oslofjord - Fredrikstad Mill | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

The mill at Fredrikstad

You’ll have to request and wait for a bridge opening to get to the marina if you come from the east side.  They don’t open the bridge at request, but if you call, they know someone wants to pass and they will open the bridge at the set times.  If you don’t let them know, the bridge doesn’t open at all (because they think no-one needs an opening).  You can wait for the bridge opening along the quayside just before the bridge.

Sailing the Oslofjord - Fredrikstad | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

View towards the centre of Frekrikstad

The town itself is quite small but has a good choice of restaurants, cafés and bars along the quayside.  We had dinner at a tapas restaurant there – excellent dishes and good prices (for Norway, that is).

The prices of berths at quayside range from 250 NOK to 600 NOK (15 meters and up).  They have showers, toilets and laundry facilities.

We planned Fredrikstad as our first stop because we thought we’d have to check in our boat and our dog.  We well called the Norwegian customs , we found out that you just need to carry your dog’s passport (with the stamps for all of the necessary vaccinations and the special worm treatment for Norway) in your pocket or purse — just in case anyone wants to check. The customs explained to us that since our boat is registered in a Schengen county and we are from a Schengen country, we didn’t need to clear in.

Sailing the Oslofjord - Fredrikstad | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Filling up the diesel tanks. Diesel is a bit cheaper in Norway than Sweden.

If you leave Fredrikstad from the eastern side, you may want to fill your diesel tanks at the Nøkledypet marina. Glommen Bunkerservice is open between 8.00 and 20.00 during the summer season (until end of Sept.)

Sailing the Oslofjord - Fredrikstad | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

It seems that you don’t pay the road tax on diesel at marine fuel stations. You do pay the VAT though.

Korterødkilen anchorage

Another idea for a first stop in Norway is the charming anchorage of Korterødkilen on north side of the island of Kjeøya.. It’s kind of a Norwegian summer neighbourhood, though there’s not much activity outside the vacation period and the weekends.  It is protective of winds from any direction.  You just need to be careful of your anchor scope as there are several boats lying on buoys.

Sailing the Oslofjord - Kjeøya | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

The lovely anchorage on Kjeøya called Korterøkilen

The anchor bottom consists of sticky mud/clay — good holding.

Sailing the Oslofjord - Kjeøya | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Summer houses in Korterøkilen

Sailing the Oslofjord - Kjeøya | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Our anchorage at Kjeøya. The GPS coordinates: 59°5’48N, 11°13’8E

Hankøhavna anchorage

Our first anchorage on the way up to Oslo was Hankø’s west side.  Hankø also has a big marina on it’s east side.  We chose the anchorage because we didn’t want to waste time going around the island.

Sailing the Oslofjord - anchorage at Hankøhavna | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Dramatic evening skies at Hankøhavna

In hindsight, we should have done so because the Hankø anchorage is not really suitable for a large boat like Freja. The problem here is that many boats are lying on buoys, and there are additional buoys for the Norwegian cruising club to use.  The anchorage is so crowded with buoys, it’s difficult to put out enough chain to have a proper scope for strong winds.

Sailing the Oslofjord - anchorage at Hankøhavna | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

We had strong winds at the anchorage of Hankøhavna

If your boat is 9 tons or less, you can use these buoys if they aren’t taken by a cruising club member.  Since our boat displaces far more than 9 tons, (about 27 tons fully bunkered) hooking onto one of these buoys wasn’t possible. We prefer to use our big anchor in any case, as we know once it’s bedded in, we aren’t going anywhere.

Our 55kg Spade held throughout a night of 30-38 knot winds, even on short scope (about 4:1) but I didn’t get a lot of sleep.  I was constantly waking up to check my iPad (which acts as a remote for our Furuno TZ plotter) to check the wind speed and to see if we were dragging.

Sailing the Oslofjord - anchorage at Hankøhavna | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Our anchorage at Hankøhavna. GPS coordinates: 59°11’53N, 10°46’7E

Son Marina

Sailing the Oslofjord - Son Marina | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

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We found the seaside town of Son utterly cozy and charming.  Hyggelig as they would say in Danish.  We arrived  on a Saturday, so the village was full of activity and all of the littles shops, restaurants and cafés were open all weekend (except for the Vinmonopolet which is always closed on Sunday.)

Sailing the Oslofjord - Son Marina | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

View of Son Marina

Speaking of the Vinmonopolet — this is the Norwegian version of the state-run shops that sell alcoholic drinks.  You see the same system in Sweden (System Bolaget) and in Finland (Alko).  Norway has the most expensive wine of the three countries, so you may want to stock up before arriving.  In Norway, Finland and Sweden, you can buy light beer (lower alcohol content) in grocery stores, but normal beer is also sold only at the state-run shops.  You may think that because it’s a monopoly system that the prices are higher than in “normal” shops, but that isn’t always the case.  We saw, for example, a 75 cl of 2014 Tignanello for sale at 600 SEK (61 Euros or 68 USD) in Sweden.  The same bottle in Switzerland would cost twice that.

Sailing the Oslofjord - Son Marina | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Out for a walk in the seaside town of Son

Sailing the Oslofjord - the town of Son | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

The beautiful cobblestone streets of Son

Getting back to Son Marina,  we spent 2 and a half sunny days there.  We sampled one of the restaurants, “Solsiden”, had coffee in one of the pleasant cafés, “Torvgården”, both very good. Jacques even had a haircut at the marina salon.

Sailing the Oslofjord - Son Marina | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

A view of the boardwalk at Son marina

Sailing the Oslofjord - Son Marina | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

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Sailing the Oslofjord - Son Marina | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Having some early morning cappuccino in a café at the marina.

Be warned though, that outside of the normal summer holiday period (from around the 25 of June to around the 10th of August, the restaurants and cafés are only open on the weekends.

Sailing the Oslofjord - the town of Son | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

The fire brigade museum in Son

Sailing the Oslofjord - the town of Son | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

A view of the town square in Son

We will definitely come back to this lovely marina town!

Sailing the Oslofjord - Son Marina | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

This dachshund was out for a ride on mom’s kayak.

Information on Son Marina:

This marina is open all year ‘round, with lower prices between around mid-September to mid-May.

Prices include:  electricity, water, wifi, toilets, showers, laundry room, exchange-a-book library, septic tank pumping station.

Prices: 250 NOK to 500 NOK depending on the size of the boat.  We paid 500 NOK for Freja (55 feet).  A warning about prices — if you reserve a place with Dockspot, the price is 100 NOK higher than the official price.  We reserved our first night with Dockspot. It was 600 NOK instead of the official prices of 500 NOK.

Marina telephone: +47 649 587 38

Marina email: post@sonhavn.no

Sailing the Oslofjord - Son Marina | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

This cutie was waiting for his owners to get back to the boat.

Fredagshølet anchorage

This anchorage is extremely well- protected from winds and seas from all directions.  It’s located on the north side of the island of Seiløy (Sail Island!).  Getting to anchorage is a bit tricky, no matter if you’re coming in from the night or south, so pay attention — there are underwater rocks on both sides of the channels.

Sailing the Oslofjord - Anchorage of Fredagshølet | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

The anchorage of Fredagshølet

The nature is that of a typical outer archipelago island — mostly smooth, rounded granite and small bushes and trees. It’s easy to find a warm rock for sunbathing if that’s your thing.  The anchoring holding is excellent — we brought up lots of sticky mud on or anchor.

Sailing the Oslofjord - Anchorage of Fredagshølet | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Smooth granite islands around Fredagshølet

If you prefer marinas, there is a small marina close to Fredagshølet called Bukta Gjesthaven.

Sailing the Oslofjord - Anchorage of Fredagshølet | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

A view of the small marina near Fredagshølet called Bukta Gjesthavn

Sailing the Oslofjord - Anchorage of Fredagshølet | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Our anchorage at Fredagshølet. GPS coordinates: 59°7’21N, 10°51’21E

Stockholm Archipelago, Part 2

Great Discoveries: Stockholm Archipelago part 2

Discover Stockholm's beautiful archipelago | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Enough already about the city of Stockholm!  Stockholm also has one of the world’s finest, most beautiful archipelagos.

To be truthful, only one of these islands, Lisselö, was a real discovery for me. For Jacques, they all were new discoveries, except for Sandhamn and Träskö-Storö, which we visited together back in 2013 in a chartered Bavaria 40.

Lisselö

Lisselö was a true find for us.  We visited it twice and each time, we were the lone boat in the anchorage.  It has a cozy feel since there are a couple of fishing cottages and a few summer houses here.  We liked observing the fisherman coming and going in their little semi-open boats, called Snipa in Swedish. They are kind of like  pick-ups for the sea.

Lisselö in Stockholm's Archipelago | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

The anchorage of Lisselö, not far from the outer edge of Stockholm’s archipelago

We did need a couple of tries to finally get the anchor to hold here, at around 10 meter’s depth. Perhaps there’s some seaweed growth on the bottom.  If you’re anchored just so, you’ll have a view of the open sea through a shallow channel towards the east.  Lisselö is well-protected from all winds except for hard easterlies (that blow through the little channel).

Lisselö in Stockholm's Archipelago | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Senna drying off after a swim. You can see out to the open sea through this little channel.

Lisselö in Stockholm's Archipelago | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Our anchor spot was at 59°20′.43N, 18°54’59E

Lådna

We had a visitor at our anchorage in Lådna — a grey seal hunting for a meal.  We were sitting in the cockpit after dinner, each reading a book, when we heard a strange sound. It sounded like a whale exhaling through its blowhole.

It was a seal!  The sound is produced when they come up for air, open their watertight nostrils and exhale. We took some photos, but in all of them, the seal looked like a tiny black dot, even with a 120 mm telephoto lens — not worth putting up here.

The anchorage we chose was a new one for me. I’d been to the well-protected Lådna many times before but always on the western part of the island.  The entire series of small coves at Lådna was already crowded when we arrived at around 18.00, so we didn’t have a huge choice of spots.  Our little inlet on the far southeastern part had no boats at anchor when we arrived, so we quickly choose a spot there. We found good holding at about 8 meter’s depth.

Lådna in Stockholm's Archipelago | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

It’s nice to have some flowers in the cockpit – here’s our little geranium.

Lådna in Stockholm's Archipelago | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

The GPS coordinates for our anchor spot: 59°24’53N, 18°44’18E

Själbottna

This is another anchorage I’d visited before, but never in the western part.  With a small boat, you can use the eastern inlets and tie to land, but with Freja, we need a good place to turn around our anchor.  And turn around we did! During the evening, the wind died completely, and all of the boats lying at anchor floated every which way.  We saw the track we made on the plotter — we had turned 360° around because of the lack of wind.

Själbottna in Stockholm's Archipelago | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

We had no wind at all in the Själbottna anchorage

The western bay of the island is protected from all winds and seas. We were anchored in about 10 meters’ depth (mud).

Själbottna in Stockholm's Archipelago | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Cozy atmosphere in the anchorage

Själbottna in Stockholm's Archipelago | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

The GPS coordinates for our anchor spot (star): 59°33’32N, 18°46’44E. The places marked with an asterisk are ones I’d used with my former boat.

Sandhamn

Sandhamn is the archipelago’s version of St. Tropez.  It’s the summer base for the Royal Sailing Society of Stockholm (KSSS), which means that almost every member will spend some time there during the summer.  If you enjoy bars and house music, people and yacht watching, this is your place during the summer.  Outside the period of June 20th to August 10th, it’s a much calmer place, and during the colder months, when only the year ‘round population is left, it’s pretty much in hibernation mode.

Sandhamn in Stockholm's Archipelago | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Sandhamn is the most popular marina in the entire archipelago

We visited Sandhamn with guests from Switzerland, just to show them another, livelier side of the archipelago.  There are several small boutiques selling clothes, home décor, souvenirs, local artwork and boat “stuff”.  Sandhamn also has a small grocery store and a lovely bakery.  You’ll find ice cream stands everywhere during the high season.

The marina berths are expensive during the summer and they are hard to come by, so you really need to reserve a berth or risk ending up with nothing.

Sandhamns Seglarhotellet in Stockholm's Archipelago | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

The Seglarhotellet houses part of the hotel as well as 2 restaurants and bars.

There are two sides to the marina — one that’s managed by the KSSS and one that’s managed by the restaurant called Seglarhotellet. We reserved a berth in the Seglarhotellet part of the marina.

The prices there run from 310 SEK to 380 SEK for a boat up to 38 feet, depending on the season, plus a restaurant voucher fee of 300 SEK.  For a boat like Freja, 55 feet, it’s either 550 SEK or 620 SEK, plus the voucher fee, depending on the season.  The restaurant voucher, for which you are billed 300 SEK  is worth 350 SEK in any of the hotel’s restaurants or bars.  We had planned to have dinner at the restaurant, anyway, so we got 50 SEK out of the deal.  It’s a strange system; obviously to strongly encourage you to eat at one of the restaurants.

Sandhamn's marina in Stockholm's Archipelago | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

This is the marina attached to the Seglarhotellet. It was a tight squeeze for Freja.

I don’t think we would return to Sandhamn during the high season again, unless we had guests that really wanted to go there.  It’s just so much more expensive than any other marina in or around Stockholm, and it’s not really our style, especially at night with all the noise!  During the off-season, it’s much more quiet, but then all of the little shops have closed and the bakery is open only three days a week and a few of the restaurants have closed for the season…

Träskö – Storö

Träskö – Storö is a huge anchorage that spreads out over a few different islands and inlets, so there’s always room for one more boat.  There is just one area to avoid if laying at anchor, though, especially with a west wind blowing.  I’ve marked this on the map.  It’s one of the most beautiful anchorages in the archipelago, in our opinion. That explains why we stayed for 2 or 3 days each time we came here.  On weekends, there’s usually a “bakery boat” that sells bread and pastries by going from boat to boat.

Träskö-Storö in Stockholm's Archipelago | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Just a tiny part of the anchorage on Träskö-Storö

Träskö-Storö in Stockholm's Archipelago | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

The GPS coordinates for our anchor spot: 59°26’42N, 18°46’45E

Gällnö Hemfladen

Gällno is one of the few genuine islands left in the archipelago.  It still has farms and fisherman, unlike most of the other islands which are 80-100% summer cottages. You may hear a tractor working a small field or cows mooing.  It’s an anchorage relatively close to Stockholm, so it’s a good choice if you’ve gotten a late start to the day, or if you want to drop the anchor for lunch.  The anchor bottom is thick, heavy mud and it’s well-protected from winds and seas.

Gällnö Hemfladen in Stockholm's Archipelago | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Our guests from Geneva swimming with Senna. The water was only 20° C.

Gällnö Hemfladen in Stockholm's Archipelago | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

It felt like we’d gone 100 years back in time here

Gällnö Hemfladen in Stockholm's Archipelago | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

The GPS coordinates for our anchor spot: 59°23’49N, 18°38’8 E

Sailing in to Stockholm

Sailing in to Stockholm

It was time to finally head in to Stockholm.  We had reserved a berth at the Navishamn on the island of Djurgården, close to the centre of town.

Dalarö - Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Sailing past a small island near Dalarö, about 3 hours’ sail from Stockholm

Stockholm is protected by an immense archipelago and the only ways to approach it by boat are from the south via Saltsjöbaden or from the east via Waxholm or Värmdö.  Since we were coming up from the south, and since we are not sailing a boat with more than 3 meters’ draught or 30 meters’ air draft, we were taking the southern approach.  All larger, taller and deeper-draught boats need to arrive via the Oxdjupet (Ox depths) or the Kodjupet (Cow Depths) passages.

Stockholm southern approach - Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

The southern approach to Stockholm

Stockholm eastern approaches - Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

The eastern approaches to Stockholm. Most pleasure boats use the orange-coloured passage via Kodjupet.

The anchorage of Napoleanviken

We wanted to spend one more night at anchor before sailing to the city, so we selected the famous friday night anchorage of Napolenviken on the island of Ägnö, not far from Saltsjöbaden.Napoleanviken - Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Napoleanviken - Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

This chart shows where our bow anchor held and did not hold. GPS coordinates: 59°14’16″N 18°24’14″E.

Napoleanviken is often used by sailors leaving town on a friday evening, as it’s only an hour or two from the marinas and boat clubs around Stockholm

Napoleanviken - Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

We were anchored in the tiny eastern side of Napoleanviken

This anchorage is perfectly protected from swell and almost perfectly protected from wind.  If there’s a hard WSW blowing, it can come into the eastern part of the anchorage.  This usually  isn’t a big problem in the Napoleonviken.

Napoleanviken - Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Looking towards the western part of the anchorage

It’s best to anchor here “the Swedish way” (two lines ashore plus a stern anchor) but there are a few good spots to lie with a bow anchor.  We tried several times in the wester part of the anchorage with no success. We finally got it to hold when we went into the eastern part.  If you can anchor with lines ashore, there are many spots for you.  I used lots of different spots when I lived here and had a 36-foot boat  that was easy to tied up to the shore.  We’re going to have to try with Freja next year!

Napoleanviken - Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Senna enjoying her morning swim in the Napoleanviken

Napoleanviken - Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

On a Friday evening, you would see lots of boats moored up to the granite rocks you see in the background.

To get to Stockholm from the south, you need to pass through two narrow canals (straits) — don’t worry, they’re wide enough for a steamboat to pass through!

The Baggensstäket

The first canal/strait you’ll enter is called “Baggenstäket”.  The draught here is 3 meters, so most pleasure boats will be able to go through.  But if you’re floating around in a Swan 70, you’ll have a problem!

The second is the Skurusundet, which has a 30 meter bridge passing over it. This bridge is bow-formed, so if your mast is high, you’ll need to pass under the middle of it or you’ll won’t get the full 30-meter clearance!

One of the many fairytale-like cottages you'll see on the way to Stockholm - Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

One of the many fairytale-like cottages you’ll see on the way to Stockholm

You do need to keep a lookout on the bow for traffic coming towards you. A few passenger boats in regular traffic come through and they have the right of way.  If you see or hear them coming (they will sound their horn before entering – one long blast), you’ll need to either back up or move to the side so they have enough room to pass.  There are several areas too narrow for the two of you to pass side by side, so stay vigilant.

Baggenstäket - Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Lovely old pavilion along the Baggensstäket

If you have a motor, you are required to use it — sailboats are not allowed to sail through the canal.  Stay on the starboard side of the canal while being careful of the marker buoys.  This may sound like obvious information, but one of our guests assumed that you should stay in the middle of a fairway or canal, and we had to correct him.

Sometimes you won’t come upon a passenger boat, but something unusual, like a barge or small cargo ship.  We were behind a barge called Tvättbjörn on one of our passages towards the canal. The skipper had announced his ETA to the east entrance of the canal on VHF every 5 minutes.  A barge, being constrained in it’s ability to manoeuvre, has the right of way.

Have a look at the video!

 

Skurusundet

After passing through the Baggenstäket, you’ll go through the strait of Lännersta, and then through the scenic Skurusundet (Skuru strait).  Again, the bridge has a 30-meter clearance, but that’s in the middle part of the structure.

Skurusundet, just outside Stockholm - Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

The Skurusundet, just outside Stockholm

Skurusundet - Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Boathouse along the canal

Upon exiting the Skurusundet, you’ll sail past the little island called Sverigesholme and “turn left” towards Stockholm.  You’ll now see Stockholm in the distance ahead.  After passing the large island of Lidingö (where I lived for several years), you’ll see the Fjäderholmarna (Feather Islands) on your starboard side.  The main island hosts a couple of good restaurants. You can even visit them with your own boat if you can snag one of the few berths on the island.  Otherwise, you can catch one of  the shuttle boats that go out every 30 minutes or so from the centre of town.

Sailing through the Stockholms inlopp (Stockholm waters)

Stockholm - Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Some of the many archipelago passenger boats that run out of Stockholm. One of them is a shuttle that goes to the Fjäderholmarna.

Just after the Fjäderholmarna, you’ll have the island of Djurgården on your starboard side.  The two marinas in Stockholm are located here.  One is called the Wasahamn and the other is called the Navishamn.

Sailing past Djurgården, Stockholm - Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Sailing past the western end of Djurgården island in Stockholm

The advantage of the Wasahamn is that it’s closer to town and a stone’s through from several of the major tourist attractions of Stockholm, restaurants, cafés, etc.  The advantage of the Navishamn is that it it’s farther from the centre of town, in a somewhat peaceful area.  So you have to decide what you appreciate more — a bit of tranquility in the city, or easy access to to most of the famous tourist attractions in Stockholm.

I’ll do a marina review and go through some of the famous tourist attractions in Stockholm in my next posts.

We decided that the Navishamn would suit us better, since a). we’ve already seen the tourist attractions on Djurgården, and b.) we prefer some tranquility!

Navishamn on Djurgården, Stockholm - Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

View of the Navishamn in Stockholm

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.