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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.

Heading south — Rörö to Mölle

Heading south - Rörö to Mölle | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55After our pleasant but short stay in Mollösund, it was time to continue southwards.  Our first stop was Marstrand to fill up our diesel tanks.  There are two fuel stations at Mollösund, but as it was still “dead” season (not even low season) in Mollösund, we were afraid that the diesel in the tanks there would not be high quality — perhaps diesel bug had been growing there all winter. Since Marstrand gets a lot more traffic all year-round , we figured it would be a better idea to fill up there.

Fishing village on the way to Marstrand, Sweden | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Passing a little fishing village on the way to Marstrand

About 1’000 swiss francs later (which is about the same amount in USD), our diesel tanks were filled and we were on our way. Ouch!  For those of you who don’t live in Europe, fuel is expensive here because of all the taxes on it.  It is kind of unfair that boats have to pay road taxes on diesel, but that’s the way it is…

Rörö

We stopped for the night at Rörö, just north of Göteborg.  Rörö is a little fishing village that’s turned into more of a weekend and holiday village during the past 20 years.  The fishing huts and boats are still there, but there are more and more beautiful new houses.  I say “beautiful” because I appreciate the modern style of Swedish house and apartment building architecture. It seems to be all about wood, large windows, simple lines and discrete colours.

We were the only boat in the marina at Rörö | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

We were the only boat in the marina at Rörö

Rörö, Sweden - fishing nets | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Rörö is still a working fishing village

Rörö, Sweden | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Charming fishing huts in Rörö

Rörö marina has lots of space for  alongside mooring, important for us, since Freja is usually too wide and too long for normal boxes or Y-berths.  In addition, it’s much easier for Senna to get off the boat from the side.  We’ll see how it goes if we ever have to moor bows-in as some marinas in Sweden require. As it was dead season, we had access to water but the electricity was not yet turned on.

Fishing boats in Rörö. Sweden | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Fishing boats – and us.

Crushed mussel shells high up on a cliff on Rörö | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Crushed mussel shells high up on a cliff on Rörö. How did they get there? Seagulls?

Rörö island, Sweden | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Looking our over the open sea on Rörö island

We had ideal sailing weather as we slid past  the islands near Göteborg.

HMS Falken in Göteborg | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

We saw this beauty – HMS Falken, an training boat from 1947 for the Royal Swedish Navy.

Senna enjoying the sail | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Senna enjoying the sail

Vingö - Ockerö | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

You’ll need a large-format “Båtsport kort” (Chart for pleasure boats) to make navigation easier in the archipelago.

Sailing south to Båstad | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Still rather cold but we’re enjoying the sun!

Ockerö-Hamnholmen

Our next stop, south of Göteborg, was an anchorage called Ockerö-Hamnholmen (not to be confused with Ockerö just outside Göteborg).  We were alone in this fabulous anchorage.  If you have a dingy, you can go to the northern side of the anchorage for stupendous views of the open sea and the entire cove.

The advantage of off-season sailing: we were all alone in this lovely anchorage | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

The advantage of off-season sailing: we were all alone in this lovely anchorage

We had a clear and sunny day, and saw all the way out to Nidingen, a well-known lighthouse and weather-reporting station in Sweden.

You'll need a dingy to explore the three islands that make up this anchorage | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

You’ll need a dingy to explore the three islands that make up this anchorage

We continued on to Glommen, just north of Falkenberg, and and them sailed on to Båstad.

Boat-dog: this is Senna's second-favorite place if the boat is not heeling over | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

This is Senna’s second-favorite place if the boat is not heeling over.

Båstad

Båstad is a well-known tennis championship and summer holiday town.  We were thoroughly charmed by Båstad and stayed 3 nights.  For once, the marina was “open” – electricity was on, cafés, restaurants and shops were open, and there was lots of life around the harbour.  It could have been because we were there during the ascension holiday.  The Thursday is a holiday and most people take Friday off from work, giving them a big 4-day weekend.  Back when I lived in Stockholm, this was always the first big sailing weekend.

View of Båstad marina and the hills above the town | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

View of Båstad marina and the hills above the town

Summer weather had suddenly arrived as well.  We went from about 10°C to 26° in a day.  The down jackets went into the closet and the shorts came out.

Båstad marina at 20.00 and still lots of sun| Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Båstad marina at 20.00 and still lots of sun — the days are getting longer and longer

The marina itself is quite pleasant with lots of alongside places as well as boxes for boats 40-42 feet or less.  Ice cream shops, bars, cafés, and restaurants abound. Don’t come during the tennis championships or in July, though.  I’m quite sure it’s overfull and quite loud.

Marina in Båstad, Sweden | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

View of the interior part of the marina in Båstad

The town of Båstad is a short walk or cycle up the hill.  You’ll find a supermarket and boutiques selling clothes, decor, shoes, etc.  There’s also a tourist office stocked with information about the area around the entire peninsula, called the “Bjärehalvön”(Bjäre Peninsula).

The rolling hills above the town of Båstad | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

The rolling hills above the town of Båstad

After 3 lovely days in summery Båstad, we were off to yet another well-know summer holiday town, Mölle.

Beautiful sail to Mölle | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Beautiful sail to Mölle

Mölle

The marina in Mölle is rather small, so it’s best to get there early.  The problem is that if it’s full of Danish boats, they don’t have far to go, so they tend to stay late.  When we arrived at about 14.30, the marina was still full of boats from Denmark.  We tied up to a fishing boat quay while they finished eating their lunch.  After a half-hour’s wait they started to leave, one by one, and we could finally tie up for the evening.  There’s room for 6 or seven larger boats alongside and there are a few boxes for smaller boats 38 feet and under.

Calm Sunday evening in Mölle marina | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Calm Sunday evening in Mölle marina. You see the Grand Hotel in the hill in the background

Bronze statue in the harbour of Mölle, Sweden | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Bronze statue in the harbour of Mölle

It was a summery Sunday — about 28° — almost unheard of in early-May in Sweden.  The harbour in Mölle seems to be the centre of activity for the area and the various seafood cafés, ice cream shops and bars were full.  The restaurants and cafés at the marina are more of the fish and chips variety, so if you want to have a really good meal, you’ll have to walk up to the Grand Hotel. Or cook a good meal on the boat!

Sunset and golden light in Mölle Harbour. | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Sunset and golden light in Mölle Harbour. This was taken at about 21.30.

Cruising season 2016 starts now!

Cruising Season 2016 begins | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55After a leisurely three-day drive up through Germany, Denmark and the south of Sweden, we are finally back onboard Freja.

We will be spending the next 10 days or so on mission number one, organising the boat.  You see, last summer, when we moved most of our things onto the boat, we had only two days to unpack our boxes. All 22 of them.  This did not make for a logically organised boat.  Nothing was documented, either.

Organising the boat | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Organising, organising…

So here we are, on the island of Orust in Sweden, going through each drawer, closet, storage hatch and shelf, trying to decided what the most logical place is for everything.  Anodes and other heavy parts and tools go towards the center line and as low in the boat as possible.  Lighter spares and equipment can go towards the starboard and port sides and higher up.  Everything is to be documented, labeled and placed on a boat diagram.

Organising the boat | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Hanging up a painting of sailing in the Swiss Alps.

We started with our clothes.  Easy enough as we have only one hanging closet, one large drawer and two large shelves per person.  Ok, we are cheating by hanging up our foulies in the workshop hanging locker.

Organising the boat | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Trying to find a place for everything, and then documenting it in a spreadsheet.

Then we attacked all of our spare parts, after that, our tools. For the past three days, we’ve been organising all of our “stuff” and doing nothing else except walk Senna, our dog.

Boat dog | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Senna, our dog, finding her place on the boat.

Mission number two is to acclimatise Senna to living on the boat.  We are moored alongside the dock at the moment, so getting off and on is reasonably easy. She’s a big dog that weighs around 35 kgs, so we can’t just carry her under one arm to get her onboard.  We do have a gangway, but at the moment we are getting by with just placing her two front paws onboard and then lifting her back end onto the deck.  She seems to have no problem with the limited space on the boat.  She’s eating her usual dog food, which is a good sign.  She gets several walks a day around the island of Vindön, but she isn’t keen on swimming yet. Perhaps because the water temperature is only 7°C at the moment.

Our boat dog | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Senna feels confortable on the foredeck

Which brings us to the weather.  Sweden is not known for having summery weather in early April — a fact than I tried to explain to Jacques.  As it’s usually springtime warm in Geneva in April, he couldn’t quite believe me.  Well, he does now.  Our first 2 days were a “balmy” 13°, but then it started raining.  This morning it was only 3° — that’s close to freezing.

We do have heating on the boat, of course. In fact, we have there different ways to heat the boat — the diesel powered Eberspächer marine heater, two Dyson heaters for when we are hooked up to shore power, and the reverse cycle on the air-conditioning system which can heat up to 30°, also for when we are on shore power. So we are at least not going to freeze!

Organising the boat | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

We use Command Strips to hang our paintings. They come right off if you decide you don’t want the artwork there anymore.