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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

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.

Great Discoveries: anchorages on Sweden’s southeast coast

Sweden southeast coast anchorages | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Our favorite anchorage discoveries of 2016, Part one:

Northern Kalmar Strait, Gryts Archipelago and St. Annas Archipelago

 

We left Kalmar marina with a great sense of anticipation — within the next 20 or so nautical miles, we would entering archipelago country!  Archipelagos and the natural anchorages among the thousands of islands are the true reason for sailing in Sweden.

Sailing the Kalmar Strait | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Sailing northbound in the Kalmar Strait, just north of Kalmar

Kiddeholmen Anchorage | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

This is the narrow entrance to the anchorage of Kiddeholmen

Kiddeholmen

We’d like to share our favourite natural anchorages in the various Swedish archipelagos , and here is one of our absolute favourites — Kiddeholmen.  It’s located in the archipelago of the north Kalmar Strait (sea between the Swedish mainland and the island of Öland), just south of the town of Oscarshamn.

Kiddeholmen Anchorage | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

You have a great view of the famous (in Sweden) Blå Jungfrun. From a distance, it looks like a volcanic island. Behind Blå Jungfrun, you see the island of Öland in the distance.

Kiddeholmen Anchorage | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

The cosy anchorage of Kiddeholmen.  There are a couple of mooring buoys but these are reserved for Swedish Cruising Club registered boats and have a weight limit of only 9 metric tons.

Kiddeholmen Anchorage | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Jacques saw these seagull eggs while exploring one of the little islands

Kiddeholmen Anchorage | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

This anchorage is suitable for all winds, but might be a bit uncomfortable in this spot during easterly wind (looking east towards the open Baltic).

Kiddeholmen Anchorage | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

This photo was taken at around 10 in the evening. The light gives everything a golden tint.

Kiddeholmen info:

The approach is a bit nerve-wracking as it’s quite narrow just at the entrance.  The depth, according to our depth finder, was 2.5 meters, but this always depends on the current sea level. There are no real tides in the Baltic, but barometric pressure and weather systems can have a great effect on sea levels. You can easily have one meter of difference from one day to the next if the barometric pressure changes greatly.

Check this site every day for sea levels if you’re sailing around Sweden.

Once you’re past the entrance, Kiddeholmen gives you lots of good spots for putting down the anchor.  The Swedish Cruising Club (SXK) has installed two of their blue mooring buoys for its registered boats, but they are safety-rated for only 9 tons or less.   Don’t use them unless your boat is registered with the SXK — at least not during the high season between mid-June and mid-August.  If you have a decent anchor, the holding is very good (thick mud mixed with clay). Our 55 kg Spade dug in pretty quickly.

Kiddeholmen Coordinates: 57°14′.68N, 16°30’43E.

Kiddeholmen Anchorage Coordinates | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

The star is where the anchor went down – perfect for the light SE winds we were having and being forecast for the next day

The anchorage of  Älö

We stayed on the inner archipelago route on our way north.  Although it’s much slower to weave through the thousands of islands on the east coast, it’s so much more interesting, not to mention beautiful, to use the inner fairways.

The ever-changing landscape with its forests, small farms, fishing villages and summer cottages makes the voyage more entertaining.  The sailing is more challenging as well. No “auto-piloting” here — it’s hand-steering once you get into the archipelago.

Charting a course every morning would be ridiculous. You’d have to plot a hundred different course changes every day.  No — you just have to use your charts and your eyes.  This is the way I learned to navigate back in the 80’s and sailed in the Stockholm archipelago. GPS had not yet  been invented.

Älö anchorage | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

On our way up to the anchorage of Älö.

We chose an anchorage that wasn’t far away — just 20 nm or so —  so that we’d have more time to relax, take Senna for a walk on one of the islands or have a swim, and then prepare a good dinner.  Our first choice was Stora Vippholmen, which you see on the chart below, just south of Älö.  That tiny anchorage was full, however, when we arrived.

Älö anchorage | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Small but utterly charming anchorage of Älö — here you see the typical Swedish red and white houses and cottages.

We continued on to the anchorage on the north side of Älö and we were so happy we did.  It is so peaceful and idyllic – it looks as if time stopped in the 1950’s!

Älö anchorage | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

The islands here were used purely by fisherman and their families – now, about half of the houses are summer holiday/weekend cottages.

Älö anchorage | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Boat houses on Älö

Älö anchorage | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Relaxing with Senna. The flush hatches and Air-Only dorades make so much more space available on the foredeck.

Älö info:

The entrance to the anchorage is just off the marked fairway, north of the lighthouse “Mannen” and south of the lighthouse “Tunnholmen”.  It’s quite narrow, but large enough for our boat that measures almost 5 meters across.  Just a warning, don’t try this anchorage if you need more than 2.5 meters of depth.  Again, check the sea level forecasts to determine if you can go in or get out again.  If you have just enough depth to pass through today with 1015 Mb, what will you do if there’s 1029 Mb forecast for the next 2 days?

Keep in mind that the depths written on the charts are average depths, not the lowest astronomical tide (LAT) depths.

The holding in this anchorage is excellent — our Spade dug in almost immediately and didn’t go anywhere when we backed down at 2500 rpm, despite the short scope (25 meters out for 4 meters of depth). It’s a small anchorage that already hade 3 boats in it, and we were afraid a few more boats would join us.  One other large sailboat did come in after us and it anchored just behind.

If you have a dingy, it’s worth getting into it and exploring both the nature and the boat houses dotting the periphery of Älö island.

Älö Coordinates: 57°32″40N, 16°41″13E

Älö anchorage Coordinates | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

The anchorage just north of Älö is just off the marked fairway

 

North to Smågö, a “farm country” anchorage

The winds for the next 2 days were forecast at 20-25knots from the east.  With that kind of forecast, you generally avoid the outer islands which tend to be quite low.  They also have less vegetation, especially of the tall tree variety.  No tall trees = no wind protection.  The photo below gives you an idea of how the outer islands look.

Smågö anchorage | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Sailing northbound to Smågö, our next anchorage. Such beautiful weather!

Smågö anchorage | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

We shared the beautiful and tranquil anchorage of Smågö with a herd of cows

Smågö anchorage | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

These cows loved to be close to the water

Smågö is about 45 minutes from the north/south marked fairway, but it’s well worth the voyage.  You turn northwest to follow the fairway that ends in Loftahammar (at 57°49″N, 16°49E), then turn west when you see the marked fairway that begins north of Rågö (1 red and 1 green mark).

Smågö anchorage | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Happy hour on one of the islands.

The weather was so warm and the water so clear that I just had to go for a swim.  The water was cold though, so we didn’t stay in for very long!  We liked this anchorage so much that we stayed for three nights!  That gave us a change to do some cleaning and preventative maintenance on the boat and still have enough time to relax with a book and a glass of wine at the end of the day!

Smågö anchorage | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Half moon tonight

Smågö anchorage | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

We spent the first evening alone, but on the second one a cruiser from the Netherlands joined us

Smågö Info:

The anchorage is huge and you can find shelter from any wind here.  You can also go in between Smågö and Solidö.  The holding is good once you’re dug in, but you’ll need to find a spot that is sea-weed free.  We needed three tries to get the Spade in.  The type of seaweed that has air bladders (Bladder Wrack) grows in abundance here, and in the spring and early summer, it’s hard/impossible to see from the surface of the water at 5-6 meters of depth.

If you like to moor up the “Swedish way” (a 3-point mooring with two lines to 2 different trees on the island and a stern anchor), there are a few places that will accommodate you but not as many as you’d think. The shoreline is so rocky that we had a problem finding a place to approach with the dinghy.

A large  garbage bin for cruisers has been placed on the island of Smågö.  Something to keep in mind if it’s been awhile since your last marina visit.

Smågö coordinates: 57°51″45N, 16°40″36E

Smågö anchorage | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

About 45 minutes from the marked fairway that goes north/south, but worth the trip.

Risö – last anchorage before crossing Bråviken (fjord that goes west to Norrköping)

When we arrived at Risö, the weather was still half-sunny.  But that was about to change.

Risö anchorage | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Risö is a lovely anchorage for boats that draw less than abut 2.2 meters.  Our sounder gave us 2.3-2.5 meters here where we lowered the anchor

Risö anchorage | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

The next morning, the skies were grey. We would have rain for the next 24 hours.

A small low-pressure system delivered light rain during the night.  The skies were telling us that it wasn’t over yet and the local forecast called for heavy rain for the next 24 hours.  We would have rain for the Bråviken crossing and up to Oxelesund, where we had reserved a place at the marina.  We needed to go grocery shopping!

Risö Info:

Entry to the anchorage is easy, just don’t try to slip in between the east cardinal and the tip of the island.  The shore is shallow and rocky.  There is room for “Swedish mooring” for 3-4 boats depending on their size, on the island south of the red star that marks our anchor (see the boat in the first photo ).

The anchor holding is concrete-strong (dense clay).  Unfortunately, it’s so much like concrete that it’s really difficult to wash off. Be warned —  it took us 15-20 minutes to spray the hard and sticky clay off the anchor!

This anchorage provides good shelter from all winds from the southeast, south and west.  We had southeasterlies while we were there.

Risö coordinates: 58°24″34N, 16°53″36E

Risö anchorage | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Risö is just a short hop from the marked fairway that runs north/south

 

Kalmar: City visit and marina review

Kalmar Visit and marina review | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Kalmar: City Visit and Marina Review

The beautiful city of Kalmar is almost entirely surrounded by water.  It was an important trade centre for the Baltic countries throughout the middle ages and into the early modern era. According to Wikipedia, the oldest evidence of the establishment of a town dates from the 11th century.

 Kalmar - Lighthouse | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Lighthouse just south of the entrance to Kalmar’s harbour

Many of the buildings constructed during this period are still standing, making it a fantastic visit for anyone interested in history or architecture.  Even if you aren’t, the city, with its cobblestone streets, charming boutiques, and friendly population make it a “must visit”.

Kalmar Castle sea view | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

If you arrive from the south, you’ll pass in front of Kalmar Castle

The jewel in the crown of Kalmar is its castle, Kalmar Slott.  This fabulous example of medieval architecture stands majestic on its own island. Though the construction of the castle began during the 1100s,  it has been renovated many times throughout its history.

It was a symbol of peace in the 1300s as the treaty called the Kalmar Union was signed here.  It united Sweden, Denmark and Norway. The Kalmar Union was dissolved however, in 1523, and a long period of war and bloodshed followed.  One of the worst battles was the during the Kalmar War with Denmark-Norway, which took place between 1611 and 1613.  The treaty of Roskilde in 1658 marked the end of the worst hostilities and the end of the era of Kalmar as an important military city outpost.

Kalmar harbour | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Outer part of Kalmar Harbour

Arrival at Kalmar Marina

We had left Kristianopel early and were aiming for an arrival in Kalmar at about 12.00.  We figured that most people who were leaving, will have left by then, and those coming would not arrive for another couple of hours.

Kalmar marina | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

View of inner part of Kalmar Marina

Although the marina does not take reservations,  I called the marina manager about 2 hours before our arrival to ask what the situation was (in other words: “we have a 17 meter long boat — is there a berth free?”). He informed us that there was one berth large enough for Freja was free.  I said we would call back when we passed the Kalmar castle (about 10 minutes before entering the marina channel).  When I called the second time, he informed me that a big catamaran, a Catana 54, was in the processing of casting off and that we could take her place. Yay!

We got help with our lines from the marina manager, Thomas, and after we finished mooring, I went directly to the marina office, while Jacques took Senna for a walk.  The marina office is quite cleverly installed in the tourist office next to the waterfront.  After I paid for a two-night stay, I collected tourist information on Kalmar and the entire southeast coast of Sweden.  The tourist office houses a gift/souvenir shop as well, but I didn’t find anything that we really needed for the boat. You know the rule for the boat — anything that comes into the boat will mean something else going off!  At least when it comes to things that aren’t a necessity.

Kalmar Old Town | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

This part of Kalmar is only a 5-minute walk from the marina

Speaking of things that are a necessity, we did need a few things from the local chandlery.  Baltic Skeppsfournering (Baltic Ship Supply), is one of the largest boat supply shops we’d seen until now.  The personnel speak Swedish, English and even excellent German.

We then went to the Coop Supermarket in the Baronen shopping mall at the marina to stock up on food for the next week or so.  The Coop is actually my least favourite supermarket chain in Sweden.  Both the ICA shops and the Hemköp stores are better — with more choice of things we like, especially organic food.  But the Coop in Kalmar is right at the marina, so in the interest of convenience, we shopped there.

Visiting Kalmar Slott (Castle)

The next morning, we hopped on our bikes to ride over to the castle. It’s 5 minutes from the marina by bicycle, 15 minutes by foot.

Kalmar Castle | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

This is the amazing view of the castle if you approach from the marina

The gorgeous Kalmar castle, built in the Nordic Renaissance style, was gleaming in the morning sunshine as we approached.  The first thing I wanted to do is to try to reserve a table at the castle restaurant that evening.  It was Jacques Birthday and the restaurant there has excellent reviews.  Success!  They had a table for two available.

Kalmar Castle | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Kalmar castle greeting us in the summer sun

Kalmar Castle | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Coat of Arms at the Castle

Ducks - Kalmar Castle | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

These ducks on the grounds of Kalmar Castle are incredibly tame

We then went for a tour of the castle itself.  We ended up spending about 3 hours — not as part of an organised tour, but on our own.  There’s just so much to see and examine, especially if history and architecture are some of your personal interests.

Map of Nordic countries 1539 | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Map of the nordic and Baltic countries back in 1539. Note all of the fascinating sea monsters!

Kalmar Castle | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Model of Kalmar and its castle from the early 1600s

Room after fascinating room presented the most amazing craftsmanship — marquetry, embroidery, painting, glass and metalwork.

Hunting scenes at Kalmar Castle | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Beautiful scenes depicting hunting are painted and carved into the walls. Notice the incredibly intricate ceiling carvings.

Hunting scenes at Kalmar Castle | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Another scene in the “hunting room”

Hunting scenes at Kalmar Castle | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

And yet another scene in the same room

The two temporary exhibitions were wonderful: one on large glass sculptures and the other on the illustrations of  Björn Bergs illustrations of the Emil i Lönneberga children’s books by Astrid Lindgren. Just lovely!

Glass sculpture exhibit at Kalmar Castle | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

One of the breathtaking glass sculptures at the castle

Björn Berg's illustrations for one of Astrid Lindgren's children's books "Emil i Lönneberga" | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Björn Berg’s illustrations for one of Astrid Lindgren’s children’s books “Emil i Lönneberga”

One of our favorite rooms in the caste is the banquet hall.  It’s exhibited as fully prepared for a banquet with wax “food” done in the gastronomic style of the period.  Notice how they used birds and waterfowl as table decorations 😟.  Beautiful but horrifying!

Banquet hall at Kalmar Castle | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Banquet hall at the castle with wax “food” and decorations

Banquet hall at Kalmar Castle | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Close-up of the pie decorated with fake birds

After our 3 hours at the castle, we rode our bicycles back to the boat and got Senna (our dog) for a walk around town.  One word of advice — stop at the chocolate maker called Johannas Choklad.  They have the best dark chocolate sorbet!  Another boutique we love is Gerdas Te och Kaffehandel.  In addition to the many tea and coffee blends on hand, the shop is full of other gourmet foods. We have to be careful not to blow our budget here!

Johannas Choklad in Kalmar | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Johannas Choklad, a lovely chocolatier that serves dark chocolate sorbet during the summer

Kalmar Old Town | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

A home in the old town of Kalmar

Kalmar Old Town | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Colourful residences in Kalmar’s Old Town

Marina Review

The Kalmar marina is relatively small but it’s almost in the middle of town and a short walk from almost everything you’d want to visit.  The service is excellent, and although it’s not possible to reserve a berth (with the exception of a few small berths managed by Dockspot), the manager did find and hold a place for us when we phoned in a couple of hours before arriving. If you’re boat is less than 45 feet, Dockspot has a few berths but be warned that they do charge a commission for the reservation (almost 100 crowns for a boat our size).

The state of the toilets, showers and laundry was pretty much spotless.  Everything seems to have been recently renovated, and you need a code to enter. You’ll get the code when you pay for your berth.  The marina office is housed in the tourist office (located in the one the inner corners of the marina — it’s clearly marked with a huge “Tourist Office” sign).  We experienced efficient and friendly service all around.  We heartily recommend the Kalmar Marina.

Facts about Kalmar Marina:

  • Total number of berths: about 150
  • Mooring Methods: Bouys, Y-booms, Alongside
  • Water depth: 2- 4.5 meters
  • Facilities:  Toilets, showers, sauna, washing machines and dryers (10 SEK per load), free WiFi, fresh water, electricity (40 SEK per day), black tank pump-out self-service dock, fuel dock.

    Kalmar marina | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

    Our berth in Kalmar. We are lying just in front of the shopping mall “Baronen”.

Prices per day (2016)

Low season (1 MAY to 25 JUN and 15 AUG to 30 SEP):

  • Up to 10 m (33 feet): 180 SEK
  • Up to 12 m (40 feet): 200 SEK
  • Up to 14 m (46 feet): 220 SEK
  • Up to 16 m (53 feet): 240 SEK
  • Up to 18 m (59 feet): 260 SEK
  • Up to 20 m (66 feet): 280 SEK
  • Over 20 m (67 feet): from 300 SEK (call to ask)

High season (26 JUN to 14 AUG):

  • Up to 10 m (33 feet): 200 SEK
  • Up to 12 m (40 feet): 220 SEK
  • Up to 14 m (46 feet): 240 SEK
  • Up to 16 m (53 feet): 260 SEK
  • Up to 18 m (59 feet): 280 SEK
  • Up to 20 m (66 feet): 300 SEK
  • Over 20 m (67 feet): from 320 SEK (call to ask)

There’s a discount of around 200 SEK if you stay for an entire week.

Kalmar marina diagram

Diagram of Kalmar Marina. Please excuse the bad quality of the image, but it was the only one I could find!

Full-service repairs are conveniently located in the marina at Kalmar Marina AB (sails, engine, lift-outs, general maintenance and repairs. Telephone: +46 (0)480-316000. email: service@kalmarmarina.se. They even have indoor winter storage of your boat (up to 60 feet), if you fall in love with sailing on the east coast of Sweden and want to keep your boat here!

If you’re in need of spare parts or products for maintenance of your boat, Baltic Skeppsfournering is across the street from the marina office/tourist bureau.

Kalmar marina | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Casting off for more adventures on the Swedish east coast