July 13, 2007: Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me-e-e-e-e. Cold and rainy, we set out for Mem, the beginning of the Göta Kanal. The inside trip through the islands down to Mem seemed to get prettier with each mile we traveled. Some of it could be attributed to the improvement in the weather as we got closer to our destination, but not all of it. There are thousands and thousands of islands and little rocks with a tree or some grass on it, making it necessary to pay close attention to where you are.
I am very glad that we were following Rhumb Line today. We had not bought charts for the Canal, and when I had plotted our course to Mem, I failed to double-check it with the paper charts that we had. I've been using the electronic charting system that Peter got several years ago, and although it is quite good, it has some serious shortcomings, chief among which is that there are no place names on the charts. I can't look for "Mem", for example, and find it. Well, the false fjord and the real fjord end at about the same Lat and Long, so in my hurry I didn't question the difference in distances that Rhumb Line and I had. We would have gone to the wrong place! That sorted out, we arrived in Mem to learn that we couldn't go up the lock that night because there wasn't any "room at the inn". We stayed tied to the dock that night. Rhumb Line was able to do some laundry, and they invited us to a lovely dinner. We heard from Horizons and Sno' Dog, who had arrived in Trosa and would be coming to Mem in the morning. We all agreed to take the lock up to Söderköping in the morning and wait for them there.
We arrived in Söderköping to learn that the marina at the top of the lock in the town is full. Rhumb Line, as leader of the pack, found a good spot for both of us to tie up near the entrance to the lock, and here we'll wait for Horizons and Sno' Dog. When they arrived in the afternoon, the dock had filled up completely, and so they rafted up with us. Four identical boxy boats drew an enormous amount of attention from everybody passing by. We had a great view of the town and the ice cream parlor that is famous all over Sweden. The long line to the ice cream window formed early in the morning, and didn't diminish until about 9 at night. Good ice cream, though we waited until just before closing, when the line had vanished, before buying ours.
I have been uploading pictures of our trip through the canal, which can be seen at http://www.fototime.com/inv/4B930F1B45078BE