After a few of a sailors typical chores; such as provisioning, bunker of water, and washing some sheets and towels in the washing machine at the service building in the marina, we set off att 3 pm for Runö (ruhno in Estonian) some 35 miles to the ESE of Kuressaare. Runö has been a part of Sweden for more than 700 years, before it became Estonian at the time for there independence after the Russian Revolution 1917. The entire population was swedish-speaking and they were evacuated to Sweden in 1944 when the Soviet Union was about to take control of the young Baltic nations.
Unfortunately King Neptune is not on our side. A calm day made us motor all the way... not our favourite cup of tea...
We took off quite early to go to Kuressaare, the capital of this island. Unfortunately the wind was very weak, after a mighty rain squall just after we took off, and at the end we had to motor for 5 hours to make it.
Kuressaare was a pleasant surprise, a neat harbour at the end of a long dredged channel, and this mixture of old wooden houses and super-modern buildings that we are now taking as typical feature for the Baltic countrys.
A true 'fairy-tale' Castle as the icing on the cake. Big, well mantained, and complet with digged out water canals surrounding it and some impressing towers.... one really expected to see a Virgin leaning out a window in the tower, watching for her brave Knight to save her....
We decided to undertake the leap to ?-sel (Saarenmaa in Estonian) approximately 100 miles to Eastward. ?-sel is the next largest ialand in the Baltic Sea and although it as once been a part of Sweden, it's Estonian nowadays.
We left at 11 AM and the sailing was superb ! A close-hauled leg at som 2-18 knots of wind. The sailing was so great in fact that I, who generally never hand steer more than absolute necessary, sat at the wheel until midnight. 13 hours in a row, must be a sort of personal record. Exhilirating as it was, it obviously had to see an end. Around three AM in the morning the wind died out. Again. Dead calm. For five hours we were becalmed, and the swell was such as to give us but little rest in our bunks.
8AM the wind started to pick up a bit again, and soon the sails were hoisted.It took us until the afternoon to make it round the southern point of ?-sel, by the lighthouse Sörve. Since we were tired by now we didn't feel like pressing on in the very light breeze. Instead we anchored on the eastern side of a sand reef south of the light house. This gave us good protection from the waves, and the wind was predicted to continue from NW and light too.
A little while after our arrival, two men in green uniforms and high rubber boots in the hot weather came towards us in tiny boat with an outboard. They turned out to be the Border Police and claimed to do a routine control. After briefly lookiing through our papers, and asking where we came from and where we were heading next theu took off again. I guess that either they never saw a boat anchor at this potentially exposed spot before, or they just thought it would be fun to take a closer look at us.
A little while later, after I had taken a short swim from the boat to freshen up a bit, we got another couple of visitors. No offense to the Estoninan officails, but these newcomers were really welcome. A very curious baby Gray Seal were playing around the boat for ten minutes, watching us closely like he was trying to figure us out. Then he disappeared only to be back a little while later with his Mum. They both examined us and Röde Orm carefully, and dived around the boat for a while before they got bored, or hungry, or whaever, and disappeared.
In the evening the wind increased and veered to north, thus making our anchorage very unpleasant due to the choppy seas that had us rolling heavily all night long. exhausted as we were, we slept fine anyway.
Hot. I spent the whole morning own below tinkering with a 12/220 V inverter, installing a depth sounder and the likes. Uploaded photos and wrote some blogg entrys.
After a minor provisioning in the town, we motored the few miles over the strait to Bungeör, an old Pilot's watch facing the open sea Eastrwards.
We sailed the 15 miles remaining to Fårösud where we took a mooring bouy at the boat club. 'Rute Båtklubb'.
This meant that we had to tack u couple of times, life is hard at times, mind you!
After a trip to the local Chandler for a few of the ever present odds and ends that needs attention on a cruising boat, and some chats with the local sailors we prepared for a major event.
Just north of here, on the adjacent island of Fårö,my old school mate Erik lives since 12 years.
He was so kind and invited us to a BBQ with some of his friends, right on the beach. Grilled salmon, homemade potatoe salad and even a cake with the coffee. Stylish!
Before eating though, he drove us to the western shore, where the largest Rauk field is. More than 10 km long and with thousands of Rauks at different size. From a meter or two, to twenty m,eters high and in all kinds of shapes. In this 'moon landscape' we climbed and walked for half an hour, a bizarre but very nice experience.
Thanks a lot for a superb evening Erik!
P.S. I forgot my camera on board, so unfortunately no pics of this event D.S.