Not another castle...
20 June 2018 | Kalmar
Bright and Windy
We’re still in Kalmar waiting for the wind to die down. A few brave boats left yesterday but we had a good excuse to stay- I had an appointment with the dentist. After half an hour in her chair I feel a lot better and can chew again.
Today I dragged Barrie away from boat jobs, and he agreed that Kalmar Slot was well worth the visit. These Skandi Renaissance castles are quite different to our gloomy British equivalent, with pale interiors and beautiful marquetry. I knew nothing of Nordic history, But I’m beginning to recognise the key players now. We had lunch in a very pleasant restaurant in the castle gardens, where I made the basic error of ordering two glasses of house white without seeing the price. It was very pleasant, but cost more than the set lunch! Never again.
17 June 2018 | Kalmar
We had a really fast sail today up the sound between Öland and the mainland. Three yachts left the marina within ten minutes of us. Despite denying ever sailing competitively, we probably left it longer than usual before we reefed the headsail! We were all heading for Kalmar, quite a large town with a beautiful castle that we plan to look round tomorrow.
Unfortunately the wind was still blowing hard when we entered the marina, and was beam on when made our first ever attempt at berthing bows too, picking up a buoy on the way in. It did not go well. I failed to get Barrie close enough to the buoy, and was blown sideways onto our neighbouring boat. Everyone was very kind, and nothing was hurt other than my pride. There’s a special hook used round here to make this manoever easier, so it’s on the shopping list for tomorrow.
An Easy Day
16 June 2018 | Sandhamn
By mid-morning we were the only yacht left in the basin. We only had twelve miles to go to our destination on the mainland so had plenty of time to explore. The first step was borrowing the harbour rowboat to get across to the other part of the island. We tied up next to the powerful rib belonging to a group of divers, who were staying in the few buildings originally built for the lighthouse keeper. It was a long climb to the top of the lighthouse, but worth it for the view. The lighthouse is one of only a handful in the world to have been fortified. We met the harbourmaster, who confirmed it was very rare to have such a flat calm sea.
Our exit was much easier than our arrival, and we motored for two hours with almost no wind, and are now in a sleepy fishing harbour on the mainland. There is one quay for the fishing fleet, and the other is the 'gasthamn' for visiting yachts. There is a large German yacht tied behind us, and the owner knows Sweden well and has given us a very useful list of his favourite anchorages as we head North. Never take recommendations on anchorages from a smaller boat! A British yacht arrived quite late and we invited John and Suzanne for a drink. They have owned their boat over 40 years and kept her in the Baltic for the past 12 years. They also gave us plenty of tips on where to go.
A Tight Entry
15 June 2018 | Utklippan
We are in a wild and interesting harbour, a small basin excavated from a scattering of rocks ten miles south of the Swedish mainland. The basin was originally built as a shelter for pilot boats, but is now used just by yachts on passage. Tomorrow morning we plan to climb up the lighthouse for the view- we're too tired tonight. The double entrance was both very narrow and shallow, with just half a metre under the keel and a sharp turn to negotiate around this concrete bollard. Barrie had to get the fenders and lines prepared outside the harbour whilst I held station in quite a big swell- not ideal! But all was peace and calm once in, and we are one of just eight boats here for the night.
We have sailed 60 miles today, our longest passage for a while. The autohelm is behaving some of the time after Barrie's improvised repair. then decides to spin us 90° off track, so it's back to hand helming until it starts to behave again after a few hours - most odd.
The Hated Castle
13 June 2018
We cycled north today to Hammershus, the site of the largest ruined castle in Northern Europe. Again, a delightful quite hilly route along the coast and through beech woods, mainly off-road. The site of the castle was spectacular, high on a granite outcrop overlooking the sea. Also impressive was the new visitor centre, which only opened in March. It’s an architectural wonder, built into a ravine with a terrace looking out at the ruins. The state-of-the-art interpretation centre told the tale of the castle. The Church forced the local people to build it, then they were governed strictly and taxed heavily by various rulers as it passed between Church and State until it was abandoned in the mid 1700’s.
Sauna by the Sea
12 June 2018 | Hasle
We had a fast sail to Bornholm with the wind behind us. It's the first time we've had a rolly downwind sail since our passage to the Azores about this time last year. Barrie was feeling a bit green when we arrived, and was pleased to find a free public sauna in the harbour. He shared it with an 83 year old local, who has a swim and sauna every day unless the harbour is frozen over!
Bornholm is a rocky island at a strategic position in the Baltic. It has changed hands many times, but for the past few hundred years has belonged to Denmark. We are tied up in a fishing harbour on the north-west coast. There's plenty of room for visiting yachts in the various basins, and it looked a better option than the proper marinas. I got a telling off from the harbour master this evening because we were still flying the Swedish courtesy flag.
The Ale’s Stones
11 June 2018 | Ales Stenar, Kåsaberga
We are so glad we have the folding bikes with us. We can go months when they never get taken out from under our bunk, but this summer they remain out on the aft deck, and are our main source of exercise and freedom to explore. The cycle paths in Sweden are as good as those in Denmark. When occasionally they run alongside a main road, barriers ensure our safety.
Today we pedalled 15 miles there and back to see Ales Stenar, stones set out in the form of a Viking Ship’s hull. They work as a calendar, with the sun at both the summer and winter solstice lying its shadow across the central stone on each side. The setting was spectacular, on the highest point of a cliff. It was a mile’s walk from the village car park, so everyone had to earn the view and it wasn’t too busy.
09 June 2018 | Ystad
Teak decks are lovely, and Yarona’s look great for her age. But they do take work to look so good. Barrie has spent most of today cleaning them and now he’s replacing some plugs. I’ve been polishing stainless steel, another essential if rather tedious job.
We are in the marina in Ystad, and (unlike in most of the Wallander series) the sun is shining. This weather is amazing and shows no sign of ending! We Took the easiest option when we arrived - an alongside berth at the entrance. Not the most sheltered, but a good spot to drop the dinghy and get these jobs done. The town is lovely with medieval streets and half-timbered buildings, and we hope to explore tomorrow. But the autohelm still needs fixing....
Welcome to Sweden!
07 June 2018 | Falsterbo
Yesterday’s forecast was for F4 on the beam, but we woke to F5 on the nose, so decided to stay put. Today we had a lively sail across the Sound. The autohelm has stopped working- rudder sensor error message- so we had to hand helm for four hours. It was a fast but not the most relaxing of sails- cargo ships and a ferry to dodge, some shallow patches and a huge wind farm to sail around. The buoyage is excellent which helps.
We are in a marina at the entrance to a canal that gives a short cut across a sandy peninsula at the south-west corner of Sweden. We managed a cycle ride on an old railway track this afternoon, but it wasn’t very interesting.
The road bridge across the canal opens on the hour, so we plan to make the 09.00 opening in the morning, after Barrie has had a rummage under the aft bunk to try to sort out the autohelm. He wasn’t in the mood tonight!
Send in the Clowns
05 June 2018
A lovely three mile cycle ride north on a track through the sand dunes took us to Arken, a Modern art gallery at Ishoj. The stark concrete architecture suited its setting. We really liked this rather disturbing installation of 45 clowns.
We could easily stay her longer, but tomorrow.... Sweden!
04 June 2018 | Hundige
We have stayed in this scruffy marina a while- it's cheap even though our free days are up, and it's a pleasant ten minute cycle ride from Denmark's largest mall and hypermarket. We have proven today that you can load £200 of groceries onto two bikes!
We are struggling a bit with eating out, as away from the tourist haunts menus in English are rare. Lunch is nearly always a smøgesbrod, or open sandwich, and they eat a lot of pickled veg. Back on Yarona, I've been inspired to make some pickled cucumber- and it's very good!
02 June 2018 | Hundige
Before we arrived last week, we dropped sails about five minutes outside the harbour wall, and crept in checking the depth carefully. We now watch the local yachts blast in under full sail, including this beauty, heading straight for us!
The Danes are known for having a good work/life balance. Every evening people come down to their boats and take them out for an evening sail. The tracks along the sand dunes are busy with cheerful families out on their bikes.
01 June 2018 | Hundige
Sometimes, not often, jobs go well. Eric arrived to service the generator just two hours after we arrived. He charged us a third of the quote from Fox's Marina. Most of his work is on generators in Lorries, and we didn't suffer the usual uplift for anything with a 'Marine' suffix. He wasn't impressed with the access, though!
Barrie could easily have done this himself, but now we have the stamp in the log book, and a five year extended warranty.
Ironically, we don't need the generator at the moment, as at almost every stop-over we are tied up and connected to shore power. We are looking forward to some nights at anchor amongst the Swedish islands.
Where did they come from?
31 May 2018 | Greve
This wind farm was a bit of a surprise today- it wasn't on either of our charts! We had a good sail to Greve Marina, a bit of a detour so we can get the first service of the generator done by a pro- this is a neccesary requirement for its extended warranty.
This is the first scruffy marina we have come across in Denmark, and quite a contrast to Turborg Havn. I stopped grumbling however when I found out the first free nights here are free! It has the feel of a flooded gravel pit, and the nearest food store is in a mall two miles away, so we will certainly be glad of the bikes for a big shop tomorrow before we cross to Sweden. Prices are all relative in Scandinavia, especially when it comes to alcohol!
The Carlsberg ExBEERience
30 May 2018
Window shopping yesterday, a brewery tour today... what heathens we are! But having been to Louisiana last weekend, none of the galleries and museums in Copenhagen really inspired us enough to pay the entrance fee. So we continued our tradition of visiting the local producer of alcoholic beverages, and took a short ride out to the Carlsberg Visitors Centre on the site of the original brewery. The introductory talk was given by a young Irishman which was slightly bizarre. Most of the others in our group were from Singapore and they didn't appear to appreciate his sense of humour. But we passed an interesting few hours, admired the red Jutland working horses in their stables, and had a very good value lunch.
Start ‘em Young!
30 May 2018
Mark and Kath are moored next to us. They left Australia on their Nauticat Tuuletar three years ago, and Raphaela was not part of their cruising plans. Good things happen in the Azores.... They have been made welcome in Denmark and plan to stay a while. Raphy has just started nursery, and Kath has been offered a job today! They came aboard with some friends and we enjoyed canapés and celebratory champagne in the cockpit. Raphy is shown getting in some winching practice.
They are the first cruisers we've met since leaving Ipswich and we had a really pleasant evening.
Nearer to Copenhagen
29 May 2018 | Turborg Havn, Hellerup
Having found out the astronomical price of a return train ticket from Holsinger to Copenhagen, we decided to move to a marina closer to the city. We are very lucky with our choice. Tuborg Havn is in the redeveloped harbour of the brewery, now closed. It's also the home of the Royal Danish Yacht Club and there are some very smart yachts here, but we have been made very welcome. We have been given an alongside berth just under the yacht club, which is a lively restaurant at night.
But best of all, it is a short and pleasant walk to the bus stop, and the 1A bus which takes us straight to the centre of the city in just 20 minutes. We weren't brave enough to join the hordes who cycle in. Today we just went for a wander around, and a look at the many superb interior design shops. No culture today!
26 May 2018
A short bike ride south, this time on National Route 9, took us to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. It was the last weekend of a very successful exhibition of Picasso’s Ceramics, and we were lucky to catch this. The museum and grounds on the bank of the Örosund were beautiful and we spent a pleasant day there, including a lovely buffet lunch featuring delicious smoked scallops.
24 May 2018 | Helsinor
Another great and sunny sail today, to reach a large marina in Helsinor next to Kronburg Castle, the inspiration for Hamlet’s Elsinore. After the rather dull towns we have visited this week, this looks to be a lot more interesting, and large enough to absorb the cruise ship hordes.
The castle is situated on the narrowest part of the Örusund, the busy channel between Denmark and Sweden. The wealth of the town grew over the 200 years during which the Danish kings charged a levy for every ship that passed through.
We may stay a few days and visit Copenhagen from here. It's an easy 40 minutes on the train, probably easier than sailing into Copenhagen itself.
A Long Bike Ride
23 May 2018
After three days’ consecutive sailing, we felt it was time for a day off the boat and some exercise. Regional Cycle Route 40 passed through the town, so it was an easy choice. The loop started with a ferry ride, shared with a rather large tractor. The next 15 miles was on a dirt track through a dense beech forest- interesting for the first 10! Then we crossed back across the fiord on a busy bridge to a rather boring town for lunch. The ride back was a mixture of quiet suburban lanes and excellent cycle tracks alongside main roads.
Denmark really has got it's cycling infrastructure sorted; so much better than in the UK.
About 40 miles in total. Barrie's OK but I'm exhausted!