In the beginning of this summer, I was still a total beginner with sailing. Okay, not a complete beginner, since I had taken the basic navigation course with my father one and a half years earlier - I had generally been interested in boating and the sea. However, I had not dreamed about sailing, but when I had met Antti and he was planning to sail to Norway, I decided not to stay in Finland the whole summer, but to join him and learn to cope with living in a rather small boat. I had heard a lot of scary stories about seasickness, but hoped that I would not be one of them who gets easily ill.
When I had decided to join Antti for the sailing journey, I started mentally preparing for the journey - read other peoples' stories from the seas. I really liked the idea of travelling with a home - I had been travelling a lot earlier and knew how it was to travel with a backpack and move from one ho(s)tel room to another. I thought it great to visit the other Nordic countries and their small but idyllic towns by the sea, the beautiful nature and of course, to experience sailing.
We made two short weekend trips in the archipelago near Turku, one to my parents' summer house and one to Airisto marina, but my third sailing journey ever was this journey towards Norway. My first leg was 10 days long and during that time, I had already experienced a lot. On the first day, we had the rough start - and it was a little bit rough also for me, because I got seasick in the strong wind when the boat kept heeling. Afterwards, I started taking the medication I had got against seasickness, and luckily it helped. I made the stupid mistake of thinking that I would not get seasick that close home.
In the beginning of the trip, the weather was quite cold, but when we had reached Sweden, I remember spending one afternoon on the sun deck sunbathing when we motored through the Stockholm archipelago. When we reached Öland, the feeling was great - I had experienced my first night sailing and had been able to even sleep, when Antti was on watch. My watchkeeping turn was in the morning and it felt quite absurd to be in the middle of the sea and see nothing else but water - and then I finally started seeing Öland. The sun was shining and Byxelkrog showed us its best.
A couple of days later, it was Monday and it was time to fly back home to Finland to work a little. I work as an entrepreneur and had promised to work those three weeks in June, so I had to get home. It was quite sad - Antti was left alone to sail towards Copenhagen and I had to go home alone. Well, after three weeks, I flew to Stavanger and took the train to Egersund to find Antti and s/y Dolphin Dance there again.
The first days in Norway were really rainy. The boat stayed in Egersund but we rented a car to drive around a little. When the winds calmed down and it did not rain that much anymore, we set sail towards Berefjord. It was the first wild anchorage I saw in Norway, and what a beautiful sight it was. The following day, we saw the scenic Kirkehamn and the idyllic Rasvåg and the sun was even shining! We climbed to the hill next to Ytre Kalvekilen and saw the beautiful views from there. We had then time to visit also the idyllic towns of southern Norway - Farsund, Mandal and Lillesand - before we started really moving back towards Finland. We had passed the dangerous sea areas in south-western Norway, Lista and Lindesnes, surprisingly easily and also crossing the Skagerrak went well.
Passing Lindesnes - I am knitting in the sunshine!
The scenic Ytre Kalvekilen
When we were travelling towards Finland, we saw many different kind of places. First of all, the high mountains and fjords in Norway. Secondly, the sand dunes in northern Denmark. Thirdly, the archipelago on the Swedish west coast and afterwards the southern Sweden and its picturesque towns. We also visited the wonderful Bornholm and came back to Öland - to the island we had loved when we visited it earlier. It had been pouring rain for a couple of days, but when we reached Kalmar, the sun was shining again and the summer was back.
The rest of the journey went really well, there was enough wind and even the sun was shining pretty often. When we reached Finland, we both started feeling quite sad - the journey of this summer was coming to its end. We decided to visit both our parents before getting home, to be able to take a smooth transition from living in the boat to getting back to the land.
This journey was a great experience. Antti already mentioned some numbers, so I must point out some too: My first and second sailing journeys were 32 nm and 34 nm long, the third one was 376 nm long and my fourth one was 1007 nm long. This summer, I have thus sailed totally 1449 nm - I think that I can not anymore call myself a beginner with sailing - especially considering how good I have become at making hanks and knots from the ropes ;) We have great memories from this journey and are already waiting for our next sailing trips. Luckily, we have this blog, a lot of photos and our memories, so we can think back to the summer smiling and plan what will happen next summer.