Jul 29, 2012

The last leg from Djupviken to Kustavi

We finished our summer journey on Wednesday with a longish 12 hours and 60 nm leg from Åland to Kustavi. During the last two weeks, when we were coming back from the High Coast and cruising in the Stockholm Archipelago, we were quite unlucky with the weather, since the wind was mostly against us. In the end, our luck changed and during the last three legs we enjoyed some nice downwind sailing. After the Åland Sea crossing I wrote in the logbook, that it was the best sailing weather of the season so far. However, the final leg of the journey turned out to be even better. 

We started early at 4 AM from Djupviken. The first couple of hours we were sailing towards north to get clear of the shallow water north of Åland, before we could take the course to east towards Isokari. The wind was from the south so we were sailing almost dead downwind. For Dolphin Dance, which is quite a heavy boat with a short waterline, this is not very fast point of sail, so we decided to hoist the gennaker to get some more speed. 

During this season we have been using furling gennaker, and after some practice, the system has worked pretty well. Minna is usually hoisting the furled gennaker from the cockpit, while I am in the fore deck checking that everything goes well. However, the wind was pretty light this morning, so I decided to hoist the gennaker singlehandedly, while Minna was staying down below. However, before I managed to unfurl the gennaker, it got tangled around the fore stay and it took almost 30 minutes to sort the mess out. However, in the end we managed to hoist the sail, but the swell came from southwest, so it was difficult to get both sails, main and the gennaker, filled. Thus, we decided to lower the main sail and continue only with the gennaker, which turned out to be the best option. 

After we altered course towards east-northeast, the ride became much more enjoyable. Now the swell came from behind while we were reaching with the gennaker. We also hoisted the main sail, since the wind got temporarily lighter, but it increased again in the afternoon. 

This final leg was a nice closing for this journey - relatively fast and comfortable sailing in the sunshine. It is interesting, how sometimes two or three hours can feel like twelve hours, and now the whole leg passed almost too quickly. This kind of sailing memories are the ones which are longed for during the dark winter - and on the other hand, makes all the work and time dedicated to the boat feel worth it...

It is always a great feeling to see Isokari lighthouse rise from the sea. It is a great landmark, when approaching Kustavi or Uusikaupunki from the sea. It became visible in about 16 nautical miles distance.

Circle closes...from Isokari we started sailing towards Sweden four and a half weeks earlier.

Jul 27, 2012

Djupviken - a wild anchorage in northern Åland

After the coffee break in Sälskär, we continued to Djupviken, which is a popular wild anchorage in northern Åland, about 8 nm east from Sälskär. In Swedish its name means deep bay, and it is a perfect natural harbour especially at southerly winds - in the bottom of the bay one has very little idea about the conditions at the sea. However, the bay is open to the north, so in strong northerly winds it can be a nasty place.

The weather was cloudy and grey during the day, but towards the evening the horizon cleared and the setting Sun painted the scenery red making conditions perfect for photographing.

 Arriving in Djupviken

Scenery in northern Åland is hilly and rocky - it is a sort of Finnish version of the High Coast.

 Minna folding the main sail in Djupviken

From the cliffs of Djupviken a nice view opens over the bay and to the Southern Sea of Bothnia. 

Jul 25, 2012

Visiting Sälskär lighthouse island

After two nights in Käringsundet, we continued with a short 24 nm leg to Djupviken, which is a wild anchorage in the northern Åland. The wind was light in the morning, and there was still some swell remaining from the strong southwesterly breeze the day before, so we had to motor the first hour. Fortunately, the wind picked up somewhat during the day so we hoisted the gennaker and could continue the rest of the leg under sail.

The northern part of the Åland Archipelago is one of the most beautiful sailing areas in the Baltic Sea in my opinion. The first time when I sailed there was four years ago and I have been coming back almost every year - only last season we did not have time to make a detour to the northern side of Åland.

On our way to Djupviken, we decided to take a coffee break in Sälskär. I have sailed a couple of times past this little lighthouse island, which is located in the northwestern corner of Åland and I have always wanted to visit the island, but there is no harbour and the island is exposed to the open sea. Luckily, on Tuesday the conditions were good as the wind was light and the island was partly blocking the southwesterly swell. The waters are pretty deep and probably as rocky as the island, so anchoring may not be safe in anything more than calm conditions.

Therefore, we decided to borrow the private mooring buoy, which is used by charter boat that takes tourists to see the island. Minna stayed on the boat in case that the buoy needed to be vacated, while I took our tender and rowed ashore to see the island. In Sälskär, the landscape resembles northern Lappland and lone can experience the wilderness and quietness of the northern Åland. There are only few summerhouses and, surprisingly in the highest summer season, quite a few boats as well.

As I am writing this blog post, we are already sailing towards Kustavi, where our journey ends this time. Dolphin Dance will be left there while we go back home for the weekend. Thus, the last blog posts on Djupviken and on the last long leg from Åland to Kustavi shall come later, after we have returned back home.

Sälskär Lighthouse is built in 1868 

It is also possible to stay at the island in this hut 

Landing in Sälskär can be difficult with the dinghy if there is swell. The small pier is used by the charter boats.

Jul 23, 2012

Fejan and crossing the Åland Sea

On Saturday, we continued to Fejan in the northern part of the Stockholm Archipelago. Strong northerly wind was mostly against us, so we had to motor about two thirds of the leg. We managed to get one of the last free places in Fejan, which turned out to be a very lively little island. The restaurant near the harbour was full of people and there was a reggae band playing until the late hours.


We had an early wake up on Sunday, since we were heading towards Åland. In the morning the wind was light, so we hoisted the gennaker and enjoyed relaxed sunday sailing. It felt good to be sailing again, since we had motored headwind through the whole Stockholm Archipelago basically. The southerly wind kept increasing during the day, so we decided to drop the gennaker and continue only with the main sail dead downwind towards north Åland and Eckerö.

We were a little bit afraid that we could not find a berth in the popular Käringssundet, but fortunately there were a couple of free places left in the late afternoon when we arrived. We enjoyed relaxing sauna after the day at sea and hoisted the quest flag of Åland islands.

Today the weather has been windy and rainy so we decided to spend a little it different day and took a cruise from Eckerö to Grisslehamn and back. Eckerö Linjen served a skärgårdsbord buffet and we did some taxfree shopping.
/Antti & Minna

Tortellini con pesto e prosciutto on the go 


Jul 21, 2012

In Stockholm Archipelago: Getudden & Paradiset

We enjoyed our three nights' stay in Stockholm: the location of the guest harbour Wasahamn is excellent since it is situated so close to the city center on Djurgården. On Thursday, we decided to leave the sunny capital behind and started the journey towards Åland. For a change, we decided to stay at wild anchorages.

First we sailed to Gällnö, Getudden. The wind was light so we enjoyed relaxed sailing. However, the traffic outside Stockholm is busy and all the time there are boats and passenger vessels passing from both sides. Therefore, there is constant cross-swell in the archipelago near Stockholm.

Sailing past the Vaxholm castle

Gällnö, Getudden

On Friday, we continued first to Ingmarsö, but the harbour was already full in the early afternoon. Thus, after emptying our septic tank and refueling, we continued to nearby wild anchorage. The place is modestly called "Paradiset" - the Paradise. Indeed, it is a very sheltered anchorage with beautiful surroundings. Obviously, many other boaters wanted to stay in the paradise as well: there were over hundred boats mooring next to the shores and more than twenty boats mooring in the middle of the bay. /Antti & Minna

Narrow waterway from Getudden towards Ingmarsö  


 Bullbåten sells for example bread, ice cream and strawberries for boaters