Jul 19, 2013

Gotska Sandön – a paradise island in the middle of the Baltic Sea


On Tuesday, we continued to Gotska Sandön, which is the most isolated island in the Baltic Sea. It is located about 20 nm north of its closest neighbour Fårö, but otherwise it is basically in the middle of the Baltic Sea about 50 nm southwest of Stockholm Archipelago. A few years ago I sailed past Gotska Sandön, the name of which is familiar to most from the radio marine weather forecasts/observations. The long sand beaches on the island looked very tempting and there were many boats anchoring in the lee of the island. However, I did not have enough time nor the inflatable dinghy to be able to see the island.


Thus for this year, Gotska Sandön was one of the places that we wanted to visit, if weather conditions permit. The island is uninhabited and has no harbour, so one has to anchor on that side of the island which gives the best protection from the wind and the waves. The sand bottom around the island gives a good grip for anchor, but the problem is the constant swell that rounds the island. The wind was from the south as we arrived in the evening, but fresh westerly breeze was forecasted for the night between Tuesday and Wednesday and it was forecasted to veer to north during the following day. This kind of unsettled wind conditions are the most difficult for anchoring on Gotska Sandön. Our boat neighbour on Lauterhorn had just arrived from Gotska, and they had had to change the anchorage multiple times during the night!


We decided to drop the hook on the east side of the island (on the French Bay), which was more exposed during the evening but hopefully would give a better protection from the westerly winds during the night. What we did not expect was that there was fairly large northeasterly swell remaining although the winds had been westerly for two days – the swell was probably coming from further north. The cross-swell created an uncomfortable rolling on the anchorage, especially when the boat turned so that the swell came from aside. I guess that I fell in sleep only around 4.30 in the morning...

Four boats were anchoring on the northeastern side of the island (Källahamn)

However, we spent the following day on the island and this pretty much made us forget the miserable night. It almost felt like coming to a tropical island when rowing the dinghy to the deserted sand beach. The warm and sunny weather did not do bad either! We walked along the kilometers' long sand beaches which basically round the island. The island is 9 kilometers long and 6 kilometers wide, so walking to the other side would have taken a bit too long. We could not find paths going through the lush pine forrest to the middle part of the island either. The lighthouse and the camp site, where one can rent cottages, are located on the other side of the island. Also the tour boat coming from Fårö and Nynäshamn lands on the northern side of the island.

In the afternoon, the wind turned to southwest so we decided to take the advantage of the favourable winds and head towards the Stockholm archipelago.
/Antti

Kyrkudden, the eastern tip of the island 

 Sand dunes at Källahamn



 A paradise also for birdwatchers and photographers. These two fellows were so tame, 
that even my rather small objective was enough for bird photography.



A lot of driftwoods on the beach





Dinghy is almost a must to see the Gotska Sandön. Another option is to swim ashore.

On the beach (via Minna's Instagram)

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It would be very great to hear your opinion or comments. Thank you in advance for commenting! -Antti & Minna