Showing posts with label Sky. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sky. Show all posts

Monday, 5 September 2016

Stockholm to Helsinki, Part II - The Aland Islands

West Harbour, Mariehamn
Sailing in a small yacht is always an adventure, full of unpredictable highs and lows, often both in the same day.  Every day is different and as we release the mooring lines in the morning we never know quite what to expect.  

Although there is always a moment when the combination of fear and sheer discomfort becomes quite overwhelming, and I resolve 'never again', still I go back for more because there will equally be moments of the sublime and the magical that cannot be found in any other experience.  I understand what my husband means when he says that sailing makes you feel fully alive and I often feel we live more intensely in the relatively short time we spend on the boat each year than at any other time when life is more humdrum and predictable.

From the boatyard, we slipped downstream to the West Harbour in Mariehamn and celebrated the successful launch of our boat with a supper of delicious fresh fish and a glass of cold white wine, setting off for the island of Rodhamn the next morning in good spirits, the sails up as the wind freshened.  Things got rather sticky as we approached the island though, as our new head sail refused to furl in frisky seas - too much sail for the weather conditions is always a bad idea and it took ingenuity and quite a battle to get it to collapse in a heap on deck so we could enter the harbour and squeeze ourselves into the tiny space which was all we could find, offering entertainment to the safely moored up boats.  One or two other boats also arrived with collapsed sails, so at least we didn't need to be too embarrassed, although we both seemed to have forgotten everything we know about a well prepared mooring, sails and ropes in all the wrong places!  


Cafe at Rodhamn
Rodhamn was delightful and the weather the next morning was positively Mediterranean, so we enjoyed exploring this small island, sitting outside the tiny cafe drinking coffee and eating the best homemade Kanelbular (traditional Swedish cinnamon buns) we have found in Scandinavia. 

Unfortunately, despite adjustments before we left, the new sail still refused to furl as we approached the island of Degerby a few hours later, so lots more undignified flapping, but lunch at the harbour restaurant soon compensated for the problems and as the weather was about to turn with heavy rain forecast, we settled in for a rest day, exploring the island in between rain showers and chatting to the friendly locals and wrestling with our overfull bilges.


View from the harbour restaurant, Degerby
The next day was my husband's birthday and things started well, motor sailing through the Aland archipelago in bright sunshine, but as often happened, the wind picked up later and we had to divert from our intended destination of Kokar to the not particularly prepossessing island of Sottunga which is vying for the accolade of having the worst facilities in Aland, including a shower that had to be prepaid but, despite my best efforts, still ran out halfway through my hair wash with no more 2 euro coins to buy more warmish water...  Not the best place for a birthday celebration, but the next island more than made up for it! 


Sottunga harbour
The wind was having none of our plans to visit the island of Kokar in the south and blew us North to the Island of Baro, which just happened to have an excellent restaurant overlooking the harbour, the Glada Laxen, which was compensation for a rather disappointing birthday.  The rest of the day was spent exploring the island and watching the children playing in and on the water - Scandinavians have a much more relaxed approach to water sports than the English as water is so much a part of their culture and the children grow up learning to manage their environment safely.  


Baro Island - view of the harbour
At last the wind was blowing where we wanted to be, and we set off for the popular holiday island of Kokar in limpid conditions, blue skies and impressive clouds.  




Coming into harbour, Sandvig, Kokar
View from the beach, Sandvig, Kokar
Half of Helsinki seemed to have the same idea and the island was teeming with families, camping, sailing and playing in the cold Baltic sea, but it was a good place to spend a couple of days, catching up with laundry, hot showers and time to explore before leaving the Aland Islands behind and heading towards the coast of Finland.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

The North Norfolk Coast



It's been a while since I last posted and looking back through my drafts for inspiration, I found these photos of our trip last May to the North Norfolk coast which we visited following our wedding. 

It was a short visit, but packed with lovely memories, and I was particularly pleased to find these photos saved in my draft folder as Microsoft has very unkindly managed to lose all my documents and photos when it insisted that I install Windows 10!  Luckily I had saved most of my work to the Cloud, but not all, and these precious memories would have been lost had it not been for my blog.  

We stayed at Byfords in the lovely Georgian town of Holt and were thoroughly spoilt!  This pretty bunch of spring flowers came from the Delicatessan in Cley next the Sea

















Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Sailing into trouble - Sea and Sky

Surprisingly, there was little indication of what was brewing as we sailed up the Venetian Lagoon towards Chioggia.  Weather is fickle and can change so quickly, but we had a peaceful meander that day.


Just us...


...and them...


...the sea...


...and the sky.

This is what I go out on the water for!

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Another day, another mooring



I love the skies in Sweden, especially the evening skies just before the sun sets after a long, long summer's day.

It is rarely dark before 11pm and light starts creeping into the skies again by 3am in June/July, which I found rather unsettling. I don't think we really slept deeply at all.


We dropped anchor for the night in this quiet inlet...






...before heading to Fyrudden, a small pretty harbour, just a shop, a bar and a few houses...















...then on to Arkosund and a stunning sunset.  

We found ourselves caught up in a Swedish music quiz - we didn't understand the questions, never mind having the answers!










Nykopping at night. The night sky is rather painterly, I thought...


...and we could have showers and catch up with the laundry...




 ...then on to Ringson, an island in the Stockholm Archipelago where we learnt to moor onto the rocks, very popular with the Swedes, as you can then hop ashore and light a barbeque, walk the dog etc...









...before heading for the marina at Trosa, a beautiful little seaside town with a New England feel where we stayed a couple of days...






...then a long, so very hot day motor sailing which brought us to the beautiful island of Rastaholm on Lake Malaren, our favourite place of all, I think. Just idyllic...














...but, we had Stockholm on our minds again and the chance to sail into this stunning city, admiring the gorgeous Swedish summer houses built on the water...










... then a chance encounter with Andreas, a lovely German who had hit a rock (a common occurance in the Archipelago) and who needed a tow into Stockholm.  We took his line and towed him for 2 hours - 4 tons of metal just behind us, and no brakes, negotiating a lock, a bridge opening and heavy traffic coming into Stockholm...




...but we made it safely into Vasa Harbour in Stockholm, where we were found some scarce space - city harbours are popular in summer, but a crippled boat will always be a priority......and we ended our journey back where we started with an unlooked for extra two days in Stockholm, packed tight in Vasa harbour... w
ith an invitation to a wedding in Germany very soon!

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

London - Winter Walk


    I love the light shining through the winter-bare trees, just before dusk


    the stark, strong lines of the Albert Bridge seen through the bare branches


   the fast-flowing River Thames which continues to thread through my life


   and the wonderful London parks - the lungs of this beautiful City.

  Taken in Battersea Park, London, January 2014

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Baltic Summer


The Baltic is the Mediterranean!  A huge bowl of the bluest of cloudless bright blue skies sharply etched with vivid green trees and pretty houses washed white, pale yellow, red and ochre, each topped with a neat red-tiled roof, clustering around ports in the small towns and villages of Danish South Zealand. 




There is something magical about living on a boat on the water at sunset during the long twilight hours of the Baltic Summer, being part of the unfolding drama of the closing of each day.  The swifts swooping for their supper, the splash of fish jumping for theirs, the water like ripped silk, as we watch the achingly slow draining of the light as the sky turns from deepest blue to soft shades of silvery lavender, rose and the very palest of spun gold, laughter and voices drifting across the harbour; ancient, impenetrable tongues.


For days we hopped from one idyllic island to another drifting on a light breeze, exploring inlets and bays, mooring up or anchoring for long lazy lunches and a siesta, as one long, hot summer's day followed another, swimming with the fish in the clear, clean water then threading our way back precariously through the shallow inky-blue waters, reading the runes of the sea to bring us back to the relative safety of deeper waters, before  moving on to the next harbour, each one prettier than the last then slowly heading north towards Copenhagen.




Sailing into Christianshavn Kanal right in the centre of Copenhagen, and mooring up there for two days in the shadow of the brightly painted converted warehouses that line the canal, was a complete contrast and an opportunity to spend some time exploring this busy, vibrant Cosmopolitan city, dipping into museums, galleries, shops and restaurants, sampling home-made schnapps and eating freshly caught fish, before returning each evening to our own small boat, sitting in the cockpit with a glass of Aquavit watching the world go by, then rocked gently to sleep by the movement of the boat.



We tore ourselves away from Copenhagen and reluctantly left Denmark, crossing the Sound to Sweden and the somehow cooler delights of Malmo, spending a day exploring the old town, lunching in the market square and stopping off for delicious Italian ice cream before setting off the next day on the final leg of our journey, sailing under the Oresund Bridge in a very fresh wind which threatened to blow us off into the massive concrete pillars, a train rumbling overhead, then fighting the wind on a rolling swell for a while as we sailed off the coast of Southern Sweden, spending the night in a small fishing harbour smelling strongly of fish, too tired to care. 



A change in the wind the next day swept us straight into the seaside town of Ystad in Southern Sweden and, finally, time to spend with a small Swedish granddaughter, building sandcastles on the long white Baltic beach and paddling in the dark blue waters that had carried us safely here.