|Scandinavian Summer 2017|
|Winter (and a baby) in Copenhagen|
|Azores to Copenhagen|
|Cape Town to the Azores|
|African Coast (Durban to Cape Town)|
|Southern Africa Overland 2015|
|Indian Ocean (Broome to Durban)|
|Darwin to Broome (Kimberley Coast)|
|Townsville to Darwin|
|NZ to Townsville , Australia|
|NZ 2014-15 Part 3: North Island|
|Fiji to New Zealand|
|Fiji 2014 Part 2: Lau Group|
|Fiji 2014 Part 1: Suva to Savusavu|
|New Zealand to Fiji|
|NZ 2014 Part 2: North Island|
|NZ 2014 Part 1: Southland & Fiordland|
|Hobart to Bluff, NZ (March 2014)|
|Whitsundays to Hobart|
|Brisbane to Whitsundays|
|Date:||June 26, 2017, 9:34 p.m.|
Wow... After a long day of mostly motoring we made it down the Oslofjord into city set upon a natural harbour that rivals Sydney. Never thought we'd ever say that.
|Date:||June 24, 2017, 8:42 p.m.|
|Position:||58 54.97 N, 11 11.87 E|
Thought we would sneak in a few miles this morning before the wind came up, but ended up regretting that... The sea state really kicked up quickly and the wind angle was different to the forecast so we soon motored into a protected spot among the close network of islands, right near the coast South of Strömstad. Likely to be here hiding from the wind for a few days and putting the rattled contents of cupboards back together. Baby seemed to think it was fun but was a little upset that Dad was too busy for cuddles. Some friendly locals dropped by with a bag of fresh caught Mackerel, a lovely and welcome suprise as we have yet to try fresh Mackerel. A good sign that this will be a nice spot to spend a couple of days.
|Date:||June 23, 2017, 8:27 p.m.|
|Position:||58 45.92 N, 11 10.51 E|
We got up early to head through the Hamburgo canal and up to Fjällbacka to participate in traditional Swedish Midsummers festivities. The landscape is getting more and more spectacular as the rocks soar higher out of the water and we wind through the narrow channels. Increasingly boats we pass are flying the Norwegian flag.
The Swedes say that the weather at midsummer is often the same as midwinter, and after many beautiful days we were indeed expecting rain. So it was festive garlands and rain jackets all round, not that a little rain was ever going to stop the Swedes enjoying the day. Before the maypole-like dancing in the public square we did a quick climb up the large rocky peak around which the little village wraps, for fantastic view across the islands. Then we cozied in at a cafe surrounding the square to enjoy the afternoon with the obligatory glass of Akvavit.
The marina was rather busy and a bit exposed for the forecast winds, so we headed up to another spot off an island at the mouth of Sannasfjorden. It was up here the lush, steep sided forests have begun.
|Date:||June 22, 2017, 11:56 a.m.|
|Position:||58 30.78 N, 11 15.84 E|
We are continuing North while the weather is good and trying to work out which town to bunker down in for the poor weather this weekend as well as to enjoy the traditional midsummer festivities. As we were passing one of the options, reputedly the oldest fishing village in Sweden, a fully loaded powerboat came up behind us and slowed down. We thought perhaps we were blocking the very narrow channel too much so tried to scooch over a bit. Turns out that was not the problem, they just needed a moment to cue up some music. They then overtook us singing "I come from a land down under" at the top of their lungs. We thought that was pretty cool.
We traveled through the impossibly thin windy Sotekanalen (the Sote canal) waving to locals lounging in the sun outside their holiday homes. Much of it is national park and the further we go the more significant the vegetation seems to be getting. We found a lovely but popular anchorage at Ulon island. Good thing we are here before midsummers eve, one suspects this could get extremely crowded.
|Date:||June 21, 2017, 11:31 a.m.|
|Position:||57 58.94 N, 11 32.16 E|
As nice as Gothenburg is, it is still a city and we are loving being out of the cities these days. So as soon as possible we headed back out to the islands. We had a lovely sail up through Marstrand, which with its hilltop fort was even more spectacular than everyone promised. Sailing through the impossibly narrow channels between rock islands, it is so counterintuitive... and then a ferry passes you. With the long bright sunny day and good sailing conditions, we continued past one picturesque town after another, ending up anchoring near Bringelbarsh Island.
|Date:||June 20, 2017, 11:19 a.m.|
|Position:||57 42.70 N, 11 57.85 E|
Sailing down the channel into Gothenburg was rather picturesque. The city boasts some rather grand buildings and the Architect on board had the camera clicking away for much of the journey. It is quite a large city but a marina in the centre was incredibly handy to all facilities albeit on the pricy side. My sister and her partner flew in for a visit and we enjoyed a couple of days catch up before he had to head back to Australia.
My sister has managed to extend her trip and will join us for a bit longer, perhaps even as far as Oslo, the perks of working for an airline.
|Date:||June 18, 2017, 10:18 a.m.|
|Position:||57 33.36 N, 11 46.75 E|
Last night we wound through the islands and checked out a few spots before deciding to join half of the Gothenburg pleasure boating fleet at Kungso. It is easy to see why this nature reserve 6nm South of the big city is such a popular anchorage. We enjoyed a post dinner stroll ashore in the lingering sunset.
Although completely surrounded by rocks we have been surprised to find fairly flat bottoms with excellent holding. It turns out the area boast an ice-aged gift of magnificent clay. Even among the seagrass the anchor holds nicely and comes up clean, a huge change from the light layers of soft smelly silt of the Roskilde fjord we had begun to refer to as viking poo.
The Australian flag gets quite a few second glances but unlike the Danish sailing community where some would sail close by and yell "Hvor komme du fra?" or approach us for a chat dockside, the Swedes have been much more reserved. Indeed even the coastguard vessel who appeared to alter course for a closer look did not engage with us. It is the same in this anchorage where it can be a little hard to even get them to stiffly wave back though they are passing only meters away. Perhaps it is just because it is the weekend crowd looking to escape from he big city, otherwise everyone we have dealt with has been exceptionally friendly.
This morning the Swedes were all jumping off their boats into the 18 degree water naked, we elected not to join them, it is sunny enough but there is still a cold breeze. We are soaking up the Southern Island group before we pick up relatives in Gothenburg and heading North.
|Date:||June 17, 2017, 10:02 a.m.|
|Position:||57 36.73 N, 11 45.33 E|
Last night we joined our new Dutch/Swedish friends with the Seafinn, around at Styrso, not only is this a beautiful spot but it provided better protection in the winds we were expecting overnight. They spoilt us with a lovely dinner featuring local prawns, which are very large by the standards here but kind of small by Australian standards. They were however incredibly tasty, some of the sweetest I have ever enjoyed. One of my all-time favourite foods actually, but I cannot remember the last time I sat down to a big bowl of them like this, probably back in Australia.
Today began the weekend and with sunny weather the Swedes came out in full force at the swimming platforms. The Anchorage quickly filled and boats were rafted up on the few moorings and tied up to the rocks. Mark decided to help out our new friends by going up their mast to check a piece of loose rigging, much more fun than his computer simulation...
The three of us enjoyed a walk ashore through the beech forest and a disbelieving look at all the Swedes who seem to think it is Copacabana. The water temperature has only just hit 18 degrees and the outside air temp is not that much higher! Thankfully the sun is glorious and it is a nice reward for the long dark winter. It never really gets dark overnight now and even at 2am in the morning there is a bright glow on the horizon, which I know for a fact courtesy of the baby.
|Date:||June 14, 2017, 9:38 a.m.|
|Position:||57 37.80 N, 11 45.90 E|
We spent a few nights at Okero as Mark had some work to do and the winds were pretty strong. These are quite remarkable islands, incredibly rocky and yet pockets of fertile soil keep them amazingly lush. Amongst all this are dotted steep roofed timber cottages and friendly Swedes. Our lovely neighbours had a Seafinn which is incredibly similar to a Nauticat having been produced by a breakaway team of Nauticat employees. With plans to sail abroad soon we had a lot to talk about and Mark even ended up doing some work on their rigging tensioning for them. They helped us out tremendously with the loan of a local guidebook when the little chandlery we had pinned our hopes on had nothing.
We also had no luck finding a set of rock anchors so had to do a bit of searching in these rocky little islands to find an anchorage. The theory is that you drop your stern anchor off 3-4 boat lengths off a rock face, nose up to the land and set these pieces of bent metal into the cracks of the rock. It certainly takes some local knowledge, we attempted it in a spot that was supposed to have enough depth and even had some permanent set metal rings in the rock but we gently found the bottom and had to abandon. We tried a few places but in the late evening light eventually settled on this spot near Stora Kanso a military base and a short dinghy ride from Styrso.
Styrso is a beautiful car-fee island of quaint villages and pockets of beech forest. We had a nice walk around and took a look at an anchorage on the other side which will be more suitable for coming winds than our current spot. Our bad Danish is getting a bit of a work out but it is surprising how much Swedish we can understand and indeed make ourselves understood. Of course they soon switch to english for us which they speak almost as competently as the Danes but with their delightful bouncy accent.
As we walked down one street we came across the unmistakable bristling house of a Ham radio operator, who happened to be out in his garden. We had a lovely chat, turns out he is retired from the Ham stuff but still works in monitoring. (Having come so far with our long distance SSB radio we are big fans of these guys and the work they do.) He also was able to shed some light on the midsummer festivities that will happen in most communities next week at the summer solstice. We are really looking forward to participating in that if we can manage to find ourselves in the right place.
|Date:||June 11, 2017, 7:44 p.m.|
|Position:||57 42.32 N, 11 39.55 E|
With a 0530 start we made good time in a steady breeze up the West coast of Sweden. The winds were a bit lighter than forecast so we even had the gennaker up again for a spell, but this time no engine.
It was pretty spectacular once we got to the Southern islands of the archipelago and now we really feel like we are cruising and exploring again. In spite of the close proximity to Denmark, Sweden has a very different flavour. Winding through some of the amazingly narrow channels is really incredible, even on a rainy grey day, we are super excited to have made it out here.
|Date:||June 10, 2017, 7:14 p.m.|
|Position:||56 55.83 N, 12 12.11 E|
As we had been warned it can be a short choppy sea in these very shallow waters but after a few hours the wind eased a little, which calmed the sea state but also meant we could get the gennaker up and with all that power we were pulled comfortably along. So comfortably in fact that we decided to head just a bit further to get to the Swedish mainland directly. We have heard lovely things about Anholt but it is not very well protected and with a very strong wind forecast for Monday we could not stay out there long enough to actually see much of it. So instead we will do a couple of extra hours sailing. Unfortunately the wind died right of so that extra 2-3 hours turned out to be under motor.
We pulled into the tiny harbour at Glommen under a blazing pink and orange sunset. We were very grateful for the light winds in order to manoeuvre. It is not really set up for boats of our size and in hindsight we should probably have pulled alongside the fisherman's wall. But we did not want to inconvenience any working boats that might come in late and it was a bit late at night for us to call around to arrange anything. So we made do but will need to have an early start to avoid getting pinned in here in the stronger winds forecast tomorrow.
|Date:||June 9, 2017, 7:54 p.m.|
|Position:||55 56.29 N, 11 57.91 E|
With a good forecast we were impatient to get sailing. We had decided to head for Anholt, an island in the middle of the Kattegat and hop from there to the Swedish Archipelago on the West coast near Gothenburg. With more family coming to visit we have run out of time to go to the Limfjord in the North of Denmark for now but hope to come back that way later in the season. The bridge at Frederikssund first opens at 0630 and originally we planned to spend another night at Frederikssund and catch that first opening. The forecast was shaping up nicely but it was going to be a long day so we decided to take advantage of the incredibly bright nights to shave off a few hours. So we anchored at the mouth of Roskilde Fjord in preparation for setting out into the Kattegat.
|Date:||June 8, 2017, 7 p.m.|
|Position:||55 50.06 N, 12 2.48 E|
We sailed downwind on a lovely breeze through the incredibly narrow and shallow channels of the Roskilde fjord to spend the night alongside at Frederikssund. The access to shops here is amazing but it was the nearby train station that drew us here. Friday morning I travelled back to Copenhagen for a check up to get the all-clear on the baby's hip dysplasia treatment. The doctor was happy and so we are finally free to go cruising for a while. Mark has got himself set up to work remotely for our Copenhagen clients while we sail and the weather forecast is looking good. We are more than a little excited to get moving again.
|Date:||June 4, 2017, 12:46 p.m.|
|Position:||55 40.20 N, 12 1.66 E|
On Saturday the wind dropped enough that we were able to come alongside in the Frederikssund harbour. 150DKK per night including electricity (10DKK extra for showers).
The harbour has some of the best access to shopping that we have ever come across... we were trying to think back to better provisioning stops than this one and only Woolworths supermarket on the waterfront in Batemans Bay, New South Wales and the Super U in Grande Bay Mauritius come close... but I still think the Føtex Frederikssund is probably the best we've ever come across. About 30 to 40 meters from your boat is a very large Føtex shopping center with anything you could want. Its not the cheapest supermarket chain, but the location alongside your boat is priceless.
On Sunday (Whitsunday) we decided it was another week before we needed to head into CPH for another of Raf's medical checks to we thought we'd use the time to explore the Roskilde fjord a little. We had heard there is a very beautiful anchorange in a bay just 3 miles from Roskilde itself, "Kattinge Vig" (Vig = Cove). We headed down there and were not disappointed. The anchorage is in a pleasant bay with heavy woodland/forest to the South providing good shelter to winds from the West through to NE. The entire basin that the bay is located in is not so large, so we were still able to anchor well in NW winds of about 14 knots (on the gribs), where the sea had about 1nm of fetch across the basin.
With winds from the south the anchorage is sublime with good shelter due to the dense forest, with many walking trails and camping spots throughout which make for a pleasant walk.
|Date:||June 1, 2017, 10:50 a.m.|
|Position:||55 50.06 N, 12 2.48 E|
We must apologise to those who received multiple copies from our last post. Something went wrong with the website and issued many emails for the single post.
After our eventful day in Holbæk we moved down to Frederikssund and the Roskilde fjord where we are able to swing on anchor for a good bit of wind that was forecast for the next few days. We anchored in 4 meters of good holding mud directly across from the center of Frederikssund. There is incredibly good access to shopping and provisioning in this little town/village which is a suburban satellite town of Copenhagen. All the major supermarkets are here within 200 meters of the water and there are 3 major hardware stores about 800 meters from the waters edge.
Our anchor held nicely during some pretty strong winds with gusts to 40 knots at times. It only popped out once in a particularly bad gust and did not re-set itself but we quickly got the anchor up and reset despite the strong wind and a baby under the arm.
We were glad we made the choice to anchor as the harbour in Frederikssund looked absolutely horrible under a Westerly wind. For some strange reason they had decided to make the harbour open to the West without a breakwater. West being the prevailing wind here in Denmark means that a lot of the time there is about a 1-mile fetch of chop across the fjord that comes straight into the harbour. This is probably fine (and just a bit of a nuicance) when the wind is less than 20-knots, but when it is gusting to 40 there was actually whitewater breaking over the dock. We would have been pinned against a lee wall and stuck there, something I generally try to avoid.
I think many of the locals find it quite odd that we prefer to anchor out rather than make use of the (many) harbours which are around the coast. Indeed, part of the experience and "charm" of sailing in Europe is this "harbour hopping" where each harbour has its own village/town and local experience. Due to the population density, small distances (and the few thousands of years head-start they have had in building here) there works out to be a harbour approximately every 5 miles around the coast of Denmark and Sweden. So you are never further than about 30 minutes sailing from a good harbour.
However, the harbours are generally quite small and very tightly packed with "Baltic style" mooring where you have to awkwardly jump off the bowsprit. Most of the harbours are designed for smaller weekend sailing boats around the 30 foot length with low freeboard and windage. Therefore, manouvering a large bluewater cruising boat into these tiny harbours can be a major headache which I only dare to attempt in relatively calm wind. Then, once we are in, we have the reverse problem of getting back out, and if the wind is much of 15 knots (ie a perfect sailing breeze), getting out can be a huge risk with potential to damage our own as welll as other boats if we get caught by a gust in a small space.
We also find it more comfortable to swing on anchor in a strong breeze, as when we are in the harbour the wind will often hit us on the beam causing us to lean, bounce and rub our fenders against other boats. We have often wondered why we are bouncing around in a harbour rubbing up against other boats while paying $50AUS per night for the privelige.
On anchor we are further from hard-things and surrounded by soft-water which is what boats generally prefer. We also have invested a lot of money in chain, rode and 4 good anchors, so it makes sense to use them when we can.
|Date:||May 29, 2017, 5:37 p.m.|
I was just hanging out my towel on the back deck to dry after a shower and contemplating how quiet the beautiful little harbour at Hornbæk was the monday after a long weekend. There were only three occupied boats in the guest area and I saw only a single man on the other side of the harbour at the front of his boat. Here, as with most of Denmark, they use a baltic style of mooring, where you lie perpendicular to the dock, hopping off from the bow and setting stern lines out to a mooring buoy or posts. As I turned to head back into the boat I heard a tremendous splash and when I looked back, I could not see the man, until I looked in the water and saw him floating face down in a pool of blood.
I screamed at Mark to call an ambulance (which I confess was only programmed in the phone because of my recent pregnancy,) and ran to the other side of the harbour as fast as I could. Mark had the baby strapped onto his chest so even though he would have been a faster runner, I knew it had to be me. It seemed so far away and no one else was in earshot. When I dove into the water I realised what a big guy he was, finally I managed to turn him over but my stomach dropped when I saw his completely blue face. I think that will haunt me forever, it could only have taken me a minute to get to him but he was such a deep shade of blue and white, I though I was holding a corpse.
I tried resuscitation in the water, (mostly just compressions,) it is damn hard to do it there but I did not think we had enough time to get him ashore. Furthermore even with Mark on his way I did not think the two of us could have gotten him out, though I have healed very well I still have little abdominal strength from the emergency cesarean section 11 weeks ago. Mark managed to find a lady nearby to hold the baby and continue to talk to the emergency services on the phone. Thankfully by the time he jumped in to help, I had managed to get the man breathing (and throwing up a lot of seawater.)
The poor guy was pretty out of it, it was a nasty head wound. He panicked as is often the case, I recall from my water safety training, and I had to use my best soothing Danish to stop us both from drowning. He did not know who or where he was and yet he could still talk to me in English. (How am I ever going to master this language when the Danes can speak perfect English even under these circumstances!)
I swam him to the rocky breakwater and Mark helped to get him propped up half out of the water. The local emergency response guys arrived incredibly quickly. Thankfully it was two burly viking types who were able to get him out in time for the paramedics team. I did not even notice it in all the chaos but a medivac helicopter landed on the beach also! They did not use it in the end which I am taking as a good sign. They said he was stable, so will hopefully recover.
We had planned to be in the Roskilde fjord this evening but the Harbourmaster generously offered us an extra night here gratis. At first we were going to press on due to the weather but the forecast has eased and we could use an extra night after all that excitement. Thanks to everyone for your concerns but Mark, the baby and I are all perfectly fine, the water temperature was not so bad and the emergency response guys were impressively fast. I suffered no damage beyond some very minor oyster cuts to the feet.
Everyone keeps asking how I feel, in a word, relieved. Relieved that the wind came up early yesterday and we ended up turning into Hornbæk. Relieved that I happened to be outside at the time and nosily looking about at our neighbours. Relieved that my first aid and water saftety training helped me to know what to do. Relieved at how quickly and efficiently the Danish emergency services responded. And I will be completely relieved when I have heard he has made a full recovery but after loosing friends in the Australian sailing community exactly the same way, I am glad we could help give him a chance.
UPDATE: Later that evening I bumped into the son of the man and was so very glad to find out that he is doing well and the outlook for him is very positive. I feel like a huge weight is lifted. Never thought I would ever have to use first aid and water safety training in reality but I am damn glad for having done it. I hope to never have to use it again.
|Date:||May 28, 2017, 5:17 p.m.|
|Position:||56 5.60 N, 12 27.40 E|
The light southerly winds continued this morning so we took the opportunity to leave the Øresund and start heading around towards the Roskilde fiord. This is a well protected natural harbour which was historically a base for the Vikings. It is still a fantastic natural harbour where we would like to base ourselves for the next few weeks while Rafs medical checks get sorted out. There are many anchoring opportunities in the fiord and, more importantly, good public transport (train) connections to Copenhagen from two town along the fiord: Frederikssund and Roskilde.
We had an easy 2 or 3 hour sail on light southerly winds up from Ven. We intended to make Gilleleje harbour on the northern tip of the island, but the wind changed against us a little earlier than forecast so we pulled in for the night to the tiny and pituresque harbour of Hornbæk.
Anchoring on this stretch of coast, exposed to the large expanse of water known as the Kattegat is recommended only in very settled conditions with a certain forecast of southerly winds. Winds can shift quickly and a steep chop can build up putting you on a dangerous lee shore.
|Date:||May 27, 2017, 5:11 p.m.|
|Position:||55 55.25 N, 12 41.75 E|
The weather forecast changed, meaning that continuing around the Southern Swedish coast would have made it diffult for us to return to Copenhagen for some medical checks for Raf next week. The wind was a perfect Southerly with 10-15 knots and clear sunny skies so we also changed our plans and decided to go with the wind. We set our gennaker immediately after passing through the Falsterbo canal (heading north this time) and started an incredible 40-mile gennaker run all the way up the Øresund between Sweden and Denmark. We anchored for the night on the northern side of the small Swedish island of Ven in the middle of the Øresund and caught up with some friends in the quaint local harbour for some sundowner drinks... at 10pm at night!
|Date:||May 26, 2017, 5:07 p.m.|
|Position:||55 22.50 N, 13 3.25 E|
Berthed for the night in Skaare harbour as the wind is forecast to change overnight putting us on a lee shore. We could also have anchored inside of the breakwaters on the southern end of the Falsterbo canal, however we were interested to go ashore here and see this quaint little fishing town.
|Date:||May 25, 2017, 8:45 p.m.|
We had planned to be away earlier but Mark ended doing a bit of work on another boat with mechanical problems. So after a couple of extra nights back in Tuborg, we enjoyed a lazy start towards Sweden. Half way there we realized we had not gotten a Swedish courtesy flag so I spent the rest of the passage hand sewing one together. Thankfully I had the right colour rip-stop. It's a bit rough, but better than nothing.
Boat baby seemed to enjoy swinging in her little hammock or being strapped to Dad's chest for a sail change in the calm conditions. We made it through the Falsterbo Canal and are now anchored off the beach at the southern end. It's lovely but we ended up deploying the stern anchor to keep us perpendicular to the gentle wake from the shipping traffic on the horizon.
It is really nice to finally commence cruising again. At the moment we are enjoying the lyse nætter (bright nights) which are rather magical. After a 2 hour sunset the twilight lingers and never quite gives in to the darkness. With the clear skies right now, we get experience the best of it and breastfeeding at all hours means I get to see the whole thing. It is very different for those of us from equatorial latitudes and though it is not quite the midnight sun experience of being in the Arctic circle that we had originally planned when coming to Denmark, it is still incredibly beautiful and we would not trade the unexpected boat baby in just for that. Besides there is always next season...
|Date:||May 25, 2017, 8 a.m.|
|Position:||55 43.55 N, 12 35.15 E|
Departing Tuborghavn heading south with 10-15kts of NW winds.