We left Mariehamn and set off for a small island to the west of Åland, Enskär. Disentangling from the mooring was interesting – we were hemmed in by two boats – so the marina staff had to come by and unhook one’s stern mooring in order to let us out. Not much wind so we motored most of the way – just sailing for about 2 hours once we were clear of the islands using main and code zero. Navigation in Finland has been very interesting. They use cardinal buoys – identifying the north, east, south or west extremity of a hazard according to the arrangement of black and yellow bands on a pole. They also use leading lines a lot – once you’ve lined up two markers that are situated on land, you can follow that track safely through whatever hazard you are negotiating. Arriving at the tiny uninhabited island was quite interesting and we found that there was actually a dock – not marked on the chart – with two sailboats docked. Since we were not sure of the depth around it we opted to anchor – close by the dock. If you’re familiar with the series Lost – this is it – minus the sweat! There’s evidence of past activities, but the huts and houses are vacant. Apparently it used to be populated by marine traffic operations but instead they built a radar station there and monitor remotely. As a consequence, it’s all a bit eerie and the paths all overgrown. We did walk around the island and really enjoyed the huge variety of flora – growing in cracks in the red granite rocks. The rocks remind me of a granite version of Malham’s Limestone Pavement. We stayed a couple of nights – having the island completely to ourselves for a good deal of the day and really enjoyed the solitude. We barbecued on the rocks both nights – sausages, then chicken; both excellent!
Today we departed Enskär and headed across the bay just 8 miles for the larger island of Eckerö and the community of Karingsund, finding a super little harbor full to bursting with boats and tourists from the local massive camp ground. We even tried it the Finnish way and moored bow to – without drama. A very different but equally interesting locale. We’ll stay here tonight then head on around the top of Åland for Djupviken tomorrow. All very well aboard Toodle-oo!