It’s been a long while since I posted anything – sorry about that – much has happened…
Since the “Lost Island” we did a lazy route around Åland – stopping at a resort town one night (Karingsund), a remote and very secluded bay another (Djupviken) and then onto the location of a fortress that was being built by the Russian Tzars – but which the British and French (working together???) put paid to some 150 years ago. We then returned to Mariehamn again – unfortunately to affect further repairs on the windlass – and to do several days of work for Checon.
Throughout, the weather has been magnificent – the Finns can’t believe how good it is – and we’re rather wishing it wasn’t quite so hot – though swimming off the back of the boat has been good fun.
We came to the Baltic to be a part of a rally organized by the Ocean Cruising Club – a 2 month cruise through the Baltic – right up to St. Petersburg. However, when we had our mishap back in Scotland and the resulting 5 week delay, we got very far behind and we’ve been trying to catch up to them ever since. Finally in Mariehamn we met our first OCC boat (Delphinus with Jane, Paul and Lilly) – for about an hour because as we arrived, they shoved off to somewhere else(!) – but it was good at least to finally see someone!
Finland has been very interesting – here are some very generalized observations: The people are very private and don’t make eye contact or say hello to strangers in the street. When walking up the dock, they’d look at Toodle-oo! and register the American flag, but seldom any would engage us. Once engaged by whatever means however, they were very friendly, helpful and enjoyable people. There’s very little wildlife – actually, this is true throughout the Baltic. Very few seabirds, we saw just a couple of seals – all unfortunately due to pollution in the Baltic which has killed off the fish – and therefore broken the entire food chain. There are Algae blooms all over the place – so swimming is not always possible. The one thing that has stood out the most however is the long long days – never really getting dark – awesome!
After Mariehamn, Finland we had a tremendous sail over to one of the outlying Swedish islands and then went on to Stockholm – where we finally caught up to the whole OCC gang – for the final dinner of the rally!!!
Stockholm was great and we stayed 4 days – and then started our return trip, stopping at an outlying island again and then crossing to Gotland – right in the middle of the Baltic. We’re now in Visby – a really pretty town – where we’d love to spend more time, but weather dictates that we should leave in the morning, headed towards the Keil Canal – but will probably stop in either southern Sweden or Bornholm again as a storm passes.
I’ll update properly once in a good spot – as I have lots of photos to post.
Sorry the website went down for a few days – not sure what happened – but all should be fixed now.