Saturday-Wednesday, June 18-21
Crossing into another country’s waters, Max performed the cruiser’s ritual of lowering Norway’s flag…
and replacing it with Sweden’s.
Our first nights we spent in a quiet anchorage surrounded by the typical island scenery along this coastline.
We also tried fishing but rather half-heartedly for we knew our method (jigging from the dinghy) and location (too close to shore for cod) didn’t warrant much success.
But, at least we did try.
We left for the first city one reaches when crossing the Norwegian-Swedish border, one which Norwegians themselves visit to provision on a regular basis due to Sweden’s far-lower prices.
With the official summer season starting on Mid-Summer’s weekend (June 23-25) we were still ahead of Sweden’s busiest pleasure-boating time. Although it meant some services weren’t available, this was a minor inconvenience as most towns and marinas provided everything we needed.
We docked, again easily alongside (on the far right docks, on the first pontoon closest to shore in above photo) , and proceded to gorge on wifi, laundry, showers, and the best grocery store we’d seen in awhile. Other boats came and went during our two-day stay. One Norwegian asked about our Atlantic crossing as he was planning to do so in a few years. (Being one of the few American boats in this area, we’re often approached by fellow yachties curious about our cruising.) In speaking with him we discovered his crew included his two teenagers.
When I inquired if they were enjoing their time sailing, he said not at this age but they wanted to come to Stromstad for the sweets. Curious I later asked a candy-store owner about it. He laughed and said that’s typical because of Norway’s sugar tax– what may cost 50 Swedish Kroners could be as much as 200 in Norway. Hmmm… I see I was in the perfect spot to provision a bit of chocolate…
Wednesday-Saturday, June 21-24
Our next and only destination of the summer requiring a time commitment was on Mid-Summer’s day, celebrated in Sweden on June 23. On that day an organization of which we had recently joined, the North American Station of the Royal Scandinavian Yacht Clubs and Nylanddska Jaktklubben (NAS), would be holding an event as part of its two-week cruise along Sweden’s Southwest Coast.
The flotilla of 15 boats, some being from the States and the most USA boats we’d seen in our three years of cruising here, would be gathering in the large bay off of Kalvon Island. This island is part of a nature preserve composed of Kalvon, Trosso and Lindon.
Finding the anchorage practically empty we anchored then explored the surrounding islands while awaiting NAS’ arrival the next day. And, what a lovely place to hang out. We dinghied ashore (where Max is pointing below).
only to re-dinghy to another spot,
which looked like an easy stroll up to a dirt road
only to squelch and squish our way through some marshy mud flats to the island’s one road
The next morning we performed our basic yoga-ing then climbed to the top of a nearby island
to watch for the boats heading in for the party. As we hiked up the boulders we saw patches of burnt vegetation (possibly a controlled burn? something we read about later on another island)
Soon we espied one boat, then another, enter the bay and we happily scrambled back down the rocks scattering a small group of sheep, something we see often during our coastal cruising.
NAS, aka “Jessie and the Sailors”
Aboard some of the boats were friends from home, both Maine and elsewhere, and we anticipated a fun reunion. Thanks to the cruise captains (Ernest Godshalk and David Tunick) and management (Stefan Holmgren, Nick Orem, and Micahel Geagan) we were able to participate in several planned events, June 23rd being the first of them.
And, what a blast! We first joined them for an impromptu BBQ on the backside of the island where the summer residents lived. There we met up with Doug and Dale Bruce and Paul and Marty Rogers from Camden, Maine. We saw Ernie and also David and met other participants, all welcoming and all enjoying the ambiance of sailing Sweden’s southwest coast.
The next day the Mid-Summer celebration began with folk meeting at the cottage of Lars and Ulle’s home, friends of cruise participants Per and Karin. The first our involved decorating the pole with wildflowers, a pagan tradition thankfully continuing to this day.
With some taking a well-deserved break
others finished the task and raised the pole.
Although we didn’t perform the traditional dance all gathered around to admire the party’s centerpiece.
With a lunch of traditional Swedish meatballs, herring, vasterbottensostpaj (cheese pie), roasted potatoes, and knackebrod (crisp-bread crackers), trust me, no one left with an empty stomach. I, myself, hugely enjoyed that cheese pie…
I wasn’t able to capture all of the folks we met but here are a few:
Doug and Dale Bruce (we’re most likely related somehow back in medieval times)
Phyllis and Nick Orem
Max, Dale, and Nick
Will and Max (they both went to Exeter though Will was a wee bit later)
An afternoon back aboard then another shared meal, this time at Lars and Ulle’s barn next door. This time an American traditional feast: hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill.
Back on JUANONA for the night Max and I agreed on how wonderful it was to be included in the cruise. Our friends said it was exceptionally well-organized: cruising Swedish waters with amazing hospitality. The only one who seemed pretty blasé about it was beautiful this little pup Jessie, Stephan, Maria and John’s dog.
Hard to believe but this little dog (now 8-1/2 years old) is a champion DEER hunter. Yes, she hunts BIG deer with Stephan who also guides the Deer hunts. When a deer is killed Stephan warns others NOT go near it when Jessie is standing guard. Even Stephan has to be extremely careful approaching. Because Jessie perceives the prey as hers and hers alone, this seemingly mild-mannered animal turns into a ferocious, snarling monster. Wow. Who woulda thunk it?
Saturday-Monday, June 24-26
Saturday morning we woke to a forecast of strong winds gusting into the 40s. The cruise captains cancelled the days’ planned outings and recommended more sheltered harbors. We up-anchored and headed to a nearby fjord.
During our two nights we dinghied across to the mainland for what turned out to be a short ten-minute walk around a deserted village. We slowly made our way back against the wind, at times side-slipping with our low-horsepower, electric motor. The next day was a lot easier as we stayed in the protected cove and strolled for an hour.
Besides being a beautiful day and getting some exercise the only noteworthy event was seeing one of Sweden’s brown vipers, a poisonous–but not lethal, they say– scurrying into the grass close to where we enter to reach our dinghy… (photo courtesy of the Internet)
As those who know me, I graciously let Max go first while I stood close behind gallantly tossing pebbles ahead of his feet.
Stay tuned for more coastal cruising…