DENMARK: Læsø to Ebeltoft


Monday-Thursday, July 10-13

Leaving Styrso we sailed into new waters. Max performed the rite of lowering our Swedish courtesy flag…

and replacing it with the Danish one making it official.

Six hours later we arrived in Laeso, an island with stretches of sandy beach and a packed marina. And, I mean packed. We took the free bus to the other side of the island where we gorged on free wifi at a local restaurant.

Lots of rafting, both alongside and perpendicular to us (JUANONA is second boat back on the right; you can just make out the bow with anchor. The boats on the left are rafted seven deep);

but, we’ve found the manuvering not so bad due to the boaters’ attitudes.  They’re so nonchalant around here about having a stranger’s vessel tied up to theirs–even when they’re not aboard to say ‘it’s okay to raft with me’. We’ve learned you just leave fenders out to make it easy for another boat to come alongside and tie off, thus using JUANONA as a floating pontoon.

By being part of a flotilla we feel a part of the local boating culture.Rafting etiquette means you always cross over the bow/front of the neighbor’s boat to reach the land dock. You get use to it, and we rather enjoy it as long as they’re not loud or late partiers. Most folk are tender-footed except children who seem to have the heavier feet in spite of their lighter weights; yet, it’s fun to see so many kids on boats; and, at this marina, it’s like an exuberant summer camp for kids and adults.

We left the next morning after unpacking five other boats before we could exit.

Our next port was Grenaa, another marina further south, where we breathed a sigh of relief: virtually uncrowded with easy docking alongside with no hassle. My type of docking.

A surprise came when walking down the quay we recognized a boat we last saw in Oslo. It’s home berth lay across the pontoon from ours at the KNS marina. The owner and wife invited us aboard where I noticed some large, squishy dinosaurs stationed on their cockpit table. I thought they had a grandchild or two visiting, but, no:  they told us they use the rubber critters to keep the gulls away (the previous owner had told them about this technique). I guess gulls have good eyes. At the very least I hope it doesn’t frighten the s___ out of ‘em.


Friday-Wednesday, July 14-19

Finally, the picturesque village we’d hankered for ever since landing in Denmark, and Ebletolft fit the bill to a “T”.

Another easy landing alongside a hammerhead (the top of the “T” of a pontoon where we can dock at the end without having to go into a box berth perpendicular to the stalk of the “T”). Ahh, life is good.

Hopping off we strolled the short walk into town and along one of the old cobblestone streets during our several days of marina-living here.

Two museums beckoned us:  one, not as fulfilling but definitely worth seeing and definitely heavily promoted; the other, a delightful surpise, all the more so due to not being mentioned in most guidebooks.

The Glasmuseet Ebeltoft (Glass Museum) featured the fourth, 2017 Youth Exhibition. This competition began in 1987 and occurs every ten years. This year 57 artists from 18 countries exhibited their creations.

The artistic displays stretched my knowledge of how diverse blowing and fabricating glass items has become. We viewed a large variety of work, encompassing:


“Curve or Straightness?”

“One Hundred and Two x 0”


(I’ll just call this ‘styrofoam’)


“When Kingdom was Lowered down to Earth from Heaven”

Startling simplicity…

(again, I didn’t get the title of this one but call it ‘profiles’)

and, Industrial Creativity, “My Chemical Romance”

Although I wouldn’t want to showcase most of these pieces, I appreciated the opportunity to learn from the artists. Trully, I can’t imagine the difficulty and skill and imagination needed to create these works of art.

I must say the video of breaking glass as one of the exhibited pieces seemed a bit over the top; but, hey, if a red coat propped like a scarecrow on a coat hanger can be in a top-notch museum, a movie showing a guy smashing glass can certainly be shown in a youth exhibit.

The museum so understated by all brochures is the Farvergarden Museum, something Max just happened upon thanks to some cruiser’s notes. The museum documents an old dyeworks on the location serving as such since the 1770s.

A black flag indicated we’d arrived at the correct address (A black or blue flag, the two most difficult colors to produce, hung from dyeworkers’ places throughout Denmark back then). When we ducked through the door we found ourselves in the actual dye worker’s home. The last dyer’s family living here were the Petersens, with Andreas Gotlieb (1841-1917) and his son Johan being the master dyers. Andreas ran the dyeworks until 1905 when Johan took over.

The property was sold to the government in 1974 by Johan’s heirs, two nieces. Since the nieces inherited the content of the house, the municipality collected pieces representing a 1900 home. Fortunately, the dyeworks buildings hold the original machinery and tools.

The impression of being in a dollhouse immediately began with the first room off the street:  the tiny shop where customers dropped off cloth (charged by the length) or yarns (paid for by the weight) for dyeing. Still a shop but now selling wares not dyed here.

We continued into the parlor

and the kitchen,

the pantry,

poked our heads into the bedroom,

then exited down a hallway

to the backyard where we accessed a room in the attic. Here we found the maid’s room. Even though the dyer wasn’t particularly wealthy, young girls hired themselves out and lived on the premises.

Excellent signage and displays provide detailed information on the history of dyes (a timeline begins with professional dyeworks in China 3000 B.C.E.)… samples of the raw materials (such as the indigo imported from India)… when Farvergarden began (Emanuel Randlef received the royal privilege as a dyer in 1773)… and exactly how the cloth and yarn were dyed. Understanding the dyeing process is covered in the dye works building.

A 1948 video commissioned by the government and featuring Johan Petersen demonstrates the art of indigo dyeing. We watched the screen then turned to look at the actual machinery:

The balls were used to crush the indigo. This mineral is so precious the rinse water used to wash off the metal balls is reused in the dye process.

The indigo is then added to the vat of lukewarm water along with soda, bran, red dye, and madder (a Eurasian herb used for red-purple dye). Lime is added turning the dye a yellowish-green. The dyer knows the color is ready by smell and then it sits for several days. The cloth is placed on the screens (hanging on the wall) while ensuring the liquid mixture covers the cloth/yarn completely.

The dyed cloth is yellowish-green when first removed, turning blue after hanging for some time. A final rinse in water with blue clay is done, and then pressing by the mangle below, powered by a horse mill in the next room (a cable runs underground to this room).

Before the dyeing process begins the cloth is sent to another mill to be ‘stamped’ or ‘filled’ at an outside mill to produce a wadmal (cloth that’s been pounded into a dense and thick layer). After the dyeing, again to raise the cloth fibers or nap, the material is run through the machine below, a teasel gig (love the name), which makes the cloth even denser.

And, here are the nap-raising instruments:  teasel heads! Generally imported from southwest Europe.

Drying took place outdoors in good weather or indoors in a small, heated room.

To press it using the machine below they’d layer the cloth with heated iron sheets and cardboard.

No question about it, dyeing required the mind of a chemist (creating the dye), the deft eye of an artist (ensuring the dye set properly), and the muscles of a steveadore (manhandling the tools of the trade).

The process for blue dyeing took eight days:  fulling (making it dense); dyeing; carding; cropping (trimming the woolen cloth’s nap leaving the cloth even and smooth); steaming (reinforcing the blue color and made it more water resistant); and pressing. The cropping and steaming were extra costs.

In addition to the expensive blue dye, black, brown, yellow and red were the the typical colors produced in another room.

A stable wing and extended garden beyond with a pond and grotto completed the tour.

Under the Petersen’s ownership this dyworks represented the height of modernity in 1851; but, with the Industrial Age and mass-production operations, Favergarden’s equipment was way outdated by the time it closed in 1925. Yet, thanks to the foresight of the town and its investment, we had walked back through time when dyeing was an artisan’s craft.

We continued perusing Ebeltoft’s other treasures as we exited into glorious sunshine, checking sites along the way with a self-guided Town Walk map.

Speaking of delightful, when we landed at the Ebeltoft Marina we met some locals, some speaking with a British accent. Come to find out Steve and David are Brits, only recently transplanted to Denmark for David’s job expanding the local airport’s routes.

The next day they invited us for dinner where we met Ken, Steve’s uncle who moved with them. As well as Shawn the Sheep, their robotic mower,

and, Khai, their black lab, who’s trained to get a carrot before they sit down at dinner and then leave the humans undisturbed.

Another magical evening occurred filled with excellent food, including a traditional Danish cake baked by David,

wonderful conversation, and lots of laughter.

Plus, a lovely surprise awaited us the day before we left… some of Steve’s precious cheese scones sent all the way from Mullion in Cornish by his mom. Folks line up to buy her scones weekly when they’re sold to raise funds for a local non-profit. And, believe me, they’d be worth any wait!


Another amazing social occasion occurred the night before we left Ebeltoft. Two people asked where our home in Maine was. From there we discovered they’d sailed there in the 1990s. Then, they asked if we knew Dick and Ginger on ALCHEMY?

My god, we had just checked Marine Traffic to see where ALCHEMY was on their crossing back to the states!  (which they’re doing, by the way, via the northern route, including Iceland and Greenland…).

We invited Inge and Wolfgang aboard

only to end up on their boat, one in which they’d completed a circumnavigation 2000-05.

The next morning we waved as STELLA MARIS left to continue their summer on the water before returning to their land home in Germany.

How fortunate to have met Steve, David and Ken followed by Inge and Wolfgang. New friends in new places. We love it!

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