DENMARK: Samsø to Lyø


Wednesday – Saturday, July 19 – 22

As we continued our cruise south from Ebeltoft we aimed for Samso Island.  We hoped to rendezvous with our cruiser friends from Oslo, Ingunn and Snorre, who had met up with Snorre’s parents then sailed s/y EQUINOX to Germany. They emailed saying they’d be at Samso during the week with some friends joining them. Since weather plays havoc with most sailing plans, nothing was certain regarding a meet-up.

But, we did! When we entered the bay some folks began waving heartily. Not recogniznig the boat, Max and I thought ‘wow, this is a friendly island!’ only to realize it was Snorre and Ingunn. We dropped anchor then motored over where we met their friends along with their friends’ two young daughters.

Snorre used his drone to snap some photos of JUANONA from various heights,

which is why you’re looking down at the top of the mast in this one…

(Snorre’s photo)

and why there’s a great aerial view in this photo.

(Snorre’s photo)

Snorre and Ingunn’s website ( is proof of how well they capture cruising.

Hoping to see them later, we headed for shore where we walked to the local church,

purchased some strawberries (it seems every other house had some sort of items for sale refreshingly using the honor system),

and on the walk back made the acquaintance of two more cruisers anchored in the bay, Sophia and Pascal aboard s/y WATERAAP.

Meanwhile, Max took advantage of the relatively warmer water and little to no jellyfish to change the zincs. He donned the wetsuit our nephew Iain kindly gave him

and jumped overboard while I spotted an occasional limb flailing under the stern.

Later that evening we managed to have Snorre, Ingunn, Pascal and Sophia aboard JUANONA where we shared stories of crusing the Atlantic and the Caribbean. Too soon the party had to break up but, again, not before we expressed hopes to see everyone again.

During our time on Samso we discovered more about this island’s history by touring the Samso Museum (also the Velkomstcenter/Welcome Center) located in the inland town of Tranebjerg.

With its central location to both interior Danish waters and the Baltic Sea, Samso served as an important maritime harbor for the Vikings as well as others before and after.

A short video whizzed through two centuries while a stroll through two rooms, one with displays on the Viking era and the other with photographs of the 20th century.

I found out the area had a Bede-type scribe (Saint Bede or Bede the Venerable who lived in Northumbria, England 672/3-735 C.E.) when I read that the German canon and historial Adam of Bremen documented the earliest known written reference to this island About 1080 C.E.

We also learned about the Kanhave Canal (500m long and 12m wide) consructed in 726 C.E. across the narrowest part of the island (Kanhave translates to flat-bottomed boat canal.) The canal enabled the Vikings to move their ships from one bay into another quickly. Surprisingly, It didn’t stay operational long, as it silted up in the 9th century.

You can actually stand in the hollow of this canal, which we did the next day.

The town offers another interesting museum, a wealthy farmer’s home. A guide told us how they used to make bread twice a year in this trough (righthand corner). Must have been a bit green by the fifth month…

Some locals demonstrate homecrafts including weaving on a centuries-old loom..

Getting hungy I spotted a sign where we ate one of our favorite lunches:  Turkish doners

(although I thought I’d be getting some dessert due to the sign…).

Back on JUANONA Max had noticed a small viking boat sailing into the bay (fun!),

and later rowing into the harbor (would rethink the ‘fun’ aspect).

And, that’s how we met Karina who grew up sailing summers with her father on their Viking boat. Now they take people along for a week or so of cruising and camping where all passengers test their skills at not only sailing but also rowing.

We told her of our next few destinations and she highly recommended one we were thinking of skipping since it was a bit to the east of our course. After hearing her praise of the island’s ice cream, I immediately lobbied for the diversion; and, Skaro got back on our island-hopping list :)

TORO RED (off the island of FYN)

Saturday night July 22

Taking advantage of excellent winds from the northeast we sailed 68 miles to an anchorage on the southwest coast of the large island of Fyn. An easy anchoring due to good protection from the wind and a seemingly good mud bottom we went to sleep only to discover in the morning that we had dragged several hundred feet (!). Fortunately, no harm done but never something one feels easy about! We have almost never dragged our oversized Rocna anchor, and in retrospect We were so overconfident in the situation that we didn’t even bother to back down to “set’ the anchor. Lesson learned.

With only 20 miles to our next destination it was an easy morning sail.  (Cammy, we could have stayed in Middlefart but continued on. Just thought you’d be interested in hearing that. :) )

We now were sailing in the Lille Baelt (“Little Belt”) off the west and south of Fyn Island, Denmark’s largest island. Noted as one of the loveliest areas to cruise in this country we anticipated more storybook villages, tranquil anchorages, and some crowded marinas, all of which we found during the next week…

DYVIG (on the island of ALS)

Sunday – Monday, July 23- 24

Again, a short sail took us to our next stop but not before we experienced heavy thunder, rain and lightening. I am frightened of lightning as I’ll never forget being on the beach when a young girl was struck and died back in 1968.

However, all was fine and a huge relief (to me) when it stopped.

Our next stop entailed a narrow passage rounding the tip of Als only to open up into two lovely coves.

Anchoring in the one with the two small marinas (one being in front of a lovely hotel), we thought we’d take the bus to town only to find out it’d be a long wait. No problem as we still wanted to check out the other cove, which we did by dinghy.

If we’d been here a second night JUANONA would have been floating here, although where we were was also pretty stunning.

Retracing our route out we followed a motor boat through the narrow channel then began our sail to the next island.


Monday – Thursday, July 24 – 27

I had mentioned storybook villages and our next island destination, Lyo, topped all to-date, primarily because it was such a tiny village that only traditional homes and farm buildings seemed to stand.

During our three-day stay we enjoyed lunch al fresco where I thought the menu was absolutely superb…

listened to an outdoor concert….

and, asked some locals about the thatched roofs we’d been seeing.

The owner, whose grandmother had been born on the island, said the roofs last about 30 years and were expensive due to the craftsmanship needed to construct and maintain them (the top of the roof line had recently been replaced) as well as the fire insurance (no kidding). Laughing she said and now the straw was imported from China!

She also told us why the aquamarine paint outlines the doors and windows:  to keep evil spirits out. She also mentioned when someone dies their body never, ever leaves by the front door, or any door, actually. Each house has a window without a divider so it is large enough to pass a casket through. Wow.

Like a lot of marinas we’ve visited Lyo was packed with families and friends and this one was no different.  Walking around the marina area we saw children dressed in life jackets crabbing (we still need to find out what they do with the poor crustaceans as I doubt they eat them).

The scene felt like a carnival at times with so much activity. I particularly loved the five guys on a very small boat. Where they all slept, I don’t know, but they were out enjoying the water.

With the ferry easily in reach (as it is on most islands around here) we went across to Fyn (pronounced ‘Fern’) to tour the town of Faaborg.

In Faaborg we discovered a museum that was art itself. Thanks to a Mads Rasmussen, whose money from producing tinned goods (such as butter), he and a group of local artists founded the museum in 1910 and it opened in 1915. Designed by the architect Carl Petersen, the museum is considered an example of Danish classicist architecture.

Below is the front and back of the provided map. I couldn’t upload it with the marina’s wifi so please excuse the rough look; but, I wanted you to see how the museum presents itself.

The map outlines a route for visitors while pointing out the art that isn’t necessarily hanging on the walls, such as the floor mosaics (in one of the seven, small alcove rooms the pattern is a labyrinth)

As we read about the building and its components the museum, itself,  became the piece of art I enjoyed vs. the Funen painters who helped found the museum; yet, I liked how those artists painted what they deemed was the ‘good life’:  Sharing time with family and friends, countryside visits, traveling, and eating and drinking well. Thanks to Mads these artists were able to enjoy the good life, including traveling to Italy. Nice guy to have as your patron.

And, the good life is what was painted by these artists:  Fritz Syberg, Johanned Larsen, Peger Hansen, Anna Syberg, Alhed Larsen, Christine Swane, Jens Birkholm, Poul S. Christiansen and Karl Schou. Many of them attended the painter Kristian Zahrtmann’s school in Copenhagen. But, of course, no women were allowed to study there.

And, I had to include the following. It’s another appearance of another big-headed-baby. We seem to find quite a few of these in the museums we’ve visited.

One golden-painted room serves as the archive for the museum’s collection of graphic art as well as a reference library and common room for visitors. Today it’s roped off but you still can appreciate the images by Johannes Larsen.

A special exhibit displays Japanese art and paper books and the influence it had on Johannes Larsen’ (1867-1961) woodcuts.

Another special exhibit focused on Johannes Larsen’s illustrations for Steen Steensen Blicher’s book of poetry comprised of 30 poems about birds.

Larsen was a good candidate for this work since he studied birds with the mind of a scientist. Looking at his studies of the birds it’s easy to see why his work complimented the poet’s.

The museum possesses a large collection of a local sculptor’s work, Kai Nielsen (1882-1924). He came to prominence with “The Marble Girl”,

and later was selected to sculpt the museum’s benefactor, Mads Rasmusseen,

and a piece for the town square. The latter was based on a Norse myth of the god Ynmer feeding from a cow’s udder. He called it “Ymer’s Well” and, well, it is rather startling and caused quite vehement reactions from some of the town’s citizens.

But, it still stands in the town center (a copy due to the original deteriorating over the years).

Nielsen’s work portrays strong, healthy bodies. As one painter stated, his work is best described as life. The description is an appropriate one.

The piece of resistance–for me–comes from the museum’s goal of providing a ‘place of presence’. Described as “…a temporary state of being lost in focused intensity. We forget ourselves and the purpose of what we are doing. This does not necessarily make us any wiser or better. Still, we seem to long for places that make room for presence.

Although presence is fleeting and unpredictable the experiencing of it is as an individual and, thus, can occur wherever you find yourself in that focused intensity.

The map noted some places where we might find presence, and we took advantage of it…

in the Winter Garden Room

and the garden itself.

I could live in this museum. And, yes, it does have a cafe with coffee…

We returned by ferry and were back aboard JUANONA only to realize I had dropped my wallet at the grocery store when repacking my bags to carry. FYI: (you have to be a juggler to catch the items rolling down the belt as the cashier continues checking out the next customer’s goods whose items are also rolling down on the other side of a divider; so, I usually grab and stuff then scurry over to a table/chair/floor to reorganize our groceries for carrying back to JUANONA. And, that’s when my wallet fell out and onto the floor as we hurried to catch the next ferry back..)

Fortunately, we’re in a country who prides itself on honesty; so, when we contacted the store with the help of a young Dane whose family’s boat had just docked next to ours, the store said they had it and would keep it for me to pick up the next day. Which I did and thanked them profusely!

Back to Lyr where later that day we saw some Tall Ships arrive. They were circling the island of Fyn with a planned entrance the next morning into Faaborg. And, where there are boats there is my husband :)

Tomorrow? Another island to hop onto and around :)