Tag Archives: Swedish Island

END OF SWEDEN CRUISE

STYRSØ

Friday-Monday, July 7-10

 

Since we first began cruising June 6, 2014, our time on (and off) JUANONA has connected us with some amazing people, and our time on Styrso, an island off of Goteborg, added another touch of awesomeness to our summer.

The Swedish island of Styrso became a beacon for our 2017 summer after meeting Styrso-ian Michael aboard Oslo-ians Thomas and Camilla’s boat s/v EQUINOX. They were prepping for EQUINOX’s first offshore passage, from Farsund to Scotland, resulting in our sharing information that night prior to seeing them off the next morning.

During our time together Michael mentioned he owned a cafe on an island close to Goteborg and for us to stop by if we’re in the area.

Seven weeks later we’re in the area :)  And, the fun began.

Styrso, a short ferry ride from Goteborg (Sweden’s largest city after Stockholm), serves as the perfect example of a traditional Swedish summer retreat. As one friend said toward the end of our stay many Swedes have grown up summering in a cottage filled with family and friends during the long days and short nights. This island with its mix of houses clustered around key points of the shore, boat-filled docks, a few necessity shops and some eateries, buzzing motorized carts (in lieu of cars),

and easy strolling seems the epitome of a Swedish summer place.

And, for anyone interested in soaking up the sun while imbibing excellent food and sipping delightful drinks you must spend at least one full day at the Öbergska Café. Sitting in the sunshine warmth under a bright blue sky listening to the mumuring and sparks of laughter from other guests’ enjoyment lulls one into such a sense of summery contentment you don’t want to leave. Your body just goes ‘ahhhhh’. Need I say more? :)

By the time we untied JUANONA’s lines for our Monday morning departure we felt we had found a second home.

Landing on Friday afternoon we scouted out the little village of Bratten, arranged to meet Michael later that evening, and returned to JUANONA.

While straightening up the boat we noticed some folks standing on the dock looking at her. We began talking, then invited them below, which is how we met Ralf & Eva and Jonas & Vivica. Before we knew it they had invited us for coffee at Ralf and Eva’s home on the NE tip of the island.

Finding our way (and only getting a bit lost) we made it to their house, one they’ve been renovating over the past ten years into an airy and light-filled space (the last ‘to-do’ project being a ceramic studio for Eva). We spent a wonderful hour getting to know these friendly Swedes.

I’m fascinated by how people spend their lives. It’s not so much what they ‘do’ but rather why and how they’ve chosen a particular path. Eva, as a therapist, enjoys the art of ceramics (and the coffee cups we used prove she not only enjoys it but makes lovely items); Ralf, being a judge, mentioned how he travels to explore other countries’ legal processes; Jonas and Vivica raise Icelandic horses in addition to his involvement in the solar industry and her work as a landscape architect-turned-graphic designer.

Vivica and Jonas were visiting that weekend as their 15-year-old son along with Eva and Ralf’s was attending a sea camp on a nearby island. The island is a military one that required permission to visit, which they were going to do the next day.

Aromatic coffee, a delicious brownie cake topped with red-ripened strawberries accompanied by clouds of whipped cream, and non-stop conversation immersed us into an hour that passed way too quickly. How wonderful is that? Pretty great, we think.

Walking back we happened to meet Federico and Noelia, two young Argentinians. Both are artists exploring this part of the world. We saw them later down on the dock while waiting for the ferry and invited them aboard. With their ride back to the mainland coming soon we only had time to snap a photo featuring the gift of a sticker he had designed, one we’ll be posting on JUANONA. Warm and adventurous souls, the type of folks we seem to be meeting wherever we sail.

By then it was time for a delicious dinner of salmon and potato salad at the Obergska cafe where we met up with Michael. He introduced us to Adrian, the chef, and Darren, part of the core team Michael has assembled at the cafe.

Back to JUANONA Michael, Max and I sent a toasting photo to Thomas and Camilla on s/v EQUINOX. A short phone call connected us to their boat, recently landed in Morocco on their way to the Canaries. Because of meeting the three of them mid-May, JUANONA with Michael aboard now sat happily docked in Styrso seven weeks later.

Our first evening set the standard for gatherings, which we loved. Conversations and festive spirits kept us reveling into the morning, beginning that Friday night…

continuing on Saturday with Olaf, gin maestro, joining us before catching the ferry to Goteborg.

After another excellent dinner, Michael and Adrian came back to JUANONA for a gut-laughter-filled evening lasting until 3:00 am Sunday morning. Being with young folk makes us feel a heck of a lot younger than we are!

But, just so you don’t think all of our time on Styrso was spent with celebrating, we did manage to take the ferry to Goteborg. You can see the sites by checking out our CULTURAL SIDE TRIP ( http://wp.me/p4H8u2-3qs). (Warning:  lots of art.)

This was followed by our enjoing another delicious breakfast (brunch by the time we got going)

and later meeting Michael’s mother Carina, his sister Isabelle and Felicia, Isabelle’s friend along with Oliver, Michael and Isabelle’s puppy. We basked in the sun and just veged, perfect considering our late night.

As time came to close the cafe Michael introduced us to more of his friends, Kim and Magnus, with Magnus coming down to see JUANONA. Of course, that’s when the combination padlock to the main hatch got stuck; but, a run up to the cafe for a can of coke, which worked after we dribbled a bunch into the lock, we went below.

Before too long Kim joined us followed by Michael and two more of his friends, Cecilia and Fredrik.

Magnus announced he’d brought a bottle of champagne for the weeend and said it was the perfect occasion to pop the cork. He left to retrieve a bottle and we all “Skaled!” life and friendship.

By 11:30 pm time for all to leave but not before Cecilia and Fredrik had invited us for breakfast.

Our Monday morning began with another lovely breakfast, this time with Cecilia and Fredrik at their cottage.

The house is beautiful, and, once again, what many of us Americans think of Scandinavian design with a sense of spaciousness and coziness. No surprise considering Cecilia renovates flats herself, and I mean truly does all the work less plumbing and electricity.

As we’re finding when we’re with friends, both old and recently met, we had to tear ourselves away. With summer vacations starting in earnest we try to reach any marina before 2:00p as boats come flooding in soon after. With 20+ miles to go we headed back to JUANONA.

Michael joined us for a last farewell while provisioning us with special Swedish delicacies and instructions on how to enjoy them.

With Cecilia and Fredrik joining Michael we waved our farewells.

The only consolation of leaving those we had met this dreamlike weekend is the hope that reunions are in our future.

And, it’s all because of our friend Michael who let us into his joy-filled life and his circle of family and friends. Once again, we’re reminded of the line by Dr. Seuss, “the places we go, the people we meet”…

 

SWEDEN: West Coast – Skärhamn to Åstol

Tuesday-Thursday, July 4-6

SKÄRHAMN

Having been in Gullholmen and its sister village Hermano for six wonderful days the time had come to continue our cruise further south. Another easy, 12-mile day motoring and sailing (when possible) as we wound our way through the Bohuslan islands.

In one of the narrow channels a beautiful, crisp white motor boat passed us heading north. When I see vessels like that I imagine how wonderful sipping a lime-tinged drink on the bridge would be as you gaze over the anchorage as the sun sets. A big contented sigh… I looked at Max and enviously said ‘that’d be a nice boat to have cocktails on…’

I head down below to pick up an iPad and hear “calling American Yacht JUANONA” over the VHF radio on Channel 16 (when cruising most coastal waters boats are required to have this on, especially since May-Days, i.e., calls for help, come over this channel).

Well, it was the first time on our trip I’d heard an unknown boat request our attention, and I picked up to answer.

Whoa, another surprise:  turned out it was Nina, a good friend of Steve who’s our good friend back home! He had put us in contact two years ago when he heard we might be in Denmark during our time on JUANONA.

And, she’d just happen to have seen our boat name as she and her partner, Peter, were cruising north that day, and it somehow jogged her memory from an email from two years prior.

AND, they were on that big, beautiful powerboat!

We continued the conversation after switching to another channel (16 is only for quick exchange of  information and emergencies) and then emailed later that day. Based on schedules we weren’t sure the two boats could meet but at least we’d made contact, delightfully so.

We ended up anchoring in a cove across the channel from Skjarnhamn, a town on the island of Tjorn. Taking the dinghy across we docked and did our usual scouting about while provisioning.

This town, like a lot along this coastline, has a rich tradition of fishing such as herring and ling (member of the cod family). The locals caught the ling north of the Shetland Islands during summer, returning to prep it for Fall drying on racks,

similar to what we saw two summers ago in Norway’s Lofoten Islands. And, the best part (for some)? They soak it in lye in December for delicious (uh-huh) eating once cured.

Yummy…

One of the most interesting facts we discovered pertains to a 17th century woman called Margareta Huitfeldt. A land owner, one of the biggest in Scandinavia at that time, she became an economic force in Bohulslan where most of her property lay. A legend ties her to the accusation and execution of one of Sweden’s best-known witch-hunt victims in 1672. Evidently because Margareta didn’t like her. Obviously a person one doesn’t want to upset, i.e., p___ off.

But, she donated to popular causes, such as paying for 30 students to attend school in Goteborg every year, so who cares about a witch hunt? Every year on July 20 she’s celebrated. Nothing like a little money to ease one’s way into the good graces of a populace. Some things never change.

With morning yoga-ing on the beach completed along with a short climb to the top of the rocks

we dinghied back to Skjarhamn to visit a museum, the Nordiska Akvarellmuseet (Nordic Watercolor Museum), Having read about it the night before, we decided to check it out prior to leaving for our next destination.  We’re glad we did.

This museum is lovely. The featured solo exhibit was on Arne Isacsson (1917-2010), a beloved Swedish artist whose abstract watercolors ignited other artists’ interest in this medium.

Although considered a classical watercolorist he continued to explore various techniques and documented them in textbooks. The museum provides videos demonstrating several of his methods of which we saw the results:

one being tilting the entire page to create lines as the water droplets flow down;

and another involving paper pressed onto wet paint resulting in a three-dimensional texture.

In addition to his art, his legacy lives on both as a teacher (his use of analogies made him a favorite) and in his founding of the Gerlesborg School of Fine Art located in Gerlesborg, Bohuslan with a branch in Stockholm.

Another area of the museum showcases eight of their permanent collection of contemporary watercolorists. Some quite bizarre but all interesting to see such as:

Julie Nord’s black ink creatures…

Lars Lerin’s open building blocks…

and Martin Jacobsen’s intense woods.

 

If we had more time before moving on, I could definitely have stayed and continued wandering around, then ending up in the outdoor cafe enjoying a cup of java…

But, on to our next harbor.

 

ÅSTOL

Eight miles south of Skjarhamn sits a tiny island pokadotted with cottages, a few shops, several cafes, a ferry stop, and enough room to cram boats up and down its slim harbor.

We enjoyed a quick walk around (took all of five minutes) with a stop for lunch at what we discovered later was a religious cafe (wifi password was ‘jesus’). Fortunately, no lightning bolts struck us on our way in or out.

With free laundry I proceded to catch up on the dirty clothes before leaving the next morning for another anchorage just a mile further on.

 

SOLHOLMEN

We left for an anchorage on the island of Marstrand in order to see the town (also called Marstrand). According to THE LONELY PLANET GUIDE this town is considered “the weekend destination for yachting types.” Not that we really felt like the ‘yachting types’ but there’s a great fort to explore. We anchored in a large bay, then dinghied to shore and walked to the main road for a visit.

Determined that getting lost would NOT be part of our adventure we snapped landmarks along the way

ending up on the main road where we discovered a bus route to town. We hopped on (the driver wouldn’t take any money as it was such a short ride) and landed amidst a festive atmosphere created by the 2017 international GKSS Match Cup Sweden race. Yup, I guess it’s a yachtie type of town.

We watched two races (you can spot Max in white hat and light blue fleece behind the “H” of “MATCH”). My lacking complete comprehension of what I was viewing didn’t preclude enjoying the crowd’s excitement as we listened to the announcer’s enthusiastic play-by-play of the races,

including covering the following episode:

Just up the hill from the races stands the imposing Carlstens Fastning, the 1660s fortress constructed by the Swedish King Carl X.

The fort became necessary to protect newly acquired territory when the Swedish king beat the Danish King Frederik II (who also ruled Norway). A treaty was signed (the Treaty of Roskilde) in 1658. The terms required Frederik to cede Danish land in Sweden and some in Norway (such as Bohuslan, the area where we were sailing) to Sweden. To protect his new holdings and this valuable ice-free harbor, Carl X erected a stone fortress with a commanding view of the surrounding islands.

It also served as a prison, one where an inmate inhabited either a dismal cell…

or an ‘okay’ one.

One of the better cells held Sweden’s famous thief, Lasse-Maja (1785-1845). This guy would dress like a woman, seduce rich men, then steal from them, hence the name:  a combination of a man’s and woman’s. He also was a bit of a Robin Hood due to giving some of his loot to friends in need. He was sentenced to life when caught at age 26 but later pardoned in 1839 by the King Carl XIV Johan. Because he could cook he served as a chef in the officers’ mess. Which is probably why he inhabited one of the better abodes, in fact the one where Max is standing.

Oh, and he escaped once in 1823 dressed as, you guessed it, a woman… but was caught and returned. Got to love him.

Unable to find workers, the officials turned to the prison population. Matter of fact, being assigned to the construction crew became part of Sweden’s penal code. The unfortunate inmates who performed hard labor didn’t fare well, but they did manage to expand the fort over the years until 1854. That year the Swedes feared war was on the horizon; thus, the higher-ups thought better of ’employing’ the large number of prisoners and many were relocated to other fortresses.

Construction continued until the fort reached its current shape in 1860. It remained as part of Sweden’s military property until the early 1990s. Now it serves both as a tourist spot and hotel (I suggest asking for the officers’ quarters).

We wandered through imposing gates,

admired iron-pocked doors,

and climbed the tower for the view. With such good visibility we spotted the narrow passage a bit to the right in the far distance, our course for the next day.

and returned to the entrance via a secret tunnel (one used by the soldiers to quickly change positions during attacks), where we spotted a photo opportunity. Max commented I appeared to be enjoying myself too much. I could say the same for him…

We managed to catch a completely full, and I mean full-to-bursting-smooshed-against-the-windshield-bus.

Like on our trip to town, the driver didn’t take any payment, just smiled and waved us on.

One reason we wanted to make sure we got back by early evening is our meet-up with Nina and Peter. They had emailed alerting us to their heading back to Denmark. We responded saying there was plenty of room in our anchorage and hoped our schedules would mesh.

And, they did. And, we had another wonderful evening getting acquainted and enjoying their new abode, MISSOURI. They had just purchased and moved onto her three months ago as their permanent home, based in Copenhagen.

And what a home! Including an engine room you could walk in….

I won’t go into the drool-factor of their lovely boat but, trust me, if you dream of a five-star hotel, you’d be happy aboard MISSOURI. Especially with Nina and Peter as one’s hosts.

We had the lime-tinged drinks on the bridge that I had mused about

followed by dinner and a scrumptious cake baked by Peter.

But, the best part of the evening was feeling we had made two new friends. Meeting such wonderful folks is the true luxury of our lives.

 

Wishing for more time but knowing we each needed to go our separate ways, we left early the next morning for another meet-up, one we’d been hoping to do since we first met in Norway…

SWEDEN: West Coast – Hasselosund to Gullholmen

HASSELOSUND (North of Smogen)

Tuesday-Wednesday, June 27-28

We left Fjallbacka for another rendezvous with the NAS Cruise occurring further south. But, the first priority was locating a spot on the way for laundry.

A small marina just north of Smogen, a town knowin for its revelry and summer traffic, offered a washing machine and dryer; and, once the new person at the office figured out how to turn on the power and the water, I was set to go. Two hours later sheets and clothes were dried and folded and we were free to walk to Smogen.

You could easily see why this harbor was a party place. Boats strung along the town’s quay had already begun their tribute to summertime with cocktails while onshore cafes and shops had filled with tourists.

Both Max and I enjoyed the experience but were glad to return to a quieter dock scene for the night…

and early start the next morning.

 

GULLHOLMEN

Wednesday-Tuesday, June 28-July 4

Navigating through narrow, but well-marked, channels

and passing past the ubiquitous red boat houses that edge the shorelines,

we ended up on the picturesque Island of Gullholmen.

This gem of a town (same name as the island) perches on the NE corner and offered a safe haven from the forecasted gusty winds headed our way. Thankfully we arrived just in time to grab a decent berth as more and more boats entered the marina in search for a place to wait out the winds. (By viewing the water past the line of boats you can see how being in a protected harbor means a lot calmer living aboard.)

Being on the cusp of the summer season we’ve been told to be in a marina by noon, if possible, in order to find an opening at a gjestehavn. Matter-of-fact we always have a back-up plan (a nearby anchorage or another town) in the event we can’t get into a marina.

The next evening we walked the few miles to Grindebacken where the NAS boats had anchored in preparation for their “Hat Party” event. We went hat-less but all the cruisers had either purchased bizaare wigs, found existing headgear, or created their own. Prizes were awarded with the Johnny Depp & Son Pirate outfits deservedly winning one.

Sharing a table with our friends from Maine, Doug & Dale and Paul & Marty,

we ate freshly caught shrimp, crayfish and crab (or steak for seafood-allergic Max) provided by a wonderful little cafe ashore.

The next morning the NAS Cruise left the anchorage while we remained for the next two nights at Gullholmen. And, so glad we did.

We explored the tangled web of small wooden houses on the tiny island connected by a bridge, checking out the oldest home

and relishing a huge ice cream dessert picked up along the way. I mean, how could one NOT smile when holding this mega-treat, even when the holder is looking a bit sea-worn…

Our Maine friends had told us of enjoying lunch at the HamnCafet.

It was the same restaurant we had stopped in the morning before where a nice young woman translated the menu for us. We decided to have lunch the next day with no idea what was in store!

The decor enhanced by one of the owner’s paintings created an ambiance worth just sitting in and absorbing.

After sitting down to eat while enjoying a beverage…

I asked the waitress what band was playing, and a man walked over with his phone, having Googled it for us (‘Sweet Remains’ for anyone interested). It turned out his sister (the painter mentioned above) and brother-in-law own the cafe and his two daughters are working there for the summer. It was during this conversation that the world became smaller, a heck of a lot smaller.

Richard’s daughter Sophia came over to have her father taste-test a new menu item (vegie burger, which was delicious by the way). She mentioned she’d been an exchange student in the States. We asked where and she replied ‘Virginia’ at the same place her dad had attended when he was in high school.

Thinking her year must have been spent in the DC area I was surprised when she said Virginia Beach, my home town. From there it got spooky for she not only had been with a family in Bay Colony (my old neighborhood) but the family had lived on the same street I grew up on!

I nearly fell off my chair. Even Max who knew the name ‘Lee Road’ was stunned.

Come to find out Richard had lived on a street perpendicular to my home.

Immediately I recalled walking down the street dragging my Patty Playpal by the neck (a ridiculously huge doll) to pick up Liza (Guy Thomson) to cut through the woods to where our friend Tracy (Anderson Bell) lived, while further on Ellen (Overman Sinclair)’s house stood.

And, Lisa, his other daughter, had been the one who smilingly translated the menu for us the day before…

Later that day we also met Monica, Richard’s partner, who parlayed her nursing career into one designing IT systems for healthcare organizations. And, get this, she’s currently working on a project in Rwanda using drones to pick up blood for testing and to deliver medicine back, in areas where roads don’t suffice. Fascinating research.

The next day we joined them for lunch outdoors and and met Richard’s American tenants, Al and Holly who live in Gothenberg but who are also Mainers, with a home in Jonesport.

Unbelievable. And, all because we asked what music was playing.

That night we ended up aboard a neighboring boat with two Beligians, Martine and Gui, who were out cruising for the summer. They had met when she took a scuba diving class and he was her instructor. Another wonderful evening sharing sailing information and just talking about life.

After three nights in the town of Gullholmen we decided to move JUANONA to the anchorage off of the village Hermano where we had had dinner with the NAS cruisers. With another two days of strong winds forecast, we knew the holding was good and we could take the dinghy to shore.

On Monday the winds died down enough where we knew we wouldn’t get soaked going ashore. We walked into town and checked out one of the many paths on the island. Before hopping back in the dinghy we stopped at Cafe Wintervallven for some libations.

Two women with a pup were talking on the steps, and I went over to ask about the dog. Well, one thing led to another and before you know it Max and I are walking with Nadia and her dog to meet her husband Bengt for a glass of wine and conversation back at their islandhome.

We had a wonderful hour discussing their work (he’s a film producer and she’s a scriptwriter), art, and politics, the latter a topic to which many of our conversations migrate.

Nadia and Bengt also told us about a movie filmed on Gullholmen featuring Michael Nyqvist. Nyqvist, a popular Swedish actor, had appeared in another movie–”As it is in heaven” as well as the “Girl with the Dragon Tatoo” series. Sadly he had recently died, which is one reason why we noticed the signed poster hanging in the cafe.

Walking back we stopped to take a selfie in front of the house featured in one of Nyqvist’s movies. A couple walking by asked if we wanted them to snap a photo for us.

That led to another hour or so of strollling with Mike and Nancy who are from the States but own a home here after living and working in Stockholm; he for Exxon and she, curating dance performances (she started the Dance Salad Festival in Houston).

And, they just happened to own a home in Maine at Ocean Point near Boothbay, withing 30 minutes from Orr’s.

They introduced us to the owner of the cafe (where I had met his wife when speaking with Nadia) and his friend. They were checking the boat they use for crabbing (the reason the seafood tasted so fresh at the NAS dinner).

By now the island was feeling like old home week, and what a unique experience that was!

I wish I had photos of everyone, but hopefully you can tell just how much we appreciated the folk we met. A wonderful small ball of a world indeed.

More special reunions ahead!

SWEDEN: West Coast – Syd Halso to Sannasfjorden

Saturday-Wednesday, June 18-21

SYD HÄLSÖ

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.

STRÖMSTAD

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

KAVLÖ

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

But, it was still beautiful and great to stretch our legs.

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)

and rock river sreaming down to the shore – left no doubt from ancient glacial activity.

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?

SANNASFJORDEN

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…