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The big break

Date: Saturday 12th July to Friday 18th July

Distance : er, well, 52 miles.

Weather : Light northerly, but bright sunshine (at last)

Saturday was rubbish. We were going to go off and lay overnight in a hole behind the islands, but it rained (torrentially, eventually) so we stayed put in the marina. Sunday was fine, so we made for the sea.

We'd ummed and aarred for days as to whether to go out the pretty way, or the direct route to sea. The main problem with the pretty way was that an opening bridge at Möcklösund has been replaced with a fixed bridge - clearance 18 meters. This was a bit tight for us, given water levels but we might just have risked it. In the event, as we stayed in the marina, there was little difference in the distance, so we went out the direct route (cutting the corner on a few boats by going between the rocks - this electronic plotter really is going to get me into trouble one of these days!)

Skipper's WatchOriginally, we were going to stop at Kristianopel, a small harbour on the east coast, but we decided to press on direct to Kalmar. It has a large harbour, and we knew that if it was full, we could lay along the commercial harbour walls - which is what we did. We had an excellent dinner, (disposable barbie on the quayside) and went to bed.

The next day we moved round to pick up a better spot in the harbour. This was our first encounter with stern bouys and we made a spectacular cock-up of it. Pat missed the bouy (due to a wizard wheeze Ivan thought up instead of doing what everyone else does) and then we discovered that getting back out wasn't an option as there are lines in the water to wrap round your prop. Eventually, things were resolved (We've not got out yet though....)

The QE2The harbour is full by about 4pm. There is then an unending stream of people trying to find berthing slots, squeezing in etc. (There are no rules with stern bouys). One huge UK registered motor boat made a grand entrance (it took up most of the harbour) thought about it, and left. A german on the boat next door said - "Here comes the Queen Elizabeth!"

After a days shopping, Pat was attempting to fix some Mosquito nets when she slipped on a cushion and hurt her foot badly. At first, we thought it was simply a strain, but decided to get it checked with a doctor the following day.

When we finally tracked down a doctor (a wild chase across town, and 3 doctors later), she wasThe original boot excellent (and 5 minutes from the boat), but she thought it was broken. The x-ray department at the local hospital took 90 minutes to come to the same conclusion and sent us to A&E. Some 6 hours later, Pat emerged, wearing a concrete boot the size of a large welly. Walking now was more of a problem, than it had been 8 hours earlier...

The hospital had shades of the NHS, except that the building was light and airy, people were immensely friendly and the waiting room had a sofa! (other things were the same though - at one stage Pat was on a trolley in the corridor..)

Not being able to stand on it, going back to the boat was impractical, so we put her up for the night in a local hotel. (It was only a single room, but it included an evening buffet and breakfast for us all - excellent value!)

She finally got back on the boat on Wednesday, but we had all sorts of visions of her dissappearing overboard and going straight down - so we prevailed on the original doctor to see if we could get something more suitable. Bless her heart, she set us up with a different hospital deprartment, who came up with the Mark 2 version - in fashionable stripes.

However, the magic of the E111, means that so far, medical bills have been a princely £35.42 - who says the EU is not good for anything? 

This incident obviously raises the risk and danger to our project measurably - as from now on, Pat will be doing all the driving! She's also working out how she can rig the crew up with a webcam - so she can go shopping by remote control..

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