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Rocks!


Date: Saturday 19th July to Friday 25th July

Distance : 85 miles.

Weather : Mostly light winds.

Saturday 19th July.

First attempt to foray out with Pat's foot in plaster. Executed a textbook exit, and topped up with diesel, just to get some practice. Light breeze gave us a little lift up under the Öland bridge, until Green Algaeit died. We decided to head for Borgholm.  On the water we found sheets of dying green algae. At one stage it was like sailing through pea soup. Öland is one the main holiday islands, and, on arrival we were accosted by a couple of kids in a Dory saying that the harbour was closed due to the Swedish Sailing Championships. After further incoherent The  squeeze at Borgholmexchanges, we ascertained that only the inner harbour was closed, so we picked up a mooring in the outer harbour. The place was heaving with strong manly,and not so manly, sailing types, and girls in Bikinis. (Oh, and hordes of tourists). It was a bit like Bognor Regis on a bad day. Pat was rather taken by the strong silent type in the harbour office. I got a crick in my neck when I sat up too quickly to look at a boat load of Swedish female racers..... After no wind all day, it promptly blew up at sunset, so midnight found much yottie activity setting up lines and fenders.

Sunday 20th July

Left Borgholm fairly early (but not until the bread rolls had arrived). Another slow float towards Oskarshamn. We wanted to try out our first natural harbour as opposed to marina. (The east Rub a dub dubcoast is littered with these 'rock pools' where you can lie in comparative safety, out of the elements. We picked Tväggesholmen, near the picturesque holiday village of Figeholm, which had a marina as a back-up in case we couldn't get in.  Figeholm is at the top of its own little archipelago, and the rock pool was about half way in. So we picked up the marks, headed for the pool and - crash!

Now there are two ways into this rock pool. The proper way (in the book) looked narrow, however the chart indicated that there was more room in the other entrance, although it was guarded by a submerged rock. Yes - you guessed it - we hit it. We hurriedly backed off, bottled out, and headed for the marina at Figeholm. In retrospect, we did a couple of things wrong. I was misled by both the chart and the electronic plotter, both of which indicated things were OK. I also Pat's parrotignored (Pat didn't) the evidence of the depth sounder, which showed decreasing depth - in future,we will know better. The rock in question is charted at 1.7 meters, which is precisely our depth, and we think we sort of bounced over the top - but a shock nevertheless. Talking to some locals later, this sort of happening seems to be not an uncommon experience, as the charts are not necessarily as accurate as you might think. Even I know not to rely on electronics. This sort of navigation has to be accurate to about 20 yards (preferably less)- which is more than GPS will give you.

Oh, and one boat at Figeholm had a parrot on board - just right for Pat's wooden leg!

FigeholmMonday 21st July

We laid in, getting over the shock.

Tuesday 22nd July

It pissed down, so we decided we were still in shock...

Wednesday23rd July

Lovely day, light winds, so we decided to have another go At anchor in Aloat getting into a nature harbour. After some discussion over a bottle of wine with the friendly swedes in the boat next door, we headed for Älö, a small island not far from Blankaholm, on the way to Vastervik, our next major stop. The entrance to this one was narrow, but fairly straight forward, with only 2 submerged rocks (!). This time things were fine. We did have one tricky moment. After largely ignoring the depth sounder the first time, we decided that this time if it went below a certain value (3m) we would stop, as the chart said 3.5m was the minimum depth the entrance would ever be. Sure enough, it bottomed out at 2.8...

The place was lovely, and, oddly, deserted. (The surrounding pools were full of boats). One swede in a boat as big as ours, put us to shame late at night by beetling in, motoring straight up to a rock and tying up to a tree on the shore. Next time, we'll try that....

Thursday 24th July

The old Pilot stationLaying in Ido harbourEmerging from Älö, we were accosted by the same couple we met in Figeholm - they had laid in the pool behind us - so we agreed to meet for dinner in a new restaurant on the island of Idö. The resturant, perched high on a rock, is run by an ex-Najad sales manager and a round-the-world yachtswoman. In the middle of the island is an old pilot (coastguard) station, which is being converted into a holiday home. Pat climbed the tower (all 66 steps) to see the old coastguard equipment still in situ.


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