I am writing from Kalmar on the East coast of Sweden…
What a difference a slight shift in the wind can make; Hell or Heaven, it’s as simple as that.
After a delightful sail from Bornholm to the really beautiful, tiny island of Christiansø, I was faced with a real dilemma, if you will. When leaving the tiny entrance to the harbour, should I turn North to Sweden, or South back to Bornholm and Poland?
Something deep inside me turned the helm to North, and before I could even question my motives, I was on my next forty mile voyage towards the Swedish island of Utklippan….
And what a sail it was! I have rarely had better in many years, and the sun beat down on sparkling blue water as ‘Free’ sailed at five knots, close-hauled to a brisk Nor’ Westerly breeze. Perfection.
I loved the remoteness of Utklippan, even though there were other boats. It is a useful break for any vessel making passage for the Swedish mainland, or heading south back towards Denmark and Poland. After two days of exploring, meditation and much needed sleep, I continued my voyage North until arriving at the gorgeous little village of Kristianopel, my first port on Mainland Sweden.
The light in Scandinavia has a deeply spiritual affect on me. I find words difficult to describe the enchantment, as if memories from another time were transmitting themselves by shades of colour and shadow. Sometimes I am moved to tears by the sheer awe of it all.
While in Kristianopel, I was privileged to meet two of the bravest, albeit craziest, pair of Englishmen, I have ever seen. As I was meandering around the little harbour in my usual semi-dream state, after yet another lovely sail, Axel and Mark introduced themselves, having watched me bringing ‘Free’ alongside. After buying me a coffee, they showed me their incredible little catamaran which they had sailed from Lübeck, right across the Baltic!
Axel, whose parents are Swedish, aims to deliver his boat to the island in the Stockholm Archipelago where they live. Mark, his friend, explained that this was a once in a lifetime adventure. I have to admit to being utterly amazed by such courage. How wonderful to know that there are people still around who refuse to be subjected to the negative forces of modern day consumerism, and are not afraid to make their dreams into reality.
Axel and Mark have definitely kicked my weary backside, metaphorically speaking, and as I sit here in Kalmar with the usual Saturday night hedonism going on around me, I smile inwardly at the memory of these two adventurers.
Thanks for helping me see that I really must keep going into those light northern nights, to dance with the colours of summer under a million stars…
I feel a massive ‘aloneness’ up here. The powerful need to be independent and free is accentuated in the Baltic, by the long distances, in a sea that can change its mind quickly, teasing and frustrating; drawing out all of my sailing experience as I pit my wits against its tempestuous nature.
And so it is Nor’ East by North again as these two old ladies venture forth once more. North towards the Stockholm Archipelago and the ‘High Coast’ of the Gulf of Bothnia.
The future is an open book…