Nor’ East by North…

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?

Taking a little breather after walking around the beautiful Christiansø.

Taking a little breather after walking around the beautiful Christiansø.

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.

The lonely, but enchanted island of Utklippan, my first taste of Sweden.

The lonely, but enchanted island of Utklippan, my first taste of Sweden.

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 little harbour at Kristianopel.

The little harbour at Kristianopel.

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 (left) and Mark, on the incredible hobby-cat Catamaran they were taking to the Stockholm Archipelago.

Axel (left) and Mark, on the incredible hobby-cat Catamaran they were taking to the Stockholm Archipelago.

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.

This is where they live! Can you imagine sleeping in there after a day's sailing?

This is where they live! Can you imagine sleeping in there after a day’s sailing?

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 can only stand in prayer to see such beauty.

I can only stand in prayer to see such beauty.

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…


About Viking Queen

I am a sailor and I live on my boat 'Free'. I have no home but originate from Tyneside. I have no allegiance, just a desire to do no harm and live with courage and an open heart.
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15 Responses to Nor’ East by North…

  1. Lynda Hulme says:

    All I can say Poppy is You are a wonderful, wonderful free spirit to whom all my respect and admiration are poured out every time I read one of your postings. Keep going sweetheart and God Bless you. Tony and Lynda xxxx

  2. Viking Queen says:

    Thank you for your lovely words of support… They matter when you are so much outside your comfort zone. I have to admit, this is all really difficult and a bit scary at times, but to know I have a tiny link to my friends is a great help. Pxx

  3. rollinwithcarro says:

    You are there!! What an achivement Poppy!! It will only get more beautifuland better on your journey.

    • Viking Queen says:

      Thanks Carro, I’m getting a copy of ‘Naturhamnar på Ostkusten’ from Chandler tomorrow, so I can anchor for a while to recoup the money I’ve spent!!! Love to Danny Boy… I hope he’s okay, and Melvin of course! Say hello to your sister too.
      I received an email from Micke, so that was a great relief!

      please can you send me a contact address so I can write to you or send things? Thanks.

  4. Awesome photographs! And I am so with you about the light up there in Scandinavia. It is so special, it fills my heart with joy.And,oh my gosh, you will soon be sailing through the Stockholm archipelago! One of the most beautiful places in the world. I was sailing there (but not in my boat) about 18 months ago. It is etched deep in my memory. Must go back …… soon….. Enjoy every moment, Poppy.

  5. clareonorro says:

    hello there brave lady. the boys told me of meeting you and they were very impressed by your solo adventure. they have each other while you’re going it alone. while they stay on the water I’m travelling on land with our dog Boose. like you I love to travel alone, trusting that my journey will take me where I need to go and knowing that magic happens every day.

    enjoy your journey. you have my respect good lady. safe journey; happy travelling

    I look forward to reading more.

  6. clareonorro says:

    hello brave lady. I’m Axel’s wife, travelling by land with our dog Boose. the boys told me of meeting you an how impressed they were. I look forward to hearing more of your adventure.

    I admire and respect you for the journey you are taking. I too love to travel alone, trusting that I will be where I need to be and knowing that magic happens every day.

    the boys are up in Västervik now so not much further to Orrö but still plenty of room for the trials and tribulations of sailing.

    please do visit us when you reach the Stockholm archipelago. we’re on the south east coast of Orrö. it’s only 1k long so just look out for the Hobie. the next island is Nämde which you’ll. if on all the charts easily. I’ll be there from this Thursday but the boys will be a few days after me we think.

    happy travelling; safe journey

  7. Viking Queen says:

    Hello Clare,

    A lovely surprise to wake up to a new post! I am at anchor off an island called Bokö to the south of Påskallavik. I’m waiting for a sympathetic wind so i can make a few more miles in a day! Unfortunately my alternator seems not to be charging up the batteries so when the sun goes in,(solar power) or the wind drops (wind power) I start losing power! Ah well… yet another trial!

    I appreciate your kind words and can’t wait to visit you. I’ll make sure of it and plan my route so I do. I really admired Axel and Mark. I’m sure you are made of the same stuff!

    • clareonorro says:

      hej hej poppy. the boys made it safely to orrö. we’re all so proud of them. they reached the island on a foggy day and came out of the fog like a ghost ship with their black sails. been resting up since then and mark leaves tomorrow for England while axel and I settle in to our new home. I hear you’re 150k south so hopefully it won’t be too long. how’s your boat doing now? look forward to seeing it on our jetty :))

      • Viking Queen says:

        Wow Clare… that is wonderful! Tell them well done from me. I am seriously impressed.
        I’m really near now having just anchored on Nattaro Island after a rough sail from Oxelosund. I was battered and am really tired but thankfully safe. Tomorrow I will sail for Huvudskar where I intend to stay for two nights for some photographs and a good sleep. Next it will be you. I think perhaps Friday afternoon. Is the jetty okay? Axel mentioned he was mending it.

      • clareonorro says:

        excellent news. it’s Friday now and I’ve only just got this so will keep a look out for you. we’re on the south side of orrön jetty is fine so just make some noise and we’ll get you on xx

  8. Poppy, Just read your first “epistle” and what a beautiful experience and reaction to the utterly spiritual suspense of northern space and skies. It is breathtaking although I’ve only seen but glimpses of it. The quietness pulsates at night especially. May you have long enough there for all
    the inspiration you’re so ready to imbibe.
    Love again!
    Ruth .

    • Viking Queen says:

      Thank you Ruth!
      I just know that you will understand, being a great seeker of the light. And yes… ‘pulsates’ how apt!

      ‘The roaring silence’

      Love Poppy.

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