The imminent arrival of my friends James and Tara in Sundsvall coincided with a long overnight sail to ensure that I was there to meet them when they arrived, after their flight to Stockholm Arlanda and subsequent train journey north. Unfortunately, the weather had other ideas and I had been delayed for a day in Kuggören.
Sometimes it is delightful to sail overnight; however, this was not one of my favourite voyages as I was confronted with a wall of fog on leaving the bay at one in the morning. The wind I had hoped for, failed to materialize and the fifty mile voyage was an exhausting affair, motoring in total blindness, relying on the radar for progress. Sailing isn’t always a pleasure, even here in the Gulf of Bothnia, and I was shattered when finally alongside in the Sundsvall Gästhamn. Oh how I long for my elusive southerly breeze!
The appearance of Tara and James was just the tonic needed after the voyage and they took me into the town for a pizza. How lovely!
The following day we chugged out into Sundsvall fjord where at last there was enough breeze to allow Free to sail for the first time this year. The day was spent teaching my young friends basic seamanship skills, including recovering an object from the sea after it had fallen overboard, a necessity should the captain (me) fall over the side and need to be rescued!
That evening we motored gently into a delightful little sheltered lake at Kattskär. After sampling the delights of my famous lentil curry, we sat and watched a full moon rising above the forest on the lakeside. Stunning!
What a delight Tara and James were. Fine young people with a natural aptitude for sailing and a kind, easy going temperament, so often lacking in today’s hectic world. On arrival back in Sundsvall, the following day, my kind guests once again insisted in taking me out for another meal and we said our farewells after on Free.
And so, after this most welcome interlude, it is time to continue the voyage north, hoping for some sympathetic sailing weather; however, despite this lack thus far, there is no where else on earth I would rather be than in this stunning, beautiful country.
My gratitude is immense.