First, I must correct an error from the previous entry stating I had covered over five hundred nautical miles since Borka. A mistake… my total is now two hundred and seventy one.
Finally crossing the sixty fourth degree line of latitude was a fine finale to several days of exquisite sailing, possibly the best I have ever done; except perhaps for the desperate attempt to reach Brunsbüttel from Helgoland in 2013. Mind you, the fear factor in the latter took the shine off my finest hour!
The light wind sailing since I left Holmsund Patholmviken boat club, near Umeå has been immensely satisfying and Free continues to amaze me. Motor-sailers are not supposed to sail as well as this; however, she has surpassed herself and saved much in diesel costs.
My visit to Patholmviken was necessary to take on water and visit a nearby shop to purchase same essentials, having been on the buoy for three days at Obbola nearby, awaiting a change in wind direction. The club’s host was courteous and friendly, lending me a club bicycle to defeat the distance necessary to reach the village shop and the evening was a welcome change to living off the anchor, the first time my feet have touched land since Sundsvall.
Today I eventually lost the sweet sou’easterly zephyr (a tiny wind) that had supported my progress since leaving the lovely anchorage at Ratan Island this morning. Soon a nor’easterly barred my further progress so Free sailed close-hauled to the wind entering the delightful little fjord of Kallsviken, from where I write. There is just enough signal strength here for my faithful Telia dongle to work.
As I arrived in the little fjord, a kind group of swimmers asked me if I wanted help to pick up the buoy, so typically helpful. All along this stunning Coast, I have found the same hospitality without the constant badgering for money so common in other locations. Was it once like this in the United Kingdom? Surely. I have heard from other sailors that the money people are slowly infiltrating the Baltic and Gulf of Bothnia, and that it is only just a matter of time. What a shame; and how privileged I feel to have tasted the rare wine of freedom in these regulated days.
My latitude is now approximately the same as Southern Iceland and yet one could mistake it for believing a Mediterranean environment without the teeming masses. The sun is burning down and the light winds kissing lightly tanned skin. Summer has truly arrived albeit a little late. My sailor sense tells me that it will not be long until a huge thunderstorm arrives to release the broiling heat in a rampaging, cacophonic symphony with lashing rain and high winds. While awaiting this possible outcome, I continue to push north by the day, seeking that final objective at the top of the Gulf of Bothnia, Törehamn.
Tomorrow I hope to turn the corner where the Swedish East Coast runs northwest for a while and then back to northeast until Luleå, my last stop before Törehamn. From there on it will be slightly East by South until entering Finland at Haparanda.
That does seem a long way off right now, and as always, it is crucial to live in the present moment, dealing with each day as it comes; because for a sailor there are too many possibilities with each dawning day. I have seen it so many times before and pray for the good fortune and perseverance necessary to fulfil my dream.