Victory! Sitting at the top of the bay (65⁰ 54.07’N, 22⁰ 39’E)

Finally, after all these years, my dream has come true…

I have reached the furthest north in the Gulf of Bothnia.

Victory! Proudly holding my certificate for reaching the top of the Gulf of Bothnia.

Victory! Proudly holding my certificate for reaching the top of the Gulf of Bothnia.

It is not a circum-navigation of the globe, neither is it going to arouse much interest in the greater scheme of things, but this evening I feel a deep peace and sense of achievement. The final part of this Baltic Odyssey, culminated in a wonderful sail from Luleå, through numerous little islands on a beautiful summer’s day, with a firm but sympathetic sou’westerly breeze. Free managed to sail twenty-nine of the thirty seven miles including some very close inshore sailing that called for every ounce of my experience and nerve.

A heavenly day as Free gently pushes for the final stage of the push north.

A heavenly day as Free gently pushes for the final stage of the push north.

Finally at six thirty this evening my little sailer arrived in Törehamn, the furthest most northerly accessible port in the Gulf of Bothnia.

Luleå was not really a place I wanted to visit; however, it is one of the few towns that is easily accessible without having to sail an extra ten miles up a long fjord. There was also the necessity to visit a marine shop for some small parts for Polly, my dear old Perkins diesel engine plus a visit to a supermarket too, especially as Finland beckons in the next few days and there is a long stretch before Oulu, my next possible port of resupply.

Leaving Luleå, with the huge icebreakers waiting for their winter work.

Leaving Luleå, with the huge icebreakers waiting for their winter work.

Anyone who knows Luleå can appreciate how difficult the harbour approach is in strong wind, and Free very nearly smashed into a lovely million pound boat, due to being suddenly ‘taken’ by a huge gust as she struggled through the narrow harbour entrance. How I managed to make the mooring is still nothing short of a miracle in my mind. However, any thought that this was to be a bad omen was quickly dispelled by a friendly bunch of men in a motor cruiser who made me very welcome. This is so typical of the hospitality of the wonderful Northern Swedish folk; but the piece de resistance, was the appearance of the Marina manager who welcomed me with a free evening, thus saving two hundred Kroner (approximately twenty pounds).

I was astounded. He then explained that many people had heard of my voyage and the marina wanted to help me on my way. What a lovely gesture! Several folk have approached me to ask if I am the ‘British woman’ who is sailing alone. They have recognised me from the photograph in the paper. I am deeply moved by the genuine respect the local people have for my voyage.

Dancing through the islands...

Dancing through the islands…

The voyage through islands to the south of Törehamn was probably the best sailing I have ever done, with a series of tight gybes (Tacking with the wind behind you) between tiny rocky islands and buoys. The breeze constantly shifted to keep me on my toes, but Free remained remarkably agile for such a heavy boat.

I am so proud of her.

The final buoy just outside the harbour entrance. This is as far as it gets.

The final buoy just outside the harbour entrance. This is as far as it gets.

From now it is an easterly voyage across the top of the Gulf, until reaching Haparanda and finally Finland. After that there is a big change in the coast with a definite reduction in inshore depth, as opposed to the deep fjords of the Swedish coast. Finland also has literally millions of rocks and tricky channels to negotiate. I have to admit to being nervous, but also fascinated by the challenge of a new adventure.

This map shows where Törehamn is situated.

This map shows where Törehamn is situated.

On a final note: when I received my certificate from the gentleman at the Törehamn harbour, he told me that I was the first British sailor to receive it that he could remember, and only the second single-hander in the past two years.

What an honour that is.

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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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26 Responses to Victory! Sitting at the top of the bay (65⁰ 54.07’N, 22⁰ 39’E)

  1. Ramon says:

    Well done, Poppy! Your ‘celebrity” status pales into insignificance when you compare it to what you have remarkably achieved. And thank you for sharing the excitement of your adventure.
    Ramon

    • Viking Queen says:

      Lovely words my friend. It’s so good to know that you are following my voyage. I hope all is well for you and if you want to do some or all of the camino again… let me know!

  2. Rocks and tricky channels – just reading hose words is enough to make me nervous. Respect!

  3. Andy says:

    Congratulations.
    You know, I live the sea, but mainly when viewing from the land. It’s not a fear, but I have a deep sense of knowing my limitations-how at its mercy I would be when on it. So vast and untameable. I hear you now-‘wuss’ 🙂

    • Viking Queen says:

      Thank you, kind sir.
      The understanding of limitations keeps you alive. Actually, that’s a real wise statement, Andy. I never know if each day will be my last. Certainly, I’d never have started this life if i’d known some of the things that were going to happen. Now, it has become a vital part of who and what i am in essence, a spiritual path, if you will.

      • Andy says:

        (Sorry only saw your other reply.) Yes I can understand this too. When living on that edge, and be aware of our insignificance in relation to the world we live in, but seeing it’s beauty and wonder and power-that would evoke a feeling of spirituality. And appreciation. And a route to actively seek out. Yes-a spiritual path.

      • Viking Queen says:

        Very well put. That’s exactly what I mean.

  4. Andy says:

    I meant I love the sea! Live in the sea-makes me sound like a fish!

    • Viking Queen says:

      I understand you! It’s not for everyone, for sure. The reality can be pretty grim at times, and there are few opportunities for redemption; however, this is a really thorough way to learn who one really is.

  5. cornishtim says:

    Seriously impressed by this saga. Hope you have friendly winds for your sail East and then South and that your charts are up to date! Good sailing.

    • Viking Queen says:

      Me too, Tim!

      Thanks for your good wishes. Complacency is never in my vocabulary! (probably why I’m still alive)

  6. Congratulations! You have lived your dream, and made a significant achievement in the sailing world. You must feel exhilarated and ‘on top of the world’, and quite literally are, so why not?! I had no idea about the difficulties of sailing in this part of the world, and I doubt many people at the other end of the globe do. It has been such a privilege to join in from the sidelines “watching” your progress towards your goal.

    • Viking Queen says:

      Thank you very much Amanda. Yes, this is an area where navigation has to be absolutely perfect. There is no room for error. One must always know exactly where one is.

  7. Terrific,Poppy, congratulations and on being a famous soloist!
    Here’s to the next lap and Finnish pleasure,I hope!
    Keep up the good navigationg—- Love, Ruth

  8. Liz Poole says:

    So very well done, Poppy. In contrast we are locked in to Port Arsenal in Paris. No free nights here, for endeavour! But fun with family and friends on board. Safe sailing, Liz n Tony xx

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  9. christian says:

    Hi Poppy
    Belated Congratulations to you both.
    Have tried twice to leave message so hope third time lucky, glad that both u and free have arrived and that another dream has been achieved. here is to the next one which we all await the blog/diary of you and free’s adventures.
    have you made the local papers again lol.
    take care
    Cx

  10. chris berry says:

    Hi poppy,

    Well done, s/y Red Dragon

    Chris

    “A Viking Saga: no one here gets out alive…” wrote: > a:hover { color: red; } a { text-decoration: none; color: #0088cc; } a.primaryactionlink:link, a.primaryactionlink:visited { background-color: #2585B2; color: #fff; } a.primaryactionlink:hover, a.primaryactionlink:active { background-color: #11729E !important; color: #fff !important; } /* @media only screen and (max-device-width: 480px) { .post { min-width: 700px !important; } } */ WordPress.com Viking Queen posted: “Finally, after all these years, my dream has come true… I have reached the furthest north in the Gulf of Bothnia. It is not a circum-navigation of the globe, neither is it going to arouse much interest in the greater scheme of things, but this e”

  11. vickyinglis says:

    Congratulations! I’m just catching up on your adventures, and I’m so pleased that you made it. A great achievment.

    • Viking Queen says:

      Thanks Vicky! Yes and the beautiful weather is back up here! Time to sleep, drink tea and not worry about getting through each day!

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