Every year the Enångers Båtsällskap, better known to you as the Borka boat club (as I have referred to it in the past) visits a charming little island known as Agön. This beautiful, small wooded island lies at the entrance to Enånger Fjärden, on the charming Jungfrukusten (the Maiden’s Cost) and marks the beginning of the long inward bound approach to Borka Brygga; it used to play host to a working fishing community during the summer months, who would subsequently migrate to Hudiksvall for the long, cruel Swedish winter.
This time of year is crucially important for Swedish folk; in a short summer there is so little time to feel the gentle breezes and soak up the sun. The general consensus thus far has been of disappointment; the weather has been windy and wet with some quite dramatic climatic phenomena. Thankfully, Thor put away his anvil for the weekend and the good Borka folk descended by flotilla, treated to a lovely few days with a guided tour of the island and a wine-tasting game. The evening ended with a communal barbecue… Perfect!
For those of energetic persuasion, a guide was employed for a historical ramble around the island. The fishing community was active from the Viking times, a fact that fascinated me. Interestingly enough, the old harbour was actually in the forest. The island has slowly risen over the past thousand years due to the geological phenomenon of ‘isostasy’, where previous depressed land elevates after the heavy covering glaciers melted at the end of the ‘Ice-Age’
The wine tasting game involved each member of the club bringing a bottle of red wine with them to the island and sampling each other’s wares. The ‘victims’ would grade the quality of each sample and estimate the price and origin, before returning their findings to the judges. I certainly felt like a victim after sampling some of the wines!
Soon it was time for the barbecue, always special in Scandinavia with those stunning, never ending evenings. The concept of darkness has all but disappeared from my life right now, but then of course the winter returns with a degree of savagery that renders the average British winter comparatively meaningless!
The final day began with an early exodus for most of the club, leaving just a few pleasure seekers (me of course!) behind to soak up more rays and fire up the old sauna in the forest. For many British folk that whole sauna concept is alien, something that one might indulge in in a health spar or some such establishment; however here in Scandinavia it is firmly embedded in the culture. It was rather fun to use wood to heat up the sauna by necessity, as there was no electricity available, but my attempts at swimming shortly afterwards, made the sea off South Shields feel like the Bahamas!
Unfortunately, the perfection of the weekend was spoiled somewhat as Free’s anchor windlass decided to play up, making it necessary to pull up the anchor by hand. The whole process took nearly half an hour, but thankfully the new Fortress anchor proved very light compared to my normal, but faithful Delta; it is even lighter than the chain attached to it! The return to Borka wasn’t a total flop though. A light following Easterly granted an opportunity to sail with a boomed out main sail, half of the return distance. The Agön sojourn gave me a golden opportunity to run Free through her various sea trials, but as usual ‘there’s always bloody something’, and this year it appears to be my horribly expensive, current-guzzling anchor windless!