To go or not to go? (60°06’N, 18°48.8’E)

The frequency of my posts, have increased (alarmingly?) since leaving Borka. I suppose that the whole reason for this website is to tell of a slightly unusual lifestyle and without meaning to be tiresome; now is the time to do it, rather than those days ‘on the beach’ away from sailing and Scandinavia.

Some of you have almost become friends over the past few years, and I thank you for your continued support and encouragement; strangely, most of those who I actually know have faded away. I can’t blame them; there is so much stimulation from the Internet and media in general that I feel personally sometimes, as if I am drowning in verbosity. One of the advantages in going ‘off the radar’ as a solo sailor is the temporary cutting of the gross ‘umbilical cord’ of negativity and obsessive bad news; for that I am eternally grateful.

Constant awareness is needed among the islands, sharing with commercial shipping.

Constant awareness is needed among the islands, sharing with commercial shipping.

Sharing my sacred space with another was difficult for me, as I am one of life’s solitaries. Certainly the slow anchor-ridden passage from Ängskärsund down the coast towards Stockholm has enabled me to return to my centre. However, now I am riding on the eve of a crucial decision: Stockholm or the Ålands? Um err, um err, um err………….

A scarcity of fresh water forced me to put in to the small, very touristy town of Öregrund. This is the second time I have visited it, the first being on my northward voyage to Borka back in 2013. This can be an extremely tricky place to get into, as one has to take a buoy with a hook and line (a nightmare for a single-hander) and then reverse against the jetty. If there is a stiff breeze blowing this adds to the drama.

Jan-Erik and Erik lend a hand in windy Öregrund.

Jan-Erik and Erik lend a hand in windy Öregrund.

This time I managed both arriving and leaving with a relative ease that surprised me. Could it be that I am actually improving? (Touch-wood) A very stiff northerly breeze created mayhem on the following morning, with some Swedish and Finnish boats becoming entangled, but the very kind sailors, Jan-Erik and Erik (thanks guys!) re-rigged my mooring line so that I could front the wind on departure, without taking out half of my Finnish neighbour’s beautiful Bavaria yacht! Free is thirteen tons, twice the weight of most boats her size, and she packs an awesome punch, so close quarter manoeuvring is critical especially in high winds. Both gentlemen live in Njutånger just to the north of Borka, so they deserve a drink on me, when/if I return in September.

Free alongside in Grisslehamn. Where now?

Free alongside in Grisslehamn. Where now?

I have reached the small tourist ‘village’ of Grisslehamn, and it is here that the decision has to be made.

The Ålands: Do I have the bottle?

To go or not to go, that is the question.


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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29 Responses to To go or not to go? (60°06’N, 18°48.8’E)

  1. cornishtim says:

    I reckon you will know when the right wind blows.

    • Viking Queen says:

      Well Tim, they’re saying strong sou’westerlies for mid day tomorrow… That would be perfect, I guess. Rock ‘n roll huh?

  2. Viki Moore says:

    Where ever you end up, I am sure it will be an adventure!

  3. christian says:

    Follow yr heart or toss a penny. Where ever free and u go – adventures will happen, meet new people who could be come new friends. New places to explore and we will wait for each posting of what u have both been up too.

  4. Harald says:

    Hej, my destination of choice would certainly be the Ålands, the nature is superb, navigation is relatively easy, people friendly and it is less crowded than Stockholm and its surroundings. I guess you have been there before, my favorite places are Rödhamn, Sälsö, Jungfruskär, Jurmo,Aspö.

    This year we are as an exception not around the Ålands but on our way south at Öland right now with destination Rügen,any good places there to recommend?


    • Viking Queen says:

      Hi Harald. Rügen, I love! All the backwaters around Hidden See and the towns of Stralsund and Wolgast. It’s a backwater paradise with plenty of anchoring. I loved it there.

  5. Maggie97520 says:

    nothing ventured, nothing gained … Go.

  6. Maggie97520 says:

    xoxo, your fan, Maggie

  7. acona asbl acona asbl says:

    i where are tyou exactly now? aftre thi infos? i am in berlin nowkisses bon voyage

    Costenoble Ch

    ACONA asbl

    Association pour la conservation de la nature en amazonie

    Date: Tue, 14 Jul 2015 20:13:43 +0000

  8. Ulf says:

    Good choice. Hoped you would go for Åland. Never been there, but planning to. And as I like your writing, your reports, I was eager to have you tell us about the experience.
    But then – the way you sail, why can’t you just have both – Åland AND The Stockholm skärgård?
    Any way – fair winds!

    • Viking Queen says:

      Hej Ulf! Thanks for your kind words. It’s lovely to know that folk are enjoying my writing. I’ll do my best, including making a portfolio of safe anchorages, so sailors can save a little money while enjoying the stunning beauty of your fair land! I would like to spend quite a bit of time in solitude just with the nature, away from noise and tourism, if possible. I think the two places need time to do them credit, so I’ll plump for the Ålands this time! Ha det bra!

  9. Denise says:

    Looks like you have made your decision ,so all the best in Alands,so enjoying your updates, Your journal of events would make and excellent book Poppy that I’m sure would make the foundation of a best seller. Other work is difficult for me to come by so it looks like I need to go back to caring in order to meet my goal of retiring from here by next March. Look forward to hearing more of your adventures, Haere Ra Denise

    • Viking Queen says:

      Thanks Denise! Caring is what you do… it’s what you are best at. You have a lot to give kid, so why not? Glad you’re enjoying my writing.

  10. As always, an interesting bulletin, Poppy. As to decisions, I say follow your gut reaction, your experience and nouse have to be enormous help. All the best, Ruth

    • Viking Queen says:

      Thanks Ruth. Yes, that’s what it all amounts to in the end… that ‘gut feeling’. This can’t be learned in a classroom, it comes from many thousands of sea miles. All the intuition comes from the hard won experience. I appreciate your intelligent response as usual… very insightful.

  11. I am sure you will choose the right path!! Go with your gut!

    • Viking Queen says:

      Always, Amanda! But I’ve just ridden out an horrific thunder storm in an island anchorage. Still no sign of summer, but some seriously ‘exciting’ sailing conditions!

      • I heard the Northern summer is almost non-existant this year. It is a testament to your resilience that you can find the positive in trying weather conditions! I am glad you and Free survived unscathed!!!

      • Viking Queen says:

        So far…😉 kind words, and appreciated . I’m still waiting for that wind to cross to the Ålands. Crazy, crazy weather!

  12. AndaFest says:

    Hi, I’m a big fan of your blog! I hope there will be a weather window for you to come over. Åland is truly unique. Is there any practical matters I could help you with? Having sailed here quite often and being local I think some tips could come in handy.

    • Viking Queen says:

      A privilege to know you are following! Having problems with Telia out here especially on Ekerö! I’ve just rowed ashore to a restaurant in Käringsund and am replying to you here! Ah well looks like I’ll be off the internet for a while!

    • Viking Queen says:

      You’ll probably have guessed that I made it! Now it gets interesting!

      • AndaFest says:

        Congratulations! Weather forecasts say there should be light to moderate southwesterlies so you could have good possibilities to explore the north side of Åland. A beautiful landscape! Which weather forecast do you mainly follow? One tip for a good anchoring location (except during northerly winds) is Djupviken at 60deg 24,1 N 19 deg 50E. Easy to find, clear to navigate. Good anchoring possibilities, likely some company. Go climb the hill and enjoy fabulous scenery!

      • Viking Queen says:

        Thanks for that! That anchorage is on my list! I will go south though, need to visit Mariehamn to replenish supplies and possibly acquire a sim card for my iPad so i can watch the weather! I use, yr,no, wind finder, mainly. I hope you enjoy my blogs and please feel free to advise me on your beautiful country; there is nothing like local knowledge in my opinion… much better than ‘books’!

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