An Åland Arrival! (60°14′.2N, 19°32′.4E)

I waited and waited, but still the low pressure persisted…

Having found another island anchorage away from Grisslehamn, which also happens to be the shortest route to the Åland Islands, I waited out two days of savage northerlies plus a huge amount of rain (come back Scotland, all is forgiven!). There are tricks to living off the anchor, including using the rainwater to advantage, by siphoning it from my tender ‘baby’, through a clean pair of tights! (I thought I’d find a use for them again, one day, seeing as skirts are a distant memory!) Having been unable to take water in Grisslehamn, I am running very low, so a day of torrential rain came as a gift!

Syphoning fresh rainwater, another trick to living on the anchor!

Syphoning fresh rainwater, another trick to living on the anchor!

I finally sailed on the tail end of a gale the twenty-six nautical miles necessary to reach the outmost Island, Ekerö. All was grand until fifteen miles out when the breeze fell off and I was left in a sickening swell leaving poor old Free careering about all over the place with her boom slamming and banging in nerve-jangling fashion. Here in Scandinavia they call it ‘old sea’, the effect of the previous wind, and the Åland Sea has a huge fetch when big northerlies blow, almost the length of the whole of the northern Gulf of Bothnia; thus, the waves are big and steep. Free sailed her heart out, but no sooner had she reached five knots than a huge wave would hammer her and pull her back to three. It was bloody murder. With weary resignation on went Polly and the final ten miles were completed under engine.

Approaching a rocky entrance to Husfjärden with the fading light.

Approaching a rocky entrance to Husfjärden with the fading light.

With the light fading I decided to approach a sheltered fjord, Husfjärden, on the island of Mellanön, (60° 14.9’N, 19°30.6’E) which promised to be a possible anchorage as the chart indicated mud on the bottom. Both mud and clay are my ticket to freedom as my lovely new Fortress anchor has a great affinity to them both; stones and sand are not so good. Well Husfjärden had a wonderful muddy bottom as promised, but the wind had the last laugh by backing to south and blowing strongly into the fjord for the next day and night!

A strong southerly blows into Husfjärden making for a scary night at anchor!

A strong southerly blows into Husfjärden making for a scary night at anchor! The little red buoy to my left,  marks my anchor’s position, about forty metres of chain.

I have heard much about the islands being very rocky and difficult to navigate; they are typically Finnish in that way. My previous year’s sailing on the north east coast of Finland certainly tested my mettle, and it took all of my experience to navigate that coast. It is one thing to do this with a highly efficient, ‘top of the range’ sailing yacht and a competent crew, where tired eyes can take a break and windward performance is a cinch, but single-handed with an old motor-sailer is quite a different story. No matter how well I sail her, Free will never be the Cutty Sark! I know this is going to be tough!

Saving money again! Cheekily anchored next to the harbour!

Saving money again! Cheekily anchored next to the harbour!

This afternoon I moved a mile into the little harbour of Käringsund and cheekily anchored a couple of hundred metres off. Since arriving in the Islands I have noticed that my Internet provider Telia has lost its coverage. Käringsund doesn’t even have a kiosk, just an expensive restaurant, so it’s just as well I didn’t pay for a night there. A lovely lady in the restaurant informed me that Mariehamn, the ‘capital’ of the Åland Islands will be the only place I’ll be able to rectify the problem. Until then I’ll have to return to my gut instinct for the weather and hope I can sail the ten or so miles to yon capital without an almighty struggle!

A special thank you to the guys in the restaurant for allowing me to use their Internet, so you can all receive this update. Many of you enjoy this crazy woman’s Saga, so it makes so worthwhile to keep that tenuous link. It may be a while before I can acknowledge any comments, but please keep them coming!

So it’s ‘Hej då as they say up here and Ha det bra!


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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34 Responses to An Åland Arrival! (60°14′.2N, 19°32′.4E)

  1. Deb Spanton says:

    Love reading your adventures Poppy – I confess to being a bit behind on reading but am so in awe of your skills and expertise. You are a star. Love from London (ps temping this week but still looking for work) – have enjoyed the tennis season and luckily have had good weather. Dxx

  2. Hariod Brawn says:

    Keeping track of your progress as always Poppy; your posts are never less than a delight to read.

  3. costenoble christian says:

    hi sister gauap happy to have news like that kisses..suis encore à berlin et vais prague bucarest..where you go vikinga..

  4. Andy says:

    Ekerö is, I think, the island where my first teenage crush (a few years ago now!) lives, Agnetha Faltskög. If you should bump into her, try and turn her onto my blog. But let me know-I will have to edit a couple of posts first 🙂

  5. Love this! Wonderful.

  6. Rosemarie Nitschke says:

    You made it to the Aland Islands! Great going, even if there are rough spots on the way. You do have the gods watching over you!!! I love your ingenuity and courage and I guess that’s what one needs when you’re out at sea with no one else there to tell you what to do (maybe a good thing at times, eh?) It’s when you listen to the inner self that a calm comes over you and you know what to do just when you need it. I’m just reading a story of a man and his partner who sail the Mediterranean in a 100 year old life boat which they have turned into a sailing boat (Jap. junk sails). It’s a good story (Life Boat) but I’m spoiled by your great writing abilities in ‘Tickling the Eagle’. Will write you soon. Big hug, sis.

  7. Maggie97520 says:

    Yo ho! What an adventure. 🙂

  8. christian says:

    glad all well with both u and free. U both look after each other. Tights eh handy things sometimes. Every penny saved will be spent another day. Enjoyed readiing as always and photos great.
    U both take care

    • Viking Queen says:

      Thanks Chris! Yes tights are good… Fan belts, siphoning water, tying people up… Oops, did I really say that?

  9. Bravo! Keep it up and happy anchoring –you’ll make it Poppy!
    Love, Ruth

  10. AndaFest says:

    Hi, winds have really been a mess this summer. Today north, tomorrow south, then again north… Even with weather forecasts available it is tricky. The Finnish Meteorologcal Institute at has been quite good with predictions 2 days ahead so once you get yourself online it could be useful. In Mariehamn, you can anchor in front of both harbours with some distance. Also you can come and fill your water tanks at the local gas stations, maybe buying a couple of gallons fuel at the same time. I wish you constantly nice winds, wherever you decide to sail!

    • Viking Queen says:

      Yes, I anchored where you mentioned but I treated myself to one night for a special treat. I like Mariehamn, it’s small enough to be chilled out. Thanks for your input!

  11. Dom says:

    Hi Poppie,

    Good to hear from you. Wonderful photos as usual.

    What are you doing with your socks or tights now? :)). What an idea!,, to suck water out of your baby ??!!! LOL. :)))

    I am glad you made it to this part of the world, it looks a bit wild, nonetheless very beautiful. Lucky you! Keep it going 🙂

    Here, in boring London, it is steaming hot, a close reproduction of hell, i guess. ..

    I ll send you a surprise video, for when you next get connected to the internet.

    All the best,

    See u soon


  12. Sue Horsup says:

    Hey Pops, great to get your blog updates, still having such a big adventure aren’t you. Bit worried though your latest shows you wearing woolly hat and thick jumper, that’s not right at this time of year you know, make sure you get some warmth on your bones along the way. Love M&s x

  13. Anita&Torbjörn says:

    Hi! We can see you from the guest harbour. You have anchor lights turned on. Its raining again but after rain comes sun, it takes some more time sometimes. S/Y Edina with crew.

    • Viking Queen says:

      I’m here now pop round and say hej!

      • Anita&Torbjörn says:

        yes but we sailed forward to Sweden (Väddö) in the morning,we thought you was still a sleep!? You gonna have fantastic sailing and meetings if you sail further east to åboland arcipilago.
        If you sail near Väddö again we have an bouy in Väddöviken where you can anchor.

      • Viking Queen says:

        That’s really kind of you, thanks! I am trying to reach Sellinge;a friend of mine’s mother comes from there. fair winds and watch out for Sunday… It’s going to blow big!

  14. Eva Vallin says:

    Hey you!
    Nice to see, that you still got it! 🙂
    We have just arrived home, after a trip to Delsbo in the camper.
    Take care, out there!
    Love from Eva

    • Viking Queen says:

      Hej Eva! Did you get out on your inflatable chair? If so I can’t wait for the photos! Ha det bra!

  15. AndaFest says:

    This year there are a lot of blueberries so don’t forget to enjoy one of the best things Finnish nature can provide 🙂

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