On a way to Stockholm we stopped on the islands of Arholma, Vätö and Furusund.
Arholma is the scenic island in the north-eastern part of the Stockholm archipelago. It is 5 kilometres long and 2 kilometres wide. At a time even a Danish king Valdemar stopped in Arholma on his way to Estonia via the Åland islands. Today it is a popular summerhouse destination. During the winter Arholma has about 70 inhabitants but on summer its population grows tenfold by summerhouse residents.
The island has a quiet feeling because there was no cars. Local people were moving around by ATVs, bicycles or by just plain old walking. We made a nice walking trip from the Österhamn to the other side of the island. There was another harbour with a ship connection to the mainland. The harbour also hosted a small shop and a dance pavilion built in 40’s. The most amazing thing we found was however the outhouse toilet of the dance pavilion that had a washing basin with real flower decorations and fabric hand towels. Unbelievable.
Arholma is really idyllic island that is worth stopping. We were lucky that the depth in Kapellskär guest harbour was not enough for Suwena and we chose Arholma as the first stop in Sweden. From all the harbours in Arholma we recommend the Österhamn because it is really well protected and absolutely beautiful.
From Arholma we continued to the island of Vätö. The Vätö is generally not counted as part of the Stockholm archipelago because it is located just north of the archipelagos limit. Eve’s relatives waited us for a visit and thus a small deviation from our route to Stockholm was justified.
Vätö is also a summerhouse island. The quantity of summerhouses is much bigger compared to Arholma because there is a bridge connection to the mainland. Also our relatives have a cosy summerhouse on the Vätö island.
In Vätö we had a new challenge because the Kilholmen harbour is ment for smaller boats. Also the mooring buys on the bay were private. We made a quick decision to anchor out.
The Rocna descended smoothly with the assistance of the anchor winch. However we had to lift the anchor again because we felt that it did not hold and lower it to the new spot. After the Suwena was properly anchored and swung nicely we lowered the dinghy and drove to the docks to meet our relatives. We spent a nice evening in Etri’s and Olle’s summerhouse and enjoyed the excellent food. I have been there last time when I was 6 years old. So it was really nice to meet them and spend an evening together.
The next night however was rather restless. Suwena was on same spot when we returned but during the night the wind shifted and the anchor dragged. It did not help, we needed to put the clothes on and go out to move the boat. The bottom was treacherous, it was hard rock with some silt on top of it. The bay was about 6 meters deep so we could not get any closer the shore because of our swing radius in anchor. If we would move the boat too much outer then the depth would increase quickly to 20 meters and we would be on the fairway where anchoring is not allowed. In good conditions the amount of anchor chain to use is 3-5 times the water depth so we started to run out of the options. After the restless night we were very tired in the morning.
We planned to spend few days with Etri but there was no good place for the boat and had to make a decision to continue to Furusund.
We raised the anchor several times during the night and each time the chain brought some silt and mud onto the deck. In the morning the foredeck looked terrible. Fortunately Suwena has a seawater pump outlet in the anchor locker. I used the hose to flush the chain at the same time as Andrus raised the anchor. Finally I flushed the anchor itself and we could see the silt falling back to the sea. After the anchor was up it was easy to give a full deck the wash-down with the seawater while we had no worry about using up all our fresh water. Of course the water in the bay was very clean.
In Furusund we did a side mooring and next night we slept well.
Furusund was again the new experience because it is very different compared to Arholma or Vätö islands. Furusund become famous as spa resort in 1880s when the jeweller of the king, Christian Hammer bought complete island and built there a fashionable spa resort and villas with beach boulevard. People travelled there to take mud bath, sulphurous water treatments and health bringing footbaths.
Astrid Lindgren, one of the most famous Swedish writers spent several summers in Furusund. No wonder it felt like we walk in the Pippi Longstocking story. We waited all the time when the door of the beautiful villa will open with Annika and Tommi rushing out for playing.
The fairytale feeling was breached when by the rubbish pizza from the restaurant near the ferry harbour to Yxlan. I must say that this was the worst pizza ever what we have eaten. At least we did not gain any weight because the bottom was inedible but the toppings were not good as well. You can’t always win!
It was nice to spend some time on board Suwena and follow the busy ferry traffic. Swedish ships or if looked from here the Finnish ships passed like a clock to Stockholm and back. It was funny to notice that when the ship passed out our laptops offered to use their’s WLAN connection.
Furusund was a good resting place before the congested Stockholm waters. On Thursday Suwena’s voyage continued from Furusund to Vaxholm.