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South Sweden
-- 20th to 25th of August 2018  --
Sailing down the very windy Kalmar Sund and then wandering along the nice southern coast line, between beautiful nature and cute little harbours.

For more picutres of historic towns and tiny islands, visit our page "Pictures".

150 nautical miles
2879 miles sailed since the start

Our stops, click here for more details :
Kalmar (marina) - Hanö (marina) - Hällevik (marina)
20th August : Byxelkrok – Kalmar (47NM)
This morning, the southwesterly wind that has been shaking us for the last 36 hours is showing promising signs of weakening. Most of the yachts progressively leave the harbor in order of decreasing engine power and put on max gear to progress against the last gusts.

This is not our way of doing things. We are patiently/restlessly waiting for a big change in the wind direction, as favorable northwesterlies are forecast for this afternoon. Yes, we are considered by our neighbors as a bit weird for leaving so late and with the intention of sailing during the night. But let them think.
We finally cast off at 1300, starting with a few hours of rather variable wind. Some heavy clouds and showers are lurking all around, but no thunderstorm. Once the clouds clear, the wind settles to a good 4b from the northwest, right on the beam.

There is no denying it, the summer is over and so are the long nights. The sun disappears at 20:30 today! The further we go to the south and the shorter the days. We sit for a while, watching the evening lights coloring the walls of the Borgholm fortress. Just then the wind chooses - rather suddenly - to increase. Out with the genoa, up with the jib, and we’ll take one reef in since we are busy on deck. Even so we are sailing at 6.5 knots!

And yet we consider this is a good weather window... Summer is short under these latitudes !

The bridge between Kalmar and the island of Öland, passage is only under the arch on the left
It's getting dark, but the Kalmar Sund is perfectly lit and that's no problem even at high speed. We pass under the big bridge that connects Öland to the mainland. 35m high, that should be enough for the Saltimbanque’s mast :o)

Once on the other side of the bridge, the world changes: the city of Kalmar blocks the westerly wind sweeping across the rather flat coast more to the north. The arrival is therefore quiet in well-lit harbor, which is, this time, very well sheltered.
Based on their last AIS position, we knew they were here: our friends from L'Escale arrived a few hours before us, and they are waiting on the pontoon to catch our mooring lines. Harbors appear immediately more welcoming when you are received by friends!

This is a typical Swedish harbour, with stern buoy mooring and bow to the pontoon. 4m deep. 200 SEK without electricity. Showers are free, but the access code change daily at 3pm sharp (so no access afterwards).

21-22 August : visiting Kalmar
Kalmar seems like the compulsory stop for all the traveling ships en route to the south - the vast majority of which Germans. There is the whole fleet of storm-bound refugees from Byxelkrok (the big "Altojo", beautiful amateur aluminum construction, the small Dehler 29, the bigger Dehler 34). We find also older acquaintances, like “KatiKati”, a Sun Odyssey 26 decorating with a feisty kiwi bird on the hull, whom we had briefly met in Hel (Poland). There is also “Chablis”, another Dehler 34 met in Kaunisaari. They are all Germans. L'Escale is the only English boat in this harbour, although we saw a few others since Stockhom. There are also some Russians and Poles (Poland is just across form here!). We are the only Frenchy here again, although we met very briefly a compatriot in Visby (Gotland)! Another sailing Breton would you think? No! A sailor from Nice! Single-handed, with his big black boat, he was on his way to Copenhagen.

We have a tight schedule on our first day in Kalmar: 1. laundry (no chance to delay it further this time!) 2. shopping (even the tin cans stocks are running low…) 3. Social calls (in particular a very pleasant lunch on board L’Escale) and 5. Cultural visits of the city and its famous castle.

Saltimbanque is always very conspicuous on laundry days. Note our new system for the T-shirst: we thread a rope through the sleeves, requiring thus fewer pegs and not risking being blown away in strong gusts !

The famous Kalmar castle
Kalmar was a stronghold since the Middle Ages. The region, Danish at the time, was the subject of endless conflict with the Swedes eager to conquer the entire peninsula. A castle was built here already in the 12th century. Wishing to end these conflicts and present a united political force to face the mighty Hanseatic League, Queen Margaret of Denmark and Norway organized for her nephew Erik of Pomerania to be crowned king of all of present-day Scandinavia (plus Finland, which at that time belonged to Sweden). This alliance is known as “Kalmar Union” and was signed in the famous castle in 1397. It lasted until 1523.
The castle is still there, but has been hugely remodeled over the years. It is quite small and we are a little disappointed by the visit. The city however is very pleasant, offering beautiful walks between colorful wooden houses and the coast.
The laundry-house, still open to everyone. Here you can wash your clothes directly in the sea (still very brackish here)

Inside the laundry house
Back at the pontoon, discussions are going on about the weather. When to go? These is a lot of wind forecast for the next day, channeled into the narrow passage between Kalmar and Öland, a scenario that seems quite plausible after our experience at Byxelkrok. We contemplate the possibility on leaving on the same evening to pass ahead of it. But our hurry is not so great and we decide to wait until after the gale, at midnight on the day after. A midnight departure it must be: we do have a reputation of originality to uphold ;o)

23rd August : Kalmar - Hanö (94 NM)

L'Escale in the morning light
The southerly wind has decreased but not veered when we leave at midnight, with the certainty of spending hours tacking against it. At least the weather is nice and the starry sky is really splendid ... The wind is not too strong and Bob can steer. There is a rather pleasant night.

At sunrise, we are surprised to find ourselves at a little distance behind L’Escale, who set off 2 hours before us. Saltimbanque must have been doing as well as the Allures in the light wind.
L'Escale continues to the South, bound by a couple of approaching visits in Copenhagen (these deadlines, the worst enemies of the long-distance sailor...). Our ultimate goal is Bornholm, but the nice southerly wind of this afternoon is supposed to quickly soften and then increase again from the southwest (right in the head). So we decide to visit South Sweden a little more and set course towards the small island of Hanö which looks really pretty. We even treat ourselves to a nice leg with the assymetrical spinnaker up right before dinner!
The asymetrical spinaker rises when the sun sets...
The wind finally heads but does not die until the end, pushing us with its last breath into Hanö harbor at 3am (yes yes, quite an original time to arrive, we know...). We will learn that the lighthouse on this island that we have been following for hours is the most powerful of the Baltic Sea with a range of 23 miles. The port offers berths along the pontoon or on stern anchor. 220 SEK/night (without electricity), free shower in what are, in our opinion, the cleanest and coziest facilities of the Baltic Sea!

24th August : visiting Hanö 

Many fallow deers on this island
Finally an island that is the right size, so that you can walk around it! We’re soon setting off on the coastal path. It's very pretty here – plenty of granite! It feels like back in the northern archipelagos of the 59 ° parallel! We wander around cheerfully, here greeting a cormorant, there admiring a gull astray, and watching the many deer that dwell in the woods.

Speaking of the animal kingdom, have you noticed that a few important characters are now absent from our walks in the woods? No more mosquitoes, no more horseflies! What a pleasure to walk freely, with no need to escape from blood-thirsty buzzing beasts!!
The "beach" marked on the map of the island is a beautiful slab of granite, very soft and polished, gently sloping into the transparent water. The water is quite cold, and surprisingly salty. We are slowly but surely getting closer to the interface with the North Sea and its reasonably-salty seawater.
The beach, will please whoever likes granit !

A ray of sun on Hanö harbour
The village of Hanö itself is charming, reminding us a bit of those of the High Coast, small red houses with white window. A major difference: we are off-season and the activity is at its lowest level. No more blueberries or raspberries either, but the blackberries will do just fine for our weekly home-made pie.

New gale from the Southwest tonight, but we are very well protected just behind the mole and it's good to hear the wind whistle outside and not be shaken in all directions :o)

25th August : Hanö – Hällevik (9 NM)
The forecast is not good today: strong southwesterly winds followed by violent storms. We take the chance of a small opening between the two gusts, at 6am, to reach the port of Hällevik a few miles upwind.

Saltimbanque in a desert harbour, well sheltered from the coming squalls...
The harbor is not very deep and the shoals at 1.3m and 1.7m in the entrance are not marked. We sail by cautiously and safely thanks to electronic charts (we are getting very used to this modern comfort!) Inside the harbour there is hardly more than 1.5m of water, Saltimbanque just fits it.

According to our guide, the guest berths are located along the moles. Yet we observe there more seagulls than boats! The moles (especially the Southern one) are white with guano and lined with a noisy and hungry welcoming committee of the winged sort. We have no desire to moor there. There is another floating pontoon marked with the typical Swedish "Gästhamn" logo. We try to slot in: not enough water in the first place we try near the mole, but it goes better towards the end of pontoon. Apart from a very friendly pigeon that insists on perching on Saltimbanque’s bimini, there is no one around!
Weird atmosphere in this semi-deserted harbour where birds of all kinds reign... It is remarkably sheltered and that's all we ask! There is also a super supermarket, catering for absolutely all needs – in no logical orders – from bread, fruits and vegetables to light bulbs, garden tools, hawsers, antifouling, then back to meat, canned food, cooking pans and cookies! Joking aside they have almost everything, surprisingly cheap too. 
The end of Hällevik harbour, well organized: each stone dyke is labelled with a letter: quay F, quay G, quay H etc.
We managed to get a nice walk around in the area before resting for a few hours. And yes, of course, midnight is once again the time when the wind is turning, and therefore the time when we will sail off!

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SuDad - 02/09/2018 22:52:05
On aurait pu s'attendre à beaucoup de similitudes entre ces villages côtiers, mais pas du tout, chaque fois, c'est une surprise. L'ingrédient est précieux pour entretenir l'émerveillement et la stimulation du voyageur. Par exemple, remplacer les moustiques par des daims est une très bonne idée, moi je dis. Et puis donner au lavoir une tournure japonaise, c'est assez créatif aussi. Au fait, c'est là que vous avez exécuté votre lessive à séchage intermanches?
Une mention spéciale pour votre sublime (une manie, chez vous) photo du spi asymétrique...
On se cale bien dans le fauteuil, et... on attend la suite...

Mum - 02/09/2018 22:24:51
Adorables ports et photos toujours superbes merci

la mamou - 01/09/2018 22:04:35
nous voici dans un monde plus familier , où la mer est salée et les nuits plus sombres ... mais la présence de tous ces daims , ces oiseaux plus nombreux que les humains , ces petits abris "cosis" , ces plages de granite font de cette lecture encore un moment magique passé avec vous !!

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