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Bornholm and Denmark
-- August 26th to September 2nd 2018  --
New country, we leave Sweden where we have been sailing since the beginning of the month for Denmark, with its most oriental possessions: Bornholm and Christiansø islands. Then we have to start heading back home and we get back to our good old Kattegat.

More - a lot more - pictures of very beautiful islands and a movie on a bike in our page "Pictures".

203 nautical miles
3082 miles sailed since the start

Our stops, click here for more details :
Allinge (harbour) - Christiansø (harbour) - Tårbaek (marina) - Hornbaek (marina)
26th August : Hällevik – Allinge (45 NM)
The southerly wind has finally veered to the West, we can sail on a direct course to Bornholm! The wind is planned rather strong, this will be a quick and active passage. Leaving at midnight of course ...
Indeed, that was quite a sprint! First under genoa and full mainsail, then with the jib and one reef, then two reefs, then one again… we are sailing on a close reach rather than abeam, with a choppy sea from the side.  Saltimbanque is eating up the miles. Bob steers and we only have to adjust the canvas and monitor the nasty clouds lingering in the sky, leftovers of yesterday’s storms.

Saltimbanque sailing fast, with 1 reef and the jib !

The small lighthouse at the northern end of Bornholm island
We reach Bornholm’s tip in the early morning. This is a green rolling meadow landscapes, with a few cliffs, farmed lands and small fishing villages at sea level. Memories from years of sailing across the Channels are flooding in: it looks like Guernsey!
Once the tip of the island has been rounded, the wind and the sea calm down at once and allow us to enter Allinge's pocket-size harbour. This is a magical moment in the morning light, sailing in behind the two stone jetties that leave only a narrow passage to the rectangular basin in the center of the village.

We moor along quays that could be in Penzance or Looe, surrounded by stone houses that look so British, there’s even a fish-and-chips smell in the air! Dear oh dear, where have we landed! And yet… the yellow color of the houses and the fish smoking houses are a clear sign. Yes we are in Bornholm, Denmark. What a passage! We just sailed 45M in 8 hours at more than 5.6 knots average, and the heavy clouds are kind enough to wait until the last line is tied before bursting out. Sometimes things turn out well too!

We had time to moor and take a picture, but tidying up the jib will have to wait that the rain stops !
The harbour is not full, so we can moor directly along the quay, surrounded by German sailboats. This is so much their territory that they address us directly in Goethe's language, without checking our flag, and are almost surprised when we answer in English! It is definitely their home waters, which they share with some Poles. Here as in Poland, they are always with large crews and a skipper who speaks a lot standing in the middle of the cockpit. Perhaps one more step on the skipper's certificate cursus?

Streets of Allinge: no more wooden houses like in Sweden, only brick walls, covered with danish yellow rendering
The advantage of sailing at night is that you can visit during the day. Sleep ? We have all winter to sleep ... Short walk in town to start, very cute with its little yellow houses and gardens full of flowers. Many fig trees remind us that we have reached the southernmost point on our return journey.
In the afternoon we take the coastal path. Bornholm is actually a part of the granite ridge that formed the Finnish archipelagos and we find, to our delight, pink granite !!! (One cannot change overnight). An otter, apparently liking granite too, is passing close to us.
Piture of the otter, the bird on the picture comes as a bonus !

Chimeys of the fish smoking houses, they are everywhere in Bornholm
The coast is beautiful, alternating granite coves and white sand beaches. And always the yellow houses and fish smoking huts. On the way back we encounter a wild mirabelle-tree which has been a little shaken by the wind and left us with beautiful fruits to collect on the ground. Mirabelle plums are a nice addition to our collection of scavenging catalog!

27th August : visiting Bornholm (biking)
Bornholm is a big island and like in Gotland and Öland we rent a bike to explore the northern part.

First stop: the ruins of Hammershus Castle on the Northeast Point. At the forefront of the Danish-Swedish wars, Bornholm has always been well defended, first by this fortress from 13th century, then by the island of Christiansø after the end of the 17th century.

Impressive site, especially thanks to the superb views of the sea. We admire the architecture: pink granite for the structure and brick for the details (windows edges, doors, slopes of the roofs.)

The castle ruins: after Guernsey, now we feel like in Scotland !

The only believers staying at "John's chapel"
Second stop: a series of cliffs nicknamed "John’s chapel" after a hermit who lived in the adjacent caves. It is very vertical! There are no believer today, but many birds are dwelling on the flights of rock.
We continue to our next stop: the medieval churches. Very old (13th century), they were both a place of worship and a stronghold. They are thus built like a dungeon, all round, with slits from where to pour… boiling oil or holy water? Inside, the nave is organized around a large central pylon around which the church-goers sit. Some seats are well concealed behind the pillar, convenient to doze off during long sermons.

At 15:52 the lights of the church go out. We do not pay much attention, more worried about the rain which is beginning to pour generously. Quick, to the charming village of Gudhjem! There we might find shelter and hot coffee!

Typical round church of Bornholm. The buttresses have been added in the 18th century to hold the tower straight

Gudhjem: actually very cute but probably better appreciated with nicer weather
This is nice little village with a windmill, yellow houses and a small harbor enclosed between stone quays. Coffee is there, alongside appetizing cupcakes. But when we order, the waitress crushes all our hopes "Do you have cash?”
We: "Of course not, what a weird idea..." (in Scandinavia everything is paid by card, we never carry cash)
The waitress: "The power is cut throughout the island, it seems like a boat has been anchored on the underwater cable and damaged it. No power, no card reader ... "- so no coffee at all? The waitress kindly gives away two coffees that are still lukewarm (the machine being down…), which we sip looking at our smartphones. Damned, the network is down! Antennas must have been cut. Even the emergency number seems to be unreachable. All the stores are closing because they cannot accept payments – or because their supply of ice-cream is melting. Without power, the economic activities of the island are brought to a stand-still...
Luckily our bikes need only muscular energy and we can bike home – after stopping at some other cliffs with impressive views. One can even enter one of the crevasses and walk inside the caves. It's all dark at the bottom, we turn around well before daring to explore it to the end !!
The crevasse in the rock, impressively long

Attempt to dry our clothes with our oil-burning heater that we bought last winter. Actually it works very well, it quickly reaches over 20°C inside the boat !
Back to the boat, our legs stiff after the 64km-ride, completely soaked. No light in the windows, the power is still off (it's been almost 3 hours now). The alarm system allowing access to the showers does not work – so no showers - there is no hot water anyways. So we will have to resort to Saltimbanque-style showers, in a swimming suit in the cockpit, with buckets of seawaters, rinsed by the persisting rain and some kettled-boiled fresh water. Passers-by look at us wonderingly...

To warm up, we light up (for the first time of the trip) our oil heater. Remarkably efficient it turns the boat into a place warm, dry and welcoming for the evening. We just wonder how to check the weather forecast without internet. Finally everything goes back to normal in the evening. 4 hours without power, only 4 hours, and the whole island has been disrupted. This is proof of our dependence on power. The next day, supermarkets sell off their fresh products with a discount: yummy steaks for 1 euro :o)


28th August : Allinge – Christiansø (13 NM)

Approaching Christiansø, pushed by both rather strong wind and seas
A calm night is expected tonight, ideal conditions to visit the fortress island Christiansø, known to be as photogenic as it is poorly sheltered.

The westerly wind is still well strong when we leave Allinge. The passage is quick and bumpy. And on a portside tack. Some news from our starboard winch: the damaged part cannot be found in Northern Europe in a reasonable time (or at reasonable price), and our quick fixes with tape or glue only lasted a few hours before being dissolved by the gear oil. We keep experimenting with solutions to send the starboard sheet to the portside winch during the whole passage and we decide to work the winch with only one of the two ratchets until Oslo. Fingers crossed that it lasts until there- or that we get only easterly winds...

One last jibe and we approach the very narrow entrance – pushed by a strong swell. Junior is fit as always and propels us inside the basin with a decided “tonk”.
The harbor is small and its west side shallow. On the East dock there is 3m of water ... and many German and Polish sailboats! We moor along a small red yacht with a very nice Polish crew. We also see our "crazy kiwi" again, the little German "Kati Kati" painted the New Zealand way. He shows us where the ferry docks every day from 10.00 to 15.00, between 2 lines of white paint on the quay: yachts must clear the space then. We're just on the right side of the line, whew!

In this German-Polish world, a Rustler 36 arrives in the harbor, flying the Union Jack and registered in Falmouth. Human nature being what it is, people are drawn to those that resemble them most… Bretons and British sailors have the Channel in common – that makes our neighbor a very eligible partner for a friendly conversation and a nice evening onboard the Rustler. What’s more, John and Miranda are former instructors  from the Glénans (like Camille)! They will tell us about their trips to Iceland, to the Lofotens, to Finland etc. Too bad to meet them so late in the journey and just as they are heading south and we north...

The northern harbour of Christiansø

Christiansø, stunning...
Apart from the friendly sailing community, the island itself is worth a visit! The fortress is no longer used for military purposes, but it still belongs to the Ministry of Defense which manages this territory occupied by a small community of about 60 people. There is even a school (4 teachers for 12 students...), a firemen station, a post office, a restaurant, a very small supermarket. Everything closes after 1600 until the next day at 1100, those are "tourists hours" – according to the waitress at the bar. No way to visit the towers outside of those hours - but we do have the island pretty much for ourselves then.
The East coast is bare granite rocks. The main attraction is the 18th century village, with its pretty yellow houses, fishing barracks and fish smoking huts. The colors are beautiful in the sunset. Christiansø is our last major stop in this tour of the Baltic. It does not disappoint us.

The harbor and its iconic “big tower” is on the cover of our Imray pilot book which guided us all along the trip, so of course we needed the same picture - but with Saltimbanque on it!

Postcard-like pictures (or rather sailing guide cover-like pictures) are always best with Saltimbanque on them !

29-30 August : Christiansø – Tårbaek (115 NM)
A small miracle: Easterly wind is expected from this afternoon. We intend to take advantage of it to progress as far as possible towards the west.

Seals all over the sea !
This leaves us a few hours in the morning to walk around the island again. What are those hoarse sounds on the Eastern beach? It is in fact a huge colony of seals, swimming around in the calm of the morning.

So the water must be salty you think? Well, it depends on the places. In the bay where Laure swims on the Western side, the water is so fresh that she actually drinks it! It is also full of jellyfish (the transparent, non-irritating kind), so that the water seems thick with them...
Noon is there and the wind is about to come, let's go! It’s blowing still very much from the South, so that we can sail the asymmetric spinnaker until to the northern tip of Bornholm. But there we lay in the lee of the island. Dead calm. The island is high and big and we will have to motor for 3 long, frustrating hours.

Then we will try a few miles with the symmetrical spinnaker but it doesn’t work very well. At the beginning of the night the easterly wind finally returns as expected – right from the back. We are sailing downwind, goose-winged with the pole holding the genoa up in the swell. This is efficient, but it requires human steering unfortunately.

No wind on the lee of Bornholm, but nice views of Hammershus

The sun rises after a tiring but efficient night !
We try to rest a little bit, taking a nap inside sitting on the bunks, all equipped and ready to go out on deck if needed. Around midnight the wind increases again and we can take down the main sail and keep only the genoa alone for the next 2 or 3 hours. In this configuration the windvane can steer. Nothing is perfect though, and the continued wind creates high and steep waves. There is at least 1m of swell, with a period of 5 seconds, and series of 3 successive waves higher than the others.

When the wind decreases again, it’s time to put the pole to the genoa again. It's a balancing act in this swell! But we make good progress and at 0600, we reach the South buoy marking the south-western tip of Sweden! We luff and head due north: there starts the last leg of this trip, back to Oslo!
The easterly wind begins to head up more and more towards the North-North-East. This is a good timing: we made the most of the downwind sailing window! The current is also with us today, more than 1 knot under the bridge between Copenhagen and Malmö. So rather than stopping in Sweden as planned, we decide to push further north, passed the bridge (before this current decides to turn…)

This is how we officially leave the Baltic Sea to enter the Øresund, the narrow sea between Denmark and Sweden. This is also where we sail back on our tracks from 3 months ago. This is the end of a chapter, as we return to familiar waters and leave behind us this world apart of an enclosed sea of nearly-fresh waters. This world that we now know a bit better...
The idea of stopping again in the large and noisy city of Copenhagen does not appeal to us. On the other hand it starts raining in earnest and we are tired - we would like to take shelter. The small harbor of Tårbaek is located on the map 5 miles north of the Danish capital. The harbor-guide description reads: "Tiny port, only for boat less than 12m long AND less than 3m50 wide AND less than 1.8m deep, few places available" Perfect for Saltimbanque isn’t it?
Entrance to Copenhagen, inviting us not to stop here !

The one and only visitor berth of Tårbaek, probably designed for Saltimbanque
There is but one free space left (marked with a small green sign – occupied spaces are marked with red). This is a mooring line. It is exactly the size of Saltimbanque. Perfect, it's quiet here ... 130 DKK / night, with shower, electricity and even wifi in the boat. The harbor master is adorable, so happy to have visitors, he tells us what to see in the area, shows us the showers, and finally gives us the key to the yacht club building if we want to enjoy the kitchen or the living room. The cloakroom will be perfect to dry our soaked oilskins ...
It's raining cats and dogs and we are very happy with our passage, but also a little tired. We spend a quiet afternoon cooped up in the boat close to the electric heater. It is very quiet here and we are delighted not to be in the big city.

That's when messages start blinking on our phones. Firstly, L’Escale is also in the area and this is our last chance to see them before they head back south. Then our friends Jingle-ex-Traou-Mad (from the Atlantic tour), on holiday (by land). Very soon appointments are made: tomorrow we shall spend the day in the city! Well well, so much for trying to escape it!


31st August : back to Copenhagen (onshore)
Before taking the train to Copenhagen, we do justice to Tårbaek and its beautiful forest, former hunting ground of the king. Large trees (including an 800-year-old oak tree!), a golf course, plenty of horse riders, a castle on the heights, deers roaming free in the park: is it because we keeping hanging out with Brits? We swear, it's just like being in Richmond Park in West London!
Tårbaek's park, and yes we are still in Denmark !

Porto Santo, Mindelo, Les Saintes, Horta, and now Copenhagen ! Wondering where we will meet next time ??!!
We spend a very nice afternoon with our travelling friends. L’Escale tell us about their difficult crossing against the wind and their upcoming plans for a quiet fortnight of visits... Jingle tell us about their travel plans more or less distant (starting with a tour of the northern and Baltic capitals… sounds familiar ;o)  )

1st September : Tårbaek – Hornbaek (30 NM)
We thought we could go quietly downwind taking advantage of usual autumnal lows with winds from the south-west ... No. The wind is expected North, then absent. It blows a little today, from the north of course, but we must take it to move forward. The current is on the other hand very favorable in the Øresund and therefore we do not complain too much.

Like we do, many boats tack under the famous Hamlet castle

We reach Helsingør and pass the Hamlet Castle, then we sail on to the other side of the sound. Now we are in the Kattegat, a proper sea with proper salty waters! As if to welcome us, a group of porpoises rushes towards us! At least 4 individuals come to play with the boat. Porpoises usually not that playfull and we are absolutely delighted with their dance! We had not seen dolphins since 2014 in Cornwall.
The wind may well increase and the rain start to fall, we have a big smile set on our faces as we enter the port of Hornbaek. The entrance is narrow between 2 small buoys and two jetties. It gets a bit trickier with the northwestern swell. But once inside the basin it is very sheltered. Guest berth are on stern buoys. Fees to pay to the machine (180DKK including power, no wifi).
Hornbaek, fishing harbour side
2nd September : visting Hornbaek

A long sandy beach ! It's been a while...

Hornbaek is a popular holiday resort, thanks to its large white sand beach. It is very beautiful on this Sunday and all of a sudden we find a holiday atmosphere again, with boats coming in for the day.

We take advantage of all this activity to ... do laundry and shopping! Laure swims (such a beautiful beach!) in delightfully salty but fresh (15 degrees) water. Then we walk a little in the woods.
The wind will soon decrease, but a few hours of wind are expected again for tonight. We need to make the most of it again. Departure at 1800, along with the majority of yachts at the end of the weekend: they are going home, and we are going out to the open sea ...

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SuDad - 11/09/2018 17:44:20
J'aime l'ambiance créée par le crépi jaune danois. C'est dépouillé, rigoureux, esthétique (un peu protestant, peut-être ?). Et puis la rencontre avec cette loutre est magique. Vous avez donc un fluide pour susciter de telles chances ? Quant à l'oiseau au-dessus, on le croirait perché sur...le vide. Superbe photo aussi du perchoir de "la chapelle de John". Le winch de babord a-t-il tenu ? Vos photos montrent bien le charme spécifique de chacune de vos dernières escales.
Snifff, ça va donc se terminer -pour nous aussi-.
Bon retour at home, même dans l'humidité !

Mum - 06/09/2018 22:20:04
Que de merveilles !et de sympathiques rencontre s animalières sauf les MEduses!!!

la mamou - 06/09/2018 09:14:06
que d’instants magiques , encore ....

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