Saturday 16th August
Last night was our only night in a marina or “Gasthamn”. We made good use of the included hot showers, wifi and mains hookup. Walking back along the pontoon from my shower, I was amazed by an incredible sight- a large liner gliding past the marina in the dark, heading for the sea.
The channel is narrow at Furusund; certainly narrower than the length of the ship and it passed within a couple of hundred metres from us with barely a ripple reaching us (there’s an 8kt limit in this part of the channel). It was huge- I counted ten decks above the waterline. All of them were lit up and I could hear only the sound of people aboard enjoying the evening- restaurant sounds, a band, people talking. No sound of engines, the large ship seeming to just glide by. A majestic sight.
We were woken this morning by loud conversations in what sounded like Arabic; a pretty odd thing, which caused me to poke my head through the hatch. A group of men were rod and line fishing and rapidly filling buckets with perch caught using worms from a bucket of soil they had brought with them.
Whilst we were waiting for the ferry to that island, we got chatting to a man waiting with his car, who had a summer house on Högmarsö. He told us that the ferry is owned and run by a collective of people with property on the island. Though it’s only a couple of miles long, about 30 people live full time there, with about 10x that having second homes there. He said that the ferry (and road) are subsidised about 75% by the Swedish government. The ferry into the island is free, but a ticket is needed to leave, a detail I had not noted till he pointed it out. He said that they are worried in that area about criminals from the Eastern Baltic states and that having to buy a ferry ticket, inspected by the ferry man (who knows most of thx locals), might help to keep the burglars away. Anyway, he offered a lift the rest of the way to the harbour, which Aimee was happy to accept.
When we got back to the slipway in Furusund, things were quite busy with boats being launched and recovered. However we soon got a slot. The ramp was good concrete and very steep, so I dispensed with a rope and reversed the trailer till the van wheels were at the waters’ edge. With no tides, there was none of the slime I’m used to encountering on slipways. Whilst Aimee minded the van, I trotted round to the boat and, after one false start, got Aurora on the rollers- the trailer was plenty deep enough. However to my annoyance, someone had pinched my winch handle- a spanner was pressed into service (literally) to solve that problem.
By this time, we had am audience. None of the onlookers had seen a sailing boat recovered here before, and I soon realised why. What I had not taken into account was a phone line running across the top of the slip. So, with many pairs of eyes watching, Aimee and I dropped the mast on the slipway in double quick time and Aurora was finally hauled clear of the water.
I had done quite a lot of de-rigging the evening before, so there was less than usual to do. Aimee made herself useful and we were soon ready for the road- 300 miles to Gothenburg for the ferry to Tilbury.