The Söderarm lighthouse island was a cool touchdown in Sweden. We were all eager to continue toward Stockholm, though, so early next morning, we unhooked ourselves from the pier, set the engine to about 2200 rpm (since no wind), and sailed onwards.
They Are Coming For Us!
After uneventfully motoring for a couple of hours, I suddenly noticed a small dark boat speeding towards us from behind.
“Hey, look, there’s some kind of military boat that’s going to drive really close to us,” I shouted excitedly to the children.
Strange. Instead of overtaking, it looked like it was coming straight at us.
“Hey, wait, it’s slowing down!”, I shouted.
The military boat adjusted its speed to our’s and approached us from astern on our starboard side. I was nervously flipping through the “why on earth?” scenarios in my head. Was it a routine check since we were foreigners? Had we done something wrong? Did we go to some place we shouldn’t have? Were we leaking something into the sea?
The front door on the boat opened and a woman came out, dressed in what seemed to be some kind of uniform.
“Hey there, you forgot your wallet!” she shouted to me over the engine noise.
I what? I was totally baffled. My wallet? They must have mistaken us for someone else.
“I… what?” I managed to shout back. I heard her the first time, but my mind was still processing it.
“Yes! Your wallet with everything in it. You forgot it on Söderarm!” she shouted again. “And we tried to reach you by VHF, please put it on,” she continued.
I was still processing the whole thing. Then, inside my processing unit, I started going through all my pockets and the shelves inside the boat, trying to remember where I had put my wallet.
Then, finally a few short moments later, I got back to the present again. The last time I used my wallet was on Söderarm. I bought eggs and ice-cream. I put the wallet down on the table while writing down what we had purchased (the shopkeeper asked people to do that to keep track of everything). And I walked out. Oh man, I’m such a dimwit.
“Oh really! My goodness!” I shouted back at the woman. “I’m so happy that you’ve found it,” I continued. “Thank you! Thank you, so much!”
“Yes, we don’t have it, though, it’s going by taxi boat to Räfsnäs, so you can go there to pick it up!” she shouted back, and once certain that I had understood her, she waved happily farewell and their boat turned back to continue to some other destination.
(Later I found out that it wasn’t a boat actively used by the military. It was this one, Stridsbåt 90, a retired military boat owned by the Veteranflottiljen organization. They do assist in search and rescue work, among other things, and we’re so happy that they were there to help us. Thank you, again, so very much!)
I Want to Thank …
I flipped through the harbour guide to locate Räfsnäs and luckily it wasn’t that far away. We turned the boat around and about an hour later we were there.
A man and a woman were standing there on the pier.
“Is your boat Charlotte?” the man shouted from ashore. “We have your wallet!”
We didn’t even have to moor the boat. I drove the bow close to the pier, Charlotte reached out and (quite skilfully!) got the wallet (which someone had put inside a white envelope), and we reversed out again.
Phew! Vacation distaster averted!
Let me take a moment to thank this man and woman as well! Thank you, so dearly! I don’t know who else had been a part of this wallet rescue & delivery project, but we are very grateful to you all! Thank you, very very much!
Our whole get-the-wallet episode didn’t actually last more than a couple of hours. As there now was some wind, we hoisted the sails and restarted our trip to Stockholm.
Thunder and Lightning
Everything went swimmingly until the skies opened up and we got thunder, lightning and a substantial amount of rain. So much rain that most of the islands ahead of us disappeared.
It was quite funny, actually.
The rain kept raining and in the end, a couple of hours before Stockholm, we just lost it. We put on Getaway with Blacknuss (the Norrbotten Big Band version), turned the cockpit sound system all the way to eleven (it’s really quite a good sound system!) and did some dancing in the rain.
Another boat drove by, apparrently saw what we were doing, and showed us happy keep-on-rocking signs 🤘🤘 Same back to you! 🤘🤘
After our rain dance we were approaching the Waxholmen marina. (That inner route is very beautiful, by the way! Strong recommendations!)
We had planned to spend the night there, but after some rehearsal mooring manoeuvres (couldn’t really get in between two boats on the outside wall) the harbour captain told us that there was only one spot left, and this one would probably be too narrow for us.
Oh well. We decided to continue to our final destination, the center of Stockholm.
A couple of hours later, we were there.
The children were already in their cabins, sleeping (sort of), but they all came up to experience our arrival.
“Oooh! Wow! It’s an amusement park!” M said with her eyes wide open and filled with amazement.
Maybe that’s how Charlotte had felt also, when she saw it as a child, but didn’t get to go. This time we certainly would!