After our July summer vacation, unfortunately we didn’t use our yacht that much. We had a big (and exhausting) moving project in August. September was filled with work. And after that, the weather started turning a bit against us. Cold to freezing temperatures, high winds and too much rain.
Still, most days I was trying to be (a bit funny and) optimistic.
“Today it’s really good sailing weather!” I said to Charlotte, frequently, no matter rain or shine.
It grew into one of our memes, making fun of the fact that we never found the time to actually go out and do it.
The last sail of the season was there, though, unavoidably ahead of us. The delivery trip from our home harbour to our winter storage place.
It was only a daysail away, about forty miles, but the days were getting shorter, quickly. Temperatures were dropping, as well.
Anyway. It was the last Saturday of October and everything looked reasonably good— a storm had passed by the day before, but in the evening the weather seemed fine enough for us to leave.
It was just J and me this time. The other children were elsewhere and Charlotte wanted to let us have some father-son time, so she and our rascal dog stayed at home. (Well, to be honest, she wasn’t very keen on the cold and rain either! 😆)
So, the two of us. All good!
By Flashlight and Plotter
It got pitch dark quite quickly!
Just fifteen minutes after we left and I had to start using the flashlight to double check that we were passing (on the correct sides of) the tight navigational markers, and not hitting them.
It was exciting and great fun though. To the both of us.
“Oh cool, it has reflecting tapes!” J shouted when I hit the first marker with my led light (and not the boat 😊).
A Long Night
J went to sleep in his and O’s cabin at about 10 pm. I stayed outside and continued (motor) sailing towards our destination, a familiar anchorage not very far from our winter harbour.
It did get a bit cold (I think temperatures went down to about 3-4 degrees C), but I actually enjoyed the solitude, and being able to focus on the night navigation and getting us safely to where we were going.
(I tried to take some long exposure photographs also, to catch some of the night light. It was fun, although they didn’t turn out very perfect 😃)
Anchoring with Jellyfish
At 2 am we were finally at our anchorage.
I used our searchlight to make sure we were the only ones around, positioned the boat to drop the anchor, and turned on our deck light (which I had never used before!).
The deck light was actually one of the very few non-standard things we added to the boat during the commissioning. Being there, in pitch black, I was extremely happy that we did!
I lowered the anchor. (I was actually quite tired.) Turned on the flashlight to check the anchor chain. (Feeling somewhat sleepy and drowsy.) And then, I noticed something a bit out of place.
The water was filled with small white patches.
And they were moving! What?!
Oh. I caught one patch with my light. Jellyfish! Lots of jellyfish! Wow.
We saw some smaller ones earlier in the Åland archipelago, but I didn’t know we had them here as well, closer to home.
A few moments later, at about half past two in the morning, I was sound asleep in my cabin.
Here I want to send out a big thank you to both Hanse and Eberspächer: although it was close to freezing outside, our heater worked perfectly and it was beautifully warm and cozy on the inside!
The Final Few Miles
During the night, the whole of Finland had shifted to winter time, so we were quite happy to get an extra hour of sleep.
After a nice breakfast together, we set off again, just as the (cloud covered) sun started to make our surroundings a bit visible again.
We started out taking turns in steering, guiding the boat through the narrow navigation channels. Then it got a bit too cold for J, so he went inside to warm up for a while.
I do think we had a great time together.
It was a bit wet and a bit cold, but that certainly didn’t turn off very much of the excitement for us.
Pictures above from going under the legendary Lövö bridge. The clearance is 19 m, we’re about 17.6 m (excluding antenna) so there clearly is enough space between our mast and the bridge. It never looks like that, though, when getting closer.
Getting that Buoy
Our destination in sight, it was time to prepare ourselves for the final mooring. J had the important task of hooking on to the stern mooring buoy and he had never done that before, so we talked through it several times beforehand, like how it ought to work, if we were successful.
In the end, J’s arm was just a bit too short, and no matter how close I got to the buoy (we did it three times), he wasn’t quite able to reach down to it and put the hook through the ring.
Finally, we did it together. I helped him reach out, and then we got it.
He felt quite bad about it, though, that he had failed to catch it. It felt a bit bad to me, as well. I had given him too difficult a task. Or we should have figured out another way of doing it.
I do think a big part of life is learning how to deal with temporary setbacks, even when it doesn’t feel so good. So this moment was one of those. (For better and not worse, I hope!)
We agreed that next summer, we’d practice this together, a lot. And even more importantly: figure out a good way for him to do it (from our tall yacht), even with a shorter arm than mine.
End of Season One
We gathered our stuff and jumped ashore.
The weather was bleak, pale, surrounding us with just a few shades of wintery gray.
It was quite uneventful, our short farewell to our golden Hanse yacht, and to our first season of sailing.
And then we walked together to the nearest shop to buy ice-creams.
What better way to celebrate this, our last day of summer.