After quite a few happy and days on Gotland, it was time to once again take to the seas and sail onward. But where to?
Reaching Norway, ultimately, was still in the realm of possible. Not very easy though, since the wind very stubbornly kept blowing from exactly the direction we needed to go. (And sailing upwind, against the wind, all time wouldn’t be the greatest ever.)
On a more positive note, the coronavirus situation was mildly allowing. On Norway’s travel restriction maps, Gotland was one of the very few Swedish regions colored green, meaning there would be no quarantine requirements for us on arrival— provided we’d manage to sail there either directly (way too long a trip), or via Denmark (a long trip). Setting foot on any other part of Sweden, however, and we’d turn quickly red.
The most obvious choice would have been to sail two-hundred miles directly from Visby to the Danish island of Bornholm, but I didn’t think we had it in us. Going non-stop upwind for at least two days and two nights, with both Charlotte and O having experienced seasickness during our first leg (and I very nearly falling asleep), it seemed like not the best of ideas.
“So, we have a problem,” I said to Charlotte. “If we want to keep the Norway thing going, we should sail to Denmark without stopping anywhere else in Sweden. But, the wind is straight against us, as always, and I think we’d better not do it,” I continued.
“Ok, no problem,” she said happily. “Where then?”
“Well, what about Öland?” I said. “It’s just a day sail away, and maybe we can stay at anchor there, without going ashore, and see if the winds change for the better,” I continued, quite aware of the fact, that none of the weather forecasts predicted this to happen.
“Ok!” she said, and gave me a thumbs up with her hand.
Öland was indeed Swedish “red territory”, and we would probably have to go ashore at some point, so subject to some wildly surprising developments in Norway’s travel restrictions, the Norway dream was now more or less over.
It wasn’t a very big deal, though. Actually, it felt a bit liberating. The greatest adventures are more often those that weren’t planned ahead, and that was where we were heading next.
Pretty Smooth Sailing
We left Visby early in the morning and set sail for the Swedish island of Öland. With no well-thought-out ideas of exactly where to go, but roughly in the direction of the northernmost tip of the island. (Because that was the one closest to us!)
As we got closer to the island I saw what seemed like a really long beach stretching out ahead of us.
“Hey, look at that beach,” I shouted. “The sand seems really white! Should we anchor there?”
The Trollskogen Beach
It felt a bit unreal. We were anchored in over four meters of water, but the water was so clear that the bottom was still visible!
I know that this probably doesn’t sound too special for most people, but being in the Baltic Sea, it really was. Our dear, shallow basin of water is actually one of the most polluted seas on the whole planet. In our hometown in Finland, when you stick your hand into the water, it disappears out of sight. So over here, seeing four meters down to the bottom, that was very nearly amazing.
And the beach! What a beach! A long beautiful line of white sand, and not a soul present. In fact, it looked surprisingly much like one of those dreamy deserted beaches that we Finns usually just see on the television.
There was something really strange going on here.
Some kind of wormhole, perhaps, through which a moderate chunk of a far and away Caribbean paradise had transported itself straight to Sweden? Defying time and space, going boldly where no Caribbean beach had ever gone before, it thought to itself: Sweden, yes, why not? Sunny Sweden!
So, when I two years earlier had written about reaching a place with “white sand and turquoise water”, little did I know that this place wasn’t thousands of miles and one Atlantic crossing away. It was right here, just a short few days from home.
It wasn’t all perfect, though. Compared to the (dream of the) Carribean version, we discovered, in fact, a few small problems with whe traveled-through-wormhole version.
Firstly, where the dry beach ended and the water started, it got extremely rocky, so it was a bit difficult to walk out in the water without slipping and hurting one’s feet. The stones were very very beautiful to look at, though! (We all took small souvenir stones with us. I hope it was allowed?)
Secondly, and by far the bigger problem, the water temperature was about 16C (61F) so way way too cold for me to swim, and way too cold for the others.
We did fall in love with the place anyway. Our own little paradise, complete with a few beautiful imperfections.
And oh, it was my birthday!
Charlotte and the children made a surprise party for me. She had secretly brought some decorations with her to the boat, so it became quite the event. Happy, birthday, me!
And many congratulations to us all, for having had such a nice time in our small Swedish-Caribbean paradise.