Five Days in Kårehamn

Sailing on s/y Charlotte

Having spent a beautiful day on our sunny paradise beach, it was time to sail onwards. The weather forecasts were quite threatening, showing gale-force winds arriving the following day, so we set sail for shelter in the nearby fishing harbor of Kårehamn.

The Sail There

It was just a short hop, twenty-six nautical miles, but we got going quite late in the afternoon, so we would arrive quite late as well. The wind was still very moderate, but we did have an uncomfortable southerly swell running straight against us. (The left-overs from some other weather system, far away from us, probably at that very moment chuckling to itself, watching us bobbing up and down on the water.)

“Are you feeling well?” I asked Charlotte.

It was a question we both dreaded, since it was never asked between happy and smiling faces, but rather always whenever someone already looked like he or she wasn’t really enjoying it all.

“Well, no. Almost. It’s turning around about in my stomach a bit,” she replied, and kept looking forward, on the waves and all the other parts of the scenery that were motioning around our small sailboat, and slowly chipping away on the happiness.

“Seasickness sucks,” I thought to myself, and then said it out loud to Charlotte. We would have to find a cure for this, one way or another, I thought, because … well, seasickness sucks.

Dear Charlotte, looking at the Kårehamn Offshore Windfarm.
The naked sailor, fully clothed (like I always am!), taking in the Baltic summer. The offshore wind park in the background. TWS 15 knots, TWA 51 degrees, heeling 13 degrees, speed 5.4 knots at the very moment of this photo.
The whole trip: 26.5 nautical miles, duration 5 h 18 minutes, average speed 5.05 knots, max speed 7.60 knots.

Fine Food and Amazing Adventures

When we arrived at the Kårehamn harbor, we were the only visiting (non-fishing) boat there. The harbor area was, however, filled with RVs, camping vehicles. A bit funny, really, to look out the window of our sole sailing yacht, and see a row of motorhomes on the breakwater, between us and the sun setting over the open sea.

It was clear that Kårehamn had seen its best days as a sailboat marina, and was now catering mainly to recreational vessels with wheels. It did have a couple of great features, however: an exceptionally good small fish shop combined with a really terrific restaurant: Kårehamns Fisk & Havskök. These both seemed very popular with the local folks as well, as there were long queues formed outside whenever I walked by.

And yes, the harbour master, he was great too. (Thank you so much for a nice stay!)

But most importantly: the children, they loved the place!

“It’s a really good place to go for adventures!” O exclaimed, while jumping off the boat and running away into some random direction.

I remember this as well, from my own childhood. Almost all new places were exciting— and sometimes also a bit scary (in a good way). You could go somewhere you had never gone before, and just start to explore everything. The smaller we were, the bigger and more endless our surroundings.

And then we turned stones into gold, and sticks into magic wands, and “You are the prince and I am the king, and you are the thief, and we are going into the forest and …”

And suddenly it had become dark, and my mother was calling for me to “Come inside and eat! It’s late already! Hello! Where are you?

So, the best thing about it, I’m happy to say, was that the newly arrived wizards and wizardettes of Kårehamn were having a really good time.

Evening view of the weather and the Kårehamn harbor. Sailboat Charlotte is the mast in the middle.
Lonely sailboat. The vessel on the right is Protector, the service boat for the offshore wind park.
Fresh fish, potatoes, and spicy sausages from the wonderful fish shop! And some other goodies as well. This was our most fine dining moment aboard, and the children really liked it!

Never-ending Wind

When the windy weather started, it felt the same as in Visby— a bit relentless.

“It’s so strange, the wind,” Charlotte said, “that it just keeps on and on, day and night, with no pause.”

It really was. Closer to home, it’s quite common for the wind to calm down significantly after sunset (due to inversion layers and other things), but inside our current low-pressure system, it was just blowing and blowing, without much change in force or feeling.

“It’s actually a bit scary, a bit disturbing,” she said, and I understood well what she meant.

The low rumbling, the higher-pitched whining, the deep breaths of lull and the subsequent exhalations of gust. The inevitability of it all— a huge invisible and emotionless mass driving through our reality and pushing us around with its invisible body. A big translucent train running through our station, and shaking every nut and bolt of our surroundings, and going on and on, carriage after carriage, without ever ending.

“I know,” I said. “And it will stop,” I added, likely a bit more hopeful than she was, but almost equally frustrated.

Too much wind to get a good picture without shaking the camera. We didn’t have anything close to storm conditions (max short period average wind about 38 knots), but it was a long period of 20-30 knots.

A Visit to the City

With one windy day left before we could continue our sailing, we decided to go and visit the nearby city of Borgholm.

It was a fun day. We found ice-cream, a castle (!), and a great grocery store for stocking up on food, beverages, and other necessities for our next leg.

Enter here!
“Yo! I’m the king, yo!”

To Denmark?

It was our last day in Kårehamn and we were all getting more than a bit anxious to leave. The wind would (the forecasts said) decrease during the night and the morning, but once again we had another problem: we weren’t really sure about where to go. Where we were allowed to go due to the COVID-19 restrictions, that is.

During the weekend, I had tried to call the Danish coronavirus info number for a couple of times, but without success. (They said they were supposed to be open, but nobody answered.) I was, however, already quite sure that we would not be allowed to sail there. We were presently in Sweden and Denmark had specifically restricted people from Sweden from entering.

I tried calling again.

“Hello! This the arrivals hotline, how may I help you?” a Danish female voice suddenly answered.

“Yes, well, hello! We’re traveling from Finland with a sailboat and would like to sail to Bornholm,” I said to the voice, already preparing myself for disappointment. “Now, I know it would be allowed to sail there directly from Finland, but we are currently in Sweden, on Öland,” I continued.

The voice on the other end almost interrupted me before I finished my sentence. “Are all aboard your boat Finnish citizens?” she asked.

“Yes, we are.”

“And have you filled in and received a booking confirmation to any harbor for six nights in Denmark?”

“Yes, we have.”

“Ok! Then you are all set,” she said, with a happy voice. “Welcome to Denmark, and I hope you will have a great vacation here!”

It was so refreshingly quick and easy. After all my fears and contemplations about what would be the morally correct thing to do, and what will other people think about us sailing abroad— to have this kind and authoritative voice just say welcome! and enjoy!

Thank you dearly, Denmark. (Especially you, who answered the phone!) And see you soon, we’re coming!

Last day in Kårehamn. Life is good in the master cabin.

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