The Sand Island

M and Little L, s/y Charlotte at Gotska Sandön

We had loaded ourselves and our stuff aboard— with surprisingly little drama, I might add!— and we were ready to go. Ready to start the (hopefully mostly enjoyable) process of replacing brave expectations with actual experiences, and memories to be.

“Bye bye, Turku!” the children shouted (and I too), while we slowly motored away from the dock and into our third season out on the water together.

M, little L, and I checking out Viking Grace as we’re motoring out from the Turku harbor. I usually always wear a life jacket when out on the water, so forgive me for forgetting that!

Evening Anchorage

Turku to Kramppi 11.7 nm, 2.57 hours. Average SOG 4.5 kt, max SOG 7.0 kt, average TWS 4.9 kt, max TWS 9.9 kt.

We sailed for just a few hours before reaching our favorite anchorage, just a skip away from home. It’s an important little skip though, separating the exhausting packing-the-boat-and-getting-everything-ready stage from we’re out there sailing! Also, as I often like to wake up and leave early, I can do it myself and let the others continue their sleeping.

So, ready and set for the first longer sailing trip the next morning!

Our next destination, this was still a bit unclear and very much undecided, though.

We had talked some about trying to sail with the wind, instead of against it (for a more comfortable ride). And as the forecast showed winds from the north instead of the ordinarily prevailing southeast, this would mean heading south.

“What do you say, should we go to the sand island this time?” I said to O.

The sand island was our name for Gotska Sandön, a peculiar small (and mostly uninhabited) sand-covered island near Gotland. Last year, we planned to go there but ended up skipping it because we had a good weather window taking us past it and directly to Visby.

“Yes, I want to go there!” he answered excitedly. “Let’s go!”

That was decided, then..

Our first evening.

To Gotska Sandön

M and Little L taking in the first miles of our trip, as we’re slowly advancing through the Finnish Archipelago Sea. See the picture below for where we’re at.
Of the hundred and fifty miles or so to Gotska Sandön: one mile down and one hundred and forty-nine to go. TWS 5kt, TWA about 170.
A daysail later, at about 5 pm. O and Aiko are watching the extraordinary Mein Schiff 1 (built in Turku!) passing us.
We’re at the bottom-left green circle after having sailed through almost the whole Archipelago sea and almost reached the last human outpost of Utö. TWS 11 kt, TWA 123, SOG 5.8 kt. Yellow sections = average SOG > 6 kt, red sections = average SOG > 7 kt.

Into the Night

10:30 pm and Charlotte has assumed her keeping-me-company position. I’ve prepared a blanket for myself as well, on the starboard side.
A red misty sunset.

The wind varied quite a bit during the night and I actually had to use the first reef at one point— but the sailing was wonderful!

Also, it started raining (which kindly drove my watchkeeping-buddy Charlotte inside), but the sailing was still wonderful!

A while later, J came out to keep me company for a couple of hours, and that was nice. (High-five, J!)

Night sailing.
After J went inside, the ship behind us in the video became my late-night company. We were on a collision course for over an hour until it eventually adjusted its course and went astern of us.

Land, Ahoy!

Morning broke and a couple of hours before mid-day we spotted land!

There it is, the northern tip of Gotska Sandön!

The wind had left us, so to get to the island, and around the northern tip of it to the lee side anchorage, we had to use the motor for the last few hours.

And then, we were there!

Anchored a few hundred meters from the shore, one hundred and fifty more nautical miles on the log, we had arrived at this peculiar small part of uninhabited Sweden.

Let’s Go Ashore!

Gotska Sandön doesn’t have any harbors, so if you want to go ashore, you have to use the dinghy. I hadn’t slept much during the overnight sailing, but having gotten this far, I felt really eager to go the last few meters as well.

“Who wants to go ashore to check out the beach?” I said to the children.

“Me! Me! Me! Me!” they all shouted back. (Figuratively tripping over each other with excitement.)

After the first dinghy trip from the boat to the shore (with O and J being the first children to enter this strange land), I rowed back to our anchored boat as quickly as I could and jumped into the saloon.

“Seriously, you just have to come ashore as well!” I shouted to Charlotte. “It’s magical!”

Then, a couple of dinghy trips later, we were all there.

Standing on this mythical whiter-than-white sandy beach, by some strange force teleported into this tropical paradise that in reality shouldn’t be there.

I was baffled. But then I suddenly realized what had happened: someone had turned the big wheel deep down in the caves!

And soon they would come.

First Jack and Kate, then Sawyer and Locke, and a few hours later all the others as well.

YOU ALL EVERYBODY!” someone was shouting, half-singing from behind the sand ridge.

Sandön Paradise of Gotland

Our whole trip: 154 nautical miles in 29 hours. Average SOG 5.45 kt, max SOG 8.05 kt. Average TWS 9.4 kt, max TWS 20.8 kt.

Link to trip data

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