So, Gareth has let us, the two girls who invaded Hal, write his blog for him! Hooray!

We left for Sweden from Heathrow on Wednesday the 30th of August, and for us this was our first ever trip on an aeroplane!

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Harriet and I got to see above the clouds and Stockholm from the air which was fascinating: lots and lots of little islands, lakes and greenery. We landed and Gareth took us straight to Hal which was moored at this lovely marina, it was dark when we arrived. Harriet and I shared a bed in the aft cabin and read our books (Harry Potter and Game of Thrones).

The next day we had porridge for breakfast (Freya made a Swedish dictionary on the back of the cereal box) and kick started our day with a drive around Stockholm ending up at the Vassa museum.

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As soon as we got in Harriet declared herself really hungry so we sat down for a lovely (and rather posh) lunch. The Vassa is a really really old ship which sunk on its maiden voyage and resurfaced 333yrs later. Miraculously, the boat had been preserved by the surprisingly fresh Swedish water as that meant no salt water wood worms could eat it.

In the afternoon after our Vassa visit we headed back to Hal and we motored to an Island called Lilla Husarn. Freya helmed us there, and we decided which of the holiday homes we liked best. The Island was very small and uninhabited, so it became Hal territory.

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When a stink pot tried to come close, Freya pulled a moony and scared them off! As soon as we arrived the wetsuits were on and we were straight in the water –Harriet took a bit of convincing as there were a lot of Jellyfish around. Our later research showed they were called Moon jellyfish and harmless, hence the island earned its name “Moony Island”. After that Harriet got straight in with us.

Gareth then had the idea to swing off the main halyard from the rocks into the water. IT WAS SO MUCH FUN! We experimented with different ways such as spinning and (trying to) flipping.

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That evening Gareth cooked us a dish of fajitas, and after we had a very intense game of Bananagrams. Sleeping that night was easy as the water was so flat. In the morning, we woke up and went straight back in the water for more rope swinging, some snorkelling (finding out that Hal was 6” from the bottom!) and even had a natural shower washing our hair and faces in the water. We left Moony Island at about 2 o’clock and as we left we saw in the water thousands of Moon jellyfish. The jib went up to take us to the next Island which was a bit bigger than Moony.

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After lunch, a walk was in order for all of us to explore Bjorno. We found a slow worm, a toad and lots of tiny frogs that Freya and Harriet loved picking up (Gareth accidentally stood on the slow worm!). On the walk, we discovered we were pretty much on mainland, and as a consequence this island was much busier and had a large marina.

That evening we chilled on the boat and played lots of card games and bananagrams. When it was dark we went outside to see the stars as there was little light pollution, it was amazing! It was very late by the time we went to bed and Mr T and Capt’n Haddock had had a few of beers.

In the morning, the men let us sleep in, Freya took full advantage of this and slept till past 10 o’clock. Mr T and Gareth had taken us to a different island so when we awoke we had bacon and egg baps with different scenery. A group of ducks could clearly smell the bacon and had come up next to Hal, where Freya and Harriet fed them bread. Freya put on her wetsuit straight away and got in the water with the ducks meanwhile Harriet learned to cast a fishing rod. Unfortunately, the ducks were scared off by Freya, so instead Harriet got in too, and we made a raft out of fenders. Gareth attached us to the boat and started motoring off at full speed leaving us hanging on for dear life!

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At one point Harriet let go and Freya caught her making a kind of strenuous train! It was the best angle to see Sweden at! Lots of the locals were laughing and waving at us giggling in the bow waves and bubbles we were making. Before we got out we had another sea shower, the depth being 50m so the deepest bath Harriet and I have ever been in!

That evening was the plane back to London –it was the best holiday ever, thank you so much Gareth! Can’t wait till next year!

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