A bit of culture and new challenges


First thing’s first, something very important from our last blog entry… I completely forgot CH’s highlight of the week… We got the dinghy on the plane with two people aboard!!!! Thus why CH looked sooooo excited in this photo:



 Now on to more (other apparently) exciting things. We flew back from a lovely weekend in Rome on Tuesday. I’d post photos of our beautiful three days by the pool but they’re filled with nudy children so it would be inappropriate. We did have a tour of Phillippo’s small farm and vineyard though and some lovely freshly collected eggs and veges. Unfortunately there was an altercation between a very sweet piglet and a less sweet Jack Russel that may not have ended well for the piglet… Here’s Phillippo teaching us about his different vines. Gareth is holding onto all the fresh produce we’ve collected!

While there was the most amazing food provided by the Giusti’s at Azzurra’s baptism, we did alright fending for ourselves too…

Anyway, back to Hal and Sweden and sailing in 30 degrees for 3 days with Dr F’s cousin C and her fiancé. We picked up the boat in Halmstad and cruised about 40 miles to a town called Valberg. It was a gorgeous day and we had a lovely sail for the second half when the sea breeze kicked in.

CH tried again (unsuccessfully) at fishing… One day…

On Thursday, C&V joined us in Valberg and we hopped a short bus ride to World UNESCO Heritage Site Grimeton long wave radio station.

Grimeton is the only remaining working long wave radio station – used from 1924 to send telegraphs wirelessly across the Atlantic Ocean to New York and other places. We joined the tour a learned a bit of history then CH opened the manual and we spent ages figuring out how it worked – ultimately as a simple machine taking a signal (morse code), amplifying it and sending it to the 6 massive aerials (127m high, 46m wide at the top), which transmitted the signal in all directions.

Each station operated on a specific frequency so that the receiving stations were able to identify them. The Swedish receiving station was about 80 miles away to prevent interference.

Of interest, Grimeton is one of 1121 UNESCO World Heritage sites. Challenge accepted. Fran has already pinpointed all the sites between here and Norway for the next couple of years!

We cooled off in an old WW2 bunker out of the baking hot sun before heading back to Hal for an evening cruise. No wind so we motored a couple of hours North to a little bay call Skalla Hamn.

Saw more seals along the way!!! Culture and nature in one day…

It was flat calm and so warm that we all jumped in as soon as we arrived… Apart from Fran who climbed slowly down the ladder!!

The next morning the sun was baking down so after a lazy breakfast and a swim we headed off again in search of wind and rocks to tie up against. This part of Sweden isn’t as conducive to rock-moorings as Stockholm as the shoreline seemed less steeply shelved. Or we’re just not as brave without all our guidebooks and Navionics mooring symbols!

Everyone got some sailing in though!

With pretty good breeze!

We stopped in the late afternoon for a swim and some of CH’s home-made banana bread! We did discover that banana bread should be baked on starboard tack however to avoid the tin sliding over the open flame at the back off the oven…

At some point we sailed back onto the Navionics chart. This was a slip up partly due to old equipment and partly due to the massive amount of data on the Navionics Baltic SD card. With all the charts loaded and all the detail available we found the software was just too slow, so CH removed the areas we didn’t think we’d use… Then we sailed there. From somewhere around Ystad to just north of Halmstad, we lost our Navionics and had to rely (maybe not very sensibly) on our iPad Navionics charts. All well and good until the battery dies.

Unfortunately the lovely northwesterly we’d had all afternoon was forecast to switch to the East that evening so we didn’t feel as though we’d have a particularly comfortable night tied to any rocks. We headed back into a small marina called Vallda-SandÖ. The harbour guide very sensibly suggests not entering this marina by night. What it didn’t mention was that despite what the charts say, there’s only one route in around a small rocky island just by the entrance. We tried to pass East of the island to enter directly from the North… Turns out that was a little too shallow for Hal so had a rapid reverse and turnaround to circumnavigate and enter from the South side! It was worth it in the end though as we had a lovely view and a quiet dock to BBQ dinner.

Everyone spent the evening with feet dangling in the water drinking beer watching the ducks float about.

Somehow despite 30 degree heat we managed to have a cool breeze blowing through our cabins each night – just enough to sleep!

Saturday was our last day on board and after a slow morning we headed off in the Easterly towards Gothenburg. It was another lovely sailing day so we cruised to a small island where we anchored for lunch and a swim to cool off.

From here we had a final cruise through the islands to the KSSS marina in Gothenburg where Hal is staying until our next break in August. Lovely marina although not the cheapest out there!!

Great harbour office though!!

Somehow we managed to luck out with the weather again – finished today with thunderstorms and pouring rain as we packed everything up and prepared for our flight home.

By HalVentures

We are a couple who love to sail. Gareth is an award winning yachtsman who has traveled the world as a delivery skipper. Hal is the first big step to fulfilling his dream of taking his own boat into the Arctic Circle. Fran has been sailing, mostly racing, all her life. She is slowly learning the ins and outs of a cruising lifestyle. (Everything is a little bit slower...). Next year we plan to cross the North Sea (in April... don't ask) and cruise the West Coast of Norway before undertaking a three week expedition to Svalbard in July 2015. We will do our best to keep you updated as we get on...

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