Well we’re off to a great first half of our Swedish charter. To get excited and get the juices flowing we went to Orust on Friday. We enjoyed a quick fika with the Kratz family and Lisa’s wonderful parents at their amazing waterfront summer house. Then the boys and I headed off to the boat show just a few miles away. Rich was bright eyed and bushy tailed as we were able to board and tour our dream boat as well as check out a few other new models. It was good times!
Saturday morning we checked onto our nameless, but brand-spanking-new 2017 Bavaria 37 foot sailboat. It’s bad luck to have a boat without a name. We’d “never named a boat before, but there was only one I could think of” Jenny. We worked on provisioning, organizing, and getting familiar with the new systems.
Bright and early Sunday morning the Kratz family joined us ready as ever for the adventure- Daniel, Lisa, two year old Maya, and 2 month old Noah had high spirits. We departed Gothenburg and headed north towards Åstol. We had some great wind to start the trip and made decent time, about 7 hours… After covering 33 nautical miles, tacking around both visible and hidden rocks we made it to the charming island of Åstol. This small island was so beautiful and gave us perfect weather to explore the island, take a walk, Maya found a waterslide and got to swim, and the boys grilled us all a delicious dinner. All of us were in awe of this islands beauty. It looked like a postcard.
We had an early start to the day on Monday as we had a long journey to make it up the coats to Gullholmen. We had two nights planned on this beautiful island since there are strong winds forecasted for Tuesday. We had a 20+ mile cruise up the coast were we all had our turn to drive. As we entered the open sea we were greeted by a small pod of dolphins! We are still debating weather it was actually the rare sighting of dolphins or more common harbor porpoise- regardless it was exciting to watch them try to catch up and swim with the boat. The sun came out just in time as we arrived to Gullholmen. What a great island! Maya loved that there was a great playground, while the adults enjoyed the great trails and lack of cars that provided for some optimal running. We all spent some time exploring the island, enjoying some fun happy hours on the boat, many fikas (Swedish coffee breaks- many each day), and delicious grilled dinners. Spending two nights allowed for us all to relax and unwind- just what we all needed. I called this the island of the jellyfish since I was amazed at how many of them I saw along the coast and in the harbor! Overall this island was breath-taking, it’d definitely be a nice place to have a summer house! If only… 🙂
Lucky for us we had a shorter journey on Wednesday so we slept in a bit and Maya and Dan were able to get some play time in before our sail. The seas were fairly calm so we ventured out to sail to the island of Käringön, rather than motoring through the tight channels. It is rare to sail out there as this section of the west coast does not have protection from Denmark nor Norway so the swells can get rough- we were lucky! Once again, we were greeted by a picturesque seaside town when we arrived to Käringön, they have all been so beautiful! The Kratz family found a park, while Rich found a good place to fly his drone, and I enjoyed a delicious ice cream then found a friendly cat- of course. The clouds broke at sunset and provided for the most beautiful evening. Lisa and I enjoyed a yummy charcuterie board in the boat while the boys enjoyed some scotch and grill chips while they bbq’ed our dinner. We had a great evening together and toasted Rich closing a decade since tomorrow is his birthday!
A very happy 40th birthday to Richard! We had a little bit of weather move through Wednesday, but the worst of it had passed through over night. We had about a 20 mile cruise through the channels to the exciting island of Marstrand. We passed between the mainland and islands and had fun checking out the beautiful homes and towns along the coast. Snacking on some hot dogs, then taking a few fika breaks, we had much to laugh at, and a lot to take pictures of. We arrived to Marstrand, greeted by the fortress atop the island. We had our first bit of rain just as we docked so while the boys were up top getting the boat tied up, Lisa and I prepped for Rich’s mini birthday celebration down below. We devoured a charcuterie, toasted Rich, and opened presents. After dinner the weather cleared so we had time to get on land and stretch our legs. We were gifted with a stunning sunset peaking out along the horizon just beneath the blanket of passing clouds. We returned to the boat to enjoy some birthday cake and tea before calling it a night.
With some strong winds forecasted, and a long sail ahead of us- Lisa and the kids checked off the boat in the morning- we’d meet again when we returned to Gothenburg. We made incredible time on our 26 mile sail home. Making 9+ knots at times it was like the boys had a smile glued to their faces. They clearly we’re having a great time! It seemed over all too quickly as in just under 3 hours hours we approached the mouth of the busy Gothenburg port- not before enjoying one last fika with some chocolate. With Jenny tucked away safely in her home harbor we were sad the week had come to a close. We said our goodbyes to the Kratz family then settled in for one last cozy slumber in our V-berth.
Reflecting on the great times, this week was wonderful. Rich and I were blown away with Sweden’s West Coast geography- it was absolutly stunning. Navigating around the many rocks, created a new challenge and growth opportunity for our sailing. Leading up to the trip the weather forecasts had not looked in our favor but minus a few hours of clouds or rain, we were blessed with a lot of sunshine (which seemed to be timed as we arrived to each harbor) and the perfect amount of wind for fun, yet safe sailing. Major props to Rich for being, as always, a great captain keeping everyone safe and happy. Snaps to Dan and Lisa for being a wonderful help on the boat- it’s so nice to have extra hands and great company aboard! Noah gets the award for most relaxed crew member, Maya gets an award for behaving so well and being so positive the whole trip (she’s definitely a future sailor)! We truly had such a great time living with Dan, Lisa, and their kids for a week. What great memories we created this week and we can’t wait for our next adventure with their family. Best of all, we learned sailing with kids is not only extremely doable, it is a ton of fun as they bring so much excitement to the sails and adventure. With a little bit of planning, and a lot of reefing of the sails we successfully sailed with a baby and toddler aboard and enjoyed it.