A Champagne day

Trip Start Apr 29, 2011
Trip End Sep 03, 2011

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Flag of Finland  , Southern Finland,
Friday, July 22, 2011

Fully refreshed and with a gloriously blue sky and frisky breeze again from the east, we were up and away by 08:30, heading towards Hanko, the gateway to the archipelago. Our intention however was to break the journey, stopping about 15 miles short of Hanko on the island of Jussarö. Today the wind was fresher and indeed, strong winds were being forecast by the Finnish Met. Office but here, in totally flat water thanks to the myriad rocks and islets and the actual wind direction, we could sail in absolute comfort and safety (apart from rock hazards – more later) touching speeds of 7 knots at times.

One of the joys of going somewhere for the first time is that one never knows what to expect and we had absolutely no inkling of what was in store when we approached  Barösund.  The Baltic Sea pilot says that the Finns are 'justly proud of Barösund, which is narrow and has high rocky sides'. I’m not entirely clear about this but from the chart the island which is bisected by this channel seems to be called Barösund and yet the suffix –sund sounds like ‘sound’ and therefore the channel. Anyway, be that as it may, it was very pretty, very pretty indeed. Photos never really do justice to the splendour of the scenery but I have included one here.

Once past Barösund, our route continued eastwards and the hours passed. We reached Jussarö at the civilized hour of 15:00 and a cracking, sheltered spot it was, given the wind direction – if only there had been room! Other people had obviously decided that the winds, at 24 knots now, were too strong and had come in to shelter. We, made of sterner stuff and being late, had no choice other than to carry bombing along under the genoa only until the next suitable place, which was only 4 miles away. The chart showed a harbour called Modermagan and to get there, you simply turned right off the buoyed channel and entered a deep bay (lots of water) then turn right again, keeping clear of a rock that is out of the water and another that is always submerged (according to the chart) and then enter the bay. Now as we were doing this, and bearing in mind that the buoyage is reversed here ie the direction as you are travelling east is as if you were leaving harbour, keep to the left of red buoys and right of green buoys, we saw a tiny little green topped and black bottomed float, fairly close to the opposite bank to the exposed rock etc. Now we turned in to the bay with the green buoy on our left, correct as far as direction of buoyage is concerned but not deliberately so, as we expected no buoy and it looked nothing like anything else we have seen ie it was not official. At that moment, there was much shouting from the shore and the owners of the summer cottage gesticulated us to come on their side of the buoy, ie the shore side which we did. It appears that there is an uncharted rock there, that the locals must be aware of and it was one of these that had put the buoy in. Lucky for us that there was someone there to spot our mistake!

One mistake that I will say is down to me is that it is not possible to enter the harbour from the western side of the island that we had tried – the real entrance is on the eastern side. However, as the wind was coming from the east and we were in a glorious natural harbour, screened from the wind by cliffs and pine trees, we opted to drop the anchor again and stay put. It is an absolutely delightful spot, known obviously to Finns as there was a small pontoon with Swedish style floats but all marked ‘private’ and all occupied anyway. A couple of other boats besides us were anchored and half a dozen or so had their noses against rocks and sterns held out to deep water with kedge anchors. Many people were swimming, so we decided to join them. It was a trifle cold to get in but once in, it was very refreshing.

We then settled down to watch the comings and goings of the locals, including naked bathing after their sauna and to generally soak in the peace and beauty of this lovely anchorage. What a find!
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