Early start to southward migration

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

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Flag of Finland  , Western Finland,
Saturday, July 30, 2011

Another fine, sunny day. However, we had some unfortunate news. All medium term forecasts that we had access to seemed unanimous in their opinion that towards the middle of the coming week and for the foreseeable thereafter, the winds would be blowing from the south. Of course this is the direction that we want to sail in so we reluctantly concluded that the sensible option would be to leave the archipelago early, Monday at the latest, to take advantage of any northerly winds that may be around. Making these sorts of decisions is never easy as after about 3 days, all forecasting systems tend to become more inaccurate. It is simply too difficult to model  weather  systems with any degree of accuracy and confidence the further from the present that you go. Having said that, when all sites on the internet agree with the trends, then of course one has a little more confidence in their predictions. The other piece of indifferent to bad news was that they were also predicting little or no wind, from the north and north east until Wednesday and then from the southern sectors thereafter.

Decision made, we decided to start working our way southwards towards the rocky island of Utö, our stepping off point for Sweden, stopping on the island of Storlandet and harbour of Nauvo. Having made this decision, we needed some supplies so Julie popped across to the supermarket via the ferry whilst I readied the boat, filling the water tank and so on. We were ready by 10:45 and set off, a bit sad as we were enjoying Finland and we liked Turku but hey ho, that's the way things go at times.

The wind was favourable for sailing direction-wise and we were in no hurry, having only 25 miles or so to do, so the fact that our speeds weren’t life threatening was neither here nor there. We took a different channel out of Turku, passing more fine houses, one example shown and within an hour or two we were in the wider fairway heading southwards. One piece of excitement was that we saw some commotion amongst the avian community around an islet ahead and this manifested itself as seagulls harassing a sea-eagle. It flew about apparently randomly, with a dozen or so noisy gulls around it, when suddenly it swooped down onto the water and was off again, with something in its talons. Fish we thought but in fact, when we got the binoculars onto it, it was an immature seagull, struggling in its grip. It was doomed, those talons would mark steel , I reckon.

Another little adventure we had later in the morning was when we decided to take a channel off the main fairway (still a 'kosher’ route though) that meandered between the islands of Aaslaluoto and Krampen. It was a tiny short cut which is why I was tempted but it looked interesting and pretty and indeed it was very picturesque. The interesting part came when the channel narrowed to not much more than 15m (see picture) or so and the depth suddenly went to just over 2m under the keel. I wondered why we were the only boat coming this way! Still, we came through unscathed and continued on our way.

Those were the most eventful parts of the day, apart from when we arrived at Nauvo at 15:15 or so, we discovered that all spaces had been taken and our attempt to squeeze into a space between boats failed dismally, they were too closely packed to enable us to squeeze in. It was a shame, as we wanted one more opportunity to look at the forecasts on the internet but there was nothing for it other than for us to anchor, which we did in a clayey bottom, so we were well secured for the night. Another late afternoon and evening were passed in the warm sunshine, swimming off the boat and my cooking a Thai prawn curry and very good it was too, even though I say so myself. One final point, Julie had the bright idea of contacting Janet & Horst Safarovic to ask them to check the weather and to text us with the information – they did as requested on the following morning and nothing had changed – winds from the south later in the week and weak winds throughout the week.
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