Goodbye Blue Green algae!

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

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Flag of Sweden  , Gotland,
Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Our neighbour, who had kindly helped us onto the pontoon and who we'd parked very close to, about 1’ between our bow lights and his davits, somehow had extricated himself sometime during the night or early morning without disturbing us and was gone by the time we were up and about at 06:15. Anyway, we were away by 07:15, having to shower en route as the marina wanted 5 kroner for a shower and we had no change – as well as objecting to paying given their astronomical charges for a rickety pontoon in the sticks.

It was flat calm, despite what the forecast promised ( 4 – 12 knots from the East) so we resigned ourselves to motoring the 40 miles to Visby. The route took us west up the Fårösund , round the top of Gotland and then southwards down the west coast towards Visby. It was an uneventful passage apart from the ever present blue-green algae, which I first introduced on 26th July. Now we are 170 miles away from Turku and we still have the same gungy water. I am now going to be unscientific and guess that the whole area, from the coast of Sweden on one side to Latvia/Estonia on the other and with Finland in the North, is one mega- area of blue-greens. There must be trillions and trillions of these organisms here – and they shouldn’t be, at least not in these numbers. Now the reason why I mention them again is that there were so many, they had grouped together in clumps and they looked for all the world like fish food that hadn’t been eaten – each pellet absorbs water and looks soggy. I have tried to photograph them to show what I mean. The picture is a trifle blurry but you get the gist.

And then suddenly, they disappeared. The water became much clearer, and pleasanter to look at. Now this got my little brain working and something must have changed and the only thing that I could measure to give an idea as to the difference in the water was the temperature (our log or speed gauge has a thermometer built in) and sure enough, from an average of about 22°C in all previous measurements, it was now a chilly 15.5°C. That is a HUGE drop in just a few yards and must signify a radically different body of water – perhaps it is now more saline? Certainly there are more medusae around, not huge numbers but they are common.

We approached Visby just before 14:00, squeaking in just before the 'Gotlander’ , a supercat ferry. They come on so fast and have huge stern waves resulting from their powerful engines and as such, are a bit daunting. Still we got in safely and went straight away to the diesel pumps. On one side was a huge Sunseeker power boat, taking both pumps to fill her capacious tanks. On board were some Russians in their early 30’s, with their requisite bimbettes and as usual, they (the men) had cropped heads and designer stubble. An observation and probably a biased one to boot, but almost ALL powerboats of this type, irrespective of size, have men with similar appearance and they love to saunter around with drinks in their hands and music booming. This particular boat did not have loud music but the skipper, or at least the chap supervising the filling, wore sailing gloves – what for? To avoid blisters when he turned the starter key? Anyway, the total taken by the Sunseeker was 3,600 litres. Now this volume meant that it classified as commercial use, so the tax was less, the per litre bill was 11. something kronor, which at about 10 to the pound meant that his bill was about £4000!! Interestingly, he went to pay carrying a black bag, I wonder if it was full of cash?? There, my biased opinion of Russian power boat owners comes to the fore again. Incidentally our bill was somewhat less, even though our rate was higher, 97.4 litres costing 1525 kronor.

Then it was on to the inner harbour to find a berth, which we did without too much trouble, reversing in between two other boats. We intend staying here for a few days, despite the rather large fees, £33 per night including electricity. Still, we are in a city marina and it is a very attractive place with a very lively atmosphere. I am told that it gets wild earlier in the season but thankfully, things were relatively calm apart from some very loud rap music – don’t you just hate that stuff or is it just me? This caused us to select a mooring that wasn’t the most convenient as far as distance to the facilities was concerned but worth it for the peace and quiet (relative).

The weather was so nice that we decided that we would use the rest of the day doing not very much, just enjoying the warmth and the ambience. And why not.
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