Aylin plays on the dock with Annie Liljedalen.
We’ll be sailing south today, out into the Kattegat, the sea that stretches south down the west coast of Sweden. The Kattegat can be tricky to navigate, because of the heavy shipping traffic moving between and among the several large cities that ring its borders. Although one must also watch for the fast-flowing currents and strong winds, it is the stony reefs and shifting sandy shoals for which it is known. “Kattegat” means “Cat gate” or “cat hole,” and the story is that the Hanseatic trading fleets – for which this comprised a main thoroughfare during the Middle Ages — compared these straits to a hole so narrow that a cat would have difficulty squeezing through. Admittedly, the channels have widened significantly since those days.
We’ll move down through the Kattegat, along the eastern side of Denmark, stopping there, and then on to Kiel, in Germany. From there we will travel through the Kiel Canal, and continue west along the German, Dutch, and French coasts toward to the Strait of Dover and then the English Channel. This will all take some number of weeks, and we’ll keep our progress updated on our blog.
We are very sad to leave here. Smögen has become a part of us and, perhaps, we have become some very small part of Smögen.
We had left the boat here for the winter and took up residence in Marblehead, MA, over the winter. We left Marblehead in April. Paul came here then to begin getting the boat ready, while Sima and the kids went to Turkey to spend time with Sima’s family.
Paul renewed the old (!) friendships we had developed last fall. He stayed with Christian and Annemaj Sporrong, in a suite with kitchen that they let out during the busy tourist season. Paul was made to feel like family.
Dinner at the Sporrongs. From lower left, in the red shirt, son Hjalmar; Christian’s father, Rolf; Annemaj; Chrstian; Christian’s mom, Inger; good friend Mahmoud Ramadan; son Albin; and Annemaj’s sister, Eva Maria.
Swedes take to the outdoors all year long, and especially in the summer. We sometimes dined outside in the cool Swedish evenings. I learned that moving the table to stay in the sun was a Sporrang art. The sun does not so much set as slides low across the sky from 6 to 10 p.m. When it disappeared behind a nearby house, it didn’t set, but instead reappeared on the other side 30 minutes later.
We put Leander back in the water at the end of May. The dirtier projects were finished during the next week, and the boat was then ready to serve as a family home again. Sima and the kids flew from Istanbul to Turkey during the first week of June, and we all moved back aboard. Christian brought Albin and Linnea Sporrong over for lunch one day.
Anders Abrahamsson continued to take great care of us at Smögen Varvet. When we had asked him if he would match the best price we had found in the area, Anders, who had himself circumnavigated, said “Don’t worry about it.” And we didn’t. Leander sat in his yard for nearly half a year, as Paul moved in and out of his workroom to make Leander ready for the Atlantic. We couldn’t have picked a better place to stay.
Anders Abrahamson and his partner Linda Liljedalen. Anders got us off the boat frequently, picking us all up on a Sunday morning to swim at the local pool, or . . .
. . . . taking us up the coast by power boat for a lunch. Daughter Annie is to the left.
Anders sons Victor and William during a rare moment of quiet contemplation.
Anders’ daughter, Annie, in the background, with one of her friends.
Sima and Aylin at a lunch hosted by Annemaj’s parents.
The Sporrangs invited us to celebrate Midsommar with their family, and we gladly accepted. Aylin is excited to be on the way.
Aylin took it all in with a curious scowl from a safe distance.
Up went the Maypole.
Some wore traditional costume.
Alexander and Aylin pose for a photo. We know it’s not a great photo, but you should see the other 30 attempts!
Paul delivered a guest lecture about the trip (in his best Swedish!) to Ablin’s class.
Albin’s graduation was several days later, and we were graciously invited to attend. That’s him, center, with the orange and white stripes.
Albin was a frequent visitor to the boat. Here, he walks the kids back to the Sporrang’s for dinner.
Albin could fish! He once passed us on his bike on the way Makrellviken, rod in hand. He came back no more than ten minutes later, a mackerel the size of his lower leg swaying from his hand. “Pa Forsta kasta,” he grinned. On the first cast.
Linnea nibbling at the Sporrong’s garden.
Christian and Linnea.
Annemaj holding Linnea holding an ice cream.
Sima grew up swimming in the Med, and considers herself a “warm water snob.” She hoped that by the time that we were leaving, in August, the coastal waters would have warmed up enough to suit her tastes. She’s not feeling it, however, as you can see. She dove in a moment later, let out a scream like a banshee, and was out within the minute. She did not hesitate to point out the wind-surfer in the full wet suit. “Even the Swedes think this is cold!” she protested.
Goodbyes with Mona, the matriarch of Smögen Varvet Abrahamson family.
Kristina Grahl was one of the first persons that we met in Smögen. She said hello to us in the fall of 2014 when we were tied to the side of Smögenbryggan. “Can I help you with anything,” she asked? And we came to learn that she really did mean anything. It was through Kristina’s introductions that we found our way into the welcoming Smögen community.
A final midnight twilight.
So goodbye to the many great friends we’ve made here on Smögen – Lisen, Anders, Stefan, Mona, Eric, Jimmy, Christian, Annemaj, Hjalmar, Albin, Linnea, Annie, William, Victor, Linda, Eric, Mahmood, Kristina, and Torgny, just to name a few. We’ll miss you so.
Paul, Sima, Alexander, and Ayln