5. Aland 2019
By the end of April we left Bird of Passage in Sebana Cove Marina in Malaysia and took a plane to Stockholm, Sweden from Shangi airport in Singapore which is just a few hours away from Sebana Cove. From Stockholm you take a bus and then a ferry to Mariehamn, the capitol of Aland.
A friend picked us up at the ferry terminal and drove us to where we live, 35 kilometers north of Mariehamn. From the car window we saw the terrible effects of the winter storm "Alfrida" that hit Aland in January. Trees on the ground everywhere. We knew that our electricity had been cut for almost two weeks after the storm but we did not know that our telephone line was also broken, and still not fixed. First thing to do when we arrived to our house was to contact the telephone company.
As usual, the main project for the summer was to continue the work on our house. Last year I added two new rooms and now it was time to finish them inside. I also added a new part of the roof.
The tower room is now almost finished inside and this will have to do for now. Next year we will tear down the remaining part of the old house from 1959, so we need all the space we can get. The view from the windows in the tower room is nice. The water you se is Nötviken (or Tengsödavik), a bay that connects with the Baltic Sea to the north. The picture to the right shows the cold storage on the second floor. Door to the right leads into the tower room.
I also added a staircase reaching from the library up to the tower room. The pinewood is local and I made all the parts myself. Interesting job but very time consuming.
Our youngest son Gustav (left) came to visit us with Felix, an old friend of his. Together they helped me to tear down our old chimeny. A very dirty and tough work.
Felix made this drawing of our house. A view from the sea side. Thank you Felix, we like it very much.
I also added this little house to our property. An insect hotel. As you see, if you click the image to make it larger, many of the "rooms" are already occupied.
Pirjo and Mattis have built their own yacht, a Roberts 44 steel sloop. They spent many years cruising far away from home but this year they decided they had seen enough. On their way back to Gävle in Sweden they visited us for a few days. Nice to see them again. We had a wonderful time. Here is their blog: S/Y Jaya
It was summer and the weather was wonderful. We had a good time with barbecue, sauna and a lot of memories from distant places to talk about.
A few weeks later old friends Jimmy and Sussi from our time in Örebro in Sweden visited us with their yacht S/Y Cellina.
They bought their boat and sailed it in the Mediterranean for some years but now the boat is in Sweden. We took a walk in the countryside up to Borgboda Hill-Fort, the biggest in Aland. See: Borgboda Fort Hill
Evaldas and his family came to visit us also this summer. Evaldas loves fishing and gets into the boat as soon as he can. The big pikes are perfect to make fish burgers from and Tove knows exactly how to do it. Mmm...
Gustav came to visit us a second time, now with his friends Andreas and Emily. Andreas is a good car mechanic and helped Gustav to fix some problems with his BMW.
Then we had another visit from Sweden. Old neighbours from Östanbergshyttan, Kjell and Katarina. We took a walk in the Geta mountains and also visited Mariehamn and the sailing ship Pommern. See: Pommern
For several weeks we had people coming almost every day. Our oldest son Martin came with his cousin Nils and their grandmother, (ie. my mother, 90+ with the straw hat). The girl with the nice red hair is Nils's girlfriend. Picture to the right is taken outside the old jailhouse at Kastelholm Castle. See: Vita Björn
Another boat visit was my old good friend Tommy with Joakim in Tommy's Nauticat 33 "Lorette". Sailed from Örebro, Sweden, around Aland and back. Stayed with us for a few days and had a good time. As it happened they got to meet Evaldas and his family. Also old acquaintances. A real reunion from the time we lived in Sweden.
Bärö is a small Island in the "Sea of Archipelago". It used to host a Coast Guard station but the harbour and the houses are now a tourist attraction with "Glada Laxen", a nice restaurant. You can get there by taking the ferryline from Vårdö to Enklinge and you will then be picked up by a smaller boat that takes you to Bärö.
The ferry is free of charge if you don't bring your car and the final trip to Bärö is also free if you order a meal in the restaurant.
On the top of the island a reconnaissance tower was once erected to be used by the Coast Guard. It is now closed but you can borrow the keys from the restaurant and climb the stairs up to the top if you want to. Martin and I just had to get up there. The view is not bad.
One day we recieved news that the Aland Museum of Photography had recieved an interesting donation, so we went there to have a look. The donation came from "Dagens Nyheter", Swedens largest daily newspaper and their Photo Editor (Sv:Bildchef) Per Bergman was there to present it. A large collection of cameras and other technical equipment used by their news photogarphers all over the world during many years. He also presented a very touching exhibition of pictures taken by news photographers in often very dramatic situations.
The museum is run by Olle and Benita Strömberg. During many many years
they have created an outstanding collection of photographical equipment. See: Ålands Fotografiska Museum
The Maritime Quarter (Sjökvarteret) in Mariehamn is a paradise for those who are interested in traditional boats and boat building. Many fine wooden boats have been built here, even larger boats like Albanus, a Galleass, or Linden, a three masted schooner.
Two projects are under way right now. Alanta, a 14 meter farm boat (jakt)...
...and Emelia a new galleass to replace 30 year old Albanus. Emelia will be bult in oak from Denmark and the job with the frames has just started.
If you want to support the Emelia project you can make a donation and get your name on a brass plate.
The Maritime Quarter (Sjökvarteret) lies on the east side of Mariehamn together with a marina for modern pleasure crafts. The big harbour however, is on the west side of Mariehamn. This is where the cruising lines have their terminals and this is also where visiting ships arrive. We had three sailing school ships on visit this summer.
One was George Stage from Denmark See: Georg Stage
...the next was Roald Amundsen from Germany Roald Amundsen was open for visitors so we went aboard to have look. See: Roald Amundsen
Another visit this summer was Shtandart, a replika of a Russian war ship originally built 1703. See: Russian frigate Shtandart
A summer in Scandinavia passes so quickly. It's wonderful too meet your children and your friends and to enjoy the different phases of nature but soon we had to book our tickets back to Singapore. Our house is now a little bigger and much more comfortable. Next summer we will tear down the last remains of the old summer house and replace with the final part of the new house. That will be nice.
On the third of November we would close the house and leave for Singapore so I spent most of October with preparations for the next leg of our circumnavigation. I bought the "Red Sea Pilot" from Amazon and I updated the Navionics charts and many many other things of that kind. I applied for Visa to India and the Andaman Islands and most important of all, I recruited a crew of three to help us sail the boat from Malaysia, across the Indian Ocean and up through the Red Sea into the Mediterranean. The crew is from Belarus, a mother, father and and 11 year old daughter. They will arrive to our marina on the 10:th of November and then we will soon be off again for new adventures....
End of Aland 2019