We visited Sandön island in the Archipelago Sea National Park three years earlier, so it wasn’t really in the list or on the season’s plan. However, my wife and I were on our way to pick up my youngest daughter and her gear from a camp in Southwest Finland, and that weekend our friends were planning an overnight trip to Sandö. Since the weather conditions were pretty ideal, we took the boat and launched it on Saturday morning.
I chose the ferry port of Kirjais as the starting point, as there we could beam reach in both directions, that would ensure a relaxed and safe trip. This was important as we had a slightly older couple on board. The slipway at Kirjais was relatively gentle and not particularly slippery, which is a good combination. The pier was a bit further away next to some harbour rocks, so it was better to paddle to the pier. There were no toilets on the beach and public parking was only available along the narrow road. Nevertheless, boat launching, loading and rolling was seamless.
A warm south-westerly wind moved us at around 4.5 knots in the beginning, but before long we were up to over 5 knots by the more open waters. It was partly cloudy first, but soon the sky was clear. Being used to the erractic of inland winds, the steady south-westerly breeze in the Archipelago Sea was a pleasant experience. The gusts were soft and at no point did the wind become calm on open water. As always, for an inland sailor, the beachless horizon looked stunning.
We landed in the easternmost bay of Sandö Island, where several boats were moored when we arrived. For us the place was familiar, so the landing was less “exploratory” than at new sites.
The rest of the afternoon and evening was spent socialising, pitching tents, eating and looking around on the island. We also waded to Tallören Island along the shallow between the islands, but there was a sign on the beach saying that the island was protected for the birds until the end of July. We wanted to respect that and made a U-turn.
As there were several overnight guests, the number of tents was accordingly. Gradually, the shadows began to hold and the golden hour, so appreciated by photographers, arrived.
In the evening we admired the sunset and then we fried some pancakes. When it was bedtime, catching up on sleep was not difficult.
Sunday morning, I woke up around six o’clock when the rising sun began to warm the tent. I wandered the beach with my camera and admired the gorgeous morning. By eight o’clock everyone else was up and it was breakfast time.
According to the weather forecast, the southwest breeze would blow at its strongest at eight knots between 10am and 5pm, so we scheduled our return trip for that time slot. After we weighed anchor a little after 10am. We paddled about a hundred metres off the shore, the breeze took up the sails and started to carry us smoothly at about 4 knots towards Gullkrona fjärd.
Although the wind was a bit calmer than on Saturday, the trip was relatively quick. As we approached the harbour we had to make two tacks because the wind shifted a bit. Getting to the pier and recovering the boat went smoothly.
The couple who were with us said that the trip was the best experience of their summer so far. We thought it was a great trip too, and glad we could share it with them.