Not Autumn Already?

Jaap ,Fre and their two boys flew out to Tallinn to join us, and a return to the Finnish archipelago seemed the obvious place to introduce them to sailing: short passages between the islands and flat water and plenty of exploring to be done at each anchorage makes it a very child friendly place.

From Cruising with the Timmers

It was only 3 weeks since we had been there but the difference was astonishing. The baby terns were all fully fledged and away , leaving only a few morose adolescent gulls looking lonely on rocks that only 3 weeks before had been teeming with life. The hundreds of baby ducks had grown astonishingly and were mostly at sea , the few that remained scooted away using their wings as paddle wheels , a comic but remarkably effective means of locomotion. 80% of the wild flowers had gone , and the banks of blueberries were beginning to groan with fruit. It was a lesson in how short this northern summer is ; the area was being abandoned before July was properly out.
The Finns were mimicking their wildlife by streaming back home to Helsinki and once we were back on the Swedish side of the Äland sea, every day brought less and less Swedish boats as they too returned to work. One might think that retracing our steps like this would be boring , but the truth is that we could spend years and years in these wonderful islands and still discover new places and be entranced when we return to more familiar islands .
The Timmer family were delivered safely to their plane in Stockholm and we have continued to meander South through the outer islands . The nights are much longer now, it is dark for nearly 6 hours and the daytime temperatures are noticeably less, but still warm enough to wear shorts. The sea birds may be gone , but the swallows are still here , but for how much longer? We are both conscious of an itch to follow the terns south but of course the winds have been consistently from the SW . They are due to swing briefly into the NW for a couple of days so we are going to take advantage of the shift to get some southing under our belts and visit the island of Gotland.

From Huvudskar

Tonight should be our final night in the archipelago and we are anchored in a peach of a lagoon in the middle of Huvudskar , a collection of islands at the extreme SE tip of the Stockholm archipelago. It feels like we are anchored in the middle of the sea as the islands are little more than large rocks. There are 4 entrances to the central lagoon , so in the days before engines you could get in and out whatever the wind direction. Perhaps for this reason , in the 16th century it was quite an important trading centre. Now there is a lighthouse and a few little houses that are only occupied in the summer. It is warm and calm this evening , but although we are wonderfully protected from the sea , the wind would whistle unopposed about your ears in a gale.

Its time to start heading home before that begins to happen. 

land sea

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