Mens Sauna (sic) in Corpore Sano

At first glance the weather for Jo and Davids week in the archipelago looked pretty grim, with lots of rain and wind forecast , but at least their first day , downwind from Stockholm to Träskö-Störö, was quite perfect . This was a new destination for us and looked pretty crowded so we approached and rather tentatively asked if there was room between the usual raft of boats nose-to to what looked like a perfect rock. The reaction was positive and friendly and the crews of no less than 3 boats sprang into action to help us wiggle our way in. Incredibly our immediate neighbour had spent time in Hamble when sailing on Drum in the Whitbread, so we had a mutual friend in Jonny le Bon, and later as everyone seemed to be cooking ashore, we joined them and had a fine convivial evening.

Our next destination was Stora Nasa , an outer archipelago with many tight little passages and inviting nooks and crannys to moor in . However , the memory of our grounding the previous week still rather haunted me so we anchored off in a pool ( Grytan – or the Cauldron) and dinghied ashore. I guess we will have to return some day as deeper inside is another pool, the most perfect imaginable , but so tight you need a stern warp to the rocks on the other side. Having explored in the dinghy I am definitely up for it next time.

From now on our destinations would be upwind, and our first stop was Sandhamn where I decided it was time to introduce our guests to the concept of saunas. Sadly no one could make the men’s sauna work , but eventually the ladies version was fired up and the four of us sat inside ( there were no other women in sight) eagerly awaiting it getting up to full heat. Just as the stove began to tremble in the approved style a grumpy and surely atypically uptight Swedish lady objected to masculine ( and I hasten to add decently swimming costumed! ) presence and Davids first attempt at a sauna was brought to a premature end before it really got going.
After this experience we chose an anchorage in Längvik on the island of Nämdo as our fourth stop. This place has the combined advantage of being perfectly sheltered from the now strong SW wind as well as having a Skärgärdstiffeln sauna in the woods nearby. Perhaps we would have more luck there. Several canoeists were camped nearby and could be seen chopping wood and lighting the stove, so in the light of our previous experience we aproached somewhat hesitantly. Nothing could have been more different this time – 12 of us ( both clothed and unclothed ) crowded into the little cabin with the wood burning stove roaring fit to bust, everyone chattering away in English in our honour . From time to time we all went outside and sat on the slippery rock which slid us unceremoniously into the water, but instead of it being a shock – it was pleasant to cool down enough to be able to go back into the sauna and continue our conversations where we left off. It really is a very sociable and pleasant pastime – maybe in my case a bit mens sauna in corpore obesum (!), but fun nonetheless!!

Their last two days were upwind and wet , wet wet! Our final destination , Nynäshamn , also had a sauna ( albeit segregated ) where we gratefully warmed up before rounding things off with a splendid supper in the local Rökerei.

It had been a real pleasure to share a week with two such positive and enthusiastic people.

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