Return to Aspö

One of the challenges of sailing with guests is how to match what you do with what you think they would like. Some , like Bryony and Chris are hard core seamen so that the occaisional rough weather probably just adds to their enjoyment, but Roo, though game enough, makes no pretention to being a sailor. Luckily the archipelago came to the rescue as it is a naturalists as well as a sailors paradise, and she revelled in its unique environment.
May and June had been unusually cold and the sea temperature was around the 14 degree mark, too cold for comfortable swimming in my estimation, but Roo put us all to shame, revelling in every opportunity for wild swimming. It is noticeable that every week or so the average water temperature rises by one or two degrees so with any luck even Lynda and I will be brave enough to follow her example in a couple of weeks.
Perhaps my biggest anxiety centered around the little music festival at Aspö which we had so much enjoyed when we chanced apon it 4 years ago. I had built it up to be such a great event (not least to myself!) ; would it live up to all the hype?
We arrived in the picture perfect harbour on the morning of the festival after a delightful sunny sail under spinnaker – so far so good. Ten minutes later fog descended with the inevitable drop in temperature. Looking around there seemed far fewer boats than on the previous visit and when we went ashore we found out that the a Capella group who we had enjoyed so much were not going to perform ( even worse , it would appear that the main couple who had been so friendly to us, had split up) . We were once told that the average Finnish song sounds as if the singer has just run over his dog, and once the Aspö Spielmen ( around whom the festival is based) started playing, their wooden expressions seemed to justify this calumny. Their music , taken out of context, would not be to everyones taste and I began to regret inflicting this on poor old Simon and Roo. Oh dear, I reflected, sometimes it is a mistake to go back to a place that you have enjoyed so much in the past, let alone inflict it on others.
Gradually the fog lifted to reveal a sunny day and as act followed act, I at last began to relax and enjoy myself. I got talking to a womens A Capella choir here to support one of their number who had a slot playing archipelago dance music with the whole of her familly. The choir were not due to perform themselves but when they heard we had sailed 2000 miles , partly to hear the previous A Capella group , they announced that they would sing two songs in our honour – and very good they were too. Actually , I think they were dying to perform and this was just the excuse they needed! Even the Spielmen started to smile and in the context of the archipelago and their place in its history their music once more made perfect sense. Later that night in the little old sloping boathouse that doubled as a dance hall they were quite perfect as they knocked out the waltzes and polkas that had us all dancing the night away til sore feet ( us ) and the sore heads of many of the other more proficient , not to say lubricated, dancers put an end to the days entertainment.

I hope Simon and Roo enjoyed it even half as much as we did.

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