You can’t get lost on an island…..Can you?

The last week has been all about islands. Gazing in wonder at them, dribbling round them, flashing past them, and then when we have done enough of all that, squeezing into tiny bays or indents in them. Once we are firmly anchored, or tied to a rock with an anchor out astern, or even moored alongside a particularly steep one, then the time has come to explore the island we have chosen. Small round ones are the easiest because if you just keep on walking round the edge ( or more often scrambling – this archipelago is made out of rocky ground with mixed bog and coniferous forest so that paths tend to run out when you come to rock ), you eventually get back to where you started from. I was getting quite blase about it all until we came to to the island of Harstena.
We had anchored deep into a long inlet on the northern part of the island , and the village was at the other end of the island . I didnt even bother to look at a map or bring a compass because for the above reasons , you can’t get lost on an island . Or can you? The problem was that Harstena was far from round. It has more sticky out bits than a spider although its basic axis is North /South. Or so I thought. I should be able to navigate by the sun but as ships time is nearly two hours earlier than local time I was a good 15 degrees out on my solar compass. Whatever the reason , we were soon lost down one of the legs of the spider and had to ignominiously retrace our footsteps to get back to the boat and re-orientate ourselves. We found a map and it appeared that I was nearly 45 degrees out on the orientation of the island , and even more so if you include the sun error. Undeterred, we set off again on what at first seemed a promosing path, but somehow managed to stray off it and ended up bashing through rock and brambles with the sun as our guide. Whilst we got there in the end , what should have been a gentle 20 minute walk had taken an hour and a half. Moral – take a map and a compass in future.
Harstena was one of the biggest archipelago communities and still has a few folk who live here year round. 40 years ago when we first visited it was like a living museum , but now most of the houses have been renovated for holiday homes . The old boathouses are still there , and when we first came there were many old boats therein but now all that is left are a few old rotting remains whilst plastic outboard runabouts now shelter in the boathouses. Its still a lovely place however and always worth a visit if only to remember our first magical time wih Undine all those years ago.

Leave a Reply