One Dead End Leads to Another

Day 2 started beautifully, at least the sun rose I the east and as I hauled the anchor, I marveled at the beauty of the tree covered rocks that is the east coast of Sweden.

Quickly getting underway as I plotted my route for the day, I made my coffee and warmed up Danish like thing I had found in Helsinki and then froze for mornings just like this.

The Helsinki Danish really wasn’t; a Danish that is; and like many pastries in eastern Europe, they look better than they taste.

Within minutes I am motoring south between islands to the passageway to the next series of parallel islands.

After passing two, quite small passageways, I turn the corner to enter the third and don’t see it.

The First Dead End
The First Dead End

I reverse to stop forward movement while I get the binoculars to look that the passageway which is marked on both my charts as a “recommended track”.

I’m in an alcove with the exit not more than 3 or 4 meters wide.  There is a sign saying the depth is 2 meters, which works, but the more I look at this passageway, the more I fear going in, getting stuck, half in and half out.

Within minutes, I accept that I shall have to turn around and go the “outside” route.

So an hour later, I am just past my morning’s starting point.

The outside route is less protected from building seas and the winds have been blowing 15 to 30 knots for the last 48 hours at least.20150828_203805

But in the lee of this long, 4 mile long island, seas are only three feet and not so bad.

I get to the bottom of the island, wondering why I have not seen another boat on the water this morning, whereas yesterday, there were numerous boats out everywhere, when as I round the corner, we are hit by 6 to 8 ft. waves with a short period.

Really annoying, with Dauntless bouncing up and down like a pogo stick.

Checking the charts again, I see if I take a direct route to the southwest, it’s only 16 nm.  I can put out the paravanes and just suck it up.  But I also see that our speed has fallen to 3.9 knots.  This is looking like the English Channel all over again.

So I look again at the charts and if I go NW for an hour, I can then turn west and get into sheltered waters after maybe another hour or two.  I decide this is the best option, as I am not mentally ready for an ocean like journey yet.

So, now, an hour later as I write this, I have just completed the NW leg and am now heading west.  The seas are becoming calmer, now only 3 to 4 feet, and as I go west they will remain choppy, but small, in spite of the wind I hear blowing thru the rigging.

I am also very close to the point I would have emerged had I been able to take Darget’s Kanal, earlier.

I awoke this morning really happy about the journey back to Ireland.  Alone for the first time since mid-May; a certain efficiency comes over me when I have no one else to depend on either for physical or mental assistance.

Other than my near debacle leaving my slip yesterday, pretty much everything else goes well.

I even bbq’d 4 lamb chops while underway yesterday, realizing that one of my big problems being alone is that I like to go until just before sunset, but by then, it’s too late and I’m too tired to cook dinner. Therefore the solution is to eat earlier in the day, like mid-afternoon. And I decided yesterday to see if it works.

It did and once anchored; I could relax, do my end of day checks and get ready for bed.

So, I’m looking at today, as a reminder, that I can’t totally ignore the weather, but even in these relatively protected waters, I must plan accordingly.

I have 28 days to go 1600 nm.  If I subtract 5 days for a stop in Poland and a weather day or two, that means I must go 66 miles per day.  Not terrible, a not so long 11 hour day.

This portion of the trip should actually be the prettiest of the whole trip, and sadly I’m alone for this portion, because I do like to share the good things and prefer being alone for the bad things.

Having got to the sheltered waters, winds still 20 knots, but with no fetch, the seas are choppy at about a foot, sometimes a bit more, I decided to pull in the paravanes, also because it will become shallow again and that’s one more worry I don’t need.

So with my current, refined system, I stop the boat, get to the fly bridge and use the winch to pull up poles and birds simultaneously.  I then come down to the side decks, lift the paravane (now right above the rub rail, just below the cap rail) put it on its spot on the cap rail.  At which point I must go back to fly bridge and let the small line out which is whipped to the larger lines on the birds.  This just allows me to use the slack to tie the bird to the pole while it’s on the cap rail.

All that took only 4 minutes, and felling very proud of myself, I bounded up the side deck stairs to the pilot house, only to hit my head on the overhang.  I’m not an inch shorter I think.

Hubris never goes unpunished on a boat.

Author: Richard on Dauntless

I’m an eclectic person, who grew up in New York, lived overseas for many years and have a boat, Dauntless, a 42 foot Kadey Krogen trawler yacht. Dauntless enables me to not only live in many different parts of the world, but to do it in a way that is interesting, affordable, with the added spice of a challenge. Dauntless also allows me to be in touch with nature. As the boat glides through the ocean, you have a sense of being part of a living organism. When dolphins come to frolic, they stay longer if you are out there talking to them, watching them. Birds come by, sometimes looking for a handout; sometimes grateful to find a respite from their long journey. I grew up on the New York waterfront, in the West Village, when everything west of Hudson St. was related to shipping and cargo from around the world. For a kid, it was an exciting place of warehouses, trucks, and working boats of all kinds: tugs and the barges and ships, cargo and passenger, they were pushing around. My father was an electrical engineer, my mother an intellectual, I fell in between. I have always been attracted to Earth’s natural processes, the physical sciences. I was in 8th grade when I decided to be a Meteorologist. After my career in meteorology, my natural interest in earth sciences: geology, astronomy, geography, earth history, made it a natural for me to become a science teacher in New York City, when I moved back to the Big Apple. Teaching led to becoming a high school principal to have the power to truly help kids learn and to be successful not only in school but in life. Dauntless is in western Europe now. In May and June, I will be wrapping up the last two years in northern Europe, heading south to spend the rest of the year in Spain & Portugal. Long term, I’m planning on returning to North American in the fall of 2017 and from there continuing to head west until we’re in Northeast Asia, Japan and South Korea, where we will settle for a bit. But now, my future lies not in NY or even Europe, but back to the water, where at night, when the winds die down, there is no noise, only the silence of the universe. I feel like I am at home, finally.

2 thoughts on “One Dead End Leads to Another”

  1. I manage to ding my noggin more than I’d like to admit. Right now I’m rafted to a 36’er, and hit the overhead (mine) far too frequently when getting off Seaweed. The next step is to add some foam there — a piece of a pool noodle MIGHT get my attention And if it doesn’t it should at least keep down the bruises.

    Your stories are always interesting Richard. Thanks for posting.

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