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8th August, 2016


It does seem like a long old haul to get to Stockholm, but in actual fact it is just two days from Dover, nicely split by a rather pleasant slow passage through the Kiel Canal. Pleasant that is for the passengers, who have the great opportunity of watching the land go by almost at walking pace. For us operational chaps though, it is a very long day, in fact it was four the next morning before I eventually went horizontal.

Next day we took the Swedish pilot for the archipelago around about morning coffee time and then spent a delightful four hours driving 47 miles around islands big and small. Apparently it was the last Sunday of the holidays so we came across numerous pleasure craft, many heading back to the city. Needless to say the odd one or two decided the centre of the navigable channel was where they should be. A quick bellow from the horn and a large shadow coming into their peripheral soon made them decide that wasn’t the case.  Small family summer houses that have been handed down over the years are dotted around on various islands, the Swedish flag flying indicated the family ‘at home’. And as we came closer to the city the pilot remarked on the much bigger properties, some interestingly ornate, worth a considerable amount of Swedish Krona.

We spent overnight alongside so the folks had plenty of time to take a tour and wander around the city independently, some even took the shuttle bus into town in the evening. There were excursions to Drottningholm Palace, Sigtuna, the oldest town in Sweden and the superb Vasa Museum, as well as guided tours around Gamla Stan and the old city. Mrs R took the shuttle bus for a certain degree of retail ‘exploration’ and was fortunate enough to meet impressively dressed cavalry heading through the town complete with shining musical instruments and pointed helmets.

By the time we came to leave the wind had become rather gusty and was pinning us to the berth, but a certain dexterous use of engines, rudder and thruster extricated us. Around the corner in the main harbour a large Costa job was having to use all his thrusters just to stay in position on the buoys. A challenging time for us all so it seemed.

Captain Philip Rentell

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