Karlskrona


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Two Swedish submarines “escorted” us in from sea as we approached Karlskrona from Utklippan. The Swedish Navy is renowned for its submarine technology, particularly in building extremely quiet vessels that are difficult to detect. Over two years of war games with the US in 2005-2006, the Swedish submarine HSMS Gotland made repeated undetected attack runs on, and sank (virtually), the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, opposing destroyers and nuclear submarines.

The Naval Base at Karlskrona was established in 1679 to give Sweden better control over the Baltic Sea and is currently the largest of the two major Swedish naval ports. Karlskrona and its defenses are part of the “Naval Port of Karlskrona” Unesco World Heritage site, designated in 1988 for being an outstanding example of a late-17th-century European planned naval city. Also included are fortifications in several offlying islands.

We spent two nights in the area, touring through the World Heritage site by tender, visiting the excellent national maritime museum, and exploring historic Karlskrona on foot.

Below are trip highlights from March 28th and 29th, 2019 at Karlskrona, SE. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps

3/28/2019
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Utklippan
A beautiful calm scene early this morning at Utklippan.
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Dawn
Dawn viewed from the Utklippan harbour. The black dots visible in the water are masses of seabirds. The islands have been a nature reserve since 1988 and are known for seal colonies, migrant birds and special frogs.
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Tight
We didn’t have much space on either side as we negotiated the east exit from Utklippan.
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First Swedish Sunrise
Our first Swedish sunrise, and it’s a beauty.
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Submarine
As we approached Karlskrona, we could make out two large radar targets, but couldn’t see anything obvious. As we got closer, both targets turned out to be Sodermanland class Swedish Navy submarines heading into the navy base at Karlskrona.
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Adjusting Course
We had to adjust course to allow one of the submarines, the highlighted target to our north, to pass ahead of us into Karlskrona. The other submarine is the target to our southwest and it will fall in behind us as we enter the channel.
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Unescorted
Following one of the submarines into Karlskrona. After spending so much time around the Seattle area with its multiple submarine bases, we’re used to seeing a flotilla of ships escort an underway submarine near shore. So it’s unusual to see not only one, but two submarines, underway without any escort.
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Drottninskar Citadel
After a failed Danish invasion in 1679, Sweden established a navy base at Karlskrona for better control over the Baltic Sea. Drottninskar Citadel was built in 1680 to defend the entrance to that base.
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Stena Vision
The huge 575ft (175m) car and passenger ferry Stena Vision arriving into Karlskrona from Gdynia, Poland.
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Crew on Deck
The submarine we were following had pulled off to the side to allow the Stena Vision to pass, with crew on deck preparing for arrival.
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Limin’
Spitfire enjoying the calm seas and sunny weather. He’s still best on the boat at limin’
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Anchored
Our first Swedish anchorage, along the east side of Tjurko Island just south of Karlskrona. With two days of westerly winds, this was a wonderfully protected spot.
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Kungsholms Fort
Kungsholms Fort was built in 1680 at the same time as Drottninskar Citadel across the waterway, to protect the entrance to the new navy base at Karlskrona. The fort still is owned by the Swedish Navy and is the longest continuously used military base in the world. Roughly center of the picture is the fort’s most famous and remarkable feature, a circular harbor.
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Fortifications
Fortifications on the west side of Kungsholms Fort.
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Tender
Our tender tide off at Drottninskar Citadel. The Swedish Navy no longer owns this property, so visitors are allowed ashore unescorted.
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World Heritage Site
The bridge to Drottninskar Citadel. Karlskrona and its defenses are part of the “Naval Port of Karlskrona” Unesco World Heritage site, designated in 1988 for being an outstanding example of a late-17th-century European planned naval city. Also included are fortifications in several offlying islands.
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Fog
A fog bank rolling on over Kungsholms Fort.
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Lokanabben Hamn
A few fishboats were moored at Lokanabben Hamn, but most of the several dozen pleasure craft berths were empty.
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Ferry
We could see the distinctive yellow ferry running to the islands south of Karlskrona from a long way off.
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God Natt Fortress Tower
The God Natt (Swedish for ‘Good Night’) fortress tower was completed in 1863 for military security of the navy port entrance.
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Swedish Navy
The base at Karlskrona is the largest in the Swedish Navy, with many large ships moored inside. The unusual ships on the left are two Visby-class corvettes, designed as a stealth ship to be minimally visible on radar and infrared.
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Alamedan
Stairs leading up from the water to Alamedan street in Karlskrona. The statue visible is a memorial to Hans Wachtmeister, who was admiral general of the Swedish Navy in the late 1600s.
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Stumholmen
Lighthouse on Stumholmen Island, formerly part of the navy base, but now open to the public.
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Maritime Museum
The national naval museum on Stumholmen Island. We plan to visit tomorrow.
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Ericsson
One of several large interconnected Ericsson buildings in Karlskrona. The company is headquartered in Stockholm, but has had a factory in Karlskrona since 1947.
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Amfitrite
The Swedish Coast Guard is headquartered at Karlskrona and we saw several of their boats moored there. Most impressive was 265ft (81m) multipurpose vessel Amfitrite.
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Guest Harbour
Our tender moored at Karlskrona guest harbour.
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Fountain
Fountain on Norra Kungsgatan. We had a nice lunch nearby at Toro Bar and Grill.
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Gamla Mastkranen
The nine-story high Gamla Mastkranen (the Old Mast Crane) on the left, and Femfingerdockan (the Five-Finger dock) at center, are both part of the Karlskrona Unesco World Heritage site. Femfingerdockan was constructed in the 1750s to provide covered accommodation on land for the vast fleet being assembled at that time. Gamla Mastkranen’s complicated mastcrane apparatus of capstans, winding gear, windlasses, etc, designed for manual operation, remains in place today. Both are on Swedish Navy property and accessible only through a guided tour, something we’re about two months too early for. :)
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Nattraby River
Enjoying a relaxing and sheltered run up the Nattraby River, northwest of Karlskrona. The temperature is about 45°F (7.2°C) but we’re bundled up and are plenty warm.
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Nattraby Church
Nattraby Church along the Nattraby River dates from the 12th century. Depths became too shallow for us to proceed much beyond this point.
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Ljungskar
The gunpowder magazine on Ljungskar, completed in 1734.
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Karlskrona Port
The ferry Stena Vision, that passed us earlier today, moored at Karlskrona Port.
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NKT
The NKT high-tension cable factory. NKT manufactures communications and power cables. This particular plant focuses on high-voltage power cables.
3/29/2019
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Sunrise
A beautiful sunrise from our anchorage along the east side of Tjurko Island, just south of Karlskrona. We’re loving being back out “in the wilds” again.
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Marinmuseum
In Karlskrona at Marinmuseum, Sweden’s national naval museum.
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Loading Cannon
The Marinmuseum features an in-depth history of Swedish naval technology throughout the centuries with excellent models, displays and dioramas.
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Figureheads
The Marinmuseum’s fabulous figurehead display.
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Neptun
The star of the Marinmuseum is Neptun, a Nacken-class submarine that went into service in 1980 and was decommissioned in 1998. All of her equipment and interiors have been preserved and museum visitors can walk through the ship.

The Swedish Navy is renowned for its submarine technology, particularly in building extremely quiet vessels that are difficult to detect. Over two years of war games with the US in 2005-2006, the Swedish submarine HSMS Gotland made repeated undetected attack runs on, and sank (virtually), the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, opposing destroyers and nuclear submarines.

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X-Rudder
The Neptun has an X-rudder, like the one we saw on the research submarine USS Albacore in Portsmouth in 2016.
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Fresnel Lens
The 4-th order Fresnel Lens from the Utklippan lighthouse, on display at the Marinmuseum in Karlskrona.
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Utklippan
Next to the Utklippan Fresnel lens, the museum shows the web cam from the top of the lighthouse. Visitors to the museum a couple of days ago would have seen us there.
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Governor’s House
The County Governor’s House, built in 1909-1911.
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Gubben Rosenbom
The ‘Old Man Rosenbom’ statue, with arm outstretched for alms, is a landmark in Karlskrona. This is a 1956 replica of the original statue that has been standing outside since the 18th-century and was moved inside to protect it from the weather.
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Admiralstorn
The Karlskrona Admiralstorn (Admiralty Clock) was built in 1699. A disused railway from the naval shipyard runs underneath it into a tunnel that emerges on the north side of town.
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Stortorget
Looking east along Stortorget, Karlskrona’s huge main square, built to rival Europe’s best. On the left is the church Fredrikskyrkan, part of the Unesco World Heritage site, and on the right is the church Trefaldighetskyrkan, built to resemble Rome’s Pantheon.
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Trefaldighetskyrkan
Looking to the organ and up into the domed ceiling inside dramatic Trefaldighetskyrkan.
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Fredrikskyrkan
The elegant baroque-style church Fredrikskyrkan recently underwent an extensive renovation and is just stunning inside.
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Organ
A close-up to the gilded organ inside Fredrikskyrkan.
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Ronnebygatan
Striking pastel-coloured building at the corner of Ronnebygatan and Norra Smedjegatan.
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Studs
It doesn’t feel much like winter right now, but most of the vehicles in Karlskrona have studded tires, indicating snow either isn’t far past or is expected. (Studs are metallic or ceramic spikes embedded in the tire to increase traction in hard-packed snow or ice.)
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Stars and Stripes
We stopped in for a beer at Stars and Stripes, and ended up staying for dinner and enjoying their excellent burgers.
Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

 
 


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