Vaxholm


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Vaxholm Fortress was built in 1544 to protect Stockholm from naval attack, and repelled a Danish attack in 1612. The fortress became particularly important in the 1700s when the Finland became a part of Russia and Stockholm, once in the center of the Swedish kingdom, suddenly was near the eastern border. In 1719, the Russians burned nearly everything in the Stockholm Archipelago, but were unable to take Vaxholm and reach Stockholm.

Today the fortress, and the town of the same name that grew up nearby, are major attractions for the area. Ferries constantly arrive and the streets are busy with tourists. On our last stop before Stockholm, we joined the visitors and spent a day enjoying the town and exploring the fortress.

Below are trip highlights from June 27th in Vaxholm, Sweden. 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.

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Silja Symphony
The 666ft (203m) cruise ferry Silja Symphony en route to Stockholm following an overnight cruise from Helsinki via Aland.
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Ferry Crossing
Two large ferries at the Yxlan-Furusund crossing. It must be a busy crossing to warrant two ferries for such a short distance.
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Stenhammar
The SAR boat Stenhammar just south of the Yxlan-Furusund ferry crossing.
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Mariella
The Viking Line ferry Mariella en route to Stockholm on an overnight run from Helsinki via Aland.
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Victoria I
The Silja Line ship Victoria I on an overnight run to Stockholm from Tallin via, no surprise, Aland (duty-free zone). It seems people take the ferries for a two-night mini-cruise and to take advantage of the duty-free shopping on board. But still, the number of ferries coming and going from Stockholm seems amazingly high.
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Viking Grace
The Viking Grace is the first LNG-powered passenger ship and the first to be fitted with a rotor sail (the large stack-like structure) developed by Norsepower of Finland. The rotor sail provides additional propulsion and is reported to deliver up to 20% fuel savings in favourable weather. The ship’s LNG tanks are visible at the stern.
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Vaxholm Fortress
A first view to Vaxholm Fortress—we’ll anchor nearby for the night to explore the fortress and adjacent town.
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Traffic
The ferry and pleasure craft traffic is so heavy through the narrow channel west of the fortress that vessels less than 12m long are required to use the eastern channel.
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Passing Vaxholm
Vaxholm Fortress visible off our stern as we pass through the west channel.
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At Anchor
At anchor of Vaxholm.
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Vaxholm Gasthamn
The tender tied of at Vaxholm Gasthamn while we tour ashore. It’s such a busy place that moorage is charged even for tenders not staying overnight.
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Bistro Magasinet
Lunch on the terrace at Bistro Magasinet overlooking Vaxholm Fortress and the ferry traffic around it.
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Kastellet Ferry
Boarding the Kastellet cable ferry to tour Vaxholm Fortress.
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Power Cord
The Kastellet cable ferry is entirely electric and winds its power cord in and out on a drum as it crosses the channel. Electric ferries are becoming really common, especially for short distances, but the common configuration is charging batteries at shore and running on battery power. This boat literally has a long extension cord, where it’s always plugged into once side and it unreels the extension cord to reach the other side and winds it back on when returning.
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East Wall
Vaxholm Fortress was built in 1544 to protect Stockholm from naval attack, and repelled a Danish attack in 1612. The fortress became particularly important in the 1700s when the Finland became a part of Russia and Stockholm, once in the center of the Swedish kingdom, suddenly was near the eastern border. In 1719, the Russians burned nearly everything in the Stockholm Archipelago, but were unable to take Vaxholm and reach Stockholm.
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North Walls
The fortress walls look substantial, but an 1872 a test shoot showed they weren’t sufficiently strong to withstand the artillery advances. It’s unusual to actually test a fortress by targetting your own fortification and inspecting the damage. Rather than rebuild the fortress, coastal defense was concentrated farther out in the archipelago.
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Submarine
What appears to be a private submarine underway off Vaxholm Fortress.

Update 07/19/19: Blog reader Matthew Baker suggested this is a rare sighting of a Swedish Attackdykarna (special forces) Seal Carrier SDV. We’ve had some great submarine sightings while in Sweden.

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Warning
We could not figure out what this sign inside Vaxholm Fortress was warning of or against. It looks like purse-swinging is allowed within the castle grounds and, consequently, caution should be shown.

Update 07/13/2019: Blog reader Leif Johansson explained that the sign is the iconic “Woman with the Handbag”, representing the woman who famously struck a neo-Nazi demonstrator with her purse in 1985 at Vaxjo in southern Sweden.

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Tower
The Tower at Vaxholm Fortress, flanked by the East and West Lines.
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C Bar
Having a drink at C Bar, a unique bar on the end of the pier protecting Vaxholm Gasthamn.
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Ferries
View to the ferry dock at Vaxholm from C Bar. Ferries constantly are arriving and leaving Vaxholm en route to Stockholm and the archipelago.
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Waxholms Hotell
We ended the day with a great dinner, again overlooking the fortress and ferry traffic, at Waxholms Hotell.
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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2 comments on “Vaxholm
  1. Matthew Baker says:

    I think the little submarine might be a SDV of the Swedish Attackdykarna. Looks like the guy is wearing a rebreather (cannot tell as res doesn’t allow zoom). At any rate, definitely a cool and unusual sighting

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