Lake Malaren

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Lake Malaren is the third largest in Sweden, stretching 64 nm west from Stockholm. The lake is accessible from the Baltic via locks at Sodertalje, where we toured the Scania manufacturing plant, and at Stockholm. The path through Lake Malaren via these two locks provided a scenic and convenient shortcut for our 100-mile trip from Stockholm to the famous Gota Canal, where we would cross to the west cost of Sweden. We’d already toured portions of the lake in the tender while we stayed on Stockholm, and it was fun to see the waterway again from a different perspective.

Below are trip highlights from August 2nd, 2019 in 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

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Departing Wasahamnen in Stockholm, our home for the past the five weeks.
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Gamla Stan
Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s old town, viewed shortly past 6am.
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One last look to the cliffs on the island of Sodermalm as we leave for the Gota Canal.
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Viking Terminal
The huge passenger walkway for the Viking Line ferries that dock at Stadsgarden.
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Viking Grace
The Viking Grace arriving into Stockholm at 6:15 on an overnight run from Turku, Finland. This is the ship with the rotor sail.
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The Seagas, the world’s first LNG fueling vessel, readying to refuel the Viking Grace.
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Passing through Danvikskanalen en route to Lake Malaren. The canal was completed in 1929 to provide a larger route for ships compared to the 1850-built Nils Ericson’s lock off Gamla Stan. We’ve already passed through twice in the tender, but it was still fun to see it again from a different perspective.
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Passing through the district of Hammarbyhamnen, on either side of Danvikskanalen, with Hammarbyslussen visible in the distance.
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We’d arrived for the opening of Hammarbyslussen, at 6:30am, and the gates opened for us as we approached.
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Locking Through
Tied off with a single line to the wall as we ascend in Hammarbyslussen.
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Gates Opening
The gates opening for Dirona to enter Lake Malaren. The lake is the 3rd largest in Sweden and is 64 nm long from east to west. We’ll only be passing through a portion of it as a shortcut to the Gota Canal.
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Lock Control
The old lock control building for Hammarbyslussen. The locks now are run from a large control tower high above the lock.
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A swimmer swimming alongside the channel, marked with a buoy. This swimmer is wearing a wetsuit, but in the warmer part of the day swimmers are common wearing just bathing suits.
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About to pass under the Arstabroarna (the Arsta bridges), two parallel railway viaducts that connect mainland Stockholm to the island of Sodermalm. The closest bridge has been in operation since 1929 and was the longest bridge in Sweden when completed. The second bridge behind was completed in 2005.
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Milkwaukee Vacuum
Another of the items we brought back with us from Seattle was a Milwaukee Wet/Dry vacuum, and a spare. We use the vacuums for a variety of task, including inflating/deflating our inflatable fenders, cleaning the engine room, and cleaning up liquid spills. Our previous Dewalt wet/dry had failed due to bearing corrosion and that model is no longer available so we had to try a new design. The Milwaukee ends up being a step up. It’s more space efficient, easy to move quickly through the boat without bumping things, appears equivalent in ability to both inflate and vacuum with only downside being slightly less liquid capacity.
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Jungfrusund Farjelage
Two ferries at the busy Jungfrusund Farjelage terminal. These two and a third ferry were constantly making the crossing to Slagsta Farjelage as we approached.
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Cliff House
Wonderful complex built into the cliff on the island of Kanan.
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Astra Zeneca
The massive Astra Zeneca facility at Sodertalje. The British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical company was founded here in 1913 and this is their largest global production and supply site, employing about 3,500.
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E20 Bridge
About to pass under the E20 highway. The Scania manufacturing plant that we visited a few weeks ago is directly to our south.
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Sodertalje Lock Jetty
The Sodertalje Lock is open every half-hour for pleasure craft—here we are moored with two other pleasure on the jetty waiting for a green light on the Sodertalje Lock. Payment is due on exit from Lake Malaren—while waiting we purchased our transit ticket through the silver kiosk at right. The cost was 200SEK (20 USD).
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Sodertalje Lock
The 442-ft (135m) Sodertalje Lock isn’t much bigger than the 377-ft (115m) Hammarbyslussen we went through earlier this morning to enter Lake Malaren, but it felt much larger. The two other boats in the lock with us are way behind us.
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Tending Line
Jennifer tending the line as we drop 2 feet (0.6m) to reach the Baltic sea level.
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Only two other boats rode through the lock with us, but over a dozen were waiting on the other side to enter Lake Malaren. As soon as the lock doors opened, they all rushed to get inside. In the photo you can see the other boats still trying to exit while the flood of boats enter against them.
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Igelsta Heat & Power Plant
Soderenergi‘s combined heat and power plant at Igelsta in Sodertalje is the second largest bio-powered, heating and power plant in Sweden. It annually produces 1400 GWh of heat and 550 GWh of electricity.
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Port of Sodertalje
Ro/Ro offloading and storage facility at the Port of Sodertalje.
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Townhouses built in a former stone quarry on the island of Oaxen. The small buildings in front of each are saunas.
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Opposing traffic under sail as we pass through the narrows at Savsundet.
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Fabulous sunroom and beautifully maintained buildings in this summer home complex on the island of Savo off Savsundet.
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UPS Failure
We’d settled into an anchorage for the night off the anchorage of Mellskaren and were just about to start making dinner when our navigation computer lost power. The APC Back-UPS ES 750 that we use to provide protect the computer from power loss and voltage surges had suddenly dropped the load.

Things were looking pretty bleak when the computer wouldn’t come back up—it just hung on the Lenovo splash screen. Eventually, on something like the third or fourth attempt, it finally booted up. We’re not sure what caused it to hang or why it came back, but we were very happy to see Windows come up.

Everything seemed to be working except the MariaDB database we use to store all our boat telemetry was corrupted in the sudden power failure and we couldn’t even start the MariaDB service. Power faults should never cause a database corruption, but we managed to find a bug. It’s a hassle to recover a database from corruption and it’s annoying that the “power failure” was in fact only the UPS failing. James replaced the UPS with a spare while Jennifer recovered the MariaDB database.

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


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4 comments on “Lake Malaren
  1. Martin V. says:

    I´m impressed by the number of spare parts you store onboard. Do you have a particular strategy for what systems / items to bring backups for?

    In the case of the UPS failure and following database corruption, what level of redundancy do you maintain for database backups?

    Do you have a route planned for the autumn?

    Lastly, I want to extend my gratitute for your openness and willingness to share. Your detailed log of experiences, experiments and adventure is not only quality entertainment but also top learning content.

    • Thanks for the feedback on the Blog Martin. Your question on redundancy is an important one and a hard question to answer with a formula or exact answer. Sparing is a complex decision with cost, space, and weight constraints on one side. On the other side we ask can we continue with out this part working, can it be sourced locally, could it cause a trip interruption, how expensive is it, and could a spare help with faster diagnosis on a failure. We generally rank our time as our most valuable resource and our target is to never have to stop a trip, redirect a trip, or wait in a port for parts. In a bit more than 20 years of boating, we’ve managed to hit that mark but, as a consequence, we clearly will end up with spares on board that never get used.

      Another factor to keep in mind is the spares have to be inventoried (we use an Excel spreadsheet) and they have to be carefully packed to avoid any environmental damage and this does take time.

      You asked about our Autum cruising plans. We expect to continue our canal journey from the east cost of Sweden across the central lakes to the west coast of the country. We’ll spend some time in the islands on the Swedish west coast and perhaps do a quick stop into Oslo if time allows. Then we’ll head down to Denmark with a stop in Copenhagen before heading south to the Kiel Canal in Germany, through the canal, across the German Bight to the Netherlands and then to Amsterdam for the winter.

  2. J. Schieff says:

    Great photos and comments.
    Interesting to see the bio heat and power generation facility in Igelsta. I often wonder why there aren’t more bio power generation facilities in the US. I guess burning garbage has turned out to be uneconomic and technically very difficult because of the need to separate out non-burnable and/or toxic stuff from the garbage flow.

    What fuel is used to power the Igelsta plant?

    The sort summer season in Scandinavia is coming to an end — are you planning to spend another winter there?

    • The Igelsta plant and most of the others I’ve researched in the Sweden and Finland area are using wood wast products compressed into a very dense pellet. Effectively pellitized waste wood. The good news is this is a very effective way to convert a coal plan to a far cleaner and renewable plant. The downside is using wood is that it’s such a cost effective approach that the waste wood supply in some areas is completely subscribed and the market is good enough to justify cutting down scrub trees that were previously not monetizable. These scrub trees are still technically a “renewable” resource but one hates to see trees of any sort cut down since trees are effective co2 consumers.

      At low scale, this is a pretty good approach to power production. Not as good for the environment as wind or solar but wildly better than coal. At high scale, the story is less clear in that some of the compressed wood pellet fuel may be coming from direct forestry rather than only from waste products. Even direct forestry is better than burning coal so it’s a step forward but not as good as sources that don’t drive increased deforestation.

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