Gota Canal Day 12: Sjotorp


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Twelve days after we’d entered at Mem, we exited the Gota Canal at Sjotorp. We likely would have spent a few more days along the canal at a slightly slower pace, but the following day the canal switches from the high season, where locks are individually manned and boaters can pass through on their own schedule, to the booking season, where boats travel in fixed convoys with a lockkeeper accompanying them. We considered staying longer and travelling with a convoy, with the possibility of stopping where we wanted and rejoining a later convoy, but the lack of flexibility and the delays while groups of boats locked through discouraged us. And we’d spent an enjoyable nearly two weeks on the canal, so felt fine.

That final day we passed through ten locks and seven bridges, and descended 83.0ft (25.3m) to Lake Vanern at (43.8m) above sea level and moored for the night at Sjotorp. Over the next week or so, we planned to spend some time cruising Lake Vanern, then eventually pass through the Trollhatte canal to reach sea level again, this time on the west coast of Sweden.

Below are trip highlights from August 14, 2019. 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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Norrkvarn Upper Lock
The road bridge and gate open for us to enter the Norrkvarn Upper Lock, where we’ll drop 9.5 ft (2.9m).
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Norrkvarn Lower Lock
Approaching the Norrkvarn Lower Lock with the same drop of 9.5 ft (2.9m) as the Norrkvarn Upper Lock.
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Norrkvarn Upper Lock
The road bridge and gate open for us to enter the Norrkvarn Upper Lock, where we’ll drop 9.5 ft (2.9m).
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Norrkvarn Lower Lock
Approaching the Norrkvarn Lower Lock with the same drop of 9.5 ft (2.9m) as the Norrkvarn Upper Lock.
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1,000 Wing Hours
We’ve just reached 1,000 hours on our Lugger L844D wing engine. Like the Deere main engine, the Lugger has run trouble-free and only required routine part replacement and maintenance. We’ve changed a raw water pump, a couple exhaust elbows, and some sensors, but otherwise only maintenance items.
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Lyrestad E20 Bridge
The Lyrestad E20 Bridge opening for us to pass.
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Lyrestad Church
Lyrestad Church, built in 1674, contains a Madonna figure from the 12th century and a baptismal font dating from around 1200.
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Lyrestad Old Bridge
The Lyrestad Old Bridge is a swing bridge dating from 1934 with two pairs of water regulating gates built into the abutments.
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Lyrestad Railway Bridge
Looking down the tracks as we pass through the Lyrestad Railway Bridge.
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Rogstorp Bridge
The Rogstorp rolling bridge is modern copy of the older bridges built by Motala Verkstad. The bridgekeeper’s cottage is the original from 1863.

Except for railway bridges, which are opened based on train schedules, we’ve generally not had to wait long for a bridge opening, but had to wait at least 20 minutes for this one. Likely the lockkeeper was busy elsewhere.

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Waiting
Waiting on a jetty for commercial traffic to pass through the Sjotorp locks. Today is the last day of the regular high season, and the canal has been de-staffing, so we’re seeing more delays. Starting tomorrow until the end of September, boats travel in scheduled convoys with a lockkeeper moving between the locks with them, rather than being stationed at the individual locks.
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Dirt
We had at least an hour to wait for the Sjotorp locks, so did some chores. Our new Shark Navigator continues to pull out an astonishing amount of dirt and dust from our carpets.
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Bellevue
The day-cruise ship Bellevue emerging from the locks on a run between Sjotorp and Toreboda.
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Sjotorp 7-8
Approaching the top lock of the Sjotorp 7-8 double lock to descend 15.1ft (4.6m).
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Spitfire
Spitfire taking in the view from the salon as we’re underway.
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Sjotorp 6
Approaching the single Sjotorp 6 lock to descend 7.9ft (2.4m).
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Sjotorp 4-5
The Sjotorp 4-5 is close after Sjotorp 6. The double lock will bring us down 15.7ft (4.8m). Visible in the distance beyond is the upper basin at Sjotorp.
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Sjotorp R26 Bridge
The Sjotorp R26 Bridge opening for us as we exit the Sjotorp 4-5 locks.
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Upper Basin
The mostly-empty upper basin at Sjotorp. This is typically the end of the run for charter boats.
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Mina
It must be a very tight squeeze for the Mina to fit through the Gota Canal locks.
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Sjotorp Bridge
The Sjotorp Bridge opening for us to enter the final set of locks.
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Sjotorp 2-3
Onlookers at the Sjotorp 2-3 locks after we’ve descended another 15.7ft (4.8m).
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Middle Basin
Pleasure craft moored along the middle basin at Sjotorp.
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Sjotorp 1
Inside the final lock Gota Canal, Sjotorp 1, to descend 9.5ft (2.9m).
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Gasthamn
Moored for the night at the guest harbour on Lake Vanern outside the Gota Canal. We passed through ten locks and seven bridges today and descended 83.0ft (25.3m) to bring us to Lake Vanern at (43.8m) above sea level. We’ll eventually pass through the Trollhatte canal to reach sea level again, this time on the west coast of Sweden.
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Six Amps
The power service along the Gota Canal is mostly 6 amps, not enough to power our 1800-watt hairdryer. Our dual-shorepower configuration allows us to use two of whatever the shorepower connections support. It’s amazing to see a fairly power-intensive boat able to run on 6-amp connections.
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Two 5-amp Draws
We’re drawing 5 amps from each of the two 6-amp shore supplies. We used to think 16 amps wasn’t very much, but 6 amps is a whole new low.
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Lunch
Lunch in the glass-enclosed dining room at Restaurang Kajutan. The Gota Canal runs way above in the grass bank behind James. We’re actually eating well below the canal level.
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Vattentrappa
The sculpture Vattentrappa (“water steps” in English) is a memorial to the 58,000 who , excavated the Gota Canal from Sjotorp to Mem between 1810 and 1832. The steps are made of granite from Brohus.
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Dry-Dock
Dry-dock used for repairing ships that ran along the Gota Canal. It appears to still be in use, perhaps for winter boat storage.
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Bandy
A sign showing the history of Sjotorp’s bandy teams. Bandy is similar to ice hockey, with players wearing skates, but is played with a ball and a bowed stick similar to field hockey. The game is heavily influenced by soccer, both having similar-sized playing areas, 11 players per side and normally played in 45-minute halves.
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Bollard
Several stone bollards that the larger ships tie off to were lying near the Gota Canal repair depot. It makes sense that so much of the bollard is below-ground in order to handle heavy strain.
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Forsvik
Iron works from Forsvik. Now that we’ve visited the Forsvik Museum, we recognize the name everywhere along the canal.
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Locking Through
Watching a set of boats lock through at Sjotorp. This will be the last unrestricted lockings of the high season before the scheduled booking season starts tomorrow.
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Ferry & Steph
Ferry Nieuwhoff and Steph Arndt were out on a cycling vacation and stopped by to chat. They are serious bike travellers, having been all over Sweden and Norway on this trip. Ferry has also done bike trips as far away as Madagasguar, but they make their home in the Netherlands not far from Amsterdam.
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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