MV Dirona travel digest for Stockholm Archipelago, 2019

Show Stockholm Archipelago, 2019 travel log 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 //


4/15/2019: Narrow
Approaching the narrow channel at the entry to the anchorage off the north end of the island of Nattaro. Our C-Map charts showed 22 feet in the channel and our Navionics charts showed just under 10, but we saw no less than 30ft passing through.
4/15/2019: Ice
The anchor dragged when we tried to set along the east side of the anchorage, so we tried another location farther west and found our usual excellent holding, hosing down the chain with raw water as it came up covered with soft mud. The temperature is just around freezing and with the low salinity levels in the Baltic Sea our raw water wash spray is actually freezing on the deck.
4/15/2019: More Ice
With the temperatures around freezing, the swimstep was covered with a thick layer of slush from our time underway in the low-salinity Baltic Sea.
4/15/2019: Tender
The tender tied off at one of two docks at the northern Nattaro anchorage. Pleasure craft will tie bow-to the dock with a stern anchor, allowing people to reach the shore directly from the boat.
4/15/2019: Power
An excellent contender for the Guinness Book of World Records for longest serial extension cord. This is one starts at a building several hundred feet inland where 3-phase 16A is delivered through a long series of 25-meter extension cords to this distribution box where a single phase 16A extension cord runs out to the end of the dock.
4/15/2019: Nattaro
A map of the island of Nattaro. We're in the cove at the northern end. Most of the island is a nature reserve—one of the first marine nature reserves in Sweden.
4/15/2019: Storsand
Storsand is the largest beach in the Stockholm archipelago and one of the nicest places to swim. We'd dressed warmly after seeing the ice on deck this morning, but ended up shedding layers in the warm sun. It's still a long way from beach weather though. :)
4/15/2019: Drottninggrottan
Drottninggrottan ("The Queen's Cave") is named after Queen Maria Eleonora (1599-1655). According to legend, the queen sought shelter in the cave to wait for better sailing conditions to reach Gotland. We were expecting something bigger and a bit more dramatic, but we suppose the cave would be big enough to shelter a slender queen.
4/15/2019: View
A bit of a view across the island of Nattaro from the hill above Drottninggrottan.
4/15/2019: Feeder
A large cylindrical feeder in the woods on the island of Nattaro. We were guessing it might be for horses, but later decided it was more likely for the local deer population.
4/15/2019: Carving
Carving along the road on the island of Nattaro.
4/15/2019: Cabins
Dozens of cabins are on the island of Nattaro. Given we had trouble in January finding availability at a Stockholm cattery for July, we're guessing people book these a long way in advance.
4/15/2019: Deer
One of several herds of small deer we saw while walking around the island.
4/15/2019: Jetty
The main jetty and ferry landing on the west side of Nattaro.
4/15/2019: Snorkeling Trail
Buoys in the water just north of the Nattaro jetty mark a snorkeling trail, the first in Stockholm when it opened in 2009, complete with underwater information signs describing the sea life there.
4/15/2019: Pumpout
These pumpout stations are common in the Stockholm Archipelago.
4/15/2019: Cliffs
Cliffs above a small boat channel between the island of St Vallringen and Nattaro at the northeast side of the anchorage. St Vallringen is controlled by the Swedish navy and is covered with signs prohibiting anchoring and photography.
4/16/2019: Sunrise
5:33am sunrise from the anchorage at Nattaro. The days are getting longer and longer as summer approaches.
4/16/2019: Alvsnabben
Alvsnabben is a famous monument on the island of Kapellon off Musko. The large anchor was erected to commemorate the army that gathered here prior to a departure during the 30 Years War, a religious conflict fought in Norther Europe during the 17th century.
4/16/2019: Stopp
The Swedish Navy was headquartered at Musko from the 1500s up until the mid-1900s and much of the area still is Navy-controlled with access restricted. We'd originally planned to reach our intended anchorage at Musko from the east, through a narrow channel north of Kapellon. But access to the entire area is forbidden, so we approached from the west instead.
4/16/2019: TV Lift Remote
Some time back we installed a low cost ($18) remote control to control the TV lift. It continues to work great. Today James interfaced the remote with the boat control systems so it can be wound up and down with the central remote control. The stand alone remote still works as a backup. It's amazing that $18 gives two remotes and one base station. We now have one remote as stand alone and one that is interfaced to the central control system. Here James is connecting one of the remotes to a Raspberry Pi.
4/16/2019: N26
While in the Netherlands we also opened up an N26 account and it has become our primary credit card account. Germany-based N26 is one of the new breed of born-online banks. Having a PIN account is much more convenient than our US-based signature cards and it works much better for online payments. It's not really a credit card per se—the account must have sufficient funds for the purchase to be approved.

One of the features we really like is that most online purchases over a certain minimum amount require approval in the mobile app before the transaction is accepted. This really reduces the potential for online fraud. We're surprised this isn't more prevalent in the US—none of our several Visa or Mastercard credit cards support it.
4/16/2019: Musko Canal
Bundled up in our Mustang 2175 work suits for a circumnavigation of Musko Island by tender. Here we are passing through the narrow and shallow Musko Canal between the islands of Musko and Herrstugan. The Russians built the first artificial canal here in 1719 as part of their campaigns in the area, but it gradually became less usable as water levels fell and had disappeared by the early 20th-century. The canal was re-excavated in the 1930s as part of a public works project to give 52 unemployed men a paid job and to save local fishermen hours of travel time between the fishing grounds and market.
4/16/2019: Musko Naval Base
Musko Naval Base is an underground Swedish Navy base on the southwest corner of Musko, constructed between 1950 and 1969 and requiring the removal of about 1.5-million tons of rock. To reach the island from the mainland the navy built the 1.9-mile (3 km) Musko Tunnel that runs about 230 ft (70 m) below the water surface.

The base has underground shipyards with three docks designed for submarines and destroyers. Information about the base was highly confidential during the Cold War, and little was known about it. The base was closed in 2004 when the Swedish government decided to consolidate the Navy at the other two major bases of Karlskrona, in the south, and Berga, on the mainland just north of Musko. Some parts of the facility still are used by the navy, and private companies operate the underground shipyards. The underwater road tunnel is now open to the public, but access to the base and its waters is restricted to no closer than about 300m.
4/16/2019: North Opening
The northernmost of several openings from sea to the underground Musko Naval Base.
4/16/2019: West Openings
The two largest openings to the Musko Naval Base, on the west side of the facility. Some amazing online pictures show submarines and vessels entering and inside the base. The whole concept is just incredible.
4/16/2019: Southwest Opening
A smaller opening into the Musko Naval Base from the southwest corner.
4/16/2019: House
Striking modern home, with a very long staircase to sea level, overlooking the channel between
4/16/2019: Silverpilen
After circumnavigating Musko, we ran three miles across the channel to the island of Uto. We sure love the new tender—a stable, high-speed craft is a excellent complement to a slow-speed trawler.
4/16/2019: Hamdal
We initially were planning to anchor at Uto off the south end of the island of Angsholmarna. But when we saw the ferry Silverpilen departing as we approached, decided to go to Musko instead as we didn't want to anchor in a ferry route, and the anchorage at Musko looked nicer anyway. What we didn't realize is that a second ferry dock was farther north, right about where we would have anchored, and that location would have blocked their entrance.
4/16/2019: Going Ashore
The orange Mustang 2175 work suits are great for keeping warm out in the tender, but are a little too bulky and hot for walking ashore unless it is truly cold. We locked them to the tender and put on normal coats to have a look through Uto.
4/16/2019: Uto Harbour
Looking west across the well-buoyed entrance to Uto Harbour. The area is full of bow-to moorings for pleasure craft.
4/16/2019: Uto Mines
The iron mines on Uto are among the oldest in Sweden, dating from the 12th century. The Russians destroyed all structure and filled the mines with rocks in 1719. The mines were re-opened and continued to operate until 1878.
4/16/2019: Uto Windmill
The Uto Windmill was built by a Dutchman in 1878 to serve the growing population of Uto. The mill quickly became a prominent seamark and was found on a nautical chart dating from 1791. The listed building was in service until 1927 and is a well-known symbol for Uto.
4/16/2019: Sunset
Sunset from the anchorage at Musko Island. We really liked the tranquil and secluded spot we found here.
4/17/2019: Uto Windmill
The Uto Windmill, a prominent landmark as we pass west of Uto to Huvudskar.
4/17/2019: Swedish Navy
Many of the outlying islands are controlled by the Swedish Navy and fishing, anchoring or diving is forbidden.
4/17/2019: Tender
Out in the tender for a quick tour of the anchorage at Huvudskar.
4/17/2019: Huvudskar
The fabulous anchorage at Huvudskar on the outer edge of the Stockholm Archipelago (click image for a full-sized view). This would be a rare scene in the summer, with only one boat in view. We've so far seen only one pleasure craft underway since arriving in Sweden, let alone shared an anchorage.
4/17/2019: Happy Hour
Happy Hour in the sunny cockpit. While in the UK we purchased a couple of thick outdoor blankets and these work great for keeping warm in cooler temperatures. The temperature is 43°F (6.1°C) but with the sunshine and no wind, we didn't even need the patio heater.
4/17/2019: Sunset
Another beautiful Swedish sunset. We're sure loving it here—the scenery and lack of crowds more than makes up for the colder weather.
4/18/2019: Village
The village at Huvudskar, pictured at dawn, is one of the most painted is Sweden. A fishing village was here in the Middle Ages, and later the island became known as a pilot-, customs- and lighthouse station. The old customs house is now a hostel and the pilot's house contains a small museum exhibiting Huvudskar. As far as we can tell, we're currently the only people here.
4/18/2019: Sunrise
Another exceptional Swedish sunrise. We sure are feeling spoiled with the weather and conditions.
4/18/2019: Frost
Frost on the tender this morning.
4/18/2019: Huvudskar
Huvudskar aglow in the morning sun—what a fabulous anchorage.
4/18/2019: Calm
Conditions are especially calm this morning—the water surface is hardly ruffled.
4/18/2019: Cellina
Our first cove-mate since arriving in Sweden. As is the custom here, the occupants of Cellina moored with a stern anchor and the bow close to shore so they could disembark. We're wondering why this style is so popular in Sweden, whereas stern-tying is more popular in the Pacific Northwest. Perhaps the Swedish approach alleviates the need for a tender to reach shore?

Update: We're told this is the primary reason. This approach only works well in places like the Baltic with little tidal range.
4/18/2019: Evening
A late evening meal at Huvudskar with the cockpit aglow in the setting sun.
4/19/2019: Dawn
Dawn at Huvudskar. What am amazing place.
4/19/2019: Dometic Passport I/O
We were interested in changing thermostats for our reverse cycle heating and cooling system. What we were hoping to do is to find a generic thermostat that supports an IR remote but he ran into two problems: 1) most "smart" thermostats no longer use IR and instead have Android and IOS apps that interact with cloud services (not a great solution for a boat), and 2) the Dometic thermostats are very proprietary designs where both the control board mounted at the HVAC unit and the wall mounted thermostat are paired. Dometic does have a IR remote capable thermostat the SMXir and this would be a nice solution. But, installing it requires changing all 5 control boards at each HVAC unit and all five thermostats. This is a bit of work but what really slows us down is that it would cost over $1,500. It just doesn't seem worth it so we're not going to follow through on that one. Let us know if you know a solution that would be compatible with the Dometic Passport I/O system.
4/19/2019: Bow Ladder
Its Saturday, and more boats are arriving. This one caught our attention with its custom ladder mounted off the bow, allowing the person to step off easily and tie a line ashore (click image for a larger view).
4/19/2019: Alandsskar
Ashore on Alandsskar looking back at our anchorage. That's a pumpout just offshore from our tender.
4/19/2019: Seascape
The seascape around Huvudskar is really beautiful.
4/19/2019: Antenna Mount
Jennifer standing on one of several cement pillars. They appear to be guywire mounts for a large antenna mast.
4/19/2019: Lighthouse
Looking east across Alandsskar to the lighthouse and beyond.
4/19/2019: Another Boat
Another boat, tucked into a nook and bow-tied.
4/19/2019: Touring
Out touring in the tender. The temperature has shot up to 49°F (9.4°C), warm enough we don't need a hat or gloves.
4/19/2019: Evening Sun
The evening sun lighting up a late-afternoon arrival who picked up one of the Swedish Cruising Club buoys.
4/19/2019: Moonrise
Moonrise over the anchorage at Huvudskar.
4/20/2019: Sunrise
Sunrise underway from Huvudskar to Fjardlang.
4/20/2019: Making Water
We've so far not had to make water since leaving Amsterdam, but don't expect to be in a marina for at least a couple of weeks so we're making water when underway. When we purchased the boat, we specified that system control panels be in the pilot house. It's kind of an obvious choice, but we've seen watermakers that are only controllable from the lazarette. This works, but is certainly less convenient.
4/20/2019: Auto Pilot
When leaving the anchorage and heading out through a narrow entrance, an alarm sounded and the boat turned sharply left. James shifted into reverse and spun the wheel to the right but the boat continued left towards the nearby rocks as it slowed. He hesitated for another five precious seconds before shutting off the autopilot follow-up lever which returned control to the wheel.

We stayed off the rocks but it was much closer than it should have been. This is a very similar issue to that experienced on the recent 737 Max accidents where the MCAS system got a bad sensor input and essentially ran the plane into the ground. Here, we experienced a bad rudder position sensor and the autopilot just kept turning to the left. Fortunately, things happen more slowly at 7 kts but the lesson here is we need to be quick at turning off anything automatic when things aren't right.

On a related point, we were once on a boat where the owner had decided not to install a steering wheel at all since, like us, he never uses it. Admittedly, we have only used ours twice in 9 1/2 years but in both incidents, we REALLY needed to have that manual backup. We'll be faster in switching off the autopilot follow-up lever next time and we'll stop using that autopilot until we have a chance to repair or replace the bad sensor. It's sure nice to have redundancy.
4/20/2019: Calm
Cruising in wonderfully calm conditions in the channel southeast of Fjardlang.
4/20/2019: Trash Compactor
A trash compactor is standard equipment on the Nordhavn 52. It isn't something we would have specified ourselves, but we'd definitely get one again if we bought another boat. We mainly put plastics and anything else not recyclable or biodegradable in the trash compactor, and don't put anything in there that can smell. We can go at least three weeks without emptying the compactor, and can stow forward two of the cubes that it compacts down to, allowing us to go at least two months without getting rid of any garbage.

When we'll be in marinas frequently enough to dispose of the garbage, we don't compact and instead split the compactor in half with a standard kitchen garbage bag for waste and another bag for recyclables. This is what we've been doing so far since leaving Amsterdam. But since we will be anchoring out for at least another couple of weeks, we're compacting the existing garbage and stowing the recyclables forward.
4/20/2019: Washing Windows
Cleaning a light salt spray off the windows.
4/20/2019: Broken Hook
One of the plastic hooks that secures the cover on our gasoline deck tanks broke, so we replaced it with a small carabiner.
4/20/2019: Picnic
Our first Swedish picnic, overlooking the beautiful anchorage at the north end of Fjardlang. The weather certainly has been spectacular for most of this trip and the temperature is now up to 53°F (11.7°C)
4/20/2019: Trail
Fjardlang is one of forty nature reserves that the Archipelago Foundation manages in the Stockholm Archipelago. Here we are walking one of their trails on Fjardlang.
4/20/2019: Ants
This massive anthill on Fjardlang was teeming with millions of ants. There was so much traffic to and from the hill that the ants had actually worn a path through the vegetation—we've not seen that before.
4/20/2019: Dock
One of several Archipelago Foundation docks and huts on Fjardlang. These are common throughout the archipelago.
4/20/2019: Bow-Tied
Sailboat bow-tied into a sheltered nook in a cove along the west side of Fjardlang.
4/20/2019: Boat House
A large boat house and dock near the ferry dock at the southwest corner of Fjardlang.
4/20/2019: Cabin
Lovely cabin and deck on the east side of Fjardlang.
4/20/2019: Islands
Touring through the islets off Langholmen, east of Fjardlang, also part of the nature reserve.
4/20/2019: Kayak
The first kayaker we've seen underway in Sweden.
4/20/2019: Anchorage
The view to our anchorage at Fjardlang from the west shore.
4/20/2019: Bunkering
We've gone through a fair bit of gasoline fuel in the past few days, so time to fill up. Getting the big 29-gallons deck fuel tanks out is a bit of a hassle, so we instead keep five 1.5-gallon and one five-gallon tank filled and use them to top up the tender as needed. Here James is filling the five-gallon tank with one of the 29-gallon deck tanks suspended from the crane to gravity feed the fuel.
4/20/2019: Evening Sun
The evening sun lighting up the shore to the east of our anchorage at Fjardlang.
4/21/2019: Sunrise
We've seen a lot of beautiful sunrises here in Sweden, but are far from reaching our fill.
4/21/2019: ERROR: 234
Over the last two days, our satellite system has started to produce ERROR 234 and ERROR 235 messages. We noticed that a new firmware load was downloaded three days ago so hopefully the problem is there and can be fixed without hardware changes. We'll work with KVH support to get the issue resolved.
4/21/2019: Low Salinity
We're making water and the total dissolved solids of the product water is only 36 ppm. Normally water makers will produce in the 200 to 350 ppm range but the Baltic Sea salinity is so low that the product water is almost 10x lower total dissolved solids than water made from normal sea water.
4/21/2019: Skerries
A few of the roughly 24,000 islands and islets that make up the Stockholm Archipelago.
4/21/2019: Light Remote Control
On the left is the IR remote control for the LED Wholesalers Strip Lights we have installed in the salon. In the middle is the Harmony Hub Android Application and to the right is the Harmony Hub Smart Remote.

Here James is configuring the Harmony Hub remote control we use in the salon to be able to control the LED Strip Lights. Normally adding a new device is a quick process but it's slightly more complicated because the LED Strip Lights and the Pioneer Receiver both use some of the same IR codes. Volume down causes the strip lights to flash :-).

We worked around the problem by using to IR transmitters and only sending the IR codes to the transmitter visible to the device under control. Generally, Harmony is a simple system that is easy to configure, but it's also remarkably flexible, reliable, and inexpensive.
4/21/2019: Navigating
The Swedish Archipelago is amazingly complex, with hundreds of rocks lurking just below the surface—we've hit bottom in the tender more this week than the entire summer in Norway. We're normally pretty good at spotting shallows in the tender, and so avoid them even though we don't reference charts.

But that really doesn't work around here—rocks are everywhere and sixty feet becomes one the length of the boat. Fortunately the charts are quite accurate, so we are starting to navigate using the Navionics app when out in the tender, and are looking at ways we can mount the phone conveniently behind the windscreen.
4/21/2019: Impression 384
A Slovenian-produced Elan Impression 384 bow-tied into a cove on the northwest shore of Biskopson. The Impression 384 is a nice-looking boat, with a bright and modern interior.
4/21/2019: Line Bag
The boat bow-tied to shore had two lines out, with convenient carry bags for each to stow and feed out the line.
4/21/2019: Shoreline
Scenic shoreline along the north side of Biskopson.
4/22/2019: Camouflaged Boat
This military-looking boat, painted with camouflage colors, was moored against the dock at Idoborg. We couldn't see any signs indicating the land was military, so we wondered why it would be there.
4/22/2019: Supplies
Firewood and other supplies delivered to the dock at Idoborg.
4/22/2019: Namdo
Dock on the northeast end of Namdo, with an observation tower visible on the left. Our plan is to climb it once we are moored.
4/22/2019: Powerwash
The boat has gotten a little dirty over the past few weeks, so James gave it a quick power wash.
4/22/2019: Deer
Deer in a field on Namdo.
4/22/2019: Incline Elevator
We walked on a track to where we expected the lookout tower to be, but ended up below a group of houses with an incline elevator to hoist goods up the hill. We probably could have passed through their yards to reach the tower, but decided to find another way.
4/22/2019: Trail
We found a marked trail to the tower right where we landed the tender.
4/22/2019: Lookout Tower
Lookout tower standing on a 42m hill on Namdo. Lookout towers and signalling devices to warn of danger have been situated here for centuries.
4/22/2019: View from Tower
The spectacular view from the top of the lookout tower on Namdo (click to view larger image).
4/22/2019: House
Beautiful house along the east shore of Namdo.
4/22/2019: Solvik
Solvik is the main town on Namdo, where the ferry lands.
4/22/2019: Anchorage
Our anchorage on Namdo. We initially were planning to anchor closer to the head of the bay, but two boats already were there, so we anchored to the north. After touring the area, this actually seemed like a better spot, with the higher shoreline as a backdrop.
4/22/2019: Dusk
Dusk looking northwest from the anchorage on Namdo.
4/23/2019: Coffee
James inside enjoying a morning coffee while underway for Sandhamn with another fabulous sunrise.
4/23/2019: Swans
We've seen swans, often in fair-sized flocks, nearly every day since arriving in Sweden. We've rarely seen so many.
4/23/2019: Mist
The Tallink ferry Romantika approaching out of the mist en route to Stockholm on an overnight from Riga, Latvia.
4/23/2019: Romantika
The Tallink ferry Romantika lit up in the morning sun. We'll be taking a Tallink ferry in a few weeks on an overnight trip to Tallin, Estonia from Helsinki, Finland.
4/23/2019: Nearing Sandhamn
Nearing the village of Sandhamn, an exceedingly popular boating and summer vacation destination. The year-round population is about 100, but this swells to 2,000-3,000 in July and August.
4/23/2019: Seal
One of the first Swedish seals we've seen since arriving in the country.
4/23/2019: Trollharan
Beautiful trail ashore on Trollharan. Much of the area is wonderfully maintained by the Royal Swedish Yacht Club, who have had an outpost at Sandhamn for more than a century. Formed in 1830, the organization is one of the oldest yacht clubs in the world and an active competitive sailing organization. Represented by Artemis Racing, they competed in the 2013 and 2017 America's Cup events.
4/23/2019: Berths
Royal Swedish Yacht Club berths on the island of Lokholmen. The organization maintains several marinas at Sandhamn with space for 400 boats.
4/23/2019: Heinecke's Tower
The view looking south across our anchorage at Sandhamn from Trollharan.
4/23/2019: Off Sandhamn
At anchor with the village of Sandhamn as a backdrop. For those familiar with the Pacific Northwest, Sandhamn is a bit like Roche Harbor in the San Juan Islands. Both are beautiful and fun-to-visit towns with historic hotels, and both are massively crowded in the height of the summer season. We've been looking forward to visiting for a long time.
4/23/2019: Sandhamn Seglarhotell
The iconic Sandhamn Seglarhotell, formerly the Royal Swedish Yacht Club clubhouse, is a landmark in Sandhamn.
4/23/2019: Sandhamn Ferry
A regular ferry serves Sandhamn—we saw this one arrive several times during our stay.
4/23/2019: Pilot Boat
Sandhamn has been a pilot station for Stockholm since the 1600s.
4/23/2019: Villa
A villa, with a marvelous view to sea, built around 1900. Sandhamn has long been a summer retreat for the wealthy.
4/23/2019: Breakfast
We'd set out in the tender right away on arriving to take some pictures in the morning light. We brought along a picnic breakfast and found a great spot overlooking the town.
4/23/2019: Krosko
On the north side of the island of Krosko is a lovely, nearly landlocked anchorage. The entrance is shallow—we barely got the tender in.
4/23/2019: Shallows
The Royal Swedish Yacht Club maintains a large marina on the east side of the island of Lokholmen. This channel is too shallow even for our tender, so we'll head around to the main entrance on the other side to have a look.
4/23/2019: Cabins
Condominiums on the island of Telegrafholmen. Anyone buying one must also joint the Royal Swedish Yacht Club, who maintains a marina and a guesthouse on the island.
4/23/2019: Lokholmen
The Royal Swedish Yacht Club marina wrapped along the shores of Lokholmen has berths for about 200 boats, most with power. It must be crazy busy here in the summer.
4/23/2019: Uprooted Tree
A huge tree uprooted recently on Lokholmen. A big storm must have recently hit—over the course of the day we saw this several times and they all looked fresh.
4/23/2019: Heinecke's Observatory
In the early 1900s, wealthy Stockholm financier Kurt Heinecke bought the islands of Lokholmen and Trollharan and built a villa and an observatory tower on Lokholmen. Heinecke was a Swedish Yacht Club official and later sold the properties to the organization.
4/23/2019: Lokholmen Marina From Above
Looking down into the marina basin at Lokholmen, with the channel we tried to enter visible in the background.
4/23/2019: Tender Charts
We frequently hit bottom in the tender, but 95% of the time not because we don't know the water is shallow, but because we really want to find a way through anyway. We've never really felt a need for a chartplotter on the tender, but with so many unmarked obstacles hiding just below the surface here, a chartplotter is just about a requirement. Here we used heavy-duty velcro to mount an old cell phone running the Navionics chartplotter app. This works really well and is easy to read.
4/23/2019: Sandon
Ashore on the main island of Sandon. The main town, Sandhamn is at the northeast corner of the island. We're anchored directly east of the red dot, off the island of Trollharan.
4/23/2019: Sandhamn Vardshus
We had an excellent lunch on the deck at the historic Sandhamn Vardshus (Swedish for "inn"). An inn, in various forms, has been at this location since the mid-1800s.
4/23/2019: View to Sea
Looking east to sea between buildings as we walk around Sandhamn.
4/23/2019: Docks
If you have waterfront on Sandhamn, you have a dock.
4/23/2019: Big RIBs
Two large eco-adventure RIBs with a pair of 300HP outboards each.
4/23/2019: Flasberget
Flasberget's nearness to town makes it the island's main swimming area.
4/23/2019: Pine Forest
A beautiful pine forest, with trails throughout, covers much of the center of Sandon.
4/23/2019: Power Line Down
We saw many trees blown over in the pine forest on Sandon, and most looked recent. A big storm must have passed through in the past few weeks.
4/23/2019: Trouville
Looking north along Trouville, a long sandy beach along Sandon's south shore.
4/23/2019: Fluid
We've seen these 1,000L (264 gallon) fluid containers used all over the world, often for diesel transport. Look how big one of those containers is beside Jennifer, and imagine that Dirona holds the equivalent of 6.6 of these below deck in diesel. And, on our big ocean crossings, we carry the equivalent of 10.3 of these containers of diesel.
4/23/2019: Heinecke's Tower
The view to our anchorage from Sandon below Heinecke's Tower on Trollharan. The tower also was built by financier Kurt Heinecke.
4/23/2019: Trident
Trident mounted on Sandon.
4/23/2019: Pilot Tower
At the base of a distinctive white tower, visible from our anchorage, spinning a large radar and carrying communications gear. The tower was built for the sea pilots in 1962.
4/23/2019: Bell Tower
Jennifer standing under the bell tower for Sandhamn chapel. We don't often see the bell tower separated from the church, and this particular tower is between a school and a church, so it could be used for either or both.
4/23/2019: Town
Looking across the red-painted houses in Sandhamn. We didn't see a single automobile on the island, only all-terrain vehicles. The town roads mostly are footpaths that wind between the houses and are fun to walk along.
4/23/2019: Boardwalk
Walking the Sandhamn harbour-front boardwalk as we return to the tender.
4/23/2019: Happy Hour
Happy hour in the cockpit, with the evening sun lighting up Heinecke's Tower.
4/23/2019: Sandhamn at Dusk
Sandhamn aglow at dusk with mirror-smooth waters. We've had exceptional weather during our time in the Stockholm Archipelago.
4/24/2019: Sandhamn
A last view to the iconic Sandhamn Seglarhotell, formerly the Royal Swedish Yacht Club clubhouse, as we depart the area.
4/24/2019: Sunrise
Another beautiful Swedish sunrise as we're underway from Sandhamn to Moja.
4/24/2019: Stairs to Light
Stairs leading up the rock to the light on Getholmen.
4/24/2019: Princess Anastasia
The 581 ft (177 m) ferry Princess Anastasia coming up behind us. We're on the main route into Stockholm.
4/24/2019: St. Peter Line
The colorful paint scheme on the side of the ferry Princess Anastasia. The ship name seemed familiar and when we could see the side we realized it was the St. Peter Line ferry that runs to St. Petersburg from Stockholm, Helsinki and Tallin. We'll be taking this ship to visit St. Petersburg from Helsinki in a few week's time.
4/24/2019: Stairs to Water
Complex set of stairs leading down to the water from the houses above on the island of Ekno.
4/24/2019: Moja Sunset
Sunset from our anchorage at Moja. Sweden seems to have cornered the market on exceptional sunrises and sunsets.
4/25/2019: Steering Noise
One of the new autopilot pumps is quite loud. It sounds like it's pushing a bit more fluid over the bypass valve than either the old one it replaced or it redundant partner. We found that some insulation on the the center bleed pipe would quiet it greatly in the pilot house. The bleed pipe is actually not flowing any fluid in the normal case (it's only used to bleed the system), but the pipe seems to be setting up a harmonic vibration in tune with the vibration coming from the auto pilot steering pump bypass valve. We've tried to more rigidly mount the bleed pipe with additional mount points, but wrapping it in noise-deadening neoprene was more effective.
4/25/2019: Water Heater
Since we had the neoprene insulation out to quiet the steering pump, we replaced the worn insulation on the hot water pipes at the hot water heater.
4/25/2019: Smoke Alarm
We have smoke alarms in both staterooms, the pilot house, two in the engine room and two in the Laz. Steve D'Antonio also recommended installing one inside the electrical cabinet. This approach ensures very early warning on any electrical problems. Hopefully we'll catch any issues well before this by doing IR scans every 6 months but this is one more layer of protection against fire, one of the more serious things that can go wrong on a boat.
4/25/2019: Tender Tour
Bundled up for a tour of the Moja Bjorndalen nature reserve by tender. The temperature is getting a little warmer now—we don't need to wear hats. :)
4/25/2019: Sauna
Saunas are extremely popular in Sweden. We've seen many that follow this barrel design.
4/25/2019: Nesting Swan
Nesting swan in the Moja Bjorndalen nature reserve.
4/25/2019: Cinderella I
The ferry Cinderella I pulling away from the dock at Berg. The boat had arrived and departed within ten minutes and another ferry did the same soon after.
4/25/2019: Cannon
Cannon on a bluff above Borg.
4/25/2019: Birdhouses
Birdhouses mounted to the cliffs on Ostholmen. We wondered how they managed to install them.
4/25/2019: Royal Motorboat Club
One of the two Royal Motorboat Club ports (the other is in Stockholm). The club was founded in 1915 from the Royal Automobile Club and currently has 1950 members with 825 registered boats. None are here now, but we expect it will be packed in the summer.
4/25/2019: Marsh
Marshy shoreline along Hemo in the Moja Bjorndalen nature reserve
4/25/2019: Uprooted Trees
More uprooted trees, possibly from the same storm that caused the damage we saw in Sandhamn.
4/26/2019: Sunrise
Sunrise looking across the Palkob light, underway from Moja to Stora Nassa.
4/26/2019: Entry Channel
Approaching the narrow entry to the anchorage at Stora Nassa.
4/26/2019: Prop Damage
Our poor tender propeller has taken quite a beating in Sweden. We do have two spares, but here James is extending its life by straightening the bent blades with a wrench. We generally get 1-2 years from an outboard prop.
4/26/2019: Village
Most of the islands in Stora Nassa belong to a nature reserve. The main exception is a lovely village on the main island, Stora Bonden.
4/26/2019: Stora Bonden
The sweeping view east across the village to Stora Nassa nature reserve from the hill on Stora Bonden (click image for larger view).
4/26/2019: Tender
The Stora Nassa nature reserve includes about 400 islands and touring the narrow channels between them in the tender is great fun.
4/26/2019: Mastskaret
We landed the tender and climbed to the hill on Mastskaret for another fabulous view across Stora Nassa (click image for larger view).
4/26/2019: Stora Sprangskar
Looking northwest across the complex waterways in Stora Nassa from the island of Stora Sprangskar.
4/26/2019: Stora Nassa Anchorage
Our beautiful anchorage at Stora Nassa nature reserve.
4/27/2019: Sunrise
Another spectacular Swedish sunrise from the anchorage at Stora Nassa.
4/27/2019: Bow Watch
Jennifer watching for hazards from the bow as we exit the anchorage at Stora Nassa. We're leaving a different way from the route we entered and several charted hazards are nearby, so we're being extra careful.
4/27/2019: White Paint
It's common in Sweden to use white paint on a rock as a form of marker. These are visible from a long way off and are quite effective.
4/27/2019: Norrpada Entry
Tight channel coming into the anchorage at Norrpada.
4/27/2019: Norrpada Anchorage
Anchored off Storskar at Norrpada nature reserve. We took the tender out for quick ride when we arrived to take some pictures in the morning light.
4/27/2019: Spitfire Playing
For a 16-year-old, Spitfire still is remarkably playful. He was particularly full of energy this morning.
4/27/2019: Autopilot Dead Pan
Adjusting the dead pan on the primary autopilot. We strongly suspect that we have a rudder position sensor problem on autopilot #1. Here James is adjusting the dead pan to eliminate the pilot swinging the rudder back and forth. This is normally caused by setting the rudder dead pan too low, but the setting we're using has been fine for a year. It's highly likely we have a rudder position sensor problem that is leading to intermittent steering errors and insufficient rudder dead pan but, to be sure, we'll get the dead pan correct and see if the rudder position sensor errors persist.
4/27/2019: Steering Pump Temperature
When we had the pump problem a year ago the pump got sufficiently hot that it darkened the hydraulic steering fluid so we're putting temperature sensors on each Autopilot steering pump to detect these problems early. Amazingly, both the pump and steering system never stopped working even though the temperatures where high enough to darken the fluid. We changed the fluid and we will now have Maretron TMP100 sensors monitoring and alarming on excess temperature.
4/27/2019: Lunch
With the temperature at 52°F (11°C) it was warm enough to have lunch on deck.
4/27/2019: Storskar
After lunch we went out on a more extensive tender tour of the Norrpada nature reserve. We started with a climb up to the top of Storskar for an impressive view east across the archipelago (click image for a larger view). We've really enjoyed the Stockholm Archipelago, but particularly liked the wild and windswept outer island groups.
4/27/2019: Pelarorden
Storskar is owned by Pelarorden (the Pillar Order), a Swedish society founded in by drama actor Axel Hultman and a friend in 1892. According to its statutes, the society's purpose is to "spread friendship, companionship and understanding between the Swedish men, who plow the archipelago's waves, feel its waters and love its nature". The society meets on Storskar every three years and placed this wind vane here in 1926. The letters PO are just barely visible on the surface.
4/27/2019: Pelarorden Mark
The mark of the Pelarorden is prominent on Storskar. The mark is adapted from the symbol commonly used in the timber trade for tugs with a trailer longer than 200m to symbolize how the society helps its more than 200 members.
4/27/2019: Norrpada
Looking across our anchorage at Norrpada nature reserve from Storskar.
4/27/2019: Destruction
It looked like a tornado had swept through the island of Gummaskar, leaving a narrow path of destruction with the treetops all snapped off.
4/27/2019: Gummaskar
A cairn atop Gummaskar caught our eye, so we climbed up to the top for this view north.
4/27/2019: Silja Line
From the top of Gummaskar we could see a Silja Line ferry way in the distance, heading into Stockholm from Estonia.
4/27/2019: Askskaret
A substantial dock with cabins on the tiny island of Askskaret. It looks like a wonderful place to spend some lazy summer days.
4/27/2019: Sunset
Sunset from the anchorage at Norrpada, with the Pelarorden mark visible on the left.
4/28/2019: Anytec A27
The winds were blowing up to 30kts today, so we were surprised when an open boat entered the anchorage at Norrpada. The boat was a very capable-looking Anytec A27, so conditions would have to get pretty bad to cause it any trouble. But what was even more surprising was when we went outside to say hello, the skipper called out "Hello James!".
4/28/2019: Alongside
The skipper, Markus Rautio, was a blog reader who'd stopped by Norrpada on the off chance we were still there. We set out a few fenders and asked if he'd like to tie alongside and come aboard for a visit. That Anytec A27 is a really nice-looking boat.
4/28/2019: Markus Rautio
Markus Rautio had run from Helsinki to Aland the day before and was en route to Stockholm today. Over the past 10 years he's travelled 26,000 miles throughout the Baltic in Anytec boats, equivalent to around the world. We loved his Ursuit exposure suit. It provide flotation and hypothermia protection as do our Mustang 2175s, but seals like a drysuit and is much less bulky. We had a great time talking about boats and travels with Markus, who gave us lots of local knowledge on places to visit in Finland.
4/29/2019: Stockholm Traffic
As we travelled north from Norrpada to Arholma, on AIS we could see steady stream of ferries heading into Stockholm.
4/29/2019: New Temp Sensors
We have a lot of temperatures sensors on Dirona since a great many faults are signaled and sometimes even proceeded by temperature changes. But, even with all those, we just added two more. Last year we had an autopilot failure. What went wrong was the autopilot pump motor bearings failed. What happened is the system got very hot and we didn't notice. In fact, the automatic transmission fluid got sufficiently hot that it went from a nice bright red to a dirty brown. To ensure we see these faults much earlier in the future, we put a temperature sensor on each pump and set the alarm to 140F so we'll know about any even borderline problems before they develop into bigger issues.

What we found surprising is the system stabilizes at a fairly high 115F when used for a long period even in fairly cold weather. We wouldn't have expected the system to generate so much heat but we guess it makes sense given the big continuous-running pump that drives the system.

The two other issues that jump out when scanning the list of temps (click image for a larger view): 1) the house batteries are charging and, because of that, they are running 16F hotter than the start battery bank in the same cabinet, and 2) the humidity on the ER Intake is clearly incorrect. Humidity sensors are very sensitive and tend to have short lives. We mostly focus on temperatures so we don't worry much about the humidity sensors if they start reading incorrectly.
4/29/2019: Baltic Queen
The Tallink ferry Baltic Queen en route to Stockholm.
4/29/2019: Osterhamn
The view to the village of Osterhamn as we arrive at Arholma.
4/29/2019: Dishwasher Spring
We heard a tremendous cracking sound when we opened the dishwasher and found this piece on the floor. One of the two door springs had parted. Fortunately the door still opens and closes on just the one spring, so we'll just be careful with it until we can get a spare spring.
4/29/2019: Blog Readers
For the second time in two days we met Finnish blog readers at an anchorage, and we're not even in Finland yet. Ari and Minna, owners of Nordic Tug Asterix, were heading to the same park that we were in and stopped by to say hello.
4/29/2019: Alongside
We tossed out some fenders and invited Ari and Minna to tie Asterix alongside for a visit.
4/29/2019: Ari and Minna
Ari and Minna are just beginning a multi-year European cruise. We had a great time meeting them and they gave us some good advice on places to visit in the area.
4/29/2019: Asterix
On board Nordic Tug Asterix with Ari and Minna. It's been a while since we've been on a Nordic Tug. They're great coastal cruisers and it's easy to see why they're so popular in the Pacific Northwest. One of their many appealing aspects is a bright and open layout that makes the interior feel very spacious.
4/29/2019: Wood Buildings
Traditional wood buildings at the village of Osterhamn on Arholma.
4/29/2019: Fingerpost
Large parts of Arholma and the nearby islands are part of a nature reserve with trails throughout. We have many choices on direction to walk. We chose a loop that went roughly clockwise around the north half of the island.
4/29/2019: Sawmill
Working sawmill at the village of Osterhamn on Arholma.
4/29/2019: Arholma Kyrkan
Arholma's church was originally built in Stockholm as a mission and transported here in the 1920s.
4/29/2019: Kyrkan Interior
The bright interior of Arholma's church.
4/29/2019: Pilot Boat
From studying the Swedish interpretive sign, it appears this boat on display in a shed on Arholma was used on the island in the early 1900s to carry pilots back and forth from larger ships.
4/29/2019: Baken
Baken on Arholma was built in 1768 primarily as a fixed maritime mark, but also served as a pilot watch tower. In the early 19th-century, it was part of the optical telegraph station during the war with Russia. In the summer it is open as a museum.
4/29/2019: View from Baken
The sweeping view west from the base of Baken on Arholma (click image for a larger view).
4/29/2019: Stairs
Stairs on the pathway to the Norrabryggan ferry landing on Arholma.
4/29/2019: Norrabryggan Ferry
View to Norrabryggan where the ferries land on Arholma. We've seen photos showing three ferries in the area at once.
4/29/2019: Transportation
Near the ferry dock at Norrabryggan were rows of bicycles and ATWs. It appears that locals use them for island transport and leave them here when the take the ferry to the mainland.
4/29/2019: Storm Alfrida
Blog reader Torbjorn Curtsson told us the downed trees we've been seeing everywhere were a result of Storm Alfrida that hit northern Europe in early January of this year. The worse hit area was Aland, where winds reached a near hurricane force of 63 kts (32.5 m/s).
4/29/2019: Battery Arholma
At the north end of Arholma is a Cold War coastal battery built in 1968 to accommodate 110 men. The fort was decommissioned in 1990 and now is open to the public, where you can see guns, bunkers, radar and artillery-range finding equipment. In the height of the summer season, tours of the interior corridors are available.
4/29/2019: Camouflaged Artillery
Straight lines are obviously man-made from a long way away, so these large guns atop Battery Arholma are camouflaged with irregular round structures.
4/29/2019: Steel
The air vents above the battery were capped with solid steel lids nearly 6 inches thick.
4/29/2019: Turret Gun
Coastal batteries always have great ocean views. This 10.5 cm tornautomatpjas m/50 (105 mm automatic turret gun model 1950) on Arholma, designed for the Swedish Coastal Artillery, is the last remaining gun of that type.
4/29/2019: Artillery Range Finders
These artillery range finders essentially are periscopes from the bunker below.
4/29/2019: Tunnel
Looking out from a tunnel leading to one of the entrances to Battery Arholma.
4/29/2019: Picnic Table
Enjoying the view from a picnic table at the edge of Battery Arholma.
4/29/2019: Bunker
Jennifer peering out through one of the open shutters in a bunker at Battery Arholma.
4/29/2019: Arholma North
Tours of Battery Arholma are run by Arholma North, a rustic resort on the property of the old battery. We were impressed with the beautiful dock they were building, carefully shaped to the rock surface.
4/29/2019: Storage
Inside what might have been a munitions storage area at Battery Arholma. This is one of the unmaintained sections of the battery that are open but completely unlit, so its pitch black in here. Jennifer is using her cell phone as a flashlight.
4/29/2019: Fuel Tank
Arholma North uses this fuel tank from Battery Arholma as a climbing wall and zip-line launch.
4/29/2019: 5000 Liters
It's hard to believe that this huge 5,000L fuel tank is only 3/4 of what we carry on our small boat.
4/29/2019: Beach
Beautiful beach on the east shore of the island as we return south from Battery Arholma.
4/29/2019: Blocked
Felled trees, courtesy of Storm Alfrida, were everywhere as we returned to Dirona on a trail through the woods. Several times we had to climb around ones that blocked the trail entirely.
4/29/2019: Dusk
Calm scene at dusk from the anchorage at Arholma.