Across the Great Belt and eastwards

After a week of sailing south of Fyn, we had been hiding from the wind and rain in Svendborg for two days, and were ready to move on through the beautiful Svendborg Sound. While in Svendborg, we ran into Finn, the former owner of Chip-Chip, who asked if we had gotten around to using the wind vane yet. And no, we hadn’t. I guess we first needed to get used to the basics of the boat – but now Esben was inspired, and while I steered northwards between Fyn and Langeland, he messed about with the wind vane. He pretty quickly got the servo rudder in the water, got the vane somewhat adjusted and was ready to check if it worked. Which it did, no fuss at all, and honestly, it’s pretty awesome. Now I could read Harry Potter for Runa while Esben cooked.


No hands!

We continued across the Great Belt, where we were running with the wind in rather large waves. Again. It wasn’t great sailing, but we made it to the island of Agersø where we were small enough to squeeze in to one of the small berths right next to the play ground. In Agersø, the locals were busy preparing a local festival, so we bought burgers and fries from a stand by the playground, got some champagne from the boat and enjoyed the evening while the kids were playing.

After the first week of sailing we had figured out that the kids preferred to do a longer sail one day if it meant that we would stay ashore the next. So we stayed for an extra night in Agersø, just enjoying our time.

Chip-Chip came with a (actually two) optimus petrol stoves, which are known to be a bit difficult if you’re not used to them. So we had cooked we had cooked our meals on a small trangia so far. But now Esben got the optimus out and practiced turning the stove on. We had some high flames and a lot of petrol fumes in the cockpit, but in the end we could cook dinner on it. Downstairs. So that was a definite success. Though I must admit that I’m not a big fan of having to pump the pressure up before turning it on.

We had agreed with Esben’s brother Sune that we would meet him, his wife and son in the city of Vordingborg. So we were off the next day. We hoisted the spinnaker for the first time, sailed 8 knots with it, and then had to hurry to get it down because dark clouds were approaching. But it was great to try one more thing on board. The entrance to Vordingborg is rather shallow, even with our draught of only 1.5 meters – and when we went the wrong way around a buoy we touched the bottom briefly. In the harbour itself there was very little wiggle room combined with heavy winds and many boats. And in the end we found an improvised spot that ended up working fine. While Mattis and I went grocery shopping, Runa and Esben hoisted our pink pirate flag so Sune could find us. Our boat is not very big when 7 people are on board, but we had a lovely evening nevertheless, and learned that we need more cutlery so we can invite guests on board.


Fun with the spinnaker

In Vordingborg they have Denmarks castle centre, which we visited the next day. There, we could rent iPads with earphones for everybody, and then have an interactive walk on the site. We learned about former kings and invasions, and Mattis had the scare of his life when we entered the last standing tower of the castle (Gåsetårnet), where a film made it look like we were being bombarded and the tower was falling. We have since talked about scary towers a lot…

After a quick stop in Masnedø Marine Centre, where we got new and longer mooring lines, a rain jacket for me and various other things, we continued eastwards between Møn and Sjælland. It was beautiful sailing without many boats, probably because the wind was rather strong. But we did fine with just the jib, and soon we were out on the other side where we anchored east of Møn, hoping to sail towards Germany and Rügen the next day. And on the way to the Anchorage we again logged 8 knots!

The next day we discussed what we wanted to do for the rest of the holiday; the winds continued to be westerly and relatively strong, so we decided against Rügen, and instead sailed northwards. That would probably save us going too much against the wind later in the holiday when we had to go back to Årøsund. So after passing Stevns Klint, we arrived in Kastrup Marina in the afternoon. This was close to Sune’s home, and he brought us dinner and a visit from Esben’s dad.

Since we didn’t make it to Germany, we now wanted to visit Sweden so we had least had been in a different country. So we made our way to Helsingborg, where Esben and the kids had huge ice cream on the harbour. We lived in Sweden for three years, so it’s always lovely to be back. Ideally we would have liked to sail north to the Swedish archipelago, but we thought it would have been too long stretches of sailing for the kids, so instead we aimed for the island Anholt for our next leg.


Sailing south of Fyn

Because of my broken arm we have not sailed as much as we would have liked in the spring, but luckily, my doctors allowed me to go on a sailing holiday in July – as long as I would make sure not to use the arm too much. So we were off, on a three week sailing holiday in Chip-Chip.

We arrived in Årøsund on Saturday the 2nd of July with a list of things to do before leaving; most importantly, the new tap for drinking water needed to be installed, but we also wanted to get some extra anchor rope from my dad’s workshop and to install a new hose for draining the anchor locker. The old one had gone to pieces when I tried to push it aside…

In the end Esben installed the new tap while I picked up the anchor rope and our spinnaker. And we managed to have dinner with my grandmother and sister. The weather was rather gloomy and the kids stayed inside.

On Sunday afternoon the rain cleared, and we started towards the island of Lyø south of Funen with rather large waves and a lot of wind. It wasn’t the best start, Mattis went below to sleep, and Runa was miserable. We arrived in the almost empty harbour at Lyø in the late afternoon and everybody felt better after some dinner.


In the end, we had a beautiful evening in Lyø Harbour

The next morning we took a walk along the beach on Lyø and collected flowers to hang in the cabin.
The goal of the day was the small island of Drejø to the south-west from Lyø. It was lovely sailing between Drejø and Ærø, but as we approached Drejø we decided to continue a bit northwards to Skarø, where the harbour was a little more protected from the still fairly strong winds. At Skarø, we had a lovely evening with the kids playing at the playground.

On the way to Skarø, Runa is investigating the islands

The weather forecast predicted strong winds and rain for the next couple of days, so we took the short trip to Svendborg to be a bit protected from the weather. Svendborg is beautifully located on the south of Fyn, and though we were a bit worried about the new “Terror protection” under the bridge the sail went smoothly and we were soon moored in our new spot.
In Svendborg we visited the Danish Yachting museum, which the kids loved because of the boat shaped trolley, while I loved seeing the little 18-foot cruiser which the Danish sailor Sven Billesbølle used for one of his circumnavigations (And in German).

A small boat next to another small boat

And just like that, our first week of sailing holiday was over – luckily we still had two weeks to go.

The trip can be seen on the map below.

A workshop in Potsdam; the Lena Delta

Currently, my work focusses on the Arctic Ocean – that is, the whole Arctic Ocean, a fairly large area. I don’t really focus on the many rivers that supply fresh water to the Arctic Ocean. But in connection with a permafrost conference in Potsdam, a friend and colleague of mine, Vera, arranged a workshop focussing on the Lena River, Lena Delta and Laptev Sea. I thought it would be interesting to join.

In case people are not really familiar with the Lena River or the Laptev Sea, I have embedded a map below.

The Lena River is located in a permafrost region, where the ground is frozen year round. It is the largest of the rivers supplying water to the Arctic Ocean. As the planet is warming, the question is how this area will change, if the water discharge will increase and how the substances it brings with it will affect the Arctic Ocean.

Up until recently, the Russian shelves have been dominated by ice, but in recent years, the ice is breaking up earlier and is formed again later in the season. This means that light can penetrate into the water, which probably mean that more biological production can take place.

But this region is so remote that only a few Russian research vessels visit, and therefore not much is known about the “old normal” or how this is changing. And it is in regions like this that our models can be used to gain more knowledge about what might happen as the ice becomes more scarce.


The view from my hotel window towards the Telegraphenberg where AWI has offices in Potsdam.