Wednesday, 21 July 2010


Two days ago, I rose late from a good night's sleep. The weather had cooled off the day before for the first time after a long lasting heat wave and this did me a lot of good during the night. The morning was clear and agreeable and I munshed my breakfast on the balcony. As I was sipping my coffee, I could not help noticing that a long string of boats was huffing and puffing seawards. So I rushed to get my camera to document this nice event for your benefit. 

The boats trafficking below my windows usually come in batches like this. Just 500 meters to the left of my apartment, Lake Mälar (Mälaren) empties itself into the Baltic. At this precise spot there is a pound lock located under the three Skanstull bridges, which opens only once an hour or so, forcing the boats into an orderly queue when sailing towards the sea. One has to admire these hardy sailors who have to spend many hours of drudging through the inner archipelago of Stockholm before seeing, at long last, some open bays and beautiful skerries further out in the Baltic. But this does not detain robust Swedes who entertain a life long love affair with the sea and spend their free time, either, on a boat among the skerries or, more sedately, in a summer house out there somewhere.


Hans Christian Cars said...

Dear Emil,
Congratulations to a new blog-idea. The way your inventive brain is working is simply mind-blogling.
The love for the sea can find many expressions. In a month and a half we shall be cruising the Croatian coast and in the meantime I hope we shall find renewed opportunities to admire the seaview from our cottage.
Hans Christian

Håkan Ander said...

Gratulerar till utsikten och tack för fina bilder. De väcker minnen från den tid då jag sJälv hade båt i Mälaren och sommarstuga i skärgården. Vi tar fortfarande alltid semester i skärgården, men numera utan båt.

Med hälsning


Ludwig Ems said...

Hallo Emil,
Danke für den neuen Blog und die Sammlung der Fotos aus Deinem Balkon-Blickwinkel.

Liebe Grüße aus Fürstenfeld, Ludwig

Harry Pottol said...

Dear Emil
My childhood was in Berkeley, but I do not share "Die ewige Sehnsucht nach dem Meer." The Bay made the climate cool, and I am now quite satisfied in the slightly warmer climate of the South Bay. The Bay is also an obstacle to access to San Francisco, but perhaps that is what the fogbound people want.

The U S Army transported me out of the Golden Gate in a troop ship, and I immediately got seasick and spent three days in bed. If you are wondering, my destination was Korea.

The term "pound lock" was new to me, at least the "pound" part. Locks in waterways have been a familiar concept since I first heard of the Panama Canal. I first saw one in 1999 in a canal in England, and saw two boats pass through it. The next year, I passed through one whilst travelling on a ferry from Seville to the ocean. Wondering about the Swedish small boats running in pulses, I first guessed that the lock could run on a schedule. I also wondered about land transportation to water below the lock. Google Satellite showed that many Swedes in Saltsjöbaden have the same idea. I also saw adjoining the Saltsjöbaden yacht harbor what I have often seen: a hundred boats on the shore. When I have seen them up close, I have gotten the impression that many owners hope to some day to have the boats back in the sea, but that probably will not happen.

Further on, in Björkvick, the land travel must be too much, as the harbor contains about half a dozen boats.

This is already too much, so I will stop, for now.

Emil Ems said...

Dear Harry,
I am delighted to note that you got an interest in our boating routines. It is true that many people here prefer to have their boat docked further out to sea, and Saltsjöbaden is a good place for this, since there is a commuter train going there from the city. Also, having boats stored on shore during wintertime is the rule here, with the harbors freezing over for several months.The Swedes usually put their boat on shore in October, cover it up and let it rest until spring, when they carry out the necessary maintenance of engines and body prior to putting the boat back into sea around May. You must have seen a satellite picture taken during that period.

Harry Pottol said...

Dear Emil,
The satellite pictures show green on the Saltsjöbaden golf course and trees in full foliage. In the channel, boats are towing wakes. Google probably avoids showing winter pictures. What can you see after a heavy snow? I doubt if you can find the shore line. But I have seen Google show features two years after they are gone.

Do you not use Google? I go to, select Maps, and type in something like Saltsjöbaden, Nacka, Sverige. Then I can chose between satellite pictures and maps. No, I do not have "ö" on my keyboard, I did a copy and paste.

Emil Ems said...

Dear Harry,
I have never used Google Satellite before, since, here in Sweden, we have to download it as a separate application. I have downloaded it now and have looked at Saltsjöbaden. I have to agree with you that you were looking at a Summer view and that there are boats on land. This surprised me, since the Swedes are really eager to go out to sea as soon as Midsummer has arrived. I talked to a friend of mine yesterday who is knowledgable about the boat scene in Stockholm and he told me that on a sunny weekend in July, there are about half a million boats out there in the Stockholm Archipelago.

For a view of one of the larger Stockholm Marinas, you may wish to look up "Djurgården, Stockholm" on Google Satellite. This is kind of a peninsula within the Stockholm boundary. Towards the East of Djurgården, you can see a canal. If you follow that canal until it goes into the sea, you will than perceive, just north of the canal, this large marina. There are very few boats to see on the docks or on land, since most of them are out there among the skerries.

Last week, I took the ferry out to the center of boating in the outer Archipelago, to visit a friend who has a summer house near Sandhamn on the island of Sandö. The sea was full with boats, leaving hardly space for our ferry to speed through it all. About halfway out we met an enormous private motor yacht which, according to the crew, belonged to the Russian billionaire Abramov, who was apparently "slumming" between our skerries, tired of the ruckus in London, where he usually resides, cheering up his football club called Chelsea. If you would like to take a look at Sandhamn, just enter "Sandhamn, Värmdö" in Google Satellite. It is great fun sailing out there, since there are many skerries without vegetation, just blank red granite and, if you so prefer, you can reach open sea in no time.