14:12 on Sunday afternoon. If I was stateside, I might be enjoying a lazy day on the couch. Pro football and the Ryder Cup would be quietly playing in the background, the kids quietly building fortresses in Minecraft, and Tara assembling a grocery order for the busy week ahead.
The Sunday afternoon ocean-going equivalent is happening now. We are on a broad reach, wind 30 degrees off our stern at a gentle 15 knots, slowly pushing us through calm waters, south of Sweden. We’re meandering along at 6-8 knots in no particular hurry, though making good time toward our next landfall, as grey skies blanket the sun overhead. It’s a quiet afternoon on the Baltic. Oh, what a difference a couple days makes.
Since last writing, we spent a much-needed day of respite on shore in Kalmar, Sweden. I hope the videos and pictures told the story of a quaint little seaside town in Southern Sweden, complete with castle, local brewery, cobblestoned streets, and all the charm you would expect from the pleasant Scandinavians. I’m not sure it’s yet been discussed, but I am extremely impressed and appreciative of the overall cleanliness everywhere. From the public toilets to the immaculate streets, one would have to go to great lengths to discover a candy wrapper, cigarette but, or piece of lint anywhere. There must be a national cleanliness pride, or type B defiance, that keeps this place in tip top shape at all times. Sorry for the aside - it needed to be acknowledged.
I’m now down below, having concluded another watch, listening to John Coltrane in my headphones, laying down in my cozy sweats on top of my down sleeping bag, as the boat rocks gently. The sun has found it’s way through the day’s gray sky, and is casting a warm glow into the cabin below. I noticed ground beef thawing in the sink, and am anticipating another delicious meal aboard.
The serenity of sailing is the reward for choosing this adventure. The only noise intermittently heard over Coltrane’s meandering on the trumpet are the voices of the new watch crew drifting down through the hatchway. The symphony of sounds, motion, warmth and smells creates a peaceful haze that eases what little stress could possible exist out here. My crew mate, Jackson, commented earlier how difficult it has been to make headway on either of the two books he anticipated finishing aboard - “I start to read down in my bunk, and can’t help but fall asleep for an afternoon nap, even after a full 8 hours of sleep”. Of course he shares all of this with a smile. Nobody is complaining about the irresistible relaxation of offshore sailing.
The lack of excitement today has been the excitement. Everyone needs a break, and the placidity of the day was welcomed by all. We have entered the busiest shipping channels in the Baltic, where a Northern Europe bottleneck exists outside of Copenhagen. We barely flinch as massive cargo ships approach us astern for hours before making their way quietly ahead to some foreign destination, loaded with whatever Amazon items, autos, or oil was requested on a distant shore. We passed an offshore wind farm where dozens of 10-story tall windmills took in the breeze off the water and sent its power up to Sweden. All reminders that the world is still spinning out there, despite our absolute respite from it.
We are about 12 hours away from the entrance to the Kiel canal, in Northern Germany. We anticipate spending all of Monday making our way through the canal, reaching the North Sea on the other side by nightfall. At that point, we will be offshore again until making landfall 700 miles later in Portsmouth, UK. The decision was made in Kalmar that our debarkation will take place there, instead of Falmouth, UK, a hundred or so miles further. The culprit for our expedited exit is a faulty head. We now have one working toilet, and Andy wants to haul the boat out of the water after we leave to fix the problem, which can only be done in Portsmouth. For anyone who has owned a boat with an en-suite head, present company included, there is no job more foul and unforgettable then unclogging a stopped-up through hull from fecal matter. I still have nightmares of unclogging mine years ago - an odor I can never un-smell.
So, before I can’t help but drift off to a dreaming state, mid-afternoon, I’m going to make another go at my 1,100 page novel. At page 66, I should be stressing more about the work ahead, but I just can’t. The gentle swaying is just too powerful a sedative to get worked up about anything.
I hope your start to the week is as peaceful as the end of mine.
We're the Zimmerman Family!
Home Base | Denver, CO
A family of six that
LOVES to sail !
Follow our crew (Royce, Tara, Avery, Charley, Nora & Ruby)
as we blog our sailing adventures
Set Sail 4.22.23 | Las Palmas - Across the Atlantic - Island of Antigua
Set Sail 9.22.21 | Sweden - Germany -
Set Sail 7.18.19 | Newport, RI -
Martha's Vineyard, MA -
Nantucket, MA -
Thanks for reading !
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