A vexing trip to Visby

Byxelkrok is the best jumping off point for Visby – a total trip of around 45 miles. We decided to get on and go and left Byxelkrok at 0520 and all started promisingly with the wind building nicely to a sailing breeze. As we passed Norra Udde lighthouse on the northern tip of Öland it gradually vanished. This is something you expect to happen as you sail away from something, but where the process should have taken several hours, it happened in just a few minutes ….. Fog ….. The visibility closed in and in and in until we found ourselves in a complete bank of fog. Fog is surprisingly disorientating. With no reference points, you can’t tell which direction you are going in (though luckily the autohelm knew!) and sound seems to reverberate around, so even if you hear a ship, you can’t put a precise direction on it. In these circumstances the AIS on the chartplotter was a boon. Twice we altered course for ships which were coming within a quarter of a mile of us and though we heard them, we didn’t see any of them. The fog was slow to clear and it took around two and a half hours for us to have decent visibility again. But, it was just playing with us and an hour later it all closed in again for another hour. Finally though it all cleared and we spotted Gotland. In fact we almost heard it first with the booming sound of drum and bass carrying over the water from about five miles out. It turned out that it was high school graduation day, so there was some sort of procession with very loud music and then people driving slowly around in cars all day with loud music booming from the cars.

We finally moored up shortly after 2pm – a total trip of 46.7 miles in exactly 9 hours.