Leaving Poland we had a blitz sail to Sassnitz, a German half way house en route to Bornholm, the wind was perfect for low flying on an absolutely flat Baltic sea and the sky hazy blue on the horizon graduating to deep ink blue overhead, you wish the boat could always go this fast so easily. It had been Whit Monday in Sassnitz - a big thing in Germany - charter yachts were everywhere and wonder or wonders, even the Fischbroetchen stalls were Geschlossen. How could they survive a whole day without a dead fish in a bun?
Now to Bornholm, a long trip for us and too long for Jane - she said - at half way. Another blasting sail - how kind the wind angles have been, that is until after five hours it died intermittently and motor had to help keep up speed. The island is one of Denmark's jewels being far from the homeland, at the bottom of Sweden, and one and a half times the size of the Isle of Wight if that means anything - or 1/34th part of Wales, or..............
It is so hot and windless we have both withdrawn into our shells, Jane is reading in the shade of the canopy - just been disturbed by a sparrow who flew in looking for a good place to hide, and I am driven to writing in the middle of the afternoon waiting for the evening to cool and light the barbecue - that could be a long time yet. A gurgling exhaust from a newly arrived yacht, the sound of gulls and feint squeals of children from the nearby beach, impervious to the sun or the sea. This morning a crocodile crèche of 3 year olds marched up and down the pontoons looking so cute, blonde little matched couples holding hands striding along with two carers. The Danes are famous for that and they have got it right - no warning signs needed that the sea is deep or railings to stop them falling in.
On this remote unspoilt island we met old Danish friends from my working life who started to take us on a tour in their car but by the time we reached a featured stone age settlement perched on top of a hill the wind and rain drove us back to their Summer House in the woods - the dog was delighted and we talked about old times until late.
By morning the wind had increased, driving the rain away, leaving flying clouds with sunlight in between. Erik and Kirsten arrived once more for coffee and Danish. By car, you get a good idea of how carefully farmed the island is without impacting the natural beauty. Large fields of very tidy cereal and animal fodder ripple in the breeze and thatched farmsteads hide in tree thickets concealing modernity beneath the tradition. We stopped at several small fishing harbours now welcoming yachts wherever there was depth enough but never changing their attractive character and took lunch of smoked herring by a harbour-side village overlooking a gang of eider duck paddling in the porth. Towards the North East the land rises to rocky cliffs about 90 mtrs of so with spectacular views down to gulls circling rocky shallows and 15 miles way out to sea to Christiansø a tiny harbour slot wedged between two rocky outcrops - the place to go in good weather.
We found a couple of nice galleries with interesting work - ceramics and mostly oozing the magic design element Denmark is well known for - not so easy for us to take home though.
Very high winds for two days had kept us in Ronne and the blackest of black thunder storms went though this afternoon - you could see it coming, one half the sky wild and other the colour of dark slate. When it came, the gale hit within sixty seconds accompanied by lightning and torrential rain - very salutary for sailors but glad to be safely tied up in port. - We had our Dutch neighbours on board for tea at the time, they were amused when I packed my laptop and chart-plotter into the oven for protection against lightning damage. At lunchtime the following day it was quiet enough to move on to Nexø on the East coast although we met a 1.5Mtr swell thrown up by the North wind which bounced us around a little once the sails were dropped to motor into the harbour. Lots of room in Nexø's large old fishing harbour and plenty of colour from a motley collection of big old Polish boats all in need of a lick of paint but held together with character and rust and at dusk their crews still optimistically fishing with rods from the stone jetty . A group of eider duck with one mister bobbed in the last sunlight and a merganser just knew he was as splendid as a swan which he trailed respectfully - a wonderful end to the day.