Location: Vastervik

Today we found ourselves in Vstervik, a beautiful little coastal town south of Stockholm. Neither Captain John nor myself have ever been here, so we were able to experience this cool little place right along with our shipmates! After overwhelming the Vstervik dockmaster Phillip yesterday with the size of our mighty vessel, we woke up to the usual curious passersby admiring Andromeda and wondering what she is doing here in Vstervik. It is sort of like living in a fishbowl whenever we are docked.

After a delicious breakfast cooked by our desert rose Seor Tiago, we made our way up the hill to the Vstervik County Museum, where we could view the first exhibit on the ongoing excavation of the Warship Mars. It was definitely exciting to see the exhibit after visiting the project on location and meeting all of the key players just a few days ago. The work they are doing out there is truly cutting edge and amazing!

After stocking up on souvenirs at the museum store, it was time for some physical activity! We have been on the boat for a few days straight, and everyone was feeling a little cooped up. Have no fear! I told them, we shall explore the waters of Vstervik by kayak! I located a kayak tour and rental business, and off we went! We arrived at a beautiful protected bay where we met Karen of Nordic Outdoor Guiding. She fitted us with life-jackets, paddles, kayak, and splash guards, provided me with a waterproof map and some directions, and helped us launch our boats. We ventured out onto the water, slow and wobbly at first, except for our “Canadian Tulip” Wilks, an avid, experienced kayaker. She gave us pointers and paddled circles around us while we got a feel for it. Pretty soon, we were ready to go!

We paddled hard to reach the opening of the bay. We had rented the kayaks for two hours, and our goal was to paddle out into the archipelago, around a nearby island, and back again. It was tough! We paddled hard, and a few of the flowers nearly gave up. Once we reached the island, no one wanted to go any further. I convinced them to paddle just a little more and push through the arm and shoulder aches! I’m so glad we did. We found a beautiful little inlet surrounded by tiny islands where the water was calm and so clear that we could see the bottom. Tons of baby fish were swimming through the underwater plants, and each of us was amazed by how beautiful it was. As if that wasn’t enough, along came a swan family swimming gracefully by. It was a truly special experience.

After kayaking, we headed back to the boat for a delicious dinner and some quality evening conversation. As Travis and John started readying the boat for our deepwater exploration, the rest of us walked to the edge of the water, relaxed, and enjoyed another beautiful Baltic sunset. Each sunset here has been unique and has really become a highlight to each and every day!