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Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Fabulous Finnmaster

One of the perks of living in Stockholm is water. Stockholm itself is made of up 14 different islands. Boating is quite the popular hobby here and is surprisingly affordable. Wanting to "test the boating waters" ourselves, 3 years ago we bought an old motor boat from a young guy anxious to get out of boating. Since he was not purchasing a new boat, we also lucked out and obtained his spot at the marina. Unheard of in Sweden so we fell upon a lucky star there. The marina is a perfect location for us, about a 20 minutes drive from our apartment and is located on the Baltic sea. But after a couple of summers of literally needing to nurse this boat through the season and suffering a terminal breakdown at the end of the summer last year, we decided to try and unload the boat for cheap and purchase a new and improved vessel that we felt would suit our boating habits in a much safer and fun manner. We listed our old boat on which is like a Swedish Craig's List and lo and behold, we got rid of it! A retired mechanic thought it looked like an interesting challenge and we came to an agreement. Then the quest for the new one began. In February, Doug located what seemed to be the perfect buy, again on Blocket. We had missed a couple of good opportunities because we moved too slowly so in this case we jumped on it. We called within 20 minutes of the boat being posted on-line and asked to be first to consider it. Within 12 minutes of seeing that boat we knew this was an amazing deal and we jumped on it. Doug labored long and hard with a good friend to get it moved and into the water. When we purchased the boat, the waterway in our harbor was still frozen and there was still snow on the ground. But alas, they finally got it in place and we've been out on it twice already. We were finally able to move it into our harbor last Monday and it feels great to have the fabulous Finnmaster sitting in our boat spot.
Seeing Stockholm from the water is really quite a treat. From our marina, we head out throught a narrow passage that leads us to the open water. From there, it's about a 20 minute ride across the open sea until we see Fjäderholmen, a cute little island that gets lots of visitors in the summer months. From there, it's a quick jaunt to the Djurgården canal which takes you right into the center of Stockholm! The architecture is stunning, the big boats that ferry people out to archipelago dominate the harbor and all in all, it's quite exciting to sit in the middle of a city, in a boat!
We took our first sojourn into the city on Friday night. It's still a bit chilly, but the evening sun gives off some warmth so along with the wonderful wind blocks that this boat has, and layers of clothing, we really enjoyed our evening cruise. Tanner loves to be on the boat but he also loves to be in the water so it's quite a chore keeping him in the boat when he's anxious to jump ship. He has to wear a life jacket and this year he needed a new one. He had outgrown the one from a year ago even though we've said for a long time that we think he's full grown. Now, we have no idea what that actually means! This is his 3rd life jacket. His puppy one is silly small. That first summer, we just handled him like a little handbag, picking him up by the handle of the life jacket and carrying him onto the boat! Now, he has to wear the second largest doggy life jacket available so hopefully he'll be able to keep this one for a bit. (Forever?)
Having a boat is definitely a luxury that we feel privileged to enjoy at this juncture in our life. It is the only vehicle we own and we did fall into a great deal. It's amazing how refreshed I feel when we've been out on the water. Soon, we will have no cover of darkness and we'll be able to linger on the water until 10.30, 11.00 p.m. It is very special to be out and about amidst the Stockholm archipelago, watching the light dazzle with its myriad shades and shadows. It's thrilling to experience such beauty and peace, knowing that the city lurks just around the next bend.