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Monday, July 18, 2011

Refreshment

So the weather forecast was not fabulous, but I guess after living here for 13 years, we've realized that if you wait for the weather to be just right in Sweden, you could wait for a long time to do anything.  It's been a demanding time since Doug returned from the US.  A wedding, an all night guard night at the marina, the launch of our summer program, other headaches at work, and the ongoing health concerns in Doug's family have kept us at a busy clip without much down time.  Getting out on the water and being able to get away from the city via the Stockholm waterways and the trusty Finnmaster is the best remedy for stress for us.  So we planned to have a new adventure today, finding our way to Ekskär, an island in the archipelago that our boat club owns!
This little vessel has provided us with more joy than we could ever have thought.
We arrived at the marina to grayish skies and a few droplets of rain.  But we know that the weather in the archipelago is often much better than in town so we decided to give it a go.
He's like his mama, loves the comfy spot in the sun!
We have good rain gear and good protection against rain in the boat, we had packed loads of food so we figured, why not have an adventure!
Am I ever glad we did!  Although the ride was a bit choppy, when we passed Vaxholm and headed into the northern archipelago, I remembered how much I loved this area! We haven't been out this far yet this season and something just happens in my spirit when I get out in the wildness of the archipelago.  All of the sudden this beautiful place that is totally untethered to urban needs unfolds before you in wild and wonderful beauty. 
Tanner is a great scout!
Islands, rocks, trees, cottages, and sea sprawling before you. And you can pretty much tie up anywhere you like as long as you don't disturb the locals.  The weather was better than expected.  A bit windy, but not too chilly.  The sun broke through now and again.  After about 1.5 hours, Ekskär came into view.  We docked with great ease I might add! 
The symbol of our boat club
Tanner was a happy camper.  He was quick in the water but we soon followed!  It was actually warm and we were hot so we jumped into the chilly waters of the archipelago.  What a refreshing treat.  We explored the island, discovering the little community cabin that any and all can use.  Grills abound and there are places for tent camping.  Outhouses were plentiful and amazingly clean.  We might try to come back for an overnight sometime.  We ventured back to the dock, swam, and then enjoyed the warm sunshine that the afternoon gave us. 
I L-O-V-E this dog!
We ate our picnic, slept a bit, relaxed and took in the quiet beauty.  We felt our insides relax and our spirits lift.  Soon it was time to head back to Stockholm.  Gray clouds were threatening and the ride in was about 2 hours.  Some of the properties that line the archipelago are so spectacular.  I can fully understand why those who own these places do not work at all in the summer.  What a way to spend July. 
As we were pulling into the marina, a light rain began to fall.  Before too long it was coming down pretty hard.  I didn't care.  We had enjoyed one of the most refreshing, beautiful days of summer.  It's been a long time since the three of us had a chance to just take in the raw beauty of Stockholm's island world.  I feel like a different person tonight.  Nothing has changed.  Life still has stress and many questions loom.  But what a treat to get out and about and enjoy God's amazing and creative creation...the Stockholm archipelago is such a gift and I am thankful every day that I get to take it in.