105 Rocks – Björkö – natural harbour

Björkö

There’s a well marked, pleasant and easy walking track around the island

There’s a well marked, pleasant and easy walking track around the island

12 hours later this idyllic spot became a serious lee shore

12 hours later this idyllic spot became a serious lee shore

Do the stones mark the site of ancient pagan rituals, or some drunken idiot’s daft idea last week?

Do the stones mark the site of ancient pagan rituals, or some drunken idiot’s daft idea last week? **

A Poopump station for emptying the holding tank. A common summer sight in Finnish lochs.

A Poopump station for emptying the holding tank. A common summer sight in Finnish lochs.

This was an early introduction for me to tying up to Finnish rocks and, despite the apparently idyllic setting, it was a salutary lesson in the limitations of such moorings. Various sources mention this loch as a fabulously sheltered harbour with rocks to tie to all round and a flat bottom at 5 or 6 metres, making it suitable for all wind directions. When we arrived an easterly force 7 was forecast for the next morning. I explored all round the bay, but the only decent, approachable rocks were in the north west corner. In the middle the bottom was 13m deep, making it difficult to anchor in the restricted space. None of the ‘various sources’ are anywhere near up to the standard of the Swedish bibles.

We tied to a rock with our stern anchor out and literally 1ft from a lee shore. There was a German yacht and one Finn. I asked the German bloke why it was so empty, having heard that it got very busy. He told me that it would be busy ‘in the summer’. It was June 24th. Summer was not yet deemed to have started. Later 3 or 4 more yachts turned up. I asked all their skippers about the holding in the impending near gale from the east. They confidently told me that there would be no problem tied to this rock.

We were woken at 7am the next morning by the sound of every other bugger hauling up their anchor and deserting the theoretically ideal anchorage for pastures new and unspecified. We ended up riding out the near gale anchored in 13m in the middle of the narrow bay. At the height of he squalls a Bavaria came into the bay and tried several times to anchor. I’d seen it the evening before casually tied side-on to a rock outside the bay, in the open, with a fetch to the east of about 4 miles. Evidently this position had become untenable. That day I learned that all this casually tying to apparently sheltered rocks can go tits-up and that the locals, whilst giving the impression of expertise and self-confidence, often haven’t got a bloody clue what they’re doing.

Locate Björkö on the map and find more adjacent harbours and marinas here.


** (ed. note) The rockformation is called a “jungfrudans” (roughly “a maiden’s dance“, officially called Troy Towns in English) and is a rather common sight in the archipelago. Most of the “maiden’s dances” are very old. For more information check this article on Wikipedia.

Featured imge CC licence by Jukka/Flicker

More information on Björkö can be found from: www.luonnonsatamat.fi

Disclaimer. While Martin Edge and Sail in Finland have taken every precaution to ensure that the information in this post is correct, it is not a replacement for proper charts. Safe navigation is the responsibility of the skipper and Sail in Finland assumes no responsibility for accidents occurring while entering or leaving the harbour.