Sailing Among Rocky Shores

It must be in the genes, or at least that is my excuse! For appointments, I will arrive early and not just by a few minutes. Twenty minutes ahead of time is standard for me, leaving me kicking my heels, scanning signposts, flicking through tattered waiting room magazines. It’s a trait that frustrates my son, yet one that I’ve instilled in him with perfection! When my mother is with us, the early arrival time exponentially increases! This was just the case one summer morning when we turned up nearly an hour before the trip departure.

This time the waiting was heavenly; standing on the quay, watching the fishing boats return with their catch, the sun wrapping its warmth gently around us, heralding another blistering day ahead! An idyllic morning in Grebbestad on the West Coast of Sweden.

Our ride for the day was already in, its wooden deck beckoning us aboard. M/S Donalda was a large fishing boat from 1926 and later converted to a charter boat traversing the beautiful archipelago. We scanned the seats of the boat, wondering which was the most comfortable, which would give us the best view. We need not have worried!

Our ride for the day – M/S Donalda

The sights were pure magic as we slowly eased out of the harbour and along the coastline. Early bathers were on the rocks, a few sleepy strollers ambled on the walkways. The sea was a milk pond of glittering crystals; painful to stare at yet my eyes were drawn to the sparkles of life.

One of the many sailing boats along the coastline

Our destination was Väderöarna – the Weather Islands! These consist of a few hundred islands and rocky islets in the Skagerrak and are located less than an hours sailing from the mainland. Interestingly it has one of the warmest and windiest climates in Sweden and was inhabited from 1700 until the 1960s by coast pilots and their families.

My eyes continuously studied the sea and islands. Camouflaged on the grey/pink rocks we spotted seals languidly sunbathing, at one with the solid foundation beneath them. A gentle joyful ‘aww’ rippled along the boat.

View from the Weather Islands – Väderöarna

Next to me, a couple seemed more equipped for a spy operation than a summer outing, wrestling with ease their giant binoculars and camera. My initial scepticism of their kit turned to slight envy as they viewed the birdlife flittering around us. Seagulls of course, yet so much more. Terns graced us with their presence and we watched in awe.

Looking out to sea from the Weather Islands – Väderöarna

I drifted in and out of the informative commentary; at one with my thoughts as the past merged with the present to a new harmony within me. The sense of freedom was indescribable.

The journey continued with just the odd swell. I was thankful not to experience the terrifying winter storms that face the fishermen when waves can reach heights over ten metres. On stormy nights, I often think of my family members who are out at sea.

Danholmen – Ingrid Bergman’s summer retreat

Yet, at the name, Ingrid Bergman, I tuned in once more. Famous years before my birth, her films featured regularly at home and I grew to appreciate her warmth, flair and skill. Yet far from the world of fiction she sought sanctuary on a deserted island called Danholmen. Incredible to believe that this Hollywood star’s summer retreat was visible from the boat. It was easy to see the attraction of what she described as: “So lonely. Huge skies, immense seas. An island full of enormous rounded boulders and little coves – the sea everywhere. In the summer, everything so bright and shining – sea and rocks and sky. And such a feeling of isolation.”

The habour of the main island of the Weather Islands and its restaurant/hotel

The Weather Islands greeted us with peaceful ambience, its stillness contagious. We all disembarked with quiet reverence on the main island of Storö (Big Island). A day of exploration awaited us but first refreshments beckoned at the one and only restaurant/hotel.

View of the harbour of Storö – the main island of The Weather Islands

Hours later my soul was satiated with the beauty of these wonderful islands; my eyes were like windmills, moving back and forth to absorb the breathtaking views around me, promising to never forget, to let the profound tranquillity remain within me. I will return!

Cairn marker – these are found all over Sweden

129 thoughts on “Sailing Among Rocky Shores

  1. Beautiful pictures, Annika! Thank you so much for taking us along on your trip. What a wonderful experience. There is something about the sea that inspires and awes. Some day I hope to have an opportunity to visit Scandinavia (one or all of the countries 😀 )

    1. Julie, well, not being biases in the least (😀😀) you’d have to start with a visit to Sweden! Being on the ocean is wonderfully liberating and all of a sudden one’s soul is at utter peace! Yes, it’s also so inspiring, I wanted to find a little corner amongst the rocks and write down my thoughts, then wander away aimlessly. How little in life is aimless, so it is quite a luxury! Happy Travels, my friend! 😀

    1. David, the calm sea helped ensure a happy crossing for everyone! 😀 Being on the sea feels like floating on infinity, such absolute joy with all the cares of the world left on shore! Many thanks for reading and your lovely comment.

    1. Haha! 😀 Glad you feel tempted to visit, Thom! 😀 The islands are so enticing and calling out to be explored! There was a lovely mix of nationalities on board so the message has obviously got out! Many thanks for your great comment!

    1. Ahh… warmest thanks for your lovely comment, Kamal! 😀😀 As always, it’s a matter of choosing which photos to post – and which ones to leave out! So happy you enjoyed seeing a bit of the Swedish coastline.

    1. Jennifer, thank you so much! 😀 Your posts of your stunning landscape is often spookily familiar and you are right how similar some of the geography is between Scandinavia and Canada. Last night we watched ‘Maudie’ on Netflix, based in Nova Scotia. Wow! Beautiful scenery, and the red fishermen huts could have been from the islands in Sweden. (A wonderful tender film as well!)

    1. Yeah! 😀 Lovely to have you visiting, Jo! It is a stunning coastline and so soothing – I’d make a terrible ‘tour guide’ as I find myself drifting in and out of thoughts as we sailed along! Memories merging with the present … much for the soul to process. Have a wonderful week, my friend! Xx

    1. Andrea, it was indeed heavenly … one of those perfect days on all levels that fills the soul with utter and overwhelming joy … precious times! Where is your favourite place to go on boat trips, Andrea? I’m smitten by the bug now and would like to head out for more! 😀 Yeah, another early arriver- it’s impossible change and I wouldn’t want to!

      1. We have a port just down the road and we used to love going on the ferry to Norway, but unfortunately they don’t do that anymore! One of our best boat trips was a gulet cruise of Turkey – a traditional wooden boat and a leisurely trip around hidden coves on the Turkish coast. Madeira is also wonderful – lots of whales and dolphins!

        1. Andrea, they used to have the Harwich to Gothenburg ferry which was ideal for us but yes, stopped that as well! It sailed straight past my grandparents island which was fun to spot from deck! Madeira sounds heavenly and I’m adding this on my places to visit and sail!

  2. What an absolutely beautiful boat trip Annika. Yes, I think that arriving early was a wonderful starting point to leisurely take in all of the beauty. Days like these out on the sea and exploring islands are to be treasured. It’s food for the soul! xx

    1. Miriam, I’m glad you liked the starting angle to the post … I wasn’t sure if it became too long-winded or obtuse but made me smile and happily everyone else here! 😀 Oh, how true, days like this are so precious and ones to treasure. For a day there were no worries, fears, thinking ahead … sheer and purity of being. Very much I imagine when you experience out on your amazing camping trips, finding yourselves by a deserted lake, etc. Happy Trails & Peaceful Soulful times! Xx

    1. Thank you, Roy! 😀 I’ve been out on the islands during winter storms and it’s brutal … but wonderfully liberating too. Once we were on a container boat on the North Sea during a hurricane – two crazy days when the ship just managed to hold steady against the winds.

  3. Gorgeous photos off the coast of Sweden. I was transported to our boat cruise off the coast of Finland this past August. I am in awe of these peaceful places. Great post, Annika. I am ready to go back but for now, it will suffice to gaze at the lovely images you posted. Lucky, lucky you. As for arriving early to appointments – I make it my habit with the current book I am reading. Time passes quickly when I am reading an engaging book. Enjoy the weekend.

    1. Mary Ann, lovely that you could join me on this boat ride and that it brought back memories of your summer outing off the coast of Finland. 😀 A country I hope to visit one day. The peace at sea, gazing at the rocks is wonderfully soulful and rejuvenating. Imagine living there! I love how you too see the positive of arriving early and a treat to while away the time reading a good book. Warmest thanks for your great comment! Have a special Sunday and one I imagine filled by music!

      1. Annika, it seems we are on the same page. Thank you for the lovely comment. Yes, I decided to lend my voice this morning as well so my Sunday started out just fine. Filled with music should be my middle name. I am happiest when surrounded by beautiful music and participating in it as well. Enjoy reading good books and writing too. Ah, all is well with the world! “”__””

  4. hilarymb

    Hi Annika – amazing place to visit … and by the sound of it want to call home – it does look stunning and a place I’d love to see … I’ve never been to Scandinavia – and am always tempted through people’s blogs mainly! and tales they tell of their homeland or visits. M/S Donalda looks delightful … what a delightful post and story line … gorgeous! Cheers Hilary

    1. Hilary, it’s amazing what we read and can see in blogs and I too am tempted to visit certain places from them! Scandinavia is a beautiful part of the world and one I’m sure you’d love! You get a good sense of it from this post, I think! Summer is spend outdoors as much as possible and if by the coast so much the better! Stunning scenery and so soothing! A joy to share here. Thank you so much for your lovely comment! Wishing you a special Sunday! 😀🌺

      1. Yes, I sail.
        I currently have two boats, my small 22’ sailboat that I keep on a lake and my 33’ “saltwater” boat that I sail on the Puget Sound. You could say that I am smitten, sailing is something that I frequently think about, it haunts me…

  5. Wow! Your photos are superb, and truly capture the beauty of these rocky shores. No wonder Ingrid Bergman found peace and solitude here. Thank you so much for sharing this place, Annika. 🙂

    1. Jennie, thank you so much! 😀 I’m so happy you think so … I love taking photos and trying to convey the wonder of the world around me. It is definitely the perfect place for a famous film star, away from the ‘world’, in such glorious isolation. As always, it’s a joy to share and it means a lot to me to bring this trip to others around the world! 😀😀

  6. You have such a lovely way of writing about your travels, Annika. You take me with you in spirit if not in body. What beautiful islands, sea, and sky. What a gorgeous day to be present and absorb the wonder of life. Thanks so much for sharing your day. ❤

    1. ‘The wonder of life’! 😀 Diana, that’s the day exactly and I’m so glad I managed to convey this in my post. Thank you so much for your kind words about my travel writing … at times I question whether I should include more practical information but your words reassure me to continue exploring the spiritual elements of the trips!

      1. Oh yes! Most of us will never travel there, so the practical information isn’t relevant. You take us there and make us fall in love with the feeling of a place. That’s exactly what makes me add a place to my bucket list. ❤

  7. You certainly satiated my soul just by looking at your amazing photos and reading your prose. I imagined myself in a tiny cottage on that island, not feeling lonely in the least, nor isolated, but at peace with the sea and the gulls and the breeze that ruffles my hair. (Yes, you see? present tense because I am THERE).
    Luckily, I could get there via mindtravel, because most likely I would miss my flight/boat ride as I am the opposite of you. I prefer to arrive five minutes late. it’s in my genes, I’m sure. But my guy is like YOU, thus, we are always at least 5 minutes early. 🙂
    So glad to see you here blogging. Don’t wait so long – I miss you!

    1. Dear Pam, I love being back! 😀 And I promise not to be away in the near future – a book review next week of a most moving and unuusual book.

      Your comment has me beaming away – so much in just a few sentences. I agree with you about Danholmen being utterly peaceful and not lonely at all … and yeah to the present tense! I’ll join you there!

      Good for your guy getting you to appointments just a tad bit early … isn’t it far less stressful that way?! 😀😀

      Here’s to mindtravel … no limits, queues, delays. Where to next?!

      Have a fabulous weekend. Has the beauty of Fall arrived for you?

  8. How lovely. You said it perfectly, too–“my soul was satiated with the beauty”. I get that feeling though not often enough. I had to laugh at you arriving early all the time. Me too! I’d rather sit around people watching or reading than miss the event.

    What a wonderful summer trip.

    1. Jacqui, I must admit I don’t get that absolute feeling of utter joy in my soul too often, where it’s almost too good to be true. This is one day I’ll treasure – and a day that felt so much longer.

      Yeah, another early person! 😀 It’s a great opportunity to catch up on reading without feeling guilty!

  9. Such beauty and calm feeds the soul. There’s something that makes sightseeing by boat so charming, and it sounds like you enjoyed this time out at sea. Ingrid Bergman’s summer retreat just goes to show that we all crave that alone time, and what a lovely place to retreat! Lovely to see you around my friend. Enjoy your autumn! ❤

    1. Khaya, I did wonder whether to ask the captain to drop me off a while at Danholmen … it looked so invitingly isolated! 😀😀 Reckon the answer would have been a quick and quiet No! Being on the sea is wonderfully soothing and it merged memories of being out with my grandparents, visiting deserted islands for the day, fishing with my Morfar with the present day! I came back re-energised and oddly grounded! It’s lovely to be back here! Have a wonderful autumn too, Khaya … it’s hard adjusting to the early dark evenings, late light mornings! Hugs 😀❤️

  10. A wonderful post, Annika! Reminds me so much of Maine’s rocky coast–its beauty and serenity.. Also reminds me of my Swedish roots. Grandfather Sjoberg was a sea captain from Stockhholm. When his wife died, he sent their only chld– little seven-year-old Anna Marie (my maternal grandmother) to America where she was adopted by her mother’s aunt. Thanks so much for sharing. I bask in all of your Swedish posts, longing to know more… ❤ Blessings and love, dear friend.

    1. Dearest Bette, your coment touches me deeply – thank you so much. It means a lot to me that you bask in my Swedish posts – and now I want to write even more! 😀 Think how close you were to growing up in Sweden if it wasn’t for the sad loss of your gamla-mormor. Poor little Anna Marie, to leave all she knew, effectivley losing her father as well as she moved to a strange country.

      I have heard and seen a lot about the beauty of the Maine landscape (from you a lot!) and love how it is also so rocky. Hugs & love, Annika ❤️

        1. Winter?! I’m still in denial about autumn although I’ve brought some winter clothes out .. boo hoo! All well here and son enjoying uni! How are you and how is the new school term?

          1. That’s great to hear. I’m glad he’s settled in and having a good time. Yeah I’m good thank you. The new term is as insane as ever really. It’s like we’ve never been off. I love autumn but I don’t feel like I’ve seen much of it. I’m off in search of autumn leaves today (basically a nice walk!) to try and convince myself that I’ve seen something of autumn. X

  11. This is a wonderful post of your trip, Annika. Thank you for taking me to ride along with you. The water is calming to the mind and soothing to the spirit. I could identifying the envious feeling for the powerful binocular.
    My hubby and I are in Maui, Hawaii at the moment. It is a small island and the water surrounds us everywhere we go. Because it is in the middle of the ocean, we enjoyed seeing and hearing the pounding of waves as the tide come in. 🙂

    1. Miriam, can it be my turn to be a tiny bit envious!😀 Maui sounds glorious and how soothing to hear the ocean all day and night. Have a fabulous rest of a break!

      Haha! 😀 It was so funny as I’ve never seen such ginormous binoculars and it seemed a bit of an overkill but wow, they must have felt they were close enough to stroke the seals and fly away with the birds! Next time I’ll take my (much smaller) pair! Happy Travels & Writing! 🌸

      1. I would like to “see” the size of their binoculars. When we go to the operas, we could rent the binoculars, the size of half of a palm for $7 each. But we bring our own, one for me, one or hubby, the size of two palms. So we could zoom in to the expression of the singers. 😀😊

  12. A kindred spirit! I love arriving early especially at an airport. I was with you on every wave toss of the boat. The videos were fantastic. Spectacular scenery that added to your account of a day well lived….

    1. Rebecca, a kindred spirit indeed. However, as for airports, here in the UK it’s a matter of surviving the queueing, waiting, flood of people! So happy you enjoyed the post and videos … I still have a lot to learn with these. Particularly on how to add background music! Yes, defintely a day ‘well lived’ and one that stays with me. Have a lovely weekend, my friend! hugs 🌺🌸

  13. Wow, what a beautiful clear day you had. In that last photo before the video, the sky at top of the picture is the same color as the sea at the bottom. So gorgeous. Was the temperature cool? Warm?

    Thank you for bringing us along.

    1. Lori, a joy to have you along!😀😀 I know, the blues are stunning, the sea and sky merging to one – it’s a sight that always holds me in awe! It was very warm during the day but luckily from experience I know it can be a bit chilly out at sea so I had a fleece as well. Many went swimming.

      Wishing you a lovely weekend! 😀🌺

  14. It looks so beautiful Annika. I am exactly like you and am always well prepared and ready for things and way ahead of time, but I would much rather have to wait than be late. My daughter laughs at me when she is with me. The only trouble is when friends are notoriously late and you have been early and waiting forever, that takes some forgiving!

    1. Alison, your final point is the real rub of being early – when going out with friends who are the exact opposite! 😀 This can be very stressful and as you say, hard to forgive. Sometimes I will give the wrong time to factor in the lateness and this has worked up to a point!

      Oh, it is such a magical peaceful place – it almost feels unreal at times!

      Have a lovely weekend! 🌸🌻

    1. Thank you so much! Natalie, what a wonderful way to spend your summers! 😀 I felt rejuvenated from just one day at sea, I imagine after a whole summer you come back a new person! Where do you go? Do you have your own boat? Savouring is just the word to describe every moment of the outing – I’m treasuring it within myself – and love sharing it here!

      1. Oh my goodness, Annika… I found inner peace on the water. We bought our boat three years ago and it’s one of the best decisions we’ve made. We live near the Ottawa river and keep our boat docked at the marina. We can literally leave our house and be on the water in five minutes. I offer my gratitude every day for the solitude it brings. How I wish everyone could know such peace. xo

    1. Thank you so much, Mary! 😀 It is a stunning coastline and one I’m sure you’d love – different from Scotland but still evokes that wonderful sense of healing and peace. It’s been a joy to share here and a chance to reconnect with everyone again. I’m trying to catch up on blogging and look forward to heading your way!

  15. Annika, this is a glorious post with so much beauty and joy.
    I love the old fishing boat that has been given a new lease of life by taking us along
    for such a cruise among in main uninhabited islands that still can give the strength and
    glory of nature being just itself.

    I love Ingrid Bergman’s quote too and understand her so. Your pictures and films give such freshness and clarity, I can smell the salt washed rocks and hear the sea.

    Thank you, Annika. Next time I will come … and probably be very early in anticipation. 💕


    1. Miriam, warmest thanks for your wonderful, poetic and enthusiastic comment! 😀 The boat was full of character and one could sense the history it carried within its frame. I was special to be on this boat, although the seat along the sides only had a thin wire from us and the sea. Made the journey a bit more exciting!😀 Yes, the day did indeed ‘give the strength and
      glory of nature being just itself.!’

      I loved that quote too from her and here you can sense her longing for isolation and how she adored this splendid location.

      Happy Travels & Poetry Writing, my friend! 🌺📝

  16. What a glorious post this is! Your words are as soothing as water softly lapping against the boat. I loved your photos, too.

    I share your habit of being early. It certainly beats the rush and anxiety of people who are habitually late. The next time I’m early, I’m going to remember how you took advantage of your time to appreciate everything around you.

    1. Anne, warmest thanks for your lovely comment … and I’m so happy the lapping water was conveyed, it is such a healing sound.

      Haha! Glad to meet another habitual early person!😀 Believe me, I’m not always this reflective but it was a heavenly place to wait. If I am waiting I tend to look around and it’s surprising the unusual that one suddenly notices.

    1. Jill, I thought I spotted you on the boat?! 😀 You would love it, I’m sure – such a soothing and healing day – I came back rejuvenated. A joy to share and revisit this trip on a cold Autumn day. hugs xx

  17. Hi Annika! Thanks for sharing these wonderful pictures and videos. Oh, how I love being near boats and the sea. You are from a beautiful part of the world. Great to see your post – hope you are doing well 🙂

    1. Barbara, I’m so happy you enjoyed the photos and videos – not always easy to capture the magic of being at sea! It is a wonderful part of Sweden and one I’m lucky to visit a couple of times a year! Thank you, I’m doing very well and after a manic summer of life-changing events for family and friends my life is easing back into normal routing – which feels great! Hope you’re doing well and always a delight to read your posts. 😀

  18. Oh Annika, it is really calming to read and your photos convey a stunning beauty. Such blue. I guess at times it will be rough seas surrounding the islands but I would love to visit Sweden in the summer months! By train and boat sounds good.

    1. Georgina, I so hope you have a chance to visit sometime! If you want suggestions of where to go just email me! The summer is truly glorious, often very warm, and we live outside as much as possible. Oh yes, the blues are amazing and I’m over the moon I could convey the beauty of the coastline.

    1. Brigid, it is so special out at sea along this coastline, stopping off on the islands. I find being an early bird a far less stressful way to live! How true about Ingrid Bergman’s aura … it shone all her life! Having written this post I’m now tempted to watch some of her films again! Have a lovely day, Brigid! 😀

    1. It defintely was glorious, Mick! So uplifting! I never tire of the sea and exploring the rocks – plus the added advantage of not coming back with sand everwhere! 😀 Haha! Yep, terrified of being late sums it up perfectly!

  19. OMG!!! This post is too beautiful and the pictures are stunning!!! 🙂

    BTW, if you have time, please visit my blog and if you like my posts, please follow my blog🙂 I will #FollowforFollow 🙂

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