From Port to Port …
… in the South Funen Sea. It is a beautiful piece of “sea level” to the south of the Danish island called Fyn, also delimited by the Aerø and Langeland islands and with a number of small islands inside. And with ports and small ports, often really small but providing safe shelter.
All Things Come to Those Who Wait
We took over the Hjortø yacht (7 m long) on Saturday afternoon in the port of Søby on Aerø Island, where we had got on a ferry from the “continental” port of Fynshav. We could have started sailing immediately. But the wind force exceeding 8 Bft filled the marinas with boats, which did not find it “fun” to fight with the natural elements. The same weather, if not even worse, even prevailed for the entire Sunday. However, these were not wasted days. We traveled through Aerø Island by car and you must believe me when I say it is a beautiful place. The old fishing town of Aeroskøbing is really a delight for tourists.
And on Monday morning – all things come to those who wait – we woke up on the boat unexpectedly to a sunny and almost windless day, with a positive weather forecast for the entire week too!
The First Monday Sailing
Without hesitation in the morning, we set sail right after 8 a.m. I familiarized myself with the boat and its behavior in gentle waves for a while. It is rather a good boat. After two hours of sailing, we put down the anchor in the port of Drejø Island. Sailing was problem-free, as long as we followed the shipping lines. There are a number of all kinds of floats, because the local sea is mostly shallow and the shipping depths are hard to find in the map.
We took a break for lunch and an island tour on Drejø. Walking around, we could hear with our own ears what real silence sounds like, occasionally disturbed by the cry of seagulls and the hiss of the wind. After two more hours of sailing in the Svendborg straits, we put down the anchor for the night in the Vinerby marina, with the town of Svendborg in sight across the straits.
Sailing to Langeland
The Tuesday destination is the western coast of Langeland Island. More than 50 km long and only about 10 km wide, this Danish island lives up to its name. After two and a half hours of sailing, at the beginning again in the Svendborg straits, we settle in an old fishing port of the town of Dagelokø, presently redesigned into a pleasant marina with all necessary facilities, even with the possibility of refueling. It is only noon but when we see the beautiful local environment, the decision is made. We will stay here for the rest of the day and night. There is no need to hurry, as the weather forecast for the upcoming days is still favorable.
Our decision turned out to be a good one. The approximately 8 km trip across the island was worth it. And there was even a nice “port tavern” in the port. The sailing that we skipped today, we will catch up on tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow, or …
To Something “Small”? So to Strynø
We have been sailing along the western coast of Langeland Island southwards for two hours. We can still see a high bridge in front of us, arching over the straits between Langeland Island and Tåsinge Island, and farther the land by Svendborg. Before noon, we laid the anchor right behind the bridge in a big marina in Rundkøbing, the “capital” of the island. There we have a great opportunity to complete all necessary stocking up.
Today we want to stay overnight on “something small”, on a small island with a small port. Strynø Island fulfils our wishes in terms of both the island size and the local port size. And it is not disappointing even during our usual evening tour.
Why do I emphasize navigation, when a lot of shipping lines are distinctly identified and sailing is clear? The reason is we have decided to visit two islands situated somewhat off these “highways”: Hjortø Island and then Avernakø Island, where we are going to stay overnight.
In order to get out of Strynø through the numerous shallow places, to avoid the islands we do not want to sail to and to hit the chosen ports correctly and in the right heading, we must read the coordinates of the advancing points from the map very accurately and very often and feed the GPS with them. We succeed in hitting both islands, so in the end, we are welcomed by the small Avernakø Island port, formed by embankments from piled rocks. There is plenty of space; only a few local boats and several guest sailboats, mostly with the German flag, are anchored there.
Boast of Small Islands
It is not a coincidence that the area where we were sailing is called Inselsee or Archipelago. There are a number of small and even smaller islands there. We managed to visit only a few of these, but it was enough to see that it is an exceptionally lovely area of Denmark. And their names sound lovely, too: Lyø, Bjørnø, Avernakø, Hjortø, Drejø, Skorø, Birkholm, … (note: ø is pronounced as “oy”).
Wandering from the ports to the island’s “inland” areas is very pleasant. They are made for admirers of calm, almost deserted places. Do not expect any extremeness here in the form of coastal rock cliffs. You will be surrounded by slightly corrugated grassland or cornfields, rarely interrupted by a row of trees or bushes bent by the wind. But mainly the local villages with the same name as the island are very charming. Old houses, small chalets, as well as large farms with thick thatched roofs and meticulously tended back yards and front yards, remind you of scenes from fairy tales…
But they are not fully separated from civilization. Most of them have a connection with the land thanks to a small ferry that operates several times a day, permanently and temporarily supplying the inhabitants with everything they need, from mail to building materials – and it also transports older children to school.
Return to Søby
I wrote the “Boast of Small Islands” on Friday afternoon, when we had to pass another “Hafentag”. We woke up to “8 Bft of north-west wind” in the morning and there was no sailing. So we had a greater opportunity to explore Avernakø Island.
We were waking up repeatedly all Friday night, checking whether the wind had calmed down at least a bit. The weather forecast we listened to on the radio station from Flensburg indicated something similar. We had to get to the home marina on Saturday by 10 a.m. It was still 5 Bft in the morning but we set sail early in the morning anyway, getting to Søby after two hours of rather wild sailing. And when we then traveled on a big ferry from Aerø Island to the continental Fåborg in the afternoon, the weather significantly changed for the better.
Now we already know that the South Funen Sea has nothing in common with Finland. Ten islands visited, 14 hours of sailing and 120 km travelled have sufficiently convinced us that it is in Denmark. It was beautiful sailing, with all the essentials, including the vagaries of the weather. But that also belongs to the sea… and it should not discourage anybody.