As you journey from the southern end of the archipelago northwest, the biggest islands you’ll find are Nattaro, Uto, Orno, Namdo and Runmaro. North East of Namdo where Ingaro meets Fagelbrolandet, there are several tucked-away little inlets and hidden bays which make a pleasant place to spent a night or two.
My endlessly helpful English acquaintance Rodger had recommended Malma Kvarn as a hidden little gasthamn offering almost complete shelter in all winds, which after Huvudskar seemed very appealing. The approach was easy enough, we put Arcturus on a broad reach heading NNE, darted between northern Orno and southern Namdo, and then headed a coule of miles north before turning east into the waterway dividing Ingaro to the left and Fågelbrolandet to the right. Malma Kvarn is up on the right hand corner, tucked away almost out of sight and promised a peaceful night’s rest. The only fly in the ointment was that I’d seen storm clouds approaching from the west for some time but kept sailing anyway – just a little too long before firing up the jenny for the last mile’s approach. By the time we reached the harbor the wind was blowing a hoolie which made for some interesting conditions coming in and hooking to a stern mooring ball for the first time. These buoys are preferred to stern anchors in many harbors and take some getting used to. Unsurprisingly we missed the ball on our first try but were already committed to coming between two other boats. But fortunately we had plenty of fenders out and a helpful man on the dock who took our lines while another hopped in his dinghy, took our stern line and attached it to the buoy himself. As the wind whistled and howled we tightened our lines, got snugged in, and as so often happens in Swedish summers, thirty minutes later all was calm and sunny, allowing us to unwind with a beer at the dock restaurant and a plate of the chilled shrimp with aioli (called rakor in these parts). So many of these little harbor restaurants have been excellent, which is quite a pleasant surprise after some of the swill I’ve had in California harbors.
The harbor here takes perhaps twenty boats and is clean and well-maintained with toilet and showers. A five minute walk up a country road bursting with tall hedgerows and birdsong is the laundry building and two minutes beyond that, just around a winding road you’ll find the sauna, another huge bonus for us, since it is a wood burning model and there is always plenty of chopped wood, kindling and firestarters left for your use. Franz and I enjoyed our first truly rustic Swedish sauna here before cooling off with the adjacent cold shower, but on a subsequent visit with my family instead of a cold shower we walked perhaps two hundred meters round the corner and found a gorgeous, tranquil and temperate lake, where we lazed for a delicious hour slowly cooling off. In addition to such enticements to visit, Malma Kvarn is run by friendly young Swedes, the best of whom was Julia, a Polish-Swedish girl, very well travelled who spoke excellent English, who not only served as hostess and waitress for the restaurant, but even offered a yoga and breakfast combo for 200kr at 8am the next day. This gasthmamn a terrific find and will cost you around $35/night.