On a windy evening a man is trying to fasten the ropes of newly built tents in Skärhamn. It is expected that the strong wind kuling will visit the harbour the night before the Wooden Boat Festival officially starts the next day. One of the tents survives the night and a rowing boat, built by the building masters who create miracules despite their weakened eyesight, is shown to the morning crowd.
In front of the tent an improvized pool is soon covered by little wooden boat toys with paper sails with children names on it. Little future sailors and boat lovers are on their feet from an early morning and many of them are standing impatiently in the line in front of the Aquarell museum. The Disney exhibition starts its global tour exactly in Skärhamn! The mastership of animation world is presented on the whole first floor of the museum and takes people far, far away to the adventure land!
The heart of the harbour is all made of wood on this day; wooden boats of different types and sizes are proudly put up and the owners tell the story of their vessels on board. Along the path surrounding the harbour sentre, many other tents are full of people as all kind of sellers are offering their goods: maritime equipment, boat decoration, jewelry, food and clothes are spread in all possible colours and it is a joy just to go through all of them and collect the smells and impressions. The famous Skärhamn`s ”smiling church” is rising above the other side of the harbour where the ållsang (”eveyone sings”) concert provides entertainment to music and icecream lovers.
The festival goes on and soon it is time to check weather prognosis and see what kind of wind will arrive this evening. Many decide to stay in the harbour and enjoy the second day of the festival as well. The only better thing than a good festival party is its re-broadcast!
A bit more north, some of the wooden boats also end up in the harbour of Hälleviksstrand. No festival here, but a small lively place centre has its own charm. The icecream kiosk is well used to rows in front of it, as good traditional vanilla is served in waffles and cups.
There are a few smaller roads heading from the harbour towards different parts of the island. One of them goes along a beautiful green island countryside and ends up in front of the famous red church that further in the distance creates a fairytale scene. Built in gothic style and in the length shape of the Greek cross, it welcomes visitors every working day.
The road continues further around, until it reaches harbour again with a small bridge to cross a pond. On the other side many people gather around and in the famous lunch restaurant, ”Mia`s sjöbod”, which not only provides excellent meals and deserts, but also a unique interiour, which makes people mix it up with a small museum. That is why there is a note above the entrance door reminding visitors that it is a restaurant and not a museum inside. Surrounding small yard is also beautifully ornamented and one simply must have a recognizable pink little bag in his hand as he leaves the place with a jar of a home-made jam or a sweet by the name ”To die for”.
Text by Dragana Paulsen
Photos by Kjartan Ivar Paulsen