S/S Ejdern
Saturday July 5, 2008.
Sunny morning, wind from north 2-4 m/sec, later on, overcast and wind increasing.
I think we all did catch a cold, but it was worth it! :-)


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We arrived as the first passengers, because we didn't purchase tickets in advance, but about 15 minutes later around 80 passengers were ready to board the Ejder!



A placemark at Google Earth for S/S Ejdern's dock, and another placemark for the Södertälje Lock that she will pass through to get into the lake Mälaren.

Previous meetings with S/S Ejdern!


For inquiries or purchase of tickets, do contact Södertälje Tourist Office by phone.
Järnagatan 11, 151 32 Södertälje,
Phone: +46 8 550 227 00
If there are any remaining tickets, they are sold at the dock prior to departure.


It was strange to see the ship M/S Sunnanvik moored in the canal like this, since she has passed the lock and only has the passage out to sea ahead.
Now I get it, it's Saturday and no need to hurry to Slite, Gotland for another load of cement, as she has been transporting to the Mälar valley since 1978. :-)



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We have left the dock and rounded the pilot cape finding the first bridge already opened for us...  



...and the lock gate as well.
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It is a fantastic feeling to be able to talk to the engineer, from main deck, through the open door way, without raising your voice, at full speed in around eight knots, and the engine running in about 120-140 revolutions per minute, with only a guiet Hiss-hiss-hiss-hiss,_Hiss-hiss-hiss-hiss...

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The engine was made in 1880, as the ship itself.
It needs a little lubrication every half hour when on the run, that's all!


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The boiler is almost brand new, from 1946, of a Scottish type, but made in Sweden.

These are views from starboard main deck, down through the machine room bay which get daylight from the skylight on second deck right behind the chimney



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These views are across the machine...  ...room bay towards the galley on the port side




The Chef in her galley seen from the forward saloon.
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Heading for the first port of call at Mälarhamnen. Three more passengers are ready to embark. Watch this short movie (1 min)  when we pass under the bridge!
A previous captain on S/S Ejdern had a daughter living in a house on the eastern shore right behind the bridge.
She had difficulties to get up in early mornings, so the captain gave her a helping hand by blowing the whistle right under the bridge on his morning journeys.
This custom has become a tradition!
Officially the whistle is to prepare the awaiting passengers, in case they still are sitting in their cars. :-)
Do listen, it's a wonderful sound!




Mälarhamnen (The Mälar Harbour), just below the head office of the Astra-Zeneca corporation.

The deckhand Maria did much of the hard work onboard as it seemed, not only did she sell the tickets and counting us, she also handled both moorings and gangway. 

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Rune Carving: Södertälje 22:1.
It was carved during the middle Iron ages, my guess around 800 AD.
I think it is a greeting for travellers, from the chieftain of the area, and the ruler of the narrow passage, "Follow our rules, or else". ;-)
More details... 

A placemark for Google Earth

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Henrik went up to the bridge to ask Captain Hans if he could blow the whistle again on the way back home under the bridge.
It was then the captain told us the story about the former captain's daughter.
The whistle was to everybody's satisfaction blown many times during the journey!




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The wind increased in the mouth of Södra Björkfjärden (Southern Birch Bay) but Ejdern took a coarse leeward of Slandö to reduce the spray at the foredeck passengers.

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Passing leeward of Högholmen (High Islet).

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S/S Ejdern has got a "K-Märkt" plaque by
The Swedish State Maritime Museums.
She belongs to our culture heritage!






Just in case!
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Great Cormorants seems to have begun occupying the islet Pingst (Whitsun).
If they nest here next year they will probably kill all vegetation with its excrement. The result will be a guano islet!







We had four different ship dogs with us on this journey. They were happy and gentle all the time, despite the crowds that occurred now and then. :-) 
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Captain Hans at the helm.






Listening to what the Machine Engineer has to say.


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Disembarking at the steamboat dock at the Björkö island (Birch Island). S/S Ejdern continues to Hovgården for a couple of hours, so other sightseeing boats can use the dock.
Hovgården on Wikipedia.



Birka and Hovgården were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.


Here we started the guided tour of Birka, the first known trading town in Sweden.
Birka on Wikipedia.

Svarta Jorden (Black Earth) is the most recent excavation made on the island.

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The town wall followed the forest line and down to where we stand.
The wall however, was probably only for administrative purposes. For taxes and so on, no difference to talk about for us today.

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If Birka was attacked, as it was many times, the defence took place on this hillock instead. Then it had higher stone walls for protection than the town itself.

Our guide was an excellent speaker, even the kids were listening with both ears! Ok, One of them anyway!
I almost got him to hold the Ansgar Monument in his hand! But only almost.




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The guest harbour at Steam Islet seen from The Ansgar Monument on top of the hillock.
The Göta Kanal Boat M/S Vilhelm Tham is just picking up the passengers from their guided tour on the island.
Their journey begun four days ago in Gothenburg, and now it's only a few hours left before it ends in Stockholm this evening.

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This longboat was a real beauty!

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The Ansgar Monument!
Ansgar, invited by King Björn, is considered to have begun the christening of the heathens in the Mälar valley. However, there are still voices claiming that he failed. ;-)

M/S Eskil on the bay, waiting to pick up their passengers after M/S Vilhelm Tham.




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Longboats moored by the village.


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This was new to me, the walls! I have always thought that Viking longhouses had the roof almost down to the ground. This is only true on Iceland! Excavations here have shown, by the traces of rain water dripping from roofs, which only occurs if the wall or roof is high enough above the ground, that the Swedish Vikings did have walls, and even doorways exceeding 2 metres!?




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The Blacksmith. Note the woven clay wall to the right


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We are getting a little tired, waiting for a second lunch, we had only a quick one when we arrived to the island. ;-)





A wonderful steam whistle on the bay made all passengers gather at the dock. Except three that visited the ladies room a little too long. They came running just as Ejdern did cast off the painter, and the captain ordered reverse. She had to make a large turn out on the bay to be able to come back in the right position to get the passengers aboard. I'm sure the operation took at least seven minutes.
Think about that before entering the ladies room, prior to a ship departure! ;-))


Captain Hans thanked us at arrival back home in Södetälje with the words:
It's necessary with at least one trip a year with S/S Ejdern!
After six years you will be able to start all over again, enjoying her six different journeys again!

We will remember those words!

And thank you very much for a day to treasure!


PS. We have already reserved the first Saturday in June next year.
It's "Ångans Dag" (Steam Day) in Mariefred, with the opportunity for passengers to be picked up on the quay by a steam train for a ride. DS.