You are currently viewing Kökar island – We almost ran out of fuel

Kökar island – We almost ran out of fuel

  • Post author:
  • Post category:Our Blog

The weather finally cleared up. We started to head to Kökar island, an island between Finland and Åland! It felt good to be back on the water after our extended stay on Iniö island!!!

We were able to sail about halfway to Kökar island but as we turned to head south we were forced to turn the engine on as the wind was coming directly from the south. It was a slow and bumpy sail as we bounced up and down taking waves directly to our bow. Normally we can cruise at 10km/h – 11km/h (5kts – 6kts) but due to the weather and the waves we were only able to do about 6km/h (3kts).

Everytime we go sailing we learn something new and that day was no different… Before setting off we calculated how much diesel we would need to get to Kökar and we were quite sure that we could make it without any problems. When we were about 3km away from our destination, Chris said the engine sounded different, it was loud then quiet then loud then quiet… When Chris checked the diesel there wasn’t much left. He quickly tried to pour every single drop left in the jerry cans into the boat. We tried to sail but the wind was coming from the direction we needed to go and there were islands and rocks on both sides making it difficult to tack. We immediately slowed the boat down then hoped and prayed that Polaris would make it! It would have been so embarrassing if we had to ask to be rescued because we ran out of fuel…  Chris said he would rather swim than tell anyone he ran out of diesel. 

We made it, we could finally exhale!!! We checked the diesel again and thankfully there was still a tiny little bit left, we think it was the up and down motion that caused the diesel to move around in the tank. After tying up the boat, we took a walk around to look for diesel. As the sailing season was already over, the restaurant, shops and office were all closed, unfortunately we couldn’t buy any diesel… We decided to stay there for the night anyway. What a day! On the bright side, we had arrived safely and learned a hard lesson – Always carry more than enough diesel. We finally had some yummy food for dinner and “re-energized” ourselves! As always before bed we checked the weather forecast and planned for the next passage.

The next day we met an awesome couple that had cycled all the way from Jyväskylä in the middle of Finland to Kökar island. Katri and Jape visited lots of places along the way including Lappo, Seglinge, Houskari, Korppoo and Iniö. In Finland there is a rule called “Everyman’s rights” (Jokamiehen Oikeudet) which means you can wild camp almost everywhere. Even more amazing, their parents were from Teuva where we had been living before we set off on this adventure! Happy travels Katri and Jape! 

Since we couldn’t find any diesel at this marina we decided to “risk it” by going to a nearby marina to find some. There were lots of rocks under the water and there wasn’t much wind so we had to use the engine to get there. Thankfully after about 30 mins of motoring we made it. Unbelievably there was no diesel there either. Luckily we met the harbourmaster, he was really kind and offered to take us to the gas station to fill up our jerry cans.

Phew!!! Finally, we had fuel! We were both feeling relieved and were ready to set sail.

Before we left, the harbourmaster took us on a little tour around Kökar island. He showed us a beautiful church and a place called The Franciscan monastery which was built from stones hundreds of years ago. There were also many sheep and deer on the island. What a great start to the day!!!

We headed back to the boat, thanked the harbourmaster and set off to Mariehamn, Åland with about 80 liters of diesel onboard.