On Friday we visited Stig and Marine at their beautiful house for a drive with their four-wheeler and meal of spaghetti bolognese and chocolate cupcakes with whipped cream, though not all together. Marine is my grandmother's sister, and her daughter Jenny and her husband were there (my mother's cousin) with their son Hjalmar (my second cousin). Ah, family ties.
My cousin Amelia, William, and his girlfriend, who came along for the weekend.
And, what seems to be a recurring family trait, we took a turn to a loppis named Andra Varvet, which means The Second Time Around.
I bought this. I realize the colours are a little off, not quite as nice as the real thing, but you get the picture.
About a stone's throw from Andra Varvet is a dock which houses a homemade submersible, put together and launched in 2007 by Erik Westerberg. It took him over 2500 hours and a few hundred thousand kronor to build. I found an interview with him by Charlotta von Schultz; I could have you read it here with Google translate, but I translated it myself and reproduced it in this post instead.
How did you get the idea?
I thought it would be cool to have my own sub.
How nervous were you for the maiden voyage?
I was pretty calm. There was a lot to do so I didn't have time to be nervous. And it went brilliantly. Everything went according to plan.
I hear you forgot a valve.
Yeah, I forgot to open the valve to the exhaust system. I was standing with my head in the raised area so I didn't notice anything. My stepfather who came along for the ride was sitting in the smoke, but he didn't complain.
Where did you get the knowledge to do all this?
I am self-taught. Firstly I tried to find information on the internet, but then I realized I wanted to build after my own ideas. You just have to think logically. I have had a mechanics workshop for five years, which provides me with a lot of problems to solve.
Did you draw up a blueprint?
Well, the only thing I sketched was the form and size. After that I just started building.
What was the hardest part?
Nothing in particular. I never thought 'this is impossible.'
My uncle has been gifted with a mechanical mind of his own, and he is always fixing things for the better. Here he is fingering the propeller and wondering if he could--garage space willing--build one of his own.
How many trips have you made so far?
Six. The longest I have been down is ten minutes, and the deepest is 5,3 metres. Sikeå harbour doesn't get any deeper than that, but he should be able to go down to a depth of 50 metres.
You call the sub a 'he.' What's it's name?
Isabelle, after my daughter.
And what will you build for your son?
Not a sub, in any case. He gets to drive this one.
And while the grown ups admired the sub-shaped fruits of hard labour, Hjalmar did what any other contemplative six-year-old would do--he sat down, thoughtfully ate a gummy, and reflected on the beauties of the marina. I know because I asked him.