Sander the Ferryman

Few people are as strongly associated with a physical object as Sander Johansson, whose nickname ”Sander på färja” literally translates as “Sander on the ferry”.

Born on the island of Flatön in 1874, Sander moved to Skaftö at the age of 13, when his father, Johan Olsson, started running the local ferry service. Little did he know that he himself was to become synonymous with this craft.

In the year 1900, Sander packed up his things and headed across the Atlantic to try his luck in America. His emigration didn’t end up being permanent but he did manage to work as a carpenter, decorator and sailor – even as an in-house handyman for a lady millionaire – before his family sent a letter asking him to return and take over the ferry service. You see, back then, it was the duty of whoever owned the house at Lunneviken (where Sander’s family lived) to operate the ferry between Skaftö and the mainland.

The ferry itself was originally a rowing boat. It was later upgraded to a hand-operated barge and eventually a ferry with an engine. A few years after Sander’s return from the States, the ferry duty was abolished. But, although he no longer had to drive the ferry, Sander the Ferryman had by this stage become so attached to – and synonymous with – the job that it would remain his life-long calling.

Every day, Sander would collect 2 öre per person and 50 öre per horse (there are 100 öre in 1 krona) from those wanting to cross. Even long into retirement, Sander would hang out at the ferry point and keep an eye on passengers.
Sander is the great grandfather of Reine Patriksson, one of the founders of Slipens Hotell & Pensionat, who we presume will soon become know as ”Reine at Slipens”.

Champion Power Andersson

Regina was a tough cookie

She married young, to the skipper Karl-Johan Andersson, and the pair built a house on the east side of Fiskebäckskil in 1878.

The following year, when their son was just nine months old, Karl-Johan lost his life at sea.

As she couldn’t afford to keep the house they’d built, Regina was forced to sell up and borrow money for a new home, offering Karl-Johan’s pension as security. She moved into a new home with her son and elderly mother, who lived to be 96 years old. Another widow and her four children also moved in for a time.

Regina and Karl-Johan’s son, Karl, did odd jobs at Lyckes cannery and was eventually rewarded with a rowing boat for his efforts. He made himself a successful summer business ferrying tourists across the bay, but an innate handicap made him weaker and weaker with every season. Karl eventually passed away at just 23.

The now 50-year-old, and no doubt heart-broken, Regina had to step up once again. She carried on rowing her late son’s boat for 28 years, right up to her death in 1934, charging just 5 öre (a couple of pennies) per crossing.

Rowing boats were used to ferry passengers across the bay at Fiskebäckskil until the 1960s – and they weren’t just for tourists on their way to restaurants. Schoolchildren, housewives and employees at Lyckes cannery all jumped on board too. E B Lycke, who ran the cannery, was so pleased with Regina’s service that he named one of his products – The Regina Herring – after her.