Although the sea between Ærø, Strynø and Langeland has no name on chart 170, it is known as Bredningen to the locals. To the south, Bredningen is bordered by the islets between Langeland and Ærø, and to the north by Rudkøbing Løb (Rudkøbing Channel) and Tåsinge Grunde (Tåsinge Shoals). The water depth in Bredningen reaches five to six metres – which is quite vast for the Archipelago – meaning that sailing does not pose any problems, whether it concerns ferries or keeled pleasure crafts. The ferry service between Rudkøbing and Marstal ceased to operate on January 20th 2013. After the last Ice Age and during the Stone Age, Bredningen was a fresh water lake surrounded by oak forests. The forest stood on the shallow areas, and the remains of it are still standing on the bottom of Bredningen.
The biggest harbour in the Bredningen Sea is Grevebroen (The Count’s Pier) on Strynø, a low moraine hill of around 500 hectares. The fertile island has been cultivated and inhabited ever since the Middle Ages. The islanders had to cross the sea to get anywhere; the neighbouring market towns of Rudkøbing and Marstal were particularly popular destinations. The island lacked a harbour for larger vessels to load and unload, and in 1867 the first pier was built. It was called Grevebroen, because the county of Langeland, to which the island belonged at the time, paid for the construction. In 1954, a ferry berth was added, meaning that the motor ships of Det Sydfyenske Dampskibsselskab (The South Fyn Steam Ship Company) were able to bring automobiles with them. In the 1990s, Grevebroen was in a state of decay, but the harbour was renovated and extended in 2008, enabling it to satisfy the demands of the ferry service and the visiting boats. A new ferry has been purchased, and new ferry berths were built in the summer of 2013.
In the summertime, Bredningen is filled with pleasure crafts – mostly, of course, in the peak season of July and August, and on some days, hundreds of boats can sail through. On days with calm sea, you may meet Denmark’s small whale: the porpoise. The porpoises typically swim in pods – small groups – and can be observed when they come up for air and their dorsal fins break the surface. In spring and autumn, brentgeese and eiders can be observed on the sea, whilst the cormorant can be observed all year round as it searches for food – if you’re lucky, you can sometimes catch them sitting on poles or rocks drying their wings.