Harbour days in Helsinki
Arrived Helsinki and HVMK by plane, bus and taxi at night, and crawled into bed. Early next morning the first mate left for Oslo ( not much sleep). The captain thought he should get some supplies, maps and spare parts for the next leg, but no such luck, the whole of Finland is closed after the midsummer day! So instead, the cover for the mattress, bought in Poland last year, were finished.
The end result - most of the work was opening about 16 meters of seams before it could be cut and sew it together again.
The faithful onboard sewing machine at work again!
The rookie sailor's corner
Even though I'm going without my friend this year, I'm eager to get started!This is me 3 hours before my folks were ready packed and we finally could leave the house!
The morning in Helsinki was spend with shopping. While the captain had no success in buying various parts for the boat - the cover for the navigator got stolen, the oven needed a fix .... - the first mate filled up the food stocks from the big supermarket under the Helsinki railway station.
When we left, the sun was shining and the wind was blowing, and we soon discovered the first obstacle on our route: a bridge too low to pass under. Luckily we only had to wait 5 minutes until it opened.
As the route through the hundreds of Finnish island was quite tight, we decided to motor and had our first stop at Stora Torrvedsholmen. We put the anchor out in the aft and were hanging on some of the hooks which came with the island.
Lovely: A whole island for ourselves! Later on, another boat appeared - and with it another dog.
Sunset at 22:00 hours!
The rookie sailor's cornerSuper island! Finally met a friend, and he was bigger than me and I could chase him around the whole island!
The sun was there again, but the wind took its time to show up and soon disappeared again - so we had quite some time on the engine again through the tight waterways of eastern Finland. The fairway to our chosen harbour - Svartholmen - was marked with 1.9m !!! Not deep enough for us. Luckily we did not trust the map and without running aground we managed to berth at the quay - the minimum depth were 6 meter!
The harbour was frequented by quite some Finish and Swedish boats.
The island used to house a garrison of 300 soldiers during peace time, who must have had a lousy time there - most of the time - and not few died of the cold, male nutrition and sicknesses.
Luckily these days are over. Today there is a nice restaurant with a big outside seating area and plenty of places for picnicking. The garrison can be visited - and the harbour (without water and electricity) was for free :-).
Wind again. Lovely day sailing to Haapasaari. The picture above is at the customs clearance. We checked out for Russia in the evening (passport control is only open 0800-2200) and spend the night (or half the night - because the other half was spend on the way to Russia) at the customs quay.
What type of vacation is this? A storm woke us up at 02:00, the boat was moving a lot, lightning and thunder was underway. We set of for Russia at 04:30, by then the storm had passed, and we could enjoy the sunrise at 04:48!
At Kronstadt, our navigation systems showed the buoys at the entrance of the breakers in the wrong place, which confused the hell out of us - the whole entrance had moved, and according to the map we were crossing land!
Left; the new flood gate/Security Gate - the whole gray slab of concrete is moved in place by the white boom, and seals of the bay.After the entrance into the St. Petersburg bay, the rain arrived - what a nice welcome!
Around 20:00 we arrived at customs clearing and met Vladimir there, our very reliable agent, who helped organizing this trip. He and the captain were busy for the next hour filling out the various immigration forms. However, no one wanted to see the boat nor the dog!
The St. Petersburg Central River Yacht Club harbour is only 2nm away, but we had to take a detour of 8nm, and arrived late at our final destination. There we were lying next to M/Y "STANDARTE", the huge red boat you can see on the picture. Needless to say: the yacht club comes with multiple restaurants and a helipad.
4 different helicopters were counted by the captain during our stay. The fee for the harbour was about 31 €/night - absolute the top of our Baltic journey - so far. But then: so was St. Petersburg.
harbour day in St Petersburg
As a start we first had a 2 hours round trip to the most important sights of the city together with Vladimir, who is an excellent tour guide and drove us around.
It is summer, week-end and the city is boiling with tourists, mainly from Russia.
In addition there is no shortage of wedding parties, who seemed to be just everywhere.
After getting an overview and having a late Russian lunch, the first mate visited the church of spelled blood, where all walls are covered, not with paintings, but with incredible mosaics, and St. Isaac's cathedral. In the evening we had dinner at the "Sailors Inn" near the harbour.
harbour day in St Petersburg
Queued up for 1 hour for the Hermitage to be told, it does not include the winter palace which could be found around the corner. We returned the ticket, and went to the winter palace to find out, only small rooms were on display, the proper winter palace is actually included in the Hermitage. Then we decided not to queue up again.
It was difficult to find a supermarket. We picked up Tommy and took the metro to Kamennyy and Yelagin islands where we had a nice round walk. Impressive villas! The metro is impressive too - very, very deep down. There are supposed to be some fantastic metro stations, but we did not find the time to visit them. St. Petersburg is full of dressed up slim women in high, high heels. The men are nothing to talk about.
4th of July Took the turbine driven hydrofoil and visited Peterhof. It would be much cheaper to book proper tours. Paying everything separately is much more expensive and groups get large discounts. Wrong time of the year: it was completely overcrowded. The food market is by far not as good as what we found in Kaliningrad.