13th August, 2019
“Full speed ahead” was ordered overnight after ‘ringing on’ our engines having departed the Stockholm pilotage area yesterday evening, in order to arrive in Helsinki, more than 200 nautical miles away, on time this morning.
Just after 07:00 we picked up our pilot whilst an enormous Disney Cruise Line ship loomed up, herself awaiting passage to the commercial harbour for large vessels situated to the west of the city centre. We, on the other hand, would be heading towards the city centre via a narrow channel in between two small islands which I can neither spell nor pronounce, I’m afraid!
By 08:30 we were nicely alongside our berth just on the edge of the ferry harbour, and ready to let all guests who wished to head off and enjoy their day in Finland. With an intimate small-town feel, spacious streets interspersed with pleasant gardens & parks, the most Northerly of European capitals is a jolly nice stroll even if you don’t wish to take a guided tour or trip elsewhere.
For those who wished to allow the locals to show them what there is to offer though, our tour selection today consisted of scenic cruises, Helsinki Highlights, visits to nearby old towns and even a High Tea at Haikko Manor, a house visit to Finland’s most famous composer – Jean Sibelius, a visit to the fortified island of Suomenlinna (ah, that’s one of the little un-pronounceable islands from earlier!) and a visit to an old Ironworks village called Fiskars; apparently filled with flourishing history.
Despite sunshine and showers being forecast for the day, thankfully the showers went elsewhere and left Helsinki in the dry throughout our stay. The wind however did increase somewhat throughout the afternoon, necessitating the assistance of a tugboat named ‘Hector’ to assist pulling the stern of the ship off the berth when the time came to depart at 17:00. Back out between those little islands again we steamed, and into the Baltic before turning eastwards again and going as far as the sea would allow in that direction: to Russia!
Captain Kim Tanner
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