6th May, 2019
Another early morning call this morning, firstly to assist my ‘Officer of the Watch’ with traffic at 2 am, then back to bed, and my next call was at 0430, ready for the inward passage of the Finnish Archipelago. Sunrise was at 0455 this morning as we headed NNE up to the Pilot station. It was almost ‘Green flash’ conditions, but not quite, as the photograph shows.
We had been forecasted a brisk breeze for the North which would have made the port untenable, but, happy happy, the morning was absolutely fabulous. Embarking the Pilot at just before e0600, we made are way inward. Closing in on Kotka through the myriad of islands, the navigable waters slowly decreased until the manoeuvre for the berth, ha, no room at all.
But what an arrival. The sun was shining, we gliding in with ‘glassy’ waters and had a mass band playing on the quayside and a dancing troop to boot. It was almost a ‘British’ homecoming with the selection of music they played. Berthed for 0800, the ship was cleared by ‘CPJ’, in Ferrari fashion. ‘CPJ’, that’s my nick name for the Chief Purser, Jane, ‘CPJ’!
We had dignitaries on this morning just to welcome us to the Port. It’s not our first call - but they made it seem so. Such lovely people, warm and genuine.
The port is not the most attractive location in the world, but the things to do and see, from here, quite beautiful. Positive comments from the Guests as the day drew to a close.
Simon, Staffy, was driving out this evening and we need the services of a tug, not a hope in ‘apple-juice’ of backing the Saga Sapphire out, with a northerly breeze, around these tight corners. Departure was made under lovely warm-ish sunny conditions and many were out spectating; sailing at 1700 is an ideal time as it allows sufficient window for the pre-dinner dressing and cocktails.
Stepping slowly outward, we cleared the southern Archipelago at just after 1900 and debarked the pilot. Our next port was Tallinn, literally just across the road, or across the Gulf of Finland. The speed required was slow, slower than we could drive the Saga Sapphire so this requited a bit of mid-Gulf cruising to add ‘distance’. It like going shopping, but the shop are not open yet so you need to wander the streets ‘window’ shopping, better than sitting in the car-park!
Tallinn next stop.
Captain Stuart Horne
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