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27th July, 2012



The Gulf of Finland was flat calm as we left Russian waters, the many ships following the invisible traffic lanes looking like toys on a glassy surface. The next day was already bright as we approached the old fortress that guards the narrows leading to the harbour of Helsinki. However there were very few passengers up and about to witness this interesting ‘technical’ piece of navigation, which has a minor course deviation in the middle for good measure and where the land passes by less than sixty yards on either side.

The local agent Rasmus, a youngish gentleman dressed very smartly and whose English was without a noticeable accent was going to have a very busy day, but I did task him to find out what the Finnish words were for ‘unsubscribe’. I have one of these monotonously regular emails from a Finnish branch of a worldwide travel company that I am unable to stop descending into my computer from cyber space because I don’t know which unintelligible sentence to click on.


Crew drill took up the morning, but I stole a few hours after to take a brisk walk into the city. Meeting up at the local outside market I was ushered by my wife towards a small stall where I had earlier just saved myself a small fortune, even though of course I had been absent for the transaction. The market is a great place, full of atmosphere and local colour, and it leads onto a delightful tree lined avenue with ‘posh’ shops in elegant old buildings on either side while through the middle runs a wide gravelled path. Tourists and locals alike were enjoying the sunny weather, sitting at outside cafe tables watching the world go by. We were passed by a horse and carriage, with aged bearded driver in bowler hat and bride and groom in the rear.

We walked back, catching the odd glimpse of the impressive Lutheran Cathedral of St. Nicholas as we crossed over cobbled streets. In the old harbour the huge ferries that make the regular runs over to Tallinn and Stockholm were at their berths and dominated the skyline.

The agent had managed to complete the ship’s business, and we prepared to sail on schedule. From the quayside, jacket now off and braces on display, he gesticulated my translation for ‘unsubscribe’ would come on email. Eventually it did:- “Jos et halua enää vastaanottaa sähköpstivietejä instrumentariumilta, klikkaa...” Simples.

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