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12th August, 2018


We sailed form Tallinn at 0230 this morning for our short run across the Gulf of Finland to the Helsinki Pilot station. Embarking the Pilot at 0600 we made our way north, through the outlying islands into the protected waters off Helsinki.

Part of the inward passage requires us to navigate through Helsinki Sound, a waterway through the islands of which Sumoenlinna Fortress is situated. It is very narrow, I have attached a photograph of the passage entrance from the south. Once though, the Safety Officer, Matt, took the Conn for the berthing manoeuvre. Quite a tight arena in which to throw the ship around, needing a bow to starboard swing before backing down to the berth. The wind freshened with the local thunderstorms passing through, so extra caution required! All berthed on time for 0745, the ship was cleared very quickly and the first of our ‘tour-guests’ were ambling ashore.

I took the opportunity, having my good lady Leigh on-board, to go ashore again. My my… two days in a row, what to earth is going on!

We were off on the Rib tour around the harbour and a visit to Sumoenlinna Fortress; a really nice short, info packed tour of around 2.5 hours. There was only seven of us, so it was a great opportunity to enjoy the detail. The Rib tour passed off shore allowing some great vistas; a visit to the Fortress, then the return ride. I have attached a few pictures of the day; hope you find them interesting. Oddly, the Fortress was built too late in terms of design and, reportedly, never was the scene of a victory, only loss and surrender. Really fascinating history.

Before too long we were back aboard at home, the Saga Sapphire. It was straight to the Navigation Bridge and prepare for departure. Becky, my 2nd Officer, was driving out tonight. The wind was due to be fresh and I had ordered a tug. As forecasted, it was fresh onto the berth and we would not have lifted-off without a tug. With the tug pulling the stern off the berth into the wind, Becky manoeuvred the Bow Thruster to parallel the ship off the berth; this does seem to be a ‘tug-service’ dependant cruise!

Once clear of the shallows, the Pilot took the Conn for the passage back through Helsinki Sound and on to the Pilot debark station. Debarking the Pilot at 1915, we headed eastward along the Gulf of Finland. The forecast was for a bit of a SW’ly storm overnight and we prepared for force 8 winds. It was going to be another early morning for St Petersburg Pilot, so it was an early night.

Hope you are enjoying the blogs, it’s a fabulous cruise.

Captain Stuart Horne

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.