So this is cruising...

Trip Start Apr 29, 2011
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Trip End Sep 03, 2011


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Flag of Finland  , Western Finland,
Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Our intention, over the next couple of days and given that good weather was being forecast, was to work our way slowly northwards to Turku, taking in a couple of anchorages en route. That meant that we were in no hurry and a bacon & egg breakfast was a good way of starting this mini-expedition, with engine on at 10:30 and off soon thereafter so that we could drift quietly, at 3 knots, northwards. Our destination was the island of Gullkrona, described as a 'quite delightful island' in the CA notes on Finland. The island was run by a family called the Ericsons and they had a cafe and so on but sadly, we were told by a Finnish sailor that Mr Ericsson had had a heart attack and his daughter had MS, so the operation had closed down. However, on the island opposite, called Furuskär, according to the Baltic Pilot, there was an excellent anchorage at 60.05.46N, 22.04.86E and this is the spot that we ended up in, dropping the anchor in about 3m of water, with submarine rocks lurking not too far away, at 16:00, having covered all of 19 miles.

What a cracking spot! It was beautiful, not only from an aesthetic point of view but also from a sailor’s perspective, there was no direction that  the wind could come from that would cause any concern, it was so protected.

Having anchored, we had to swim to cool off. Now I haven’t mentioned this to date, at least I don’t believe so, but the Baltic in these parts isn’t exactly pristine and clear. In fact I don’t believe we have seen clear water once this summer. Right now, the problem is due to a plague of blue-green algae or cyanobacteria. As I’m typing this in Turku and I have access to the internet, here is a URL if you should care to know more :-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyanobacteria

These vital little organisms (they contribute very significantly to the earth’s oxygen levels) are all well and good but in certain conditions, their numbers can explode and give rise to a green scum that floats on the surface ie not inviting for swimming and to add to the problem, certain species can give off some very nasty toxins, so definitely no swimming. The Finns believe that water quality has deteriorated largely because the Russians don’t concern themselves with anti-pollution measures (I am only reporting what I have been told, I have no opinion, at least none that I will go into print over!) but whatever the cause, they are right to be concerned, as we all should be. For the Baltic to turn from a clean, clear sea to one that light doesn’t penetrate more than a few feet, is concerning. Anyway, back to the swim, here it wasn’t too bad so we did swim, the water was a refreshing 22°C, cool enough to make you breathe in sharply but warm enough to be enjoyable once in.

That evening we had a barbecue and spent the whole evening on deck, absorbing the lovely light and scenery. If this is Baltic cruising, bring it on!!! One last point I forgot to mention earlier, we saw two white tailed sea eagles whilst we were travelling – fabulous birds, they are so big. Here is a URL if you’re interested:-  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White-tailed_Eagle
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