Period 08/07-30/07
Tallinn (Estonia)-Helsinki-Finnish Archipelago- Aland islands (a.o. Mariehamn)- Swedish Archipelago-Stockholm

This report describes our journey from Helsinki up and until Stockholm.
The map is attached at the right side.
It did take more time than I wanted to publish this report. Estonia had internet in almost all places, while in Sweden and Finland it is scarcely spread.

Helsinki is a very beautiful city. All building and the environment do get a lot of care.
It is an enjoyable atmosphere. However, it can’t compete with Tallinn (beauty) or Stockholm (both beauty and atmosphere).
Many buildings have been designed in a neo-classic style (for example The Dom) or in a Jugendstil style (many apartment buildings and especially banks). Also the Russian influence from the past is clearly visible. In summary, a very interesting mix of architectural design, but also of people.
At one of the many harbours every day there is a market, where they sell delicious food, vegetables, fish and even fur caps at high summer temperatures. It is very enjoyable to loaf about the market and the market halls. There are also people that are coming by small boat to this market to sell their stuff (fish and vegetables) from their boat moored at the quay next to the market.
The Russian church is very dominantly present at a rock next to our harbour. Both the exterior and interior are beautiful. Another special church has been built in a rock with a roof that distributes the light magnificently. In addition, the rest of the building materials are very well chosen.   
During our walking tours we discover also an official washing place for the well known, weaved carpets, a facility built from wood on the rocks at the waterside. They wash and scrub the carpets with sea water. There are also a wringer and a stand for drying……all this in the city!
We enjoy all the beautiful things: a good restaurant and a good wine in an outdoor café, where they have every day jazz concerts during the month of July.
Next to the enjoyable things, after some phone calls, I manage to get a new pump for the toilet. Luckily, it is on an island nearby and reachable by bus. Installing has been straightforward.

After 3 days of Helsinki at July 11, we start our voyage along the Finnish coast, the Archipelago and the Åland islands, between Finland and Sweden. The first remarkable thing is the enormous emptiness and forest. Of course there are also many rocks and bays with now and then a holiday house. Finland has only 5 million inhabitants at a surface that is about 7 times The Netherlands (there are 16 million Dutch inhabitants). 15% of the people live in Helsinki and some other ‘large’ cities take another 20%, so the rest of the country is empty with, according to the information we got, about 180000 lakes and about the same amount of islands. It is understandable that it is very quiet and an excellent environment for sailing, but (in any case I) love also the moments that we see and meet people. The Finnish language is very difficult, even in written format for us not comprehensible. Luckily, most people speak English or at least Swedish. Most of the directions are also written in Swedish.
Arthur Kleinjan, the son of Nelleke and Arie, enjoys for a day of two the sailing through the Archipelago too. We more in the natural harbour Dragsviken, where the local shop is also functioning as a restaurant and harbour office. In Inkoo,  Arthur leaves us to travel with the bus to Helsinki airport.
Many of the villages consist of only a few houses, all situated at the boarder of the forest or in the forest, a small harbour with a few moorings (most for motor boats, because that is their transportation vehicle), a quay for the ferry and a shop annex cafeteria annex meeting place. In the forest, you see a lot of wild strawberries, currants and especially all kinds of mosses. It is really beautiful and pure nature.
The waterways lead us very close to the rocks, but are all very well marked.
The photographs try to give an impression of the variety of the environment and all things around us: magnificent nature, beautiful skies and fantastic sunsets. On top of that, the weather is excellent.
At the west coast of Finland, there are immense amounts of islands, of which a lot are protected from a nature point of view. Most of them have a small harbour, well equipped with the basics, although mostly no water or electricity. The latter two are extremely expensive to have on the small islands. The Finnish islands change without notice into the Åland islands (also Finnish, but with a special status). Very remarkable islands are Jungfruskär (literally Virgin Island), Sottunga and Rödhamn.
Jungfruskär is less than, for example, 20% of the island of Wight, rocks, a lot of height differences and forest. Only a few people are living on the island during the whole year. During World War 2, it has played a role in defending the main waterways towards Turku (West Finland). The photo shows a cannon build into a red wooden shed. There was also a bunker in the rocks.
At max about 10 boats, can more at the pontoon. During summer, also some people are arriving by ferry to study the birds and plants. It has about 10 holiday homes. There is really tranquillity.
Sottunga is a slightly bigger island (about Wight) belonging to the Åland islands. There is more tourism and it has about 150 permanent inhabitants. Still it is beyond our imagination: the main village exists from a library, a store and a small school with about five houses around it. We are biking and in the evening Nelleke and Tineke enjoy a sauna. I spoke with a Finnish woman and she told me that normally she takes the sauna once a day, but in summer during holiday she wants it to be twice a day. She was selecting the harbours on the availability of a sauna……
The island has a church completely build from wood, including the roof. The photograph of houses at Sottunga, in the evening light, has a bit of a surrealistic look.  
Rödhamn, a small paradise, high, rocky island at the south part of the Åland Islands has no permanent inhabitants. During summer, there live a few people on the island. A Swedish female artist and her partner exploit the harbour. They have a traditional red wooden house where they sell some goods, smoked fish and serve coffee and thee with home baked cake. In the morning, they deliver warm bread to the boats. Excellent service! There is also a small gallery with beautiful aquarelles of the island under different weather conditions and in several seasons. We do a lot of walking over the small island and see a snake escaping. There is also a small museum showing the function of the island during the period before GPS and DECCA, namely as a radio station for the navigation of the shipping. Also here, there have been several skirmishes during World War 2. 
The Åland Island has a very active history. It has been in Russian possession, then Swedish and from the independence of Finland (away from Russia) in 1917, Finland did claim the islands. Today they are Finnish with a very special status and the main language is Swedish…. 
It is a holiday paradise for Swedes, Finns, and many foreigners. Boats and cruising ferries are sailing on and off. They cross the islands on their way from Stockholm to Helsinki or the other way around. All have a stop in Mariehamn, the capital. We pay also a visit to Mariehamn, but except for the cosy harbour, we are not impressed by the city itself. The islands are much more attractive!

On July 23, we leave Finland and sail the 30 miles to Sweden. Arholma is a beautiful island with a bay. We stay there anchoring for two days. We swim, go to the shore with the dinghy and walk over the island. We visit the gallery of an 80+ year old artist. The exhibition is in a barn from the eighteenth century.  The man is excited and tells us in about 20% English and the rest Swedish the story of his life, but also a lot about his creations. At the island, there are no cars and only a few permanent inhabitants.

There is some tourism (all arrive by ferry for a day or a few days). At the other side of the island, there is a ‘restaurant’ with a real wooden dance Floor. During summer, every Saturday they have a Tango course. We have a lunch at the outdoor terrace, which is on the rocks. The last speciality of the island is a Beacon with again an exhibition (people need to have something to do being on those islands all alone). From the top of the Beacon, there is a beautiful view at the Archipelago and the route we took from Mariehamn.
From Arholma we go to the city Norrtälje. It has nice old wooden houses and the river crossing the village has been embellished with surprising Works of art. In the evening, we enjoy a beer in an outside café and an excellent Blues concert by three young performers.
The beautiful weather continues and we are anchoring to a rock at Stor Asken. We have a swim and in the evening, we barbecue ashore. It is very quiet. Also the next days we are anchoring at several places, of which one is the bay of Hemviken at the island Grinda. The water is deep; we throw the anchor at about 12 meters. Only about 25 meters from the boat, the depth is 30-50 meters! We go to the shore with the dinghy and enjoy at 25+ degrees a wine at a rock terrace. Water nymphs are posing in all variations. On July 29, we sail to the small city Vaxholmen. From the harbour, there is a very nice view on islands in the neighbourhood.
We are very close to Stockholm. Last year we did spend 5 days in Stockholm. Now we decide to go by ferry for one long day. It saves some sailing days. Personally I find Stockholm the most beautiful and attractive city, I know. A fantastic atmosphere, many outdoor activities and cafés, a magnificent old centre (Gamla Stan) with many small and cosy alleys. Stockholm has loads of nice buildings and museums. I have added only a few photographs: the skyline, Gamla Stan and a special ‘Change of the Guard’.
More photographs in last years report (please send a mail if you do not have this).

In about a month from now, there will be a short report describing the last part of our voyage.




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 Map of this period

Skyline of Helsinki

Helsinki-our harbour in the evening sun

Helsinki-Russian church

Helsinki-Russian church

Helsinki-the Dom

Helsinki-cafe/terrace-jazz concerts

Helsinki-daily market-fur hats at  25 degrees celcius

Helsinki-daily market-food,food....

Helsinki-daily market-local farmers sell from a small boat 

Helsinki-cleaning/washing carpets

Helsinki-carpets wringing and drying

Helsinki-church in a rock

Helsinki-church in a rock

Helsinki- with Arthur Kleinjan

Helsinki-ice break boats ready to go.....

Finland-Archipelago:rocks, forest, water and some holiday homes


Finland-pure nature, several species of mosses

Finland-waterways very well marked

Finland-almost unnatural nature

Finland-anchoring, view at 11 pm...


Finland-Junkfruskär, Tineke enjoying

beautiful skies

Aland islands-Sottunga

Aland islands-Rödhamn

Aland islands Rödhamn, left over of the midsummer tree

Aland islands-Rödhamn

Aland islands-Rödhamn

Rödhamn-escaping snake

Aland islands-Mariehamn, harbour

Arholma-anchoring in a bay

Arholma-charming rowing to the shore

Arholma- the beacon

Arholma - route to Mariehamn

Arholma - 'restaurant' with dance floor


Norrtälje - art in the river

Norrtälje - dilemma

Stor Asken - anchoring to a rock

Grinda-Hemviken-rock nimphs
warming the back after swimming

Grinda-Hemviken-rock nimphs

Grinda-Hemviken-rock nimphs
terrace of the local pub



Vaxholmen-rock ownership....

with the ferry

Stockholm-skyline of Gamla Stan

Stockholm-Gamla Stan

Stockholm-Gamla Stan

Stockholm-changing of the guard...