Our northernmost point

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

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Flag of Finland  , Western Finland,
Thursday, July 28, 2011

The promised strong northerly wind hadn't appeared but the weather had changed somewhat, as although it was still very warm, it was overcast and grey. We had 13 miles to go and were in no great hurry so we set off at 09:30 under engine against the light breeze. As the two 'coasts’ came together in our approach to Turku, consisting of the islands of Ruissalo and Hirvensalo, we were able to discern some rather fine houses / summer houses on the opposing banks. Mind you, some of them, on the southern side (on Hirvensalo) seemed to be entirely in the wrong place, with no sun on them, ever, due to the direction they were facing and the ever-present fir trees.

Our end-point was the small guest harbour as close as possible to the centre of Turku, on the north bank of the river Aura. Unusually, rather than the Swedish system, here they have deployed the feared Danish Box, ie two poles you have to fit between and have to estimate their width and hope that they are wider than your boat. Most of the available spaces were obviously too narrow and then we found one – but the pontoon was so low that we wouldn’t be able to drive in, as the drop down from our bows onto the pontoon was too high and therefore the only option was to reverse in. By now the breeze was significantly stronger and reversing into a narrow space (easy in a car, a nightmare in a boat with a long keel!) was accomplished, without too many scratches to the boat. We were tying up when the harbour master came and told us that it was reserved! Thankfully, he took pity on us and decided that the incoming boat could go somewhere else, so we could relax.

By now it was lunch time and red hot again. As well as high temperatures, we also had very high humidity and indeed, this manifested itself as strong thundery rain in mid-afternoon. All we wanted to do today was the laundry and some shopping so we didn’t mind, as the rain conveniently stopped when we needed it to. A quick word on the laundry. Commonly in Finland, you pay a single charge for washing and drying – annoying as we like to dry washing on the line if possible so we are wasting money, paying for a facility we don’t use. It’s not a fortune, usually about €5 a wash and dry, but here they have adopted a pay via the mobile phone system, that somehow adds an additional €1.5 to the bill. They have to come with you when you load the machine, then they dial a number and lo! the machine works. Talk about too much technology. What was wrong with putting coins into the machine??? This way it required a person to stop what they were doing to come and do the business and it cost an additional 28% or so – what is the sense in that? Must have been a hell of a salesman that did that particular deal!!!

I said we wanted to do some shopping. It transpires that the nearest supermarket was across the river from us and the bridge about half a mile away. However, just by the end of the jetty for the marina was a little chain ferry, continually plying to and fro across the brown, murky water. This is a free service and apparently has been operating in one form or another for over 100 years. The Föri service certainly was popular, there was always a few people, with or without bikes, taking advantage of this facility. We did too and the supermarket was just across the road from where it docked, so it couldn’t have been more convenient.

One last point and reverting back to the cyanobacteria story – our neighbours that came in after us yesterday hailed from somewhere north in the Gulf of Bothnia. They say that there the waters are clear and as they should be, so perhaps here is some more evidence that it is pollution (from wherever) that is causing the local and not so local waters to look so unappealing.
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