The Scenic Route

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From the Aland Islands, we’d run fairly directly to Helsinki and then on to the Saimma Lakes. On the return, we took a more scenic route that brought us closer to shore-side infrastructure and settlements. The boating season hadn’t really started when we were heading east, but was well underway on on the westbound trip—it had been a while since we’d encountered heavy recreational traffic, perhaps not since Sydney Harbour in late 2015.

Below are trip highlights from June 20th through 22nd, 2019 along the south coast of Finalnd. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at

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Terminal Hamina
The extensive tank farm at Terminal Hamina.
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Spitfire curled up to sleep in one of his favourite spots, on a small shelf above the stairs from the pilot house to the staterooms.
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Unusually large marks delineating the channel at the narrows of Ruotsinsalmi.
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Fort Slava
Looking south to the round fortification of Fort Slava, completed in 1794 when Finland was under Swedish control.
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Terminal Kotka
Not far from Terminal Hamina is Terminal Kotka. The Port of HaminaKotka is the biggest universal port in Finland, handling cargo ranging from containers to RoRo to liquid bulk to LNG.
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Ruotsinsalmi Battle Monument
Memorial to the Battle of Ruotsinsalmi (English: Svensksund) in which the Swedish navy crushed the Russian fleet, ending the Russo-Swedish war of 1788-1790. It was Sweden’s largest naval victory and one of the biggest naval battles in history. 275 Swedish ships with 450 cannons and 14,000 men faced 200-275 Russian ships with 900 cannons and 18,500 men. The Swedish lost 6 ships with 600-700 men killed and wounded, while Russia lost 50-80 ships with 10,000 men wounded, killed and captured.
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Pulpca of Amsterdam en route to Terminal Kotka.
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Dredger pulling up a load just west of Kotka as part of a terminal expansion project.
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Blog reader Jarmo Suominen sent us this photo he took from his family’s summer house on the island of Langon.
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Pleasure Craft
We saw hardly any pleasure craft underway between Helsinki and Santio Island three weeks ago, but now that the summer season has started we’re seeing far more. This one is from France.
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A great campsite perched above a cliff on Stora Vadholmen.
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Hastholmen Loviisa Nuclear Power Station
The Hastholmen Loviisa Nuclear Power Station is a prominent landmark in the area. The plant initially came online in 1977 and has two reactors each producing 488 Megawatts.
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At anchor for the night off the island of Emasalo just south of Porvoo after a 12-hour run from Pieni-Pisi. We quite enjoyed the spot, tucked in amongst islets with a view to the pleasure craft traffic in the channel to our north.
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Emasalontie Bridge
Approaching the Emasalontie bridge to the island of Emasalo just south of last night’s anchorage.
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Border Guard
A large Finnish Border Guard station by the Emasalontie bridge.
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Kilpilahti Industrial Area
The huge Kilpilahti Industrial Area is home to the Neste Porvoo Refinery, among the most advanced in Europe. The refinery has a capacity of 10.5 million tons per year, or 206,000 barrels per day. They have a tank capacity of 8 million cubic meters and their oil terminal is the largest in Finland with respect to tonnage and receives 1,100-1,400 ships per year. At least five ships were on the docks when we passed.
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The tiny island of Gadden is full of dead trees packed with nesting cormorants, similar to Lilla Kallskar we’d seen in southeast Sweden. We wondered if the cormorants favour the dead trees or if they were somehow responsible for the trees not making it.
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Another bonfire ready to go for tonight’s Midsummer Eve celebration, this one on the outskirts of Helsinki.
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Hevossalmi Bridge
We managed to pass through the Hevossalmi Bridge this time. When we’d tried on departing Helsinki, we found the website was wrong and the bridge opening time had been change from reported 24 hours a day to not beginning until 7:30am.
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As part of our scenic route return along the south coast of Finland, we made a pass through Helsinki harbour. This is the view to the sea fortress Soumenlinna that we visited while in Helsinki, with King’s Gate Quay prominent.
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The massive Baltic ferry Gabriella entering Helsinki Harbour through the narrow 400-ft (120m) channel between Suomenlinna and Vallisaari. It looks and is crazy tight, and they’re doing 12 knots.
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View to Helsinki as we pass through the harbour.
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Baltic Ferries
The Baltic ferries Finlandia and Megastar passing en route in and out of Helsinki West Harbour.
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We stopped for a bit off West Harbour to watch Megastar come onto the dock. This is the ship we took to return from Tallin to Helsinki.
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Heavy recreational craft traffic in the islands south of Helsinki—boats at speed were constantly passing close by on either side. We prefer cruising in the off-season and it’s been a while since we’ve been somewhere so busy with recreational traffic, perhaps not since Sydney Harbour in late 2015.
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Close Call
This is the fourth or fifth time we have been on a collision course with this same sailboat over the last ten minutes. They are under sail and we’re under power, so it’s our responsibility to stay out of their way. We have had to nearly stop twice to allow them to pass just barely in front of us, and once we had to speed up to allow them pass behind us. We don’t like operating in unnecessarily close quarters, but it seems that whatever speed we operate at, this boat will soon be sailing directly towards us again.
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Happy Midsummer Eve
Two locals noticed our boat anchored off their summer home, found our website, and came over to wish us a Happy Midsummer Eve and even brought us a bottle of wine. The man on the right was from Australia and had married a Finn, his father-in-law is on the left. The Finns are unusually friendly. We’ve had more people come out to greet us, say hello or offer us travel recommendations than we’ve had anywhere else in the world.
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A Search and Rescue (SAR) boat passed by several times during the evening. Midsummer Eve often is accompanied by a fair amount of drinking and is has one of the biggest accident rates of any Finnish holiday, so the officials are out in force.
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Passing through the narrow channel Sillsundet as we proceed west shortly past 5am.
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Cute Creater
We couldn’t identify this cute little creature with unusually large ears that swam across our bow this morning. It looks like a muskrat, but its ears seem too large.
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South Coast
The southern Finnish coast is incredibly complex with myriad islands and channels through them. We regret not having more time to explore the area and are considering returning in a couple of seasons to spend more time here and in the Gulf of Bothnia.
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The 164ft (50m) salmon-colored Hanko water tower is a prominent landmark visible for miles. An elevator carries visitors to the top for sweeping views.
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Sweet Hope
Nordhavn 64 Sweet Hope at it’s homeport of Hanko. Owners Mika Naatula and Katri Rosenberg gave us great advice on cruising in Finland and particularly Lake Saimaa.

If you are interested in cruising through some of the wonderful places we’ve visited in the past few weeks, or if you just want to spend some time learning about a Nordhavn, Sweet Hope is available for charter. Their boat is beautiful and it’s hard to get more knowledgeable hosts than Mika and Katri. Check out some of the itineraries at the bottom of

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18th century coastal fortification on Gustavsvarn, built when Finland was still under Swedish control. The light station there was established in 1865 when Russia controlled the area.
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Hanko Coast Guard Station on the tip of the peninsula Tulliniemi, the most southern point in mainland Finland.
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Pilot Boat
Hanko Pilot boat station adjacent to the Coast Guard Station.
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We found a lovely sheltered and secluded spot east of the islands Brannskaret and Svedjeholmen. We’d looked on the north side of the islands of Marskaret and Barsskaret, but it felt to exposed to the westerly winds.
Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at


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8 comments on “The Scenic Route
  1. Rikard Stenberg says:

    Cormorants are a big controversy at least in Sweden, the islands they usually choose for their nesting colonies become totally barren after a few years as their droppings/guano kill everything growing there.

    And the amount of fish that a large colony like this eats per day is staggering and really makes a huge impact on the fish population.

    They are considered to be a an invasive species in Sweden and people are trying to lower the population by hunting and egg collecting but so far they are spreading in a more or less uncontrolled manner.

    So the trees you saw in Finland had been killed by the birds, yes.

    • Wow, I love the Cormorants but those Islands have just been wiped out from all tree life. I can see why it’s controversial. Thanks for the background on the problem.

  2. Aymeric says:

    I don’t know where to post it so i let my post here. have you heard about the rebirth of diesel engines outboards? OXE make a 200hp and a 300hp and yanmar relaunch a brand new 50hp hitech diesel. does the yanmar should be on your list if you have to change your outboard for any reason ? thank you. take care.

    • Yes, I’ve looked at both. What’s prompting this is primary military markets deciding they want to go with a single fuel. But many boaters including us would like to get Gasoline off the boat since it’s really fairly dangerous and we end up carrying large amounts. The problem is diesels don’t scale down to small outboards very well tending to be large and heavy. Unlike our 55 ton boat, in a small boat weight makes a big difference to performance. Our current 50hp engine is only 214lbs (97kg) which would be very hard to do with a diesel. Lastly the diesels are fairly expensive whereas our current gas powered 50hp is under US$8000. In a small boat like our 12′ tender, gas still looks like the most practical solution.

      • Eric Patterson says:

        Is a shame no doubt. I looked closely at diesel for the single fuel reason but decided against for the very reasons you cite. We plan on a second “gunk” tender inflatable with an electric outboard BTW.

        • We have a second tender as well that’s light enough that we can carry it with motor between us. We use it to land in the surf, in places where we need to do a short portage, and rarely where we don’t want to expose the big tender to theft risk (rarely a concern). Our small tender is slow with only a 2.3hp Honda. The advantage of the gas motor is it’s very light and under 30 lbs. The downside is it’s not as clean as electric but at least it’s a 4 stroke.

  3. Aymeric says:

    i think the sailing boat has a french flag not netherlands one. always amazing reading you

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