Archive For The “Finland” Category

Historic Steamship Tour

Historic Steamship Tour

In our 28th Technology Series episode, we tour the historic steamships SS Savonlinna and SS Punkaharju and take a 90-minute cruise of the area on the SS Punkaharju. The ships are located in Savonlinna, Finland within the Great Saimaa Lakes system. Steamships have long been a popular form of transit in the area and the…

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Return to Sweden

Return to Sweden

We returned to Sweden from Uto, Finland six weeks after we’d departed for Aland and Finland, and had an easy crossing of the north Baltic Sea. As with our last stop in Sweden, we anchored for the night on the edge of the archipelago, this time near the island of Fejan. But this time we…

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Uto

Uto

Uto is right at the southwest tip of Finland, and a natural place for a military base. The Russians first built one here on their western border with Sweden and enhanced it in the early 1900s to protect from an increased threat from Germany. The area is full of guns and military fortifications that appear…

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The Scenic Route

The Scenic Route

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…

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Great Saimaa Lakes

Great Saimaa Lakes

Some of the best places we have visited in our cruise around the world were destinations we hadn’t heard of before arriving in the area. The Great Saimaa Lake system is a beautiful example. We knew we wanted to visit Finland and were looking forward to exploring the thousands of islands that make it a…

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Saimaa Canal Exit

Saimaa Canal Exit

On our exit from the Saimaa Canal, we passed through all eight locks, cleared out of Finland, through Russia, and back into Finland all in one busy 15-hour run. As with our entry, the boat was searched extensively at the Russian border, but otherwise the process went smoothly. And also as on the inbound journey,…

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Return to Lappeenranta

Return to Lappeenranta

From Lake Pihlajavesi we ran 71 miles back to Lappeenranta, overnighting partway along. We’d gone through almost all the gasoline we bought in Nynashamn back in April, so stopped off at Puumala to fill our gas tanks for the tender and top up our diesel. At Lappeenranta we found a surprisingly secluded anchorage just north…

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Lake Pihlajavesi

Lake Pihlajavesi

The Saimaa Ringed Seal are among the most endangered in the world, with a current population below 400 animals. They have been isolated from other Ring Seal species for nearly 10,000 years when the the land rose in the last ice age, and are one of the few living freshwater seals. Sightings are rare, but…

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Imatra

Imatra

Imatrankoski, the rapids on the Vuoksi River, have been a tourist attraction since the late 1700s and are one of 27 “National Landscapes of Finland” selected for their great symbolic value and cultural or historical significance. Since 1929 the rapids have been blocked by the Imatra Hydroelectric Plant, but the dam is regularly opened in…

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Punkaharju Ridge

Punkaharju Ridge

The Punkaharju Ridge near Savonlinna is a centuries-old travel route formed about 10,000 years ago when the continental glacier receded in eastern Finland. The natural beauty of the area has attracted tourists for two centuries and today the region is protected as a nature reserve and has been designated one of 27 “National Landscapes of…

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Savonlinna

Savonlinna

The Swedish began building Olavinlinna castle in 1475 to strengthen their eastern border with Russia, and the town of Savonlinna grew up around the fortification. Today the city of 33,000 hosts the Savonlinna Opera Festival at Olavinlinna, annually drawing about 60,0000 visitors. Savonlinna also is the home port of Finland’s largest fleet of historic steamships,…

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Kuopio

Kuopio

Puijo Hill in Kuopio is only 490 feet (150m) high, but is one of the tallest in the area. Three observation towers have been built there since 1856, with the current 246-ft (75m) tower providing spectacular 360° views of the Saimaa Lake system. Ski jumping also has been popular on Puijo Hill since the late…

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Varistaipale and Taivallahti Canals

Varistaipale and Taivallahti Canals

The Varistaipale and Taivallahti canals form the final two lock systems in the famed Heinavesi route and provide boat access to the monastary at Valamo. The Varistaipale Canal is notable in having a flight of four locks, the most of any Finnish canal. The maximum draft for vessels to pass through is 1.8m, too shallow…

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The Heinavesi Route

The Heinavesi Route

The Heinavesi route is a historic system of canals and locks built in the early 1900s in Finland’s Saimaa Lakes region. The waterway initially carried significant commercial traffic, but today is mainly used by pleasure craft and tour boats and is one of 27 “National Landscapes of Finland” selected for their great symbolic value and…

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Linnansaari

Linnansaari

Linnansaari National Park on Lake Haukivesi encompasses 15 sq miles (38 sq km) of beautiful Saimaa Lakes scenery. Established in 1956 to protect the natural landscape of the Finnish lakeland, the park also is a habitat for the critically endangered Saimaa Ringed Seal. After a 68-mile run from Puumala through fabulous lake scenery, we anchored…

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Puumala

Puumala

Puumala sits on a chokepoint in the Saimaa Lakes region—all vessel traffic must pass through the 1000ft (300m) Puumalansalmi channel to reach the towns and cities to the north. Spanning the gap is the 2,562ft (781m) Puumalansalmi Bridge, one of the largest highway bridges in Finland. And built into the bridge is the Saimaanmajakka observation…

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