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Trip to Finland 15.12.2003 - 30.1.2004

updates: 15.12.  23.12.  1.1.  12.1.  21.1.  30.1. 

15.12.2003 Helsinki, Finland
Our journey from Cordova began with delay. When we drove into the ferry terminal at midnight - after packing the car, turning off heat and water, closing all the valves, including the toilet, in the boat - there was no ferry. Nor any other people. We found a note on the office door telling that due to bad weather, Tustumena ferry was late, and at 8 am they will know more about the schedule. So there was nothing else to do than drive back to Kristiina. Hannu got the heat on after several attemps, and we went to bed. Although we had several days to our flight, we felt a bit worried how to get to Anchorage if the ferry would be out of question. With charter flight? Airtaxi? Fishing vessel? But the ferry left the next day at 2 pm, so we arrived to Valdez at 8 pm. Instead of a daylight drive we had to drive over the mountains during the night. But that night couldn't have been more beautiful: full moon, stars and northern lights. The moon light was reflexing from white mountain slopes and the sky was burning green. Hannu didn't know where to look, at the road or the sky. There was very little traffic and the road was clean. We stopped at Glenallen where the gas station thermometer was showing -26 F (-36 C)! We had noticed the freezing after getting to inland, we had our hats on in the car. The thought of car stopping in the middle of the mountains in that freezing climate was a bit exciting. But the "super-subaru" was running  well, and at 3 am we were knocking Hoyla's door. It was fantastic to get into a warm bed.
Our three days in Anchorage were full of visits and parties. We celebrated Finland's Independence Day with 15 Finns. The next day the Anchorage Finnish Society had it's Christmas Party. The society is established in 1921, and presently it has about 100 members.

Niko seems to be a bit afraid of "Joulupukki"

Pirkko negociating gift swap with Nancy Patson, 
the president of the Anchorage Finnish Society

Monday morning we started our flights to Helsinki, arriving on Tuesday evening local time. Tired but happy.

Hannu getting a hair cut before our Finland trip


23.12.2003 Helsinki, Finland

Our Yacht Club Sindbad and Cafe Meri (Cafe Sea)

Merianu and Masa

The sea got frosen in one night

The club house and dock B boats

The sun rose at 9.24 in Helsinki
There is more light every day now!



Lauttasaari 1.1.2004

Happy New Year!

12.1.2004 Helsinki, Finland
Five weeks past, two ahead here in Finland. It has been a bit hard to adjust to the busy lifestyle, when we are so used to slower pace. Our ability to take pressure has shrinken in boat-life. In former life there was no difficulty handling ten matters in a time, now two creates a stress. But why to worry - for no reason, actually.
The best has been meeting friends and relatives. Long discussions, shared memories, laugh. Small happenings that you don't tell in e-mails. Also the New Year's Eve party, arranged by our Yacht Club Sindbad, was hilarious: good feeling, house full of people (some 80!), lot of talk, a little dancing, and the normal hassle. We had camera with us, but took no photos - it was a real party and "free" night. So this time: only text, no photos.

21.1.2004 Helsinki, Finland
We visited Lauttasaari school and had the best audience ever. The ten years old were exited, interested and fun! Two hours with the kids made us feel good, too.

The last week is going on with all the hazzle, so this is all the text this time. On Friday we are on the air at Radio YleQ, and from the beginning of February our everyday radio reports start again.


30.1.2004 Anchorage, Alaska, USA
The return to USA wasn't as easy as departure seven weeks ago. And I don't mean the fingerprints - ours were not even taken. We had to go through an investigation and inspection. But about that later. We were so lazy with the updates during our stay in Finland, that let's fill that up first. Because of the jet lack we have woken at 5 am, and have had good time to select photos and think about the update.
Let's go first to Yacht Club Sindbad. On the Christmas night - before the frozy conditions shown in the picture - we happened to be in the right place in right time, and saved a 27 metre steel ship, Joanna Saturna, beautifully restorated by it's owner Mikko Karvonen. Storm and high water level had cut all the ropes except one in the stern. Joanna Saturna was ready to sail by its own. The stern was above the dock, and the dinghy - hanging highest - was banging a boat ashore. Fortunately, that boat had solid rack, because felling of one boat would have caused a domino effect and taken the whole row of boats down. So, we had no other choice than try to get the bow back to the dock. Hannu's brother Jaakko was also there, and he called the other harbour master, Timo Puikkonen to help. Hannu was able to climbe on the deck. He managed to tie some broken ropes together so that we got a line ashore. And then we just pulled. Wind was giving the rhythm, because there was no use fighting against the 30 m/s (60 knots) gusts. Little by little the bow started to turn, and we got the line around a bollard. Then it was easier to pull. Timo arrived with Leena and with them the 150 tons (300 US tons) of Joanna Saturna turned to the dock like a toy.

Joanna Saturna, built in 1903 in Holland, is a 
27 metre long steel ship, which Mikko has restorated

The latest speciality of Sindbad: 
A-mast designed by Eero Harilainen

We didn't take any photos in the New Year Eve Party, but Pertti Duncker sent us the ones below. Besides club members, there we some of our other friends in the party. Like Leena and Timo Hopeavuo, who spent 10 years sailing around. Their aluminium sloop Tinja returned to Finland the same year we left. There were also Ami Salo and Britt-Marie Söderström, the couple of Jenny Wilhelmina, which is at the moment located in the warm waters of Philippines.

Timo and Leena Hopeavuo, who spent 10 years sailing around. Tinja returned to Finland in 2001.
Photo: Pertti Duncker.

Britt-Marie and Ami, the couple of Jenny Wilhelmina, which is located in the warmth of Philippines.
Photo: Pertti Duncker.

The New Year Eve Party at Yacht Club Sindbad was fun, and the
house full: 80 people. We had a slide show in the beginning of the evening.

Phtoto: Pertti Duncker

We also spent some time at our cottage in Padasjoki. We hadn't seen the cabin and sauna completely finished, because they were built just befoe we left. The cozy and tranquil place was a good counter-balance for the busy Helsinki.

Brothers Hannu and Jaakko spent a weekend at the cabin with their sons. The snow machine ride is a must!

150 km/h

We visited a live programme at Radio YleQ, and met some of the people at the radio station. Hannu saw the first time Jukka, with whom he has been talking on the phone for two years. We also met Susanna Korhonen, who hosted our stories for a year in her "Samettiaamu" Sunday morning programme.
We also got ourselves in TV. MTV3 starts a new programme called Navigare. The pilot episode on the 8th of February is telling about Kristiina and us.

Tuomas Enbuske preparing for the interview

People at Radio YleQ : from right Anne Haaja, Jukka Kuosmanen, Jussi Alinen and Susanna Korhonen

At last it was time to travel back to Alaska. Our last week was very busy. It seems to have no matter how long you stay in Finland, always you are busy in the end. One of the very last things we did, was a purchase of an inflatable kanoe from Maritim as a part of our NautiKarlsson sponsorship.

Our first stop in US was in Minneapolis. We were taken from the customs line and directed to a closer inspection by the immigration. An inland customs point was maybe not the best place to convince the officials that we are living in a sailboat and will be sailing out of the country in six months time. All our things - five bags and backpacks - were taken somewhere for inspection. (And all the stuff was really messed through). Hannu was worried about the dried mushrooms we had with us, but I didn't have time for that, I had other things to think: an investigation. A tuff looking woman took me to a small room, put a video tape on, and started to ask questions. Besides more "normal" questions like are we married, do we have children, do we have an apartment, what do we do for living, I had to tell what animals I had seen in Alaska, and other odd stuff. After nine hours flight you are not at your smartest, but I managed pretty well. Only when she asked what we are doing all the days long, I had troubles. Yes, actually, what are we doing during the days? We never seem to be bored or to have any extra time. And did she mean when we are sailing or now in winter time? Finally, I came with an answer: we enjoy life.
The officer started to go through my handbag: she read the diary and notebook, went through the phonebook and wallet, counted our money, and looked at my make-up purse. Then I was left alone, and after a while I was called out. In the meanwhile, Hannu had nervously waited outside. Then at last our passports were stamped and we were in the country. If someone is interested in details, we both have a 10 years visa, and we also carried the boat papers and licenses.

What an experience! Afterwards it seemed even a bit funny. From Minneapolis our journey continued with a six-hour flight to Anchorage, where our friends Antti and Pirkko waited for us.

The next day we dig our super car out from the snow in -20 C. No vain have we called Subaru "super": it started with first try! We missed - or more preciously didn't want to hurry - the Cordova ferry. The next one is sailing after a week. But we are not in a hurry any longer.

We had to dig Subaru...

...out from snow. Anchorage is experiencing a real winter.


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