2007 Baltic Adventure
Page 5
Heading Out!  We're finally in the water in Rauma, FINLAND!  That's Having Fun following us out of the commercial harbor - the Suomigracht is in the background.  We stayed one night at a local marina, then headed for the Åland Islands.
Our first stop was Jurmo in the Åland Islands, a very cute village with a restaurant - and its own Internet site! See sign on barn: "www. jurmo.net"
The first PDQ is launched about two hours after the ship docked in Rauma.  That's Rob & Salwa & ship crew aboard.
In the water in Finland!
The happy couple!  A rare photo of Nancy & I together.  We're wearing our new PDQ Baltic Adventure' 07 shirts made by Bob Bazinet of Havin' Fun.
Those two figures at the top of this 60' tall range-marker are none other than Rob Poirier & Salwa Farah!
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A shot of our chart-plotter showing a section of our tortuous route through the Åland islands.  Note the cardinal buoys.
Without US-style security, we were freely allowed onboard the Suomigracht shortly after she docked in Rauma.  We were able to inspect our boats and go aboard as we wished.  It had been a full month since the boats were loaded in Ft Lauderdale and our boats were wet and dirty.  On one boat, a water-activated life jacket had deployed - inside a locker!  There was minimal damage - except to our Sno' Dog which had its starboard side rail bashed in.  (We later figured out
Note: Click on the photos to
            see them full sized.
minutes - until our transformer quit!  Apparently the cheap ($69) Chinese transformers we bought had some quality-control issues.  (Turns out it was nothing too serious however and we've got them working again - at least, most of the time.)
Heading out the next day south from Rauma and into the Åland Islands provided a test of our navigation skills.  I had charted an inland route - with about 30 waypoints - to our destination of Jurmo - a tiny island amongst the 65,000 islands which comprise the autonomous region of Åland.  The rest of the group, lead by Dick Tuschick aboard Rhumb Line, didn't feel comfortable with the tortuous inside route and so followed a more exposed outside route.  Not to gloat, but we had a lovely calm ride, and we arrived in Jurmo about an hour and half before the others.  That gave us time to buy some smoked fish at a local store which we cooked up for dinner with a cream sauce.  It was excellent.  Jurmo was a lovely little island quite reminiscent of one of Maine's out-islands with its granite and fir trees. But unlike a Maine island, it had its own web site, "www.jurmo.net".
The next day we traveled together through the thousands of islands to a beautiful harbor named Rödhamn ("red harbor" in Swedish - the Ålanders speak Swedish even though they're nominally a part of Finland).  The sun broke through just as we pulled in.  We were all able to grab buoys and back in - as is the custom here. (Actually, the Swedes always moor bow-in.  When I asked why, I was told that this is the custom here, and has been, for the past 300 years!)  For us, without a opening in our forward rails, it's much easier to back in, and use our passarelles from the aft steps, if necessary.  If it's a floating dock, you can simply step ashore from the bottom step).
Freshly-baked bread being delivered by wheel-barrow to the boats in the morning!
All 7 PDQ's moored in Rödhamn - in the Åland Islands
At the marina office, which smelled heavenly, they were selling freshly baked bread.   They were also taking orders for morning bread, which they delivered via wheelbarrow at 8 AM the next day.
Our entire Baltic Group assembled on the rocks in Rödhamn.  The characters are (left to right across the back): Bob"Baz" Bazinet, Mimie Currey, John Mills, Paul Gooding, Ann Gooding Dick Tuschick, Nancy Chandler, Henry Clews, Mamie Hutton, Ann Gaddis, Peter Pockel, Rob Poirier, Rob Cheek, &  (center, front to back):  Jeanne Pockel, Barbara Mills, Charlene Lunick, Carol Tuschick.  Not shown: Salwa Farah, who took the photo.
Revised 09/28/07
Click on photo to see larger
that this had actually occurred when they launched the boats in Rotterdam in order to unload cargo from under the deck.  They somehow managed to get a docking line caught in the propeller.  The line apparently ran over the rail and was cleated amidships, so it put a large kink in our railing and bent or broke many of the stanchion posts on the starboard side.  Sevenstar has said they will pay for a complete replacement, so we will live with it for this trip, then have it replaced when we return to the US.)

When they launched our boats, Sevenstar swung them alongside the ship at deck level to allow us to climb aboard, then we rode down into the water.  Happily, all engines started and we headed off for a nearby marina.  This was our first experience with the Scandinavian buoy system with markers color-coded to identify the direction of safe water.  Black on top, white on bottom means stay north, etc.  Certainly very different from anything we have in the US. (I carried a little "cheat-sheet" in my back pocket for the first few days until I got it memorized.)  Of course, for this system to work, you also have to know which way is N,S, E & W.   (See the chart-plotter photo below.)

At the marina, we were able to fuel up and provision at a nearby market.  We also tried out our step-down transformers by plugging in to the 230-volt, 50-cycle shore power.  Our's worked perfectly - for about 20
From here, we continued on to the capital of Åland, Mariehamn.  We went into the west harbor and found dockage for our fleet of 7 strange-looking boats.  We had a constant procession of curious onlookers in this popular tourist town. The local newspaper sent a reporter and photograpger, and the next morning a photo story appeared on the (back) cover of the Åland Daily News.  At dinnertime, our whole group gathered at the local sailing club restaurant (who's initials in Swedish above the door were "ASS") and we had an excellent dinner.
Click here to see a copy of the Åland Daily News article with full translation.
   Åland Daily News Article