Archive | M/V Dirona RSS feed for this section

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…

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…

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…

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…

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,…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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,…