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A boat tour around Helsinki will give us an overview of the surroundings of the city. We take the boat in the southern port, in front of the market stalls, where at 11:00 am the life starts slowly again. The weather is a little cloudy, but it will brighten up in the course of the day.
When leaving the harbor, we have the chance to see the ferry MS Silja Serenade from the proximity. The size of the ships impresses us again and again.
We pass the island Volosaari, the white island with two restaurants. The restaurant NJK also houses a sailing center.
As soon as we round the Kaivopuisto peninsula, we reach Café Ursula. Next to it, is a huge crane for Finland’s highest bungee jumps. A footbridge leads to the water, a place to wash the carpets. The people also dry them here without getting stolen.
Opposite the Mattolaituri Cafe is the island Uunisaari. On the island are a nice beach and an ice hole for swimming in winter. Furthermore, you find three saunas and one bathing barrel there.
The port of Merisatama is a huge berth for private boats. More than 10.000 boats find a place here.
Behind the beach promenade, the noble houses of the neighborhoods Ullanlinna and Eira adorn the silhouette of the city. From the distance, we see the pointed tower of Agricola Church. It is the highest tower in Finland, built in 1935.
We reach the area the west port. were built In the shipyards one built 60% of all Finnish ice-breakers. But today one dismantles the area and gives way to develop new residential areas.
The boot tour leads back to the island of Suomenlinna. Here is the biggest sea fortress in the world. We approach the island in the west. Actually, there are four islands connected by bridges. Besides to Suomenlinna, the islands of Länsi-Must, Pikku-Musta, and Kustaanmiekka belong to it. On the last-mentioned was a shipyard, put in operation already in 1750. Here one built submarines during the 2nd World War. Further islands are in the surrounding area of the sea fortress.
We sail around the islands and see the eastern and southern side. The largest building on the island is the Marine Academy, once a hospital. Next to it is the probably largest private sauna in the world, for 100 people.
A ferry just passes the Strait of Kustaanmiekka. The narrow passage presupposes very good maritime skills.
Here we see last Finnish submarine, the Vesikko. This prototype of the German submarine class II now serves as a museum ship of the Finnish War Museum. It was built here on behalf of the Germans, who were not allowed to build submarines according to the Versailles Treaty.
We pass the famous King’s Gate, which was once the entrance to the fortress. The gate, built in 1748, was equipped with a drawbridge. The opposite island of Vallisaari has also been used for military purposes since the 17th century. An artillery base of Alexander II lies in the middle of the island.
Next to it is the island of Santahamina. It has been used since the 15th century. Even the Vikings have already left their mark here. After the First World War, it served as a prison camp and cemetery in the civil war. More than 1,000 prisoners are buried here. Today, it houses the National Defense University of Finland and other military units.
Offshore is the small island is Vasikkasaari. It houses 50 vacation houses today and is used for outdoor activities. In 1919, a huge explosion destroyed two out of three ammunition camps built by the Russians. In the northern part is a well-known, huge sauna. After the sauna, the people enjoy an opulent meal from the grill.
From afar we can see Kulosaari, the most fashionable district of Helsinki. Here you find many embassies.
We circumnavigate Katajanokka and then the pride of Finland lies in front of us – the ice breakers. These huge ships have to cope with up to 5m thick ice.
Some tall ships moor at the quay of Pohjoissatama. Once again we circle Katajanokka. Here was once Finland’s first airport. From 1924 to 1936 seaplanes landed here. Nowadays, housing estates and hotels are here.
After that, we are back in the south harbor and go to anchor.
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