Russia | St. Petersburg | Central River Yacht Club | Al Vladimir (Russian sponsor) Sally
June 30, 2013
Hi just a quick note to let you know they let us out of Russia and we are back in Finland. We are using the SSB as we don't have internet in the anchorage. We had a bit of excitement trying to back out of our berth on the river. The river current just wouldn't let us get away safely. With Alchemy's help we finally just tied her back in. What a puzzle...Vladimir arrived about this time and he called for the Yacht Club rib to help us off. It only cost us 3 beers for the boys who hauled us off. We picked up some half price diesel ($4.00 a gallon) Fuel is very cheap in Russia we'll be paying double that from now on. We left the fuel pontoon Tuesday afternoon and went 15 nm to the Russian customs/immigration control. We had to wait an hour but all went well.
We had a quiet, flat calm seas sail 77nm overnight to Haapasaari Island Passport control, Finland. Again it was light out all night with a full moon. It was so strange with the calm seas and sailing 3-5 kts most of the way. It made for good sleeping. We had a beautiful sunrise about 0430. and arrived at Haapassaari and cleared customs by noon.
After customs we had a short spinnaker run and then nine long hours motoring along the Finnish coast to a beautiful anchorage, Bredoeren, on Emaesalo Island. We were finally anchored and settled for the night about 2200. It didn't matter as it was still light out. This was a nice big anchorage, like and island lake surrounded by trees and a few Finnish summer cottages and sauna. After a quiet good nights sleep, we were busy all day doing boat chores. Al dove on Artemis to check the zincs and prop. Things looked good for not having hauled in over a year to do maintenance. Later after showers Al even found time to make an Aland Islands courtesey flag. That makes 12 that he made for this cruising season. We plan to spend the next month cruising Finland and Sweden. Love Sally and Al
June 24, 2013
Hi Everyone, We made it to Peterhof on Saturday. Antibiotics do wonders Al felt 100% better. The subway stations on the red line were mighty fancy. We got off on Avtovo and the columns were intricately designed and glass! Caught a bus then to Peterhof. Glad we visited Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul before our visit to Peterhof as we were totally worn out after our visit to the Peterhof gardens'
Russia | Baltic Sea | St. Petersburg | Peterhof | Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul
Russia | Baltic Sea | St. Petersburg | Peterhof | Peter the Greats Summer Palace
Peterhof is Peter the Greats Summer Palace. We didn't get inside but friends did. The original furnishings and artwork are replaced in a refurbished palace after it was bombed by Stalin (not Hitler) Stalin heard Hitler was planning a celebration party there so he bombed the palace to keep them out:-) (Al figures it was a good excuse for Stalin to get rid of something so extravagant)
Russia | Baltic Sea | St. Petersburg | Peterhof | lower gardens
We spent four hours in the upper and lower gardens. I posted some pictures on facebook. The fountains and gardens are incredible. It's compared to Versailles with it's huge main palace (several smaller palaces), cascades, fountains and gardens tha t were influenced by Louis XIV summer residence. The Grand Cascade has over 140 fountains. We also toured Monplaisir villa that Peter built and was his favorite retreat.
Russia | Baltic Sea | St. Petersburg | Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
Sunday we went to St. Catherine's church and had an English mass. It's so much nicer celebrating in your own language. We then visited the Church the Savior on Spilled Blood with it's magnificent mosaic paintings and marble floors. It was built on the spot where Tsar Alexander II was killed when his carriage was bombed. We walked lovely Makhailovsky gardens and along the canals. Found a beautiful supermarket, Lunds type on Nevsky blv. Then caught a bus back to Artemis.
Monday we visited the Russian museum with Alchemy and had lunch. We tried to visit the Political museum but it was closed today:-( So back to the boat preparing to leave tomorrow for Finland. If the winds cooperate we'll go 195nm straight to Helsinki area. We've cruised the area in between so we just as soon jump ahead to new cruising grounds. We should arrive on Wednesday evening. Love and God bless Sally and Al
Russsia | St. Petersburg | Neva River | Central River Yacht Club
June 20, 2013
We've had a busy time so far in St. Petersburg. But first about our passage. We left Kotka, Finland at 1500 for Haapasaari Island where we visited Finland Frontier Guard to get customs clearance to head for St. Petersburg. It was blowing 25-30 with gusts over 35 so it was a wild 3 hour ride between the rocks and islands with waves smashing the side of the boat. Sally hid from the spray down below and Al behind his enclosure. One wave got him anyhow:-) We tied up for a couple of ours at Haapassaari and ate dinner hoping the wind would die down a little.
No such luck but once we got beyond the islands (half hour) we were flying along with winds and seas off our starboard quarter. We set the preventer and whisker pole and away we went. The winds did die down around midnight so we took our the double reef in the main and pulled up the mizzen. We were able to sail all but the last 7nm of 77nm to Fort Konstatin, Kronshtadt Island where we had to clear customs and immigration for Russia.
Our Russian agent Vladimir met us there and all went smoothly but it still took 2hrs to complete. Then we had 3 hours motoring to the Central River Yacht Club on Ostrov Petrovskiy (one of the islands above St. Petersburg). We are moored on a substantial finger pontoon and dock on the Malaya Nevka a branch of the Neva River. The people in the Cruising Association Yacht Rally will be moored inside the Central River Yacht Club Harbor. Vladimir met us at the docks and arranged our stay so we have yet to find a marina office and the facilities are rather poor compared to other Baltic ports we've stayed in. We need to walk about 10 min. to a bus stop or about 20 min. to a metro subway stop to get into St. Petersburg (15-20min ride)
Russia | St. Petersburg | Tour with Vladimir|Dick, Ginger, Vladimir, and Sally
Monday Vladimir took Alchemy and us on a 3 hour car tour of the city to get us acclimated and then we had a Russian fast food lunch of stolle (Saxon style pie) Delicious! We tried a variety...meat, salmon, onion/mushroom and for dessert a mixed berry:-) After lunch we wandered the main street Nevsky Bld before heading back to Artemis.
Russia | Baltic Sea | St. Petersburg | St. Nicholas Navel Cathedral
Russia | Baltic Sea | St. Petersburg |Zayachy Island | Peter and Paul Fortress
Tuesday we spent the day visiting the excellent museums at Peter and Paul Fortress on Zayachy Island. We spent some time searching for a grocery store with no luck but enjoyed exploring new parts of town.
Russia | Baltic Sea | St. Petersburg | State Hermitage Museum
Wednesday we visited the State Hermitage Museum considered one of the worlds greatest art collections. It is housed in the baroque Winter Palace of the Romanovs. Thankfully we followed the advise of the Lonely Planet and ordered our two day ticket online. The lines were horrible, even for the tour groups. All we had to do is exchange our eticket for two day ticket at a kiosk with no line and then walk right in past the hundreds of people waiting to buy tickets. We even packed a lunch as advised by LP but the rules must have changed as were not allowed to bring it into the museum. Thus after 4 hours of enjoying the splendid staterooms, and amazing art collection we were starving!
Russia | Baltic Sea | St. Petersburg | State Hermitage Museum
We decided to systematically work our way around the second floor the first day. This floor had decorated staterooms and imperial apartments of Tsar Alexander II, 19th and 20th Century French paintings confiscated by Red Army from private collections in Germany and an amazing Western European collection.
We had planned to stay in town for dinner and the ballet but decided to go back to Artemis and rest up before the ballet. We saw Swan Lake at the Palace Theater. The prima ballerina was quite lovely and her role as Odette beautifully choreographed.
Russia | Baltic Sea | St. Petersburg | Peter the Great statue as a ship builder
Yesterday, we visited St. Isaac's Cathedral one of the largest domed cathedrals after St. Peters in Rome, St. Paul's London, and St. Marias in Florence. (we've been to all four) Fabulous mosaics, marble and ceiling paintings. After lunch we spent another 2 hours at the Hermitage. I so love Monet and my new favorite artist since London, Pissaro. We walked Mars Fields and the Summer Garden before heading back to Artemis for a rest.
Russia | Baltic Sea | St. Petersburg | Senatskaya Ploshchad | Bronse Horseman (Peter the Great)
We went to a Folk music/dance performance last night. Fantastic! Amazing mens quartet that sang acapella, a mixed group of 6 that danced several folk dances and another mixed group of 8 that sang and danced and a band of traditional instruments. Al remembers from our South Pacific dance days how difficult a coffee grinder was to do and these guys far surpassed that! Wonderful wonderful evening! Far more than we ever expected. So much talent and beautiful costuming!
Today we had planned to visit Peterhof but Al's sore throat turned into fever and feeling miserable so I started him on a Z Pak for strep. Hopefully by tomorrow he'll be feeling better. I organized pictures and found a shopping mall to get my hair cut and a few groceries. Have a wonderful weekend. Love and God Bless Sally and Al
Finland | Baltic Sea | Helsinki | Katajanokka City Marina
June 14, 2013
Hi Everyone, We had a great sail 45nm from Tallin, Estonia to Helsinki, Finland last Saturday. We even flew our spinnaker for 25nm (first time in years). We stayed two days at Katajanokka City Marina in Helsinki Old Town. We enjoyed exploring the city.
Finland | Baltic Sea | Helsinki | Adventurous lunch stop but not ours
Finland | Baltic Sea | Helsinki | Cathedral of Helsinki | Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Cathedral
The highlight of our adventures was a personal tour of the Observatory by a young science student. He was very knowledgeable and even took us up into the towers that hold the telescopes. We visited a chandlery and bought chart books of Finland. We have current electronic charts but without an English cruising guide of the islands it's difficult to passage plan without paper charts.
Finland | Baltic Sea | Risholmen Island | Artemis Finnish Yacht Club anchorage-Alchemy on dock
Monday we had another great sailing day of about 25nm to an island owned by a Finnish Yacht Club that allows CA Members (club we joined in London) to tie to their pontoon or anchor. The entire day sailing to Risholmen Al and I kept remarking on how the area so reminded us of the anchorages and islands along the Canadian north shore. Most tiny islands had small cabins and saunas peeking out of the woods.