If we still have guests on board who are rumbling and moaning about the weather then we have to send them home as this morning the weather was picture perfect. Full sun, no wind and the sun from the east shining over the fortresses and islands in front of the city. So the good old Prinsendam was gliding like a blue swan into the port of Helsinki and wedged herself in between a Ferris wheel and a municipal swimming pool. We docked as far in downtown as you can possibly go and if you inhaled deeply you could smell the famous fish market at the corner of the harbor, where downtown really starts (or ends depending on your point of view).
But as promised first an update about yesterday’s sailing away from St. Petersburg. The only challenge with nice weather is that the ship is sailing against the sun and thus you need to look towards the stern to see the sun illuminating the landscape. After 90 minutes sailing we came to Kronstadt, and as was the case with the Marine Façade, they have been building here considerably and we also saw some newer navy ships. The golden dome of the St. Nicolas Basilica had been repainted or redone with gold leaf and large apartment buildings, all in red, erected at what looked at the edge of the navy base. Wikipedia tells us that the two modern (at least reasonably painted) war ships in port were: ……………………………….Quote:
Soobrazitelnyy (Сообразительный – Smart/Astute) is the second ship of the latest class of corvettes of the Russian Navy, the Steregushchy class. The ship was being built by the Severnaya Verf shipyard in St. Petersburg and was laid down in May 2003. It was launched in late March 2010  and joined the Baltic Fleet in the 2011.
The ship is the first of the class to be fitted with the Redut system intended to increase its anti-aircraft capabilities with respect to the Kashtan CIWS previously used. The corvette was shown to the public for the first time at the Fifth International Maritime Defence Show (IMDS-2011) in St. Petersburg.
And the 620 For which Wikipedia does not have any details:
Bespokoynyy (620) (Sovremenny-class destroyer) (1991) (I do not know anything about warships, so I just hope that the experts have it right)
(I do not know anything about warships, so I just hope that the experts have it right) As they looked well painted but with patches I assume they were in a major overhaul project and thus parked here.
Centerpiece of the base is the round 3 level fort which dates back to 1704 when the Tsar Peter the Great founded Kronstadt as a defense against the Swedish. It became of secondary importance in the 19th century but it is still there although it could do with some TLC. Thus it looks as if the old base for the Russian Baltic Fleet has received a new lease of life as some of the buildings had clearly been restored and painted and there was also work underway to repair the crumbling seawalls which separate the base from the open water.
Once past the base, one is at once at the Sea Barrier which indeed has now been completed and according to the pilot is closed 5 to 6 times a year to stop spring tide floods or westerly storms pushing too much water towards the City. What had not changed was the pilot station where the “Lootsenman” left with a smaller boat which then returned to the mother ship where the pilot can take a nap until he is on the roster again.
And so this morning we arrived in down-down town, where the Prinsendam has about the maximum length that swing around in the port and as it was wind still that was exactly what the captain did. As with wind in the port this would have been an interesting maneuver and so it is always better to be ready with the nose out.
Tomorrow we are in Turku, also Finland, and the Prinsendam is going back to her place of birth from 30 years ago. We going to have a party and are inviting a number of people who were working at the shipyard 30 years ago and helped build her.
Tomorrow we are looking at another glorious day. Sunny with temperatures of 73oF / 23oC and a gentle breeze.