Tallinn and Estonia had been wonderful, but it was time to head back to Finland. We were about one hundred forty nautical miles from our home, and we gathered it would take us about four daysails to get there. Hi-yo, Silver! Away! (or should it be “Golden“?)
Fuel Stations NEVER Work
I had scouted Pirita Harbour‘s fuel station beforehand and a few minutes after leaving the Kalev Yacht Club marina, we arrived at the automatic fuel station dock.
Automatic, meaning that there were no people present, only machines that were supposed to read my plastic card and provide fuel in return.
Well, they never work! This one in Pirita wasn’t an exception. It didn’t accept any card. Actually, it didn’t react at all to me frantically trying to insert them.
So, a call to the service number. A really bad phone line. Can’t really hear what the person on the other end is saying. “Do you speak English?”
“Ei ei… Eesti? Vene?”
Sighs. I don’t know any Russian, and no Estonian either. It’s sort of similar to Finnish, but only sort of. The words sound similar but I don’t really understand anything.
“[The automatic fuel station is not working. It is not accepting any cards!]” I said in Finnish.
“[???? ? ??? ? ???? … ?? ?? .. will boot it]” the person on the line replied, I think, in Estonian.
We ended the call and I assumed someone somewhere would do something.
Ten minutes later. Nothing. Still didn’t work. I called again.
Similar discussion ending with [“… will boot it”].
Waited ten minutes more. Gave up.
We had quite a lot in the tank anyway, and a decent amount of wind. We’d be fine without the Estonian fuel.
Our crossing over to Finland went beautifully.
The weather was great and Charlotte was prancing around all day in her bikini, merrily appreciating the sun. (Usually we wear life jackets all the time, but this was an exception to that rule. Life is better with a bit of flexibility, I think.)
We filmed some exercise-while-sailing videos as well. Soon we will be the Jane and Joe Fonda’s of the internet, for sure! (🙉)
As evening set in, we reached the Finnish archipelago, and then spent the night at anchor, quite uneventfully.
The next day we sailed onward and set out to find a good place for the children to swim in the evening. The water temperature was now a mind-boggling twenty-six degrees, but they (with the exception of J) still hadn’t quite discovered the joy of swimming.
We found a good spot and dropped the anchor.
“Can we go out with the Quicksilver?” O asked.
“No,” I replied. “Today the water is so warm that you should try some swimming.”
Best Thing Ever
“No, I’m not letting go!” O shouted, standing on the bathing platform ladder, halfway down in the water, wearing his orange lifejacket.
J had jumped in already, and was joyfully splashing around.
O was, again, stuck in the same place as before. I completely understood him, though. It is a big step for a small boy, to step off of that ladder, and let go of the safety of the boat.
And then there was a soft splash!
And the orange life jacket and the small boy were floating! Just a bit away from the stern of our boat.
The look on O’s face was priceless. A combination of fright, awe, accomplishment and pleasure.
“It’s… I’M FLOATING I’M FLOATING!” he bursted out, overjoyed and … well, floating!
It didn’t take long for M to follow suite and suddenly we had three children swimming around and playing in the water.
“Swimming is the most wonderful thing ever!” O shouted happily. “I want to do this forever!”
I felt so lucky that I think I even teared up a bit. After three weeks of being too afraid, they had finally mustered up enough courage to overcome their own fears. And now they loved every second of it. How cool is that!
Home Is Near
Two nights and two daysails later, and we were just a few miles from home.
I was checking the wind speed a bit nervously, as it would be blowing us straight off of our home berth pontoon, and our docking might be quite challenging.
When we got to our final approach it actually was blowing from the worst possible direction and gusting exactly when I hoped it wouldn’t (like always).
Our first two approaches didn’t work out. We ended up slightly too far away from our pontoon, and in the process we actually touched the dock with our unfendered stern (“oh crap, I hope I didn’t damage anything!”).
Then, finally, on the third try, we got everything lined up well enough and Charlotte jumped ashore to attach a spring line. A couple of less stressful moments later our boat was secured.
“Thank you, love”, and a shared welcome home kiss.
(The stern was ok. I inspected it, quite microscopically, and to my great joy, there weren’t any visible marks of our small fumble. It had just touched some soft wood and, after that unwelcome meeting, luckily everything looked as perfect as before.)
Until Next Time
It took surprisingly long to pack our stuff and clean the boat, but we got it done in an hour or so, and then we were finally ready to leave.
We waved farewell to our home on the sea, and started walking back. Back to our everyday life, school, work, smart phones, television. Back to soon approaching autumn, cold winter and snow.
Our dream of sailing together, overcoming challenges, reaching beautiful destinations and having fun while doing it. That dream had now become reality, and a part of our cherished memories and past.
We did it. Wow.