Also the Russians are good in forecasting weather and the real weather was exactly in line with what had been predicted. A little bit warmer than yesterday but still quite chilly when out of the sun. Perfect weather for sightseeing and our guests went for it in large numbers. As those full day tours mentioned yesterday start very early, the cooks had to get out of bed early as well as the Lido opened as 06.00 hrs. It was also almost empty again by 07.30 hrs. Only those who had seen it all and bought the T shirt or were going on the afternoon tour were still lingering around.
The nice thing for the crew for overnight is that they do have the chance to go ashore as there is more time to plan it. So last night groups of cabin and dining room stewards made it ashore to have a look around. We ask them always to go in groups as there is safety in numbers and not every local is necessary friendly to people with a darker skin. The other nice thing, because there are no standbys for arrival or departure, is that the officers from deck and engine can catch up with paper work and with maintenance that cannot be completed during a normal day call. Hence paperwork was flying around in the deck office and discussions about valves and plungers abounded around the engine room.
At the same time preparation was going on for departure and the rest of the cruise. The ship will have to retrace its route to sea as for getting to Helsinki there is no other way in or out. Sailing the same way out will offer the guests some sightseeing as it was so early when coming in. Tonight will be better and around 19.30 we should pass Kronstadt which is the old navy base of imperial Russia; with is fortifications and a large Basilica dedicated to St. Nicholas the patron saint of all the seafarers. (There is a similar church in Amsterdam opposite the Central Station).
During my last visit they had just put the Flood Barrier into place and were in the process of completing the whole set-up. So tonight we should be able to see the completion of the project. To go here is still on my bucket list but it might be one of the un-full filled ones as it is hard to get there. Although the “Top security” flagging has been removed it is still not so easy to get in the former base for non-Russians although they now have a road running to the area. A road that was enlarged when they started constructing the Flood Barrier.
I will post tomorrow what the changes have been, if any. Once past Kronstadt it is another 45 minutes to get to deeper water and to disembark the pilot. Then we are heading through various vessel traffic systems towards Helsinki. We are scheduled to dock in downtown, so deep in downtown that we can drop our anchor on the fish market stalls. This means that around 07.00 hrs. we will sail through “the hole” a narrow passage in between the rocks, cliffs and islands which form a natural protective wall around the south harbor of Helsinki. One of the reasons why the town was founded there. A nice sheltered harbor and nearly impossible for the enemy to get into.
The good weather is holding. Partly Cloudy skies and the temperature is going up to 66oF or 19oC with a gentle breeze.