Antipole in the Baltic

South from Kuopio to the Punkahaju Ridge

We had a fair sail south for the first 40nm, after which we passed through the Konnus lock and anchored off in a bay Voipaanladentie, where we had to wait three days for fair winds for the next stage.  It was a beautiful spot and the weather mostly warm, so we enjoyed several swims.  It is definitely the best way to wake up in the morning.

We also dinghed ashore and walked back to view the rapids by the lock.  In times past logs were moved down the lakes in rafts and we viewed the flume which was used to shoot the logs past the rapids.  Overlooking the rapids there was a barbecue fireplace with shelter and, in the Finnish way, a store of logs for firewood and an axe for your use.

Once we had a fair wind we made good progress south.  However, as we approached Varkaus (centre of the wood pulping industry) we caught up with a vast raft of logs being moved at about 2 knots by a tug, accompanied by two shepherding boats that manoeuvred the raft around the bends.  We had to hold back while they got it through a road bridge.  The photo does not convey the enormous length and breadth of this raft.

From here we left the main channel and took a route eastwards through the Linnasaari National Park.  Here there were few houses but several of the islands had a fire place and earth closet and were being used for camping – each camper having their own island.

We anchored for the night before a good sail down to Savonlinna.  We made such good time that we caught the 1:00pm opening of the bridges.  Back in Savonlinna we restocked with supplies.  The opera season was just starting and the town was busy.  We found the opera tickets at €200 or more per person too expensive and had supper in a brewery/restaurant instead.

From Savonlinna we had an excellent sail southwards passing through a series of narrow passages, followed by a beat up a wide lake to reach Punkahaju.  Punkahaju ridge is a natural bridge across this large area of water and has been an important route between Savonlinna and Vyborg since early times.  It is outstandingly beautiful with excellent walking and cycling.  We anchored in the lagoon-like bay in the centre of this aerial picture.  We walked the whole length of the ridge end to end.  There are a number of spa resort hotels and we had supper in one before a beautiful evening walk along a path around the shores of the enclosed lakes back to the boat.

Next we need to wend our way further south as winds permit.
That’s our news for now.

Ynskje & Tony x

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