Our friends Päivi and Janne and their daughter Julia came aboard for tea and invited us to visit their summer cottage with them.
The summer cottage or kesämökki, with its ritual wood-fired sauna, is a fundamental part of Finnish culture. (Our New Zealand readers will recognise the batch here.) With a population of just over five million people and half million mökki tucked away by a lake side, just about every family has one. They are a place of private retreat and renewal, so we felt very honoured by the invitation.
On Saturday morning Päivi, Janne and Julia came aboard Antipole and we sailed the 7nm to the island of Sopola, where their mökki is tucked away on land once farmed by Päivi’s family.
With Antipole’s lifting keel we were able to edge in to the inlet, anchor off the mökki and dinghy ashore.
Janne soon had the bar-b-cue going and grilled an excellent lunch.
After that we walked through the farm land and into the forest to an ancient spring, which gives very pure water and which makes excellent tea and coffee. Päivi gathered rhubarb from her father’s childhood garden and made fresh rhubarb cake. In the evening the wood-fired sauna was lit and soon we were sweating nicely.
On Sunday we had another walk and explored the traditional farm buildings.
Sadly it was soon time to part after a lovely time together.
Ynskje and Tony sailed Antipole 10nm to Satamasaari, which means harbour island. It is just that – a claw-shaped island surrounding a beautiful harbour. All around the harbour are facilities such as picnic tables and bar-b-cue shelters managed by an association. This being Finland they are stocked with a good supply of wood and a saw and/or axe for one’s use. It must be very popular in season but we were blessed to have the whole place to ourselves over the first night.
The island has two wooden sauna houses and for our second evening we fired one up and enjoyed a lovely sauna. Tony made the traditional dash into the lake to cool off. The cold takes the heat out of the body so that a return into the sauna is called for. This is repeated several times until a beer is needed to start replacing lost fluids.
During the days here we have been completing the beginning-of-season cleaning, polishing and treatment of the woodwork. Ynskje has done an especially thorough job this year and Antipole is gleaming.
It is so lovely on Satamasaari that we could easily spent a week here. However, other places call and on Thursday, for one day only, NE winds are forecast, suitable for the sail out through Russian waters. We have no Russian visas and have to make the passage without stopping. So tomorrow Wednesday we will sail for the Saimaa canal and pass through to the last place we are allowed stop overnight ready for the passage.
That’s it for now
Tony & Ynskje