Wednesday, 5 February 2014

My 2013

Although it's already February, I never feel complete without summing up the year that has passed. Last year I did so in my other blog, which I don't update anymore, so if you wish to read it, look here - My 2012.
Many of the events I'm about to describe can also be found in the archives of this blog.


I welcomed the New Year in Finland and unexpectedly did another day cruise in the end of the month. My health was bugging me the whole winter though, and it's also the reason why I consider the latter one of the worst trips I've ever had. I had the idea of going to Finland as an exchange student, and I started working for that. The shipping events that I watched included the maiden voyage of Viking Grace, Finlandia replacing Nordlandia (and Nordlandia replacing Translandia for a short period of time), and most importantly my favourite of the time Silja Europa swapping routes with Baltic Princess, therefore coming to Tallinn.


Quite a boring month, my health was still playing tricks and my school results weren't so great either. I tried to get something done with the YFU exchange thing without much success. At the same time my ship love that had been cooking since autumn, slowly started to break out. On the Estonian Independence day, there was an event named "Estonian Minute": people were asked to take pictures of whatever surrounds them on the day at 1 o'clock. I couldn't help but notice that Silja Europa departs at the same time. I had not yet seen her and so that event became my first shipspotting ever. 


Unlike February, March was very eventful and lifechanging - as well as it was the year before. I'm a bit anxious about March 2014, but anyway... where to start...

First of all, my love for ships took over my life. I opened this blog and I'm very proud of it now. I also made my goal to become a captain one day, and I visited the open doors day in Estonian Maritime Academy. Viking Line announced that Isabella, who had been replaced by Grace, would be doing Tallinn-Helsinki in summer, and I started planning a trip. If I'm not mistaken, I also joined the Cruise & Ferry group on Facebook in March, and I'm still very active there. 


Since my priorities had changed, I cancelled the plan of going for an exchange and started planning a long stay with my Finnish boyfriend of that time instead. I also started going to a temporary class of ice skating. In early April it was announced that Tallink bought Isabella from Viking Line and named her Isabelle, I was quite disappointed, but then she was moved to Tallinn for repainting. In the end of the month I spent a weekend in Helsinki. Earlier, the port of Tallinn had released the cruise schedules for the season and the first ship, Astor, called on the 30th of April. I had seen her in Helsinki a few days before and so I decided to skip it. While looking through the schedules, I also found out about AIDA Cruises and many other cruise companies for the first time. 


I know this is like the 5th time I publish this picture but it sums up and describes the whole month just perfectly.
I had confirmed a two month stay in Finland starting in the end of the month, and my future favourite AIDAmar called for the first time ever on the 13th. On the 20th, I saw Tarja Turunen, who is one of my favourite singers, live. The concert was great, but not quite as great as the concert I attended in June. In the meanwhile I also had the idea to switch to the maths & sciences class at school and did the necessary work. I was looking forward to and dreading the end of the month at the same time. When I finally left on the 31st, I had quite mixed feelings. I was sad to be leaving Tõnis and the sweet cruise destination that is my hometown, but on the other hand I was very impressed by Silja Europa. 


Having arrived to Finland, I started going from one party to another because all my friends there were graduating from secondary school. After the partying was over I found myself with not much to do and for the first time ever, I felt homesickness. I spent most of my days reading books and when the weather allowed I went swimming at the lake. The guy I was staying with noticed my state, I decided to end my relationship with him and booked a return trip for the 11th of June. After that there wasn't much left to do but to enjoy my time in Finland. I visited the Särkänniemi amusement park, and on the 8th I went to Sauna Open Air festival to see my favourite band Nightwish live for the 2nd time and that gig was by far the best I've ever been to. My returning to Estonia was different from the usual in many ways - for the first time ever I was very happy to be back home and it's also the only time I've crossed on a fast ferry literally in the middle of the day. Soon after returning I bought a new camera and the first event I recorded with it was Tõnis' graduation from primary school. On the 13th I saw Nordlandia, who is now known as Isabella I, for the last time before she left for Gibraltar and on the 30th, the keel was laid for AIDAprima.


Since July was the peak of the cruise season, I was very often out at the seaside. In addition to that, I started going to Reval Maritime School three times a week, with the goal of getting a pleasure craft driving licence. July also saw Tallinn Maritime days and I started to plan a cruise for my birthday. 


The beginning of August mostly consisted of continuing the course. In early August we had the motorboat practice which was one of the highlights of the summer. Shortly before my birthday I successfully finished the course and did a mini-cruise to Helsinki on Silja Europa. In August I found out that Cinderella would be moved to Tallinn for some weeks in Christmas. 


I started school in a new class again, and it got remarkably harder compared to the previous school year. It took me some time to get used to, therefore my results at the start weren't so good. After school Tõnis & I often went to spot some of the last cruise ships of the season and on the 23rd we did a kind of a "grand finale". We got a permission to enter the restricted area of the Port of Tallinn and sent away our special ship, the AIDAmar, on the cruise quay. On the 1st of September, the last day of the summer break, I got to steer a sailboat named Minna for a few round trips on Tallinn Bay. Later on I finally received the licence that I had been working for the whole summer.


October was not very eventful, just school and routine, but during the school break I went on a cruise to Stockholm. It was something I had wanted to do for many years and it's a bit more difficult due to age restrictions, but it was a really great cruise. In October, Silja Festival returned to Tallinn after a charter and I saw her for the first time.


A few weeks after the arrival of Silja Festival, Regina Baltica also ended her charter and arrived to Tallinn. Besides that, nothing much happened. Later on I booked a trip on Cinderella, which took place after the New Year.


December started with a spree of ship accidents, among others the collapsed ramp of Star and Amorella running aground. Later on, around Christmas, several ships that don't usually come here, visited. In the meanwhile my school results had improved to some of the best I've ever had and in the end of the year I was very satisfied with myself and the year that passed. I still am. I was happy when the year started and I'm even happier now, and 2014 has some serious competition. So far everything is great and I hope that things will go as planned. 

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