Tuesday, 28 October 2014

End of peak, start of another

By now, the cruise season is long over, but I'm still yet to share some happenings from before and after it ended; besides the long journey I had in August which I reported very thoroughly, I have been lucky to attend and photograph many interesting events and visiting ships.
For example, early in September there was an event, during which Port of Tallinn was offering bus excursions to the harbour of Muuga. The bus took us to the entrance of the harbor where we had to pass through radiation detectors and get back on the bus. Although I would've liked to walk to look around beyond the places where the bus took us, the transport was still needed because the distances there are really long. From the bus windows I saw many different buildings with various purposes.

Ammonium fertilizer storage, built to minimize the damage in case of explosion by directing the force upwards
Cranes. One of these can still be seen in the passenger harbour in the center of Tallinn as a remain of it's former purpose as a cargo harbour.
Oil storage tanks
Grain conveyor..
... and storage building, which can be seen from very far away.
container terminal
coal terminal, currently not in use
View from farther away. The guide's talk about all of the facilities being directly linked to the piers made me wish to actualy see a pier, but that was unfortunately not possible. The harbour is large and very efficient and it could apparently serve many more ships than it's currently serving. 
In addition to that, about a week ago three warships and a submarine from the Netherlands visited the passenger harbour and two of the warships were briefly opened to all visitors. The security at the harbour was surprisingly strict, all the visitors were taken to the ships by bus; before boarding Amsterdam, the largest of the ships, visitors had to leave their bags and movement on board was allowed in only one set direction.

Another ship, the Zeeland, was berthed alongside; Victoria on the background.
Star backing out...
... and turning around
Tanker Viimsi leaving the harbour after bunkering Victoria
Busy day
Tug life
Corridor on the Evertsen
From the Netherlands. Helicopter deck on the Amsterdam. On the right the single crane in the harbour, which I mentioned earlier.
Viking XPRS arriving
No zoom; great way to see a bulbous bow in action.
Friendly crew
the submarine Bruinvis

In the meanwhile, Silja Europa sailed to her final destination in Australia. After my previous post about her she sailed to Naantali for a refit and briefly returned to Tallinn, sporting a new Bridgemans livery. I last saw her on the 11th of September while volunteering on a sailboat named Lulu. I planned on taking pictures of her, but as soon as we got close enough, thick fog rolled in. The next evening she set sail towards Australia and arrived at Barrow Island on the 24th of October.

Photo from www.laivakuvat.com

Now for the news. In late September, Tallink and my favourite band Nightwish announced that two Nightwish cruises will take place in June 2015, on board the Baltic Princess, starting from Turku. Now, anyone who knows me even a little should understand why missing that was simply not an option. The major obstacle was the fact that booking opened up in early October, with earlier booking advantage to members of Club One and some mysterious Nightwish fanclub, of which no one I know had heard anything. Fearing that the tickets would sell out before I manage to get the funds to book myself a cabin, I put up an announcement on the Finnish Nightwish forum looking for cabin mates using my Club One advantage. Although it turned out that I wasn't getting the advantage code due to being a member of the Estonian Club One and not the Finnish one, it was still successful. Three people contacted me within a reasonable time willing to join, I got the code from a Finnish friend (Thanks Olli), the negotiations went very smoothly and I booked the cruise within the advantage time. I have already met two of my cruise mates face to face and I consider them new friends. I have also added a countdown ticker to the blog. 

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