Friday, 30 December 2016

Experience: Crown & Pearl Seaways, Bohus & Oslofjord, and best birthday ever!

After disembarking from the Finnsun, I did not actually head home - instead, I flew straight to Norway again and spent a few peaceful days there with Sverre before he had to head back to work on his ship. Nonetheless, already before the end of August I was back in Norway again, this time for a remarkably longer and more adventurous stay, which also included a worthy celebration of my 20th birthday. It also marked the first time I chose to travel to Norway without flying; I started the journey by taking my old favourite Viking Grace to Stockholm.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

A Very Finnsunny Summer part 2

As time went by, many things and tasks became routine and other aspects of life at sea prevailed. I was no longer excited like a little kid for a usual evening bridge watch or to grab  the paintbrush to give a fresh touch to some railings or walls, or even less, the dreadfully boring ISPS watch. The crew changed over time and with that, so did the environment and I had to learn to work with different people who have different expectations, and I saw differences between the good, the great and the amazing (as, very fortunately, I did not meet any bad people during this OBT). I also started to realise that working at sea is definitely not good for people with fear of missing out, as life on land never stops and having to miss something amazing due to being "stuck" on a ship can sometimes be quite the bitter pill to swallow.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

A Very Finnsunny Summer, part 1

As I mentioned in the end of my previous post, it was well known to me that to ensure the best progress with my studies, I would have to do 60 days of on-board training (OBT) during the first summer break. I admittedly had many doubts and worries about whether I'll manage to do that; while my school has very excellent opportunities for on-board training and there is a very nice and handy OBT placement system for students of Finnish maritime schools, I was worried that my still not very fluent Finnish skills would deter my opportunities there. However, it was during my very last course of the year when I was notified that I have been placed on a large ro-ro cargo ship called Finnsun for 60 days - just as I had requested, as my wish was to get it over with in one go. That was then some 4 days before I was due to board. Needless to say, I got very busy and on the 31st of May I took my suitcase and sat on the bus, bound for Kotka.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Life in Aboa Mare

For now, I thought I'd write a bit about what's been routine since last September, when I started my maritime studies in Aboa Mare. Some may recall how I wrote about my aim to continue in Estonian Maritime Academy multiple times a few years ago, but eventually the prospect of getting my education in English with a broad and international approach made me change my mind about that, as well as my lifelong dream to move abroad, even if not so far.

I'm now in my 2nd year and I can say that the decision has had its pros and cons, but I certainly haven't had to regret it. The system fits me very well, as we usually do only one or two subjects per week, and those subjects change every week. The main downside is that one can't really afford getting sick or being away at sea during some mandatory attendance courses, but in my eyes, the variety such a system allows for is great and definitely makes up for everything.

Friday, 30 September 2016

Experience: No(r)way!? Part 3 - Stena Saga and other fun places

 This is the 3rd part of a trip report. Part 1  Part 2

Following the amazing experience, it was right to take a few days off and chill and enjoy life in Fredrikstad (as well as grow a new jawbone to replace the one I lost in Flåm), though those few days did include a quick trip to nearby Sarpsborg with a visit to Inspiria Science Center and Badeland waterpark.

In my spare time I like to hang out in space
 As we sailed towards Oslo on the Color Magic a few days earlier, I told Sverre that of the ferries sailing from Oslo, Stena Saga is definitely next on my list. And once again, I had no idea that we were already booked for the sailing on the 29th of April.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Experience: No(r)way!? Part 2 - How I lost my jawbone

This is the 2nd part of a trip report. First part can be found here.

I left the last part off at walking through Oslo with Sverre after the Color Fantasy cruise, having no clue where he was taking me. All sorts of scenarios were going through my head and I had settled on the guess that we were going to a hotel, though we could've just as well be simply taking a train back to Fredrikstad, or onward to somewhere else. For entertainment, I shared my wildest thought of "We could also be heading to the airport to fly somewhere?" with Sverre, who remained quiet...

Monday, 19 September 2016

Experience: No(r)way!? Part 1 - Color Fantasy

Now I've finally come to the point where I can write down one of my absolute highlights of this year so far - my first trip to Norway to visit Sverre, from the 21st of April until the 2nd of May. It was a rather unusual one for me as prior to the trip I didn't know anything except my arrival and departure dates and times, and what to pack. Sverre was the one doing the plans for my stay and he was very keen on keeping it all a secret, so I had no idea what to expect and didn't really fully believe anything was happening at all until I sat on the plane.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

How to kill time before a trip, the my way.

I'm quite certain I already have shared this "Five stages of travel" graph once, at some point, somewhere; afterall, if I had to choose any picture to describe my life, this would most certainly be it, because while there is a lot more to my life, this is what occupies the largest space in my brain. Though one rather important part missing from the picture would be waiting. Of course, having daily duties to attend to, such as school, helps a lot with making time fly faster. But nonetheless, more than once I've found myself anxiously waiting for a trip with a few too many completely free and unplanned days to get over with first. And how would a travel addict solve such a situation? Of course, by booking a quick mini-trip.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Experience: A wave of Baltic Sea ferry madness

In Mid-March, I took another Baltic trip with Sverre, with the two main purposes being to catch the first voyages of the returned Silja Europa, and to celebrate his birthday. We met up in Tallinn; I took a bus from Turku and then Tallink's Superstar to Tallinn. During the two hour crossing I didn't have time for much more than to watch the departure, have a breakfast, and finally, upon arrival to Tallinn, have a nice close first look at the Silja Europa for the first time since 2014, when she left for Australia to serve as floating accommodation for a bit more than a year. In the terminal I was greeted by Sverre and we checked in the nearby hotel Euroopa. The same evening we had a nice dinner in Olde Hansa, my old workplace.


You're now reading the result of about a month of failed attempts to bring this blog out of a 6 month hiatus. There has been several reasons why I haven't felt like writing; first of all, I've found it hard for a long time now to keep this blog all about ships as it was initially intended to be. You may have noticed that when I published a row of posts about my World Gymnaestrada 2015 experience. So to solve that, I will call it a personal blog from now on. Afterall, ships are still such a big part of my life that they're surely not going anywhere; I'm just removing some limitations that I've set for myself and hoping that this blog will look and feel a bit more like me.
Secondly, as unlikely as it may sound, so much happened during those 6 months of silence that it simply became too much to write about; and on the other hand, at the same time, while exciting stuff was not happening, I've had a few obstacles to overcome and never found the time or energy to write anything at all.

However, as the happenings in the meanwhile have been far too exciting to just let slip and not share, I will start by getting this blog up to date.

The last thing I wrote down was a trip with my friend Sverre that I had in January. I have travelled with him numerous times since, both in the Baltics and in Norway. In spring, I had some of the most exciting courses at school, in summer I did 58 days of on-board training on Finnsun, a ro-ro cargo ship, and now I've started my 2nd year of school. And those are the topics I will soon post more about.

During my on-board training on the Finnsun I grew to enjoy sights of endless industrial landscapes; sailing into Antwerp through the Netherlands was great in that way, and so was entering St. Petersburg, as seen in this photo.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Experience: Cruising with style, part 3 (Gabriella)

Upon arrival to Turku we split up with Sverre for a brief time and I headed home to unpack some extra stuff I had got from Tallinn and Stockholm, that had become a burden to carry along. Later on we met up again in the center, had a relatively modest lunch in Burger King and headed to Best Western hotel to check in and discover that our room was located right across the entrance to the Viking Line terminal, which was particularly nice later on when the Viking Grace came in.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Experience: Cruising with style, part 2 (Mariella)

Mariella coming to get us
We reached the Katajanokka terminal just in time to check-in and board the Mariella. For me, it was the first "proper" sailing on her, as I had only crossed on her once from Tallinn to Helsinki in August 2014. She has since been refreshed a bit and now I got to do a full cruise on her. It was here that the amazing cabin luck that followed us for the rest of the trip started - we had booked a suite, and of the six suites on board, we were given the only one that has a total of 8 windows on the port side, giving a wonderful view and allowing us to keep an eye out for other ships at almost all times.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Experience: Cruising with style, part 1 (Finlandia, Superstar)

Not long ago, starting on the 30th of January, I took a trip involving several cruiseferries of the sweet home Baltic Sea; or should I say my best friend Sverre took the trip and kindly invited me to join. For me it started with taking a bus to Helsinki to meet up with him; we spent the first day walking and sightseeing in and near central Helsinki. In the evening we met up with some more people (Timo Selkälä, Kalle Id, Mikko Pätäri) from our solid group of friends to have a dinner in Domo, a small, and quiet Japanese restaurant. The same cannot be said about our group as we were clearly the jolliest and loudest ones that night, however that's really not easy to avoid with such great people around.

Monday, 4 January 2016

My 2015

One more year has passed, and as I have done for many years now, it is time to sum it up month by month. As this blog has been quiet for the most of the 2nd half of the year, I will try to make up for it somewhat.