Aug 16, 2016

Sailing to Kylmäpihlaja Lighthouse Island


On Sunday evening the 17th of July, we hoisted the sails after a couple of days' break and took a course from Kustavi towards north and the Bothnian Sea. The southwesterly wind was favourable until the late evening so we decided to continue to our cruising association's skerry harbour, located north of Uusikaupunki. We arrived there just after the midnight. On the following day we had still about 20 nautical miles leg to Kylmäpihlaja island, which was also going to be the northernmost point along the Finnish coastline, that Dolphin Dance has ever sailed.


Kylmäpihlaja lighthouse is located outside City of Rauma in western Finland. The archipelago on the coast of Bothnian Sea is only a narrow belt between the mainland and the open sea so the conditions can be harsh especially during the autumn and winter. This adds some rugged beauty to these outer islands: the landscape is barren and the few trees are mostly small. The landscape on Kylmäpihlaja reminded me of the western part of Isokari island located some 30 nautical miles to the south. However, the Kylmäpihlaja is a lot smaller island and it is mostly treeless whereas Isokari has thick forests in the middle part.

Here are some photos from Kylmäpihlaja. Check out also the short video, which I filmed during our stay on the island.


 The lighthouse and the pilot station were built in 1952

View from the lighthouse tower, which rises 36 meters above sea level

The beacon light range is nowadays 17 miles

 The harbour basin is sheltered in all winds


Here is a short movie from Kylmäpihlaja (watch on YouTube):

Jul 30, 2016

Sailing from Åland to Kustavi

The last night in Åland: it was nice to visit beautiful Kumlinge Remmarhamn after a few years. 

Very Ålandic scenery in Kumlinge

Sailing to Kustavi: the only rainy day at the sea. Fortunately the rain lasted only a couple of hours.

After the rain, we got one of the best sailing legs of the season while broadreaching in fresh southeasterly wind along the Kihti fjard. 

Moored on our cruising club's base in Kustavi. The pier is located on a small rock.

Our Tour de Åland ended up in mid-July and we left the boat to in Northern Kustavi for a few days. After a couple of days at work, we headed back to the sea on Sunday the 17th of July. 

We had a late start, but decided to take an advantage of good southerly winds and long daylight and take a course towards north to Bothnian Sea. 


Jul 17, 2016

Sailing around Åland


The main sailing trip of the season 2016 took us to the Åland islands and we actually ended up sailing clockwise around the main island. Although I have visited Åland every year since 2008, I have never really sailed around the main island so it was nice to spent more time in the different parts of the Åland islands, which is definitely among the best cruising areas in Europe (if not in the world) in my opinion.

Our initial plan was actually to sail across the Åland Sea over to the Stockholm Archipelago, but the winds were not favourable during our first holiday week for this leg so due to the tight timetable, we decided to take more relaxed schedule and go with the wind instead.

Here are some photos from Åland. More up-to-date photos can be found from our Instagram or Facebook.


Käringsundet, Eckerö





Strong northerly winds kept us in HavsVidden for two nights


Jun 23, 2016

Sailing in 360 degrees


In the online video scene the 360 video is something that has definitely been a hot topic during the last year or so, especially as Youtube and Facebook launched support for 360 videos last year. 360 stands for 360 degrees or spherical video where viewer can freely decide the direction that he or she wants to see. This brings of course a completely new world both for a video-maker and for those who are watching the video.

In one of our first sailing trips of the season, I had a chance to finally test out the Ricoh Theta S in action. The filming is very straight-forward as there are not too many manual options available. Also post-production is rather quick as Ricoh Theta's application stitches automatically the two images of the super wide angle lenses into one file, which can then be edited with a normal editing software such as Final Cut Pro.

So here it is: our first 360 video. Have a look around by clicking and dragging with your mouse (if using a computer) or by moving your smartphone or tablet around and/or use your finger to change the viewpoint.


Previously filming 360 video required some expensive gear such as Nokia Ozo (about $60 000) or for example a rig for multiple GoPro cameras. Also post-production is complicated in these multicam setups as the 360 video has to be stitched from multiple videos which have to be in sync. 

Recently we have seen a rise of inexpensive 'consumer level' 360 cameras which have two very wide angle cameras shooting in opposite directions. Ricoh Theta S was one of the firsts and the recently Samsung and LG have launched their 360 cameras. Unfortunately, the Samsung's camera work currently only with their newer smartphones and with PC based editing software. It's a pity as the camera has better video resolution than its rivals.


Verdict

I was a bit disappointed about the video quality of Ricoh Theta S as the video is soft and blurry. Despite the camera is shooting Full HD resolution the actual video resolution is much lower as the image is spread over 360 degrees. Thus, the true video quality is not even close to HD, more like a reminscent of the Youtube quality ten years ago. Thus, Ricoh Theta's 360 video looks best when watched on a small smartphone screen, but the resolution is not enough for larger screens or for VR classes. 

It is also possible to take 360 photos with Ricoh Theta S and this feature become recently much more interesting as Facebook started to support 360 photos on their platform earlier this month. Furthermore, the image resolution of still photos is greater to videos so the photos have better quality and they are sharper. Thus, I am especially interested about this 360 photo feature.
/Antti



Jun 9, 2016

A long-weekend trip to Archipelago Sea

We cast off around 8 pm on Thursday evening (the 2nd of June) for the long-weekend sailing trip in the archipelago. The evening was amazingly warm for early summer but also flat calm so we motored the short ten nautical miles distance to Airisto Marina.



This is our first membership year in the Finnish Cruising Association Merikarhut - Sjöbjörnarna and on this trip we wanted to explore at least some of the club's skerry harbours in the southern Archipelago Sea of Finland. Thus, we ended up spending the second night of the trip in the beautiful Kifskär, where the lagoon was perfectly sheltered even in strong northerly wind. Merikarhut has an extensive network of almost thirty harbours, many of which are located in some of the best places in the Archipelago Sea. The harbours are private so they are only accessible to members. Therefore, our first landing in Kifskär was the most expensive one and the second harbour was already twice as cheap as the first one and so on. Thus, the more you visit these harbours, the better return on investment you get! 


On Saturday we sailed first to Ådskär (also a club harbour of Merikarhut) located in the outer Hitis archipelago. Arrival was hair-raising as the route passes multiple rocks both over and under the water level. However, the route is clearly described in the handbook and also the water was so clear, that one could easily spot the underwater rocks. 



A view over to Bengtskär lighthouse

After touring the small island and taking a lunchbreak, we continued to nearby Örö island for the night. Örö was opened to public last year, and I also blogged about our first visit there a year ago. The new feature for this season is the great new sauna building with an easy access for cooling bath in the Baltic Sea. 



The Sunday offered pretty much everything that one can come up with: a thunderstorm with a hail shower, perfect winds, variable winds, heavy headwind, cold and warm. We decided to spend the last night of the trip in our familiar boating club harbour in Heisala





May 25, 2016

Start of sailing season 2016

This year Dolphin Dance was launched on Monday the 16th of May and the sails were hoisted for the first test sail on Friday. Here are some photos of the long-awaited first sail of the season. The weekend was sunny and warm, but the (head)winds were mostly light, so together with my father, we decided to take a relaxed schedule and stay in the home waters. Nevertheless, it felt great to be back at the sea after the long winter!


Friday evening in Airisto 



Saturday evening in Nauvo

 Hoisting the green pendant at the starboard spreader for the first time. This means that I got accepted as a member in the Finnish cruising association Merikarhut-Sjöbjörnarna ('Sea Bears')

The association has an extensive network of almost 30 harbours along the Finnish coastline and Åland and also one harbour in the Stockholm Archipelago. We are looking forward to the coming season as this membership opens up a completely new network of harbours especially in the Finnish Archipelago.

Mar 27, 2016

Greetings from Saariselkä, Lapland

It looks like thermal spring has finally arrived in the Southern Finland and this means that thoughts start to wander more and more towards the coming sailing season. Soon I will be blogging about our plans for the season 2016, but in the meanwhile, here are some photos from Northern Lapland, where the winter is still holding its grip. 


We spent the week before the Easter in Saariselkä. Located in the Finnish Lapland, Saariselkä is the northernmost skiing resort in Europe. This means that it is very snow secure resort with plenty of snow for skiing even in late spring. This year we decided to concentrate mostly on cross-country skiing and Saariselkä offered a variety of scenic skiing trails in the wilderness. 
/Antti 



Met some reindeers at the fells 



Saariselkä offers 15 slopes also for downhill skiing