Actually we found a spot right away, and pulled on in, but then...
we took a better look at the boats to starboard, and then we took a better look...
at the boats to port, and then we took a look at our comfy, beamy, fiberglassy charter boat and went "hmmm". Capt. Kat went ashore to confirm the suspicion that had arisen as we regarded our elegant neighbors, and whaddayaknow, this was NOT the public dock! Oops. Like we'd been saying ever since Kat had completely put everyone at the kiosk in Elisaari in stitches when she first said it, "We're Americans, we don't know anything!" - but we were able to figure this one out before anyone had to come explain things to us! We pulled out of here & pretty quickly figured out that the public dock was the one across the basin that several boats had pulled into while we tied up at a private yacht club. Oops.
Outside view of the oldest functioning commercial drydock in the world (although we didn't know that yet) -
and all sorts of really interesting wooden boats - my wooden-boat-loving friends would be in heaven!
as we circled, other boats were coming in, some of them went ahead and negotiated with the earlier arrivals and squeezed into spots that we wouldn't have dared to (partly because we were in somebody else's boat, partly because negotiation requires language skills),
others joined us in the circling queue, and finally a very nice gentleman who was walking down the dock shouted out to us and indicated that he and his crew were about to leave. Their boat was at least the size of ours and they'd been tied up alongside the dock right at the end, we really couldn't have asked for a nicer spot - we felt VERY lucky. It was Midsummer's Eve, it was gorgeous weather, and by the evening there were close to 60 boats crowded into a harbor meant for 40. We were very relieved not to have had to negotiate snuggling up...this was the scene at the end of the dock at the end of the day, 5 boats shoehorned in in a spot that technically may not have been an official spot at all!
we did have somebody ask if they could raft up outside of us - we told they could, but we really needed to leave at 6 am (that was true), and they ended up tying up to the bulkhead instead (a few others did that too) - it was really, really tight!
We had a great lunch at a little cafe right by the marina - we'd been very good about eating on the boat up until then, but we'd driven in circles well into lunchtime and when we went ashore to pay our night's docking fee, I saw a dish of pasta with spinach and smoked salmon go by, begged the rest of the gang to have lunch there, and didn't have to beg too hard. It was a delicious lunch.
After that, we set out to explore. There are 4 islands in this little cluster, all attached by bridges. I think we could've spent a couple of days here easily -- I only made it to 2 of the 4, because I had to go see the Vesikko, Finland's only submarine -
and go exploring in a boatyard,
and take more pictures of geese, and poke around the spooky tunnels in the fortress walls, and look at art exhibits, and go hunting for this famous apple pie with custard sauce at the Toy Museum Cafe (closed for Midsummer's, augh!) and I just generally failed to sightsee at the pace I would've had to maintain to get to all 4 islands.
and they have the world's oldest operating drydock -
I ended up buying my only souvenirs (assuming you don't count the reindeer soup, the Estonian liqueurs, and the moose sausage that I picked up to take home) here - early in the sightseeing, I got 2 little copper Vesikko pins (one for me, one in case my dad wants one), and then later on I went into a shop that features the work of the various craftspeople who have studios on the island. They had some beautiful vases, but I wasn't sure that I'd be able to get one home in one piece (plus they were displayed with a basket of glass balls in a window and I wasn't sure if just one would look as nice, especially without the illumination of the lovely Scandinavian midsummer sunlight) -
but they also had some inexpensive but very attractive pendants that looked like they'd travel better, and they had a couple in a beautiful shade of blue-green that reminded me of the water we'd been sailing on all week, so I got one of those.
We heard the trumpeter that plays from the tower of Suomenlinna Church every night at 9, and there was lots of other music too, Midsummer's Eve felt fun and festive - in the cafe, there was crazy Finnish surf punk band playing -
handsome husky waits for his owners -
out on the docks, everything felt very laid back - this guy had decided to take his kayak/tender out for a spin; other people were just hanging out on their boats, talking and laughing -
the family with the kids who'd been fishing off the dock the night before had turned up here and the children were fishing again, actually caught a tiny little fish; on one boat I walked past as I made one of my last trips ashore for evening toilet (in both senses of the word), somebody was playing a guitar and was singing "Pretty Woman" in Finnish.
We were a little bit worried when a boatload of teenagers pulled up into the slip across from us and promptly strung up a beer bong from their rigging, but they weren't too awful. They were up a little later than we were, and they were drinking, and they were a little noisy, but I had just barely begun to wonder if I was going to have to go up and go all crabby-old-fart on their youthful okoles when they turned in for the night.
All in all, though, an absolutely splendid last day in Finland, and a nice break on shore between two 40-mile-plus sails.