On Wednesday the sailing weather was perfect, Sun was shining and the wind’s speed was 7-8 m/s. The trip from Pavilosta to Roja is 105 nautical miles and there is a plenty of time for all kinds of chores. On this leg the plan was to wash the teak deck. It was a fun until one of the bigger waves made me slide against the lifeline and at the same time I kicked the teak cleaner bottle overboard. The deck was slippery from teak cleaner and this gave me a good slide. One bruise more on the deck boss and one bottle of the teak cleaner poorer we finished the wash-up project.
Weather forecast predicted wind speed increasing to 15 – 20 m/s on Baltic Sea. We turned towards the cape of Kolka and were anxious to reach Gulf of Riga. As we were going around the shallows of the Cape Kolka two cruise ships, M/S Cinderella and M/S Romantika passed us on their way to Stockholm. We were pondering if they can reach the protection of the archipelago before the high wind of the night begins to blow. The passengers for sure will get enough cruise for their money. We were also surprised about two about 30 feet sailboats heading towards the Baltic. Already when they passed us one of them swung quite heavily. They will be in quite a washing machine if the weather forecast is correct.
From Cape of Kolka we run with the following seas towards the harbour of Roja where we arrived after two in the morning. There were some moonlight to help us and Andrus steered Suwena in the middle of the channel towards the yacht docks. Suddenly the depth decreased to 1.6 metres. We were lucky that we did not get stuck from the bottom, Andrus applied reverse gear and soon we were floating again. Next Andrus tried the approach on the right side of the channel. There were a few fishing vessels moored and we counted there should be enough water for us as well. Suwena moved slowly forward and soon we found a free place at the end of the tall quay. We moored Suwena carefully considering the high winds in weather forecast and hit the pillows at 02:45 falling into sleep instantly.
The harbour of Roja is very well protected and the wind was barely noticeable at marina. After having a deep long sleep an extremely friendly and chatty harbour guy came to talk with us. He also brought some wooden planks to protect our mooring lines because the high steel and concrete quay chafed dangerously our lines. We have now an item more on our shopping list. We will need to get a thick water hose by 30 cm pieces that will be cut open. The hose can later be added whereever needed to protect the lines from the chafe.
In the morning the first questions of harbour guy were: how did you get into the marina? Were there any problems in arriving? He told that the water level can drop by half a meter during the easterly winds in harbour. Also there is less water in the middle of the harbour channel. The mystery why there is less water than marked on the map was thus solved. Usually in the middle of channels there are more deep but in Roja it is just the opposite.
In the evening we steered ourselves towards the restaurant Otra Puse that was recommneded by the harbour guy. Next to the hotel we found a cozy Baltic style ranch house. The restaurant also had a fireplace. It must be lovely when the fire warms customers in cold autumn evenings. The service was excellent and we enjoyed a terrific seafood dinner.
Grocery store of Roja is open between 8 am and 10 pm so we were able to get some snacks for our next leg to Riga after the dinner. In Baltic states the yoghurt is sold 1 liter plastic bag. Open plastic bag that contains something fluid is not a very boating friendly package. We wanted to try and bought blueberry yoghurt for testing anyhow. It was really good, something a little like a blueberry milk. We have a jug that can be closed air tightly and the yoghurt bag had a perfect fit so we should be able to avoid the fridge cleanup as well.
After the rain on Thursday the Friday morning was beautiful. We untied the mooring lines and turned our bow towards Riga. When we arrived to Roja there was a cargo ship anchored outside the harbour. She moved into the harbour on early Thursday morning for loading. It took more than 24 hours to load the ship with logs and she loosened her thick mooring lines just as we were passing her following us on a way out of the harbour.
From Roja to Riga is 55 nautical miles from which the last 8 miles are up the river of Daugava. During the leg the wind changed directions several times and we used sails and engine as needed. As we approached the bottom of the Gulf of Riga both the ship and yacht traffic increased considerably.
The riverside of Daugava is full of commercial harbour activities. We also spotted a few local yacht clubs on our way to the Andrejosta guest harbour. Most foreign yachts moor at Andrejosta because it is in the heart of Riga. There were plenty of places and the harbour should not be full unless there are a regatta or some other bigger event. Eager security guard brought a Riga tourist info package to us even before we had a second mooring line made fast. During our days in Riga we noticed that this was his normal way of working. All arriving yachts got an information package before the boat was even tied up properly. This was a first harbour with several Finnish yachts. That must be because July is a summer holiday month in Finland.
We will spend in Riga almost a week and Suwena will also have visitors. I’m sure there will be a lot to do here.