Haapsalu to Dirhami

Saturday 23 June

Confident that we are now near enough to Tallinn to be able to enjoy shortish daysails, we departed Haapsalu late morning in a very light breeze. The Estonian Air Force (both jets) were kind enough to give us a flypast, as we enjoyed the scenery from the channel between islands. It was a day of windshifts and frequent sail changes.

We were delighted with the first visit by any marine wildlife in nearly three months’ cruising, when a curious seal popped its head up to check us out.
Having been warned of the absence of the red/white clear water buoy marking the beginning of the channel into Dirhami, a tiny former fishing harbour on the Northwest corner of mainland Estonia, our excellent electronic charts guided us safely into the tricky approach of this rock-strewn shore. Additional guidance was provided by a seagull on each sea-washed boulder.

Ignoring the waving harbourmaster, who was offering us a berth on a potentially short and flimsy pontoon, we tied up instead to the substantial quay wall, against huge rubber fender strips that required barge boards over our fenders to avoid skid marks on my (once) shiny hull. An unidentified building on the far side of the yacht pontoons is the only permanent sign of life here, augmented in the season by the harbour office and a small restaurant. However, as a convenient passage stop to and from Finland, the harbour soon filled up with yachts of various nationalities.

The harbourmaster pointed out to Skipper the Midsummer bonfire that he had prepared on the beach just the other (windward) side of the harbour wall from our berth, but Skipper dissuaded him from lighting it that night, mindful of the potential for sparks and ash to be carried on the wind towards my decks.