08.09.2004 Saimaa Canal, GCH26G

On our way to see Riverdance in Helsinki, we decided to stop by Ramin’s childhood playgrounds at the first lock of the Saimaa canal (from the Finnish side). There is a cache there that was easy to reach and provided us with a good place to drop off the Travel Bug Medicine Bag.

This was the first time Anna got to see a large ship going through a lock. During that time Ramin got to try to remember the vital statistics of the canal and the ships that can pass through it. No luck there, but luckily information points near the cache gave us all of the necessary data. The ship we saw pass through was just about the largest that can pass through the Saimaa canal: 84 meters long and 12.5 meters wide. A ship that size fills the lock up pretty well, as you can see.

Ship in the lock Ship in the lock Ship in the lock

Ship in the lockWhile it was all new and exciting for Anna, for the sailors of the ship it was as good a day as any other to go about their everyday tasks. Especially when the locks provide protection from the waves, it’s a good day to paint the deck.

Flippe, as always, was insatiably curious. He kept jumping against the fence to see what is down there. Finally he got a view of the ship, and even recognized that there were humans aboard. At least he greeted them with a bark.

Flippe watching the ship

The cache itself is near the old canal. The old canal was built in 1844-1856. A large undertaking during that time, especially when the final canal had to lower the ships over 70 meters. Parts of the canal were dug and parts were created by using existing rivers and lakes. In the dug parts of the canal, horses (and tugboats later) were used to pull the ships and barges thru the canal. The maximum size of the ships that could pass through the canal was: length 31.2 m, width 7.1 m and draft 2.4 m. As time passed, the need for a new canal was inevitable. Now, parts of the canal are being maintained as a museum (at least on the Finnish side).

The old canal

Most of the time that we spent at the Saimaa canal was a time for Flippe to learn some patience and walk on a lead. To his great joy, when we began to head back on the road towards Helsinki, he got to run free…

Flippe running along the old canal

Cache visited 8.9.2004. View cache details.