Monday, 22 November 2010

Birka Princess

One of those wonderful double coincidences of life.  I wonder if they have meaning and should take more notice of them? Should I set off for the Åland Island immediately?  My recent  receiving of a postcard featuring Birka Lines first ship (posted here earlier this month) was followed a couple of weeks later by this postcard from Finland from another Postcrosser,

The Birka Princess was built by Valmet in Helsinki for Birka Lines and started its sailing career in 1986 carrying 80 passengers with 24 hour cruises between the Åland Islands and Stockholm, Sweden. Built to ice class 1A and with a card deck it was quite a successful  route. In 1999 it was refitted in Germany, 62 cabins added and route changed to night cruises from Stockholm to Turku, Helsinki and Tallin, these were not so popular.

By 2006 it was laid up and up for sale. Bought by the Cyprus based Louis Cruise Line who added an outdoor pool and sun deck. Renamed Sea Diamond it set off to cruise the Mediterranean, disaster struck or rather the underwater volcanic reef entering the Greek island harbour on Santorini stood in its way and down it sank, with the loss of two French lives.

I think the lighthouse with the sun setting behind is the Marhällan which guards the port of Marieham in the Åland Islands  to avert similar disasters
 The card came with a suitable nautically themed stamp:
Part of a miniature sheet issued earlier this year of Kokka's Kantasatama Harbour. Featured on this stamp is the Finnish Wooden Boat Centre with a Nordic Folkboat sailing in front of it. There are about 4000 in the world of this small low cost and easy to sail boat which when first designed was made of wood, although now it is usually GRP.

The card travelled 1,109 miles (1784k) and took 3 days. 
Thank you Heli.

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