0500 in Tallinn came and we were up and out of bed… a little sluggish though mind. Our target rolling time was 0630, to drive just 3km to the port and board the ferry before she floated us to Finland.
We’ve nailed the morning routine now! 0610 came and I threw something over my thermals and nipped out to start the Mog. Today was extra cold. I put the key in the ignition and gave it half a turn, listening for that magic sound that tells you she’s ready. I turned the key again to fire the engine, she had a major coughing episode. She was very sluggish. Hearing a big important machine that doubles as my arctic rolling home make a sound like that is a little nerve shaking. I switched her off and tried again. She still wouldn’t turn over.
This was a Mac job. He could hear the sound she was making of course. Mac had his coat on about to jump out the cabin by the time I got to the door. We swapped places. 0620.
As Mac’s Mog knowledge exceeds mine… just slightly. He thought the issue could be temperature related. It was -14. The problem was absolutely temperature related. She hadn’t seen these temperatures before. Neither had we. It’s a learning curve for us personally as much as it is for us with the Mog.
Mac continually tried to turn her over, with some patience and a little gas, she fired. 0630. She’d need a good 20 minutes of idle rumbling before we could drive. I finished washing up and locking down inside the cabin.
0645 came. We couldn’t wait much longer. We had a boat to catch. Ideal engine temperature before we drive is minimum 40 degrees C, she wouldn’t increase to more than 36 C. So, we drove.
We got to the port about 0705 and were the last truck to be rolled onto the ferry. Compared to the ferries the Mog was rolled onto in Africa, this was a luxurious vessel! She had seven decks of vehicles, four restaurants and the toilets were nicer that those of many British establishments – but that’s not a surprise.
0730, we were floating out of Tallinn.
We were hungry, even though we’d had our usual porridge and flakes in the morning. It’s crazy how much our food consumption has increased compared to the Africa trip last winter. The energy required just to stay warm! We spent almost 40 Euros on one hot breakfast, one croissant and two hot drinks… We certainly won’t be eating out in Helsinki.
It was a two hour crossing. The sun was just rising over the frozen blocks of ice floating around us in the Baltic. It was beautiful.
After the crossing, it took us about an hour to drive to the centre of Helsinki and find somewhere to park, and it really was the centre… We use www.maps.me to navigate and I’d found a few parking areas in town, but all of them underground – maps.me doesn’t give us that information unfortunately. Conveniently, we found a perfectly flat square surrounded by restaurants, cafes and shopping centres very close to the centre of Helsinki. We parked, but expected to be moved on within the hour. We had some jobs to do first anyway.
We unloaded the necessary tools and began investigating the source of the oven problem. It was just a fuse but it’s in such an awkward position and you can guarantee Mac slated the electrical systems we inherited with the Mog at least seventeen times during the process.
We also needed to top up with engine oil, screen wash and coolant. The coolant job is also an awkward one. Its between the cab and cabin, almost right in the centre. That job was always Scott’s responsibility on the Africa trip, now it’s mine and my arms are about 3cm too short to make it a comfortable job to enjoy.
Two hours went by, we hadn’t caused much attention. Maybe the Finns are super chill. Maybe they don’t care.
We went for a walk around the city and although it’s wonderful to be moving on and exploring new places, we both commented on how we missed the Old Town culture of Riga and Tallinn. We didn’t stay outside for too long, we ducked in and out of interesting buildings, shops and cafes. The temperature was about -12 C around late evening time but by then we were enjoying a rather lovely +22 degrees C inside the cabin. That evening we walked the arduous eight meters to Henry’s Pub for beer, then later onto Corona bar for some games of pool. Again, I lost two games to one and consequently had to pay 12 Euros for Mac’s Jack Daniels and coke! We’re certainly in Scandi-land with these prices.
We slept sweetly that night in -13 knowing the hydronic technology would be keeping the Mogs engine block warm to assist her to start the following morning. The hydronic burns diesel from the normal fuel tanks on the chassis, heats water and has an integrated pump which circulates the coolant in the engine block; in so doing keeps her around a toastie 50 degrees C.
Side note… with the operation of a valve, we are also able to heat our ‘domestic’ water used in the cabin for washing/showing etc. Clever hey?