Celebrating Summer Solstice in SaaremaaJune 21, 2019 in Estonia ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C
Firstly I thought it might be best to start with a short science lesson. Contrary to popular belief, the changing seasons throughout the year has nothing to do with the slight changes in distance between the earth and the sun. In fact it has everything to do with the inclination of the earth's axis relative to the plane of rotation. In the northern summer the earth's tilts towards the sun, resulting in the sun appearing higher in the sky at noon time. The higher the sun is in the sky, the more concentrated is the solar energy reaching the surface and the longer the length of the day. Simples !
Whatever the reason, the simple fact is that today is the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. If the days weren't already long enough in the Baltics, today marks the time when the daylight hours are at their absolute maximum. From now on each day will grow progressively shorter - perhaps a bleak reminder that another long, dark and cold winter will be here in just a few short months. Little wonder that the locals try to make the most of their short summers when they come.
Today I declared a "personal rest and recuperation day". I must admit that I have been feeling a little homesick,especially when I have a lovely new grandson waiting in Melbourne that I have not been able to meet yet. Most of us are also severely sleep deprived and feeling weary from the constant travel. In my case the decision was made during the latter part of yesterday's ride when my backside reminded me in no uncertain terms that it really had had enough. It needed a break.
Since we have another two nights at this hotel it was a simple matter of choosing not to ride. Apart from catching up on some rest I also wanted to spend some time exploring the Baltic coastline. After the rest of the team left in the bus to punish themselves,I headed off on a long walk instead.
My original aim had been to walk the shoreline to a group of wind turbines we could see in the distance. As I set off two things become evident. The first is that the beach was not all easy walking. In many parts it was more like a muddy swamp, complete with reeds and small creeks. The second thing I learned was that wind turbines are REALLY big. The further I walked, the further away they moved. Eventually my path was completely blocked and I had to turn back.
One thing that was a real surprise was just how warm the water was. Although we would not class it as a great beach (due to the muddy sand, seaweed and rocks) I decided to brave the obstacles and wade in the shallows. The temperature was not at all what I expected 60 degrees north in the Baltic Sea. It was really warm. Really warm indeed. I guess that is why Estonians come quite a long distance to swim here.
Later in the day I managed to get a couple of hours of sleep. It is nowhere enough to make up the accumulated sleep deficit, but I thought it might help a little.
I am not sure if there are any celebrations planned for this evening. Maybe we will be outside baying at the midnight sun. I guess I will soon find out.Read more