National Geographic : 1950 Nov
The National Geographic Magazine Carleton Mitchell Thrifty Alanders Helped Themselves to Free Wind. It Drove Their Ships and Gristmills Once 900 windmills ground the grain of this Baltic archipelago. Now they, like the square-rigged ships, fall into disuse (page 621). This old Mariehamn mill showed signs of recent use. When the miller, pushing the long lever, turned the creaky housing into the wind, how the wooden sails used to clatter! In its harbor the late Gustaf Erikson refitted the sailing ships that ranged the waters of the world, participating yearly in the famed grain race from Australia to the British Isles. They will sail no more. Edgar Erikson, pres ent head of the shipping company, can no longer maintain the picturesque but inefficient windjammers. "Nowadays it is hard to get cargoes, harder to get crews," he told me. "We cannot afford modern wages for a ship that might be delayed for weeks by calms or head winds. Young men no longer desire to ship as apprentices." The bark Pommern, whose tall masts greeted us, will be maintained as a museum in memory of Gustaf Erikson and his van ished fleet (page 637). Aswetieduptoadockintheshadowof Pommern's yards, our friend Ethel Krogius called, "Tervetuloa Suomeen" (Welcome to Finland). On Aland we hired an automobile and drove through the countryside. Neat farms pat- terned the rocky, rugged land. We shivered at the thought of the hardships of the winter months. I remembered a comment of the military attache of a neighbor country: "The Finns do not recoil from human sweat. They work." Despite a series of wars that devastated many of their towns and took an enormous toll of manpower, despite the loss of territory and huge reparations imposed by the Russians, the Finns are cheerful, and move forward as a free and independent nation.* Skerries Like Spilled Pepper on Chart Beyond Mariehamn our way led to the eastward through islands of incredible variety and profusion. The chart showed them ahead like a handful of pepper spilled across a table cloth. It was fortunate that we had been in * See, in the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE: "Scenes of Postwar Finland," by La Verne Bradley, August, 1947; "Flashes from Finland." 19 ills., Feb ruary, 1940; "Farthest-North Republic," by Alma Luise Olson. October. 1938.