National Geographic : 1968 May
Robed in summer green, Lapland could double for the Emerald Isle. Rail fences ring the weathered log houses of Lisma, a hamlet so remote that it escaped destruction when landsman to imagine, with freezing cold that turns rigging into iron rods, and with seas that turn men into the world's finest sailors." Equally dreaded by mariners before the days of radar were low clouds that suddenly sank down to the very surface of the sea, blindfolding a ship's crew in the midst of drifting icebergs. Several times during his later voyages, as master of Grace Harwarand then of Moshulu, Captain Boman encoun tered the hazard. "Many captains slowed down at such times," he told me, "but I could not agree. With an iceberg, it mattered very little whether you struck fast or slow; your ship 622 was finished, in any case. So we crowded on all the canvas we could and drove ahead. Luckily, the icebergs always let us through." Sea Water Sweet Enough to Drink Back on the mainland I traveled north ward from Turku along Finland's west coast, through the district of Pohjanmaa and its major city, the port of Vaasa. Here the land is flat and relatively free of lakes, providing Finland with some of its finest farmland. Even the Gulf of Bothnia favors farmers in a manner rare for the sea: Its waters contain so little salt that dairymen can, if necessary, water their herds in it.