These magical photos show what it’s like to be at sea at minus 28 degrees

Helsinki ice smoke

In the last few months, the consequences of climate change have hit different parts of the world with a mad vengeance. Here in Finland, that took the form of the warmest December on record leading many people to bemoan the lack of snow. As an Englishman who’s experienced many a Finnish winter, I instead wallowed in the balmy temperatures confident in the knowledge that we had three more months of sub-zero, beard-freezing hardship to come. That was demonstrated, in fine Arctic style, this week when temperatures plummeted as low as minus 28 in Helsinki. One surreal consequence of this uncannily fast freeze was an awe-inspiring phenomenon which makes the sea look as though it’s cloaked in smoke. Both beautiful and bizarre, it literally took my breath away.

Helsinki ice

I experienced it on the deck of a Silja Line ship returning to Helsinki from Stockholm. Dazed by the sight and bitten by the chill, I snapped some shots and a video while tourists chattered about me in disbelief. It was only later that day that I discovered that talented photographer, and friend of Ink Tank, Miemo Penttinen had taken photos of my ship coming into port. Beneath you’ll find a selection of both our photos, which show what a minus 28 degrees sea looks like from ship and from shore. Thankfully, you can enjoy Mother Nature’s astonishing beauty without going as blue in the face as we did.

From the ship by Joel Willans

Helsinki sea ice

Helsinki sea ice 2

Helsinki sea ice 3

From the shore by Miemo Penttinen

Helsinki sea ice 4

Helsinki ice 5

Helsinki sea smoke 2

Helsinki sea ice 7

If you want to see the rest of Miemo’s photos be sure to check them out on Flickr and if you’ve got any cool shots of this magical phenomenon we’d love to see them in the comments below.

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bestshortstorywritersJoel Willans is the Co-founder of Ink Tank Media and author of the short story collection, SPELLBOUND: Stories of Women’s Magic over Men. His prize-winning fiction has been broadcast on BBC radio and published in dozens of magazines and anthologies worldwide. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram.

7 replies
  1. GillianJ
    GillianJ says:

    Never understood why people live in such cold place but there photos give me a better idea. Although how much you appreciate beauty when it’s soooooo cold i have no idea

    Reply
    • Ari from Helsinki
      Ari from Helsinki says:

      Well Gillian, people live in the Northern states of USA and Canada – even in Alaska! Finland isn’t any worse – usually we have mild winters in Helsinki, such very cold periods are rare!

      Reply
  2. PaulaH
    PaulaH says:

    Great photos. I was also taking photos of your ship that day. Unfortunately I don’t have any website but would be pleased to send some of them to you if you are interested.

    Reply
  3. mynexttravel
    mynexttravel says:

    minus 18 degrees Fahrenheit sounds bad, -28 Celcius sounds worse. Whoever would have guessed it would look so cool…(get it :))

    Reply

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