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.
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
From the shore by Miemo Penttinen
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.
Joel 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.