Monday, February 2, 2015

Icebreaker Sisu

Sisu and mission in the Baltic Sea
Teemu Leppälä 2013: Jäänmurtaja Sisu ja tehtävä Suomenlahdella and Jäänmurjata Sisu ja Hailuodon arvoitus
illustrated by Petri Kantoniemi

Icebreaker Sisu and mission in the Baltic Sea 

Icebreaker Sisu is anxiously waiting to rescue ships from the ice. He and other Icebreakers Voima, Urho, Kontio amd Otso are waiting to be called to the rescue. Voima is the eldest, most respected icebreaker and Otso and Kontio are the juniors (built in 1986 and 1987 respectively) In comparison to Disney/Pixar Cars, the icebreakers are slow moving. However their jobs are very important at least to Finland. Many goods come to Finland via the Baltic Sea.

We finns take icebreaking very seriously. There are only few things we can be proud of and this is one of them. The book describes very clearly how the ice that to us civilians seem to be standing still can actually take ships miles away, to places they do not wish to be in.

Icebreakers waiting for an assignment.
This book opened my eyes in many ways: I definately am a country girl. In the book the location of the icebreakers are in Katajanokka, near the city. I thought Katajanokka is at the city center. Little do I know! But that is correct: the city center of Helsinki is right next to Katajanokka.

 The other geographical issue that had me guessing is the name of the most northern harbor of Bothnian Bay. Is it Töre in Sweden or Tornio in Finland? I guess these are just details.

Cover of the second book

Icebreaker Sisu and the mystery in Hailuoto

This book takes place in Hailuoto, a small island in front of Oulu. Sisu is taking three ships to north. He hears that Kontio is coming south toward him with two ships. They plan to meet and then switch their customers.

Lighthouse Ms. Marjaniemi ( The name of the Hailuoto Lighthouse) sees something odd at the north side of Hailuoto. She alerts hydrocopter Harri to check it out. The Bay of Bothnia is busy in winter and it is important that the routes are planned carefully and everyone knows where they are supposed to be. These surprises can be dangerous.

Harri the hydrocopter is loud.
Harri cannot see anything, but the ice starts to break and an old wreck pops from the ice. The pack ice has loosened it from the bottom. Now it has to be removed from the passage. Otso, Sisu and Kontio come and help remove the wreck.

This second book is much more exciting. I was sure that the odd shape was a Russian submarine. The writer's solution was much better. This book also proves that I know nothing of Oulu region, so I cannot say about the geography of this book. I found it also fabulous, that Ms. Marjaniemi, the light house was wearing a military helmet and a fur collar. Nice touch.
Sisu and his colleagues.

The real life fleet at the Baltic Sea.

The significance of the icebreakers can also be heard in the Finnish version of the yellow submarine by the Beatles: Keltainen jäänsärkijä sung by Simo Salminen and Spede Pasanen.

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