Far to the east Ruda hoisted her Russian courtesy ensign briefly in order to get to the start of the Saimaa canal. This lake- and canal system enabled a timber trade which for years was the mainstay of the Finnish economy and which means that the heavily tree-oriented scenery is still decorated with log rafts and old tug boats. It’s a maze of channels in fresh, clear water where Ruda can be queen of her own island just about every evening.
The navigational highlight of the cruise was reaching 63˚ north at the little town of Juankoski. The cruising was so delightful that plans to press on to the Baltic States were soon forgotten and the summer of 2011 was passed in glorious sunshine and agreeable company.