Monika Mikkola: If the sea is healthy, I’m healthy

Hello Y’all! Usually, I start these posts with trying to explain how busy I’ve been, but not this time. All those busy times are finally over for this year! Since my last update, I’ve had a few races in the UK, but now the racing season is over. Next up is a few months break from racing, and the next event is the World Cup in Miami at the end of January.

In my last post I told how I’ve started studying at the University of Exeter, and for everyone’s relief (especially my mum’s), I can gladly say that everything is so far so good. I’ve even managed to squeeze in a few training camps in Lanzarote and a quick visit to Finland. In Finland, I spent a very nice evening at the yearly sailing awards gala, and in the end, I was named the Sailor of the Year! An especially big thank you to all of you who’ve been part of my hustle, most of this award absolutely belongs to you guys. Right now I’m in Lanzarote, about halfway through my last training camp of this year, after which I’m flying back home to Finland just in time for Christmas.

For sailors, the winter is the time to make changes. Spring, summer and most of the autumn is spent racing, and there isn’t enough time to learn or discover new tricks. After the end of the racing season, we always sit down with my coach and try to find all the big and small things from the past season needing improvement or change. Winter training program is planned around these findings. My first winter camp was about a month ago, at the beginning of November. Already then, we found lots of different things we want to test out and work on. Most of these things hopefully work in an actual race situation, but to find that out we need to wait till the World Cup in Miami. Until then we spend all of our time on the water practising these new changes and learning as much as possible, and of course, enjoying the sailing. Which is very easy right now under the warm southern sun and in the crystal-clear sea!

Talking about sea and winter, the Baltic sea comes to mind. CCEA has given an amazing Christmas gift for the Baltic sea. They’ve donated money to protect it, which is just beyond awesome! This makes me wonder how much the Baltic sea actually means to me. Obviously being a sailor, all oceans and seas mean the world to me, but the Baltic sea will always be very special. I’ve been sailing around it in a yacht, and when I started to sail dinghies I learned to sail my own boats through its waves. And now at an older age I’ve spent countless hours training in the beautiful conditions the Baltic sea has to offer. I’ve sailed nearly everywhere in the world in amazing and unreal places, but nothing can beat coming back to my home waters. The Baltic sea is like home to me. Sailing outside the Helsinki area, I know every single stone, rock and island. Sailing around the Baltic sea on a warm summer day is just the best. Its health is one of the most important things: if the sea is healthy, I’m healthy!

No matter where we are in the world, if anyone sees plastic in the ocean while sailing, they pick it up. In events you can even get penalty points if you’re caught littering. When I’m in Finland I like to walk on the seafront with my dog, and we always pick up trash from the shoreline. I’m sad about the unhappy state the Baltic sea has gotten into. But it is comforting to know that with small actions like the one CCEA has done, the Baltic sea is a bit closer to being happy again. If the sea is happy, we are happy!

I hope each and every one of you will have a lovely Christmas, and let’s all make sure the Baltic sea is a bit happier next year!

Monika

Many years in a row CCEA has given Baltic Sea a gift of oxygen. Also this year we have supported Baltic Sea rescue work by donating the money reserved for season’s greetings to Baltic Sea Action Group. www.joululahjaitamerelle.fi