NB! This page is in stage of transfer from the old webpage of the municipality. Please note that some subpages and additional texts will be available shortly.
Häädemeeste Rural Municipalityreceived the status of an administrative unit on 6th December 1990. The area of the rural municipality is 390.2 km², of which 17% is agricultural land, 58% forest land. As of 1st January 2012, the population is 2,858 individuals.
The distance of the rural municipality centre – HäädemeesteSmallTown– from the larger towns:
Viljandi 90 km
Pärnu 40 km
Settlements: Map of villages
Häädemeeste Small Town (population as of 01.01.2010 – 790 people) and 20 villages – Soometsa(127), Võidu (104), Sooküla (68), Arumetsa (101), Nepste (29), Pulgoja (66), Papisilla (74), Rannametsa (136), Krundiküla (119), Penu (75), Jaagupi (91), Kabli (316), Orajõe (47), Majaka (55), Treimani(246), Metsapoole (141), Ikla (178), Massiaru (114), Urissaare (80), Uuemaa (26).
Häädemeeste Rural Municipalityis located in the south-western corner of both Pärnu County and the Estonian mainland in general. The municipality has over 30 km of shoreline along the Gulfof Riga, as well as a common border with the Republic of Latvia.
Our region is interesting mainly because of its natural diversity – sea shores and sand dunes covered with pine forests, coastal meadows and bogs. Of natural resources clay, peat, gravel, sand, therapeutic mud and mineral water can be found here. The Via Baltica Road, completed in 1980 for the Moscow Olympic Games (commonly called the Olympic Road) passes through the municipality. Four main centres with educational and cultural institutions, stores and service companies have been developed in the municipality. These are Häädemeeste, Kabli, Treimani and Massiaru.
The coastal landof Häädemeeste RuralMunicipality does not provide the best conditions for agriculture; nevertheless, livestock farming on coastal meadows is a promising activity. In order to restore the coastal meadows and improve the habitat of local species – primarily, that of the rare Natterjack Toad and several bird species – the Luitemaa Nature Reserve (formerly Rannametsa-Soometsa) has been established. Its development has received financial aid from the LIFE programme of the European Union. Promising activities for the future include tourism (especially nature tourism), and recreation.
Lepanina Hotel (closed 10.09. - 01.05.)
Lepanina Hotel is located in Kabli village, near Via Baltica, by the shore of the Gulfof Riga. The pine forests surrounding the architecturally unique hotel complex along with the sea provide splendid opportunities for beach, nature and family vacation. The quiet and inspiring atmosphere creates perfect conditions for an efficient seminar or training day. Picturesque beach views and the enchanting surroundings provide the best opportunities for wedding receptions and other parties. The hotel has double rooms, family rooms, rooms with saunas and suites with Jacuzzis. The restaurant Julie seats 100 guests. The building contains three meeting rooms and a conference room for 100 participants. Hotel guests can rent the sauna complex with a lounge; body treatments and massages can be pre-booked. The hotel territory has a camping area for tents, caravan parking spaces, a barbecue area, a garden pavilion, a sun terrace and an outdoors swimming pool.
The hotel offers various opportunities for leisure, recreation packages, romantic packages and holiday activities in cooperation with its partners.
Contact the Lepanina Hotel: +372 446 5024; +372 443 7368; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; www.lepanina.ee
Next to the beautiful Rannametsa river, there is a fully renovated Rannametsa Resthouse that invites you to spend your holiday in a beautiful nature.
Rannametsa Resthouse has big hall with a fireplace, a kitchen, sauna that fits about 8 people, big hottub next to sauna and also 2 showers. The toilet is in the dressing room. Upstairs there are 5 simple bedrooms for two and one of them is with a double-bed. You can also find a toilet and a shower there.
The downstairs terrace has sitting places and is a good place to be when it is raining and the upstairs terrace is a good place to sunbathe and enjoy the wheather.
The dowstairs hall is a great place for birthdays, seminars,reunions, etc. There is room enough for 50 people.
For bigger events there is also an opportunity to order catering. Rannametsa family can handle smaller companys, but it is also possible to cook on your own – everything nessesary is in the kitchen.
We also have a parking lot and places for caravans.
Contact: +372 53401163: e-mail: email@example.com
Kollamaa guesthouse is in Häädemeeste, Suurküla, Estonia. Suurküla is an old coastal village, first mentioned in old maps as Gutmannsbach already 450 years ago. The ancient Riga-pärnu road used to roam through the village. The peaceful village atmosphere, lots of old buildings and beautifully decorated gardens make Suurküla attractive all through the year. The village is bordered by Häädemeeste coastal meadow from the coast, the meadow is part of Luitemaa Nature reserve and is full of resting and migrating birds in spring, summer and autumn.
The ground floor of the guesthouse lies on an old stone walls of the barn. The renovated log-walls make the ground floor sitting room comfortable and old-fashioned. On the ground floor one can find also sauna and toilets. The kitchen corner is with fridge, stove and oven.
On the first floor there are three bedrooms and a toilet with shower.
The furniture and textiles in the house are original, made by local craftsmen.
Contacts: +372 5656 1373 - marika.kose [at] mail.ee
Atsikivi Cottages offers accommodation, camping, access to sauna.
A pleasant place for events and gatherings.
Beautiful natural surroundings, located near Via Baltica, very easy access.
Web page www.atsikivi.ee
Contacts: +372 556 975 88; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Located by the sea in Majaka Village, the guesthouse provides various opportunities for recreation. Suitable for organising summer days and gatherings. 22 rooms, 44 beds (from May 1st to August 31st).
Contacts: +372 53014400, email@example.com
Located in MajakaVillage, 6 rooms, 12 beds (from May 1st to August 31st)
Contacts: +372 53014400, firstname.lastname@example.org
Raiesmaa Holiday Farm
is located in RannametsaVillage. Type of facility: home accommodation.
Contacts: +372 446 5204; +372 566 253 66
Kosmonautika Recreation Center
is located in the vicinity of JaagupiHarbor, on the territory of the former "astronauts' recreational centre", later a border guard station. 9 rooms, 36 beds, open all year round.
Contacts: mobile: + 372 503 48 29
Rannakodu Holiday Home
located in PenuVillage, 20 rooms, 60 beds (from June 1st to October 31st).
Contacts: +372 56630200, email@example.com
Merelaane Holiday Home
located in MajakaVillage, near Kabli and Lemme beaches. 3 rooms, 6 beds, plus 1 extra bed available (open all year round).
Contacts: 53812861, firstname.lastname@example.org; http://merelaane.edicypages.com/et
Jussi Holiday Home
in TreimaniVillage. All year round: 3 rooms, 6 beds; from June 1st to September 30th: 5 rooms, 14 beds.
Contacts: 5029234, email@example.com
Located in KabliVillage. 20 beds, 8 caravan spaces, equipped with a power supply. Open from June 1st to August 22nd. Contacts: +372 5018507, firstname.lastname@example.org; www.minikamping.ee
RMK's Recreation Area of Pärnu County
provides opportunities for tent-camping at Lemme, Krapi and Rae Lakecamping sites.
Ikla Cantina is located by the Estonian-Latvian border, at Via Baltica. Open 24h.
The 120-seat Cantina serves food around the clock, including fast food and group meals.
Bakery products by Valge Pagar, store.
WiFi area, currency exchange, bus parking lot, truck parking lot, car wash, service facility, washing facility, lounge, sauna.
Contacts: +372 445 8100; mobiil +372 51 45 696; e-post email@example.com
Lepanina Restaurant & Bar
The restaurant Julie is open Thu–Sun 12:00–21:00, Fri–Sat 12:00–22:00(orders are accepted until 20:00/21:00, respectively).
The bar is open Thu–Sun 10:00–22:00, Fri–Sat 10:00–23:00. Contacts: +372 446 5024; +372 443 7368; e-post firstname.lastname@example.org; www.lepanina.ee
NB! Closed 1.10.2010 - 1.5.2011
Located in HäädemeesteSmallTown, address Pärnu mnt. 40a. Mon–Thu 10–21; Fri, Sat 10–23; Sun 11–18. Tables for parties and wakes can be ordered. Home food delivery for parties.
In Kabli Village. Bakery goods, hot drinks, cold drinks. Open Mon–Sun 9–21.
Kabli OÜ Kroosero
Cold drinks, fast food, outdoor barbecue grill next to the store.
SEVENOIL EST OÜ petrol station
At the crossing of Via Baltica and Häädemeeste-Kilingi-Nõmme Road, in Arumetsa village. Open 24h.
Bakery of OÜ Selma Pagar in Häädemeeste
Kooli 11, Häädemeeste. Open Fri, Sat, Sun 9–14. Orders can be placed every day.
This area by the Gulfof Rigalacked any settlement as late as in the 13th Century. According to the Chronicles of Henry of Livonia, armies of German knights passed through here several times. At the end of 1210 when the swamps had frozen over, they rode to Soontagana for the first time, returning with a great war booty and many prisoners. In the following years, Estonians avenged by several attacks further along the shore, up to the Livonians' lands in Metsapoole.
LEGENDS AND NAME ORIGINS
About the origin of HÄÄDEMEESTE (Good Men's):
-Young lads here used to be so kind that they carried water for the cattle to the cow-sheds on Sunday mornings, helping the girls who tended the animals.
-Two brothers who lived by the brook were always kind to wayfarers passing by. People used to remember visiting 'the good men'.
-A foreign ship was once wrecked in a storm here, and the crew narrowly escaped death. Local inhabitants kindly helped the castaways, who then gave the name to the place.
-Another attempted explanation refers to an analogy to the name of GutmannCavein Sigulda, Latvia. It sheltered outcast lepers who were called ‘good people', maybe due to folk tradition – it was a taboo to call bad things by their real names. Lepers have also lived on the shores of Häädemeeste Brook.
-Memorial to the sailing ship Markus in Kabli– erected in 1986 to mark the 125th anniversary of the building of the ship.
In 1861, the two-mast ship Markus(ca 100 brt) was built at KabliBeachfor Mats Grant. The authors of the memorial are architect Eero Jürgenson and stonemason Jazep Umbrasko. In 2001, memorial plates for captains and ship owners Mats Grant (1811–1899) and Jakob Markson (1840–1930) and their successors, as well as the captains Jakobson, were installed near the memorial (author Marju Kallas).
-Memorial stone to Rannametsa School is located on the site of the village school, burned down in 1941 by Soviet death squad members.
-Village graveyards in Rannametsa –ancient burial sites.
-Memorial stone to the Chapel of St. Margaret in Suurküla
By 1680, the population of Häädemeeste had increased and the inhabitants needed a church of their own. A small wooden ancillary church was built in Suurküla and named Chapel of St. Margaret. The building had a thatched roof and no tower. The chapel functioned as an ancillary church to SaardeChurch. The pastor from Saarde rarely visited the village, just 1 or 2 times a year. In order to facilitate the priest's journey, a walking road was built which now belongs to OjasooVillage– the so-called "Priest's Bridge". Later on, PapisillaVillagedeveloped by the road. On 29th September 1939, the 65th anniversary of HäädemeesteChurch, a memorial stone was erected on the site of the chapel in Suurküla. A procession led by clerics and members of the Church Council led to the site of the former church after a church service. The inscription of the granite memorial reads: "Here stood the Evangelical-Lutheran church until Michaelmas 1874".
-Häädemeeste Lutheran Church of St. Michaelwas built in 1874. From 1910 to 1932, the healer Ernst Gottlieb Jaesche worked as a pastor here.
-Häädemeeste Orthodox Churchof Transfiguration
The orthodox congregation of Häädemeeste was established 18th September 1849. The congregation was needed due to the religious conversion in 1846–48. In the beginning, religious services were held in the laundry room of the local manor. Church officers lived in the field-workers' house or in rented apartments. There was no Orthodox church in Häädemeeste yet. The first priests were of Russian nationality and had difficulties with the Estonian language; they spoke it poorly and were replaced often. The first Estonian priest was Kallinik Prants (1839–1901) at the end of the 1860s. His brother Nikolai served as a priest in Tahkuranna ancillary church. The Prants brothers have left their mark on the area: they helped to establish a new village for Orthodox people who were not landowners – Nikolai in Rannametsa and Kallinik in Krundiküla for the inhabitants of Häädemeeste.
The congregation needed a church. In 1870, the construction was commenced and the church was opened in 1872. The church was designed by A. Edelson, architect of the Livonian province. It was consecrated by Benjamin, Bishop of Riga, for the Feast of the Transfiguration. The church was named HäädemeesteChurchof Transfiguration with August 6th as its name day. Construction expenses (12,000 roubles) were borne by the Holy Synod. Bricks were used as building material. The bricks were manufactured on site; a brick kiln was built by the river, on the fields of Häädemeeste tavern, according to an agreement with the manor tenant. The tavern-keeper Demetri Demetrov manufactured the bricks. The church was equipped with six bells of various weights. For instance, one weighed 76, another 47, a third 18 poods. The bells were evacuated during World War I. The current bell, weighing 10 poods, has been manufactured at Teguri factory in Tartuin 1924.
-Memorial to the sailing ship Julie in Häädemeeste. A memorial to one of the first Estonian long-distance sailing ships, built in 1861. Erected in 1986 next to the summer garden. Author: Eero Jürgenson. Between 1861 and 1910, 163 sailing ships were built in this area which sailed to the ports of Europe, Americaand Africa.
-MemorialHäädemeesteSchool1688–1988is located by the HäädemeesteHigh School. Children have received education here for over 320 years.
-Häädemeeste Manor.Mentioned already in 1560 as Gudmannsbach Manor. The earliest owners included Gotthard von Tiesenhausen and Oberst (Colonel) de la Chataigneraye. The best-known tenant was Voldemar Thimm. The grain storage, livestock house (rebuilt several times) and the manor-workers' house (currently an apartment building) have been preserved. The livestock house has served as a canned food factory and woodworking facility for Häädemeeste Collective Farm.
-HäädemeesteMuseumis located in a former tavern building. The building served as a school from the 1920s and has been a museum since 2003.
-Kabli Mäe School, currently a pre-school, was built in 1881. There are memorial plates on the wall to former teachers Helene Neudorf, Marta Mäesalu, Salme Põdersaar and Eliise Jürimaa, as well as to the former school principal Jaan Mäesalu.
-Residence of the ship owner Markson with outbuildings in Kabli, built in 1889. The exterior of the house is characterized by white wooden "decorative lace", a spacious glazed porch and a colour resembling the blue seas. The interior, including furniture, has also been preserved in as an original shape as possible. The outbuildings are massive granite structures surrounding a well with a tall, thin well hook. The yard is surrounded by a stone wall, which formerly bore a pole fence. There is a small organ in the house which has been used for concerts. The house still functioned as a branch of HäädemeesteMuseumjust a few years ago but currently, visits are only possible at prior agreement of the owners.
- The Grant residence in Kabli, built at the end of the 19th Century. The building is characterized by its blue exterior paint, glazed porch and a half-hipped roof. The house is accompanied by a large granite storehouse. Located to the right on the way from Häädemeeste.
-Memorial plate in Kablito the renowned ex librisartist Johannes Juhansoo on the house where he lived in 1968–1994.
- Orajõe Manor, a preserved building in OrajõeVillage.
-Treimani tavern house,former postal station by the old Pärnu-Riga road.
-Massiaru school building was built in 1938, with the assistance of Konstantin Päts.According to the popular legend, Laulaste, or Massiaru, got his name from a shy and nervous peasant who replied to the manor lord's question with "Ma ei saa aru" (I don't understand). In this village centre of a distant region, an architecturally remarkable school building was opened in 1938. The school building has been renovated but the school itself exists under a constant threat of being torn down, due to the small number of pupils. This village is the origin of the Talts family – Jaan Talts is known as an Olympic champion in heavy athletics.
From Massiaru, the sightseeing route continues on the road along the western border of the Sakala Upland, to the bank of LemmeRiver. The road goes on to the Latvian border, reaching the embankment of the former Riiselja-Ikla narrow-gauge railway. We pass Kivikupitsa landscape reserve boasting a remarkable stone field in the woods. Old legends associate the place both with a hidden gold stash and a farm swallowed by the earth.
-Laiksaare Orthodox Churchof St. John the Baptist(1924) was the only one in Estonia where a memorial plate to those fallen in the Estonian War of Independence stayed intact throughout the Soviet era.
-Treimani Lutheran Church was built in 1867. At first, it belonged to the Salatsi (Salacgriva) Parish as an ancillary church to the Salatsi church. The original building was simple, wooden, with rectangular windows and a thatched roof. The church has been renovated and rebuilt repeatedly.
-Treimani Orthodox Church of St. Peter and St. Paul was built in 1940. While most of the Orthodox churches were based on very strict formal rules (e.g. bell tower with onion dome to the west), the exterior of TreimaniChurchlacks the principal features of Orthodox church architecture. The church has a hipped roof, uncharacteristic to both Orthodox and sacral architecture in general, but rather similar to earlier residential houses. The church is located on the territoryof Treimanichurchyard.
-Metsapoole school building was built in 1932, while Elmar Toomingas was the headmaster (see memorial plate on the wall). The architecture is characteristic of the period, similar school buildings can be found elsewhere in Estonia.
-Tauste and Uuemaa village burial grounds
-Graveyards in Häädemeeste (Lutheran and Orthodox), Treimani and Urissaare. Several ship captains have been buried in these graveyards, with often lavishly decorated graves. An information stand can be found by the gate of Häädemeeste Lutheran graveyard.Notable persons buried in graveyards of Häädemeeste
The information centre of Kabli Nature Centre of the Estonian State Forest Management Centre (Riigimetsa Majandamise Keskus, RMK) is open 10–18 from May 15th to September 15th. The information centre provides information on options of nature tours both within and outside HäädemeesteRuralMunicipality. Contact: RMK Kabli Information Centre, 86002 Kabli, Häädemeeste Rural Municipality. Phone 50 58 242
Pärnu CountyRecreational Area provides various opportunities for nature tourism.
Rannametsa Dunes – a range of sand dunes covered with pine forests by Via Baltica, and its highest point of 34 m over sea level. The names of the dune hills reflect folk legends: Röövlimägi (Robber Hill), Tõotusmägi (Vow Hill), Varsamägi (Foal Hill), Sõjamägi (War Hill); dales between them bear names like Suure Laeva Käär (Great Ship Dale), Varsaorg (Foal Dale). Rannametsa Dunes have been recognized as natural (landscape) symbols of PärnuCounty.
Tolkuse Bog has been formed by paludification of an ancient sea lagoon between two ranges of dunes. The bog includes around 40 lacunae, the largest a kilometre long and 200 m wide. Cloudberries, cranberries and mushrooms can be found here. A ca 2 km long plank path has been laid down for bog hikers.
Häädemeeste mineral water
Timmkanal is a manually excavated 27 km long canal which originates from the later half of 19th Century and was excavated in two stages over a 35-year-long gap. It runs to the Gulfof Rigain RannametsaVillage. The first completed part of 8 km became the stuff of legends. The project was initiated by Alexander Thimm (1808–1862), a tenant of the HäädemeesteStateManor. In 1858, fifty peasants were ordered to dig a canal through Tolkuse Bog. They were often forced to work by beating, although laws prohibited it. The excavation started at the shore but soon, the tremendous extent of work became evident – sand kept sliding down constantly and had to be shovelled aside. Thimm began to apply for state aid. After the first refusal, he summoned a commission to see the work. One day, the commission was showed 50 men digging at one end of the ditch. The next day, after dinner and a night at the manor, the inspectors went to see the other end where, likewise, 50 men were working. Of course, these were the same workers but the commission was left with the impression of 100 men put to work – the townsmen could not recognize the peasants. Thimm received the aid and the project was completed. Later on, the water flow widened the ditch to quite a river.
Timmkanali Outcrop shows us some 8,000-year-old sediment from the LittorinaSeaperiod.
Häädemeeste Coastal Meadow, with its rich bird life and many plant species, has received international attention. The place is one of the most significant Estonian habitats of the Natterjack Toad. In order to develop the protection and maintenance of coastal meadows, a project within the LIFE programmehas been completed.
Kabli Bird Station has been a centre for ringing migratory birds since 1969, initiated by the legendary manager of the Nigula Nature Reserve, Henn Vilbaste. The station uses bird traps of the so-called Helgolandtype. Ornithologists of the Nigula Nature Reserveare active here; the most ringed birds are the Goldcrest (Regulus regulus) and various tit species. Birds of more than 100 different species have been ringed over the years. The first encounters with Pallas's Warbler (Phylloscopus proregulus) and Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator) in Estoniaoriginate from here. In addition, the bird station surveys the migration of bats. There is also a 7 m tall bird watching tower on the territory of the bird station. Kabli Nature Centre, a nature study trail and KabliBeachare located nearby.
LemmeBeachoffers good opportunities for recreation due to its beautiful sandy shores, many summer houses and camp sites in the pine forests.
Metsapoole Zoological and Botanical Reserve aims on its area of 64 ha to protect reed beds, coastal meadows and endorheic lakes; of species, the Edible Frog and the Natterjack Toad.
Kivikupitsamägi is a natural hill on the embankment of the former Pärnu-Ikla railway.
Nigula Quagmires, the so-called "homes of bog trolls" are one of the main objects of interest in the Nigula Nature Reserve.
The "sinking" bog isle of Salupeaksi – a sightseeing object of Nigula Nature Reserve.
The protected Laiksaare pine forest along with a study trail offer those interested in nature a chance to see a flood plain forest and flora typical of it, both rare in Estonia.
Dunes running in the direction of Häädemeeste–Võidu–a strip of dunes by a gravel road, covered in a low-growing pine forest. Bilberries, cowberries and mushrooms grow here in abundance.
Sooküla Quarry – that is where the Natterjack toads live. A large field of milled peat can be found nearby.
Soometsa – a growing site for Perennial Honesty (Lunaria rediviva)and ramsons (Allium ursinum).
Aruoja, Arumetsa, Kiviaru, Pilsi, Siigla Suurkivi boulders.
Suurlaid (2.8 ha) and Väikelaid (0.8 ha) or Big Islet and Small Islet are located near the Häädemeeste coast. The Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus), the European Herring Gull (Larus argentatus), the Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) and the Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) nest there. It is forbidden to go on the islets while the birds are nesting.
Laulaste Nature Reserve
NB! There is currently no beach patrol at Kabli Beach. Visitors of the beach shall follow all rules of public order and maintenance of general order established by Häädemeeste Rural Municipality, the Estonian Traffic Act and other legislation of the Republic of Estonia.
Parents are obliged to ensure that their children are not left without supervision. Parents bear the main responsibility for their children's safety in water.
(from the book Häädemeeste, compiled by Tiiu Pukk, 2009)
Captains and Ship Owners
Ships Built in Häädemeeste
According to a common legend, owners of several boats recruited poorer coastal seafarers to work on their boats. Those men could acquire good profit from a few successful trips to Sweden. The salt transport convinced the coast inhabitants that the sea provides better living than farming and can bring prosperity to the house. Gypsum transport was a good earning prospect. This opportunity, provided by traders of Riga, had to be seized. Until that time, only rich landowners of coastal villages had owned larger vessels, but the rest of the people were also eager to increase their income by seafaring. Those who had some savings began building larger ships themselves. But soon it became evident that one could only build a small fishing boat with his own savings. Poording required more money and more shipbuilding experience. A group of farmers put their money together for shipbuilding. The group recruited a master shipbuilder from the islandof Saaremaa. But the owners also participated in the building, from the cutting of timber to the launching of the ship. This way, the renowned gypsum fleet of the local people was founded over the course of a few years. The vessels formed a row (convoy) at sea, led by the oldest and most experienced self-learned captain – the others following the first ship closely. If a following ship happened to have better sailing performance, its sail area had to be reduced to keep it from outsailing the leader.
Old sailors on gypsum vessels said that if the Gulfof Riga, Muhu Sound and the Gulf of Finlandcould be drained, there would be a white, gypsum-paved road formed by gypsum loads cast overboard in the case of emergency. When someone happened to ask how the ships never veered off course during the long voyage, the seafarers had an answer ready: "A lookout stood at the bow the whole time, watching the sea bottom. As soon as the whitish streak of gypsum began to disappear beneath the ship, the watcher gave a hand signal to the helmsman, indicating where to turn." (Lookout was included in the watch keeping duty and used when the visibility was reduced to 2 miles. On sailing ships, the lookout duty was permanent. The lookout's job was to watch the water and other ships. All ships and objects were reported to the bridge). Gypsum transport brought some prosperity to the coastal villages, as well as good seafaring experience, which proved extremely useful in future long-distance voyages.
In 1861, the first long-distance sailing ships owned by Estonians were built here – Mats Grant from Kabli built Markus, with the carrying capacity of 200 tonnes. Some weeks after its launching, a great working bee was held by Häädemeeste shore in order to launch the two-mast Julie with the carrying capacity of 140 tonnes. The registered owner was Gustav Martinson. Julie sailed away to perform transports for traders of Riga, led by its master who was also a self-learned captain.
Markson and Martinson, the captains of Markus and Julie, understood already on their first longer voyages abroad that their knowledge was not quite sufficient. Those self-learned captains were competent enough for the Rigaand St. Petersburgroutes but now they were on the open sea, without a strip of land or a navigation mark visible – and they were in trouble. The ships often veered off the course, which embarrassed the captains and wasted valuable time during the short Nordic summer. The captain's cabin of Julie was soon equipped with sea maps purchased in Riga. But that was of little avail when the captain could not use them properly.
If the right course was lost at sea, a steady course was maintained until a strip of land became visible somewhere. Then the position was determined by a method used in the days of gypsum transports - an 'informant' was brought from the shore. The ship was anchored in roadstead near the unfamiliar coast, the captain took his roll of maps and a couple of seamen rowed him to the shore in a boat. He tried to determine the geographical position with the help of local inhabitants, in order to make out the distance and the route to the destination. Sometimes a self-learned captain had a really hard time to find someone who understood his troubles and could offer advice, as he rarely spoke the local language. Richer ship owners preferred to recruit a certified captain for their ships. He was the captain by name but the ship owner remained the lord and master on the ship. The captain's duty was to clear the documents with harbour authorities, as the harbours also required a shipmaster certificate besides the tonnage certificate, registry certificate and other documents. Certified captains were employed by the owners of the first long-distance sailing vessels from the coasts of PärnuCountyin the second half of the 19th Century.
But this much was evident – the knowledge and skills of self-learned captains were insufficient for those kinds of long voyages. It was a common opinion that the only way to get proper captains was to educate seafarers from the local villages. But where should a local man obtain the certificate? RigaMaritimeSchoolwas out of his league due to his poor command of the German language and insufficient general education. Few inhabitants of the coastal area had learned to read and write a little at the three-winter parish school in Häädemeeste. That was far from enough for a maritime school. People discussed their opportunities and decided to establish a maritime school in Heinaste, with Estonian as the language of instruction and beginning with fairly basic education. HeinasteMaritimeSchoolwas finally opened on 23rd November 1864. Everyone would be accepted, regardless of age, nationality, religion or financial situation. The applicant had to submit proof of prior voyages, be able to read, write and perform some calculations. The length of studies was not determined or restricted. A seafarer could study as long as he needed, until he got the necessary knowledge, even if it took two or three years. A student could begin and leave at any time. He attended the exam when he thought himself learned and skilled enough. The most important subject was navigation, especially the use of compass and sea maps. The curriculum also included astronomy, maritime law and German. These efforts were crowned by success three years later – in 1867, a group of students successfully passed the mate's exam for short-distance sailing at RigaMaritimeSchool. HeinasteMaritimeSchoolwas the first institution providing certified shipmasters at the coast of Estonia.
Heinaste Maritime Schooloriginally worked as a two-year school. In 1879, it was restructured to a three-year maritime school of the 3rd category – the first year prepared students for the profession of mate of short-distance sailing, the second captains of short-distance sailing and mates of long-distance sailing, the third year captains of long-distance sailing. This system was applied at Estonian maritime schools until the year 1944.
HeinasteMaritimeSchool(1864–1915) was attended by 3,760 students in total. Approximately two-thirds of the students were Latvians, the rest Estonians. The list of captains published in Rigain 1869 included 118 Estonian captains, of which 57 came from either Häädemeeste or Orajõe.
Fear of fire was constantly present on wooden ships. Smoking on the deck was strictly forbidden, as a spark from the pipe could set sails and the whole ship on fire. The non-smoking rule was somewhat modified later. But sailors soon experienced that a pipe was impractical at sea – it was hard to light in wind, water dripping from the storm put out the pipe in rainy weather, ashes and sparks fell into one's eyes when looking up with a pipe between one's teeth. Chewing tobacco became popular among sailors, only to be abandoned during meals and sleep.
The main occupational disease of sailing ship crewswas skin cracks in their palms due to the constant handling of wet ropes. A sailor could experience blinding pain, grabbing a coarse rope with raw, bleeding hands. But the work needed to be done, the life had its own needs, the family had to be provided for – working was inevitable. The stock of medicines available on a ship could not help against this problem, so the men were left to trust in the healing qualities of their own urine.
Another annoying problem, against which even urine could not help, was heat blisters. Those developed as soon as the ship reached tropical waters and remained until the ship returned to northern – or southern – latitudes where the temperature was lower.
If someone complained of aching shoulder blades or hips, his comrades could confidently place the diagnosis – RHEUMATISM. Soon the crew cabin was filled with the sharp smell of turpentine. Later on, turpentine was replaced by a rheumatism medicine with an even stronger smell – the liniment called "moustache" among sailors. They brought it with them in a bottle, adorned with a picture of a man with an enormous moustache and the inscription SLOAN'S LINIMENT.
If an abscess developed beneath the belt or where skin had been punctured by a wire, tar plaster was the best medicine known.
But the number one medicine for every disease was gin, rum or whisky. Above all, it cured the crew from fatigue, as captains noticed. When the men were worn out by a long fight against a storm, the captain stimulated them with a good-sized sip. When the storm had passed and the sails reefed, another proper mouthful awaited the exhausted men. In the harbours of South Americaand the West Indies, rum was used to fight a serious tropical disease – yellow fever. It was believed that a proper dose of rum helped prevent the disease and enhance immunity.
Every ship had a guardian spirit - kotermann (ship gremlin). Kotermann was said to be a small man-like creature whose age matched that of the ship. He wore a sailor's working clothes and a storm hat, regardless of the weather. He always had a chinstrap beard, a style favoured by sailors at that time. But it remained a mystery why those who had seen him always described him as bow-legged. Kotermann was seen during storms on sail beams and masts, helping the men to reef sails and tie ropes. He also helped the helmsman when keeping the course in the storm required strong arms and keen eyes. It so happened that kotermann also used to wake lookout watches who had fallen asleep, jabbing them slightly in the ribs. The timing of his help was always perfect. In a strong storm, when the ship rolled from side to side, kotermann was even seen by the crew's table, holding the dishes in place.
Although kotermann was a diligent worker, he also had a taste for practical jokes. Sailors on their first voyage were his main target. One such tale is about a cook on his first duty on a ship. The cook had already spent hours feeding the fire – but the soup would not boil! Lunch time was approaching; the cook became nervous, imagining the shouting he would receive from the crew and the captain. Some men were already asking what was for lunch. When the cook had confessed his plight, a sympathetic crew member stated that it had to be the kotermann playing tricks again.
Older ships that had sailed for years were taken to a dock to inspect the condition of the hull bottom. Often it was seen that the ribs looked as good as new. The 'kotermann' diligently protecting the ship become known, though – salt and fish grease preserved the hull and prolonged its life significantly.