Nestorinranta is in Puumala, at the heart of Lake Saimaa
Puumala is known as the Gibraltar of Lake Saimaa because all boats and ships must sail through it if they plan to pass from south to north or north to south in Lake Saimaa.
Nestorinranta is located on Lintusalo, the final and largest island in the Puumala archipelago. A beautiful 20 km archipelago road passes through 11 islands on its way to us. The journey includes bridges, causeways, and the Hätinvirta ferry. The road was renovated in 2020.
On the north side of Lintusalo is one of the open expanses of Lake Saimaa, known as Lietvesi, and on the south side are the open waters of Suur-Saimaa. Lietvesi and Suur-Saimaa are connected by Vetojako in the west. At the north end of Vetojako, on the west shore of Lintusalo, lies Nestorinranta. Vetojako goes from one of Lake Saimaa’s deep-water channels and the strongest currents, which cannot be traversed in the winter. The channel contains sea markers to Nestorinranta.
Remnants of the ice age in Lintusalo
When the ice melted 11,000 years ago, most of Lintusalo was underwater. Only the dark brown areas shown on the map were above the water. The terrain bears many traces left by the ice age.
The story of Nestorinranta and sustainability
Nestorinranta stands on the site of an old small farm, the homestead of Matti. A photo of our house 40 years ago. In the foreground is Ville Viialainen, Matti’s father.
Statues of Nestori and the ringed seal
Right next to the bike ferry pier at Nestorinranta you will notice a bronze statue of a man sitting on a rock playing the violin for a bronze Saimaa ringed seal. The statues were made by a talented young sculptor named Adil Aliyev. Aliyev belongs to the Hefaistos group of deaf artists based in Moscow.
The statues are a monument to Nestori Reponen, a smith and carpenter who lived in the village from 1912 to 1982. Nestori played several instruments, including the harmonica, accordion, violin and mandolin.
Once, Nestori was playing the accordion on the steps of his sauna on the shore while he waited for it to heat up. A rare Saimaa ringed seal came to listen to the music. It was such an unusual event that Nestori told journalists about it when they came to Lintusalo in 1971 to write an article about how frost was causing damage and disrupting the islanders’ lives.
At that time, there was no road to the island, and the islanders were stranded for 2–3 weeks every spring and autumn when the ice was too weak to walk across but too thick to drive a boat through.
One of the journalists took an interest in the story and in the early 1980s, he suggested that Juha Vainio, a songwriter, should write a song about the story to highlight the need to protect Saimaa ringed seals. This led to the birth of the Finnish hit Vanhojapoikia viiksekkäitä (“Bachelors with mustaches”), which tells of a lonely old man and a lonely old seal on Lake Saimaa, both of whom had struggled to find love.
There is a photo of Nestori sitting on a rock on the beach and playing his violin. Adil Aliyev made the statue of Nestori from this photo. The statues were unveiled on 13 July 2019.