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Guide to the Site


Introduction

This site was originally intended to follow us round the Baltic during our trip in 2003. As we were going to be away from the UK for over three months, this site was put together to keep family and friends in touch with us. In the end, although it definitely helped to to keep people 'close', Pat's phone bill to her mum was larger than that for the site!

Some people don't like planning, but for us its half the fun. When we went to plan the trip, despite the best efforts of the CA's Baltic Section, we found it difficult get a clear view of the best places to go. There is a mass of information available - and in a way we were overwhelmed with detail.  Many of the available guides concentrate on the mechanics of navigation, and don't have any sense of local colour. Local guides and websites tend to be in the native language. We therefore decided that there ought to be something available - in English - which gave an introduction to potential new visitors to the area.

Kissen is currently based in the Baltic, and likely to stay there for a few years. This site has been steadily growing, (in popularity as well as size) as we travel around, as is planned to continue to grow. We got to Finland last year, and hope to get in some of the Baltic states, before making it back to Denmark at the end of the year.

Construction

We build the site in ’real-time’. Although we planned originally to update the site from the boat, in practice, problems sending files over GSM phones meant that we ended up the first year sending a weekly update to a webmaster in London, who updated the site for us. In the event, this worked out quite well, as we simply sent him a 200kb compressed email once a week. More recently, we've found with the ubiquity of Wi-Fi, we can update the site ourselves from the boat.

As we had less time in 2004, updates were more leisurely, but we've resumed roughly weekly updates in 2005, and plan to do the same in 2006.

Layout

The site is arranged in three major sections; the log, organised by year, narrates the events of the cruise in a sort-of blog format; the countries sections, (Denmark, Sweden) have interactive maps with pages of information on the places we visited; the Resources section has reviews on the various charts, guides and other planning information available, including where to get weather info, and connecting to the internet. There is also a section, Getting There, on the delivery trip.

We have tried to bring the places alive with a selection of photographs. Most of the narrative pages only have thumbnails in order to make the pages quick to download, however if you click on the thumbnail, a larger photo will 'pop-up'.

The information on here is not exhaustive; the words are solely our own opinions based on our experience and conversations with others. In no way is it intended to replace the guide books or pilots, merely help you to track down some of these, and supplement them with some local colour. Any mistakes or misinformation are entirely our own and, for these, we are sorry. If you let us know, we will try and correct them, but don’t rely on any information here without separate verification.

We've tried to use very little copyright material. Where we do use it, copyright is acknowledged. This site is not commercial. If we unknowingly infringe any copyright, the material will be removed as soon as we are informed.

Technical Info - Geeks Only!

We used Namo Webeditor 5.5 to edit the site originally, although we've recently switched over to Macromedia Dreamweaver MX. All the major structure and graphics were in place before we left for the cruise, and we gave some thought to a site structure which wouldn't look empty but would expand with time. Photographs are taken on either a Minolta Dimage X, or Minolta 7i digicam (we've recently changed the Dimage X to a Fuji E550, which is excellent), and processed originally using Jasc Paint Shop Pro 8, although we've also recently upgraded to Adobe Photoshop CS. The only other software we use is Extensis Portfolio 7 , to manage the digital photos.

The site is hosted in the UK by Fasthosts

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