Association of Maritime Culture SALAVA, 15 years of activity
In 1994 Saaremaa Association of Maritime Culture was founded on the initiative of the marine historian Bruno Pao. The Republic of Estonia was still young and access to the sea was free again while old knowledge and skills of the seas were slipping into oblivion. Thus the aim was set at the restoration and recording of the maritime knowledge and related culture of our seamen, ship-builders and many others. Saaremaa Association of Maritime Culture unites more than a hundred people from the whole county. Today the head of the association is former captain, pilot loots Rein Sepp. On 24 July 1996 SALAVA, the subsidiary of Saaremaa Maritime Culture Association was founded in Western Saaremaa (Lümanda and Kihelkonna municipalities). Thus 2011 is the year for celebrating the 15th anniversary of the association.
The first meeting took place in the historical Jaagarahu Harbour; there were 6 founders of the new subsidiary. Today we have more than 40 members. Salava won the name competition. This is the island next to the most Western group of islets in Estonia, Nootama, and it sounds good and even a bit mystical. During the period of 15 years the post of the chairman has been held by Tiina Ojala, Elle Mäe and Urve Vakker. Each year we undertake 15-20 events and activities. We hike in the Saare county and beyond. Trips to Matsalu National Park, Muhu island, Käsmu, Vilsandi etc. have been unforgettable. In 2011 we are going to see the completion of the boat in Muhu island and to a hike on the Abruka island. Meetings with various maritime specialists have always been extremely interesting. We have invited Kaarel Orviku, Jaanus Tamkivi, Vello Park, Rein Männik, (an aerologist who has worked in the Antarctic 1981-83 and 1987-88), Rein Ausmees, and people from the Saaremaa Museum etc.). There are also people who have interesting experiences with sea, fishermen and ship-builders, among the locals. We have watched building of boats in Nasva Baltic Workboats, Kuressaare Luksusjaht, production of preserves of spiced Baltic sprat in Papissaare fish plant, we sent Jaan Tätte to travel the seas of the world. Celebrations of birth anniversaries with history conferences have also been very interesting, e.g. the birth anniversaries of the discoverer of Antarctic F.B. G. von Bellingshausen who comes from our region, conservationist Artur Toom, boat-builders Peeter Sepp, Ado Vammus, captain Jaen Teär, Loonalaiu host Peeter All, writers coming from our area August Mälk and Aadu Hint, county governor Mihkel Neps. For years we have commemorated the sinking of m/s Estoniaon the seashore. In 2004 a major history day "Audaku 100“ with the stories and an excursion to the shelter of the lepers took place. We have arranged photo competitions on the marine subjects and collected old photos, organised bees, participated in local quizzes with Salava, arranged fish festivals, celebrated the 200th anniversary of the organ of the Kihelkonna Church and 140th anniversary of the Lümanda church , Tagalahe landing operation 90, etc. Thinking of the youth we have conducted study days "To remember maritime wisdom“ 2008 and "To sea with men“ 2010 for the students of local schools. For three years we have Acknowledged the maritime act or event in the Saare county. These have been the finding of the ship from the pre-Viking period in Salme in 2008, opening the Southern beach in Muhu island in 2009 and new quality in the ferry traffic of the Saaremaa Laevakompanii in 2010. The members who have been active in Salava throughout the years: Kalju Eerik, Aivar and Monica Kallas, Kadri and Arvo Kullapere, Tiiu and Raivo Kauber, Urve Vakker, Helje Vaher, Tiina Ojala, Lea Vammus, Malle Silts, Ülle Reinsoo, Aivo Raud, Salme Berens, Saima Talp and others. The aim of Salava is to provide maritime knowledge to its members, to furnish free time and to record maritime history. Saaremaa is a maritime country and maritime history and culture have surrounded us and still are today , Salava unites them.