Boat rowing regatta in Umba tomorrow, July 2

rowing-regattaThe festival is held yearly since 1998, and is intended to promote the Pomor culture and newly-fashionable “healthy lifestyle”.

Four and two-oar boats, both classic and flat-bottomed, are used.

For more info contact event organizers at +7(81559) 5-17-44, 5-18-33, or +7 911 063 4912, or e-mail them to

What territories are closed to foreigners – info from the horse’s mouth

kgb-still-watchingPulled up enough courage to dial the KGB Murmansk number given on top of the application to visit Sredny and Rybachy on the regional Ministry of Natural Resources site. To my surprise they picked up the phone on my first attempt and quickly referred me to another number, +7 (8152) 454108, and that number again answered, but the answer was alas that yes, a special permission is required, and the traveller has to contact KGB via one of the registered tourist organizations in the Murmansk region, NOT directly as the statement on top of the form seems to imply. They say it takes about a month to get the permit.

So we now now how to easily get a credible answer as to what is closed off to foreign travellers, and an approximate procedure, although a local company with a proven track record of arranging for these permits needs to be found and tested.

A application for a permit to visit Sredny and Rybachy on the Ministry’s site

permitGot a question from a Finnish traveller where application form for the permit mentioned here a year ago has disappeared. Having done a search, I have re-discovered it in a different location of the same Murmansk Ministry of Natural Resourses site.

The question of whether foreigners can or cannot visit Sredny and Rybachy, and what permit if any is required, remains open. No permit is required according to the Barents Observer article but on top of the Ministry form it says is is indeed needed for non-Russians.

By some reason I don’t feel like calling the KGB headquarters in Murmansk even though they are closest to possessing the most current info.


Arctic Trophy starts off Varzuga on August 7

arctic-trophyStarts in Varzuga, total distance 700km, with the final destination at the village of Ponoy in the far-eastern end of the poninsula. The expedition is expected to last 7-10 days, which is not surprising given complete lack of roads beyond Varzuga.

Another fire in Kandalaksha

The unfinished hotel on the Monastery Cape burned down yesterday..

That’s especially disconcerning given that about a week ago a tourist hut on top of Mount Volostnaya overlooking the city burned down too.

Just a reminder that free accommodation and guides are waiting for you in Kandalaksha

freeFree guide/accommodation:

Free guide:

What’s the catch? It’s in exchange for intensive English conversation practice. So you need to be very fluent in English, talkative, and outgoing. A couple of hours of work per day will get you a roof over your head without a need to pay for it, plus involvement in local life.

Historic reconstruction festival July 2 and 3

gandvikHistoric reconstruction festival “Gandvik” is taking place on the Monastery Cape (just east off Kandalaksha) on July 2nd and 3rd starting at noon. The program includes visiting the Viking camp, single and group combat, recreation of a medieval fair, and show of historic boats.

Free admission!

Access to Sredni and Rybachi peninsula

According to this 2010 Barents Observer article (thanks, Heikki) this area is no longer restricted to travellers, including foreigners. The application one had to fill out in advance last year seems to have disappeared from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Murmansk region site so we can probably assume it is no longer required. Better call someone based on Sredni or Rybachi, or get me to call them on your behalf to get up-to-date information, before going there.