A small mid-October camping trip

This last weekend I was made to drag my ass along the south edge of the Kola Peninsula to the so-called Nos (“nose”) Cape, just east of the Golden Gate and Tetrina fishing base and ~3 miles to the village of Kuzreka. The latter is famous as the site of the Pomor ritual cookie festival and is, incidentally, open to foreign travellers despite Russian submarines regularly surfacing in the bay.

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A popular summer destination among the locals, in the middle of October it was populated only by us, a fishing family from Apatity, and a bear who left numerous footprints

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and other evidence of its presence. more >>

The Aurora Borealis season is here..

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The Cross Mountain, just east from Kandalaksha, last night

Sightings of Aurora Borealis had been reported on August 30 and today, Sept. 2. Here they are, from the VK page of Kandalaksha photographer Igor Prozorov.

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Hills over the Kolvitsa village

Here are some photos from the recent trip to the tundra hills over the village of Kolvitsa, thanks to two Finnish travelers I took there. During a good half a day in the hills we met no one and saw not a single piece of trash. I think I’m starting to understand what draws people up there.

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The white stuff is lichens. No reindeer here, thus lots of lichens.kolvitsa-hills-2kolvitsa-hills-3
Picking cloudberries..

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On top of one of the highest hills in the area..

If Kuzomen is not far enough for you, cross the Varzuga river

varzuga-ferry-1On Thursday we witnessed an UAZ van ferried to the other side of Kuzomen, to the true “beyond”. That’s the only way, except the helicopter, to get to places like Chavanga, Strelna, or Chapoma.

Here are a few photos to show you how it happens, with the floating platform being pushed by a motor boat. The cost of this adventure across the river is ~5000 roubles ($70) per crossing. more >>

Day of eared jellyfish

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There are two types of jellyfish living in the White Sea: Aurelia aurita and Cyanea capillata. Aurelia aurita is also called “Eared jellyfish” even though it has no ears. It got its name from its bright and clearly visible reproductive gonads.

Aurelia sometimes comes close to the coastline and gets stranded on the beach, or is thrown out by the storm. But never before have we seen so many jellyfish as we did yesterday.

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The day of giant things

On our second day in Kuzumen we found a huge tree on the beach. Can’t imagine where it has come from. There are no trees of this size within at least 100km from here.

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A huge root, 2×3 meters, and the trunk of at least 10 meters in length more >>

Our traditional August vacation in Kuzomen has started

This is one of the easiest yet most interesting routes around the Kola Peninsula. You can do that alone or by hiring Uncle Pasha as your driver, guide, and translator.

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Below are travel notes from the first two days on the road. These are useful (facts) and useless (beautiful sights). more >>

Off to the hills for the whole day

okkatyeva-hillToday I’m taking two Finnish travellers first to the Volostnaya hill, and then to the famous “Iron Gates” between the Domashniye (“home”) tundras and Okkatyeva hill, half-way between Luvenga and KolvitsaWish us all luck.

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 cfks-t@list.ru.

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.