Haapasaari to St Petersberg

Minka of Southampton - Cruising Log
Edmund Wigan
Fri 1 Jul 2011 09:32
Position N59 55.5  E030 14.28  Passport Control
Unfortunately for this overnight trip the wind was on our nose so we decided to motor. We could have sailed but it would have meant the journey being 36 hours rather than 24 and we would have arrived at Russian customs at night.
There was a pleasant but not startling sunset
During the night whilst I was  on watch I noticed a boat ahead which seemed stationary. I kept hearing a Russian Coastguard vessel calling up a ship but assumed it wasn't us as the position it was giving was a mile or two away and there was a lot of traffic. As I got nearer we seemed to be getting closer to the position he was giving out. It soon became apparent that the stationary vessel in front was the Russian Coastguard vessel and eventually he set off a green flare to attract our attention. Poor Michael was awoken to deal with this as I have not used his radio yet so don't know which knob does what. They only wanted to know who we were and where we were going.
I took this picture of the Russian Coastguard vessel so will not be taking up photography professionally.
The entry to St Petersberg Lagoon is quite impressive as is the lagoon which is about 10 miles by 15 miles. They are building a surge/flood barrier at the entrance
So that is the gao they are trying to close with two large gates.
Each of which is mounted on a large ball and socket
This is an incredible feat of engineering. Going through the entrance it is all a bit decayed with ancient docks and crumbling fortifications. There are a large number of old warships in the docks
There was quite a lot of traffic coming out through the lagoon including this barge which was the first evidence for there being a canal system further up.
The masts fold to allow it under bridges.
We found our way to Russian Passport Control where there was an international naval rally going on.
Just behind Williwaw (who is in the foreground) was the rally
We spent a joyful hour with immigration and passport control officers who were all very friendly but aghast when Michael mentioned we were taking the boat to Murmansk....."not possible" and so on. Fortunately by the time we had completed everything for passport control they had checked that this was an organised trip and let us go. It was very much an individual experience. One chap came to Williwaw and escorted us to immigration and then we immediately had the attention of two officers who took us to passport control where we went into their office. This was interesting as they had a TV on showing Russian Soaps and reality shows one of which featured a Jonathan Ross look alike.
We had a quick look at the naval show and then set off for the Yacht Club which was about 2 hrs motoring. We were greeted on the jetty by Lena who has been appointed to look after us whilst we are in St Petersberg. We had a cold shower each and went to bed about 2200.