Solovetsky Island to Archangel 13th to 16th July 2011

Minka of Southampton - Cruising Log
Edmund Wigan
Sun 17 Jul 2011 13:02
Daniel the lead skipper announced that he had arranged with the Head Monk that we be allowed to visit one of the smaller islands. We went and had look on Peter the First the lead boat.
The island had an interesting dwelling which looks very old but unfortunately I couldn't read the Russian information notice.
The building seems to be just a shed. It shows clearly the construction of the solid walls using lime cement, local boulders and bricks made on the main island. There is no attempt made to dress the boulders so they stick out of the walls on the outside and inside.
There was a wooden chapel on the island but it was not very interesting.
In the middle of the island there was a massive collection of stones which appear to have been for some purpose. Noone seems to know what they were for but we were told they have been there at least 3,000 years.
At some time several mini mazes had been planted in the heather. You could walk around them or just rest on the fragrant vegetation.
This seemed a popular activity.
At about 1900 we returned to our boats and left for Archangel after sorting out the anchors which had dragged. The trip was 150nm to the centre of Archangel.
We met up at the receiving buoy and a pilot boat came to put a pilot aboard for the 30 mile trip up the channel. There was a lot of smoke coming in which reduced the visibility, I think it was caused by forest fires.
The channel and first signs of civilisation.
At about 0500 we were greeted by these very excited youngsters in an aluminium speedboat. They were very friendly shouting a whole load of incomprehensible russian. After a while they went straight in front of Williwaw and stopped dead. If Michael had not swerved sharply to miss them they would have had very wet clothes to go with their hangovers.
We initially moored up to the wharf in three deep rafts but were told to move after a few hours as it was a ferry terminal for the oldest paddle steamer in Archangel.
We then moved further down the quay and moored to a floating crane.
We managed to get our heads down for a few hours sleep.