Although the White Sea does not boast such a well-developed yachting infrastructure as the neighbouring Baltic Sea, there is still room in its waters for relaxation under sail. The wildness and relative unpopularity of this northern region for the mass tourist is perhaps a plus rather than minus. It is an ideal place for someone who wants to feel like a discoverer. And if it's also a sailing wooden rook...
Against the wind.
- And-and-and... One! And-and-and... One! And-and-and... One!
- Slut! Plyuh! Plyuh! - respond in time four pairs of fun.
Bring the paddle as far back as possible. Lower the paddle into the water (not too deep, but not too deep to scratch the surface). With your back rested, pull the oar under water. Lift. Bring in...
I sit on the first - stern - bench (can«)»ten-meter wooden rook and rake.
Beautiful «Yolma» - five pairs of fun, a straight sail of white cotton teak soaked in linseed oil, schools and bras, cables and stacks holding a six-meter mast, made of natural ropes and also soaked in linseed oil for less soaking.
«A ship of the soul running faster than the wind on the sea surface -»this is how Daria Filatova, the head of the project Beyond the Horizon, to w«hich»the boat belongs,«described» the meaning of the name Yolma.
Construction of the rook began in late 2017 - early 2018. The boat was modeled on a computer, then the parts for it were cut out on a machine of nine millimeter plywood.The process of assembling the puzzle «for adults,»as its»main builder Kirill Savenkov baptised Yolma«, lasted from the end of February for six months. The rook was launched for the first time on the last day of September. Our trip to the White Sea is the second big journey of her life. Before that she had only once - at the beginning of May this year - spent a week on Lake Ladoga during the training of her instructors.
- And-and-and... One!
Actually, you don't have to command out loud - at least not all the time. Synchronize only with Bones, who sits with me in a pair on the paddle on the same can, but on «the other»side, and each next pair behind us will adjust to us in a chain.
Yeah, we can. But today is only the third day of the hike, our team is not very well-coordinated yet, so when someone sets the rhythm with a voice, we row much more friendly.
So far there are ten of us: four teenage boys and six adults of different ages. There is one rower missing, but already tonight, after entering the village of Kovda, the whole team will be assembled.
Five women and six men with very different experiences, independent of age. Someone got used to kayaking and even last year took the same route as we did. Someone is happy to remember what it's like to be a rower on such a big boat. For some, it's the first time in my life.
Now we only need to finally catch up with these wretched last 900 meters against the wind and waves to the point where we can change course and raise the sail. Alas, Yolma has a«»straight sail and no fake. Even if you try now, before changing course, to set our sail along the boat, as Bermuda, it will in any case be too much to tear down to the side, ashore.
However, although the boat itself weighs 490 kg, thanks to a draft of only 30 centimetres, even on shallow, hollow beaches we can approach the shore and land without getting our feet wet. The crew can also push the boat back into the water.
And-and-and... One! Plug! From the endless monotonous repetition of this spell «in his mouth» dries up, and his tongue begins to weave.
Need to take a break. For a few moments you can hear only splashes of water from the rhythmically lowering and rising oars, then our captain sits on the «post» instead of me. Sergei Filatov.... What time in the last hour (or two already?) do we change like this?
- And-and-and... One!
- Eh! Pile up!
800 meters. 700 meters. 500. Such moments, even if you have to row in the rain, you hate and at the same time love strangely, otherwise how to explain the desire to sit on a paddle again? Sitting, leaning against the nearest bends, with your back, pulling back a stubborn oar with all its weight, tilting back with it. You bet the paddle blade didn't jump out of the water before the wave, knocking you off your rhythm...
100 meters. Set sail!
The first two pairs of oarsmen still row. Did you think the boat couldn't go any tighter? Maybe if only half the team is rowing!
Meanwhile, behind our backs, ten hands are moved, untied, tied, pulled, turned on, fastened...
- Oars on board!
The switches are tightly closed from the outside with a special lid so as not to draw water. «Yolma slides» quietly forward. Under sail it can accelerate up to 10 km/h. Our daily crossings are 10-30 km.
Thanks to the following winds and sails, you can take a break from rowing at such moments, not in pairs, but with the whole team. The crew recline evenly on board, watching the scenery pass by. Some people (mostly those who are not afraid of sea sickness) lie right at the bottom of the boat on bends. From such position only the sky on which seagulls fly from time to time is visible, but so it is possible to hide from a wind. Sometimes someone freezes in the wind from idleness, sits on a paddle to warm «up.
Time to play games like hats«,»puzzling and explaining words to each other. At the same time, they usually get a snack.
Small and big trials of the North Sea
Just yesterday we were in the village of Zelenoborsky (Princely Lip) and enjoying the sun, we lowered Yolma «on» the water.
Then the empty machine trailer was transferred to a place of completion of our trip - to settlement Chkalovsky (lip Chupa). On land this way (130 km) takes about three hours in one direction. The team that stayed in Zelenoborski managed to have a rowing practice in an empty boat before the start of the hike, and then load it with things and prepare for the start.
Transition in 11 km on oars on quiet water, some cheerful songs ("White«Sea FM" radio).»as our second instructor Natalia Sergeeva funnily calls it), and we found ourselves on the island of Wola.
- Look, see that island that looks like the boa that swallowed the elephant? That's where we're going!
We are beyond the Arctic Circle, and the endless summer day is not over yet. Watching «the sunset», you know that in a few hours, without giving up the right of the night, it will imperceptibly turn into dawn. For some, however, this miracle of nature means exhausting insomnia for several days and a constant feeling of fatigue.
To look at a quiet (compared to motor boats) rook, from the water here and there are seals dug out. Meeting each one invariably excites the crew and makes them feel good. But we can only see a white whale diving once, on the penultimate day of the trip.
As calm and serene as on the first day, this cold, harsh sea is not always the case.
Even on the third day of the hike, when we rowed against the wind, the weather was not yet truly stormy. So - a little excitement, which, in general, is not dangerous for our boat. «Yolma» is easily drifting sideways, but it does not occupy stability. A wide rook is not so easy to tip over. Positive and low waves are not to be afraid. If not, we would wait on the shore - the captain is closely watching the weather forecast.
Although we will not experience it, it can be much worse. A reminder and a warning about this we found just in time for the first berth on Wola. This is a monument to the head of the Kandalaksha Diving Club «Gandvik», who went missing many years ago.
In September 1978, Valery Khorenkov was returning home at night in a storm.
In the place where we stood up 41 years later, waves and wind nailed his empty cauldron to the shore.
The diver himself was never found. Later, the boat was placed on a boulder as a memorial. A few years ago, the dilapidated commemorative plate, which chains descend from stone to water, was replaced by a new one.
Such a full-fledged memorial in these parts is rather rare. But the usual wooden crosses on the coast can be seen quite often. Knowledgeable people will tell more than one story about fishermen who managed to get to the shore, but died from hypothermia.
When the entire crew is finally assembled, we arrange a day for two days on Vysokiy Island about five kilometers from Kovda.
On the one hand, so we can wait for the weather to improve and avoid exhausting rowing against the wind. On the other hand, this time can be used to organize a hiking sauna and have an important training related to unplanned swimming «in the cold» White Sea water.
Such training is necessarily carried out in each program of the project «Beyond the horizon,»associated in one way or another with movements on the water. The team is divided into two groups. The first one goes away by boat (or kayak) near the shore.
The members of this crew in life jackets take turns jumping overboard and trying to get back into the boat on their own. For the smartest of them, it takes literally seconds. Those who can't, comrades quickly together drag on board by the vest belts.
If the training is conducted on kayaks, the teams specially turn over with them and then return the kayaks to normal position.
Meanwhile, the second group makes a hot fire on the shore. Their goal is to meet their friends who are soaked, often really shaking with cold water, help them get out of the boat, walk to the fire, change their clothes and then drink hot sweet tea.
After everyone warms up and both groups share their impressions and comments about the first part of the training, the teams change roles. Now, in the case of an emergency, the person overboard will be less panicky and each team member will know what to do to help him. In addition, for each of us, this training is certainly a good human lesson in caring for your neighbor.
Although the idea of swimming in cold water may sound extreme, I can not remember the case that a person gets sick after this training. And it is quite natural that if a person has contraindications before the training, he is not involved in its water part.
Water travel on the White Sea can hardly be compared to yachting in the Mediterranean. After completion of the next voyage, the cozy marina of the seaside town is not waiting for travelers, the views of the streets of which are still begging for a postcard.
The main thing in the White Sea journey is the spirit of discoverer. Here you can easily go by sea for several days and not meet a soul. It remains to explore uninhabited, mossy, stocky heather, cloudberry and bushy shikshaws rocky islands with bird markets and seal rookeries. Some of them are protected, and you can only look at them from the water.
On such islands, even if you want to land on them, sometimes not find a single tree. It happens that they do not even have a «fin thrown out by the sea -» sticks, planks and logs, which for a long time waves were throwing on the sea - and without a gas burner is nothing to warm your tea.
But still, this unpleasant land cannot be denied beauty.
There are, however, other islands - large and small, covered with pine and mixed forest. Often there is a swamp in the lowlands of one of the islands. Driving tourists who have risen here in the parking lot, it remains only to be covered with repellents and learn humility: even stopped biting, clouds of gnats and mosquitoes still climb in the face. Often, parking lots on the mainland also look similar.
Keepers the memory of old days
There are also some sights here. The simplest of them are triangulation towers mounted on tops.
On the island of Naumiha, where you seem to find nothing but bird's nests, you can climb to the lighthouse.
On Krasny Island on Kem-Ludy archipelago there is an ancient labyrinth laid out of stones. According to archaeologists, it appeared here around the turn of our era.
In the same area, at the exit of the lip of Chupa, on a tiny island there's a big rusty ship - a ship «that doesn't.
The most plausible version says, that this is a target model, which many years ago was installed for the military exercises. The object got its name for not finding it on any official map even today.
There's also something to see on the islands, which since 2017 have been part of...«Keretzky landscape sanctuary». On the east side. Sidorov islands you can find the remains of a children's camping site «Gold of the White Sea»which for many years up to 2016 had various programs. The tents that are now torn apart and the large tent were once a cozy base camp.
Many of the project's Instructors Over the «Horizon (and» myself) have lived on this base more than once - first as participating teenagers, and later as mentors. On wooden boats built jointly in Moscow, similar to ours (but for six oars), children and adults explored the surrounding islands. For many it was the first marine practice in their lives that taught them to love the sea and boats.
This year our wooden sailing boat is also not the only one admired by tourists staying at the large eastern sandy bay of Sidorov. Next to Yolma«there» was a rook Varvara«, whic»h at that time still belonged to the rook team of Moscow reconstructors.
Their team left Kandalaksha a few days later than Yolma from «Zelenoborsk», and the final point of the route was the town of Belomorsk. Already after the hike at the end of July the boat was handed over to the «Bastion» Park in Sortavala.
Another heritage of the White Sea»«Gold is a wooden fort on the neighboring island of Sidorovo, Ploskaya Luda.
«Goodbye,»but no goodbye.»
Our trip ends in the village Chkalovsky on the bank of the lip of Chupa. Even the day before from the bottom of the Yolma «sponge» and scoop collected accumulated sand, and now lifted it to the trailer car.
Last night the team is spending in a bathhouse in the guest complex of the company Keret-tour i«n the» village of Chupa.
The train, which will take most of the crew to Moscow, leaves Chupa only at 6 a.m., so the team has a whole night to remember once again the adventures we have experienced together in the past days. When we gather at the same table, we say thank «you to each other in a circle. We'll keep the same T-shirts as a memory.
The next morning, when the main team gets on the train, the rest, after a couple more hours of sleep, are loaded into the car. We have one more important thing to do - to take Yolm «to Kovdozero Lake» near Zelenoborskiy. Essentially - by land to return the boat almost to the same place where we started our sea voyage ten days ago.
Beyond the horizon.
A week later on Kovdozero «Yolma» will be launched by the participants of the next - game - program of the project Beyond the «Horizon. «Viking», «Saami» and Celtic«»teams will have to learn how to negotiate and plan this year, so that each group can take turns using the rook for quests on the lake.
The program-quests immerse teenagers in the atmosphere of ancient tales and legends. However, playing Vikings, Slavs, Celts or Sami is only a beautiful setting for much more important processes. Under the careful guidance of mentors, including experienced teachers, hiking guides, fencing instructors and yacht captains, participants learn to make their own decisions without being seen by themselves.take responsibility for them, set goals and achieve them despite difficulties (and ideally within the time frame set by themselves), negotiate with each other, act as a team, and take care of each other. They learn the most important social skills, so called soft skills, which will help them to build their lives in the normal«urban environment.»
In addition to summer programs on the White Sea, in the off-season are short (1-2 days) meetings in the forests near Moscow, fencing training on soft swords in parks and hikes in the Crimea and the Caucasus.
But that's a whole different story.