I will not forget this place.

We arrived at 2 am after a very uncomfortable reach in 25-30kt northerly winds. Alex Galitsky had warned us about the seas off the northern coast of the island and he was not wrong. Poor Max was incapacitated by seasickness, this author renewed his acquaintance with his long-cherished personal bucket on several occasions, while Maxine and Pasha, loathsome persons both, were totally immune and sang songs, chatted cheerfully and ate. We had the staysail and 2 reefs in the main. Tying in the second reef I filled both seaboots with the iciest White Sea water, while hailstones abraded my face.

3am approach to Solovetsky

3am approach to Solovetsky

In smooth water we crept into the harbour and ogled at the huge monastic installation at the head. We tied up at a vacant spot on the commercial jetty and collapsed into bed. Our plans for 12 uninterrupted hours were rudely interrupted at 7.30, when the wharf security guard told us we had to move immediately to another wharf. We set off, shivering and half asleep.

30 m to the left of our inbound track we took the ground, as they say. A hard, jarring event of the kind that skippers hate. There was a 1 metre patch protected by a cardinal mark which was not there. We got off unaided, fortunately, and proceeded to the new berth and tied up. Again we collapsed into bed.

30 minutes later the port captain arrived and told us that berthing at this wharf was prohibited, and that we must anchor off. Out of bed again, we did his bidding. So here we are, and I am off to bed. At least the weather has improved, my mood likewise.


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