The domes of the monastery shone in the dawn sunlight with a full moon and mist on the water adding needless extra theatre.
At 9 we moved alongside to meet our friends from Credo, a yacht we had met midstream on the Volga a week ago. They had driven from Kazan to meet us and show us the monastic site. An old man offered to watch Tainui for us while we explored.
Sviyahzhsk is a remarkable collection of buildings dating back to 1600, with the by now familiar history of bolshevik sacking, gulag prison, psychiatric hospital and, finally, treasured archive.
I notice how many monastic towers we have seen are garbed in scaffolding. It is clear that Russia is spending time and money restoring these priceless sites. Today our guide was an architect whose pride in this island was touching.
The pictures say it all.