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Russia-Estonia 2018

With a van to Russia and back. Due to unforeseen events, we have made some redundant and unnecessary turns too. Diving expedition. No kidding, diving? But you did only two dives within sixteen days. It´s not a diving expedition. It depends. In any case, our day did not start with a characteristic bell which would invite us to carry out the first dive, or another gong which would invite us to breakfast, nor the third bell rang to herald us to the second dive, we did not hear the fourth bell ringing either, We did not hear the fourth bell ringing either which would …
The team: Alenka Fidler, Ales Povse Yoda, Rajko Prelog, Branko Ravnak
Day 1: Slovenska Bistrica, Slovenia - Warsaw, Poland (970 km)
Day 2: Warsaw, Poland - Tartu, Estonia (914 km)
Day 3: Tartu, Estonia - Ulyanovka, Leningrad District, Russia (385 km)
Elena Topyricheva joins the team.
The trip was carried out according to plan, without major problems, if not to mention the complications at the Estonian Russian border, which occurred, because we have not been registered prior to arrival, which is necessary for the passage of the state border without waiting and additional controls. We waited 6 hours on the border. Even this has passed, we somehow survived and successfully banished the fear that we will not be able to cross the border. With the help of a pile of papers and a check-up of a van, full of diving equipment, Slovenian wines and homemade brandy, we finally managed to come across. In Russia, our first stop was at the gas station. Price of a diesel: 0,52 € / l. Roads: good. Navigation: not accurate. The result: a night tour of the surrounding area of St. Peterburg. Visibility: it was pitch-black. Our destination: approximately 50 km from St. Peterburg, Ulyanovka. 500 meters away from the house of our host Elene. Road: macadam, perforated like a Swiss cheese. Better solution: taxi. We arrived at 2.00 at night. Russian hospitality: Elena is waiting for us with a Slovenian flag displayed on the facade of the house, and she served us with a beautifully decorated bread. Can you imagine that in Slovenia, in the case of arrival of Russian guests, on the facade of the house, the Russian flag would be displayed?
Getting to know St. Peterburg and its surroundings. Our Attendance at the ballet performance Korsar in the old Marian Theater: unforgettable. Navigation with a small boat on the Neva River and its channels: relaxing. Visit the Aurora battleship: mighty. Visiting and seeing The Petrodvorets Factory Raketa (Rocket): Journey into the past. Peter´s mansion in Peterhof: wonderful. Kronstadt: The tour vas spiced with a random attendance of an Orthodox wedding. Metro station: It smells old and leads us into the past.
First diving destination: Ruskeala in Karelia, Marble Quarry. Ruskeala was in the past a part of the Finnish territory, but today it lies within the Russian borders. The quarry has been active since 1769. Marble from Ruskeala can be seen in many famous buildings as, for example, the interior of the Winter Palace, some of the metro stations in St. Petersburg, Kazan Cathedral in Saint Petersburg, and many others. Due to the use of dynamite, massive marble blocks in the 20th century cracked, so the quarry was slowly abandoned. Today this is a regional park that attracts many tourists, especially from Finland, because the Finnish border is only 35 km away.
They were a little surprised when we told them that we would like to make a dive and that a paraplegic is also a member of the team. Transportation of our diving equipment and dragging Yoda down the stairs. Elena presented our work to the staff that ruled at the scene and convinced them to take us exactly to the position of the dive with a boat, which means that we were deprived of 400 meters of swimming. Water temperature just below the surface was 20° C, but at a depth of 2 meters, the temperature dropped to 5° C. Dive Team: Ales, Rajko and Alenka. First, at a depth of 5 meters, stone marble blocks were waiting for us, and a little lower the entrance to the cave opened in front of our eyes. We dived down into the cave with the help of installed cords that led us to the depth of 12 meters, and then we floated to the surface, by swimming at the depth of 8 meters, and we finished the dive at the other side of the lake. The colour palette of the marble varied from grey, blue, green, brown, yellow, and red to black. We saw iron wheels, which in the past served to move blocks of marble to the road. We can also praise the fact that we saw one abundant and solitary fish.
On the way back, the rafters sent us to another cave 12 meters deep. Due to poor visibility, we did not find the rope, so we stopped diving and the team rose to the surface. At a depth of 5 meters, we found some submerged construction machines, which, of course, are not accessible and not visible to tourists. The towing service was in the domain of Branko and Elena, and they dragged us to the exit by rowing successfully. The sun waited for us, the heat wave also contributed its part, and we were able to warm up quickly. Back to St. Petersburg. An unforgettable picnic with friends from Moscow and St. Petersburg. Night swimming in the Tosna River.
Day 11: Travel to Estonia, Rummu (430 km).
Second diving destination: Rummu Lake, Estonia, a sinked prison, a former limestone quarry.    
Second diving destination: Rummu Lake, Estonia, a submerged prison, a former limestone quarry. We arrived at Rummu with empty diving cylinders. In a house in the middle of a forest like in a fairy tale, where many bunnies are at home, we were sent to look for firefighters and that in the direction 25 km away from Keilo. Firefighters opened the door to the compressor room and told us to charge the cylinders by ourselves. For free. It´s incredible. Unforgettable.
The Rummu prison was active in the Soviet Union since 1930 and 1991. It was known as European Alcatraz. About 7,000 convicts of the Soviet regime represented a broad base of a workforce for the nearby quarry in which the deposits of a specific kind of limestone were located. The limestone resembles marble with its structure. When the quarry was closed, and due to depletion of water, the quarry and part of the prison were flooded by groundwater. Crystal clear water, excellent visibility, the water temperature 18° C. Prisoners probably did not even dream that in the future, where they did a very difficult job and suffered, others could spend some unforgettable moments and enjoy immensely ...
Day 13: Rummu, Estonia - Lomza, Poland (810 km)
Day 14: Lomza, Poland - Prague, Czech Republic (830 km)
Day 16: Prague, Czech Republic, Slovenska Bistrica, Slovenia (560 km)
6500 km passed.
Number of dives: 2.
Diving destinations: unforgettable. We wish to get back there.
Alenka Fidler

19. 08. 2018




Production & design: Creativ, Novi mediji d.o.o.