City is city, it has been great four days, but then there was time to move somewhere else. Once we had a glance on the map of the Bay of Peter the Great, it was very clear where would go next. There were several islands in the bay and we chose two, Popov and Reineke. Later we realised that we would only be able to go to Popov as there weren’t any ferry tickets left for Reineke.
The ferry timetable makes it impossible to visit it as a day trip, and so we ended up going on Wednesday night,, returning on Saturday night. The tickets were cheap, 54 RUB per person, about 80pence for two hour journey, the accommodation not so. We were lucky and the lady in the tourist centre at the ferry port helped us to book an accommodation. All what we knew was, that we were to stay in a base, which used to be pioneer camp called Mama Sacha. The Russians always used to go on such holidays and still do, at sea sides, in the mountains or forests there are many “baza oddycha” “base of rest” where people spent days and weeks. Some are basic, some are more comfortable. For us, as we have never been here, they are a bit like a lottery.
Once we boarded the ferry we stepped into a movie. We left Vladivostok while the sun was falling down. The town spread over the hills was reflecting in the water of the Golden Horn Bay. The sea gulls were following the boat. The Tokarevsky lighthouse was at the east of the East Bosphor Strait, the bridge to Russkij Island was sparkling in the west. However as soon as we went under the bridge the skye changed to dark clouds followed by fog.
For the next hour and half we didn’t see anything until we landed on the island. The first thing what we saw was the fences. Then as we were descending the from the boat following the rusty gang way there were cars and people everywhere with high activity. Yet, we could not see anything as someone decided to park in the middle and shine his headlights towards everyone’s eyes.
Within few minutes most fellow passengers were distributed among the waiting vehicles. Only us no one wanted to take or drop off. Our “Mama Sacha?” was coming to deaf ears, until one said yes. And off we went in the dark of the night at hight speed towards nowhere. The road was dusty lined by very dusty looking trees. Just when we thought that we were being highjacked, we stopped and some outlines of hut appeared among the trees.
We were shown our hut and went to sleep. Only in the morning we looked around. Conditions may be quite hard for some, but we don’t really care. We came to see and take what we’re given. Our hut was wooden, and so was the toilet, outside, of course and dry. Water tasted wonderful but not from the taps. The paths were marked by white shells. We were based on the hill and had nice view over the whole bay and sea.
Three main things are on the island, the sandy beaches, rocky shores and trees surrounded by clear clean sea. After few minutes on the beach we decided to indulge in some coasteering while walking towards a headland.
The next day the fog returned and we decided to visit local museum dedicated to sea life. Sadly local history isn’t really discussed here. But in the past it was a place where the Japanese, Korean and Chinese pirates lived. Then, since the end of the 19th century the Russians started to live here. And Mama Sacha according to a tale means Black Land bellow the Only Star.
Our stay on Popova was like a movie. The base was run by two ladies, and they had a young guy with them, who they run by very firm hand. His name was Sergey, and we heard it called very often. On Friday evening the ladies decided to have Russian sauna “baňa”, so they asked us whether at the end of the wet foggy day we would like to have sauna, someone needed to pay for the wood. Well, we had nothing to loose and said yes. Sergey started the stove. We had an hour and it was absolutely great. When it became too hot, we decided to cool down outside as well as with the cold water. So we were standing outside wrapped into our sheets drinking cold water watching the leaves moving in the evening wind. Suddenly the stillness of the evening was broken by a scream “Sergeej!”. And soon high activity started again, there were at least five pigs that broke into the camp and the ladies wanted them gone. So Sergey came and started to chase them off, as well as the two ladies, the family from the hut next to ours, and my mum. Michal and I finished our glass of water, went inside to have the last run of the sauna, and then let the ladies to have a go. Unfortunately tomorrow morning we have to leave.