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Exploring the Chances and Risks of the North East Passage: An 8-Day Ecological Scouting Tour to the White Sea, Russian Federation, July 2018
North East Passage, Ecological Scouting Tour
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Perelingua Sprachreisen and Fabel, Werner & Schnittke presents

Exploring the Chances and Risks of the North East Passage:

An 8-Day Ecological Scouting Tour to the White Sea, Russian Federation, July 2018


Have you heard about …

… the mythical North East Passage? This is the polar shipping route from Europe to Japan, which is, in theory, one third shorter than the Suez canal route through the Indian Ocean. Many of those who tried to find the passage perished. Climate change makes this Northern route possible and interesting. Some say: inevitable.

Above: Midnight sun over the White See

Above: Midnight sun over the White See

Before you develop Klondike fantasies, we should say that the consequences of climate change are difficult to predict. One of the biggest challenges is that the Arctic region is now accessible to man – and these challenges include the risks of artic tourism, the risks of transport business, the risks of military activities and the impact of the resource extracting industry.
Taking the North-East Passage itself is a month-long dull icebreaker experience. But what we offer here is different: We invite you to open the door to the White Sea – the entrance to the Arctic traversal. FWS offers you an exciting eight-day trip to Saint Petersburg, to the environmental observation station in Chupa, to the Solovki Archipelago and the Northern key port Arkhangelsk.


Above: a night at the Solovki archipelago

Above: a night at the Solovki archipelago

The tour is designed for fishermen and forwarders, scientists and seafarers, journalists and adventurers and everyone who loves or is curious about the splendour of the Russian North.
We heard that there are people who have not even heard of the White Sea. The White Sea was forgotten for a long time– but currently, it has a good chance to make its comeback. Recently MARE published a fantastic photo show: www.mare.de/solowki-der-ur-gulag Arkhangelsk played a key role in World War II: with the help of this northern port allied support convoys circumvented Hitler’s armies. Until 1917, an offspring of the Company of Merchant Adventurers, the famous Muscovy Company, was active in the Dvina delta, and Entente troops landed here. When Sebastian Cabot (yes, the son of the famous John Cabot, who reached New Foundland) discovered the sea route from London to Arkhangelsk in 1551; this discovery was deemed equally important as that of the sea route to the Americas – these events already underpin the strategical importance of Arkhangelsk. Today, Arkhangelsk is a major port of the Russian Federation and harbours the Northern Fleet. If the poles melt, Arkhangelsk will be the first European end point of a North East Passage from Shanghai or Yokohama to Europe – and Arkhangelsk has access to the inner Russian system of waterways, reaching out to the Caspian Sea and Persia, to the Black Sea, to the Baltic Sea, to Moscow and Samara … The stakes are high in the North!


Our scouting tour is designed to give you a holistic picture of the situation:

  • Ecology of the Northern Ocean: We will meet with biologists and environmentalists, who explain the local ecosystems first hand, on the ground.
  • Economic Impact: We will visit icebreakers* and/or ships which successfully took the North East passage. You will talk with experienced captains and forwarders.
  • Political framework: Meetings with political stake holders, port authorities and indigenous people are arranged.

* As icebreakers are always ready for sea operations, it is difficult to predict whether the icebreakers are in the port. At least in summer months, the probability is relatively high.


And this is how it works:

On 16 July, you may arrive at St. Petersburg at any time and from any destination – we will meet you and bring you to Natali Hotel, a cosy privately owned hotel in Pushkin, only 20 minutes from the airport. Of course we will assist you with your flight to Saint Petersburg and with the visa formalities. We will also take care of your official registration in the Russian Federation. The nights are white in July; we may take an evening stroll in the gardens of Katherine Palace, which is only a stone’s throw from your hotel.

On day one of our tour, we will visit the touristic highlights of St. Petersburg. In the Ermitage, we will focus on the picture of the North: The experience of how to survive in a cold climate left its traces in art. We will organise a meeting with port officials and members of the business community in the House of the Economy or, alternatively, a visit to the Arctic Museum. For the evening, we will book you a seat at the famous Mariinsky Theatre.

On day two we will debrief you on the particularities of the tour into the wilderness: experts from the fields of law, environment, biology, administration will answer your questions. The debriefing will be held in the historical rooms of the Dacha Katshubeia. There is a time slot for a visit of Pavel’s Palace; but we will have to leave Pushkin at 5 at the latest to catch the night train to the North. The train compartments are comfortable: two people share one compartment.

We will have breakfast on the train – the samowar is always boiling. On the morning of day three, a jeep will meet us at Chupa. We will stay in a log house at the shore of the White Sea. In the afternoon, Arsenij, who knows the North from his childhood, will show you how to catch fish. Be aware that you will have to eat what you catch! We will explore the Chupa bay with our canoes.

Day four: Those who dare may dive into the seaweed gardens – with isolating diving suits, of course. The high 10m seaweed trees are simply breath-taking (no pun intended). But also without a diving suit, underwater life can be made visible with looking glasses. Ms. Lada Denisova, PhD, a specialist for the ecology of the White Sea, who now teaches in California, will explain the sensible ecosystem to you.

On day five, we will leave our log house early. A jeep will take us to Kem, where we will take the boat to the Solovki Archipelago. The transfer takes four hours (if the weather is not too bad) – and we will have a second breakfast on board. With some luck, we might encounter a Beluga whale. We will arrive at our new shelter at 13:00 – the Solovki Monastery. During Soviet times, it was used as a gulag. Today, it is restored and the monks allow us to take part in their evening service.

Day six: While Chupa was an example of “untouched” nature, the Solovki Archipelago is an example of human impact on the subartic environment. You will see with your own eyes, how nature in the North adapts (or cannot adapt) to human presence. You will have a choice: one group may climb mountain Sekyrnay, another may go whale watching at Muksalma Island.

On day seven, after breakfast, we will have to leave to Solovki Airport – well, airfield is the better expression. The plane, an AN 17, will bring us to Arkhangelsk. Arkhangelsk still has wooden pedestrian sidewalks. You must take an afternoon stroll at the sea front! In the evening, we will invite local captains and sailors to a social evening. We cannot predict what the icebreakers will do: if they are in the harbour, the icebreaker captains will be glad to share their icebreaking experiences.

After breakfast, we will check in at Arkhangelsk airport. The flight to Moscow leaves at 11:10. There are connection flights to all major destinations. You can be back in Berlin by 17:10, for example.

Below you will find a map of our destinations



16 July Arrival

Meeting you at the airport in Saint Petersburg, Accommodation at hotel Natali, Pushkin* Evening stroll in the garden of Katherine’s Palace *
*Be aware of the FIFA World Cup in Russia from 14 June to 15 July 2018 – you might wish to combine a game of your choice with our trip. We would be glad to help you with tickets. On the other hand, for late bookers, Hotel Natali might be overbooked. In this case we will keep a private B & B in reserve.

1st day 17 July

Breakfast at Hotel Natali, Pushkin

11:00 Ermitage: Images of the North

14:00 Business lunch

16:00 House of Economy, meeting with stakeholders, City Walk

18:00 Mariinsky Opera House, Small dinner at Natali

2nd day 18 July

Breakfast at Hotel Natali, Pushkin

11:00 Debriefing meeting in Pushkin, Dacha Katshubeia

13:00 Business lunch

15:00 Free afternoon (or Pavel’s Palace), personal arrangements*

19:48 night train from Saint Petersburg to Chupa

Dinner in the train

* As interests might differ, we will arrange personal meetings on your demand.

3rd day 19 July

Samowar Breakfast on the Train

11:00 Arrival at Chupa, accommodation at Aurelia log house

14:00 Seafood lunch

15:00 Fishing

19:00 Dinner (you eat what you catch!)

4th day 20 July

Breakfast at Aurelia, Chupa

10:00 Diving and biological excursion

14:00 Seafood lunch

16:00 free, personal arrangements

18:00 Dinner

5th day 21 July

5:00 Early breakfast at Aurelia, Chupa Transfer by car to Kem (1.5 – 2 hours)

8:00 Ship transfer to Solovki (4 hours) with second breakfast Accommodation in the Solovki monastery

13:00 Lunch at the monastery, Island stroll

19:00 Light dinner

6th day 22 July

8:00 Breakfast at Monastery, Solovki

10:00 Visit of Gulag Museum

12:00 Lunch

14:00 Sekirnaya Mountain

18:00 Light dinner

19:00 Evening service at the monastery

7th day 23 July

9:00 Breakfast at Monastery, Solovki

10:00 Human impact on nature, example Solovki Archipelago

13:30 Transfer to airport 15:20 Flight to Arkhangelsk, Accommodation at Hotel Arkhangelsk City stroll at the seaside, and/or visit of icebreaker

19:00 Dinner at the hotel, meeting with captains and sailors

8th day 24 July

8:00 Breakfast at Hotel Arkhangelsk

9:30 Transfer to airport

11:10 Flight to Moscow, connection flights

Berlin – 17:10; Hamburg; Amsterdam; London


Our  team

Frank Fabel, Certified Public Accountant, MA in History, Economy and Communication Science, Executive Director FWS, lived in Russia for 12 years. This is now his seventh visit to the White Sea. His tasks are: economic and historical background research, arrangements with stakeholders. Mr. Fabel speaks German, English and Russian fluently.

Lada Denisova,biologist, PhD, specialist on the ecological environment of the White Sea, multiple publications. Ms. Denisova will conduct the on-site excursions at the White Sea. She speaks Russian and English fluently. Assistant, familiar with living conditions in the North since his childhood (speaks Russian and English fluently). will help you with the canoes and the fishing equipment.

Viktoria Riabova, licensed tour guide. Ms. Riabova will be responsible for visa affairs, accommodation, local transport and the cultural programme. Languages: speaks Russian and German fluently, conversational English.



The price for the tour is EUR 4,850.00 incl. VAT. There is an early bird discount of 10 percent for bookings until 1 February.


This price includes:

  • Invitation letter and visa service in Germany
  • Airport pick-up service
  • Full board throughout the tour
  • All local transport starting from your arrival in Saint Petersburg until departure in Arkhangelsk
  • Hotel accommodation in Saint Petersburg, 2 nights
  • Visits of the Ermitage, Mariinsky Opera House, House of Economy and/or Arctic Museum
  • Dinner in Saint Petersburg, social meeting
  • Train to Chupa, in two-person compartments
  • Accommodation in Chupa, 2 nights
  • Fishing equipment including canoe
  • Diving equipment (snorkelling and neoprene suit)
  • Transfer to Solovki by ship
  • Full board for the stay at Solovki Monastery, including breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Visit of Monastery, Gulag Museum, sea weed factory, whale watching (optional)
  • Russian bath
  • Icebreaker visit or yacht tour (depending on availability)
  • Flight from Solovki to Arkhangelsk
  • The tour is accompanied by three experienced guides (English- and Russian-speaking)


Not included are:

  • Your flight ticket from your home town to Saint Petersburg and from Arkhangelsk to Moscow and to your home town (we help you with reservations)
  • Visa fees in other countries than Germany
  • Medical/life insurance, travel retreat- or baggage loss insurance
  • In the cities, you might wish to depart from the group – this is possible, but in this case the arising costs for food and local transport are not covered


The maximum group size is eight. The minimum group size is four. The tour is not suitable for handicapped persons. The offer is valid until 8 March 2018. If not other provisions are agreed in this offer, the general terms and conditions of Perelingua, available under www.perelingua.de/agb.htm. English version available on request.

For later applicants, other prices and time tables might be agreed. A down payment of 20 percent has to be made until 1 April 2018.


Travel Agency (Reiseveranstalter): Perelingua-Sprachreisen Bernhard Druba, registered at Amtsgericht Berlin (Charlottenburg) HRA 26433 www.perelingua.de
Address: Rheinstr. 29, 12161 Berlin, Tel.+ 49 30 851 80 01 Fax + 49 30 851 69 8
Security certificates and travel agent`s liability insurance in accordance with German legislation is provided.


Tour Organizer: Fabel Werner & Schnittke GmbH


Information and booking:

Frank Fabel
Tel. +49 177 722 79 06
Contact: fabel@fws-audit.com