10-Aug-2002 -- To be honest, this was my craziest point so far - and it is not even MY
point, the honor is entirely due to Viktor, without whose encouragements and putting me under
extreme pressure this point had remained an attempt with an accuracy of
than 3,000 meters!
And this is not all: Viktor is the first Russian national having
confluence in his own country!
Viktor does not speak English, he has no Internet, he has never been
but he has learned in the Russian Army to never abandon a plan and what
means to pursue and to head straight for a goal.
Being again in Saint Petersburg, in order to discharge meat, potatoes
pears from France and The Netherlands, again I asked my numerous friends
here to provide me a car or even a driver for visiting 59°N/30°E. This
young Viktor has been recommended to me, and today at 10:00 a.m. we met
front the main port gate. With great pleasure I noticed that he had a
precise map with him, in the rare scale of 1:10,000.
With his Lada we left Saint Petersburg in direction South on the M-20
road, passed Gatchina, where Tsar Paul I. (son of Catharina II - The
did preferably reside, and continued until the small settlement of
During this ride I studied Viktor's map, and what I
not look good to me.
The Confluence seemed to be located exactly within something awful,
BOLOTA VYAZHKIY MOKH, and that means in plain English nothing else than:
SWAMPY MOOR COVERED WITH THIN MOSS.
Checking out the possibilities from where to approach I could not decide
myself for any better or worse solution. A moor is always a moor, and
the confluence is located in the centre of a moor, it is basically never
mind from where you approach it and whether you will be swallowed by
and disappear without traces either in the North or in the South or in
other direction from the Confluence.
The question is only, where you disappear: within the 100-metres range
out of it?
A successful suicide during an attempted confluence visit?
Indeed a tempting prospect, I thought - and certainly something new.
Finally I decided to round the area first, to have a look. We bent left
passed the small villages of Pekhenets and Malinka Yashchera (this
Small Lizard), and then we reached a location called Sadovodstvo
being in fact a huge dacha (weekend-house) area.
Sadovodstvo Mshinskaya literally translated means "Mshinskaya Garden
The name is easily explained to someone knowing still the old Communist
system. In Communism nobody wanted to admit to possess a Dacha. A
weekend-house is something capitalist and smells bourgeoise.
In order to camouflage the ownership of a Dacha, at least pro forma, the
Dacha was called "Garden" and a Dacha area therefore a "Sadovodstvo", or
formally, "Tovarishchiy Sadovodo" - Cooperative of Garden Culture.
Nowadays everybody can freely admit to own a Dacha and he does call it
as well. But the old names still do remain.
So we entered Sadovodstvo Mshinskaya. As it was Saturday, the weekly
bazaar was held.
In Russia you can buy and sell everything, and the Saturday bazaar is
Then we proceeded to the Southern end of Sadovodstvo Mshinskaya. There
local sports facilities, and due to the weekend bazaar there
sports" today. So we parked our car there, about 4 km North-North-East
Behind the sport's field we see a birch forest. I realized it to having
a wrong decision not to try to approach the Confluence directly from the
M-20, where there was "only" moor to cross.
In addition to the moor we had now to face the crossing af a forest
I offered Viktor to drive back to the M-20, and he asked me why. I
him the forest.
"So we will cross it", he answered, "where is the problem?"
"But it is 4000 metres to go", I objected.
"So what?" he asked.
Well, - I thought - , let us try, he will realize soon that this forest
cannot be crossed in a few minutes and then he will give up by himself.
And Viktor entered the forest and went through the thicket without any
difficulties. Due to frequent storms in this area many trunks were
collapsed, but he balanced over them with incredible skill. I could not
manage to follow him.
"Viktor", I implored a several times, "it is useless, we will never
this, believe me, I have a lot of Confluence experience, this is
let's turn around and drive home, before it is too late!"
"No way", he said, "we did drive the long way from Saint Petersburg to
and now I want to visit this point. Come on!"
"I can't", I replied, "see, you are young, but I am old and sick, I am
already thirsty, I have no power, look how I am already breathing and
sweating heavily, let's go back!"
"No way, take the cigarette out of your mouth, then you get more oxygen
breathing, and now pull yourself together and don't cry around here
having any reason!"
We managed through the forest, nobody must ask me, how.
A 900 metres off the Confluence the moor began.
"That's it", I said, "we cannot cross that, let's go back!"
"The moor is not dangerous", Viktor replied, and he explained me which
to be avoided.
"Wherever are growing these yellow flowers, it is dangerous, there the
of moss is extremely thin and there is a lot of water below. Once you
in the mud will swallow you. See the small hills here, where there are
flowers on. These we have to reach and then jump from hill to hill
I could not believe it. This man wanted me really to jump for a
900 metres from hill to hill as I was a he-goat. And he started already,
flying over the moor with unbelievable easiness.
I followed him and nobody must ask me again, how I did manage it, too.
And finally we reached the Confluence.
The first thing I did was to lay down. I wanted nothing else than to sleep. Picture
under my body there is a layer of moss of only a few centimetres (1
You fell yourself as walking an a rolling ship, the bottom is moving
heavily, and below your feet you hear the gurgling water.
The view to the West gives the best impression of
area we had to cross.
The view to the North shows a part of the forest we
The views to the South and East look very similar.
The moor offers more vegetation as one might
imagine. There is growing a red berry for example, in Russian
Klyukva" (moss berry). They are quite bitter but have a refreshing
In Russia the moss berries are used especially by old women, putting
into sugar and enjoy them together with their Vodka.
The way back to the car was the same torture as before, and again nobody
must ask me how I managed to survive it.
Finally we drove back to Saint Petersburg. Along Russian roads there
lot of people selling flowers, fruits, potatoes and other vegetables.
is blueberry season and we pulled up in front of an old woman, selling
in order to raise a little bit her poor pension.
I purchased one kg, (2 lbs) which we will have tomorrow on
the ship with our ice cream.
Please disregard the sign I am making here with my right hand. It has
nothing to do with our visit. After completion of the commercial
had a talk with the old lady about a topic usually younger people then
we were, are interested in.
Last but not least: Thanks again to you, Viktor. It is YOUR point!