the Degree Confluence Project

Russia : Leningradskaya oblast'

3.5 km (2.2 miles) NW of Pekhenets, Leningradskaya oblast', Russia
Approx. altitude: 78 m (255 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest OpenStreeMap ConfluenceNavigator)
Antipode: 59°S 150°W

Accuracy: 5 m (16 ft)
Quality: good

Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: Viktor at the confluence #3: Map #4: the Saturday bazaar at Sadovostvo Mshinskaya is always an event #5: Sadovostvo Mshinskaya's Sport facilities #6: GPS #7: Captain Peter at the Confluence #8: View to the North #9: Vegetation in the moor... #10: Captain Peter purchases 2 pounds of blueberry for his crew

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  59°N 30°E (visit #1)  

#1: View to the West

(visited by Captain Peter and Viktor B. Styeblin)

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 more than 3,000 meters!

And this is not all: Viktor is the first Russian national having visited a confluence in his own country! Viktor does not speak English, he has no Internet, he has never been abroad, but he has learned in the Russian Army to never abandon a plan and what it means to pursue and to head straight for a goal.

Being again in Saint Petersburg, in order to discharge meat, potatoes and 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 time young Viktor has been recommended to me, and today at 10:00 a.m. we met in front the main port gate. With great pleasure I noticed that he had a very 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 (E-95) road, passed Gatchina, where Tsar Paul I. (son of Catharina II - The Great) did preferably reside, and continued until the small settlement of Mshinskaya.

During this ride I studied Viktor's map, and what I saw did not look good to me. The Confluence seemed to be located exactly within something awful, called 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 when 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 the mud and disappear without traces either in the North or in the South or in any other direction from the Confluence. The question is only, where you disappear: within the 100-metres range or 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 and passed the small villages of Pekhenets and Malinka Yashchera (this means: Small Lizard), and then we reached a location called Sadovodstvo Mshinskaya , being in fact a huge dacha (weekend-house) area.

Sadovodstvo Mshinskaya literally translated means "Mshinskaya Garden Culture Area". 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 more formally, "Tovarishchiy Sadovodo" - Cooperative of Garden Culture.

Nowadays everybody can freely admit to own a Dacha and he does call it so, 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 always an event.

Then we proceeded to the Southern end of Sadovodstvo Mshinskaya. There is the local sports facilities, and due to the weekend bazaar there is "no sports" today. So we parked our car there, about 4 km North-North-East of the Confluence.

Behind the sport's field we see a birch forest. I realized it to having been 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 additionally.

I offered Viktor to drive back to the M-20, and he asked me why. I showed 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 manage this, believe me, I have a lot of Confluence experience, this is hopeless, 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 here 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 for breathing, and now pull yourself together and don't cry around here without 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 areas to be avoided. "Wherever are growing these yellow flowers, it is dangerous, there the layer of moss is extremely thin and there is a lot of water below. Once you break in the mud will swallow you. See the small hills here, where there are blue flowers on. These we have to reach and then jump from hill to hill until we are there!"

I could not believe it. This man wanted me really to jump for a distance of 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 that under my body there is a layer of moss of only a few centimetres (1 inch). 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 the area we had to cross.

The view to the North shows a part of the forest we had crossed.

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 called "Jagoda Klyukva" (moss berry). They are quite bitter but have a refreshing effect. In Russia the moss berries are used especially by old women, putting them 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 are a lot of people selling flowers, fruits, potatoes and other vegetables. Now it is blueberry season and we pulled up in front of an old woman, selling them in order to raise a little bit her poor pension.

I purchased one kg, (2 lbs) which we will have tomorrow on board 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 operation I had a talk with the old lady about a topic usually younger people then both we were, are interested in.

Last but not least: Thanks again to you, Viktor. It is YOUR point!

 All pictures
#1: View to the West
#2: Viktor at the confluence
#3: Map
#4: the Saturday bazaar at Sadovostvo Mshinskaya is always an event
#5: Sadovostvo Mshinskaya's Sport facilities
#6: GPS
#7: Captain Peter at the Confluence
#8: View to the North
#9: Vegetation in the moor...
#10: Captain Peter purchases 2 pounds of blueberry for his crew
ALL: All pictures on one page