Bodacious Baltic Boat Cruise Barrels into Russia

Well, it’s about 1am local Russia time and the big bass disco party is in full swing here at our marina in St. Petersburg. And since I don’t really know where to start, and I’m hoping to connect with my cute little family in about a half an hour, I’m going to let the photos do the talking in this next installment of the Bodacious Baltic Boat Tour.
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And here’s a news flash, Russia is nothing like Sweden. But you probably knew that already.
Both countries are on the Baltic. But that’s about it. Hanging on the bow on the Baltic however is an excellent place to ponder “Being where your feet are.” I have, and continue to see, the profoundness of that simple statement.
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Especially when wearing Puma Suedes on the bow of my new favorite cruising boat—Tommy and Anita’s X-412. I’ll tell you more later. And Umm, yes, that is a Russian gunship that met us, and circled us menacingly before speeding off as soon as we crossed into Russian waters. Welcome to Russia!
Fuel tankers were also pondered to some degree today. Why? I’ll tell you later.
This was about 4 this morning. We had to wait before we could go through the crazy gates that guard the 25-mile-long smelly, brown bay that people have been fighting on for generations.
And why did we have to drift, with all the big-ass tankers and freighters in the distance you ask? It’s a long story (which I’ll be telling in various sailing magazines in the coming months). I will tell you however, that thanks to Tommy and Anita who hail from Stockholm, I’ve been turned on to the culinary delights of Swedish yogurt and “Rizzatti” (pictured above) with some fantastic instant coffee, that I must admit, I brought from the good ol’ USA.
Clearing into Russia with an American passport at this totally welcoming customs dock was actually exactly like I’d expected it to be. After some serious bureaucracy went down, I was granted the magic stamp and we were free to proceed the 25 brown miles down a narrow channel that bisects St. Petersburg’s smelly brown bay.
Pictured above are two of the sweetest, funniest, and warmest people (who also happen to be fantastic, and highly accomplished sailors and travelers) I’ve met in a long while. Man, did I hit the jackpot when I got teamed up with Tommy and Anita. My love of sailing and traveling and writing about it has been supercharged thanks to them.
And check out the brown water. It’s kinda smelly.

And check out the glasses! Is there any wonder we feel such warmness toward each other? Um….no.
So, just to up the surrealness of Russia to gargantuan proportions, it seemed like a good idea to go for a 10-mile run almost as soon as we arrived. And it sure was. What a great way to experience a new country as crazy as Russia for the first time.
So, this here is a nuclear ICBM that’s just parked in a “Weapons Museum” that’s across the street from Peter and Paul Cathedral. Isn’t it sweet?
And this is a car I passed on my way back to the marina.
But this beauty is what I found once we got behind the security-guarded gates at the marina. That’s some dope airbrushing, no?
And be sure to stay tuned. I’m off to see Swan Lake tomorrow with lots of other crews of the fantastic inaugural edition of the ARC Baltic.

 

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