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Ice-diving in Russian Arctic
June 14, 2007 17:19

Ice-diving in the Arctic is considered to be one of the most extreme kinds of sports. Nevertheless, the number of people willing to get a thrill increases annually. The most popular diving tours to the Arctic of the recent years are tours to the White Sea, and the main plus of these tours is that they are organized all the year round. Despite the severe conditions of diving in the White Sea it remains one of the most popular places for diving in the country. Summer at the White Sea is an amazing time for diving which gives a chance to personally see the soleness of the ecosphere of the arctic waters. Here one can found chains of corals, underwater “gardens” of laminaria, mussel plantations, and even parts of shipwrecks. Diving travel to the White Sea in May, in case of a positive concourse of circumstances, may mean swimming together with Greenlandic seals.

Winter diving (February-April) is an opportunity for swimming under the ice in the most beautiful places of the White Sea: at the Kindo Cape and near Krestovy Islands. Apart from the arctic flora and fauna divers can also see the stunningly beautiful ice formations – underwater arches an ice caves with fancy shapes.

Climatic conditions of the White Sea

Due to the influence of oceanic and continental air masses permanently stable weather is untypical for all areas of the White Sea. Winters can be characterised and extended and severe. The average temperatures over the whole sea in February are around -15 , however, flows of warm Atlantic air sometimes make it go up to -6-7 and anticyclones from the Arctic may cause cooling of -24-26 . In summer the temperature of the surface waters reaches 13-16 .

Flora and Fauna

Fauna of the White Sea can be referred to mild arctic. The sea rocks are covered with soft corals, sponges, sea anemones, and hydroids. In rifts and between the stones there are crabs, shellfish, and sea stars. The most common kinds of fish are wolf-fish, ocean perch, and flounder.

Conditions of the diving sites

In summer the temperature of the surface waters in the diving sites reaches 13 within the depth of 15-18 metres. In winter the temperature of the surface waters is – 0.5 and -3 in deeper water levels.

The relief of the diving sites is diverse: vertical walls hidden deeper in the water and plain parts of the bottom at a depth of 15-40 metres. In summer the water visibility ranges from 10 to 15 metres; in winter and March the water visibility reaches 30-35 metres.

Amongst the required things is a dry suit; in summer months divers may also need an underwater flashlight at a depth of 27-30 metres due to the lack of sunlight. Most of the diving centres in Russia have some requirements for divers willing to experience the underwater world of the White Sea: some certificates and a certain level of experience of ice-diving.


Lavrentyeva Natalya

Tags: Arctic     

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