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Discover Sakhalin: Kologerasa Bay And Moneron Island
July 18, 2015 18:52


Kologerasa Bay

The guests of Kologerasa Bay on Moneron Island are usually shown the remnants of Japanese irrigation system supplying rice fields during the Japanese reign over the island. But the history of the name of the bay is perhaps more interesting than the Japanese engineering structures.

This bay in the north of Moneron got its name in 1870-71. And it was named in honor of the commander of the “Vostok” schooner, the Lieutenant-Commander Leonid Konstantinovich Kologeras. In the 1868-1871 the Lieutenant-Commander Kologeras commanded the legendary “Vostok” schooner where the Lieutenant K.S. Staritsky conducted hydrographic inventory of the West coast of South Sakhalin in 1868.

Another name was marked on the map of Moneron: the highest point of the island was named in honor of the Lieutenant: Staritskogo Mountain (440 m). The history of the “Vostok” schooner deserves to be told separately. In 1852 it was acquired by the Vice Admiral E.P.

Putyatin from the British in 1852 in order to accompany the “Pallada” frigate (famous afterwards) in Far Eastern waters. In the summer of 1853 the “Vostok” schooner went into the Tatar Strait and the mouth of the Amur River and returned with the inventory of the Northeast coast of Siberia.

The schooner sat on the rocks many times, going without maps, on the touch, especially when examining the Viakhtu Gulf (Sakhalin Island) and Chikhacheva Bay (De Kastri), where the schooner sat on the shoal so tight, that the shoal later received its name.

During the voyage the crew made an inventory of the South and the West coasts of Sakhalin Island and discovered the Southern waterway to the mouth of the Amur River. The “Vostok” schooner was the first Russian vessel to come into the Amur River from the Tatar Strait.  The “Vostok” brought the news of the beginning of the Eastern War to the Russian squadron and was sent to Petropavlovsk with the order.

At the entrance to the Avachinskaya Bay the small schooner by a lucky chance avoided a collision with the Anglo-French squadron that went to Bolsheretsk and managed to warn the “Baikal” transport about the threat. In the summer of 1855 the schooner attempted to ascend the Amur River and came back not reaching Ussuri by 200 milestones. After the end of the Eastern war the “Vostok” schooner remained in the Siberian flotilla. In autumn of 1883, the schooner ran ashore at Stenina Island and was destroyed by autumn storms, being the oldest ship not only of the Siberian Flotilla, but of the entire Russian fleet.

Moneron Island

Moneron Island is called “paradise” and “mysterious”. It is clear enough why it’s called “paradise”: just look at the pictures. It is incredibly beautiful and almost unavailable for people, although when the weather is good you can see the hills of the island from the bald peaks surrounding Nevel'sk.

Only the righteous can get to Monreon, just like to paradise (usually scientists), or very wealthy righteous people. A thousand of such lucky people come here each year. After a short walk through the garden they all return to the “sinful earth” from where they came - to Sakhalin.

A tiny dot – the area of Moneron is around 30 sqm. km - is hardly noticeable on the maps. However it embraces the whole world: two rivers, numerous waterfalls, emerald hills, columnar cliffs, rocky caves with colored walls. Ancient sites of the uninvestigated man. The ruins of the period of Shinto cathedral of the period of Japanese reign. The surroundings can boast of seawater of supernatural purity, rookeries of shiny sea lions, seals and eared seals, fearless fish, unusual starfish, sea cucumbers and abalone-haliotis.  This valuable haliotis is not found anywhere in Russia except Moneron. It’s a dream of divers and underwater photographers.

The mystery of the unique nature of the island was explained by scientists: the tiny Moneron stands in the way of a narrow stream of warm Tsushima Current coming from the south, from the subtropics. It is the only one of this kind among all the islands of the archipelago. And certainly it is the only one in Russia.

Another mystery lays, namely, in the complicated history of the island – the researchers have yet to solve it. Russia's first marine nature park, Moneron Island, is situated in the border zone. You need permission in order to visit the island. The duration of stay is usually no more than two days. Moneron has been existing in the form of an island for about 2 million years. It is a relatively recently extinguished volcano by origin: not erupting, but sometimes shaking.


The island got its first “documents” only in XVII century - it was marked on the world's oldest map of Sakhalin composed by the samurai Murakami Hironori and known as the “Map of the country of Shoho era” in 1644. In the XVIII century the island was “discovered” for the second time – it was marked on the European nautical maps by the French.

The great navigator Jean-Francois de La Perouse found a secluded island near Sakhalin exploring the Sea of Japan during his trip around the world in August 1787. So the island between Russia and Japan got a French name. Following the results of the Second World War, the island became a part of Sakhalin Oblast of the USSR. Several Soviet settlements appeared here in the place of a single Japanese fishing village, but fishing was soon found unprofitable here, and the island got almost deserted.

The lighthouse keeper stayed here, and geologists came to Moneron from time to time – they said they were trying to find oil here. The island proved to be unprofitable for the Soviet economy, it was given the status of a border zone (when the weather is clear the Japanese islands Rebun and Risiri are visible from Moneron with the naked eye), and the visits to the island were strictly limited. In 2007 the “Moneron Island” Nature Reserve received the status of a state nature park.


Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Sakhalin     

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