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Khachin Island
August 2, 2015 22:59


One of the brightest features of the Seliger Lake is a huge number of islands per a relatively small area of water. To be more precise, there are one hundred sixty eight islands on the Seliger Lake, and when you look at the water surface you see that the islands are not scattered around the water, but water flows between the pieces of land.

The largest island is Khachin (the stress is put to the first syllable). It is located in the northern part of the Seliger Lake, occupying a good half of this part if you look on the map: 6 kilometers wide, 9 long. Khachin can be seen from the western, northern and eastern shores of the Seliger Lake, that is, the island is always before your eyes. All travelers know that it is the largest island of the archipelago, though the common knowledge is limited by this fact only. That is due to the fact that you have to get to Khachin to learn something about it. There are no bridges connecting the island with the shores, and it remains a distant part of the landscape for a traveler without a boat. The main population of Khachin consists of vacationers coming here during the warm season.

Four island villages with the expressive names come alive in the summer: Khreten, Salnikovshchina, Laskarevshchina and Konyovo. The village houses are empty during the remaining three quarters of the year. In addition to vacationers, the majority of holiday makers have a rest on Khachin, they are mostly the kayakers who can easily get to the island. There are a lot of kayakers on Khachin during the season, but there’s no crowd, there is enough space for different tent camps. The island has many populated sites with makeshift shelters from the rain, fireplaces, benches and tables. But you can fix a camp almost anywhere without them: it is convenient, the shores are sandy and flat.

The summer island life can be seen while sailing along Khachin by a ship: colorful tents and even cars stand here and there - they were brought here by a ferry hired in Ostashkov in advance. The inner part of the island seems to attract even more tourists. The main attraction for them lays in the inland lakes of Khachin, there are thirteen of them, including the chain of eleven water reservoirs stretched from the north to the south. They present an amazing natural “matryoshka”: lakes on an island in a larger lake. Camps are set around these lakes, tours to these places are arranged. A better and a cheaper way to get here is by a motor ship from Ostashkov. A more expensive was is by a rented power boat.

There is a reasonable question: why should you go to this Khachin when almost 500 km of water line of Seliger is available for tourists? The answer is as follows: firstly, the island is a unique closed ecosystem, it is considered a protected natural area. However, despite the status, this area is not really protected, all protection involves digging fire-safe ditches along the forest line. Nevertheless, even without special care, Khachin remains a live collection of all possible Seliger species: there are pine forests and broadleaved forests (the island is fully covered with forests, except the territories of the villages), rare marshes and lakes - large and small ones, deep ones and those overgrown with reeds, dark and light ones. That means that Khachin is a Seliger in small.

Second, because there are not so many people on Khachin, it is a real oasis of peace and quiet. If you have a rest in a camp on the shore, without going deep into the woods, you can meet no people in  several days. Only boats will sail by. So, this place is impeccable in terms of ecology.


If you are going to Khachin during thaws in December or April, you need to constantly monitor the state of ice. There were cases when tourists came to the island and could not get out in a few days, because the ice began to melt or grew stronger. In this case people can only be evacuated by boat with an air bag, and there are not many of those in the nearby area.

It is better to know the phone number of an owner of such a vessel in advance. It is not necessary to sail from the mainland to Khachin by a rowboat: the currents are very strong. In addition, storms are common in Seliger, and the weather is unpredictable. It forbidden to drive a motor boat, if you have no special rights, so it is wiser to hire a driver. It is believed that the protected Khachin has a lot of living creatures, from wild pigs to hares. However, the locals say that encounters with the animals are extremely rare. With one exception: there are a lot of snakes in marshy areas, especially vipers, so please be careful.

Local peculiarities

Despite its remoteness and solitude - or thanks to them - Khachin is a place of the “elite” kind of rest, and the land here is much more expensive than on the mainland. They say, a local land plot of ten acres can be changed for a two-bedroom apartment in St. Petersburg.

If you want to rent a house on Khachin, you must remember that the cottagers have no reason for renting out their homes in summer. Only one house was surely rented out in the season of 2013. The cheapest option of a tour to Khachin and the cheapest way to get here is a tour by a motor ship. The ships sail from the river station in the centre of Ostashkov (41 Leninsky Prospect).

The schedule of tours is available in the station building, tours to Khachin took the second line in popularity after Nilova desert. 4-5 trips per weeks are usually arranged. The tour lasts several hours. The motor ship is moored in Volokhovshchina and the guide leads the tourists to several neighboring lakes (Beloe Yuzhnoe, Chernoe, Ostrechenye, Shchuchye). If you hire a power boat, you must be prepared to pay no less than 2000 rubles for an one hour trip. But if you want to walk around the island, the owner of the boat will be likely to ask all 4000, even if it all takes less than two hours. They explain it this way: they need to come catch you, take you to the island, then the driver will go back home (or catch other tourists), and then again return to take you back etc. We strongly recommend to negotiate time and price in advance and in great detail: you will have no easy way to escape from the island afterwards. You can find a power boat almost in any village or camp site, all the more so in Ostashkov - dozens of announcements with proposals hang on each fence or information stand. “Taxi company” of boats is based near Nilova desert, near the bridge to the Stolobny island.


Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Khachin Island Seliger Lake Russian lakes   

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