The White Sea

The White Sea

The White Sea is located in the northwest of Russia. It is known for the medieval Solovetsky monastery and rich wildlife, including Beluga whales, harp seals and bearded seals, as well as numerous bird species.

The White Sea lies in the northern part of Russia, between 32 and 44 East and 63 47` and 68 4` North. Its total area is about 95000 square km, the shoreline - about 3000 km, the average depth - 60 meters, the deepest place - 330 meters.

In summer, the waters near the shores can warm up to +18-24 Celsius. In October - November, the Sea begins to freeze and stays under ice until May, though the whole area of the Sea does not freeze. The Sea has a big influence on the area's temperature. The average January temperature on Solovki (the Solovetsky Islands) is about -10C, in February, when the heating influence of the Sea reduces, the average temperature falls to -12C. The salinity of the Sea is 23-25 ‰ in average, which is lower than in the Barents Sea, and is explained by a big flow of fresh water fr om the rivers.

The whirlpool of the Sea is situated between the Kola Peninsula and the Kanin Peninsula, and connected with the Barents Sea. The White Sea washes three Russian territories - Karelia, Arkhangelsk and Murmansk (Kola Peninsula) regions. The biggest bays are Kandalaksha Bay, Onego Bay, Dvina Bay and Mezen Bay.

The Sea does not have many Islands. The biggest are Solovetsky Islands in the eastern part of the Sea, wh ere the famous Solovetsky Monastery is situated. Among the other, Kuzova Archipelago can be specified, with its interesting archeological and natural sights. Several small Islands in the Kandalaksha Bay belong to the Kandalaksha Nature Reserve.

The natural diversity of the Sea is high. It is inhabited by about 60 species of fish, including Atlantic salmon, Pacific salmon (was introduced by human), cod, navaga, herring, plaice, etc. In summer, Atlantic and Pacific Salmons swim up the rivers of the Kola Peninsula and Karelia to spawn.

Beliga Whale in the White Sea The Sea is inhabited by Beluga White Whales, with the total number estimated at about 1500 whales. One of the accumulations of Beluga Whales is located near Solovetsky Island. Other Sea mammal species are Harp (Greenland) Seal, living and breeding mostly in the eastern part of the Sea, Ringed Seal and Bearded Seal (also called by locals as "Sea Hare"). Valrus is very rare.

Great Skua, the White Sea Seal The birds are represented by various species of turns, gulls, eider, greenshank, oyster catcher, birds of pray such as White-tailed Eagle, migrating geese and ducks.
On the shores of Solovetsky Islands, people cut kelp and rockweed which are further processed on the factories on the mainland.

The biggest town and port in the area of the White Sea Arkhangelsk, located on the shore of the Dvina River 20 km of the Sea (Dvina Bay). Towns of Severodvinsk, Kem, Belomorsk, Kandalaksha, Onego and Mezen are much smaller. Also, there are many villages along the shores of the Sea, including traditional Pomor (coast dwellers) settlements.

Grand Karelia Tour: St. Petersburg - Solovetsky

Grand Karelia Tour: St. Petersburg - Solovetsky

8 days / 7 nights

Discover the most interesting sights of North-European Russia

  • Travel to Valaam, Kizhi and Solovetsky Islands
  • Visit monasteries and museums
  • Observe natural sites and Gulag objects
  • Taste local food and take a vintage steam train
  • Small group tour for up to 12 people

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