The destination is not famous for a diving trip and yet, Russia, and more precisely the White Sea to the North-East of St Petersburg will delight adventurists. The journey itself is already quite an adventure, via St Petersburg or Moscow, by plane or train. Access is long and difficult. This sea is a dependency of the Arctic Ocean, the summer is noticeably short, and the ice appears in October to only melt in May.
A little further south is the Solovki Islands archipelago in Onega Bay, famous for its magnificent monastery and the ancient gulag. It is now a cultural place registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Your ice diving trip in the White Sea takes place only from mid-February to mid-April. The experience is unique! You must hold the PADI Ice Divers diploma or equivalent and be in good physical condition. The flawless organization, the kindness, and professionalism of the team, the raw and wild nature, will make your diving vacation a wonderful and unforgettable experience.
From this cold and hostile environment, at first glance, emanates a human warmth and an underwater life of great wealth. You will come back free from your daily stress, and with the impression of having experienced something exceptional!
Ice diving in the White Sea
Diving takes place from mid-February to mid-April, you can admire fantastic ice formations with caves, ice walls, and amazingly colorful wildlife. The White Sea is a wild place populated by a diverse fauna: harp seals and especially the white whale (or Beluga) which comes to reproduce and raise its young.
Underwater, life is rich: soft corals, nudibranchs, sponges, starfish, crabs, shrimps, anemones, sea urchins, cod, perch, wolves, dabs.
The underwater architecture varies between walls and rocks, some wrecks lie around 20m deep. Diving requires a minimum of ice diving experience and certification. Our partner offers various programs that are accessible to divers with the soul of an adventurer, both the conditions are rustic and the dives specific.
Ice diving program
It is always about 6 days; it will accommodate you in a comfortable wooden chalet, as do many divers. Most divers take a drive-by snowmobile to get to the spot where they will drive, it will take between 20 minutes and an hour of journey, so much time to admire the spectacular landscape of the icy sea.
Heated wooden cabins wedged on skis (also pulled by snowmobiles) will allow you to protect your equipment from the frost, to keep yourself warm, to have lunch, or to have a coffee (they are also equipped with toilets). Once there, everyone takes part in the ice’s cutting cream (the “main”, the hole in the ice).
Then the safety briefing begins, attached to your buddy, and connected to the surface, you will always evolve under the supervision of the team. Almost every time they serve the lunch around 2:00 p.m., after which you will relax in the warm cabins.
You will do your second dive, then you will return to the chalet around 6 pm. In the evening, you will relax in a typical Russian bath, the “banya”, hot and bubbling.
Security is maximum
After the stress of the preparation, the organization of the immersion, you will forget the startling cold by discovering the magical white and green colors, and the fauna that evolves in this underwater landscape: pandalus shrimps, spider crabs, anemones multicolored, nudibranchs, or the sea butterfly, a magnificent translucent mollusk. The emotion is more than intense.
You will make 2 dives per day, lasting 30 to 40 minutes. The maximum depth will be 30m, the visibility varies from 15 to 50m! The thickness of the ice can be up to 1.50 m.
The water temperature is -1 to -2 degrees, and the air temperature is + 5 to -30 degrees!
It is possible to take the PADI Ice Divers on site.
The center also offers summer dives from mid-May to the end of September.
If you want to combine diving and sightseeing, the center offers “mini arctic safaris” of 2 days / 1 night. You will go by snowmobile and discover the magnificent landscapes along the frozen sea. You will dive in the day, then in the evening, you will join a traditional fisher’s house (very rustic) and taste the “shashlyk” (grilled meat) around a campfire.