We stayed in Schliesselburg till the following evening. Some of the regatta participants played tug-of-war and volleyball on the beach, or sang songs of the sea solo or in chorus while others (= Pekka) spent the day repairing their outboard engines. We left Schliesselburg around 6 p.m. and motored through the nightless night to the Konevets Island.
On the way, we crossed a border that no longer exists i.e. the border between Finland and the Soviet Union that was still there until the Second World War. When Finland lost the so-called Winter War, we also lost, among other territories, the northern part of Lake Ladoga, including both the Konevets (Konevitsa) and Valaam (Valamo) Islands.
The next morning, at 3.35 a.m. to be exact, we anchored in front of the Konevets monastery, and went to bed. A few hours later, far too early to my liking, we were called on the VHF and told to move our boat because a big vessel was on her way to the anchorage. After weighing and dropping our anchor once again, we dinghied ashore where the rest of the RusArc participants were already waiting to be taken on an excursion of the Konevets monastery. On the shore, we learned that Greek Catholic religion requires a woman to cover her head with a scarf and to wear a skirt in a church or, as in this case, at a monastery. It appeared that I was not the first woman visiting the island without a skirt as there were several boxes full of pieces of cloth of different patterns and sizes which could be made into a skirt. I picked a blue one to match my jeans. I can't say that I looked very stylish but then, I seldom do.
We admired the renovated church on the ground floor and were saddened by the condition of the church premises above it. After the Second World War, the monastery had fallen into the hands of the Soviet Army and had been mistreated for several decades. Humidity and neglect had taken its awful toll but, thankfully, there was a major restoration project going on. Although the old church was in a bad state, we could still enjoy its superb acoustics when two of the monastic monks sang for us. Around 3 p.m. we weighed anchor again, without catching a glimpse of the big vessel for which we had made room in the morning, and departed from Konevets.
By 9 p.m. all twelve RusArc vessels had gathered in front of another monastery island, namely Valaam and, headed by Peter the First, motored into a bay where the boats were tied up in groups of four, along three sides of a jetty.
The next morning, I went for a walk on the island. Initially, we were supposed to go together but Pekka had a meeting with Daniel, Head of RusArc, about our NEP permit which has so far gone through seven ministries successfully!!!, and so I ended up going on my own.
As we had visited the monasteries of Konevets and Valaam one after another, I could not help comparing them. Although both islands are lush and beautiful, the Konevets monastery was my absolute favourite of the two, due to its more rustic feel, the lack of the thousands of tourists that crowded the Valamo monastery, and maybe also because of the cows, goats, and piglets that seemed to be an integral part of the everyday life on the Konevets Island!