Photos: p-vl.ru / tvil.ru / Daniil Filinov / Yuri Smithyuk
The name “Primorsky KRAI” roughly translates as the “seaside territory”, and the sea dominates everything here.
TEXT: EVGENY KONOVALOV,
Tourism & Leisure in Russia offers you seven options for interesting and unforgettable vacations on the shore of the Sea of Japan. You can try out lots of exciting activities in Vladivostok, including paddling on a dragon boat, catching the waves on a surfboard or SUP, canoeing or kayaking, or taking a sea cruise.
Two cable-stayed bridges, the Golden Bridge over the Golden Horn Bay and the Russian Bridge over the Eastern Bosphorus, are the main landmarks and sights of Vladivostok. On the “Vladivostok Bridges” boat trip, you will see them from the sea in all their glory, learn the history of their construction and admire unique panoramic views of the capital of Primorye, accompanied by the crash of waves and the cry of seagulls.
Comfortable boats depart from Pier 36 on Korabelnaya Naberezhnaya every hour from 12:00 to 18:00. The trip lasts for one hour.
In the summer months, there are also two-hour trips available entitled “Sea Panorama” and “Sea Sunset”.
Vladivostok can be called the SUP-capital of Russia without exaggeration. The SUP (Stand Up Paddle Board) has become an indispensable part of seaside holidays. And, even if you don’t have your own board, you can easily join the ranks of SUP-surfers. With the oneset of summer weather, organized SUP trips are offered in Vladivostok, and anyone who wants to can take part, regardless of age or physical fitness. Kids from 9 years old can paddle a board by themselves. Younger kids can share a board with a parent or instructor.
The most popular routes are to: the Basargin Lighthouse (starting from Patrokl Bay), the Primorsky Aquarium (starting from Paris Bay), Truda Bay, Helena Island (starting from the Canal), Tobizin Peninsula (starting from Karpinsky Bay) and Shkot Island (starting from New Dzhigit Bay). The route is chosen depending on the direction and strength of the wind.
Rowing on dragon boats
Racing on dragon class boat is a very popular sport in Asia. And dragon boats have also gained recognition and became popular in Primorye as well. Vladivostok annually hosts dragon boat racing in a competition that welcomes not only teams of professional athletes, but also crews of schoolchildren, students, military personnel and company employees.
But if you just want to paddle on a dragon boat, you don’t have to pick a crew and wait for the next competition. The club Eastern Dragons arranges dragon boat trips at weekends. It couldn’t be easier: you gather by the shore, go through a short briefing, join one of the crews in a boat and off you paddle. The route is determined by the prevailing winds. Today, there are three routes from Sanatornaya Station – to Lotos Lake (Okeanskaya Station), Skrebtsov Island (Kovrizhka) and De-Friz Peninsula. The trips take 3 to 4 hours depending on the route.
You can catch a wave without going out of town in Vladivostok. From May to October, the Swell surf camp and surf school are open on Russky Island on Akhlestyshev Peninsula. This is the only school of surfing in the capital of Primorye that has its stationary base within the city limits.
At the school, you learn the basics of safe surfing and discover how to ride through the surf, catch waves, jump up on your board, riding along a wave, and make simple turns.
You can come to the camp at any time to relax, sunbathe, chat, sing songs with a guitar or just lie in a hammock under the stars. You are also welcome to stay with your own tent (or rent one on-site), or live comfortably in a yurt or large tent. The camp has showers, WCs, kitchen, laundry facilities and electricity.
The waters around Vladivostok are great for sea kayaking. You will find rugged coastline, calm and warm sea and rich wildlife: sea urchins, starfish, sea anemones, and a variety of crabs, birds and fish. On the nearby islands, there are colonies of spotted seals. In spring and autumn, whales come to Peter the Great Bay, and you can even see them within the city limits. A kayak allows you to move along the very edge of the water, sliding by so quietly you won’t frighten even the most cautious inhabitants.
The main kayaking spots are the coasts of Russky Island, from the rocky capes of Tobizin, and Shkot Island to the serene Novik Bay. You can spend a weekend not far from Vladivostok on the islands Popov and Reyneke as well. Resorts in the Khasansky District also offer kayaking tours.
This fashionable term means jumping into the sea from rocks of different heights, the favorite and familiar fun of many seaside boys. Today, cliff diving is officially recognized as a sport, and there are even cliff diving world championships.
The jumping spot is chosen based on several parameters: the height and steepness of the cliff, and the depth and size of the bay. The Sun Keepers have travelled all around the coast to make up a list of the TOP-10 cliff diving spots in Primorye: Edelstein Cape (Vladivostok), Tobizin Cape (Russky Island), Malenkiy Peninsula (Popov Island), Vikenta Island (Reyneke Island), Red Cliffs (Rikord Island), Alekseev Bay (Gamov Peninsula), Stenin Cape (Trinity Bay), Polosatik Cape (Podjapolskoye), Silin Cape (Valentin) and Tasovaya Bay (Preobrazheniye).
You don’t have to take diving courses and buy expensive equipment to see the underwater world of the Sea of Japan with your own eyes. If you are clever about it, snorkeling will give you plenty of vivid impressions.
Remember, if you are swimming without a wetsuit, the comfortable temperature for snorkeling should be at least 20°C. But you should not swim for more than thirty minutes even in warm water. Otherwise you can get hypothermia. That’s why a wetsuit, even the simplest 2-3 millimeters thick “shorty” (with short sleeves and trouser-legs) will significantly increase your possibilities.
The bays of Russky Island, as well as anywhere along the “wild” coast of southern Primorye, are ideal for snorkeling. Opt for places away from river estuaries and large sandy beaches to enjoy swimming in clear waters.