"Sukhoi" threshold on the Tuloma river

Sunset on the Tuloma river. Photo by A. Bobkov
In the reflection of the Tuloma river. Photo by A. Bobkov
The quiet river. Photo by A. Bobkov
Sunset on the Tuloma river. Photo by A. Bobkov
Sunset on the Tuloma river. Photo by A. Bobkov
Parts of an old ship. Photo by A. Bobkov

The Tuloma River is one of the main "waterways" of the Kola Bay. A leisurely boat trip through this river is always a pleasant experience. The diversity of the local flora amazes and inspires for further travel. The steep and mighty rocky shores are impressive. But even though this beautiful river is usually quiet, in a matter of minutes you can see it raging. The weather here is unpredictable and changes very quickly. Therefore, you should be cautious and stick closer to the shore, remember about safety precautions and rules of conduct in open water.

We went along the Tuloma to the "Sukhoi" (sukhoi means dry in Russian) threshold from the village of Murmashi, to see its beauty with our own eyes and find the traces of the past. The threshold is located on the right bank of the Tuloma River, 15 km upstream from Murmansk. Few people know why the threshold is called that way because at the moment there isn’t even any threshold. In the 20th century the power industry began developing on the Kola Peninsula and in 1937, the Nizhnetulomskaya hydroelectric power station was built near Murmashi. Such buildings change the water level in the nearby coastal zones significantly. However, despite the changes in the water level of the Tuloma River, some of its geographical names have remained the same and remind us of the past. In1877 Russian theater director V. I. Nemirovich-Danchenko went on an interesting journey along the Tuloma river. He then wrote an essay about the natural water area of this river in the book "The Land of Cold". According to the stories of the his two guides, a Finn called Matshkuta and a Saami woman called Natalia, the "Sukhui" threshold was a real obstacle for those who tried to overcome it at low tide. The logs from the plots, which were sent downstream to Kola, often broke into splinters or got stuck between the rocks along the way. Loggers had to go in search of their special rafts made of logs, and rescue them from the depths of the river in order to somehow justify their low-paid work. Many did not survive. The same fate awaited unwary travelers. Their medium-sized sailing fishing rowing vessels tended to get stuck between the rocks and then they were broken into splinters. On the banks of the Tuloma there are still wooden remnants of the past - parts of broken ships and logs that were floated downstream. They still serve as a reminder of the dark stories about the "Sukhoi" threshold.

"One day the lapps were sailing through the “Sukhoi” on a triplet; the waves threw them between two rocks, so that the boat got stuck there like in a claw. The waves knocked out the bottom. Three people died, and a woman with a baby somehow managed to get to the top of the nearest stone… …Plank by plank the whole boat crumbled and the wreckage, already crumbled into powder, was carried further downstream. The unfortunate woman sat on the cliff for twenty hours. The tide began to rise and the water got up to her knees. Still, she resisted the current and held the crying child high, standing like that for four more hours before taken off by the Kola citizens sailing past to Yurkin Island."

(From the book "The Land of Cold", 1877 by V. I. Nemirovich-dAnchenko).

That's why the threshold was called "Sukhoi" ("Dry") - he declared his presence only at low tide.

By Andrey Bobkov (Andrey "Severyanin"), a member of the Murmansk Regional Branch of the Russian Geographical Society