In Norse mythology, the White Sea is known as the Bay of Serpents. The climate there is so severe that there are no snakes at all, it is called so because of the curved shoreline. The White Sea is an inland sea in the north of the European part of Russia belonging to the Arctic Ocean.
Modern name of the sea is White, because it is covered with the ice and snow shield during the bigger part of the year; it is the only sea found frozen in the Europe. Water salinity is very high: about 26 ppt (parts per thousand), so it freezes at the water temperature of -2C.
Cold winter creates thick ice cover – about 1.5-2m, it is less salty then the water under it, but very spongy because of the salt which remained in it. Sometimes it is so porous that bubbles breathed out by a scuba diver beneath the ice percolate through the 2 m ice mass with a whistling sound; it seems the ice is singing as a boiling pot.
Tides are strong here: the difference between high and low tide rates about 2-4 m. As the result of gradual water freezing and tides strength hummocks and huge ice balls are formed along the sea shore, looking like majestic sculptures.
Greenish water color is caused not only by the properties of the water itself, but also by microscopic planktonic algae – the basics of marine life. Plankton algae absorb red light sunlight – they need him for photosynthesis, that’s why sea water becomes green. And the more phytoplankton in the sea, the more the sea is alive, the greater the proportion of green in the aquamarine color.
Photographer: Victor Lyagushkin.
Models: Bogdana Vashenko, Konstantin Novikov, Mikhail Safonov.
Nikon D3s, Nikkor 14-24/2.8, Subal housing.
We would like to express our gratitude to Arctic Circle Diving Centre for help with organisation and Nikon company for technical support.