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Rolling Ark on the Arctic shore welcomes guests

Alexey Glebov - climber, power engineer, freediver and romantic - has built a guest house on wheels on the shore of the Arctic Ocean

MOSCOW, March 17. /TASS/. Alexei Glebov is a mountaineer, power engineer, diver and a romantic who built a wheeled guest house on the Arctic Ocean’s shore. He was born and grew in Apatity - a city by the Khibiny - the highest and biggest mountains on the Kola Peninsula. Once, he came to Teriberka and could not resist staying in the settlement.

Teriberka - a place of power

Do you know how it happens - you may feel easy and comfortable in one place, where you feel light, you have wings, you can do anything, but in another place you are overwhelmed with worries and seem to have no strength at all. Alexei Glebov knows how to explain it.

"I’ve fallen in love with Teriberka, with this nature, the rocks along the Arctic Ocean… As soon as the road was opened to here, I came to the settlement and realized this is a place, which matches my soul. Here I tried freediving. Though could stand for ten minutes only," he laughed. "The water in June is plus 4 degrees, the flippers were not the best, I did not have any gloves, could barely feel my feet and fingers, I couldn’t move, and clearly the first attempt could not open to me all the magnificence." Later on, he realized this was how the fate had brought him not only to the rocks and ocean, but to the woman of his life.

Alexei has become an experienced diver, he’s got proper outfit and can teach others. "The locals say there is a place of power here, and I can feel it. On the way to Teriberka, on the hills you may see piled stones, which are named seidas. How could they appear there, in the middle of this transparent tundra? It’s a true mystery!"

An ordinary guy longing for adventures

"I am a trained high-voltage power engineer, graduated in Apatity from the Kola branch of the Petrozavodsk State University. During my third year there I began practicing industrial alpinism, and even made good money," he said. "By 30, I gained certain capital, which was very helpful later on."

Since childhood he went in for mountaineering. At a gym in Apatity, the boy competed in climbing a 11.5-meter stand.

In addition to climbing and freediving, he loves kiting - depending on the season, he rushes across the sea or across the tundra’s snow blanket.

"I keep saying: Moving is all! If you can’t move, then at least lie in the direction of your goal. But never give in!" he said with a smile.

This is the approach Alexei had when building the peculiar facility, which now in Teriberka is an attraction, that may be compared with Zvyagintsev’s Leviathan (a drama movie, 2014).

From solidity to mobility

Teriberka is a small settlement, where about 1,000 live. A few houses crowd among hills by the shore. Not much land, just small spots. Alexei rented one of those spots for five years. The only condition was not to make any solid buildings there.

"My dream was to make a dome-house, but that required a basement, which I could not do, thus, I had to drop solidity for mobility," he said.

"Like what an Arab Sheikh has!"

To the question about how this idea occurred to him, he laughed: "Like what an Arab Sheikh has!"

"I am a fan of incredible, innovative, high-tech things, I admire unexpected forms. I’ve been searching the net, and once came across something which struck me. A huge five-story house on giant wheels with eight bedrooms and four garages, and it could move! It was a Bedouin Caravan, a ship-house, made for an Arab Sheikh to travel across the desert. This is how I’ve got the idea!"

He used a base from Germany’s Schmitz semi-trailer. Jointly with a friend, an engineer, they made calculations and began the construction.

"This is where my capital came in handy: from the climbing, plus from the flat sold in Apatity, and some money from friends," he said. "I had to hire workers, rent transport to bring in materials - as you can see, we’ve managed it."

The construction began in 2017, and on January 1, 2019 the wheeled house welcomed first guests. The facility is 7 meters high and 7 meters wide. The length is 14 meters. The weight is about 20 tonnes, thus any truck tractor could pull the house wherever you want, he added.

"Such tractors may handle even 40 tonnes, thus ours wouldn’t be a problem. But if it comes to moving the house, I would prefer to do it by see, on a pontoon, for example, since its sizes are far from regular. By the way, last year we managed to extend the rent by another five years, thus, we have time to welcome more guests, and then, later on, we’ll see what happens."

Why the Ark?

The wheeled house has two stories: nine rooms, a restroom, a shower and a kitchenette. It may accommodate 20 people.

"Right, not many, but as a rule people come to Teriberka for a day or two to see the Northern Lights, the Arctic Ocean; thus we can accommodate all. We are not the only one to offer accommodation in Teriberka," he said.

"Why the Ark? Well, we began the construction, and when the form got more or less clear, it resembled Noah’s Ark. Those were impressions of people who saw it: the locals and guests said so. Nobody knew what it would be in the end, but people began calling the object Noah’s Ark. And this nickname has remained."

What is there in Teriberka

Any Internet user when hearing "Teriberka," will immediately make up a chain by naming "Leviathan," Northern Lights, a waterfall, the Arctic Ocean. However, only few visitors know about the abandoned anti-aircraft artillery battery of World War II. It is in the walking distance, right by the coastal line on the way to the waterfall.

"During the war, here, in Teriberka, was the 199th artillery division, which had four 100mm B-24BM guns, installed there in the early 1930s. Initially, they were to be installed on submarines, I hear. If our guests want a tour there, we take them to the battery."

The battery remained there to the mid-1950s. It has not been robbed, as for a long time Teriberka remained a closed border area, with no road to it.

Ship dump

Teriberka’s another attraction is the dump of abandoned fishing ships and boats. The locals call it straightforwardly - a burial site.

"It’s a distressful view. Anywhere you look, you admire the scenic landscapes, the unique nature, and here - the skeletons, stretching from the water or from the sand. Not so long ago, those boats were used to bring cod, haddock, capelin, sea urchins and scallops. It’s next to impossible to imagine now that here used to be two fish processing plants. The locals say, degradation began after the 1960s."

In the 1960s, Teriberka ceased to be the regional center - it was moved to Severomorsk. Murmansk began to develop actively the fishing port and fish processing facilities, there were high-tonnage vessels to fish in the ocean, and fishing by the coast could not compete with them.

What next?

The Ark employs two people: Alexei and his assistant - they welcome guests, accommodate them and offer sightseeing.

"Honestly speaking, the demand is not high, but the interest is obvious. We need to offer more leisure activities to invite people to stay here for longer. In summer, we took guests to the waterfall and to the beach of round stones - to enjoy a view of the Arctic Ocean. Imagine: you come to the ocean’s open coast, you can see the ocean’s might, freedom, you breathe in its salty air… This is what to live for!"

Alexei Glebov’s plans are most exciting: to develop the business, to organize walking and ski trips, diving and fishing. The most important goal is to meet the newborn, whom the family expects in April.