Anadyr| 18-21 July 2012
Update 18th July– I went down to the harbor to see the ocean. For several days there have been rather strong winds from the south, the most common direction as told by the locals. Heading to the ocean within several days, I was a little worried by the foam heads that could be seen from the large hill on which Anadyr is build. The skies were clear and I went to the harbor to look at the conditions. Again a steady stream went out from the inlet to the ocean. I tasted the water, it was salty.
I had seen before that there was a turbulent current within the stream which lasted for miles, all the way into the ocean. The current is caused by the wind that blew from a southerly, opposite direction. A speedboat a few hundred meters away clearly showed the size of the waves, as it was, now and again, invisible behind the waves. If I was to cross the inlet to the other side in these conditions, I would take off at the narrowest part, to prevent being dragged far into the ocean. Seals looked up from the water and I learned that the white dolphin like creatures are actually beluga’s!
Update 20th July– In order to obtain permission by the coastguard for travelling along the coastline, I needed to register at a travel agency. So I went to Chukotka Discovery, where they told me that the stretch from Provydeniya to Naukan would be most problematic, since there are no custom-checkpoints from Provydeniya. I could travel with a team of swimmers that would try to cross the Bering Strait, but their boat would reach Provydeniya at the end of July. Way too soon for me, since I would only reach the town halfway August.
The fence around the Border Patrol office was closed. Along the side of the door there was a cabin, to be reached by stairs. I went up, knocked, and I came in. “Could you please find a translator?”,I asked. The man looked surprised like he never heard another language before.
Soon the translator came and tried to get rid of me. It was Friday so I became worried. The immigration office should have called the Border Patrol three days ago. I explained I want to kayak to Provydeniya and cross the Bering Strait and that I was already late. I told the translator that if I would arrive at Provydeniya half august, the oncoming autumn storms will make the crossing very dangerous. He called his boss, put down his cigarette in the bin at the ground floor and came back. “Do you have an American visa?” “I don’t need a visa, since I am Dutch, but I have an ESTA form at my computer in the hotel.” He said that I would be able to get a permission to go all the way to Laurentia, close to the narrowest passage of the Bering Strait. I had to fill in some forms and might get an answer that same day. Good news because then I can actually start the expedition! Later that day I went back with the forms filled in, but of course I did not get any answer. I would have to wait until Monday.
Update 21th July – I received the telephone number of the Rescue service. I just have to call them if I get in trouble. Another hurdle taken!
Anadyr | 13 July 2012.
It was just before landing that the clouds, ever present all the way from Moskow, cleared long enough for a glimpse of the huge landscape beneath. I saw rivers and lakes glittering in the sunshine. And white marks on the surrounding mountains reminded of the previous winter. The town of Anadyr was now visible at the tip of a thick land tongue, just between a river estuary and the Pacific Ocean to the south. To see the real thing, almost larger than life, made me nervous.
My nerves where further put to the test at the airport customs. I didn’t have the special document that is required for border area’s such as Chukotka. Of course the Russian embassay in The Hague didn’t have a clue.. After two hours of talking to the officials, back and forth, we went into a little office. The head of customs kept shaking his head when he learned of my plan to paddle to Alaska. My journey had been long and I nearly fell asleep while the officers were working hard to get the papers right. At the end I felt really lucky to be able to get through.
I got onto to the ferry which connected the airport to the main city of Anadyr. Seals were playing in the water. Amongst them white dolphin-like creatures showed their fins while going down in the water. It was only a mile to the other side. In the pretty town of Anadyr I finally found a hotel with one room left. I could only think of sleeping, sleeping..
7th update – 16 aug – 2011
Yuri has arrived!! He is staying in an hotel in Belaya Gora and will fly back to Irkutsk and via Moskou on to Dusseldorf. Hopefully just in time for a cold beer on saturday evening
Grotere kaart weergeven
He called and told me he had just returned from a beautiful 5 day trip into the mountains. This was already the third, big mountain he had climbed. On the second day of the walk however, it suddenly started raining heavily. And because the rain kept pouring down for quite some while he started to worry that his kayak was not hidden high enough on the river bank so that it at some point could be at risk of being dragged away by the swollen river. Nevertheless he was too far into his hike to return to the location where he had hidden the kayak and make sure its safe. Apparently he realised the best thing to do was to just carry on. Wasting two whole days at the end of an expedition is of course, as we all know, never an option… The aim of the mission this time was to climb a mountain and to discover a small lake to the far right of the river. When I look at the map I can actually make out several small lakes so I have no idea which lake he has been to. All in all the surroundings were stunning, his legs were totally wasted, one sole of his shoe torn up and he said he has filmed some incredible footage and captured many images along the way for us to see later. When he phoned he had just returned to the river again and was glad to find out that the kayak had indeed been safe. He found it untouched by man, mouse or river.
In the days before this journey he had passed three serious rapids. One of them he had to take on by foot for safety reasons. Dragging the kayak through the water behind him by a clever construction of ropes is a technique he developed last year near the baikal lake. Despite the rapids he claimed to have covered so much distance he even had a sore ass from sitting in the kayak. One day he managed to travel more than 70 km.
So, now for the last leg of the ‘siberia expedition 2011′. A whole new challenge lies ahead of him: in only ten days he has to travel 500 km to a small city called Khonuu. Even though thats an average of 50 km per day there is apparently still time for a fourth mountain to climb. Definitly not advisable (as I carefully pointed out several times) but hey: once a Klaver, always a stubborn man. Or is that the Pancras influence ;-0. Anyway: the map below shows the final distance between there and back again.
Grotere kaart weergeven
Wow, we’re being quoted by Outdoor.nl! Nice press release btw
5th update – 28 juli
Yuri has traversed the rapids without any real problems so far. There are still some rapids ahead but he did not have to walk along the banks of the river which meant walking the same distance twice because of the amount of gear he is travelling with. And that is a good thing. He was really happy and is about to set out on a fourday journey through the mountains. Coordinates will follow soon.
4th update – 20 july 2011:
Got a phonecall from Yuri the other day. He is now four days in his travel and is on a fast track. Going downstream he is travelling approximately 75 k per day on a pretty wild and broad river. The heat is excruciating, the flies are certainly there but on the water everything is ok. He also told that he has already climbed one mountain and is planning to climb a big one the coming days. Note that the climate on the mountains is really good. No heat, no flies: just perfect.
The river is wild. And there is a gorge up ahead that people have warned him for. So there might be some rapids coming that will be difficult to pass. Yuri’s voice sounded quite anxious and he will try to walk around it and if that will prove impossible he has to make a phonecall to the rescue organisation and ask for a local boat to pick him up and bring him back. So lets all hope he can continue his voyage!
3nd update – 14 july 2011:
Received an sms: am in Ust Nera. have travelled 200 km with the kayak. Will climb a mountain again tomorrow. It’s beautiful out here!
(He told me later that a group of geologists dropped him at the starting point and that it has rained really hard)
2nd update – 14 july 2011:
Writing a book is easy. Just pack your bag and buy yourself a ticket to Siberia!
Although the actual trip has not started yet, Yuri has met so many people out there he said he could write two books allready. He is now in a place called OKhanbergha (who can find this place on the map?) and he ran into a guy called Radion. He is a jobless, Chinese looking guy that has studied English literature and knows a lot about Russia’s history. He claims to be a separatist and wants independance for Kamstjatka. Good thing that he speakes fluently english too . Anyway, he is a nice guy. They went to a festival somehere on the riverside with loads of fine, fit woman and more than enough vodka.. The next day Yuri bought all his supplies (fuel & food) for the first leg of the trip. He also got in contact with the local rescue service and bought himself a special transmitter, so if anything goes wrong people will know exactly where he is. In the evening (11 juli) they went to this restaurant where he was interviewed by a local tv station. I believe he also interviewed a local environmental organisation. I am not exactly sure what was when: the phone connection went dead for a minute. Apparently his interview didnt go as planned because the television crew got so drunk they were kicked out the restaurant later that evening.. (pfff. apparently chaos is the natural state of being in siberia).
12 of juli Yuri set out for Kyubyume.
He said he arrived at about 10 o clock in the evening near the river beyungyabe(?). They told him he could stay in the boat but the heat was so annoying he pitched his tent on the deck of the boat. When he woke up there were already dozens of cars and trucks parked around his tent. Imagine that! Waiting for the boat to cross the river he started asking around if any truck driver could give him a lift to his starting point (read more about his trip on this page http://www.outdoorempathy.com/siberia-2011-6/review/), but he had little luck. Fortunately a hotel owner, a woman called Irina, knows a lot of people and made a few phone calls. Very kind lady Yuri says. And she was confident that he would find his ride tomorrow or the day after. If everything goes well he is now well on his way to the Indigirka river.
More updates will follow soon
1st update – 10 july 2011:
Yuri has sent a quick sms to his family that he arrived in Yakutsk. First task is to buy sufficient supplies for the trip. The weather is ok with very high temperatures.