|2004-08-18 - Arrival at civilization
17 Aug, 04
Camp next to a normal Kolyma River at N 62°07´12.2 E 150°36´02.7, drizzling with rain all day, cold and wet, light northerly headwinds. 29 km;s advanced.
A phenomenally exiting day is coming to an end. Therefore, I will divide this dispatch into two parts, since we´ve realized that we will get a restday tomorrow. Part 2 will be about Sasha, the good human being, and part one about a day coming to an end.
At the precise moment we decided to go to sleep, we heard the first signs. Eartherosion, falling rocks and expanding water. For us, a very common sound, another flooding on its way!
When waking up after a worrisome night, the camp had been divided in three separate islands. Our cot on one, the canoe on another and some other gear on a third. We knew from weatherreports that there had been some heavy raining up the mountains, but not as much as this! It took us two hours, compared to the normal four, to brake camp. The problem with the flooding for us isn´t only that our paddling gets far more dangerous, but we can´t relax for one single moment and, most important, we´re in a dire need to get two consecutive days of rest, to be able to fully recover. So far we haven´t had that opportunity.
We set off in a gruesome cold drizzle with a slight headwind. In the direction for the Sinegorye Dam. It took us nearly 3 hours to travel 13 km;s and we anchored by a small port of scrapped and rusty boats. Since we needed a telephone, I sat off by foot, teeth shaking in the cold, to the Dam compound where I ran into a bunch of smiling, slightly shocked and extremely helpful villagers. They helped me place a phone call to our contact in Sinegorye, the mayor, Sergei Martayan, who would send somebody to pick us up. During the time young Johan waited, frozen to the bone, guarding our gear, I was offered a sweet and hot tea, diesel smelling heat, three Russians eager and curious (how I hate not to be able to communicate fully!) and a couple of nylondressed secretary legs with high heels. I did realize then how unused I am, not to have my wife Titti by my side and how easy it is to turn wild after just two weeks away from civilization. A fact I realized fully whilst having a quick peek in a mirror on the way out of the compound!
Sasha (more about this great man in tomorrows dispatch) arrived with his Russian fourwheel drive, he than drove us over the mountains on steep gravel roads, down into the village of Sinegorye. Gee, what an incredibly dull, rundown and ugly village! We stocked up on needed food and gear, encountered the great warmth and hospitality amongst the villagers and got interviewed by the local media (since our Russian still is poor, we answered all questions with Da, njet or scharascoo, meaning yes, no and ok/good) Sasha then drove us to our restart of the Kolyma River. We encountered a new river. Gone was the feeling of the see, instead we had a normal sized river in front of us, not too much water, normal speed, but also plenty of rapids and Big rocks! We´ve just pitched our tent next to it and since we noticed two holes on the canoe, damages from the transport in the 4 wheel drive, and realizing the amassed weight, we´ve realized we need a day to thoroughly check the rapids and spend some time trying to find a solution how to handle it all.
I have also noticed that the level of the water is rising. We would need three Nights here, but will we get two?