Report Day 1- Day 4 From Egvekinot on to the frozen bay
Friday April 18, 2008 - 65.55685° N, 179.35698° W
First day: 4/15 started at 5pm, having to take care of administrative matters in Egvekinot and over emails, working on my documents/permits for the next Russian state I will be crossing . Planning ahead...
Starting location in Egvekinot : N66° 19.126, W 179° 07.078
Clear weather, did some filming as I was leaving the frozen majestic harbor of Egvekinot .
Love to see the ships stuck in the ice for many months.
Got followed for a while by the local border guards, asking me how far out of town I was planning to spend my first night. I said "10 kilometers" and apparently that was a sufficient answer for them to turn around and get back into egvekinot .An hour later, in the middle of the bay, I came across two men pulling out their crab basket out of the ice, and they gave me their crop (one small one) which I enjoyed on my first dinner in my tent.
Reflected a bit that night outside the tent while staring at the moon on how good it was to be back in the chukotkan tundra and actually on the frozen sea...
Camped at N 66°14.376 W 179°09.010, covered 5.5 miles in 4.5 hrs
Day 2: 4/16 foggy and snowy,+11f, had to navigate with my GPS to avoid going around in loops. No visibility.Weather cleared in the afternoon for a few hours.I gave quite a bit of my extra fuel and food to the only vehicle I saw that day, a huge truck bound for Anadyr. Trying to get rid of some my huge cargo so that I can get some speed...
Camped at N 66°10.125 W 179°12 730, covered 5.2 miles in 9 hrs.
Day 3: 4/17
Colder -9f, slept near the coastal cliffs on the sea ice.
Got woken up by an avalanche of rocks coming down the cliff. Quite surprised, at first I thought it was a polar bear near my tent, which confused me since they are not supposed to be in the region for another month, when they will be on their Northern migratory route.
A wezdehod came near me at 3pm and as usual not comprehending at all why I am walking / skiing through chukotka with a big sled and asking me if I wanted a ride... I thank them but NO.. However, after they left, I followed their tracks and even changed to Montrail sustina running shoes which I could use on the hard packed trail for the next few hours.
Another wezdehod came near me at 6pm huffing and puffing, with 4 drunken men aboard. At first, they worried me a bit as if I came across a pirate ship in the open sea... In the end, we connected and they asked me if I wanted anything. I responded WATER since the night before I had messed up my drinking water, while gathering with a shovel the snow on top of the ice. I dig a bit too deep and got frozen sea ice water mixed with frozen snow. After the melting process, I realized that I had some terrible salted water for the day that even wonderful NUUN tablets could not save and honestly, I were too lazy to get out of the tent in the storm and collect more snow, use more fuel and start the melting process over. I thought that I will drink it for a day and that it will teach me a lesson for the next time while collecting snow to make water.In return I gave them 2 small bottles of kirchwasswer,(Oregon cherry brandy from clear creek distillery, which makes a killing gift in the Russian chukotka... Some drink the little bottle right away, some want to collect it..)We then took pictures together like old friends, drank tea and one of them even gave me some single binocular...!
At 9pm, as the weather was becoming very foggy , I saw two more wezdehods, one of them was driven by Viktor, the driver of the second wezdehod that took me 4 days earlier from Anadyr to my starting point in Egvekinot. Viktor stopped his wezdehod , invited me in the back of the wezdehod and offered me tea and two sandwiches with thick Russian bread, salami and cheese. PERFECT !
Hit the spot and saved me time on preparing diner
Camped at N 66°03.318 W 179°27.119, covered 10.3 miles in 10 hrs.
Day 4: 4/18
This is the season of the "PURGAS", spring storms. Second one since I started, hindering my progress. I still move in the storm but much slower. Spent most of the day in the storm with a short apparition of the sun in late afternoon. The only vehicle I saw today was an abandoned wezdehod in the middle of the frozen sea ice.
To distract me in this land of white on white (to the point where it makes you dizzy), I listened to audiobooks such as "a moveable feast: by Ernest Hemingway, and or varied podcasts such as Studio 360 PRI from NPR and the Seattle Bob Rivers show. Can't listen to music too much when I am in this "white on white" zone because it becomes too hypnotizing...
Camped at: N 65°55.685, W 179°35.698.Covered 9.7 miles in 10 hrs.
Covered 31 gps miles since I started, 20 miles over the last 2 days. I hope that I will be able to pick up the pace soon, as I reduce my cargo, (consuming some of my food and fuel). Approximately 145 miles until I reach Anadyr.I am still in the middle of the bay, sleeping on the ice, not trespassing anyone's property, I believe... ;-)I will try to send pictures in my nest dispatch...
Not able to being able to use my folding keyboard in the small tent, I am typing this email one letter at a time with my stylus and it is painstakingly slow. I feel a bit like the writer of the "Diving bell and the butterfly " but not quite!