We are in the port of Murmansk and all is well – at least so far. Later today we have inspections on board. Tomorrow there is a press conferance on the ice-breaker Lenin.
There is no Internet coverage in the port area, so I’m making do with a brief sms report.
Update 18.50 (telephone interview):
Russian authorities have postponed inspection of our boat until Monday. The reason is really poor weather, with fierce winds and torrential rain. At the moment, however, the wind has abated and sunlight is streaming down through an opening in the cloud cover. It is 17 degrees and quite comfortable.
We’re moored between a large barge and the Soviet icebreaker NS “Lenin”. Launched in 1957, this civilian vessel was the world’s first nuclear-powered surface ship – today it is a museum.
We don’t mind the delay. Strong northerly winds have pushed down more ice, which will be blocking the Kara Strait for some time. This channel between the Novaya Zemlya and the Russian mainland is the first major bottleneck of the Northeast Passage. Given that we expect 10–14 days to reach the Kara Strait from Murmansk, there is no reason to hurry.
In the meantime we’re enjoying the hospitality of our Russian neighbours, even taking a sauna on their barge.
Our good friend Victor is helping us with a lot of practical details, for instance forwarding a batch of food supplies to the Siberian port of Tiksi, effectively lightening our load.
Today a Russian TV team came on board to do a report on our expedition. Tomorrow, when Stanislav joins us, we’re holding a press conference on the NS “Lenin”.