We are on our fifth day in Murmansk and all is well so far. The authorities and people we have met have been very friendly and helpful.
On Saturday we held our press conference on board the old Soviet icebreaker NS “Lenin”. Present were the captain of NS “Lenin”, representatives from Atomflot, the Russian coastguard, the Norwegian consulate, and the City of Murmansk, and of course national and local news teams. After the news conference there has been a steady stream of visitors to the harbour to see our little vessel, which is moored next to the icebreaker. The NS “Lenin” dwarfs our boat; it was built in 1957 and was Soviet Unions first nuclear icebreaker, and in fact the world’s first nuclear-powered surface ship. It is now museum ship here in Murmansk.
Victor and Mikhail from Agency Vicaar in St Petersburg have done an impressive job of obtaining our permission to sail the Northeast Passage, as well as organising our stay here. Our experience is that when procedures are followed and the correct papers filled in, there are few problems with Russian authorities.
Later on Saturday, the inspector from the Port Authority and Northern Sea Route came on board. He went through all our documents, checked that we had necessary maps and pilot books, emergency rafts and lifejackets, etc. All was found in good order, and we are now just waiting for the final document from Moscow before we leave. We expect to receive this later today and hope to depart this evening.
Yesterday was a quiet day for Thorleif and me. We enjoyed a bit of free time, reading and spending time for ourselves.
Mikhail had organised two cabins for us on board the “Lenin”, and it was a great experience to stay there. Thorleif got the captain’s cabin (of course!), and I had a guest cabin. I sat in Fidel Castro’s old chair and enjoyed a glass of Scotch, savouring the grandiose feeling of this historic vessel.
“Stas” (Stanislav) came on board today. He has teamed up with Thorleif for some last minute shopping and to get himself updated on everything on board. I’ve had a bad cold for a couple of days now and went to the doctor, but all was found to be OK and today I feel much better.
The weather has calmed down after a violent storm raged in Murmansk and the northern coast. Now the wind has more or less died down completely. We are also starting at more into the details of ice conditions further north and east. There is still quite a lot of ice blocking the Kara Strait, due to northern winds, and around Cape Cheluskin. Our plan is to move north at a nice and easy pace and get into position, waiting for the first opportunity to clear the Passage.
Our humble boat is dwarfed by nuclear icebreaker NS “Lenin”. Whereas the old Soviet vessel was able to plough through the Arctic ice by brute force, we have to rely on agility, speed and savvy.
To our great pleasure, we were invited to spend the night on NS "Lenin" – and Thorleif was even given the Captain’s Cabin! We celebrated the moment by opening a bottle of fine spirits, and brought out the charts to plan our own voyage.
Update: Looks like our stay in Murmansk is being extended by a day. We were planning on leaving tonight. However, the insurance papers, which were promised delivered on Friday, have yet to arrive – and we can’t leave until they’re here.View 5 comments