Cape to Cape Expedition
Mys Schmidta - Russia - (Шмидта)
25th March 2008
We are still here. Planning and organisation here tends to be "why do today what you might be able to do tomorrow?". Hence at 8pm on 24th we went to get the sledge that the outriggers were going on. Having spent an hour trying to turn it over it was decided that it was going to be too heavy. So today we have spent 3 hours digging snow off a container to get some steel to weld some brackets onto the roof of the tank.
The pictures are of Oleg and his family.
The snow machine is a good way to get around town and to go fishing either 15km to the river or 30km to a lake.
24th March 2008
We're still in Schmidta as the guy with the tracked tank thing (proper name is vezderhod) is welding his tracks. We have seen just how much welding there is to do and aren't convinced it will be finished by Tuesday! His name is Oleg; we thought it was Alec. We have been round to his house and he seems a nice bloke. His son showed us some video of last winter when there were 150 Polar bears in the village wandering about like dogs and sleeping under the houses. Apparently this year there is open water about 4km out to sea so the bears can't get across as its too far for them to swim. Not far away is the large walrus colony and all the bears are hanging out round there.
This town is split into two villages - Mys Schmidta seems to be the Russian end and Raykapee (which means "place of walrus" in Chuchee language is the Chuchee part and actually seems to be the tidier place.
Last night the municipal banya was lit - for our benefit I think, but it was way too hot and we only managed about 15 minutes. Afterwards there was dinner of raw fish (actually delicious) and home made vodka.
We are keen to move on as this town is half desolate - once home to over 4000 people but now there is only 1400 with a ratio of 2:1 Raykapee / Mys Schmidta. The Land Rover is ok and the tracks are working well. We have had a look round the Power Plant in the centre of town which has four very large V8 engines.
Simon and I have settled down into a routine with meals - Simon has porridge with mango and I have custard with berries for breakfast. We're not too convinced by tuna and pasta (shall we swop those onto the Justgiving page?) but the rest are nice. As we budgeted for 5 people there's plenty to go at.
A few pictures but reception isn't very good..
23rd March 2008
We drove out of town to test the tracks and also to get better reception so that we could send some photos. We have been told to be careful walking round town at night as Polar bears sometimes come into town to sleep under the houses where its warmer. There are a group of walruses about 20km out of town which is their main food source but they wouldn't mind the odd Brit or two.
We are planning to leave tomorrow afternoon once we have fueled up and had lunch.
Road from Leningradskiy to Schmidta.
Captain Cook monument - he was here in 1778
Putting the tracks on in Alex's garage
Tracks on !
22nd March 2008
We have spent the day unloading the Ural truck and loading up Alex's enormous tank like thing (like the pictures on the Pevek page but bigger) with the amphibious gear. Then we have put the tracks on the Land Rover.
It has been confirmed that the sea is not frozen enough to drive on which does mean a 340km detour to get to Uelen.
I will try and send pictures tomorrow and we are leaving on Monday.
21st March 2008
We drove all day through worsening conditions - sometimes just in 3ft snow. It was a difficult journey but we made Schmidta in the evening and booked into a hotel there. The Land Rover is parked in a garage where we should be able to put the tracks on tomorrow.