Monday, August 4, 2014
You know that the ship will not leave until 4pm, but you load your luggage on the bike early in the morning. You want to get to the port to talk to the captain. This is the boat of passengers that will go to Provideniya on August 11th. Probably the last card to play.
At checkout, you call Ludmila to ask her to accompany you to translate. You know she does not work today, and she had offered you her help yesterday. You wish to discuss about the journey to Provideniya with the captain, and you think that it could be confusing for him.
The ship is not very big: 50 or 100 passengers. There is no crane on board, but it is moored under one of the harbor cranes. It would therefore be no problem for loading. The question is whether it would be in the same situation in Anadyr.
The captain is there. Ludmila explains your request. The answer is clear, non-negotiable: he will not take your bike, whatever the destination. Surprised, Ludmila insists. You quickly understood that the position of captain will not change. The guardian of the harbor entrance told you that she had already seen a car on the deck of this ship. That may be the problem … A bad experience would have set up the strict rule to reject all vehicles.
The director of the Port informs you that there will be a cargo of the “Chukotka Trading Company” that will leave in three days to Anadyr. You have to go to the offices of the company to take a ticket and see the conditions of carriage of the bike. You follow Ludmila towards what is one of the largest buildings in Egvekinot. The interior is neat, almost luxurious. There is no problem to carry the bike, except that only a Russian may file at the port of departure, and only a Russian may recover it on arrival. This rule is unexpected but Ludmila proposes to be the sender. She also calls her friends to find someone who could get to the port with you to the reception. And she finds a former colleague who is willing to help you in Anadyr. You’re going to leave Egvekinot.
However, you just lost all hope to reach Provideniya with the bike. The passenger ship is prohibited to you. So you give up the crossing of the Bering strait for this year. It’s settled.
You lost the game by going the first time to Anadyr. You wanted to focus on the Bering strait, bypassing the journey of Egvekinot to Provideniya. Avoid the first 400 km and bring the total distance to a more reasonable value. Now you know that the state of the sea will become increasingly problematic. The coming week is announced bad. Favorable weather slots are passed. And your low speed does not allow you to take too many risks.
You had a good chance of success if you had known sooner that Kosta and Rodney taught you. If you had knowledge of the existence of the Enmelen and Nunlingran villages. On the other hand, the purpose of this trip was primarily to learn. Understand the challenges and discover the solutions. But it was possible to go further. Provideniya at least, and probably Nome.
The solution would have been not to stay in Egvekinot and to sail to Kanerguina, and to look there for the person who could accompany you to Enmelen. Kosta knows someone who could. This first section would have been a perfect test, progressive. Once in Enmelen, you could have continued alone until Nunlingran and then Provideniya. Enmelen and Nunlingran are villages of whales hunters. The locals know the coast and know how to move. Egvekinot is a city, and occasional fishermen do not go out of the bay. Two worlds that do not know each other. For the inhabitants of Egvekinot, sailing outside the bay is just impossible. The exit of the bay is too far. For the Chukchi whale hunters, this is their life. At least in the summer.
For the fuel, you would have loaded the boat with at least a hundred liters starting Egvekinot. Navigate overloaded in the first protected area posed no worries. And you would have been quickly lighter in the second part. It was possible to reach Provideniya before the end of July, then to use the current slot to pass the strait.
Once again, you return to the gotsinitsa and unload the luggage. Once more, the boat takes its place in the hall. A call from Philippe, the KTM biker who follows you with a delay of 3 weeks. He is in front of Zyrianka on a barge ready to leave for Aniusk. You explain to him about your day, your disappointments. You spend two hours on the phone. He wants you rent a plane to go to Provideniya. You should force things. You are more fatalistic.
He will also talk about his own journey. He will meet Kosta between Pevek and Bilibino. They will, probably with Pavel, head the same route you took. Once in Egvekinot, they will rent an amphibious vehicle to reach Vankarem since Amguema. Then a boat to accompany them to Uelen. Philippe would remain on bike as much as possible. It was also the route that you had originally envisioned. Less coast, less sea to cross. But incompatible with the administrative requirements: the boarder guards want you leave Russia in Provideniya.
In the evening, you realize that for some time, the evenings have become recognizable. You’ve even been surprised by the darkness waking you last night. There is a month when you were on the Kolyma, it was very difficult to distinguish night from day. The summer solstice is away. It is also likely that the sea state is related to the sun’s influence. At the time of the solstice, the stability of the position of the sun must limit its impact on the tides. However, the more you will be closer to the equinox, the more the trajectories of the sun affect the tides. And the tidal range must amplify the amplitude of the waves. This is all new to you.
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
You spend the day updating your blogs, and answering your late mails. You add drawings Gilbert sent to you just before you left. You also continuing to look at the weather files, but more with the same attention. For now, the return of a calm sea is still not expected.
In the afternoon, you get a call from Kosta who comes to news. You explain to him the situation, your disappointments, but also the willingness for a second trip in 2016. Kosta tells you that he will participate to this project. The news make you glad. You’ll have to find sponsors on the one hand, and companions on the other.
Kosta impress you with his knowledge of the terrain. You regret not having discussed about your route when you met him in Bilibino. He would have brought you the solution.
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
You’re leaving in the early afternoon for a ride to Amguema. This is the only road from Egvekinot with that to Bilibino. You prefer Amguema to avoid river crossings on the eve of departure. You go on after Amguema to locate the track leading to the east, toward the river Vankarem.
An amphibious vehicle stopped near a ruin. You continue your route still twenty kilometers. You look at the map on your GPS: you have gone too far north. U turn. By joining the amphibious craft, you realize that it is parked where the intersection should be. But you do not see any trail that starts from there.
You discuss with people near the “go-everywhere” vehicle. They come from a mine and are waiting a bus that picks them up. The driver knows Kosta and it is probably the vehicle that would accompany Philippe to Vankarem. A monster… What consumption? 120 liters of diesel per hundred kilometers. Could it get to Provideniya? Not Provideniya. . ” You doubted the response. Provideniya is surrounded by mountains to the north.
You leave them and will meet a bus half an hour later. In the region, the “buses” are adapted from big trucks. Not much to do with Parisian buses.
You enjoy the ride. Few pictures, but you stop again near the orange mountain, the color of KTM. You even find KTM grass in ponds.
You come just for dinner after going to the port to ask what time will leave the ship. It will be tomorrow in the early afternoon. Parking the bike you realize that clips on both rear indicators are broken. Too much vibration, shock too. Set for a full load, your shock absorber is probably too hard. You were too lazy to change the setting.
Ludmila suggests you to go with her for her evening walk. She tells you how she arrived at Egvekinot during the Soviet era. She worked at the airport, and the city had three times the population today. Working in Chukotka had significant financial benefits: the salary was higher than two comparing with the center of Russia and each month was considered as a month and half for retirement. And she loved the Chukotka wildlife. While many were leaving after the collapse of the Soviet Union, she decided to stay. Her life is now here.
She occupies two adjoining apartments in an old building. She lives with her dog in the first and collects abandoned cats in the second. It currently houses 52 cats. Is there a limit? When she had only 8, she thought 8 was the limit. Today, she believes that the limit is 52, but if someone leaves again a cat on her doorstep, she does not know what she will do. Too bad, because the number 52 is special. Card Games …
Thursday, August 7, 2014
You load once more the boat on the bike and do your goodbyes. You start to know many people in this small town. Before yesterday, someone you thought had never seen called you by your first name.
Some shopping in case the boat would not serve meals. There are an incredible number of grocery stores in Egvekinot. As in Bilibino. They all look alike, but they often differ by a few products. Go into a grocery store, look, and come out without buying is common. At first felt uncomfortable when leaving a shop witout purchase, but you now visits three or four stores before finding what you are looking for.
You go to the port with Ludmila.She is officially the person who must deliver the bike. The ship is carrying coal. It is the twin of the one that you took to return to Anadyr. The motorcycle is quickly on board and you say goodbye to Ludmila.
You discuss with the representative of the shipping company. You explain to him the anticipated end of the current trip, and your willingness to come back in two years to complete it. He thinks that his company, which strives to promote tourism in Chukotka, would sponsor such a project. He will talk to his manager. It can also help you if you need information about ships. Once more, you get the information too late…
For future travel, you think that with several bikers and with Kosta, the trip could be the object for a movie. There really matter to film, both in central Chukotka than on the coasts.
The wind is strong in the bay, and the ship has difficulty moving away from the dock. But once started, it remains surprisingly stable. On board, passengers are few people you’d cross near the amphibious craft, north of Amguema. They work in a gold mine, and take a plane to Moscow. Their annual vacation.
There is also Igor, Igor said “Diesel”, a marine biker from Vladivostok. He saw the sticker of “Iron Tigers” on your bike. The motoclub Vladivostok who hosted you in 2010. If you need anything, you can contact him.
On deck, you admire the scenery. The Egvekinot Bay have several branches that dig into the mountains. Fjords of great beauty. Regret for not sailing on your boat in this bay.
Friday, August 8, 2014
The crossing is fast. Less than twenty hours. Arrived in Anadyr, passengers join the city on a small boat. But the ship must remain anchored in the middle of the river, waiting its turn to load coal. The captain tells you that you will get it back your bike tomorrow morning at 8am.
Before leaving the port, you make visits to the dispatcher. A ship should go to Vladivostok in the middle of next week. He advises you to call him on Monday or Tuesday morning.
Once in town, you ask a man where to find a gotsinitsa. It leads you to the famous .. luxury hotel where you had ended up taking a meal. The “Chukotka”. You stop your guide to 100 meters away. You do not want a “five-star” hotel, but a simple gotsinitsa. It brings you to a second location. May be a “three stars.” This is still too good, too expensive, but you give up a third request. With a little luck, you will leave after two or three nights. You’re surprised that dusty as you are, people will drive in posh hotels.
You leave your stuff at the hotel and you go to the airport, which is on the other side of the river. The barge passes close to the “Professor Kromov”, Russ’s ship that is already back from its cruise. Once at the airport, you look for the cargo area. The lady who receives you does not seem available, but she will do her best to help you. You call Kosta to help you in the discussion. You know that the information can be useful for Philippe.
At the end, the shipping of the bike should be possible, but not until the Moscow agreement. A bike is considered as a “dangerous good” and acceptance is not automatic. You will not have a response until Monday night or Tuesday morning, and it will be too late for the plane on Monday. You’ve once again caught out by the weekend. So if you take a plane, it will be next Friday. Here you are for a week in Anadyr. Unless you take the ship to Vladivostok, but it would add at least three weeks of travel. You’ll see on Monday.
Saturday, August 9, 2014
The captain of the ship had asked you to be present on the port at 8am, but the boat will dock at 10am. A “normal” delay in Russia. Once back to the hotel, you look at your maps for routes around Anadyr. You want to ride the bike and explore the area. You are quickly cooled: there is no road from Anadyr. At least no summer road. Anadyr is like an island. You can take a barge to the other side, where the airport is located, but that’s all. Do you understand why there are no motorcycle Anadyr? Why taxis are 100 rubles whatever your destination. Only with the boat you could have rides, but the assembly time is too long.
You call Kosta whether he does not know any roads not marked on maps. He suggests you go on the other side. There, you can take a 8 km road and visit the ruins of an abandoned missile (ICBM) site. It’s a bit limited as ride, but why not. You will go from Monday to visit the lady of “Cargo Terminal.” Time will pass slowly in Anadyr.
A short walk. In the square close to the museum a sort of fair with entertainment for children. On a platform, Chukchi dancers provide the show. Young men take turns to sing and dance to the tunes of traditional music.
You go to the hotel. You’ll have time. You can start working on a second trip.