Cape to Cape Expedition
Uelen - Russia (Уэпен)
5th July 2008
7pm - Funny thing happened just after the photo was taken. It is a motorbike and sidecar - its used to transport goods back to town. Well after the bike was loaded up with all the mail, then 200kg potatoes then 300kg beer was balanced on top it travels about 100 metres before the axel snaps. Land Rover to the rescue!!!
The girl that is responsible for the mail climbs in the passenger seat. The mail, potatoes and beer go on the back seats and everybody including Dan ride in the back. Our payment; a meal of egg, chips and beer!
9am - No customs as yet. I'm going to stop saying that they are coming in today - it must have the adverse effect! I have a good feeling about this coming week though. The sea here today is a bit rough for the crossing so even if customs do arrive we won't be setting off today.
This is a picture of the civilian helicopter (notice the unlicensed taxi and two dodgy looking drivers in the background!). And that looks like a great bike - has it got a sidecar on it?
4th July 2008
Well as confusing as ever. Initially we had a conversation with customs and Dmitry and it was going to be Monday. So we resign ourselves to that and contact everybody involved to let them know. Then this morning we get information to say that the customs are flying in today. So hopefully we can make the crossing soon!
Everybody is affected by administration here - all the residents need permits to leave and return to town. Yesterday we thought we would take the Land Rover for a drive but only 5 minutes out of Uelen we were stopped by guards and told that our permit does not allow us to leave the town.
Also yesterday Uelen had a visit from a Russian tourist ship on its way from Vladivostok to Mermansk. About 100 tourists came ashore and were experiencing a "remote Siberian community" when two grinning Englishmen drove by in a Land Rover!
3rd July 2008
Its getting quite frustrating now as conditions are perfect today but the helicopter arrived from Lavrentia and customs were not on it. If the same happens tomorrow we will be here until Monday as the airport only operates from 9am to 4pm on weekdays.
2nd July 2008
Customs didn't fly in yesterday however there is hardly any wind at the moment and a helicopter is due in today. There is much activity on the beach with the fishermen and their boats getting ready to go whale hunting.
We have met up with a Frenchman and his Ukrainian wife who have been coming to Uelen every two years since 1992 filming the changes in village life over the years. He is going to film us setting off so we will have coverage of it from the shore.
1st July 2008
The wind has dropped today but is still quite gusty. Hopefully the customs people will fly in and we will try and set off tomorrow. We visited the weather centre yesterday and were told that the wind was 23m/second (storm force 9). We are hopeful that there is going to be a weather window later in the week as the fishermen are getting their whale boats ready (by collecting snow and covering the skin with it!?) to go out to sea.
Nicky has found this site Weather Cameras All Cameras Page - Federal Aviation Administration that has a selection of webcams under Wales .
30th June 2008
Today it is too windy today for any flights in or out of Uelen so the Coastguards will not be able to get here. The 65mph southerly winds have blown all the ice north and so the sea is completely ice free once again. We have been watching the packs of semi-feral dogs - husky crosses that roam about in large packs around the town.
Keep watching for news!
28th June 2008
Yesterday we assembled the Land Rover and took it for a drive down to the beach. We have been double checking all the bolts and equipment. The weather is glorious today making a pleasant change from high winds and clouds of the past few days. The ice melts within a day when it is warm. I have spoken to Jerry on Diomede and he is ready with his boat to support us once we cross the border.
26th June 2008
We got the Land Rover out and drove it around to check the brakes and shockers. Everything seems fine. The Straits had quite a lump of ice floating around the shore today as it was cold last night but it soon thawed during the day.
24th June 2008
Today the weather is awful but we're not ready to go. The Coastguards are flying up either Monday or Tuesday next week. We can can make the crossing as soon as they arrive; everything else is in place.
23rd June 2008
We got a flight yesterday to Uelen. The Land Rover is fine and we have spent today working on it. We will get it ready for the crossing tomorrow. Dmitry has arranged all the administration that we need for the crossing. We are just waiting for the Russian Coastguards to fly up to Uelen however they have access to the military helicopters and so it shouldn't take them as long as us.
We saw a whale kill today on the beach in Uelen. The whole village and its dogs got involved.
20th April 2008 - I have put more pictures on of the journey to Uelen.
2nd April 2008
We made it !! It was a very rough journey as you can see from the pictures below. The Land Rover is stored in a heated garage and all the equipment with it. We think there is a tank (vesihov) to Lavarentia tonight and so we will go on and that and try and bring the flight to Nome forward.
Land Rover in deep snow on its side at night - did some damage to the front wing
Going through the ice at night. The water was 1m deep
Land Rover being winched and dug out - up a hill
Steve and our guide Paul
Land Rover being down onto a river
Land Rover stuck in snow and bushes