Cape to Cape Expedition

 

Yakutsk - Russia - (Якутск)

 

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22nd February 2008

2nd March 2008

Well we tried sending photos but sent links to photos somehow. Hopefully Nicky will wait up till 11pm so ring us so that we can try again! Yesterday evening (before huge meal and lots of vodke) was at as sort of Yakutia folk museum where there were lots of ice sculptures of various folk lore people (Yakutsk and Ice Sculptures photos ). We had the expedition blessed or the equivalent and now have the Yakut version of furry dice to hang in the LR. We have been out shopping this morning to find some snow shovels. The general consensus is that we will leave tomorrow morning and it will take about a week to get to Zryanka and then another week to get to Pevek.  We think we will have mobile signal for another week in the towns then after that on the sat phone only.

Yakutsk 4x4 club mods and Lena Rive photos

Ice Sculptures

      

    

1st March 2008

We've had a couple of good night's out. Yesterday not only did we go to the outdoor concert but to the "Garage Bar" with a couple of lads from the 4x4 club. The order of the night was live band playing U2, four "rockets" of beer (3.5ltrs) and four flagons of vodka (like wine jugs here). We got the Land rover back ok but didn't get to bed until 5am. Nikolai was knocking at our door at 7am having arranged to meet Sergei. There has been another hiccup (and Russian hiccups tend to be large ones) with the truck. Sergei wasn't given very much notice by Dmitry and all his Urals are out on contract to the Canadians and so he has driven down in a Kamas Truck.

We collected all the equipment from the airport and loaded it onto the truck. Sergei is going to change the wheels on the truck tomorrow and we will get off on Monday.

In the evening we drove out of town with Nikolai and the Chief of Police and had a huge meal and lots of vodka at a restaurant. The order of the menu was fish. Here they catch the fish in winter when it is hibernating therefore it has nothing in its stomach and so the whole fish is eaten in many ways !! We had cooked fish, frozen raw fish with salt and pepper and smoked, raw fish. All washed down with sour mare's milk and vodka.

We got back to the hotel late and just sent one photo through to Nicky and a test email before falling into bed to catch up on some sleep !

    

   

     

 29th February 2008

We had been for a drive out of town for something to do and were returning to our hotel when stopped by the police as there is a political open air (!!) concert going on as its the elections tomorrow and all the roads are shut. So we've left the Landrover and are walking back to the hotel after taking a look at the concert. It was a normal sort of concert except that the whole band were wearing huge duffel coats and everybody was jigging to the music to keep warm as the temperature is -27C.

We are meeting Sergei Sebrinov this evening and Nikolai will arrive at 5am tomorrow morning.

Sergey Serbinov.

30, Manager of a motor transport enterprise in Yakutia. Has the first grade driving license. More than 10   years has been working at the roads of Yakutia and Magadan region. In 1995-96 Sergey provided support to the Italian expedition on Iveko cars along Yakutia and Chukotka including the  Truck Global Expedition

 

Dmitry has heard reports of very deep snow further north of Yakutsk and is worried about the Land Rover however we are reasonably confident that the Land Rover can cope. Below are some pictures of a fish market and buildings around Yakutsk. A gallery of all 100 pictures will appear at some time when we get it working!

     

       

 

  

28 February 2008

Not a lot happening today. Nikolai is now flying out tomorrow with the laptop. The equipment has been flown out and is at the airport and we are planning to leave on Saturday. We have eaten in every cafe and restaurant in Yakutsk and are ready to get on our way again. Apparently there has been a lot of snow fall further north so some of the delay is waiting for the road to be graded again. So while we wait - here are some more pictures .... Mirny

   

     

 

27th February 2008

We have had to move hotels today. Apparently our hotel is full however we believe that it is used by the government and if one of their people are staying everyone else has to move out. Anyway we are now in Polar Star Hotel - nice architecture! And have sent some more pictures through to Nicky - interesting ones of the River Lena and Yakutsk 4x4Club - see below.

As it took us all day to move hotel the only other thing we did was put tubes in the Cooper Tires so that they are no longer tubeless.

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26th February 2008

Well we have spent the whole day in the hotel business centre trying to send photos back. Hoorah we seem to be getting somewhere at 11pm at last. Fueled by borsh and Corona Export lager I only hope you appreciate the effort we have gone to. At the moment we have sent the earlier pictures through and so the Bratsk and the Lensk pages now have a few photos on.

This morning we had a panic as the Webasto heater had gone off in the night. Every night now its -40C. We got the Landrover going and tried to find the problem. It was a loose connection to the battery. Just shows how a little thing out here could have major consequences.

It looks like the equipment is arriving tomorrow and Nikolai is waiting for the laptop and flying out on Thursday. No interesting food eaten today - the hotel has very good food. Nicky asked if we had lost any weight - we both agreed we had lost loads ... then we pressured to say exactly how much had to own up to not having lost any !

Lots more pictures on the way!

25 February 2008

We have just got back from the Lena Pillars which we didn't actually get to as there was too much snow on the River Lena. The Cooper Tires were amazing driving on 1ft of snow on top of sheet ice and even pulled the 4x4 club's Land Cruiser out when it got stuck. Last night was spent in a Dacha eating fat and dried fish accompanied by copious amounts of vodka and cold tea. We must admit that we were not the drunkest there.

We learnt that although the local traffic use the Lena River it is not open as a long distance road and so it wasn't surprising that we couldn't find a way onto it at Ust Kut and Lensk. From Yakutsk we will also be on a good road to Pevek instead of the river.

The temperature last night was -43C. We are not leaving the engine running overnight however do have the Webasto heater on 24 hours now. The Russians leave all their engines running all the time.

Hopefully tomorrow we will get some pictures emailed back from Rial's house.

 

24th February 2008

We have had a busy day with the Off road club working on the Land Rover again. We have insulated all round the engine, put double glazing on all the windows and put the studs in the Cooper Tires. Now we are on route to see the The Lena Pillars (more information on Google Earth and photos on Lena Pillars- landscape). We are staying there in someone's house and coming back to Yakutsk tomorrow morning.

We had the most odd breakfast today that can only be described as "milk, blood and intestines" and I'll leave the taste to the imagination!

 

23rd February 2008

Sorry for late update. Nicky went running to Wales for the day - how inconsiderate!

We've spent the day walking round Yakutsk, meeting Rial and servicing the Land Rover. We have made the hot air pipe blow onto the side windows so that we can see out as they were getting iced over, greased all the door locks and catches as they were freezing up too and bought some very thick woolly socks that are very itchy but warm.

Tomorrow we are going to see the Lena Pillars Yakutsk Off-road Vehicle Club who Rial is a member of. Should be interesting. I'm going to attempt to send email and photos back to the U.K from the hotel so keep watching.

 

22nd February 2008

We arrived at Yakutsk about 7pm (our time) after driving for another day through huge forests - we have seen a lot of trees. The first thing we did was have "breakfast" of potatoes and pancakes. The towns we have been encountering along the way have been very "Wild East" and the food somewhat dubious.

We are staying in the Tygyn Darkhan Hotel where I have just spent 30 minutes parking the Land Rover exactly where the security guards want it (and as they look like police I did as I was told). Now we are going for a walk to see what Yakutsk has to offer.

We have contacted Rail' a friend of Max who did the Gaz 66 expedition. He apparently has a garage where we're hoping to do some Land Rover servicing. We still haven't had the tires studded nor have used the snow chains but from now on they might both be useful until we get to the stage where we need to put the tracks on.

 

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