Day 73. 13th of May. Primorsk to Yakht-Klub Dubkovaya Bukhta. 28.2 km, 7.2 km/hr average speed.
We deliberately made it a slow start, since we were planning a short paddle of about 26 km. Now we are bound to the route we gave to the coast guard yesterday. We have made that route in cooperation with Vladimir Ivankiv and it takes us from yacht club to yacht club.
Sergey the harbor master had left after his night shift and Vitaly had taken over. Vitaly spoke English well. And he had a story to tell: He used to live in Vladivostok, and with his wife he had taken his 36 feet yacht from Vladivostok north to the Aleutian Islands down to Seattle, and next year from Seattle via Hawaii to Vaipiri Islands in the pacific. The plan was to sail his boat all the way back to their new home in Primorsk, but he was unfortunate, cut himself on a coral and got an infection that hospitalized him for two months and it still was not OK a year later. So the boat is waiting in Thailand. Impressive. Hopefully the leg will heal and their adventure can continue.
At about 1100 we wished Vitaly good health and he wished us good luck and warned us about the sudden winds in Ladoga. Just as we pulled out Sergey the owner appeared with his wife Olga, en route to spend the Sunday on the sea. They also wished us good luck and gave us a couple of beers to help enjoy our trip. Two beers was just right. Had it been any more the boats may have sunk.
One more thing we had been warned about by Alexey in Vyborg as well as Vitaly and Vladimir, was restricted waters around and oil terminal just south of Primorsk. As we left the harbor we became aware of first one boat, then three, then three more. It appeared to be tug boats and they appeared to delimit the restricted zone for about 15 km. We are not sure if they were there all in our honor(?), but we kept to starboard and had no issues with the coast guard.
This did force a detour and a one and half hour crossing. No problem. Weather was spectacular. If spring was hesitant to the point of absence, summer has come in full force.
About mid crossing we had to make another detour to keep our distance from a tanker on her way to load up at the terminal. Ship traffic is more intense here than any other place we have seen. Then again, perhaps that is to be expected in a natural resource based economy like Russia. A lot of raw materials need to be shipped out.
At the end of the crossing we landed on a beach and took a one and a quarter hour break. Record territory. The beach was a couple of kilometers long and tents were scattered all along in the forest just behind the beach. Russians enjoying the first summer weekend.
From there it was just an hours paddling to the Yacht club. The club was located beside a hotel/cabin complex including a restaurant. We happily took the path of least resistance and booked a room, had a shower and dinner at sunset overlooking the beach.
Tomorrow will be about 45 km to Zelenogorsk. Then the plan is Kronstadt on Tuesday and St Petersburg on Wednesday. Weather is forecast to be really good, so maybe we should say: Coast guard Permitting.