Day 86. 26th of May. Dubno to Siasstroj. 38.4 km, 7.0 km/hr average speed.
We confess to over sleeping half an hour, before we started with our breakfast. Soon Arseniy appeared with fresh milk from one of the two remaining cows in Dubno.
We packed the kayaks about 9 o’clock, after the sun had chased away at least a couple of mosquitoes.
Before we bid farewell we admired Tatyana’s (Arseniy’s mother) garden. A well kept datcha with strawberries, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, cherries and flowers.
Anatoly gave us some more dried fish as a parting gift. We set off 10 o’clock and started down a long straight path of channel that would take us an hour to complete. Not bad though. A warm summer day with the occasional eagle circling overhead and every 10 minutes the passing of a small inflatable or fishermen on the bank of the channel.
Nothing much to report until we approached Novaya Ladoga after 24 km. There was another pontoon bridge. Fortunately we could paddle underneath. Still no sign of the famous St Petersburg boat that triggers the opening of the bridges.
We took a short break in Novaya Ladoga and paddled on to Siasstroj where we would have to look for a solution for accommodation, and where we would meet the parents of Erling’s friend and colleague Evgeny for dinner.
We struggled a little, even with the help of Mr. Google. Google finds hotels, but doesn’t build them to order.
In the end we decided to try to find a solution in connection with a 24/7 Cafe close to the main bridge over river Sias.
A long story short, with the help of Evgeny on the phone from Norway, we managed to negotiate a deal for the boats and the tent in the back yard. Just as we were to lift the kayaks up Jelena and Valery appeared. Perfect timing. Very kind of them to drive from Volkhov to join us for dinner. And to help us order…
We asked about one of our main worries at this point; mosquitoes. Jelena disappeared and soon came back with Russian approved “mosquito spirals”. A good thing about being about sixty is that one doesn’t have to worry too much about the long-term effects of what one inhales. We will keep the tent full of this anti mosquito smoke.
Dinner came to an end, Jelena and Valery had an equally long way back. We promised to visit another time.
As we sat and worked with things like writing this update, the chief negotiator from the staff, Vlad, came and wanted to know more about our project and to practice his English. He is 17 years old and studying marine mechanics in St Petersburg. He works as a waiter here for his summer job. Eventually our project had been explained to the entire staff, and we have had our picture taken with most of them. The blog and Svetlana ‘s articles are great ice breakers. On Vlad’ s suggestion we will investigate making a link in Vkontakte as well. That is the Russian Facebook equivalent.Tomorrow we plan for an early start to paddle 48 km to a hotel on the banks of the River Svir. After that no more channel paddling before the Belomor channel.
We have wifi problems. Update with pictures tomorrow.
UPDATED May 27, 0750.
Pictures from the evening are still missing… UPDATED May 27, 2130