Day 98 – Bears in Karelia have enough to eat. So not to worry – 7 June

Day 98. 7th of June. Unnamed Beach to Petrozavodsk. 38 km, 6.4 km/hr average speed.

Another day with persistent headwinds of about 5 m/s, at least until two thirds was done and we got some shield from the wind close to shore.

We got to Petrozavodsk about 1730, and was met at the Polar Odyssey marine museum by the manager Viktor and his son Alexey, and another Viktor, who had a small bed and breakfast next door.

After some deliberation we chose to stay at a hotel in town, and just leave some stuff to dry at the B&B.

Viktor from the B&B drove us to the hotel.

Once we had got our stuff sorted we went to a local cafe – Dejavu – which Erling knew from his previous stay. It is popular amongst young people.

Well, young we are not, but the people we met up with there are, they were from the Outdoor group at the University plus Erling’s friend Mohammed, a Palestinian / Jordanian studying medicine in Petrozavodsk.

Mohammed is fluent in both English and Russian and helped translate our dinner conversations.

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We were shown some white water paddling our friends from the university had done. Clearly we are amongst very capable paddlers.

We got some tips for the onward journey, and one reassurance; none of them had seen any bears in Karelia, and besides .

It was also a bit interesting to hear where they have met bears. Places like Kamchatka and Alaska, but not in Georgia a white water paddlers paradise we understand.

Again, the horizon of the Russo phone world is different, but by no means narrower than our own. It is both revealing of some prejudice on our part and quite fascinating.

But even by those standards our project qualifies as exotic. And we had many questions to answer. Tomorrow we shall meet up at the University for a photo op. In the afternoon we will show members of the outdoor group our kayaks and gear.

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