SAT 30TH July. 12 midday N76 19, E090 27 Pressure 999 water temp 5.4 outside temp 3 cloud 8/8 Drizzle. batt 13.2
Making steady progress East. We had the latest ice charts for the Vilkitskogo straight. Still blocked and the Laptev still blocked, but big changes from the last set of charts, and encouraging.
Nikolai and Dennis are having bets. Nikolai thinks it will be free on his birthday, the 9th Aug, and Dennis on his, 6th Aug . Either way, would mean a few days rest. We are heading for a small sheltered Island. Different to the first choice, as the ice from the North has come down and blocked it, so trying for another Island closer to shore and closer to the straight. So if anything dramatic changed quickly, we would be close to react. Ie, A strong southerly taking the ice from the shore.
Saw our first ICE today on my watch, just an hour ago. What is slightly worrying, it didn’t show up on the Radar. It’s probably good for the big icebergs, but not low ice in the water. I think we will see a lot more of that before the trip is out. You can’t beat that old eyeball.
We had a couple of days of rolling along. We use a lot of power this year. Chart plotter, Radar, Comms coming out of our ears, bread maker, water maker, In fact, we should have a small nuclear reactor on board.
Anyway, whilst we have a brute of an engine, we need a small Generator. We had this lovely brand new ‘Panda’ installed. Made in Germany. As we all know, tested to an inch of it’s life and can work upside down whilst making coffee. Except on the north east passage… It reminds me 30 years ago when I first went to Moscow, I went to the Russian space museum. They had the Apollo/ Soyuz capsule. The American gear looked shiny and expensive, the Russian rusty but functional. It also reminded me of the story how the Americans spent thousands on developing an anti gravity pen, the Russians spent $1 and used a pencil.
SO, this lovely shiny panda broke down. OMG Panic on board. How would we cook our bread, send back emails and wash our teeth ? So the Russians, Comrade Nikolai and Comrade Denis, They know one English swear word starting with F and a German swear word starting with S, and quite a lot of Russian swear words beginning with B. They have taught me well !!
So the Panda stops. F Panda, German S. With lots of laughter. So floor boards come up, they strip down, lots of Russian, tweaks, spanners out, F & S.
These guys are extremely bright, probably both have electrical mechanical degrees in Nuclear power technology. SO, circuit diagrams come out, lots of F &S, lots more tweaks and spanners. Nothing. Dead as a Donkey !! F& S.
Comrade Nikolai comes from the age of being a Khrushchev baby. Nothing was thrown away, you made it work. He built his car engine from scraps of baked bean cans, Anyway, he goes to the tool chest, comes back with a hammer. Taps something, BINGO !!!! The Panda started. Lots of F and German S and laughter.
We need to celebrate with a Vodka.