Paul R is on a Russian adventure. The reason being he is headed out to the Chavanga river on the Kola Peninsula. To get there you have to drive in a bus to Varzuga village (pictured above with its eponymous river) for 25.5 hours. You then have to drive another six or seven hours to get to the Chavanga, which lies that distance to the east of Varzuga, kind of tucked south of the Ponoi upper watershed.
The advantage is that you don’t need to go in a helicopter, which means the whole trip is more affordable. The flip side of this is that you ride for over a day on ‘military suspension’, in one of these:
Now it doesn’t have the glamour of a helicopter, but neither does it have the other things that come with flying in a helicopter, like needing to stuff small, soft bits of plastic into your ears and not being able to go for a pee.
The reason I can blog these wonderfully Russian images is that Paul sent them to me at intervals last night. When I was going to bed at 1am he sent me this one of his bags in Murmansk airport. They are nice bags aren’t they? That’s what I thought as I drifted off to sleep. Especially the fluo-green one. Sturdy and visible: what you would reasonably expect from a bag.
Also as I sank into the semi-conscious recesses of my mind, I tried to remind myself why exactly it was that I turned down the chance to join Paul on this incredible journey. It was budgetary but with the sensational fishing he is sure to enjoy out there, I can’t help feeling I missed the opportunity of a lifetime.
All of which is why, as I received the lorry and Varzuga village photos as I woke up from my fitful sleep, I tried, unsuccessfully, to remind myself to Not Look Back In Chavanga.
But I can’t wait to see photos of Paul’s fish: watch this space.