PROGRESS REPORT No. 10
Map relating to this progress report
Tuesday, Early morning, August 17th
All day Saturday and Sunday we lay at anchor, the wind blowing cold from the north and, outside the shelter of our bay, the ice coming down with it. We could just make out the distant shore through the rain and mist. We called it 'Impatience Bay', but we did all get plenty of sleep, badly needed.
Yesterday morning, first awake, at seven, found the wind to have dropped, though it was still foggy. In jig-time we had the anchor up and were on our way. Unfortunately to very little avail. After twelve hours of heavy going we had covered only 10 miles, poling, pushing and poking through the ice. This area is normally well clear of ice by this time of year, but for us the prospects for progress looked very poor.
Then on the VHF radio we heard the talk, with increasing volume and clarity. Slava got on to them-a convoy of five vessels being lead by an ice-breaker, 'Kapitan Babichef 'was coming our way.-and bound for Tiksi!
Our first concern was that, in the fog, we might be run over.
And then, would it ever be possible? The Captain of the ice-breaker agreed that we could tuck in behind the stern of the last vessel, IF we could manage to.
The ice-breaker and convoy, as they came abeam of us out of the fog, was like something in a war-film, maybe the Murmansk Run.
And we did get in behind them. As the last ship passed, her side a wall of steel, with lumps of ice leppin' up all round, we revved up and in behind her we went.
Now four or five hours later, the stern of the tanker 'Lena Nef', ( Lena Oil ), is still 100 metres ahead of us.
We just can't believe our luck!!