PROGRESS REPORT No. 14 Thursday Sep. 8th

The Paper Curtain

Murmansk was all abuzz!

A lively city of half a million people, working and going about their business.

Our heads are now clearing from the mixture of paperwork and alcohol induced euphoria.

Nicolay Babich, who is controller of the Russian icebreaker fleet is the most impressive of men. And he couldn't have been more hospitable when we visited his headquarters and had dinner later.

He, built like one of his icebreakers, is a true Russian man of the north-as I said in The Toast, " a direct descendant of 1740 explorer Semon Chelyuskin and 1914 man Valerian Albanov, he who had sailed from the very same Murmansk harbour, we were honoured to be in his company"

On a less elevated level, I lost my guitar-but found it again, that's some story, for another day!

Slava is gone, back to Moscow.

So is Colm, and Rory, flying home.

The Iron Curtain is gone, but replaced by The Paper Curtain. It took a day and a half to get clearance for our exit, which happened last night, dark and raining as we left.

Now we're in Norwegian waters off the islands of Vardo.

Just spoke to Vardo Radio. "Very welcome, no problem, sail on"

Group Photo at Murmansk