Wednesday 8 June 2011

A power cut in the village

One of the major changes that we have seen in the last 5 years at Lower Varzuga has been the switch from generator power to mains electricity as the pylons slowly marched their way across the tundra to the village. At first it felt like an imposition into our wilderness world but naturally it soon becomes the norm and makes life considerably easier. Until there is a power cut!

From Varzuga to Umba (a considerable distance) the power is down and yesterday was spent dusting off old generators and hoping that they would still work. After some spluttering and coughing we now have electricity to the kitchen, the dining room and the client cabins.

Dan B and Sergei yesterday morning
The first job was to make sure we could charge the computer and satellite phone (as power to the mast for mobile reception is also down) which led to all of us jostling for space over the few plugs in the kitchen that were working off the generator. Supper might be late but the blog cannot be!

We had the mid week changeover last night and we took the seven rods over to Kitza and brought three rods plus Tim Scott Bolton back to Lower Varzuga. Tim is out here for two weeks as our resident artist and he will be exhibiting his work of the Varzuga in the Autumn – more on that to follow.

Kitza from the air last night
The team of 7 rods finished their time at Lower with 50 fish. Not as many as perhaps I had hoped but we have had three days of bright sunshine which has not been ideal for the fishing. The 3 rods at Kitza had 42 fish which is rather more as I would expect. Kitza is a narrower valley and is less susceptible to bright sunshine as there is more shade throughout it.

At Middle the team had 67 for the day with Emilio G taking a cracking fish of 22lbs from Birthday pool.

The two teams from Lower and Kitza at the mid week drinks party
With the power off our radio is now working on batteries and so conversations have been quite short. I could not hear Pana this morning but as of last night they were on around 40 fish for the day with a few rods still to report their scores.

Whilst this temporary loss of power is boring for us it is having a much greater effect on the village (they have a saw mill, a school, a dairy and numerous workshops to power) and so there is a huge desire from everyone to re-establish communications which I hope they will have done by tonight. Back to basics is great but only for so long!

Charlie White