Tuesday 8 May 2012

Welcome to Varzuga 2012

Welcome back again! Full of anticipation we got to Varzuga yesterday, and what a contrast to the green England I left last week. An interesting drive here with a great deal of snow on the road, the last 100 km took us over 5 hours ; we stopped by the memorial to Sviat to lay some flowers and remember him, we admired the White Sea icebergs littered on the beach by the dropping tide and finally arrived at the village to meet our many friends after a year away.

The memorial to Sviat
Varzuga has seen a much later Spring and, this winter, had a great deal more snow than for quite a few years. The river ice is just breaking up now, there are reaches of the river flowing clear including the rapids by the Lower Camp and the Heli Pool, however there is a good deal more ice yet to come down in the next few days and as I type this a section of the ice, the size of a couple of football pitches, has ground its way past us.

The White Sea coast yesterday
Yesterday evening there was the usual scramble to see who could catch the first salmon. It is a testament to this remarkable river that it is not a question of ‘Can we catch a salmon?’ but ‘Who will catch it?’. Hugh the Camp Manager at Middle Camp immediately lost two then had a solid hook up and proudly landed a fat, bright silver 10lber straight in from the sea.

The first salmon!
Today we have abandoned any idea of fishing and it is a busy team here preparing the boats and equipment for the coming season. A bright day, about 8⁰C with the river height slowly rising as the Spring melt continues. I will keep you updated on the fishing outlook – at the moment expect true Spring conditions with cold water temperatures and snow on the banks, but hopefully lots of salmon!

Preparing boats this morning

More tomorrow.

Christopher Robinson