Wednesday 7 May 2014

Welcome Back!

Welcome back to the Varzuga blog!  I know that during May and June many of you, wherever you fish, watch our daily reports of goings on and, of course, the fishing on Varzuga.  Charlie and I will keep you as informed as best we can.  The photo quality will never be quite as good as we would want; to get the blog posted we have to compress and squeeze the photos down a somewhat tenuous modem link through the Varzuga mobile mast.  However we both hope the next 45 days or so of posts will give you a taste of the remarkable fishing on the river and life in camp.

Greeting old friends
We arrived yesterday at the village at midday to find three Russian Managers waiting for us, Big Misha from Middle, Feodor from Lower and Ura who had come over from Kitza. There were lots of greetings and hugs, then we discussed the river and the news was not good. The cold snap we are experiencing up here has stopped the ice melt in its tracks.

Bill Drury and I rather suspected it might be bad news.  On our overnight journey from Murmansk the air temperature was -6⁰C at Umba at dawn and by midday when we arrived at Varzuga it had just managed 0⁰C.

The river at the village
The forecast looks much warmer from Friday/Saturday onwards and just a day or two of warmer temperatures will have the river ice cleared out pretty quickly.  I’ll keep you posted on the weather and river conditions each day, and no doubt some updates on camp life.

Lower Camp yesterday
We all looked at the river and it was clear to see that the warm spell in mid-April, that seemed to herald the start of the melt, had been turned on its heels by a bitterly cold last few days of April and early May. In the few places where the river is clear, and Sabocci Rapids right in front of me now are clear, the river has dropped back to June levels leaving a few icebergs from the ‘almost’ ice break stranded 3 feet up on the bank.

We talked to Charlie back in the office, looked at the forecast for the umpteenth time and the unanimous agreement was that, with massive regret, the first week of fishing would have to be cancelled.  A huge disappointment for next week’s fishers, who are entitled to a full refund, and of course for our team here, both local and all of us from abroad.

Sharks Tooth Rock - upper center of the picture - and ice bergs from the 'almost' melt
More tomorrow from a very enthusiastic but highly frustrated team.

Christopher Robinson