Thursday 25 May 2017

Quick update

There is precious little to add this morning as all of the managers, cooks, guides and helpers are busy clearing out the camps, setting up boats and ensuring that everything looks spotless for our first guests arrival on Saturday.

Boats at Lower waiting to be launched
At Middle and Lower, nether Toby nor Bill have fished yet as there is still substantial ice coming down and fishing on your own in those conditions is not a good idea.

Picking a moment to launch a boat between the ice
Frustratingly, Toby cannot send me pictures of the river at Middle as he has a problem with his connection but I understand that the ice has left behind substantial ice walls on Generator pool which we have seen before.  When the water rises, as the snow around the tundra melts, this will all go but it sounds as if we will need to exercise caution for the time being.

Luba at Kitza preparing lunch for the guides
Jack, over at Kitza, has been getting to grips with the new rubber boats that we have purchased for this season which will be a real boon in low water.  Ironically, this is one season where we almost certainly won’t see low water before we leave but such is life on the Kola and it is always good to make progress.

One of the new rubber boats at Kitza
I am heading up to Helsinki tomorrow and am hugely looking forward to typing the next blog beside the river.  It has been an extraordinary couple of weeks and it will be great to see some fish on the bank and the operation up and running.

Charlie White

Wednesday 24 May 2017

Blog by proxy

As Jack mentioned yesterday, all of the camps are now fully staffed and are beginning to get up and running after the endless winter.

Lower Varzuga this morning
I understand from Bill that it was a whirlwind of activity with the helicopter going non-stop all day as it was loaded, unloaded, refuelled and re-positioned time after time.

Upstream at Kitza yesterday
Yesterday also bought us the news we had been hoping for as there was a serious amount of ice floating past Lower all day.

Home pool at Pana last night
In a cold spring it can take time for the main ice sheets to get moving and after the initial thrill of seeing the ice break up, it can dispiriting to be at Lower and not see much happening.  It just takes time and yesterday bought us much more of what we are looking for.

Ice sheets going past Lower at lunchtime yesterday
The river beside all of the camps is now clear of ice and things can start in earnest.  More tomorrow when I hope to have photos of Middle which for some reason keep getting lost in the ether this morning.

Charlie White

Tuesday 23 May 2017

The Last Supper

It's finally upon us. The day we start to split off for each camp. Initially our set up week(s) consisted of buying provisions in Murmansk and then moved into dividing them among Pana, Kitza, Middle and Lower Varzuga.

A little higher this morning
Now finally it is time to load all the laden bags into Helicopters and set off for our camps. With all the time in the world to get things ready it would stand to reason there was nothing left to do but somehow yesterday seemed to be a whirlwind of printing and packing.

A quick cast
We all sat down to our last supper together for a while. Despite extreme cabin fever I have become rather fond of the people around me and am actually slightly sad to be leaving. We have hatched a plan to meet up for supper together post season.

Sushi last supper
This will be my last post for a while as Lucy and I head out to Kitza to unpack our provisions and get things ready for our first guests. It has not been the easiest thing to write the blog at times but mother nature is a far more powerful entity than I and we have made the best of what she has been giving us.

Set up and ready to go
Thank you for putting up with my ramblings and I look forward to seeing many of you on the river shortly.

Jack Selby

Monday 22 May 2017

Arrived and ready

Twas the night before "monday" and all through the house, nothing was stirring not even the mouse... Then Matt and Beanie arrived... on a hover boat.

All pretty jealous of this entrance
It actually turns out that they are a great asset already but it was quite a shock to the community system. My BBQ was burned out about 3 hours too early but we had the most delicious pork dish that Lucy cooked and a few beers to welcome the new recruits.

Matt and Beanie
The sun arrived yesterday afternoon and is still here this morning. We did have some light snow in the morning but not enough to settle. The river has dropped a little and it was cold last night again.

This morning the river has dropped a bit
The good news is they are no longer crossing the river on the ice at the village. However just above it is still somewhat solid as far as we can see. It's no longer possible to walk into the village along the river's edge so things are moving but it all seems jolly slow.

Sunset over the camp last night
More tomorrow morning when we will have had a chat with the Russian team about what is happening up above.

Jack Selby

Sunday 21 May 2017

Bigger and better

This morning the river is up and looks like a proper river. There are still chunks of ice gently trundling down past us. It's cold and there is light snow.

Bigger and Better this morning
Yesterday evening a huge chunk of Ice came down past us. It was almost in one piece and picked up a massive boulder in front of us and rolled it along the river bed like it was a pebble. As it went through the rapids it broke up.

Toby watches as a big sheet goes through
The area below camp has largely cleared meaning we dont get the build up anymore. From where we look out it just looks like a bigger and better river at last.

Another big chunk late last night
Having said that there is an awful lot still to come to clear the full river and the snow and ice that is left on the banks needs to make it's way into the system also. However from a fairly depressing outlook last week we are much more hopeful of things to come.

Massively satisfying watching it drift into the rapids
Matt and Beanie join us tonight from MMK and we are going to cook them a BBQ. It's going to be both pleasant and odd to have new blood in camp. We've become slightly institutionalised by the last two weeks.

I hope to have even more ice flows to report tomorrow.

Jack Selby