The next morning dawned bright with not even a breath of wind. This allowed a few midges to venture forth from the woods behind our camp which necessitated the use of nets over our hats. As usually happens here half an hour or so a wind got up and blew them back into the woods from whence they came.
After breakfast we followed the sand track that runs beside the sea, enjoying the occasional challenge of a river crossing or steep climb over a headland before dropping down onto the sandy beach for a twenty kilometre blast to the Estuary. This was Bear country so we kept a good lookout just in case one passed us by, unfortunately one did not, but there are plenty of days to come yet. The Estuary of the Varzuga was the furthest east that we could safely go, there is a ferry that crosses here but the sailings are “alcohol dependant”. The owner is not always at his best and there is a real chance that you could be marooned on the wrong side for days or even weeks. On the other side there is no way round the Peninsular as the tracks finish some fifty miles to the east, after which is complete wilderness, while to the north the river is wide and deep until far into the impassable interior.
Just a kilometre north the river mouth is the wooden village of Kuzomen which we passed through on our way to a wild camp in the dunes between the forest and the river. Later as we sat around the campfire chatting about the days adventure the rain began to fall gently so we retired to the awning and watched the fire from a distance, keeping it topped up in between showers. Kevin meanwhile had set off waterproofed with his fishing rod in hand to catch a Salmon to smoke beside the fire for tomorrow mornings breakfast!!
An hour later Kevin arrived back empty handed so the smoked salmon would have to wait. The rain continued to fall so we chatted underneath the awning, cup of wine in hand, before turning in for the night to that very comforting sound of rain bouncing of the tent.
By morning the rain had stopped although the sky above us and to the west was cloudy. To the east a thin streak of orange sat just above the horizon promising a good day. By the time we had had breakfast, broken camp and arrived at the last village this side of the wilderness (Varzuga) the sun had begun to burst through. We found a shop that sold bread, chocolate and beer, and marvelled at the abacus system of adding up was used in the shop. Down by the river we met a very friendly fisherman who told us, mostly in universal sign language that it was possible to sleep and fish here in Varzuga. We also made a coffee and enjoyed a bread roll, In England we have sausage rolls here in Russia they are Salmon rolls and they tasted wonderful.
The tracks today took us through Lichen filled pine forests that ended up back on the beach. On the way a Sea Eagle flew out of a dead tree so we stopped to find its next resting place in the forest which we did after a scan with binoculars. Our goal was the village of Kashkarantsy which was made by early evening after lunch and a couple of coffee stops in the silent forest and we were treated to another sighting of a Sea Eagle sitting on a rock between the sea and the shore.
In Kashkarantsy we stayed in some wooden lodges beside the sea and enjoyed a beautifully sunny evening watching the tide come in over one of Rob’s beers and some red wine. Steve got the barbecue going to cook some chicken that he had bought from the shop in Varzuga helped blow the coals into life. As we sat down to eat the owner of the lodges gave us two salmon so I gutted them down at the beach in the attendance of some gulls who were very grateful of the guts and eggs that I left for them on a stone beside the sea. One of the salmon we cooked there and then and it was enjoyed by all except Sue who has an aversion for fish and the other would be cooked tomorrow night at our last camp beside the White Sea.
At 10:30 the sun had still not set, even though it had given us a magnificent display of colour against the clouds but we were tired so had to turn in for the night. During the night there was a lot of traffic passing the lodges, human traffic, so it seems that the Russians stay up very late at this time of year. I found out in the morning that they were going the sauna that, unbeknown to us, sat a few yards away from our lodges.