Friday, September 30, 2016

Nome to Anadyr, Siberia

Day 1: 2016-09-11 / 12
The weather was nice; in the 40s and 50s. After breakfast we gathered with 8 other people (11 in all) to taxi to the Bering Cargo terminal where we were met by a real character. Dick Belleville, who is the mayor of Nome, also does tours and works with Heritage Expeditions. He is a real New Yorker and was an actor and entertainer in a previous life. He entertained us for two hour in the Bering hangar with stories, a little singing and dancing, and a lot of good information about Alaska, Nome, etc. We met our pilot, Ryan, who told us we would be delayed because the Anadyr airport was foggy and we would have to wait to see if it cleared. About a half hour after our scheduled departure time, we board the 19 passenger plane. A propeller plane, but fine for the one hour and forty five minute flight across the Bering Sea to Anadyr. It was a very smooth flight but could not see much because of the clouds.  

We landed in Anadyr and were met by a bunch of Russian border police and a bus and a steady drizzle. We went from the bus to the terminal and filled out our forms and went through immigration without incident. However, they couldn't get the x-ray machine to work for our luggage, so we were slightly delayed. They also weighed our luggage, not sure what that was for. We took our luggage down to a dilapidated old truck, loaded it on, and then got into two vans which took us to the cargo dock area where we met a barge which took us to the boat. It was a rusty old thing but it worked and we arrived about 20 minutes later at our ship which was out in the bay.

We boarded the ship, the Spirit of  Enderby (or in Russian, the Professor Khromov), and found our room with two beds, lots of storage, and a bathroom. It is just fine, not luxurious but comfortable. We met the large staff ; lots of naturalists -7 or 8 of  them doubling as zodiac drivers (French, German, Russian, New Zealand), 2 chefs and their staff, a 'hotel' director and her staff, and the largely Russian crew. After a light lunch rested. we went through an orientation, and a safety drill in the afternoon. Then we rested for a while again, had a drink in the bar, and dinner. The people are generally interesting. There are 8 Americans, 8 Australians, 3 New Zealanders, 2 Swiss, 3 English, 1 Argentinian, and 9 Russians as passengers; at least so far those are who we have met. we went to bed early.     

Rodney Russ, the leader of the expedition.

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