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Overlanders Unlimited This is a forum to discuss expedition vehicles and trailer options, a place to talk about builds, modifications, and designs, as well as past and future adventure trips.

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Old 04-13-2010, 12:01 PM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Germany
Posts: 89
April 12, 2010: 186th short message (06:41 a.m. CET)

Waiting, waiting, waiting. We are condemned to wait.

Currently we have extremely bad weather.

There?s a storm and it?s snowing for days as if Mother Holle was hopping mad. Furthermore, one low-pressure system is followed by another. By now there are meters high snow drifts along the houses and between the containers that are standing everywhere. In the meantime, temperatures have increased to around zero degree, everything is wet.

The cars have been finished except for the pontoons and hydraulics, but there?s no way that we can even think about starting. No one gets in or out. The storms control Chukotka. Not even the Russian Vestichots (track vehicles) are driving.

By now even the water trucks that supply Uelen with fresh water from a well that is about four kilometers away, cannot drive there anymore due to the huge amount of snow. Thereupon the tap water (kitchen, heater, etc.) has been changed to salt water since yesterday. The trucks can only drive a couple hundred meters onto the frozen lagoon and get salt water through a drilled hole for the power and heat supply station.

The days for the waiting ? by now decimated ? team members are characterized by discipline. It?s first priority and protects us. Rudi and I stick to it with grimly sternness in order to hang on despite all impressions. However, that doesn?t change the things that are happening around us and which we cannot influence. By now we had to part company by another team member. When I will be writing the book one day, maybe I can explain better what happened, what put a strain on us, what hardships we had to see and experience, how the things happened that were meant to happen ? or were not meant to happen.
April 12, 2010: 187th short message (12:15 p.m. CET)

Due to the strong southern storm, the ice at Uelen?s shore and along the Cape drifted away 1-2 km from the shore after it broke off of the shorefast. It ?anchors? menacingly, seems to observe us just like we do with it. If the wind turns, the crack is closed again within hours.

There are hundreds of seagulls and ducks cavorting in the crack right now. We have no idea where they have been hiding. Except for dogs and culled seals, we only noticed a few ravens the entire time.
April 13, 2010: 188th short message (12:03 p.m. CET)

Yesterday evening, for a very short moment, there has been some ease in the storm.

It has been deceptively pleasant when the wind abruptly faded, the sky opened up, the remaining light of the day illuminated the water channel at around 8 p.m. The water purled, ducks and seagulls swam. The lashing, ice-cold northern wind was back again during the night and this morning. The channel no longer exists. It?s all ice. The water with about 35 gram salt per liter froze within 12 hours. Ice from the North keeps pushing enormously.

At the same place where the tearing edge has been just yesterday, there were sitting about ten hunters with their guns leveled this morning that were waiting for the seals to stick their noses through the breathing holes or the cracked ice into the air. Watch out.
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Old 04-18-2010, 01:16 AM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Germany
Posts: 89
April 14, 2010: 189th short message (10:16 a.m. CET)

Situation gets worse. Weather is still characterized by storm, snow and snow drifts. Difficult times. Brown saltwater at every occasion puts the icing on the cake.
Our freshwater resources: about 40 liters left. Let?s see.

April 15, 2010: 190th short message (11:33 a.m. CET)

By now we know how prisoners must feel. Hence we must behave well. They turned off our telephone for five days now (No, not what you are thinking. We did pay our bills right away, every time.) and this morning, the saltwater supply gave out because of a damage. Now the heater isn?t working either. Oh well, luckily we at least have our thick Mammut sleeping bags.
Let?s see.
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Old 05-03-2010, 01:15 PM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Germany
Posts: 89
April 16, 2010: 191st short message (11:32 a.m. CET)

After intense studies of the weather conditions, we made use of a very little weather frame (ca. eight hours) right before the beginning of a new storm and made a tough six-hour ride, that led me to my limits, with a snow mobile and sled 100 km from Uelen to Lavrentia last night to wait here for a couple of days.

Amongst others, we hereby improved our communication possibilities considerably and are not completely cut off.

The next storm began less than three hours after our arrival, snow flurries started and last.
April 19, 2010: 192nd short message (10:10 a.m. CET)

There?s a crazy storm going on ever since the night that we arrived. The hurricane doesn?t stop whipping snow across the Bering Strait, Uelen, Lavrentia, and so on. Not even for one hour. Storm and snow flurries everywhere. Tons of snow. Waiting, waiting, waiting.

Meanwhile, in the city they prepare for the arrival of a multimillionaire/billionaire who has already been in outer space and who now plans to fly from Anadyr to Lavrentia via microlight.

As far as we understood with our limited Russian, a larger airplane is supposed to bring the microlight to Anadyr in parts. There, the crew assembles it. Then the boss flies to Lavrentia with the little bird. There it gets taken apart again and packed in a Cessna. The Cessna is supposed to bring the little plane over the Bering Strait to America. Upps. Furthermore, there is a traveler on its way to Uelen who plans to cross the Bering Strait via the Chukot and Eskimo way with a hunting boat in summer.

Wee, maybe we?ll meet one of them.
April 26, 2010: 193rd short message (07:08 p.m. CET)

Last Friday, during a weather frame which only lasted few hours, we flew to Anadyr with a special airplane of Chukotavia. The airplane made use of the short moment, in which there was calm weather, to make a hasty shipping of foods (amongst others) to Lavrentia.

After 1.5 months of futile waiting I decided the day before that further waiting doesn?t make sense any longer. Due to the heavy storms it is not possible for the team of the Russian authorities to arrive in Uelen, or rather to leave Uelen in a decent time frame. While we were waiting there for 1.5 months, only one single helicopter was able to fly to Uelen. We only left because we found the venturesome Skidoo driver who dared the nightly ?escape? between two storms and who didn?t want to pass up this extraordinary chance. A hell of a ride. Insofar I can understand and accept the concerns by the official authorities. Meanwhile, spring storms have arrived at the Bering Strait. A crossing is completely out of question at the moment.

At the same time this means a high financial burden, as well as an interruption that takes at least several months.

For now I will go back to Germany to have some conversations and then decide how we will continue.

In order to continue, it is especially important that there is an alliance of partners who keep supporting the expedition in the future.

I would like to say thank you to the team of 2010 that has managed to proof a very very high extent of will power, endurance and courage throughout all the difficult situations we had to face. I am happy about what we achieved.

I would also like to thank the overly friendly and kind reception in Lavrentia during the last few days, especially to the administration, Victor and Marina for their heartiness, and to the staff of the well-kept accommodation where we were allowed to sleep.
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