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Old 04-18-2010, 10:32 PM   #46
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Ust Kut

At Ust Kut, the local Police stored our bikes for the night and then led us to the barge loading area the next morning.





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Old 04-18-2010, 10:39 PM   #47
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The Lena River

Ust Kut is 3700 km (2300 miles) from the mouth of the Lena ... as we left Ust kut, we passed under the rail bridge. The is the last bridge over the River. There are no more along its length. From here the river grows rapidly in size and becomes almost unbridgeable. I say almost because there are plans afoot to build a combined road / rail bridge across the river at Yakutsk, still 1850 km from the mouth. But it will be expensive - it will need to be 10 km or more long and need to be able to withstand huge ice flows each spring.

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Old 04-18-2010, 10:41 PM   #48
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Home Sweet Home.

The car and truck drivers on the barge slept in their vehicles, but Tony and I pitched a tent on the front deck of the barge and watch the Lena River scenery quietly and peacefully drift by - for 3 days.



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Old 04-18-2010, 10:45 PM   #49
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The quick way

There is a quicker way to travel the 1000km from Ust Kut to Lensk (600 miles) ... and thats by Hydrofoil.

But try as we might to get a hydrofoil to load our bikes, it was a strict no-no. They take passengers only, travel at 60-65 km/h (35-40 mph), and do the journey in a day and a half (the hydrofoils only travel during daylight hours, for safety)

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Old 04-18-2010, 10:47 PM   #50
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Shipmates

Entertaining our shipmates with tales of great manliness.

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Old 04-18-2010, 10:49 PM   #51
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Meat

There's no meat in Yakutia ... well there is but it is all "imported" from the "mainland" ... the climate is too cold in winter to support much in the way of farm animals ... so when a moose was spotted on the banks of the river, a dinghy was dispatched to deliver it to the captains table.

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Old 04-18-2010, 10:51 PM   #52
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Cheeks of the Lena

At one point, the river narrows and is surrounded by cliffs on either side. This is known as the Lena Schoki ... cheeks of the Lena. Tony made sure he had a good view.



Much of the rest of the population on the barge joined him on deck:

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Old 04-18-2010, 10:58 PM   #53
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Showering

Tony here taking a Lena shower ... a wash courtesy of a bucket on a rope dipped into the river.



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Old 04-18-2010, 11:01 PM   #54
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twilight

It never really got dark at night ... we were above 60 degrees north now and only a week or two before the longest day of the year.

Midnight on the Lena ... passing another barge:
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Old 04-18-2010, 11:03 PM   #55
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Peledui

a few other barges and tankers docked at the village of Peledui.

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Old 04-18-2010, 11:03 PM   #56
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Fantastic RR, the photos are great at giving a sense of the trip.
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There's roads and there's roads and they call, can't you hear it? Roads of the earth and roads of the spirit. The best roads of all are the ones that aren't certain. One of those is where you'll find me till they drop the big curtain. Bruce Cockburn
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Old 04-18-2010, 11:09 PM   #57
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After Vitim

After the villages of Vitim and Peledui, where the Lena River is joined with the Vitim River (the same Vitim River of Vitim River Bridge fame), the river becomes notably wider again. While it was about 500 - 800 yards wide before then, after being joined by the Vitim is was now 1000 - 1500 yards wide. We were still 3000 km from the mouth of the river and it was becoming bigger and wider all the time.

While barges and river tankers use the river all the way upstream to Ust Kut, from Vitim and Peledui downstream is possible by much larger ocean going vessels. I noted that most of the other ships we saw downstream from Peledui were larger and had names written in Latin script as well as the cyrillic. They were international ocean going ships that had sailed 3000 km up the Lena River!

The ship below is one of the smaller river tankers, dwarfed by the massive river

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Old 04-18-2010, 11:18 PM   #58
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Lensk

As we approached our destination, the town of Lensk, Tony decided to smarten up - you never know your luck in a big city.

He heated up some river water on his stove and away he went:


Lensk ... River view condos ...


Lensk Docks: We arent the only thing that gets transported between Ust Kut and Yakutia ... 80% of the needs of Yakutia are transported up this river from "the mainland", like us, much of it on massive barges.
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Old 04-19-2010, 02:22 PM   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colebatch
There is a quicker way to travel the 1000km from Ust Kut to Lensk (600 miles) ... and thats by Hydrofoil.

Hey, would have been great to find an ekranoplane and do it in a morning ride
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Old 04-19-2010, 02:35 PM   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colebatch
Wow. It's worth going to Krasnoyarsk just to see these vintage bikes.

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