Gareth Rowlands Blog vom Baikal
Geschrieben von: Dietmar Gottke
Donnerstag, den 05. April 2012 um 12:27 Uhr
Hier wird ist das Blog von Gareth Rowland K-11 zu lesen, der an den Russischen Meisterschaften 2012 auf dem Baikal See teilnimmt.
Wednesday 4th April
We don’t start till midday, that is because the biakal breeze does
not really blow till then.
What sail to use, I stopped on the speed sail, the wind was anything
from 13.8 m/s to nothing. One Dn would be hiking in sight of someone
pushing, really gusty, shifty winds, an amazing experience to sail and
race, downwind required all the skills you have as it’s a ride of your
life a the DN hurtles down wind cresting solid snow drifts, taking
off, hiking and trying to keep a line for the mark, all the time
looking out for other who will be having the same fun.
3 races , all very different.
In the evening went to dinner by hovercraft to the South of the lake
with Cris and the russian Federation.
3 April Tuesday
Well the a nice morning with -1c and sun with a few clouds around with a whisp of snow in the air.
Think we were spoilt the last few days for breakfast. Maybe the best description is that it is wholesome. Porridge or rice pudding with either something yellow in it (egg)?, split barley, and Russian coffee. So I will take my tea pot down tomorrow and have some English tea with hot Baikal water.
10am opening ceremony.
The mobile phones seem to have stopped working, maybe over loaded by all of us. My problem is I am trying to change my flight and it’s down to text they won’t send, so if text doesn't come back, I am stuffed. It’s 9am or so back in the UK and it’s 1 or 2am so i hope six hours later the phones wake up.
Down in the pits the clouds built up while we waited for the TV to arrive and we delayed the opening until 11am . We had to sail south to another location that had better ice ready for a 1pm start. But the Baikal blast had something else to say. Two snow storms rolled in over the mountains. A black cloud with snow crept over us and within 5 minutes the winds increased to 13.8 meters per second and shifted 80 degrees. So it was tie things down and move boats as the weather dictated. Finally the storms went away and the wind moved back to a westerly but with strong gusts.
The course was set and I was on 16, left side tack. Tacked up to the mark trying to avoid the deepest snow drifts, Roman’s combination worked well. I rounded the top mark without a lift, but I thought the mast might snap as it bent well, off like a rocket downwind. Second lap I settled a little apart from a high downwind brown trouser moment. I hit two large snow drifts doing 80kph, was airborne on the first then the second, all the time trying not to spin the yacht. I chickened out and ran it well downwind just to scrub some speed off. Then as I rounded the downwind mark a blast of wind hit the yacht, I really struggled to bring it back on the wind as the bloody thing rocketed off in the wrong direction. A few spills from a few.
Then 12 Optis raced some never sailed an international before and I was busy so saw little apart from a couple of spin outs.
Second race was in moderate gusty winds. All was well till the last lap at the top mark, turning off downwind a high speed I came across two DNs entangled with a body 20 meters to the right. I bore off downwind to the left to see the other skipper getting up. Rules say if you see someone not standing up, you stop and assist, so I did. Both Russian, so only gestures. Help finally came and we took broken axles etc. back to the pits. At this time I think he has a broken ankle or leg. But maybe it just hurts!! No idea as yet to why it happened, I presume a high speed spin out with a yacht behind that ended up in a T bone.
Hope people get this as the phones are terrible, voice is very broken and only text seems ok.
We drove on part ice road, part track back to the sailing site At Yhota. We were shown our rooms and self exploded
the contents of our baggage into the various shelves. K1 & K11 walked down to the ice where Roman R173 showed us the DNs we were to sail.
There was a light wind, so I put on a full sail with rough ice runners. I had to adjust a few minor items, otherwise a good yacht. I came back in and changed to a speed sail since the wind got up, changed to slots, and joined the second training scratch race. Pushed the DN a little and was very happy, down wind was another matter!! I was stonking up to the top mark, passed it and bore off with a top speed of 56kph on slighty rough ice but with a few solid snow drifts. Some were small and some were not, but at that speed you hit what you hit. I found a few larger drifts and found myself airborne a couple of times, they are fairly compacted snow. A safe dribble back to the pits and a tidy up and walk back to the Yhota to welcome in all the new arrivals. They arrived by bus from the airport. Poor Gretchen has not slept to 48 hours! Think the Germans, Joerg G737 and the rest might be the same.
We ate meat balls with mash, side salad (Siberian style) and a hearty cinamon
sweet bread cake washed down with some Siberian beer.
19.30 a full briefing (in Russian) for some this is the first time in a National, yet alone an International, so its a full detailed briefing. 21.08 and it has just finished.
There is no email, No internet, phones only work in certain places, sos only in the cafe, only 2 bars in my room, (thatwhat the girls say)!! and Vodafone at home sending me txts that it is going to cost me an arm and a leg to send data .
[It's Monday morning here in North America-received following text from K11 early this morning]
"Rough ice, small snow drifts. At briefing. In Russian. No email, no internet. Phones variable to nothing. K11 sailed course. 56 kph max. Can go faster"
1st April 2012
Look at the depth of the ice fishing hole!
Slept like a log and woke up to 1/2 inch of snow in light winds with a beautiful view over the lake as the sun rose. As usual, the light was constantly changing. And the silence...... We walked downhill in the snow to..
...a good breakfast of porridge with jam, sour cream if you want, and pancakes (jam again), lots of pork, fish, and meats interlaced with herbs. A bit rich for me and washed down with good coffee.
Walked back up hill with a view of your cabin and a back drop of 3000ft mountains in snow. Dressed for the ice and we went ice fishing, I caught one small one and K1 caught 2. The lad, etc. caught the rest for a total of 12 so that will be
K1 fishing for his supper.
our starters for tonight.
Then went north on the only track-it is not a road, but ends in a real Buryats village [Buryats are the indiginous native people of that area. Read about them here
]. But the track, as it is, has to make a 2000 ft pass. We bounced, rattled, and forded the track up to the mountain pass where we stopped. I am a qualified 4x4 driver so know these things. We walked 1/2 mile of a deeply snowed track, no visible vehicle track for some time, only clues. K1 immediately said NO!
It was possible to walk it and I did, but it was steep, snow covered, with maybe with ice under. It was fine on the way up but we had to come back down?? Experience tells you.... you are 9 hours from any sort of hospital, the mobile is awol, and only one russian 4x4 with a shovel is us. Plus I am not sure if anyone actually knows where we might be? Long story... but we turned round and bounced, rattled stone tracks and ice roads back for a late lunch. And OH what a lunch, a Russian lunch, borscht, salad, Omul, and so on.
We then took the 4x4 to a Siberian/ Buddhist spring which is a special place for the local people. IIt's a natural mineral water spring with two logs acting as a flume. One is male, the other is female (shaman) and we had water from both- otherwise if you drink only from the female side only you turn into of poof!
A wonderful Russian meal.
Just eaten a wonderful evening meal with I would say 80% local food. Really good were the mushrooms in a vinaigrette siberian style. Then the Omul, pan fried. Plus our small fish then something very special-Omul roe (fish eggs) which are apparently not available anywhere else, washed down with wine and coffee.
K1 is now called Shakespeare (writes too much in visitors book) & K11 is called John (they can not hack the name Gareth)
Off to bed at 10pm so we can be ready for an early start to the sailing site to welcome all the other arrivals.
Sorry stil no pictures on on 2 bars via a mobile phone connection.
We were taken from the Angara Hotel north the east to Baikal and then drove along stone roads to location N 53.18.297 E 107.13.025 well north of the sailing site. The graded road runs out a mile north of the sailing site and becomes an off road/ice road north.
This report is filed with no mains power, no TV, and no internet. The only connection to the modern world is 2 bars on the mobile phone, so I’m sending this report by phone modem. Phones only happened here 20 years ago. There’s not one electric light visible on the horizon and to the west of us is a 3000 ft mountain range with deep gorges. For a long, long, long way there are only brown bears, wolves, moose and mountains, no proper road along the lake.
If you want modern stuff it is a 7 hour drive back to Irkutsk. The place I am staying in has no running water. It’s a bucket with a tin pan with handle. I put it on top of the large hot brick heater that had a roaring wood fire earlier and that is my hot water for the wash. There is a toilet, sink, and a barrel of cold water with a large room maybe for a future shower. The fresh water in bottles comes from the mountain stream.
When I finish this report you know that the laptop battery and phone battery are ending. Sorry no pictures but the ice is good at the sailing site. Temps are -11c tonight with a small covering of snow. We went ice fishing for our supper late afternoon in snow flurries on 1 meter thick ice. K11 caught 3 fish whilst K1 caught 2 and the guides upped the fish count to 15. They are small fish, 3 to 4 inches long, endemic to Baikal, and related to flying fish. We had them fried and they are soft boned, so you ate all but the head. We ate a large spread of omul (fish) and other endemic fish, with chicken, rice, wine and beer. We walked back to our room with only a torch, a half moon, stars, plus absolute silence.
An example of Omul (Photo not from Gareth)
The best station on the TranSiberian railroad
After a good nights sleep we decided to look at the Irkutsk Railway station which is apparently the most ornate of the whole 9000km route. Getting there was a challange. It was an easy walk to the old bridge but we had to walk across a busy three way junction with no light which you finally realise that it is a crossing place, but the white strips are worn out, so it is a leap of faith. The car or truck driver knows you, the pedestrian, have priority but really, really, REALLY does not want to stop. It took a day or so of following others across the roads to figure this out. In a group, you are fine- they give up. But in ones or twos, you are cannon fodder. You can tell by the engine note whether they will relent or not, even so on a multi lane junction if they can sweep in front of you, or behind you,it's fair game.
We had a coffee in the 18th century building and snuck out onto platform one for some pictures. Then a 17 or 20
Coffee shop in the railway station.
carriage train rolled in on platform 3, so we found the under pass and walked along the train as passengers disembarked. To our surprise two ice bikes with sledges came out of one carriage, 4 people in all including one French, and one Brit (cannot count). They had just finished a marathon, where they biked, skiied, etc the whole of Lake Baikal. The British ice sailing team gave them a hand up to the entrance (we meet then tonight in the Angara Hotel, so lots more on this).
Here is a link about their racing:
Marathon team off loading.
We left them and made our way uphill to the Nerpa seal museum, and found it with a little walking and asking (we had the name etc. in Russian). We found it, opened the door to a room full stuffed with school children, and fought our way to the payment booth. We were ushered into a long rectangular room with 3 seasl in it where they proceeded to give circus like performances for the mixed audience. Impressive and pleased to say everything looked OK and well cared for- well worth the visit and the extra effort.
We then decided to walk downhill though an adhoc market full of steel
K1 assists marathon team.
transport containers. It is amazing what you can do with a container, see the pictures! We then decided to take a bus back home. The bus stop was by the entrance of the market and people were getting on and off, obviously knowing which bus to take. We knew a 20 or 80 would get us back to Kirov Square (Angara Hotel) and then finally jumped on a mini bus with a number 81 and the Russian name for the square. A helpful young Russian prompted us as to when we had the right bus & when to get off, nice! And only 12 roubles.
We had a beer lunch at the Angara, a small rest, and then a quick look at the churches and the Angara River. The churches were only reopened in the 80's and so are fairly plain by western standards, but worth a look. Took some pictures. One picture is of the memeorial to the huge church that was there, now with a huge regional office.
Maybe more later.
Zuletzt aktualisiert am Donnerstag, den 05. April 2012 um 12:52 Uhr