Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Escape to the Island

Sorry for the slight absence but we have run out of satellites to talk to out here.

After an uneventful night outside Khabarovsk we headed in to town early to try and find some nice cowboys to mend our roofrack.


Starry night

Quite quickly we found a guy who knew a guy and followed him to a car wash. It turned out that they had a welder but then everyone out here seems to be packing some kind of heavy duty metal mangeling equipment. None the less we found our welder and after three hours fighting to get the thing on and off the roof we finaly left with a sixty pound bill and a roof rack that had twice as much metal on it than it had that morning. After a quick resupply we headed out of the city, taking bets on whether the welding would hold beyond dinner.


Cowboy welding!

After a quick nights sleep under some amazing stars we headed off towards Vanino, a port that, according to our map was only served by a railway. As it turned out the map makers had missed a major road, and we had covered the 600km by 18.00.


One of the sturdy wooden bridges

Now for the interesting part, we had to get on to a ferry to somewhere that most people we had spoken to have told us we cant go. Somehow in a petrol station we met a guy who also happened to be leaving on the morning ferry and we happy to take us to the ticket office and help us get sorted. So, as they seem to, things worked out and we where on the ferry at 08.00 the next morning (despite being told the 04.00 boarding time, i have had better nights sleep).


“Sakhalin 8″

From the car we took a few things to pass the 5 hour voyage and headed to our cabin. As it turns out Sakhalin is quite a long way from the main land and the crossing was 18 hours. I spent the whole time concentrating on not being sick while Spike managed to get us invited to someones house for some beers when we landed. For the last half an hour of the crossing I managed to muster a bit of man-up and we all watched the beautiful out line of the island materialise. When we landed our passports where taken off us and returned after about an hour with no explaination, but all seemed good so we headed off for beer.


The port of Kholmsk, Sakhalin


Gazing at the Sakhalin skyline

Alexander is the first mate on an Ice breaker and has all summer off so we enjoyed a great night learning russian and then crashed on his floor saving us one night of camping. The next morning, with Spike and I feeling a little delicate and Dave dead in the back we headed off up the coast to find the 50th again. We are all really looking forward to this part of the trip. Sakhalin is mostly an untouched wilderness, and there are very few roads and certainly none out to the Pacific coast near the 50th, but hey that is what Roxy is for. Now over to Spike for the next few days, stay tuned.

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