Friday, November 20, 2009

Sea Stories. Approaching Magadan. 1979

One more old photo from 1979. Motor vessel Bureyales is approaching Magadan. There was winter, stormy weather  in Okhotsk Sea, heavy waves went over the deck and were freezing on the masts, derricks, railings and all other equipment. Bosun used axe, crawbar and hot water to free windlass from the ice before dropping the anchor.

 And tomorrow I am leaving home and go to Denmark to join my new ship Havhelt. She is new for me, but actually is old lady, built in 1977. Small bulk carrier, just above 2000 tons, crew 10 persons. And Havhelt is my first ship under Lavian flag. Area of voyages - most probably Nothern Europe, 2 months on, 2 month off.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sea Stories. Kolyma River. 1978.

Old photo. Black and white, taken by small cheap film camera 31 years ago.
Soviet Union was still alive and powerful. And I was young and worked as Radio Officer on general cargo ship Dalnegorsk registered in Far-Eastern Shipping Company (FESCO) based in Vladivostok.

Navigation in Arctic ocean is open just for few summer months, and during this time must be supplied all towns, mines and military bases along vast northern coast of Russia. So we came from Vladivostok loaded with thousands of items of cargo. From needles and sausages to machinery and bricks. Dalnegorsk was not big vessel just about 3500 tons deadweight, but designed for arctic voyages and able to go through ice. Not heavy ice of course.
So we sailed from Vladivostok, passed along Kurile Islands, Kamchatka, around Cape Dezhnev, turned west, and here we are - at the mouth of Kolyma River. Several hours up the river, and we dropped anchor at the Cherskiy town. Small port was occupied by another vessel, unloading boxes with bottles. A little bit wine, but mostly vodka. It is not joke about drunken Russians, it was real and practical. During long winter months life is slow down, and population of northern towns do not have much to do, so drinking is one of the main attraction there. Or at least it was so 30 years ago, and I do not think it had changed much since then.
Berth was occupied, we waited at anchor with also not much to do. One of the days we launched our boat and had picnic on one of the islands a few miles from the town.
So photo has nothing to do with abandoned ship and danger. If forgot that after discharging our cargo and sailing from Cherskiy Dalnegorsk went aground in the mouth of Kolyma for two days. But it is already another story...