Today is a day of national celebration for all mariners on Russia’s inland waterways. Maxine tells me that VHF communication in Cyrillic between commercial shipping includes fraternal greetings and expressions of goodwill.
Near Kineshma we passed a smart, home-built Russian sailing boat from Kazan, bound Yaroslavl. Shortly after we had passed they called us up on VHF and asked if they could return and lie alongside us for a celebratory toast to the day. After a nanosecond’s consideration we acceded to their request.
The cheerful group of sailors brought on board with them a bottle of rum, glasses made of real glass, and fresh oranges spiced with cinnamon. There followed one of those occasions which make cruising worthwhile.
The easy and immediate intimacy between folk with so much common ground, doing the same stupid things saw that rum disappear in barely 5 toasts. With much back slapping we bid each other farewell and went on our way, never to meet again but friends forever.