Yesterday was long and tiring, with rain and squalls. The first bleak weather we have had since Belomorsk Canal.
This morning I got up at 5 to watch sunrise over the monastery. Tainui is anchored meekly in the lee of Sviyazhsk Monastery. It is a beautiful, cold, clear morning with drifting fog banks. The onion domes loom silent, imperious. The full moon seems excessive.
In this abstemious vessel, happy hour last night was extended by the skipper’s indulgence (starting time noon, closing time 10 pm) because 20 km back we passed the halfway mark in our Russian journey. Inexplicably clumsy, Maxine spilled a bag of crisps in the cockpit. There is no need to mention the two glasses of red wine I might allegedly have kicked over during the same session. So this morning I lifted the teak grates to sweep up Max’s mess while the girls sat by, sipped coffee and gave useless advice.
The best thing about having Dutch people on board is that, carefully managed, their deep-rooted anal compulsiveness can be exploited usefully. And so it was this morning. Lieve (she’s actually Flemish, not Dutch, but hey) felt she had no choice but to take control of the cleaning process. With the grates up, an intense, noisy and endless process of Flemish surgical sterilisation has begun. Wisely I have retreated below.
Over the last couple of months Tainui has been slowly transforming herself from an ocean-going vessel into a sort of Romany caravan. Her decks are strewn with hoses, coolant and fuel drums, clotheslines, fenders, carpets, and sails. The chart table looks like a display table at a garage sale. I have found it quite impossible to avoid the transfiguration and I have given up. But now we have a spotless cockpit and the skipper is happy.
Now we’re off to explore Sviyazhsk Monastery.