The approach channel into Belomorsk is well marked. We called port control at the fairway buoy and were astonished to be told that the sea lock was open and that we should enter directly, port side to. Amazed and delighted, we did as we were told.
In half an hour, we were in the canal, tied up in warm glassy calm. There was no excuse for sobriety.
When the port authorities came down to Tainui, formalities were minimal. Heavens, there had been enough of them in the preceeding 8 months! They knew all about us and just wanted confirmation that we had adequate charts and inland waterways VHF radio capacity.
Poor Max had had continuing abdominal pain and vomiting since our rough passage across to Solovetsky and it was clear to all that he needed medical assessment – electrolytes and abdominal ultrasound, I thought. Pasha and I took him to Belomorsk Hospital where he was kept for observation. They questioned cholecystitis although I did not think he had a “surgical abdomen”, as they say. Anyway, his holiday time was up and we took sad farewells and left him at the hospital, from where he will to take the train back to Moscow.
The following day, we set off on our next first step.
We seem to have had so many first steps!