Lonely, remote Belomorsk Canal

We are completely alone. Our route alternates between broad, shallow sounds and narrow passages among forested islands, all of it well-buoyed. Occasionally we see a factory belching smoke in the distance, but generally the shores seem pristine. It is difficult to imagine the horrors of construction of Belomorsk Canal, one of Stalin’s great achievements. More than 15,000 workers died in the 4 year construction period. Perhaps many more.

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After 10 locks we are at the top of the canal and in 20 km we enter the tight ladder of lock for the steep descent to Lake Onega. It is extraordinary that this mammoth piece of engineering is, for the moment at least, ours alone.

Yesterday’s fresh beam winds gave us an exhilarating reach all afternoon. By midnight the breeze had died and our anchorage among the islands was peaceful. With Pepe Romero’s recuerdo de alhambra and my version of caiparinha I felt quite at peace. This is a new and pleasurable experience. Chris would love this bit.

Sadly, we say goodbye to Pasha tomorrow night at Povenets, on the shore of Lake Onega. Dirk arrives shortly thereafter and Maxine can hardly wait.

Our engine runs faultlessly and we are losing very little coolant at 1400 rpm with the radiator cap loose. At higher revs however, the problem recurs. What is happening?

Yes, we have photos galore. Unfortunately we have had no internet or satphone connection, hence our silence. I know that our lovely little Yellowbrick is steadily ejaculating into the ether, so our positions have been recorded for posterity (my.yb.tl/tainui, if you’re interested).

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