Not in front of the Children

Last night’s anchorage was a deserted wooded bay at Staraya Mayna. Unlike yesterday’s squally passage, today we have weather which is warm and calm.

Maxine is having another bad hair day. Her main problem this time is my managerial and organisational failure. “How can I get home to see Dirk? How can I arrange for my friends to join Tainui? How can I arrange my summer when you refuse to give me any hint of a timetable, an itinerary, an overall plan?” She flounced and banged things in ways some readers (Dirk, are you there?) will recognise.

I tried to point out that here we were in the middle of Russia with no idea of what lies ahead, that the gas bottle has to be changed, the starboard alternator isn’t charging and I have to find out why, the beeping of the solar panel alarm needs my undivided attention, but to no avail. Finally I retreated into Philbrick’s book about the dreadful Charles Wilkes, which reassured me that there have been far worse skippers than me.

My only consolation is that Chris and my daughters are not here – Maxine would then have all the ammunition she could ever need in this non-contretemps. I could only gesture towards Dima and Gerda and say rather lamely “Maxine, not in front of the children”.

Maxine has read a draft of this post and warned me that if I publish it I will find out what a real bad hair day is like. Nevertheless I have decided to proceed, in the interest of press freedom and sweet revenge. Damn the consequences.

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In the middle of the 30 km crossing of Kuybishevsky Reservoir we passed a Russian yacht from Tolyatti and stopped for the usual gam. It is perhaps the 3rd cruising yacht we have seen in the last 1,000 miles. These moments (the mid-sea meetings, not the bad hair day events) are to be treasured.

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