Our consensus view is that the Don is the most beautiful of rivers. Quiet and tortuous, lined with deciduous forest, it encourages languid silence on board. I am sure it has been doing so for its thousand year commercial history.
Anchored out of the stream last night I sipped medicinal tomato juice and watched the terns, egrets, ducklings and kingfishers doing avian things against the sunset. I contemplate the Cossack Dons – equestrians by the age of 3, fierce fighters, loyal Russians and staunch anti-bolsheviks, they were sent back to face Stalin’s retribution by agreement at Yalta after WW2. They suffered untold misery both in allied hands and on their return to the USSR.
On Tainui, this morning was typical. Maxine dived over the side (from inside the guardrail, do you mind) and scratched her leg. Back aboard she anointed our final chart book with a full cup of strong coffee, then with her other foot she nudged her orange juice over onto the cockpit seat. Nothing unusual in any of that.
Now, after 3,000 miles, we are waiting for our space in the third last lock. We hope to be in Rostov-on-Don by lunchtime tomorrow for Jenny’s celebratory meal (she graciously agreed to stay aboard after Volgodonsk to ensure we navigated carefully along the Don).