Our arrival in Volzshkiy is something of a milestone in Tainui’s journey. It is the end of a long trip down the 500 km long Volgogradskiy Reservoir and almost the end of our Volga journey. From here we have just 35 kms of lock and canal waterway down through Stalingrad before turning west for 600 km through the great Volga-Don Canal and into the River Don.
We have been warmly greeted by enthusiastic members of the Volgograd yachting community and last night we were guests of honour at their annual regatta presentation ceremony.
Tainui is such a complete novelty here. Gifts of watermelon, rockmelons, grapes and bottles of vodka have been pressed on us by these lovely, hospitable people. Most of the yachts are micro cruiser racers and their crew examine Tainui with wide eyes. I feel very privileged and humbled by their warmth and generosity.
By day we are fanned by gentle northerlies and swimming over the side is de rigeur. The nights are still and balmy. It is impossible to imagine this place in winter, when the ice is over a metre thick and temperatures drop to minus 30 celsius. The sailors here are fanatical about ice yachting and I would love to try it.