According to the forecast, the south-westerly wind will persist, and it has already been blowing from this direction for 4 days. I lost one and a half degrees in latitude: from 53’30 came back north to 52 degrees. And a full degree is 60 miles, which will be hard to regain when the wind turns to the north-west.
The expedition headquarters talked about the Indian summer and an anticyclonic weather this week. I somehow feel neither one nor the other. Squally showers, snow pellets, sleet. The wind is coming from Antarctica and brings penetrating coldness with it. It is night time now, I’m wearing a Red Fox overall, in which I flew around the world in a balloon in 2016. On the third day after the start of that flight, the gas heating system failed and I flew in an unheated gondola at an altitude of 10 kilometres for almost a week.
The jumpsuit rescued me then and is rescuing me now in the Southern Ocean. Of course, it is now soaked with moisture, wet, but still, it keeps me warm. When I go out on the deck, I put a dry suit on top. I look like an astronaut in this very bulky outfit, and it is difficult to get out of the hatch wearing it. It is impossible to be on the deck without foul weather gear, as waves and splash come into the cockpit every minute.
What also saves me from the cod is a sleeping bag also from Red Fox with a primaloft filler and a membrane waterproof cover. It was my request to colleagues from St. Petersburg to make a protective layer that removes moisture from the inside of a sleeping bag, but does not allow water that drips from the cabin roof and from the walls to soak into the bag. The system is working.
Every piece of equipment and instruments that we have developed and installed on the boat helps me to survive in these harsh conditions. I always remember the words of the Japanese traveller Naomi Uemura: “You can return alive from any expedition if you prepare it well enough”.
I received a message from Alexander Abramov – the director of the “Seven Peaks” («7 vershin») club. He and his team are starting preparations for climbing Mount Everest this season. Usually, before departing with a group for the Himalayas, we perform a prayer service in the chapel of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker in my studio in Zamoskvorechye. This year I will not be able to say goodbye to the team personally, and we agreed that I will pray for them here in the ocean, and they will pray for me on the mountain. I know what the guys will have to endure on the slopes of Mt Everest. In 2012, I climbed the Everest with them. Then there were two of our groups, I was lucky to go in the first group with Alexander Abramov himself as the expedition leader. It was his 4th ascent to the Everest (as of now Alexander has successfully climbed the Everest 9 times!). Our team comprised of: Sergey Larin (the doctor) on his 5th ascent, Ivan Dusharin on his 3rd ascent, Fyodor Konyukhov on his 2nd ascent, Maxim Shakirov on his 2nd ascent, Lyudmila Korobeshko on her 2nd ascent, Aznor Khadzhiev on his 1st ascent and also the first representative of Ingushetia to climb the Everest. We climbed to the top of Mount Everest on 19 May 2012 at 6:15 in the morning. We met the sunrise at the height of 8848 metres. I was 60 years old then. Sasha Abramov did not give us much time to admire the views of other eight-thousand-meter peaks and drove everyone down in order to reach a safe area in the light of day.</p
Next year I want to come with another “Seven Peaks” club team of climbers to the base camp, to put a canvas up and paint a picture – “The Everest from Tibet”. The guys will go climbing, and I will just sit there, paint and look at the Himalayas.
I have a lot of plans, I miss the creative side of my life. I want to start working on a painting “The Execution of John the Baptist” and I would like to continue to paint it all my life. I see this work as a triptych, consisting of three parts. I want to work hard, long hours on it, re-paint it and live by this painting for many years.
I want to cast bronze sculpture of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker Mysgornovskiy for the city of Nakhodka. Last summer we cast a 7-meter sculpture of John the Baptist in the workshop of Alexander Rukavishnikov and erected it in Murmansk. This year we plan to erect another one in the city of Nakhodka.
I want to build a chapel of St. Varlaam Keretskiy in a village in the Tula Region. This is our saint, especially revered by the Pomors (the coast-dwellers). I pray to him here in the ocean and have an icon of St. Varlaam Keretskiy on board.
There are many things I want to do, but the main thing is to complete this journey and reach the shores of South America. Cape Horn is 690 nautical miles.
Greetings to all.
52’10 south and