Adrian Flanagan sets sail from Russia on final stage of Alpha Global Expedition 24/7/07

Adrian Flanagan who is resuming his Alpha Global Expedition to sail solo round the world on the ‘vertical’ route, has finally set sail from Russia. See previous news story here. 

Flanagan left the port of Nome a week ago (see photo left) and reached Provideniya in Russia on Sunday (22 July). After what Flanagan described as: “one of the most extraordinary days of my life.” Having had to go through the final official system of obtaining permission to enter Russian Waters, he is now relieved to have finally set sail. Explaining the sort of day he had on Sunday Flanagan said:

“I was told to berth at number 2 – it turned out to be crane 2. Three federal internal security guards ordered me to stay on the boat. Shaking hands seemed a somehow inappropriate gesture. After almost 30 hours with no sleep, the lure of the bag was too great to resist.

“Loud banging brought me awake at 1030. A posse of uniformed officials from various state departments ordered me to take Barrabas to another quay further along the town. It turned out to have been a jetty at one time, the concrete long since turned friable and crumbled leaving the twisted, rusty steel frame spokes angling dangerously towards the hull. I was asked to fill in various forms, all in triplicate. Then I was taken off to a neighbouring tug.

“In the relative comfort of the wardroom, I produced my wad of Russian permission letters. There was a brief discussion about the need for an ice pilot on board, but quickly dismissed once the correspondence was read. My weapon caused some anxiety, but again was quickly dealt with – a piece of paper, two actually, bearing stamps and signatures.

By noon, I had been issued my permit to sail the NSR and told I was free to go? The bureaucratic machine worked seamlessly.”

So, with all documentation completed and permit granted to travel Russia’s northern Polar route Flanagan departed Provideniya yesterday at 1100am local time.
Writing from the boat this morning Flanagan said: “The weather is clear and fine as a high pressure system continues to sit over the Bering Strait. This stretch of water can be dangerous with fast currents running in both directions between the Chukchi Sea in the north and the Bering Sea to the south. High pressure will give me light winds to navigate my way into the Arctic.

“?I have covered 100 miles towards the strait and should pass through within the next 24 hours. My appetite has gone AWOL. Nevertheless, the onset of a headache told me I needed to raise blood sugar so I forced down same spaghetti and sardines. Under full sail during the night, Barrabas touched 6.5 knots despite her 6,000lbs load of fuel and water. If ever a boat had real guts, it’s this one. While she battled on, I slept for four hours.”