Can one person have such luck?
the Princess Noor Appreciation Society International.
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for a commemorative postage stamp.
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After a marvellous night's sleep, I awakened to another splendid day on this blessed isle, looking forward in anxious anticipation to exploring the many delights of Tahiti. However, I had just finished breakfast, when came a soft knock at the the door of my quaint little hut.
It was my eminent friend and colleague, of whom I spoke in my last E-mail, carrying a huge bundle which he unceremoniously dropped onto my cot. He proceeded to unwrap it..........To my utter amazement, the bundle contained an assortment of Arctic Clothing! Parka, Boots, thermal undergarments, etc.
Chuckling over my obvious consternation, my esteemed host explained with a wide grin that he had accepted an assignment to write a magazine article about the SIBERIAN TUNDRA.
Of course, he wanted your Professor friend to go with him. What could I say? After all, he DID save me from being devoured by a monster Crocodile (see PNASI newsletter #10).
The next question: "When do we leave"?...."In three hours", his enthusiastic response.
After singing a warm 'goodbye' to Papeete, Tahiti, we whispered a frosty 'hello' to the vast Siberian Tundra, arriving eventually by dog sled on the ice of the Jenissei River between Turuchansk and Dudino.
The difficulties of this journey were many, since a boat-frame, fuel, provisions etc., forming altogether a load for many sledges, had to be transported along with the travellers.
Unfortunately, the tents we had ordered in advance were not ready, due to an outbreak of flu epidemic, which prevented the Samoyed women from sewing together the skins that were necessary to complete the covering. Consequently, we had much to suffer during a violent snow storm, which raged for three days.
Thus after another long delay and an irreparable loss of time, considering the extreme shortness of the summer, we continued on our journey, hoping to regain lost time by increasing our pace. The softening of the snow rendered the advance of the sledges extremely difficult.
Encamping on a steep declivity of the river bank, the rapidly melting ice and snow, necessitated the building of our boat immediately.In about two weeks, the ice on the river began to break up, and in three more days the navigation of the stream was free.
By the light of the midnight sun the boat was launched and christened "PNASI", in honour of the Princess Noor Appreciation Society International, and what a fine and sturdy craft she turned out to be!
Bidding our Nanetsky friends and their trusty dog-sled teams, a fond adieu, we left dry land and took to the water in earnest. The constant north winds retarded the voyage down the river and over the lake, beyond which, the TAIMYR , traversing a hilly country, is inclosed within steep and picturesque rocks (The Taimyr peninsula is strictly the name of the northward projection from Taimyr bay on the west to Khatanga gulf on the east, but it is often applied to the whole district between the Yenisei gulf and the Khatanga gulf).
The increasing rapidity of the stream now favored our progress, and the storms were less troublesome between the mighty rock-walls; but unfortunately we discovered that, instead of being able, as expected, to fill our nets with fish as we advanced, and to establish 'depots' for the return journey, found ourselves obliged to consume the provisions we had taken with us in the boat.
The first 'night frost' came shortly thereafter and from that time was regularily repeated. Yet in spite of these warnings we continued our journey down the river, reaching the sea about a month later.
But now it was high time to return! The great distance from any human habitation, the rapid stream, against which we now had to contend, and the advanced season, with its approaching dark nights and frosts, made our immediate return an imperative necessity.
The insufficient food and the fatigues of our journey, often prolonged to extreme exhaustion, had reduced our vigor, and we began to feel the effects of our frequent wading through cold water, when, as often happened, our boat had grounded upon a shallow, or when the flat mud banks of the river gave us no other alternative for reaching the dry land.
It was now also the second month since we had not slept under a tent, having all the time passed the nights behind a screen erected on the oars of the boat, as a shelter against the wind. Provided with a good load of driftwood, collected on the shore of the Polar Ocean, we began our return journey with a hope and a prayer.
The borders of the river were already encrusted with ice. Wading became extremely irksome, the river having meanwhile fallen above six feet, and the shallows frequently forcing us to step into the water and pull the boat along.
Fortunately the wind remained favorable, and thus by rowing to the utmost of our strength, and with the assistance of the broad sails of our "PNASI", we surmounted two rapids which, encased between abrupt rocks, seemed to defy our utmost efforts.
However, a malicious gust of wind, bursting out of a narrow gorge, threw our boat against the rocks and broke the rudder.
The frost and wet, together with the shortness of our provisions, tried us sorely. Not a day passed without sleet or snow....One wave after another dashed into the boat, which we could only save by letting her run upon a sandbank.
The violent wind, with a temperature of only +27F at noon, covered our clothes with solid ice crusts.We were obliged to halt four days while the storm ceased, hunger combined with cold rendering our situation almost intolerable.
In order to get my trusty laptop computer working, we had to suspend it over the fire for almost an hour before the keys would move, enabling me to send this E-Mail from the frozen wastelands of Siberia.......so far away from the pristine, sandy beaches of Tahiti.
A few words about the Photo at the top of this page: The Samoyed breed name comes from the Samoyed people (now known as the Nenetsky people) of the Siberian tundra. Samoyeds were kept for ages by this nomadic tribe, who, by necessity, were strongly attached to their dogs. A few of the Samoyed's functions that made the dogs crucial to the tribe's survival were pulling sleds, herding reindeer and alerting their masters to approaching danger
Samoyeds, of all the modern breeds, are most nearly akin to the primitive dog - there's no mixture of wolf or fox. Samoyeds have a fluffy white coat that sheds twice a year and are always alert and will easily adapt to any environment.
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NEXT von Borgengruft Adventure - Reindeer From Siberia