๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ The call of the Wild โ€“ from Yakutsk to the Edge of Civilization

Diary Entry

After spending a few days in Yakutsk and stocking up on supplies, we are now waiting at the city’s small airport for our onward journey.

We’re about to head north far beyond the Arctic Circle in a little hellish machine, an Antonov 24. We learn from our contact in the northern wilderness that it hasn’t rained for a long time. This is a problem because we wanted to get from our destination, the small town of Batagay-Alyta (ะ‘ะฐั‚ะฐะณะฐะน-ะะปั‹ั‚ะฐ), via water to the Verkhoyansk Mountains (ะ’ะตั€ั…ะพัะฝัะบะธะน ั…ั€ะตะฑะตั‚) and from there take the Sobopol River with our kayak to the Lena .

Because of the low water level, we can only get into the mountains with a Ural vehicle. We’ll have to see what it looks like from there.

We may first walk a few kilometers downstream with our heavy luggage and hope that the river becomes deep enough for paddlingโ€ฆ That’s adventure. Nothing is safe.

Adventure means when no plan is certain

We want to take photos of the museum-worthy aircraft, but the attentive air traffic control employees forbid us from doing so. We still get our shots. These machines were built from 1949-79.

If we’re lucky, our soul seller is only forty years old and may have been serviced at some point.

When fully occupied, the small cabin can accommodate forty-four suicidal people, but the plane is not fully occupied and a large part of the space in the cabin is taken up by checked luggage, for which there seems to be no other storage space.

In addition to guns and guitars, household appliances and televisions seem to be very popular.

It is very strange to see firearms next to you on the plane

To cheer you up, shortly before take-off you get free sweets from an expressionless flight attendant with the charm of the rusty patina of the turbines. My guess is that by accepting the candy you absolve the airline of any liability in the event of damage.

There is no need for safety instructions at all. What for? There are no emergency exits, no one has ever heard of oxygen masks and life jackets don’t help in Siberia.

Uli, the mechanic, says as the rotors start: “Oh God. I’m scared.” Our hope is that the pilot is at his usual alcohol level to get the box safely to its destination.

Against all expectations, the machine takes off with probably all its parts and makes its rounds over the Lena, the great river of Siberia. You can see this river even from space. Many islands lie in the middle of the huge body of water and cargo ships make their way.

There are no emergency exits, no one has ever heard of oxygen masks and life jackets don’t help in Siberia.

We fly over the mountains, where there is surprisingly little snow. It seems very barren. Only behind it can individual ice fields (“naaled“) be seen. These do not melt all year round.

We come to a stop on a gravel road in the middle of nowhere. A small barracks marks the airport building.

A truck brings our luggage, which is distributed like relief supplies to the strongest in the crisis area. We leave the airfield through a fence next to it and enter Batagay-Alyta, the forecourt of nowhere north of the Arctic Circle.

Schaut euch das Video der ganzen Reise an!
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