Diary Entry

After all the hardships, dangers, but also beautiful moments, we reach the shore near the village of Batagay-Alyta via the Tara Sala. A road leads from the river to the settlement. We have to dismantle our kayak and our luggage and get it ready to go there. That’s still five kilometers. Before I’ve let the air out of the kayak, another Ural truck breaks through the undergrowth.

The monster stops next to us and a chubby man in blue overalls gets out. He introduces himself as Viktor and is curious about what we are doing here. After a short explanation he agrees to take us with him. How we get our stuff onto his tanker truck is our problem. So we take our ropes and lash the bags and the boat to the tank. Then we make ourselves comfortable in the driver’s cab.

Again we drive a Ural

Victor is funny and thinks we’re completely crazy when we tell him about our expedition. It smells of alcohol and Victor immediately hands us a flask of sweet liqueur. He tells us he lives in the truck.

While Modern Talking and Russian hits echo from his speakers, which are in need of repair, Victor’s cat hops around between our legs.

Victor lets us out in the square in front of the radio station and recommends himself. As we pack up our things in the rain, we attract the attention of the village youth. The children are very happy to help us pump the air out of the kayak. Only when the boat is folded in the bag are the children satisfied and say goodbye to us.

The children approach curiously and take over the work on the kayak

We decide to set up our tent in front of the hut where we were allowed to spend the night before. Simply providing access to it would not be appropriate. Konstantin also didn’t answer our question about where we could camp.

Maybe we should set up our tent at the edge of the forest?

We may be in civilization, but here we suddenly have the problem of finding water, firewood and a toilet… things that are freely available in nature.

When we have almost finished setting up the tent, a few women come out of the barrack next door, where there is a small administration, who invite us in and offer us tea. When we have thankfully sipped it, women offer us the hut as a place to stay. They are still cleaning up and bringing us more tea, cookies, raw fish and an electric stove. We are more than happy about the help and surprised at the hospitality of the people we missed before.

We spend the next few days drying and repairing our things, exchanging our plane tickets with the help of the ladies, playing the guitar and going fishing on the river. It’s a very relaxing time in which we can recover from the exertions of the previous weeks.

We explore the place and find a few small shops (magasin) and a bakery where a couple is laughing happily in front of the oven and giving everyone a loaf of bread for a few rubles.

We are surprised at how welcoming people suddenly are

We may be in civilization, but here we suddenly have the problem of finding water, firewood and a toilet… things that are freely available in nature.

In this village we feel like we are in an era in which the zombie apocalypse has already occurred. The small wooden houses stand crooked and crooked on the permafrost ground, there are pedestrian paths made of broken boards and no trace of asphalt on the gravel over which the wind blows up the dust. There aren’t many people on the streets. The zombies all come out of their holes at five o’clock sharp in the afternoon and all wander to one point: the local liquor store. Suddenly there’s something really going on in and around the little shop and the mindless human shells have a strong taste of vodka even before they’ve found new alcohol.

Contrary to our expectations, the vodka here is not cheap. So it’s no wonder that some very broken-looking people with glassy eyes ask us for a sip from our freshly bought bottle. We are considering preparing security measures for our hut. I still have a bear deterrent system in mind…

Lots of zombies live here, and the zombies live on vodka.

Then the day comes when another plane leaves for Yakutsk. As at the beginning, we have to weigh all our luggage and then fly back between hunting rifles in a makeshift Antonov.

Before we fly back home we take the chance to see the large Lena river.


We leave the wilderness and its dangers, but also its charm, behind us. The strain of the hard march in the dry Sobopol riverbed and the truly life-threatening situations in the Tara Sala are still strong in my consciousness. In retrospect, the expedition was a fantastic adventure. But we were very naive and were not prepared for all situations. We were very lucky in our situation. Maybe it’s true that you only show your true self in situations close to death. But we need a break now.


Watch the video of our adventure!

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