Since arrival in Nome, Adrian has been working round the clock to get Barrabas ready and tested.
On Saturday June 25 he emailed this report:
After some wrestling with US customs, my new radar, sponsored by Furuno will touch down in Nome this afternoon. The plan is to get the scanner mounted on the mast, the mast can then be stepped onto the boat and Barrabas lifted back into the water.
Yesterday, I bought a US sim card for my mobile and finally managed to have conversations with home without the attendant worries of phone cards running out of time. The heartening news was that my younger son, Gabriel, did himself proud at his school sports day, bagging a (small) handful of medals.
I closed my eyes and imagined sitting on the sunnied lawns of England this time next year
watching my son triumph in the egg and spoon race, with the Alpha Global Expedition safely consigned to the annals of my personal history.
But, I am ever mindful of the present. This morning was spent going over the engine – draining fuel from the bottom of the two tanks to get rid of the colloidal sediments which accumulate when diesel has been left to sit.
Oil, tramsmission fluids and coolants all went into various openings in the Lombardini engine – the heart of the boat and on which I will be completely reliant when negotiating the ice. Diesel engines will run reliably providing the injectors are being fed clean fuel.
On my various wanderings around the town to get stamps, money, food (and write blogs), I have seen many of the same faces occupying the same doorways as last time round.
Nome is a curious, frontier town. There is a high incidence of alcoholism among the local population and suicide rates during the dark, winter months are high. But, despite the social problems, Nome retains for me an almost beguiling charm.
Whilst Barrabas is warmed up and prepared for the final phase of the Alpha Global Expedition and I begin to hone my focus for the inevitable trials that lie ahead, there is one last preparation that I will make before casting my lines from Nome Harbour – breakfast at Fat Freddies, made famous by Michael Palin during one of his globe-trotting extravaganzas.
Grits, pancakes and eggs sunny side up – if that doesn’t keep me warm in the Russian ice, nothing will.