3 September 2006
Yesterday we were finally liberated from Tiksi. After some prayers to the weather gods for good flying conditions and an anxious day of discussing various options for the expedition, we received the long awaited for customs officer late in the afternoon.
Three hours later, passports stamped and farewells said we dropped the lines, an action that not only released us from Siberia but simultaneously reduced stress levels and lifted the moral on board. We are now at long last on the home strait for this stage of the expedition.
Our next objective is to meet the Dranitsyn at a position 600 miles to our north. Fortunately they were able to change their programme due to our delays so we now have 36 – 48 hours together to find a good ice floe, position Tara and unload material. The bad news, today we have 30 knots on the nose, slowing our progress to 6-7 knots. Each hour lost is one less with the ice breaker to perform this crucial maneuver. Our last communication with the Dranitsyn confirmed they are experiencing the same weather conditions as us today, stopping their work in the pack ice for now. We expect conditions to improve later today and are confident of making our planned rendezvous.