Well, the team had a challenging day today. For the last 25 miles of their 52.5 mile run, the river was 3-4 feet deep and stagnant. West referred to it as "suck water" for all of you paddler-types out there. He said it's because the water basically sucks you down. Along with being loaded down with all of their gear, the river made it extremely tough going. They stayed on track with their minimum of 5 miles an hour but really wanted to make better time.
Once they reached Tver, they paddled to the Tver Kayaking Team boat dock where they were greeted by Mikhail Orlov and his lovely wife, Olga and their 3 year old daughter. In addition, there were numerous family and friends, all of which were handsome strapping young men and their beautiful wives/girlfriends. Upon landing, the welcome committee offered them Easter pastries and cupcakes. West and Jeff said it was extremely thoughtful. It did not dawn on them that today is Easter Sunday. Mikhail (Michael) reached out to us via the internet once the team began and let us know they would love to meet up with our team, if that had time, once they reached Tver. He has been very helpful in securing a hostel and taking Jeff and West there after they had dinner. Mikhail made arrangements for the boats to stay secured, under guard, just down the street from the hostel.
The hostel, Xocmen Kykypy3a, is very very nice. It is run by a wonderful woman, Llena, that had them take off their shoes before entering and put on booties. The entire hostel is extremely clean, has wonderful hot water, lots of water pressure and is comfortable. Llena is washing all of their clothes...the same one they've been in since they began, included. Big hugs to Llena!! West just went on about how wonderful she is. I'm working on getting her website to share.
On the river today, they passed a woman that spoke English. She asked where they were from and they replied. She, then, just kept on talking and talking as they kept going. In another instance, they passed a fisherman. He, also, asked where they were from. They replied, "The United States". His response was a resounding, "GO HOME". They just kept on paddling. The last gentleman they passed just kept shouting out, "Putin Forever, Putin Forever", over and over and over. They just responded with an "ok" and moved on. Everyone seemed harmless.
From here on the water will be deeper because the shipping lanes begin. There should be alot more river traffic and deeper water.
The boys were given all of their messages from Facebook, emails and updates on the news.
I'd like to thank Mikhail and Marat for making the arrangements in Tver. I hope, as we go along, we continue to get the support needed from the other towns along the way. Regarding the kayaking website, it is in Russian but Friday it was in English. Once I get it worked out, I'll re-link...I hate being technology-challenged.