In West's words:
After some rough waves and a heavy tailwind helped us cover 43 miles of open water on the Rybinsk reservoir we were met in the city of Rybinsk by Stanislav Smirnov and Sergei Babashin of the FreeRyBe kayak club (www.FreeRyBe.ru) They were out in their white water kayaks waiting for two weird looking guys in sleek hard shells come into town. We let them take the Epic 18x's out for a spin and they were amazed at the speed, especially compared to the tupperware they usually paddle. The Epic mid-small wings were a bit of a challenge, at first, but the boys caught on pretty quickly. We were met at the shore by Ignat Medelkin, also a kayaker, who spoke pretty good English, having learned it from American movies. Ignat spent the evening helping the five of us communicate well over dinner at the hotel, http://www.gostinica-brigantina.ru, which hosts yachtsfolk for area competitions. A large boat yard is located just outside the hotel grounds. After dinner, we traded turns watching each others paddling videos; theirs from local white water competition and ours from the Amazon Express Expedition. The boys also helped us along with our Russian, in which we are so woefully lacking. Tomorrow, after gathering fresh water and kielbasa, we'll hit the river, portage the damba (dam) in the middle of town and head back out on our journey to the Caspian Sea.
Our hands are pretty cut up and swollen, but otherwise we're doing okay. Our slow pace gets us down now and then, but you might as well cry about the rain, so we keep plugging and hoping for flow and a tailwind.
The folks here are kind of funny about their dams. Each dam, no matter how huge or tiny, has a uniformed guard in some box watching over the dam. They don't mind us portaging outside the gates or fences, but they really freak out if you pull out a camera to take a photo of the dam. My Russian isn't near good enough to explain that there are multiple pictures of all these dams on Google Earth and what's wrong with taking a picture of the dam, anyway? We always acquiesce, but it is kind of fun seeing the unformed guard freak out and start waving his arms at me and my camera. Orders are orders.
I'm taking pictures of every church (circa) we come across on the river. When completed, I'll put them all on an organized page. I've added another one, very ornate and beautiful, to the gallery page.
From Barbara: I'd like to thank Stanislav, Ignat and Sergei for reaching out to us and meeting the team in Rybinsk. Their communication with me was wonderful and they were able to keep an eye on the team via the Spot Tracker. Misha, woman at the desk at the hotel offered the team a commemorative coin and is washing their clothes for them. In addition, they are safely storing the kayaks indoors and had them transported there for West and Jeff. The hotel is very modern and clean.
Now, on to Yaroslavl and finding some new friends, there.