West and Jeff paddled 40.7 miles today. On the spot tracker, to me, it appeared they went much farther. If you are just learning to read the spot tracker, you much take into account all the twists and turns the river offers. On this stretch, there is more of a straight line. Thankfully, there is zero wind. As predicted, it died down.
Unfortunately, it brings out the clouds of biting gnats. West said there are clouds and clouds of them. The netted jacket is a huge help but, at night, they take them off and are unindated with gnats. Getting settled in the tent is a challenge. First, they get all the gear together that they need. Then, very quickly in one fluid motion, they unzip the tent, throw all the gear in, they get in and then zip the tent back up. After that, they start killing the thousands of gnats that came in with them. After that, they can then prepare dinner and get ready for bed.
The towns in this section of river are few and far between. They only passed one town today, that they recall. There are also less fisherman. None standing on the bank (they'd have to fight the gnats) and only a few in motorboats. The Volga is more river-like than it was above the dam at Volgograd. It's more of what they are used to back in Texas.
Each call now includes more plans on getting back up to Moscow and flights back to the United States, how to transport the boats, etc.