Blog

Welcome to my blog, where I share all the stories from my L2L expedition as I row, cycle and kayak a continuous loop of the planet. I hope you'll enjoy experiencing the highs (and lows!) of my journey so far and the adventures ahead on my way back to Tower Bridge. You can also have a listen to my Phonecasts recorded en route.

Gently in Nikolski

After some tiring miles we were happy to be landing in Nikolski

After some tiring miles we were happy to be landing in Nikolski

The grin says it all... Wooop woop and woop!

The grin says it all… Wooop woop and woop!

By the time you read this, hopefully Justine and I will have waved and hugged our goodbyes to the people of Nikolski and be paddling on our way. I write this on Saturday, our fifth day of being here. It’s been a very happy, gentle time filled with resting, recharging, stories and lots of laughter shared with new friends. Happily for the couple sharing the Ugludax Lodge with us, it has also involved the washing machine and shower as we were both rather fragrant after three weeks in the boats!

Who's watching who?! A bald eagle.

Who’s watching who?! A bald eagle.

An ancient island

Reindeer herds draw hunters in to the luxurious APICDA Lodge in Nikolski

Reindeer herds draw hunters in to the luxurious APICDA Lodge in Nikolski

Nestled gently along the bay on the Bering Sea side of the island, Nikolski is the last remaining village on Umnak, but it was not always so. Pre 1700s and the Russian invasion of the Aleutians in pursuit of fur, there were more than 20 villages across Umnak. With archealogical evidence dating settlements in the area at over 8000 years old, it makes Nikolski and Umnak the oldest continuously habited area in the world. You certainly gain a timely sense of the place through being here.

The flowers grow into and over vehicles and buildings rusting into forever

The flowers grow into and over vehicles and buildings rusting into forever

Both time standing still somehow and also time eroding fallen buildings as the weather sculpts their lines a little softer or rustier, grass growing and being grazed by four footed remains of the cattle ranching era over everything they can get at, the 4,000 year old Chaluka mound – an ancient midden, being one of them.

The Chaluka mound or midden heap is 4,000 years old

The Chaluka mound or midden heap is 4,000 years old

A Reeve Aleutian plane continues it’s quiet residence on the hillside at the end of the runway- its final resting place following a bad weather crash in 1964. Today it’s only passenger was a fluting bird, flitting about in the cockpit, cheerily telling us to leave her in peace.

The Reeve Aleutian plane crashed in 1964 in bad weather and has sat quietly on the hill ever since. No one was hurt.

The Reeve Aleutian plane crashed in 1964 in bad weather and has sat quietly on the hill ever since. No one was hurt.

Hunt. Fish. Play.

Mostly, the sense of history comes from talking to residents. 18 year old Eric talked of his needing to ‘come home’ when his parents moved away to the Lower Forty Eight some years ago. Living now with his Aunt and Uncle he says, ‘This is my home. It’s where my ancestors lived for thousands of years. I want to retire here one day.’ When I asked him what it’s like living out here and wondered if it might be tough being so isolated and with such harsh weather conditions he smiled. ‘I fish, I hunt, I play – it’s pretty good,’ he said. I nodded and understood. He said he takes work opportunities when they come round and for the last few years has spent nine months of the year away at High School on mainland Alaska gaining qualifications so that he can gain work among the islands in future years.

Enjoying an evening in 'the boatshed' - a beer or two and stories galore

Enjoying an evening in ‘the boatshed’ – a beer or two and stories galore

Community spirit

We have spent some really happy times with Eric and others over the last few days, sharing stories of life on the island and away. There have been lots of laughs. They are proud of their heritage and culture, although uncertain of the future. Elder Arnold Dushkin remembered there being 70 or 80 residents in the village when he was a boy.

Elder Arnold Dushkin remembers when the village had 70 or 80 inhabitants

Elder Arnold Dushkin remembers when the village had 70 or 80 inhabitants

He smiled and shrugged when I asked him what he thought would happen in the future, on our way back to his house from our tour of the tiny Russian Orthodox church. ‘Well,’ he said, ‘it all depends on the younger generations, whether they come back and have children.’ There is a young family ‘off island’ at the moment, but meanwhile the swings and climbing frame stand quietly waiting for the children to come back, tickled only by grass and flowers growing about the base and circuited by the numerous small rabbits hopping deftly here and there or playing host to a passing eagle, dropping in for a quiet seat to survey the world or eat. The school closed some years ago when the class size dropped below ten.

The pretty blue and white church matched the pretty blue and white skies

The pretty blue and white church matched the pretty blue and white skies

For now, the Store – which opens three times a week – and the Community Centre seem to be the hub of the village, with residents meeting every morning for coffee and chat. Community is definitely the word – where else do you see an 18 year old chatting to a seventy-plus-year-old for half an hour and more? It’s certainly not something we get too much of at home unless families are involved. And perhaps that’s part of it – even the elder folks who are not related to young Eric he calls Aunt or Uncle. And for the most part anyway it seems everyone is related in some way. We connected up the dots between two residents here and our friends on Atka Island, our last community.

Smallest post office in the world perhaps? Best service from Postmaster Nina.

Smallest post office in the world perhaps? Best service from Postmaster Nina.

Eric’s Aunt Agrafina summed it up, ‘Well, I reckon I’m related to everyone along the chain.’ I thought back home and of my feelings towards my identity and history as a Brit. First off, I realized I know embarrassingly little of my nation’s past and also, while I am proud to be British, I am not sure I know what that means for me in the same way that some of the people of these islands feel about their Aleut culture and identity. And maybe the difference lies therein – it doesn’t feel like Britain is struggling to be Britain in the same way that these communities are threatened by low population numbers and the scary homogenization that is happening all over the world as native peoples are forced to join the masses.

 It felt pretty special to go for an evening paddle with locals Agrofina and her nephew Eric - this is an ancient home of kayaking

It felt pretty special to go for an evening paddle with locals Agrofina and her nephew Eric – this is an ancient home of kayaking

On Atka there was a big push by some locals to keep various traditions alive, including the Unangan language and out here in Nikolski Eric told me he was keen to revive the tradition of kayaking. If he hadn’t had to leave today for some work, there was talk of him joining us for the paddle up to the next island, Unalaska. It would have been great to help him develop his skills and increase the distances he has paddled locally. Like he said in brilliantly gentle understatement, ‘Well, my family has a rich history of kayaking… ‘. I grinned. ‘Rich history?! You guys invented the kayaks!’ We giggled and paddled off across the bay, sharing stories of this and that.  From one paddler to another Eric, I wish you well in your aims buddy.

Eric's Aleut ancestors invented the 'iqyax'. He is keen to revive the tradition of paddling.

Eric’s Aleut ancestors invented the ‘iqyax’. He is keen to revive the tradition of paddling.

And with that, I would like to wish a huge and happy thankyou to the people of this tiny community for showing us a warm and gentle welcome. It was tasty, too – the red salmon are just starting to run. Yum!

Go well my friends,

Sarah x

I'm glad my back isn't big enough to need a vertebra this huge! A whale vertebra.

I’m glad my back isn’t big enough to need a vertebra this huge! A whale vertebra.

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Brutal & beautiful

My favuorite shower of the journey - Skiff Cove waterfalls

My favuorite shower of the journey – Skiff Cove waterfalls

We always knew it would be hard. Really hard. In fact, as I bobbed about in Happy Socks on the North Pacific last summer, trying to figure where I could land and how I could continue the L2L journey, I called Justine to ask her if she was serious about kayaking the Aleutians. Her reply went a bit like this:

‘Well… I’m not saying no, but it will be the most challenging kayaking that either of us has ever done’.

'Well... I'm not saying no, but it will be the most challenging kayaking that either of us has ever done'

‘Well… I’m not saying no, but it will be the most challenging kayaking that either of us has ever done’

Golly, she was right. This is by far the most challenging kayaking I have ever done. Not that it takes much – I haven’t done that much really before now. These islands – and importantly the water between and around them – are testing and teaching me in ways I couldn’t quite imagine before. In ways that I probably didn’t want to imagine before, as much as we trained for it over the winter and needed to think about it.

Tent life

Tent life

Besides being the most challenging kayaking I have ever done, the expedition is also providing some of the most challenging expedition days I have ever had – on or off the water. Our latest crossing to Umnak Island across Samalga Pass three days ago was never going to be easy – we knew that – but the 15 hour slog we were treated to was brutal. The early morning wakeup was softened by the beautiful sunrise over the striking peaks of Mt Vesevidof and its smaller pals to our east, a bright orange line glowing beneath the cloud on the horizon, coaxing us out of the tent.

The Islands of the Four Mountains

The Islands of the Four Mountains

The first couple of hours were comparatively gentle as my body woke up and my clicking crunching shoulder settled into a rhythm and the painkillers kicked in to dull the pain in my elbow and back, and the peaks on the Islands of Four Mountains bade us a stately farewell, cloaked in a peachy glow. The water seemed charmed and with light headwinds forecast and the thought of ticking away at the day like that was good, even if we were set for at least a twelve hour day. The idea of people, showers and a warm bed and a few days off paddling at the end of it in Nikolski was motivating.

The water was charmed to start with

The water was charmed to start with

A few hours after the gentle start it started to get tricky. The ebbing tide started earlier than we had predicted, pulling us south at a rate of knots faster than we could paddle across it. As the hours ticked by it started pulling us away from the islands we were aiming for. And then the headwinds strengthened…. Our target islands which had been getting promisingly closer for those first few hours started getting smaller…. My previously quieted muscles and squeaky bits rebelled. A lot. Loudly and painfully.

We will get there...

We will get there…

We zigged and zagged at times in an effort to find the best course to take us across the tide at the most efficient angle – or even just to limit the collateral that it was wreaking on our progress. It was a real worry that we might not make it to any island, let alone the one we wanted as the tides were so strong. The flooding tide, when it arrived late afternoon took a while to start working in our favour and helping us make ground north east. And by that time the headwind was really becoming a problem too.

Justine - happy as a fish in water

Justine – happy as a fish in water

Not wanting to get sucked into the tide rips down the side of Samalga Island we fought to gain ground north, while also aiming to get across the pass where we hoped we might get out of the strongest tide. The mist socked in, the wind kicked up and up to 20 knots or more.  With every stroke my shoulders, back and elbow screeched their protests at the effort I was demanding. Mentally I pulled out every trick in the book to keep going. Under it all is the stark reality that if you don’t keep going you’re a gonner – it’s not an option to stop. We snatched moments to stuff food in our mouths from time to time, always being blown or pulled in an unhelpful direction by wind or tide. If you zoom into the Yellowbrick tracker map (now all uptodate!) and zoom into the final couple of days you will see our looping-not-so-direct route to Umnak Island. We finally came ashore at 10pm after 15 hours in the kayaks, both of us falling out of the boats rather ungracefully after all those hours sitting down. Numb bums, cold toes, dead arms….but happy as heck to be ashore. Safe, safe, safe. That’s all that counted.

Pleased to see you firm ground!

Pleased to see you firm ground!

We camped on the south end of the island overnight – for my part sleeping nearly 11 hours before Justine woke me up with a freshly cooked pancake and cup of tea to coax me into the day. I was surprised she hadn’t already dressed me in my paddling gear! Though she had sorted the snacks and drinks for the day. A couple of hours later we were battling yet another headwind up the coast and a strong ebbing tide pushing against us. Happily we were skirting the coast so could watch the wild foxes eyeing us curiously from shore, taking the island in as we edged north. Otters gazed at us from time to time and we almost paddled over three sealions at one point – neither of us knowing what they were until they had stood upright in the water to huff and honk at us and shout us on our way. Justine finds it hilarious that I shout back at them – they really are intimidating!

Fox watching and sea lion shouting

Fox watching and sea lion shouting

Five hours of slogging and we had arrived. People again. The tiny community of Nikolski is home to the oldest culture in the world, apparently. For thousands of years people have lived on or around this island, so it is a special place. It feels gentle for sure - a quiet church looking out of the bay and a couple of rows of little houses, brightly painted into the landscape. The wind is not so gentle – roaring around outside and, happily, keeping us off the water. We have had quite a reclusive first day, staying at the rather luxurious APICDA Lodge and catching up with admin and our resupply boxes and presents from home. Tomorrow we are looking forwards to exploring the islands and spending more time with the community. After all, the last folks we saw were quite a few hundred miles away.

The flowers are starting to explode with colour on islands we camped on

The flowers are starting to explode with colour on islands we camped on

So in summing up our first month of this journey, I think I’ll go for brutal and beautiful. Happily as well as the challenging, this expedition is also providing me with some of the most wonderful moments of the journey. Real magic bits, wild places and creatures new to me and special people. Both the brutal and the beautiful remind me of the miles and moments so far and both are a reminder to live in the moment, to soak it up and let it become you and grasp each one for all its worth. Sometimes they are restful and rejuvenating and sometimes they are fight-for-your-life all-out efforts. But every one counts and all will become memories in time. Last summer this journey seemed like forever away – distant and abstract. As did Nikolski at the start of the trip. And boom – now we are here. Though you wouldn’t have caught me saying that during 15 hour gauntlet across the Pass!

Every day is filled with magic moments

Every day is filled with magic moments

Until next time,

Sarah & Krissy the Kayak x

P.P.S Click here to read and listen to a piece by Alaskan journalist for KUCB Public Radio -

http://kucb.org/news/article/british-kayakers-take-on-aleutian-chain/

P.P.P.S For Sarah’s latest blog for the Independent Online see here: http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2014/06/05/via-the-world-brutal-and-beautiful-one-month-in-kayaking-in-the-aleutian-islands/

P.S To make all those miles and moments even more worthwhile, please consider donating anything you can to the fab charities I am supporting. Thanks! Donate here:

www.sarahouten.com (red ‘donate’ button on the bottom right of the home page)

P.P.S For Justine’s take on things check out her blogs at:

http://www.cackletv.com/justines-blog

 

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Tracker update

Happy to be ashore!

Happy to be ashore!

After a restless night of tracker watching and it not moving, I was relived to get a call from Sarah this morning saying they had arrived safely after a pretty gruelling crossing.  The tracker obviously knew the crossing would be tough and didn’t want to go with them! They reached Umnak Island after 15 hours of hard paddling against tides and headwinds and I think they’ve both had more enjoyable crossing then this one - they are safe and both happy to be ashore!                                      

Depending on weather and tiredness levels tomorrow, they will hopefully reach Nikolski within the next couple of days. The tracker should be sorted soon after its technical hitch and the blue dot and yellow line shall catch them up.

Happy dot watching!

Lucy x

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Sea lions and waterfalls

Sea lions make very noisy neighbours. This we discovered a couple of days ago when three of them hauled up at half four in the morning not far from our tent and started their grunting and snorting and honking at each other. From what we have seen in the daytime it seems to be boys fighting over girls. When you’re not trying to catch the final precious hours of snoozing ahead of a big crossing it is interesting and entertaining to watch. When you are trying to sleep and you’re not sure if the hulking beasts can see that you are in fact a harmless almost sleeping tent and not another hulking beast wanting a fight it is a bit unnerving to see other dark shadows dragging up through the noisy gravel, barking into the still night.

Sea lions make noisy neighbours

Sea lions make noisy neighbours

Albatrosses make great crossing distractions

I already knew how brilliant it is to watch an albatross soar low over the waves and glide over your head to check you out, having seen hundreds out on the Indian and Pacific rows. I shall never tire of watching them, especially when the chips are down which they were for our crossing to Seguam Island on Monday. I was tired and am getting over a cold so didn’t feel my perkiest. As we  paddled into headwinds in the fog I felt happy to see these masters of the ocean making light of the miles, even if we weren’t. Lucky birds above the water don’t have to contend with tides pulling them this way and that! The albies were joined by tufted puffins, auklets, sooty shear waters and fulmars and guillemots.

The birdlife up here in the Aleutians is fantastic. Always someone with wings to look at.

The birdlife up here in the Aleutians is fantastic. Always someone with wings to look at.

Volcano tease

Paddling into fog is a bit demoralising because you can’t see your goal – in this case the volcanic peaks of Seguam Island just fifteen miles across the water from our island, Amlia. What was even more demoralising, or rather frustrating, was that the ebbing tide was pulling us south faster than we could make good progress East. So it was a long old haul to Seguam and I felt mentally and physically challenged by it. Mentally because I felt I had emptied the tank and wondered how on earth I could complete the longest crossing of the trip to Amukta Island in a few days time. With all that in mind, we wer more than three hours into it when we saw the snowy lower slopes of one of Seguam’s peaks peering at us out of the cloud. As though wearing a towel wrapped around her middle, we then saw various peaks – some snowy, Some thick with rocky lava and another semi-clad which looked like a volcanic shaped Christmas pudding with white sauce. It was magnificent.

The flowers are just starting to appear out here in Seguam

The flowers are just starting to appear out here in Seguam

Resting and recharging

It felt like forever toreach Lava cove, where we thought we would camp – one of very few sheltered landing spots. The rest of the shoreline is bluff and inaccessible. As it was we landed in dumping surf, the waves being held up high by the offshore wind which was accelerating down the valleys straight into our faces like a repeated punch. Happy is a weary paddler to get safely hauled up onto the beach out of the surf after eleven hours in the kayak.

We have been here two days now, resting and recharging – mind, body and batteries in the rare and much welcome sunshine. After Justine discovered a missing part to the stove on our first night we have been cooking on a campfire. Using my saw and machete to baton logs and our spark sticks to light it as taught by Patrick of Backwoods Survival school, we have been very satisfied with ourselves. We have cooked pancakes, pizzas, stew, chapatis and potato cakes and added lots of our foraged favourite – beach greens and lovage. Sadly it is too surfy to do any fishing and the crab trap I made with a washed up bottle got taken by the waves, so that will have to wait. Talking of washing, Mum, don’t worry – we even had a wash and did our laundry yesterday in a sawn barrel I made. So at least we smell a bit different. It has been a wonderful, gentle, beautiful and tasty couple of days on our beach.

A couple of days off means campfire cooking

A couple of days off means campfire cooking

At the moment it looks like Friday will be a good day to paddle to the end of the island ahead of the monster crossing on Saturday – a cheeky 37 miles from island to island with another 5 or so to the nearest beach for camping. Onwards to another wild and beautiful island.

Until then,

Sarah

P.s Check out the tracker here, Hourly updates when we paddle
P.p.s Check out Justine’s blogs

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Aang – Welcome

The first time Justine mentioned we could push on for the community on the North side of Atka Island with three full days paddling I wasn’t too keen. My muscles were sore and tight and I felt pretty shattered already, still settling into this new life of day-in-day-out paddling with heavy boat and still mastering the sail and dynamic conditions.

Mirror calm seas and sunshine - happy days

Mirror calm seas and sunshine – happy days

We had just made it onto the island of Atka after crossing from Tagalak Island where we had spent a day and a half waiting for the wind to drop so that we could make the 8 miles of open water crossings in the safest conditions. Happily for us, the notorious tide races through Atka Pass and Fenimore Rock were avoidable for the most part and not too bouncy on the bits we paddled through.

Our boats nestled by the shore

Our boats nestled by the shore

We paddled up the south side of the island, taking that rather than the north in favour of the shorter distance round to the community, our final contact with people for 250 miles. We camped in some lovely bays, watched by curious seals, a half water-half land reflection of themselves, perhaps. One evening as I put the tent up and Justine was off up the beach collecting water I looked up to see four reindeer staring back at me a little confusedly, as if surprised at having someone parked in their munching ground in the tidelines.

A delicious sunset on the south of the island

My favourite sights have been the Steller sea lions (the gingery golden beasts we first thought were fur seals), hulking males and their harems barking and honking and snorting at us from the safety of their rookery. I am part in awe a part intimidated each time I paddle past such a hangout, imagining how tiny I will feel if one comes up to argue his case from besides the boat. Another  favourite was the squawking oyster catcher marching about past his nest of three mottled blue eggs that happened to be on my path during a beach walk.

Black oystercatcher eggs

Black oystercatcher eggs

On Monday we were welcomed into the Unangax community in Atka, a city of just 70 people. City status was granted in 1988 as a way to gain access to more federal support and funding of this native community. Having made contact with one of the residents before arriving, we paddled our final 25 miles in eager anticipation of the traditional welcome she had suggested. That and hot showers and a chance to wash our smelly clothes! With following seas and flooding tide in our favour we had a fantastic ten mile run up to the community after our hurried lunch on Monday, each of us anticipating what it would be like on arrival. The final stretch  into the bay is sheltered by many small islands, so we weaved between them, trying to spot the first signs of people. We hadn’t seen a single boat, building, person or vehicle since leaving Adak a week before.

It was an emotional welcome on the beach - humbling and moving

It was an emotional welcome on the beach – humbling and moving

As we passed a beautiful waterfall sliding out of the rocks we rounded the island which would give us first sight of white satellite dishes, vehicle tracks squelched into the hillside and the nestle of colourful buildings perched between beach and hill just off the shore. Both of us felt quite emotional even before we got close enough to make out a cluster of people come to welcome us in, waving back at the children leaping about on the beach with waving arms. I swallowed back tears as I grinned my hellos and high fived with children, shaking hands with adults. Then the chanting, singing and dancing started, skin drums rumbling the warmth of their welcome. It was wonderful, absolutely grin-out-loud wonderful and humbling.

We are just coming to the end of our three days here, part excited for the journey ahead and part sad to leave our new friends. It has been a privilege to spend time with these people, learning about their history, way of life and thoughts on the future and sharing some of our own experiences too. It’s one thing to read about the history of places and form your own opinions but entirely another to come and live alongside people and hear it from them firsthand, personalizing our view of the place. Highlights for me have been the traditional Unangax dancing by school students on Tuesday, time with the Swetzof and Dushkin family around the meal table and foraging on the beach with our host Crystal Dushkin and her Uncle Danny yesterday. There is a tangible sense of family, community and togetherness over here, necessary I would think when you are eking a life out in harsh environment, miles from other people, and especially as a people who have been marginalized over the years, sadly by their own national government, as with many native people across the world.

The boys show off their drumming skills

The boys show off their drumming skills

The 13 students at the Atka Netsvetof School all dance together twice a week, five year olds learning from the High School students, all reliving their tribal dances which tell stories of their community’s history. It was moving to watch that spirit of togetherness let alone the emotion stirred up by the drums and the stories themselves. It was really special to be invited to join in one of the dances, acting out handlining for halibut, a centuries’ old source of food out here. I have just been told that today marks the first halibut delivery of the season into the city’s processing plant, its main source of income.

Maria in traditional beaded headdress for the dancing

Maria in traditional beaded headdress for the dancing

As an island people their lives are still closely connected to the sea and it’s larder, the seasons and the weather.  Relying on tri-weekly flights in to bring in mail and outside produce, and with emergency medical help over a day away,  you need to be hardy, resilient and resourceful to survive out here, and most of all it seems you need to be a tight community, determined for the future. That’s my sense of the place so far. We chatted sometime to one of the high school students hoping to graduate next year and heard of their families’ efforts to survive, talking of collecting firewood, fishing and hunting and working various jobs to bring in enough money to make ends meet.

Father Ivan blessing a local fishing boat

Father Ivan blessing a local fishing boat

They are an Orthodox community and proud of their faith, the tiny church on the hill a focus for the community. Father Ivan, the minister for this and other churches in his parish stretching thousands of miles, was here during our stay and even blessed our boats while blessing the local fleet.

Yesterday morning was also a favourite, as hunter fisherman Danny and his niece Crystal took us out foraging on the seashore.  Justine is normally pretty squeamish about new foods so I was amazed to see her knocking back the sweet orangey eggs of the sea urchins with gusto.

Justine slurping a sea urchin

Justine slurping a sea urchin

My favourite was the kelp, bladder wrack and beach greens, seaweeds and plants crunchy and fresh and quite a contrast to the solid rubber of the badarki (we call these chitons at home) which we prised off rocks with knives. They have been soaking overnight so we’re going to try the cooked version later on today before we leave, I think.

Badarki or chitons growing on the rocks make a tasty and rubbery snack

Badarki or chitons growing on the rocks make a tasty and rubbery snack

Sea urchins and badarki - great protein and vitamins

Sea urchins and badarki – great protein and vitamins

Tomorrow (Friday) we are headed south east to the next island, Amlia, from where we make the first of our bigger crossings. This first section has been a good introduction to the journey ahead weve had a good mix of weather and water to try out our systems,  build my confidence and learn about the local waters and weathers. Our next pitstop with people is the even tinier community of Nikolski, some 250 miles up the chain on  Umnak island. We dont know how long it will take us to get there, but hope it wont be too much longer than a month as we only carry food for three weeks.

Lots of laughter and tales shared around the dinner table with the Swetzoff and Dushkin family

Lots of laughter and tales shared around the dinner table with the Swetzoff and Dushkin family

It will be sad to say goodbye to our new friends tomorrow morning but I am so glad we have that no goodbyes would mean no new friends and communities. I just hope that when I come back one day with my future hypothetical children that this tiny community will be stronger than ever and my friends still here, although a little older. In fact one of the girls of the family who have looked after us has just given me a little letter saying she will miss us and wishes we could stay here forever. Nothing like a letter from a five year old to make you cry!

Piggy back rides on the beach

Piggy back rides on the beach

Warm thankyous to our Unangax friends in Atka, especially the Swetzoff and Dushkin family for their kind hospitality and sharing,  to the City Office for the lodgings and the students of Atka Netsvetof School for their dancing.

Go well my friends,

Sarah x

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