Here It Comes - the Expedition Took Off for Siberia!

Today at 1.40 p.m. when Pavel and Vasek got on the airplane to Russia the Bergans Bajkal 2010 Expedition has begun. As the Lake Baikal is not just round the corner, it takes some time to get there.
21. 2. 2010

According to their plan Pavel and Vasek hope to step on the ice on Tuesday morning. And what are they up to until then? They set out from Prague, Czech Republic to Saint Petersburg today where they have a six hour layover; then they will get on the plane which takes them straight to Irkutsk which they should reach on Monday at about 2 p.m. of the Irkutsk Time (GMT+8 Time Zone). They will spend one night in Irkutsk, get the gas supplies for the stoves as it is not allowed to transport it by plane and they will also repack their sleds to have everything ready for their days on the ice. As the southernmost side of Baikal, which is their starting point, is about 80 kms (50 miles) far from Irkutsk, Pavel and Vasek have a car arranged to take them straight to the lake. Well, and then they will step on the ice heading to the northernmost side of the lake...but let them tell us about it themselves in the following days :-)

It was quite big at the airport today as Pavel’s and Vasek’s families, friends and also number of people who helped them to organize the expedition came to the airport to say goodbye to them. Their “film crew” was there as well documenting every moment. There was a manager from the Rossya Airlines who came to give them goodbye personally - thanks to him Pavel and Vasek received a generous discount on the transport of their baggages. They have about 90 kgs (198 lbs.) each plus skis, so they were far from the usual baggage limits and the discount was more than helpful! A great surprise for all present, Pavel and Vasek included, was the highest Lama for the Republic of Buryat (Buddhism is one of the major religions in the Baikal area) who happened to be on his visit in Prague and came to the airport to wish the expedition good luck. As Pavel and Vasek were waiting at the check-in, the TV Nova (TV channel in the Czech Rep.) arrived to interview them. The TV Nova had informed about the expedition in their news before, so they didn’t want to miss as it takes off. Then it was time to have the baggages checked and to take them to the counter for oversized baggages because Pavel’s and Vasek’s long skis and heavy loaded sleds were far from being according to the limits for ordinary baggages :-) There was a moment of nervous silence when they called Pavel and Vasek to explain some suspicious objects. Fortunately it showed up that those were only titanium bottles for storing gas and thermos bottles and therefore could be kept in the baggages.

Even thought the plane was one hour late, it seemed to be to soon when there suddenly was time for Pavel and Vasek to go though the passport control and get on the plane. The last hugs and kisses, then they waved to their friends and families and set out for their adventure. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for them!

21. 2. 2010

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