July 10: Home on the Kotuy River

Ordovician sediments on the Kotuy River
Ben and Roma, ultra-cool field geologists

Mosquito Quotient: 17
Number of Laxatives Still in Play: 16
Rock Skipping Record: Ben, 13
Average Temperature in the Sun: 80 degrees (!!)
Campfires Built:1
Giant Flesh-Eating Bee-flies Killed Inside Seth’s Tent: 3
Number of Time Seth has Cursed About the Giant Bee-flies: >3
Clouds Today: 0


We were slated to leave at 5 PM today from Khatanga aboard a large, slow boat that would take us as far as Kayak. A “speedboat” of the Khatanga variety was supposed to take us another two hours upriver, where the larger vessel couldn’t go. We didn’t actualy leave until 9 PM, after waiting for fuel, switching boats, and picking up a couple of extra crew members (namely a recent mother and her year-old son).

While we waited to get going, we had plenty of time to play poker. Unfortunately we didn’t have any poker chips, so we had to make do with individually wrapped laxative tablets. Deuces wild!

The small boat could only carry half our gear and half our party. So after six hours of chugging upriver,we dropped anchor and transferred Roma, Volodia, and Anton plus the essential camp-building gear (including the giant canvas “Chateau de Volodia”). Four hours later the small boat returned for the rest of us.

Finally, at 8 AM, our trusty speedboat edged in towards a sloping gravel bank, where Anton had already built a fire and cooked breakfast. We pitched our tents on a thin band of grass and wildflowers, between the river and a small creek running out of the woods.Looking south from the campfire we could see spectacular red and white cliffs of Ordovician siltstones, mudstones, and marls. We spent the remainder of the day sampling a series of mafic dikes that cut through the cliff-face. Tomorrow we will sample a mafic sill that crops out down river and we will prepare the rafts for the rest of our time on the Kotuy.

Despite the all-night boatride and the sudden arrival of giant biting bee-flies, we really are excited to sleep outside tonight and to know that we will be doing geology tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that…


deuces wild. polluting humor in several continents, mr. s.d.b.

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