Safely loaded and bound for Murmansk


If there are gods about the place, they woke up smiling on Friday morning.

Dawn broke divinely calm – bronze and rose in the east fading to pewter but holding the promise of stillness. The sea around the ‘Kapitan Danilkin’ was plate smooth and Barrabas, moored against the ship’s port side tugged gently at her lines. She knew, I’m certain, exactly what would happen later in the morning. I had explained it to her as we motored from the Tiksi docks the previous evening after getting the call from the ship’s Chief Mate to proceed alongside. Barrabas is an extraordinary boat. The short run from the docks to the ship, six miles, required three course changes. Without touching the autopilot, Barrabas made the turns, ten degrees to starboard on each occasion, on the mark without any input from me. She knew where she was going like a trekking horse that has trodden the same path interminably and no matter what cajoling from its rider will not deviate. Barrabas was as anxious as I to get away.

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