Explorer Mikael Strandberg

20 years since Expedition Siberia 2004; Highlight of Life

8/8 2004 – Highlight of life, Nemerpenu Stream, E 25593977 N 6846085, 8th of August,


The time is 10 past ten at night, and I’ve just experienced

six of the most enjoyable hours of my life!


This morning, though, we woke feeling very tense. Not due to my sick stomach, it was ok, but because according to the map, it seemed that we could expect our worst rapids so far. A new phase of the Kolyma River awaited us. Up until then, the river had consisted of not only one main river, but two or three, broken up constantly by small islands, curves and sandbanks. The map showed is that this new stage had no islands or sandbanks and consisted of only one main

river shadowed on both sides by steep mountain walls. Since we know very little about how to read a river, we figured it is could mean bigger waves and tougher rapids. Sure enough, after an hour paddling our nightmare turn up. High waves, white water and brutal rapids. So we decided to do a thoroughly check this section out, tied up the canoe, climbed a steep bank and entered the Siberian wall of bushes, trees and mosquitoes. After an hour Johan figured to my great disbelief that we could handle it! Which it turned out that we could!


The rest of the paddling day turned out to be a sunny vacation. Then, at six o’clock, we noticed this stream to the left of us, made our way there and encountered a clear, crisp and deep blue mountain stream!


“Finally we can have a wash after a week of muddy and dirty water!” we hollered together in joy.


And then we noticed a move in the water. Fish! We acted fast, positioned our net where it should be and before we were ready, something got caught in the net. A big, fine mountain grayling! Almost 800 grams! We caught another within two hours. We salted and grilled them. Two each. Exactly the type of fat and protein we’ve been wishing for the last fruitless week! A godly taste!


Then it was time to wash oneself in this crisp, cold and clear mountain stream. After being incredibly muddy, dirty, sweaty and bad smelling for a week, throw oneself into this clean water, feel the cold at first take a grip of your heart, stand up, meet the warmth and the optimal feeling of cleanness, well, it has to be the truest feeling of happiness!


This is also bear country, so we’ve loaded the rifle for the night.


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