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Board, paddle and you

Primorye sap-rider was on the board 280 kilometers along the Amur Estuary and the Tatar Strait

Recently a sportsman from Vladivostok Maxim Kharchenko returned to his native city - skinny, tired, but pleased. He was the first in the world to cross the Amur River on the sap, walk along the Amur Estuary and the northern part of the Tatar watering, the Nevelskoy Strait, dividing the mainland and Sakhalin Island. 280 kilometers for 16 days, most of the cold and sometimes rough sea - EastRussia asked the athlete how he went, and most importantly - what he saw.

Board, paddle and you
Photo: From the archive of Maxim Kharchenko
The sap-rider passed the part of the journey that the Russian navigator Gennady Nevelskoy did in the mid-11th century. The famous pioneer made a round-the-world trip, reached Kamchatka, moved towards Sakhalin, proving that it was an island and thence further to the territory of modern Primorye.

Preparation for the campaign, Maxim began a year ago, went to 1000-kilometer sap-march from Vladivostok to the village of Samarga in Terneysky district of Primorye. Then even the Sap community did not believe in success. Skeptics predicted that he could not master and a third of the way. But Kharchenko went through everything, groped for the limit of possibilities, and decided, in his words, "to expand the framework."

"Last year I was strangled by the unknown, I did not know if I could stand the whole way. This year it was easier - I was convinced that I could go a thousand miles. Sap is an honest game. You, the board and the paddle, "he says. However, Kharchenko does not position himself as a tourist: - I'm an athlete. I go out to sea in any weather, in waves and wind, and sap at me loaded - it is necessary to carry equipment.

Equipment - this is all that can be needed and in the usual hike - tent, sleeping bag, gas, clothes, water, food ... Total 100 positions in the "Exile" plate, plus 100 kilograms per sap to the weight of the athlete himself. This created additional difficulties - even small waves overflowed the overloaded board. Food and drink took with a margin - starting from Nikolaevsk-on-Amur, Kharchenko planned to finish in the same Samarga, having overcome more than 700 kilometers.

In the early days he crossed the Amur, went into the Amur estuary. These yellowish and cloudy waters did not resemble the turquoise and the blue of the Sea of ​​Japan. The coast in the northern edge looked stern and inhospitable - a significant part of the way Maxim moved past rocky bastions with a height of 100-150 meters, protruding straight out of the water and stretching for 10-15 kilometers. During the low tide, small patches of land were exposed here and there, where the athlete managed to rest. It was difficult to find places for spending the night. Sometimes the tent had to put two to two meters in the cove. 

But this was nonsense compared to the fact that here there were bear trails. There was no choice, and almost every night the traveler heard footsteps: "At night in the shallow water they were looking for fish. Hearing this "slap-slap", I clapped my hands loud, the bears were frightened and ran away. A few days later the fear left, and I specially guarded the bears. Once I heard a snort, I thought - another bear. It was already light, and I decided to look out of the tent and take a picture of him. How surprised I was when I realized that sound comes from the water! Near the shore, a flock of belugas frolicked. They emerged, again went under the water. I jumped on the sap and went to them. But wherever I swam, it seemed as if in a vacuum - the belugas immediately left. Then the fishermen told me that the marine mammals could hunt at that moment. When there is a school of herring, they surround it, nail to the shore, not letting go, and eating. "

Last year he met a shark. Did the sapper see these sea predators, were interested in all the fishermen he met, adding that in these waters they ... well, very much.

- But I have not met. And already on the last day of the expedition, when he turned on the camera to remove the final meters of the path, he suddenly noticed the fin. He moved in my direction, and then went under the edge of the sap. I remembered that the sharks were attacking from below, dropping off the board, saw a huge, two and a half meter long body under the water. Heart began to beat, like crazy, a chill ran down his back. I was sitting on sapa, and in my head I thought: "Now she will feel my fear and attack ... No, she will not attack, this is a herring shark, she does not eat people ...". And when I began to sail slowly, I heard splashes. Turned, something glinted in front of my eyes. Rybina, wriggling, fell into the water, at the same moment near the corner in full growth jumped the shark itself, flattened into the place where the salmon had sunk. I guessed that she was killing the fish. And then the fin then appeared, then disappeared - the shark played with pink salmon, like a cat with a mouse, - recalls the sap-rider.

Returning, he asked the friends of ichthyologists why the carnivore did not pay attention to him. They suggested that it could be in a yellow overall. If it was black, a shark could take a man for his favorite treat - a seal.

These overalls, yellow last year and red this year, misled not only sharks but fishermen as well. Looking at the bright outfit, they could not believe that this desperate guy was Russian, and when they heard their native language and learned that he was conquering the seas on this light board, they shook hands, gave fish and crab. It helped a lot: in a few days the standard "tourist's set" - potatoes, pasta and stew - became disgusting, high-calorie dates and nuts did not "fit".

- I would like, do not believe, beets! For her, I deliberately ran through the forest to nearby villages, bought, and, just waiting to cook, I ate, "he laughs.

He made one of the sorties to the shore specifically to see with his own eyes the place where in the Stalin years the tunnel was being built to Sakhalin. I found a ventilation shaft meters 10 in diameter and 30 depth: "Made on conscience. The pyramids will collapse, but it will remain, "he shares his impressions.

In general, the thoughts of the sap-rider were visited by the unhappy.

- I walked and thought that I felt Nevelskoy when I saw Sakhalin. Personally, I was sad. I think that he, now get here, experienced similar feelings. The deserted shore, the collapsing villages. In addition to how to cut down the forest and harvest fish, that is, to exploit the resources, we are not doing anything here, "Kharchenko explains.

On 15 day of the expedition, the wind broke - from the northern by-pass changed to the southern, inflating three-meter waves. At that moment, Maxim walked past another ten-kilometer stone wall. At first I thought that I could go back in case of something, but the wind made another feint and began to press the sap rider to the shore. From the overstrain, convulsions began in him, but it was necessary to row further. Saving the athlete high waves, between the crests of which he fell through, rowed the meter 2-3, then again took off to the wave.

- The main task was to consolidate, not to let me move from the conquered meters. It was scary, but fear motivates to action. When I got to the beach, I was surprised myself, where did the forces come from, and then I felt like a real "sea wolf", he says.

In this regime, he lasted almost two days, reaching the port of De-Kastri on the north-west coast of the Tatar Strait. There, finally making sure that the wind changed direction for the whole summer, he decided to suspend the expedition. Her next stage was scheduled by Maxim for the summer of 2019. Start planning from the opposite side, moving to De-Kastri from the Soviet Harbor.
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