Finally, I reach the town of Sakhyurta, home to the port of Malomorskaya (MRS).
While planning my route, I’d had some doubts about whether this port would actually be open when I got here. In summer time there’s a ferry. In winter time, there’s a cool ice road. In between, the weather craps out at some point and the strait becomes too stormy to cross.
So I’m hoping that it’s crossable now. But first I have to find the port.
The town is pretty low key, with a smattering of small bungalows and not much else. A pebbly beach doesn’t reveal anything except for an old man and his dog, and the rear entrance to a bar, where a few people sit at an unattractive plastic table.
I pass something that looks like the port and stop. Two fishing boats are moored side by side. There’s no sign of a gangway and I wonder how I’ll get my heavy bike on board. Several young guys appear and I learn that either they don’t go to Olkhon, or they don’t understand me. But they point me in a direction and I assume that this leads to another port.
I ride to the end of the road, where there is also no port. It’s getting dark and I wonder if I’ll need to backtrack to the dodgy bar, or the campsite on the hill. But when I return to the original port, I find a large ferry – which appears to be waiting for me!
The crew hurry me on board and we set off. I’m super excited now and I leech on to a young English couple with a personal guide in tow. Their friendly Russian host seems happy to chat with me, but I get the distinct impression that they’d rather that he didn’t.