Trans Sibir eXpedition 2012

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EtronX
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MC: BMW R1200 GSA 2010

Tynda to Yakutsk

Legg inn av EtronX » 16 feb 2013, 20:30

The road from Tynda to Yakutsk took its toll on everyone. It was raining hard. The road was shait and it was cold. Maybe 6 C. It was slippery as h**l and the bike was all over the place. Fortunately I had brought with me my Klin electric heated vest. That was a winner. At least I wan't freezing my nuts off. The mud got everywhere and the engine got hot.

Bilde


But Terry, Terry was smiling as always. What was going on inside of him he didn't show. He was just smiling and being a great motivator :clap I admire him for that.

Bilde


As said before, this is one of those days you question yourself "fhat the wuck am I doing here..."

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EtronX
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Yakutsk

Legg inn av EtronX » 16 feb 2013, 20:30

It was quite a shock for us that Walter and Terry decided to call it a day in Yakutsk. Walter announced this on the ferry crossing the Lena river. We did understand it though. They had been on the road for a long time and they drive hard. No vacation pace and time to smell the flowers there.

We tried our best to persuade them to join us to Magadan. Walter had been there before and lots of parts to pick up at Boris' place in Moscow :evil He definitively wouldn't go.

Bilde


Terry really wanted to go, but was pretty knackered from the trip and tired off the handlebars falling off all the time :becca

Bilde


We did though have a plan to try to turn Terry around. A few days of R&R would just maybe do it :evil How could we motivate the old warrior? We figured that a night on the town would do it :1drink I will get back to this matter later...

The hotel was nice :wink:

Bilde

And on Saturday the 11th of August we met Bolot. Bolot is a local guy from Yakutsk. He is very friendly and really helpful. He took the day of from the wife and kids and helped us get stuff. When he doesn't help foreigners on tour, he runs the Ask Yakutia web page. There you can find lots of info about the area.

We rented a cab and went shopping :D By the look on Adrian's face I don't think he quite realized what kind of a gang he joined :happay

Bilde


We got the stuff we'd set out to get. The better part of the day we did this.
Bolot, Erik, Terry and Adrian at the Chinese market in Yakutsk :D

Bilde

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Bimma
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Re: Trans Sibir eXpedition 2012

Legg inn av Bimma » 03 mar 2013, 16:35

Dette var fantastisk spennende lesning Geir :prop: :-)å

Helt utrolig at dere kom dere velberget igjennom denne turen :thumleft . Speseielt jernbanebroene med alle togene som passerte, må til tider ha vært svært nervepirrende.... :-)å I tillegg til alle de andre utfordringene som sto i kø... :knegg

Veldig hyggelig å stifte bekjentskap med deg på helgens mc-messe, og tusen takk for at du viste meg noen videosnutter og tipset meg om denne fantastiske turen! :D
Gleder meg til flere spennende historier fra deg og dine turkamerater! :prf


Mvh.
Wenche Hornbøll
Livet består av øyeblikk - nyt dem !

Tohjuling: BMW F800ST 08-mod.
Kjørelengde 2007: 18.230 km ___ 2008: 24.540 km ___ 2009: 17.300km___2010: 17.889 km

BLOGGEN MIN: mc-tourer.com

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EtronX
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MC: BMW R1200 GSA 2010

The Rim fixer

Legg inn av EtronX » 28 mar 2013, 20:18

At the next fuel stop I noticed that my front rim had got some new dents in them. I had now been riding slower and more taken it more easy than on the BAM road and it seemed like it were weaker than before. Maybe the heat treatment in Yakutsk had made it even softer than it was. A borrowed a large hammer from a truck driver at the gas station. I banged it as hard as I could to try to straighten it. (Any footage here Geir?). Not that I care to much about the looks of the RIM or that it is a little bit bent, but it is a good idea to keep the edge of the rim to seal against the tyre to avoid sand, water and dirt to enter. That will only give punctures and troubles.

Pictures :evil

Trying to fix the rim.

Bilde


I need tools...

Bilde


I use tools...

Bilde

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EtronX
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Strange day

Legg inn av EtronX » 28 mar 2013, 20:20

It was a strange day when we left Walter and Terry in Yakutsk. Their bikes had been loaded on a lorry and sent to Moscow. They would leave soon after.

Bilde


We bid our farewells in the morning and left.

Bilde


The night before we all had a nice time with a few beers. Walter gave us a lot of tips for the road ahead and Terry was smiling as always.

Bilde


I will now talk a little about Walter and Terry. I will start with Terry :D

I think Terry is the ideal riding buddy. Alway smiling :D He has a ton of experience and his mood is always top ten. Not a foul word did ever come out of his mouth. "I just love to ride my bike", he often said. Nothing more, nothing less :D I admire him for that.
If there is a tiny itsy bitsy Vodka around, he is always up for it :1drink And Terry moves the dance floor :rilla
In short, Terry is just a great guy to be around and I hope I will have the honor of riding with him again.

Bilde


Walter is a walking encyclopedia of the region. Most people with his kind of knowledge usually feel they are a bit above the rest. Not so with Walter. He willingly shares all his information and wisdom to those who asks. With great patience :clap When I contacted him a couple of years ago he was there right away dispensing his advise and thoughts. He really wanted to share his love for the region and to encourage other people to go there. I admire him for that and he is a role model for others to follow :D

Just like Terry, Walter is always positive. When things broke down or we had a bad hair day, "No problem". Walter is also very creative. Always looking for ways to improve his bike and new areas of the world to explore :evil

In short, Walter is a great guy and I hope I will have the honor of riding with him again.

Bilde


Again, thank you both, from the bottom of my heart, for being the wonderful human beings you are :clap

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EtronX
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Khandyga next

Legg inn av EtronX » 28 mar 2013, 20:21

We rode out of Yakutsk after saying goodbye to the guys. Along the way there were some nice monuments honoring "The Great Patriotic War". Always great photo opportunities :D

Bilde


The stretch today was about 420 km's with two major river crossings. First was the Lena River in Yakutsk. As always a lot of locals came to talk.

Bilde


We made sure to get our sticker up on the barge. If you ever come across one of these, please take a picture with you in it and send it along :D

Bilde


The roads were good, but a bit dusty. We could keep a good pace. I'll take dust any day of the week compared to mud and rain :huh I figure it is Genghis Khan standing here.

Bilde


Not much exciting happened that day with regards to the riding. This was basically a transport stretch for us to do in order to start on the Old Summer Road. We got to the Aldan River where we jumped on a new barge. This trip is upstream and it takes almost two hours, but it is a beautiful voyage :D

Preparing for departure.

Bilde


Steve is enjoying the scenery :D

Bilde


It was a nice day.

Bilde


We all caught some Zzzz's :bubba

Bilde


Just as we got of the barge I saw a guy on a bicycle. That was Christian, the Swiss guy we had met in Yakutsk, on his way to Magadan. We waved and set course for Khandyga, about 35 click's away. Just as we left the settlement of Keskil there were road works going on. They had filled up the road with loose gravel and it was pretty horrendous to drive there. The bikes were all over the place :eek1 This went on for about 25 km's.

Finally we got into Khandyga at around 2230. Among Walter's GPS points there is a B&B marked in Khandyga. After a little while we found the place. It was in the middle of a housing estate. We looked around if there was a secure place to park the bikes when this lovely young lady came along in a pimped Land Cruiser. She and her boyfriend had a container outside which they used as a garage for stuff. She opened up and told us to put the bikes inside :clap

Bilde


We got installed in our rooms and then went out for some chow. Stocking up for the next days. Tomorrow the plan for us was to reach Kyubyume. There we would leave the M56 and got to Tomtor. The start of the Old Summer Road :evil

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EtronX
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Kyubyueme next

Legg inn av EtronX » 28 mar 2013, 20:22

We left Khandygan in the morning. The roads were nice, but the scenery a bit dull. This was for us another transport stretch. We got our heads down and twisted the throttles as good as we could. Then we literarily came around a bend and we had the most magnificent mountains ahead of us.

Bilde


We were now following the river Vostochnaya and the scenery was beautiful.

Bilde


There were quite a bit of road work in the area. This is the main road to Magadan, via Ust Nera, and there are a lot big trucks using the road.

Bilde


Since the M56 is gravel you also have the dust when it is dry. That said, I'll take the dust any given day compared to the mud :huh

Bilde


We had a really great time riding now. Everyone set their own pace and just enjoyed the moment.

Bilde


The goal of the day was Kyubyueme, 330 kilometer's from Khandyga. There is a gas station there, a place to eat (I think the word restaurant is a bit over the top when describing the establishment) and Kyubyueme is also where you will leave the M56 in order to go to Tomtor and the Ols Summer Road.

The first thing we did when we got there was to get some gas.

Bilde


Then we payed the girl in the "office". One note here. It is the same girl who is part of the "diner" crew. We had to walk over and get her. Between the gas station and the "diner" there are a lot of dogs. They looked ominously at us and circled around us. Not very aggressive, but on a high alert. I think you have to look very confident when you pass dogs like that. They will smell fear. While we were eating the dogs attacked a truck driver and he had to fight the dogs off with his Vodka bottle...

We got the girl and got the gas (no pun intended ;-). New note. She is really friendly and she collects coins from all over the world. If you happen to pass buy, remember to bring some change from home :D

After we got the gas we had to put up our sticker. Adrian and Walter had also requested us to put up their stickers, which we did :deal

Bilde


After the feeding frenzy we got ready to cross the Kyubyueme river. This is the first major obstacle you meet when you want to ride the Old Summer Road :evil

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EtronX
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Kyubyueme River

Legg inn av EtronX » 28 mar 2013, 20:24

Yes Walter, we followed your advise. After gas and food we crossed the river. We wanted to start the next day dry. The first little bit was OK, but a bit rocky below the surface.

Bilde


It was a good thing that Steve had water proof Metal Mule panniers :clap

Bilde


The river proper was a different ballgame. It was wide and the current was strong. We did spend the better part of an hour reccing the river and finding the best route. Then we carried all our stuff over before taking the bikes.

Bilde


As always when you cross a large river it is good when it is all done and the bikes are on dry surface :D

Bilde


There is a deserted village just after the crossing. The gas station there was closed so there was no Snickers that night :evil

Bilde


After looking around a bit, we found a nice place to stay. There was only one guy living in the village so we could choose the pièce de résistance freely.

Bilde


We got our tents up inside and went for a walk about.

Bilde


There were lots of photo opportunities around.

Bilde


And of course we had to take the obligatory group photo :D

Bilde


As we cranked up a fire the one and only inhabitant of the settlement joined us. He had been living there by his lonesome for a long long time. Hunting and catching fish. He invited us to stay in his house, and told us it might get cold during the night. Typical Russian hospitality :clap We thankfully declined the nice offer and told him we had good sleeping bags. We also explained that we already had put up our tents inside one of the houses. He did spend the evening with us sharing food and drink :D He told us about his life out there in the wilderness and we asked about bears. It was a good evening.

Bilde

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EtronX
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The people you meet...

Legg inn av EtronX » 28 mar 2013, 20:31

We stayed two nights in Tomtor. Rain was pouring down and rivers were raising fast. Things could have looked better :huh

In the house we lived there were a few other guys. Polish guys. After we got installed we had a chat and a beer with the guys on the porch. These guys were very experienced expeditioners. They traveled between 250 and 300 days every year. All over the world. The boss was Jerzy Romejko. A Polish finance guy who spent his money traveling. With him he had two guys. One of them was a pretty famous Polish video/photographer, whom I can't remember the name of. Their plan was to trek 160 kilometers from Tomtor to a mountain range to the south. Using horses to carry equipment. Then raft some 300 km's down to Okhotsk :clap Just the three of them. Obviously this has never been done before.

Bilde


Now, why would you do anything like this? I have taken the liberty of copying some stuff from Jerzy's web page. The story is quite fascinating, just like the people you meet traveling :clap



In 2005 when I was planning an expedition to Kamchatka I read the book titled “Hot Waterfalls” written by Lennart Meri which were describing expedition of young Estonians to the valley of geysers located on Kamchatka. This valley is a unique and only place on earth with such a great number of geysers gushing from mountain slops overgrown with evergreen grass and moss. In one of commentaries to this book, the history of Maurycy August Beniowski was described, after his fight for Polish freedom in Bar Confederation was sent to Kamchatka to Ust Bolshereck at Okhotsk Sea. There he stirred rebellion and hijacked tsarist ship, pride of Russian fleet “Saint Peter and Paul”.

I got so intrigued and interested in this character since I have been personally on Kamchatka I’ve reached Ust Bolshereck looking for traces after Beniowski but in vain.

The Russians busily conceal traces of incidents that in the eyes of the world could ridicule or discredit them in any way. Beniowski had those Russians for his companions – exiles, seaman’s and “free mans” – long inhabitants of Kamchatka. He manage to convince them to rebellion and escaped on tsarist ship to distant waters of Bering Sea. I should add here that among others on of the victims of the rebellion was Nilov – governor of Bolshereck, who – being under influence –wanted to arrest Beniowski. However, he didn’t succeed as he was hit a bit too hard on the head by Khrushchev accompanying Maurycy.

The Russians looked for Beniowski in the south water but our hero was cruising for over dozen months and he was discovering new lands on North Pacific. After many efforts he reached Portuguese enclave Macao and further he has reach Europe. This history resonated loudly in the whole World of that time among others because of August Friedrich von Kotzuebe, who wrote drama titled “Count Beniowski, conspiracy on Kamchatka”. As a result of that he was sent to Siberia by Catherine II . Beniowski on behalf of French king Louis XV made colonizing expedition to Madagascar. Later on the second expedition without help of France, Great Britain, Austria or the United States, which were not interested in bold plans of Beniowski. Only personal acquaintance with Benjamin Franklin and John H. De Magellan let him organize and make the second expedition to “the red island”. Frenchman formed and sent to Madagascar special expeditionary force to do “order” with inconvenient rebel and usurper. Proclaimed Ampansacabe by the Malagasy people, which is the king, he died defending his fort Mauritania hit by French bullet.

Not so long ago was 200th anniversary since death of Maurycy Beniowski. Unfortunately there are very few traces left after him, a lot of people came into considerable capital on his name, but Beniowski himself was forgotten. In the capital city of Madagascar Antanarivo there is a street called with his name, in town Maroantsetra (Antongil Bay) the Hungarians built an obelisk with plaque near his place of death (peninsula Masoala – Cap Est near the village Ambodirafia) in January 2010 Slovaks founded and placed plaque on completely forgotten and devastated monument.

Beniowski was a citizen of the world, he fought for freedom of several nations. He was traveler and adventurer or a pirate but also a man, who opposed slavery on Madagascar. Because of his rebellion, hijacking the ship and ridiculing Russia in Poland Beniowski was presented as a negative figure. Only few Polish researches had the courage to tell the truth about him. Similar actions discrediting the character of Beniowski were taken by Frenchman. As precursor of abolishing slavery and as the “King of Madagascar” he clearly disturbed them. His activity was inconvenient for them and seriously harmful to “business” run on Madagascar.

Maurycy Beniowski left memories behind. They were translated into various languages. The most objective ones are in English from 1790 edited by William Nicholson. Reading this translation and also monograph of researches based mainly on this source seems to be most reasonable and reliable. In 1995 we have witnessed a full and fair translation into Polish language his “Memories”. This tough and hard work has prosecuted polish writer, journalist and diplomat – Edward Kajdański

In 2009 we made decision about looking for traces of Beniowski on Madagascar and his true story. A Polish symbol of remembrance after Beniowski on Madagascar will be a plaque on his monument near the village Ambodirafia. We will bring it from Poland and place it next to Slovak one. Short content – Maurycy August Bieniowski – King of Madagascar – in 6 languages in his honor and memory. Our expedition begins on 17 april 2010. We hope that will add more supporters to Beniowski – a citizen of the free world.



Now his search had led Jerzy and crew to Tomtor :clap

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EtronX
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The Old Summer Road

Legg inn av EtronX » 28 mar 2013, 20:32

As Steve wrote, we'd gotten many warnings about doing the Old Summer Road. Due to the rain the rivers were high and the road was impossible to ride.

"No Kamaz, no Ural, no machine can drive now", one truck driver who stopped us said. Bad news :boid

I did some sms'ing with Walter and finally we all decided to drive back to Kyubyueme and then do the Federal Road via Ust Nera to Magadan. I asked if we could drive to the first river and check. Just to confirm that is was impossible. That was some 60 click's to the first major river. The majority voted no due to the fact that this would add another 120 km's to the already long way around.

We saddled up and set course for Kyubyueme. I felt sick to my stomach. It felt so wrong to turn around now. After god knows how many kilometers and just give in :huh

We drive for three kilometers and then I stopped. I said to the guys that I could not just turn around like that. That I had to see the rivers with my own blue eyes. If it looked to bad then I would turn. If they didn't want come I would meet up with them later. I just had to go and check.

There is a saying that goes something like this: "Similar minds think the same", or "if you think the same, you don't think much". Whatever, the guys had the same gut feeling and both Erik and Steve were keen to give it a look when I stopped and asked. We turned around :D

We passed a nice bridge and all was "A OK" :evil

Bilde


Then we passed some old houses of some kind. Still "A OK" :evil

Bilde


So far, so good. The weather was nice and it was basically a great day for riding motorcycles :clap Then came the first major hurdle. After about 60 k's. The bridge was gone. The sides were steep and it looked like we might run into some problems. Maybe what the locals said was right :ear

Bilde


The river wasn't that deep, but getting down to the river was the problem. Steve checks the "road". As you can see on his face he looks a bit skeptical :evil

Bilde

It was muddy and the mud was deep. The XC's might be OK, but Steve's heavy 800 would be hard to get through. We decided to try his bike first. We were all fresh and rested. If push came to shove, we could always drag his bike back on the road again. It would just take some time :evil

Here Steve sets of with great contempt of death :hair

Bilde


Steve got his bike down to the river OK and Erik and I followed. The crossing was easy, and it was just a little off road in deep mud tracks and we where all back on the road again. 1-0 to the home team :clap

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EtronX
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The Greatest Ride

Legg inn av EtronX » 28 mar 2013, 20:33

We continued further into the depths of no mans land. The scenery was absolutely stunning :clap

Bilde


Some places the road was great :D

Bilde


Some places the road was gone :evil

Bilde


Some places the bridges were gone :D

Bilde


Some places there were even road signs, on the Old Summer Road :rofl

Bilde


We kept on trucking and crossed a river or two.

Bilde


After some time we had ridden maybe 120 kilometers. When we crossed the river below we had come to the point of no return. It wasn't as bad as everyone had said, but turning back would not be an option. A lot of the rivers we had crossed had very steep banks on the western side and more shallow on the eastern side. That meant that going back would be pretty tough :wink:

Bilde


We were now committed. We would have to finish the Old Summer Road. If worse came to the worst we had food for at least a week each. Now we all hoped for no rain in the next days :D

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EtronX
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Road Signs

Legg inn av EtronX » 28 mar 2013, 20:34

On the Old Summer Road there are two major road signs. One is the sign showing the border between Yakutia Oblast and Magadan Oblast. When entering Magadan Oblast the road turns worse :evil

Bilde


The next is the one below. I will now make a promise :deal I you take a picture of yourself in front of this sign I will personally buy you a beer when we meet :lol3

Bilde

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EtronX
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Team Work

Legg inn av EtronX » 28 mar 2013, 20:35

When you ride on a long trip like this, and several people riding together, you will notice differences among the group. Some drive fast, some drive slow, some stay up late, some get up early, some don't need to eat during the day and some needs food at regular times. All this gets very clear after a while. Nothing wrong with that, we are all just different.

Bilde


When we rode together with Walter and Terry, Steve and Erik mostly rode together. I rode some with Walter (if i could keep up) and some with Terry. When it was just the three vikings I kept a bit higher speed than the rest, but waited at regular intervals in order to make sure that everyone where there. This is all OK when the roads are OK. When the roads get worse you need to do it differently. You need to work more as a team.

Bilde


What I think was nice with the Old Summer Road is that the team spirit was very high and the three of us worked very well together. The tougher it got, the better the team worked.

Bilde


Steve, Erik and I are all very individualistic persons. We like to do it our way and all like to be in charge. The Old Summer Road made us all a team. A very strong team where the sum of all were not three, but tenfold that. It was a very nice experience :clap

Bilde

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EtronX
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Old Summer Road water crossings

Legg inn av EtronX » 28 mar 2013, 20:36

When you ride the Old Summer Road you will inevitably cross some rivers :evil Depending on the recent weather that can be easy or that can be impossible. We had our challenges with the rivers, but all turned out OK. Some were hard, but we managed to come through without drowning our bikes or ourself :rofl Luck is a key element here. Not riding wise, but weather wise. We got lucky with the weather :clap

Now, you may all think that the rivers were the hard and scary parts, and to some extent you might be right. In the beginning the rivers were pretty frightening, but in the end we had done quite a few and got the routine down pretty good. Just like crossing the rail road bridges :evil

On the Old Summer Road the scary part were not the rivers, but the puddles in the road. The ones you just feel like flying over, not even bothering taking the time to check properly. You just want to crank it open and whisk by...

Well don't. Do indeed check the puddles. They might look like something a toddler would love to play in, but if he did he would be gone for good :eek1

This was one of the warm up puddles :evil Don't look to bad, does it?

Bilde


This was the qualifying one. I passed on the XC first. That bike has a pretty high air intake. The GS 800 has a slightly lower one :rofl

Bilde


The bike had some asthma when it got ashore on the other side :knary

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EtronX
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The noble art of River Crossings, and the theory behind...

Legg inn av EtronX » 28 mar 2013, 20:36

There are a lot of theories when it comes to river crossings. Cross on the quiet part. Cross on the rough part. Choose a line and cross just before the water starts to break. Don't cross. All these are just rough guidances. Depending on the river, one way of doing it work here, another way there :norton

In this river the current was pretty strong. We could hardly ford the damn thing. After some reccing we decided on the rules of engagement. We would have to follow the shoreline upwards first in order to gain height. Then, at the approximate angle, based on:

X=the speed of the current,
Y=the depth of the current,
Z=the condition of the riverbed,

we could figure out the:

A=exit point.
B=entry point.

The PDCA Wheel is a good tool to use here, but if you get to the P once more in the actual process of crossing you have lost :rofl

Just before the end of the crossing it got slightly deeper. Just suck it in and keep going :eek1

Bilde


When you hit the shore you have to open up, sometimes to the dismay of your comrades :evil That said, neither of them had had a shower in days...

Bilde

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