Caption Contest from Russia: Riding the Mi-8 Helicopter
Thanks to those of you who have been reading my dispatches from Russia and the Ponoi River. It was, in...
Thanks to those of you who have been reading my dispatches from Russia and the Ponoi River. It was, in every sense, an epic trip of a lifetime.
But there is some backstory worth sharing. KLM airlines lost my luggage in Amsterdam before I could fly from Helsinki to Murmansk. I cleared Russian customs with my computer, camera, and a plastic bag filled with six pairs of underwear, two pair of socks, and a bottle of scotch I bought at Duty-Free. The perplexed customs agent stared at me for a bit, and I simply stared back, implying only “I’m here to party.” I got stamped through…and I think even Hunter S. Thompson would have been proud. (Fortunately, the guides at Ryabaga camp outfitted me for the week with everything I needed, clothes and all, which I think is further testament to what a top-notch operation they run on the Ponoi.)
The real issue for me was, admittedly, the ride in and out of camp on a Soviet-era Mi-8 helicopter, which lasted for two hours each way. I had seen my doctor and obtained a prescription for some “chill pills” specifically for that purpose. Add a little Pink Floyd through the iPod, and it was all good. I must say, however, riding in one of those choppers is like sitting in an airborne tractor–it’s more akin to something from Jules Verne than Star Trek. But it was a great experience, and I am a better man for it.
I can’t vouch for everyone else on that ride, and hence, I offer this image as a Fly Talk caption contest fodder. What’s missing in this photo is the strong smell of av-gas, and the portrait of the Virgin Mary hung outside the cockpit. But you get the gist.
You also know the drill. Best caption wins a prize, and in this case, it will be an autographed copy of my newly-released book, “The Orvis Guide to Fly Fishing for Carp.” Good luck, and have at it.