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Elekmonar, Siberia (Center on Interactive Map)

Map of Elekmonar, Siberia

Map of Elekmonar, Siberia

Altai, Total Solar Eclipse, Just Before 2nd Contact, Cloud Trouble Altai, Solar Eclipse, 2nd Contact Baileys Beads Altai, Total Solar Eclipse, Baileys Beads Detail Altai, Solar Eclipse, 3rd Contact, Diamond Ring Altai, Vicious Dog
Blyths Reed-Warbler (Acrocephalus dumetorum) Siberian form Common Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus) Common Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus) Male Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) Eurasian Hobby (Falco subbuteo) Eurasian Hobby (Falco subbuteo)

Elekmonar is A small village in along the Chemal River. It was pretty rustic out here with a distinct lack of plumbing and a lot of cows and chickens running around.



7/31/2008: Some of the eclipse group had managed to arrange a home stay in Elekmonar with Natalia. Natalia was a very energetic Russian woman to say the least.

She took us out to a lake nearby where everyone goes to swim, rock climb in high heals, and ride on the "Rubber Raft." The idea of the Rubber Raft is that two people get into the raft, and a man on a skidoo drives around the lake as fast as he can in an attempt to throw you into the (freezing) lake. Needless to say, no one fell off the raft, but my arms were sore for a few days afterward. Natalia arranged a cow truck to come and taxi us around as well.

Some of the other activities were swimming in the ice-melt river and a banya. The banya involves steaming a room to near scalding temperatures while whipping your bath-mates with a bundle of birch twigs.

8/1/2008: Eclipse day was here, and we were pleased to wake up to clear blue skies. On the other hand, we had some worries as the weather report was predicting clouds for the eclipse time.

As the eclipse drew near, the sky did indeed start to cloud up. We had Anatoli on standby with his cow truck to drive us to a sunnier location if need be. Indeed, about 15 minutes before second contact, we made the call to head toward clearer weather visible up the valley.

We piled in to the truck (like cattle...) and made a mad dash. We did not seem to be getting any closer to a sunny spot, but with about two minutes to spare, we were able to find a hole in the clouds, and we saw the total phase. It is a good thing we moved, as we heard that it was cloudy at our original viewing location.

8/2/2008: It is difficult to follow-up an adrenaline-packed eclipse chase. But, we were determined to try by setting up a white-water rafting trip the next day.

We caught a bus to the rafting put-in fairly early in the morning. On the bus, we met our rafting guides who played some Russian hip-hop for me before opening the bottles of vodka. Needless to say, half the bus was drunk before we even got into the rafts.

The drunk people included the guides, some off-duty Russian police officers with their young girlfriends, and us. The rapids were class IV or so, and in addition to drunken white-water rafting, we enjoyed drunken jumping-off-the-50-foot-high-cliff-into-freezing-water. Remarkably, no one died on the trip, and we were all pretty knackered by dark.

Previous Visit (Barnaul: 7/29/2008)
Next Visit (Lake Teletskoye: 8/4/2008)

Species Recorded (9)

Birds ( 9 )

Old World Tree Warblers ( Phylloscopidae )
Dusky Warbler - Phylloscopus fuscatus

Falcons and Allies ( Falconidae )
Eurasian Hobby - Falco subbuteo
Eurasian Kestrel - Falco tinnunculus

Piculets and Woodpeckers ( Picidae )
Great Spotted Woodpecker - Dendrocopos major

Chickadees and Titmice ( Paridae )
Great Tit - Parus major

Old World Warblers and Gnatcatchers ( Sylviidae )
Blyth's Reed Warbler - Acrocephalus dumetorum

Thrushes and Allies ( Turdidae )
Common Redstart - Phoenicurus phoenicurus

Cardueline Finches and Allies ( Fringillidae )
Hawfinch - Coccothraustes coccothraustes
Common Chaffinch - Fringilla coelebs




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