The Lena River cruise ship «Demian Bednyj» — preparation for summer travels. 64 Photos.

Location: Yakutsk river port

Two days prior to the start of navigation on the Lena River, at the height of preparation for summer cruises to Lena Pillars, I went on a visit to the Demian Bednyj cruise ship captain Oleg Borisov. A very hospitable man.

When he saw me with a camera, he got perplexed, “My god, I am not in uniform. Not in full dress. Otherwise…” Yeah, indeed, why is the captain not uniformed daily, but only on a voyage?! “Now we are intensively preparing the vessel for navigation. Going through check-ups by sanitary-and-epidemiologic service, fire safety service, and others…” That way he was trying to explain, why he was not dressed up. Whatever it might be, I took a photo of him. He was in a casual checked shirt and slippers…

Frankly saying, it’s blogger’s habit to bring a camera along. Pictures may come to my help, when especially I have no wish or time to write… But in this case it is my great pleasure to type a few good lines about people, who love their work and live for it.

In winter the captain might be met at Yakutsk River Shipping Academy. He lectures three subjects. I will try to translate them correctly. They are navigation, shipping safety, and freight transport. In short, even in the time of extremely cold weather he keeps working for the common good. Summer… Oh, summer, it is like a beautiful song, like a long-awaited season… and the most thrilling.

This summer navigation will be Oleg’s 25th and his third one as a river cruise ship captain. “I had been working on the Kolyma River for many years,” he said with nostalgia. “Done navigations on a tanker. Worked on dry cargo ships and towboats as well.”

Oleg is the sixth captain of the river cruise ship built in Austria.

The first was Anatoly Poudinkov, the second Viktor Bogdanov, the third Alexander Logikin, the forth Vladimir Bankov, the fifth Maxim Nemkov. Regret to say, captains Puodinkov and Bogdanov passed away.

This year Demian Bednyj is to celebrate the 25th Anniversary. And there is onboard one person, whom colleagues call as a history keeper, a man of great honor. His name is Alexander Kovalsky, he has done all 24th navigations on the Austria-built cruise ship. He will work this summer as well. Here he is:

He is able to tell never-ending stories about Demian Bednyj. It was him, who accepted the just-built vessel in Moscow in 1986. The Center decided to pass the ship to Yakutia instead of ‘Rodina’ (homeland in Russian).

“And the story was like that,” Alexander started narrating. He is the senior electrician. In winter he works as the captain of a Novosibirsk Water Transport Academy training ship located in Nakhodka. He recalled, “At that time Yakutia requested the thorough repairs of the moto ship ‘Rodina.’ The overhaul was delayed for uncertain time. As a result, the Moscow administration of the state-owned Rechflot company decided to give the region the new ship ‘Demian Bednyj,’ that was just built as well as other four similar boats in Austria especially for river cruises along the Gold Ring…”

In a word, Alexander might be listened with delight to. Ad notam, his seniority consists of 35 navigations. Three years on a towboat, eight years on a tanker. As he says, it was his April Fool’s Joke. On April 1st of 1986 he said to his tanker crew, “Since now I will work on Demian.” He works on this ship till nowadays. “To be honest, I didn’t want to leave the tanker. There was a fantastic, very good crew. Eh!” Still I think, he didn’t regret doing it.

Here his smallest son, Pashka. A man of sailing, as he calls him. “He can’t be out of ships…” From that very moment, I started listening a new story about the Kovalskys, the dynasty of sailors.

I wanted to finish writing about the man of history, but remembered that prior to the 20th Anniversary of Demian Bednyj, five years ago, Alexander planned to invite the ship’s godmother, Elly Heiden, but failed. That’s the woman, who broke a bottle of champagne against the ship board in Korneuburg, Austria.

The godmother with first captains…

..and her wish in Russian.

Here’s the major mascot – the statue of Cossack Demian Bednyj. The captain looks for it himself. He ‘feeds’ him. For winter he leaves three chocolates so to sweeten his being in the time of extremely cold weather.

The portrait of Demian Bednyj.

Next to him, we can see the view on the Lenskie Stolby (stone pillars on the Lena River).

Strange… Wanted to make a post about the ship’s preparation for the hot summer season, but small features came out.

About preparing the vessel for long journeys.

Some facts:

The renewal of the moto ship appearance requires 60 kg of white paint for board, 120 kg of the same color for the exterior of cabins, and 120 kg of blue for decks, 20 kg of red for underwater parts.

The maintain repair of six engines takes 2 months, but the main part of work is done in May.

Happy sailing!

P.S. It’s hard to believe, but 10 days ago it was like that. All vessels were surrounded with ices.

More information on the Lena River cruises.


More information on the Lena River cruises.

4 Comments on “The Lena River cruise ship «Demian Bednyj» — preparation for summer travels. 64 Photos.

  1. Thank so much for sharing this. I love river cruise because I was born and grew up in a town by Barito River in Southern Borneo. Before the year 90’s there was no road to connect my town to the other towns and villages, only river transport existed. That’s why river cruise is very familiar to me.

    I see Lena river cruise is interesting. I would like to experience it one day.

  2. Sri, you are always welcome! In any case the Lena River is waiting for you :) Thanks for sharing the info about your homeland. This is really cool. All rivers are the best and they are our life sources.

  3. Yours is a great website, mate. This summer we took our Australian yacht Tainui from Archangel’sk to Azov (see and now we are looking for more Russian river adventures. What do you think about the Lena, for a small (7 metre) sailboat with lifting keel and a 9 metre high mast? Draft minimum 1 metre. I am too old for those rubber kayak trips and too young (and poor) for the luxury of your wonderful ships.

  4. Sounds pretty cool, John. Have you seen our new endevour called Actually, we can arrange any trip or expedition at the request. Just ask us :)) When I say us, I mean me and my partners.

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