Vladimir Rybalchenko’s Address to the Friends of the Atlantic Salmon Reserve 2011
Probably you know already about an important event that took place in the ASR. On 16th June, it was announced at Kharlovka that Peter Power has handed over his camps, famous throughout the world, to me, Vladimir Rybalchenko. It was not a simple decision for me to undertake this responsibility of securing the future of the ASR. It would have been much more comfortable for me to come over to Kharlovka and Rynda as a guest. We spent many an hour with Peter Power dwelling on the future of these wonderful rivers and made a mutual decision that Peter would hand over the safe keeping of the ASR to me.
Peter Power is a great man who has set exceptionally high standards on the rivers’ conservation and organization of fishing. I will do everything possible to preserve these standards. For me this is not a business. My goal is to preserve the salmon and trout waters of Kharlovka, Eastern Litza, Rynda and Zolotaya in the way that he has done.
Dear friends of the ASR! Many of you know me, since we fished together. I hope to get to know many others in the future. I will be happy to meet you all on both the magnificent Atlantic Salmon and Wild Brown Trout programs. I promise that the fishing will continue to be international. I also promise to protect the rivers and lakes from poachers and to be very careful about the fragile nature of the entire ecosystem.
I am sure that many exciting and great fishing adventures await us in the future!
SECURING THE ASR FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS
An important event took place on the evening of Thursday 16th June. All guests and staff received an unexpected but exciting invitation from Peter to join him for a party at Kharlovka House. Guests were told that he had something to tell them about “…the future of the ASR”. Of course this set off wild speculation up and down the rivers from “is this the end” to “is the beginning of a new dawn”.
The Kharlovka guests and staff who, along with the boys that were lost somewhere over on the Litza, were all brought together for a magnificent summer BBQ up at Kharlovka House. Whilst waiting in anticipation for the arrival of Peter, the guests happily bonded away sharing their week’s fishing trials and tribulations under an unforgettable polar sun.
Orchestrated with a military precision that has come to define the Northern Rivers over the years, at exactly 20:00 an MI-8 helicopter thundered in and touched down on the upper pad near the house. Out of the helicopter poured a full contingent of guests from Rynda, led by Peter looking unusually smart.
There was a noticeable breeze of suspense circling through the air. Once inside Kharlovka House, the Russian guests along with their interpreter were invited to gather along Peter’s side for simultaneous translation. With everyone’s attention focused, not to mention the various cameras and videos standing by at the ready, silence fell across the room.
Peter began by reminiscing about his 14 year project on the Northern Rivers, going back to the very beginning when he first arrived to restore order on the chaotic camps. Early on he introduced innovative yet meticulous new ways of working and thinking. The staff agreed to trust Peters approach unquestionably and together they have created the finest and most exciting salmon fishery on earth.
Peter thanked the staff profusely for creating first class facilities, for their professional service as both guides and employees, and for their dedication to the highly successful ASR Conservation Program.
He then reflected back through the seasons of salmon fishing covering 4628 guest weeks comprising 2271 individual guests who had enjoyed the ASR. Many had returned every year since the beginning. He expressed his enormous gratitude for their support and felt a profound sense of privilege in “The Power to Please”… which may yet be the title of a book!
Peter proudly described his fresh silver 42-pound Rynda record – going on to playfully say that “Although it will be nice when one of you lands the first 50+ pounder here, I admit I was rather hoping it might be me!”
He reminded guests of how appreciative we should all be for the support and understanding of the Murmansk Region Authorities and the Northern Fleet, paying particular tribute to Governors Evdokimov and Dmitrienko. He described the ceremony surrounding the Rynda Cross with the blessing by the Father Gennadi of the Russian Orthodox Church arranged by his friend Archbishop Simon, as the proudest moment in his life. Peter wanted everyone to know that his period in the Arctic had been the most exciting and fulfilling of times, and he had always respected the territory as a precious Russian national asset.
The anticipation of what Peter might be leading up to rose as he switched the tone back to his inevitable retirement. For the past five years he had been looking for a worthy successor to carry on the mandate of the ASR. After meeting with many organizations and individuals, everyone said that it was going to be impossible for him to find the perfect Russian to carry on his mission. Well they were wrong!
He announced “Finally all of us have had the most extraordinary piece of luck”.
One fine day at the Rynda a successful Russian businessman and fishing fanatic arrived for his third visit to the ASR along with his enchanting wife who outcasts many of the boys. They were invited up to Rynda house to review the ASR Mandate and watch the film “Home for Salmon”. Peter and the couple found themselves to be kindred spirits in harmony with nature, in tune with the philosophy fly fishing and the concepts of the ASR. It made for the most delightful evening. At some point the gentleman asked him “So what do you plan to do?”
Well in to the white night overlooking the majestic Rynda falls the trio sat up discussing the possibilities for the future of the ASR. The gentleman explained that running the ASR should not be part of a normal business venture; it should be more of a passion for whoever might be so lucky to take over Peter’s mantle.
With this in mind, Peter eventually turned to his charming friends and said, “I would like to choose you!” With this the gentleman replied that the future of the ASR could be looked after by his family for future generations whilst preserving the ASR mandate.
It was with this vision that the relationship continued to grow until both sides finally came to an understanding in May of this year. The gentleman and his family would proudly take control of the business and be the custodians of the Atlantic Salmon Reserve provided Justin and the Northern Rivers Team would remain on board, and Peter would actively support the business through the learning process.
To the surprise of all attending, Peter then turned to one side to shake hands with a Russian Guest. He announced, “Ladies and gentleman, the perfect Russian I have been referring to is Vladimir Rybalchenko, who along with his son Vladimir Junior (who is with us today) and his wife Svetlana now own the business.” A huge applause and cheer filled the Kharlovka House.
Congratulations Vladimir! We are all behind you – long live the ASR!
Justin – Peter