2 August: 54 Newely Made Polar Explorers
It was the beginning of the second day of the «Arctic Floating University» expedition. The research vessel «Professor Molchanov» had already got over 193 sea miles and it was going along the coastal line of the Kola Peninsula. Calm sea, warm wind and bright sun were making every member of the expedition happy. So we started this day in a positive mood. This way the White Sea was greeting 54 newely made polar explorers.
Ivan Lubimkov, third grade student in the University of Natural Science and Biomedicine, who was to be a small devil, all morning had been preparing for the ceremony of polar explorers initiation. Guys had to wake up early in the morning to create true images of seamaids, a small devil and Neptune (their costumes were made from the curtains taken in the cabin of the head of the expedition, Konstantin Zaykov).
— I was made responsible for the whole ceremony, so I was very nervous. It was impossible to foretell people’s reaction to such a joke. But, the weather was fine, so I could do what I want in throwing water on people. Nobody minded tasting salt sea water. It was a great chance to splash water on the professors with impunity.
Only two hours later clouds covered the sky, visibility worsened quickly, tossing became a little bit perceptible — it was a thunderstorm. When this bad weather was raging overboard, members of the expedition proceeded to the educational part of our trip. Nataliya Byzova, the head of a chair of geography and geoecology in the University of Natural Science and Biomedicine told about the complex geographical characteristics of the White Sea. Ivan Saveliev, the head of a chair of the international law in the University of Laws lectured about the historical experience in Arctic developing, and the lecture of Nataliya Lukasheva, professor of the British Columbia University was about indigenous peoples’ rights in the Arctic region.
What is about Ivan Lubimkov, he is responsible for the multimedia equipment that is used during the lectures, but it is not his main job. Onboard the RV «Professor Molchanov» he will conduct some electrophysical research of sea water and sea water temperature. He also needs to observe the earth’s surface with an infrared imager, the distribution of soil temperature using drilling methods and sampling.
The lectures ended and we heard the announcement that our vessel was going near the Kanin Nos cape. Students and professors gathered on the deck: some were taking pictures; others were looking in binocular trying to make out a light house lost in the mist. White spots of snow appeared on the shore, a gusty wind arose, and it was cold to stand without gloves. But it could not spoil the moments of Arctic beauty admiring. The deck became deserted when the Kanin Nos disappeared in the mist.
So the loudspeaker started its announcement but with another voice. It was our famous Ivan and the occasion was the most pleasant — Birthday. The future scientist entered his thirties. Congratulations and presents came pat, Ivan would go home with an «Arctic Floating University» cup.
So let’s come back to the announcement. Everybody was invited to the recital of Vasiliy Matonin. The idea of such events appeared on the first day of the expedition after acquaintance-meeting. We could not pass over this great amount of interesting people.
Vasiliy Matonin is a culture expert and professor of religions, a member of the Russian Writers’ Union and candidate of historical science. He told about his previous expedition along the Northern Sea Route on the sailing ships reconstructed according to some archival pictures of pomor «koch». He also showed some pictures and recited poems written under the impression of this expedition. Stories about polar bears, walruses and indigenous people life attracted everybody’s attention. We wanted to see it with our own eyes.
Tomorrow the RV «Professor Molchanov» will reach Kolgyev Island and the members of the expedition are looking forward to their first landing in order to start their field work.