9 August: Dikson port, Dikson Island
At 3:00 a.m. the RV Professor Molchanov reached the mainland. Somebody who was not sleeping could observe the shore of the Taimyr Peninsula, Dikson port, and on the other side — there was Dikson Island with deserted village and meteorological station.
The landing began early in the morning. All members of the expedition landed to the port and went to an excursion around the village: environs of the village, several monuments including the World War II memorial, local school, library and local history museum containing different exhibits from mammoth bones and stuffed animals to vessel fragments. One part or the museum is dedicated to battles for Dikson during the war.
Who would ever have thought that in this tiny village at the end of the earth there was a picture gallery? This is the most northern picture gallery in Russia. It is as small as the village but very interesting.
Then our ways divided: botanists, physicists, meteorologists, oceanologists and geographers went to do their research to the fields and to the meteostation. History, antropology and law department visited the local administration. In the administration they learnt that the population of village is about 600 people working for the benefit of Dikson in the administration, school, boiler house and other services of the island. No crimes are committed in the village and everybody lives as a big united family.
And we could not go without local stories.
— We were told a lot of interesting stories about the village, — said Nataliya Batalova, Assistant lecturer, Chair of Management, Institute of Economy and Management, Secretary of the expedition. — For example, last year a small polar bear strayed from the mother came to the village. Citizens of Dikson tried to turn the bear out of the village but it didn’t help. The bear cub stayed to live there. It was very friendly and a lot of people fed it up. But when it grew up they had to send it to the zoo, because it became tame and would not be able to live in wildlife conditions.
Meanwhile the meteorological group reached the meteostation on Dikson Island.
— I will remember this trip forever! — said Oksana Perhurova MA student Institute of Natural Science and Biomedicine. — First of all we went by motorboat to the island, then we got into a car, it was «Ural». We had an off-road trip to the station in the open body of the car. Iwasshocked. My new jeans got dirty, I felt cold, but nevertheless I was delighted. I wanted to get into extreme situation and I got it.
Oksana’s research is connected with an assessment of hydrological work and observations system conditions and also environment monitoring system conditions at hydrological stations located on the Russian arctic shores. In this meteostation Oksana tried to collect as much information as possible because it was the first observatory that we visited during the expedition. A great range of observations make this station different from other hydrometeorological stations. At this station there are some devices to measure the level of environmental pollution. Another stations were only equipped with a dosimeter. Radiochemical laboratory enable to define the structure of radionuclide in a sample right on-the-spot, and then the results are sent to the Northern department of hydrometeorological services. Furthermore, this is still the only station met on the way of the expedition where there is an Internet connection beside radio connection.
— I was impressed by the start of aerological sample electrode, — Oksana said. A sensor fixed on the sample electrode records level of humidity, temperature and other meteorological factors on high and in the upper layers of atmosphere.
After have spending many hours in the meteorological station Oksana noticed that the system of ecological monitoring, its technical base as well as rooms, had been developed. Now a new modern building for employees of the meteorological center is being built. The problem of their accommodation will be resolved.
After their research, meteorologist and other groups could take view of the settlement on the island, village Dikson. Empty streets and dilapidated houses evoke ambiguous feelings.
— I wanted to know what had been happening on the island. It was interesting to know about Dikson’s life before it died out. Everybody has abandoned it, — told Oksana about her feelings.
It is time to move forward. According to the plan our next destination is Cheluskin Cape. Unfortunately it is inaccessible due to the ice concentration. So we had to change our expedition route. Tomorrow we will go down to the delta of Eniseyriver, to the polar station SopochnayaKarga.