20 August: Final landing
The expedition comes to an end, the participants spend the last night on the vessel. On the fourth deck one could hear sounds of guitar. People talked about everything. Members of the expedition became a family to each other, and they tried to spend some more time before parting. But the fatigue, intense work and events of 20 days made themselves felt. Gradually the bar, which had become the heart, the center of gatherings, became empty. At five in the morning the toughest members of the expedition went to their cabins. There were only three hours left till entering to the mouth of the Northern Dvina river.
After waking up for breakfast, everyone could see the native shore. And that meant we needed to hurry up with packing bags. And for the first time in a long period of the expedition mobile phones were needed not as alarm clocks, calculators or flashlights, but for connection. A long-awaited opportunity to call to family, and say about arrival.
At half past twelve we saw the highest building of the city which as a lighthouse informed us that we there were only few minutes left untill we meet our families. Cabins, corridors, bar emptied, all the participants were on the bow or on the open decks, looking for their relatives on the shore.
Everyone was looking forward for a moment when it would be possible to go down to the pier. The mooring took time, as if Molchanov did not want to part with its passengers. 20 minutes after, students were running on the ladder to their friends and parents. Happy faces, hugs and flowers: thank God, all returned safe and sound.
Someone could not hold back the tears, we realized that it was over. No more noisy lunches, snacks and dinners; no more later gatherings in the bar; sometimes extreme but exciting landings. Again we need to get used to noisy city streets, cars, shopping.
Many of us confess that they already miss the Arctic and an incredible number of events. Without these adventures it will be boring and empty. Someone even has a thought to continue this voyage on "Molchanov": we already have been at home, have seen our families, so we can go back again.
The bus got the members of the expedition to the main body of NArFU. Here they were welcomed by the representatives of NArFU, the Regional Government, the Northern Department of Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring, Arkhangelsk center RGO. The participants were treated with bread and salt, then there were graduation ceremony with songs and a common picture.
After the ceremony we did not want to say bye and already agreed on the time of our next meeting. We should see off oceanographers going home to Moscow. At the railway platform we had been staying for a long time: joking, laughing, taking pictures, hugging. Our friends from Moscow promised to visit us in Arkhangelsk, and we, in turn, gave the word to see them in the capital.
Early in the morning, at 6 am, we will say bye for the third time during this day. This time to our foreign friends that bacame also very close to us.