It is certainly the task of the head of the expedition to sum up the results. So, Konstantin Zaikov managed to do that very clearly and precisely.
Today, July 19, is the last work day of the expedition. This day is dedicated to the final report session which started at 9.00 in the morning and where preliminary scientific results of the expedition were presented.
If you have never loved, you will never understand. So, it is a common thing that something happens at the Arctic Floating University for the first time.
There is a book which is called “Philosophy of sledge journeys”. Unfortunately there is no such book in the library of the RV “Professor Molchanov”, though it might have come at hand. Especially for the return journey when almost all work has been finished and all expedition members desperately want to get back home.
The vessel approached Malye Karmakuly, the motherland of Tyko Vylka. The settlement is really small, there are only 6-7 houses on the cape open to all winds. Two members of the expedition, Vidas Kryauchunas and Vitaly Spitsin, were supposed to stay there for two months to conduct field work.
Some people think that a sense of humour is not an obligatory feature of a good lecturer. Sometimes it is said to be unnecessary as a lecture must be serious and it goes without saying that bursts of laughter mustn’t be provoked by a teacher. But being a lecturer of the Arctic Floating University is something special because except for excellent knowledge of the subject, three more things are necessary here…
A polar bear with a cub came to the Flora Cape 20 minutes after the last motorboat left for the vessel. There was an announcement about it on the radio, when the expedition members started their dinner. Everybody forgot about their food and rushed to the bridge as the arc of vision is wider there and the binoculars are good (especially the captain’s one).
It is hard to imagine another place on the Earth where water in its different physical states can be as fascinating as in the Arctic. Yesterday, when the RV “Professor Molchanov” was leaving the Russkaya Bay, it approached the Shokalskiy glacier.
The Novaya Zemlya archipelago really resembles New Zealand as it also consists of two large islands – the Southern and the Northern, which are separated by the Matochkin Shar Strait. The RV “Professor Molchanov” arrived there at 10.00 am.
One of the foreign members of the expedition, Christoph Böttger, a student of the Technical Institute of Freiburg Mining Academy, “quoted” Amundsen while speaking about Varnek settlement. He said that it was nothing special. Then he thought for a second and added that it was special nothing.
The expedition plans usually change due to weather conditions. This time it was not an exception. A landing to the meteorological station named after E. Fedorov in the Northern part of Vaygach Island had been planned in the morning on July 9.
The expedition landed on the deserted coast, and saw large, though well-organised, piles of rusty barrels and several old houses not so far away. This is the polar meteostation on the Belyi Nos Cape. Today only 4 people work there and Nickolai Bibeckin, their supervisor, arrived the day before the AFU expedition landing. Besides, an expert from RV “Mikhail Somov” arrived to fix the “satellite dish”.
The expedition observed Dolgiy Island through binoculars. There is a cross, the sign on which says “To honour the evil empire collapse and the revival of Russia”.
The medical and biological laboratory is situated on the 6th deck where the tossing is even more noticeable. The night before the wave height reached 5 on the Beaufort scale. The storm continued also during July 6 and started to flatten only in the evening. Due to the storm the landing in Kolguev Island was cancelled.
Today on July 5 the landing was planned on Kolguev Island, the island in the Eastern part of the Barents Sea. However, the expedition couldn’t land either at 2 pm or in the evening. By the end of the day Dmitry Kovalev, the head of the geo-information department, said that the wind in this area was very strong, so it would be impossible for the expedition to land.
— To obey the sea laws!
— To protect the ocean!
— To obey the orders of the head of the expedition!
— Not to pet polar bears!
On July 3 the significant work on board the research vessel was held on the stern. At 1 am the hydro-meteorological department started works on one of the age-old stations. It sounds impressive and probably even scary, but actually it is just an almost straight line along which the vessel is moving from one shore to another.
Actually, it is the sixth expedition of the Arctic Floating University on board the research vessel «Professor Molchanov» which started on July 1, as one of the previous expeditions which was following the route of the famous Norwegian explorer F. Nansen can’t be truly called a university: there were no students and field work there, only scientists and politicians working on and discussing some issues connected with the Arctic region. Nevertheless, at the official farewell ceremony which was held in NArFU the current expedition was called the seventh one, and seven is a lucky number.
If you have taken part in the expedition once, you will never forget this experience. What is more, you will be looking forward to new expeditions.