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. After breakfast, which was attended approximately by two thirds of the expedition participants, there was an announcement on the radio that all the lectures were cancelled as well and it was supposed that all the departments would be involved in group work.
But it is almost impossible to work during storm. You can’t sit still at the table, everything around is moving, your brain seems to be a balloon filled with water which is also moving. Some feel dizzy, some feel sick, some feel hungry all the time. And the worst thing is that it is very hard to fall asleep.
So it was rather sensible to go through a medical examination. In spite of the storm, Denis Fedotov, the head of the Human Body Functional Backup Laboratory in the Institute of Medical and Biological Research in NArFU, attaches the transducers of “Simona 111” to his patients and asks them to stay calm even when some things in the laboratory are falling because of the tossing.
This is a very wise approach! There is usually a “blank” day in every journey, it doesn’t matter if it is a vacation or a Polar expedition. During such day you involuntarily do nothing. For example, you wanted to go to a museum, but you forgot that museums don’t work on Mondays. Or the weather was bad and you had to stay in your hotel room. Or you got caught in a cyclone and both landings and lectures were cancelled. And the only thing you can do it to observe and stand by.
Thus, medical examination is the best option. First of all, if some people (in the medical and biological laboratory) work, that means that the situation is not that bad. What is more, it means that you are not sick, your body is just adapting. And you also have to do some paperwork and some tests on the computer, so this is a quite time-consuming pastime.
At 20.00 sharp there was a meeting in the common room where the weather forecast for tomorrow was discussed. A very important issue was on agenda of this meeting: it was important to decide whether the expedition would change the route dramatically and skip the landing on Vaygach Island, where along with field work it was planned to survey the Nenets people in Varnek, the indigenous people settlement, and to head straight for the Novaya Zemlya. Dmitriy Kovalev, the head of the geo-information department said that the weather forecast was positive and it was not necessary to change the expedition route.
Dmitry said: “We talked to another vessel, which is now not far from the Novaya Zemlya, the situation there is much worse. The wind velocity is up to 27 mps, it means that the wave height there is about 7 on the Beaufort scale. So our conditions now are relatively comfortable. The storm is flattening, we can feel it now”.
But the expedition really felt it only on July 7, in the morning. The sea was calm, the vessel was heading for Vaygach Island. So the weather conditions finally allowed the AFU expedition to continue work.