Expedition Diaries 2016

June 23. Day 17

June 23. Day 17

My cabin viewport is right opposite Bugrino. If I take my camera, I can even distinguish something on the shore. After noon, the sky cleared off a bit, the rain stopped, the sea colour changed from lead to greenish. We are waiting.

I can see a large building with a blue roof, some smaller yellow buildings with blue or red roofs. It really looks a bit mysterious. Well, at least I took a look at Kolguev.

Early morning.

Suddenly I heard something buzzing. It took me a while to understand that it was my cell phone as I lost a habit of it ringing. I got lots of SMS: “Where are you?”, “Do you have a connection?”, “When will you have it?”. No, I don’t have a connection most of the time. I also learned that my cat missed me a lot, the flowers at the balcony didn’t blossom, the weather in Arkhangelsk was fine, though the day before it had rained heavily.

It rains here, so the lectures continue. Arctic terns travel more than other species on the Earth, except for man. Though if we take an average man and an average Arctic tern, Arctic tern wins. So the birds at Fedorov meteostation came there from the Antarctic. Every year an Arctic tern flies 80 000 km. It is flying from the Arctic to the Antarctic and back along the coasts, taking winds into account. The Arctic tern average life span is 30 years. So during its life it covers the distance to the Moon and back three times.

If an Arctic tern decides to land on a great polar whale, the whale might get scared and dive 300 m deep. The great polar whale average life span, by the way, is 200 years.

I desperately want to sleep: I go to bed at 2-3-4 am and get up at 7 am. My body doesn’t appreciate it. Coffee doesn’t help.

We head further.

Light and colour.

At 12.45 pm we were announced that the landing was cancelled, the vessel is heading for Arkhangelsk. Should I call anybody else while I have the connection? On the other hand, life without a cell phone is very nice.

Alexey Sazonov continues telling us about the Earth study from the space. We all know why the sky is blue: gas molecules which compose the air dissipate blue rays better than any other rays. Red and orange rays pass the atmosphere undistorted. There are also a lot of electromagnetic radiation sources on the Earth, which also can distort the true picture. This is the reason who satellites work not only in the visible range. The final pictures can have colours very different from those which we are used to: for example, a river can become bright red. After the lecture Alexey suggested the students to work with the space images, especially because many of them will study this topic as it is a part of their curriculum.

Space images sometimes are not only studied. American Geological Survey has launched a project “Earth as Art”. They took image colouring creatively, so in the result, they started to resemble works of art. For instance, “massive greenish phytoplankton congregations are circulating in the dark waters around Gottland, a Swedish Island in the Baltic Sea”. According to the Americal geologists, it resembles “The Starry Night” by van Gogh. I should say there is something in it!

It is not very interesting to go outside now as it is very cloudy. The weather forecast predicts a storm, but the waves now are not very high. In the common room the expedition participants role-play Philatov’s books. Oceanologists and hydrologists are at their best!

Some facts about “Professor Molchanov”.

Its port of registration is Arkhangelsk.

It was built in 1982.

Its draft is 4.51 m

Its length is 71.06 m

Its width is 12.8 m

The vessel is named after the Soviet meteorologist Pavel Molchanov. As far as I know, he was involved in creating different devices for atmospherical studies, was a father of atmospherical radiosonde measurements. The first world automatic meteostation constructed in accordance with Molchanov’s design was installed in 1933 in the Tikhaya Bay, Franz Josef Land.

“Professor Molchanov” was constructed in Turku, Finland as an ice-rated research vessel. Murmansk used to be its port of registration, the vessel took part in the expeditions to the Arctic ocean. In the 1990-s it was reconstructed to be a passenger vessel, so it made touristic voyages to the Arctic and the Antarctic. In 2011 it was again made a research vessel.

Impressions from Varnek.

Our researchers from Varnek held a presentation which was more like a real event today. The event was rich in emotions and new ideas. Our colleagues tried to blend in the settlement community and feel what life there was like. Yesterday I wrote about the work of the medical module. Nadezhda Vorobieva said that they had established contact with the specialized department of the Nenets Autonomous District and they had been offered not only to continue, but to expand their research in the geographical scale, for example, to Karatayka.

The malacological module represented by Svetlana Sokolova also held successful research. Svetlana studies shellfish. She explored 6 lakes and collected about 50 samples at eight stations. She went to the nearest lakes on foot, and to the distant ones – in a sledge yoked with an oversnow vehicle.

The shells look massive at the pictures which Svetlana showed us. However, they are tiny, there are two main types of them: some are from 1.5 to 4 mm long, the second type is larger – their length is 5 mm. In one lake – Lake Khoseyto (the stress is on the last syllable, this toponym seems to be of a Japanese origin; 10 years ago or even more a group of Japanese scientists came to the Nenets Autonomous District to conduct the research dedicated to the degree of relationship establishment between the Nenets and the Japanese people) – there were no alive shellfish of the mentioned species found, as the lake is surrounded by the sea at two sides and sea water sometimes gets into it. However, Svetlana said, that there was a possibility that there were those shellfish there. As for other lakes, there aren’t many shellfish species there, but their density is huge. Geese are one of the reasons for that, as they like to spend time in lakes and to “fertilize” them. Low species diversity and huge density is a compensatory mechanism typical of island territories and high latitudes.

Sofia Rozenfeld told us about the hydroplane testing results and showed some pictures. For example, she managed to take a picture of a Steller's eider, though this species is not very common for this territory. Or a picture of the hares watching the polar bear wandering by the meteostation. 


June 23. Day 17
June 23. Day 17
June 23. Day 17
June 23. Day 17
June 23. Day 17
June 23. Day 17

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Updated 20.06.2016