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It’s my Birthday, that’s why there is no diary for today... Just joking... Promoting patriotism and the formation of the spiritual image of the Arctic - that was the purpose of the visit of Solovetsky archipelago by our expedition formulated by its leader Konstantin Zaykov. Now it has become the traditional final point of all the expeditions of Arctic Floating University.
Today is the reporting day. Each scientific group was preparing a presentation about what kind of research they had been conducting for three weeks period, what were the results and what they are going to do next.
Our day started at night already – there was fishing organized to take hydrochemical samples. For conducting research all the elements of a food chain are important. One of them is fish (cod and haddock in our case). While fishing all the nearby seagulls came to see this process. Even a mink whale approached to our ship!
Today I have woken up cause of calling me on the navigation bridge. I had jumped up and hurry-scurry. Fortunately, nothing serious has happen. We just had internet connection and Konstantin Sergeevich wanted inform me about the new e-mail letter. Such a good morning!
We are coming back, even running. There is almost no tossing, I think we escaped from the Cape Zhelaniia right in time to avoid the storm. We passed Oransky Islands which are the part of Novaya Zemlya archipelago being at the same time a separate archipelago (strange!). These islands are the northernmost ones of Novaya Zemlya islands in Barents Sea.
Cape Zelanija is not the northernmost point of Novaya Zemlya. It is the border-line of Barents and Kara seas as well as the border between Europe and Asia. Our hydrologists made the last stop in section on Barents sea side, “Molchanov” moved to Kara sea side, water changed its color and everyone started preparing to the landing.
The base of national park “Omega” is situated currently at this place, currently building base of Northern fleet as well as base of polar bears as has said Kolesnikov. Not far from the place of our landing there was cave which was visited Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Medvedev and Sergej Shojgu but it was impossible for us to get there because of ice.
The expedition comes to the second part now. Today we have arrived at the Tikhaya Bay.
If you took a photo with a sea on the background, you would not understand that you are in the Arctic. The sea is blue, the sky is bright, the sun is shining, the snow on the far islands looks like a white sand. Therefore, for the spectacular photo, you’d better wait for an iceberg or ice block.
If you look at the mountains’ silhouettes for a long time, you can notice many various unusual shapes: butterflies, Christmas trees, daffodils, pointed hats and so on... Often small pieces of ice float past the vessel as well as icebergs which reminds of small islands. Cape Tegethoff, for example, is often reflected in the water.
It was impossible to have landing in Tikhaja Bay because of storm and we went around Hooker Island. The weather was brilliant: the glare of the sun turned water and icebergs into turquois blue.
The fog comes when the vessel rides out. To my mind Arctic fog is alive and he is very bored, especially, in the sea. However, we shouldn`t sympathize with the fog. Everything can be hidden in coastal fog, e.g. polar bear. They have fine sense of smell and can smell floe rat under the ice even at the one kilometer distance.
Since the very morning we are travelling in a fog. According to our captain the visibility is approximately half of a mile. It’s about 800 meters, even more, almost a kilometer. The dashboard shows that the speed is usual one, 10-11 K. Though I have a feeling that our vessel is moving very slowly and that the fog is at a stone’s throw and literally envelopes us.
We are approaching the Russkaya Gavan’ Bay and in the evening, we will be there and we’ll take the course to the Aleksandra Land after it taking water samples for the hydrological research. All in all, during the twenty-four hours 18 stops will be made. It’s +28 degrees in Arkhangelsk. Aleksander Saburov commented: of course!
Ingo Weiss saw 4 whales from 8 to 10 o’clock, at 11 there were dolphins on the right side of the vessel, about two or three ones. Someone named them “humans”. We will be on board the vessel surrounded only by sea until the beginning of the next week. We have taken the course to Franz Josef Land.
Yesterdays’ rainbow has brought luck to us: today there is no tossing, the sun is shining, the color of the water is emerald green, outside +6+8oC, it looks like we’re having a vacation here! We don’t hear the birds singing but we do sometimes see them flying in the sky, following and watching us.
I woke up very early today. It can be named the record of at least for half a year, because today’s Sunday (and I usually sleep long on Sundays). There is a little tossing, 2 points according to a scale. The waves are not big yet, but still look very impressive. Konstantin Sergeevich tells us that we haven’t yet reached the Barents Sea…
My name is Irina Skalina and as a journalist I will write diaries of this expedition. I am already acquainted with the most places that we are planning to visit as it is my second AFU expedition and I have already been at Franz Josef Land as a Deputy Director on ecological education and tourism in the national park “Russian Arctic”.
Some words about the expedition results: The expedition covered the route of 3 300 sea miles in 4 seas: the White Sea, the Barents Sea, the Pechora Sea, the Kara Sea.
Early in the morning there was a white whale spotted near “Molchanov”, and at 6 am my phone started ringing, I even got the Internet connection, though in 10 minutes it all disappeared. We have reached Bolshoy Solovetskiy Island and cast anchor pretty far from the coast.