How do you relate to The Arctic

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Ice shifting around Russkiy Island in Kara Sea of Arctic Ocean. MLAE-2011 Russian Arctic Expedition

Russian Arctic infrastructure 1961 lighthouse in Kara Sea MLAE-2011

Ridges forming in Kara Sea. Russia Arctic Expedition MLAE-2011
MARCH 27th 2011
We lost four days in the vicinity of Russkiy island due to extremely unfavorable ice movements. Southerly wind shifted the ice away from the Nordenshel’d Archipelago and we therefore still have not had the chance to cross over to the drifting ice cap. Barometric pressure is low, weather is warm and extremely unstable. We are taking care of minor chores and maintenance work. We added another pair of aluminum ladders to the old ones that we had tied together to implement them as improvised bridges over narrow clefts in the ice. Afanasiy seems to have shared the secret skill exclusively to Sergey Isaev and they are now the only two enlightened in possession of the secret Eskimo rope and cable knot code.
We are waiting for Northern winds to improve the ice positioning. We are standing still near a wooden lighthouse tower on U-3 extremity of the Russkiy island. The lighthouse was built in 1961, it is 20 meters tall. and it used electric batteries as well as acetylene to produce light. It was most likely maintained by the staff of the polar station located on the north side of the island. 
Vasily Elagin

Translated from Russian by Ilya Kovalev

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Abandoned Polar Station of Russkiy island. MLAE-2011 diaries.

MARCH 24 2011
Whiteout in Kara Sea MLAE-2011
Blizzard persisted for four days. Warm, up to -7 ะก°, low drifting snow and whiteouts. Strong wind. From Dickson on the Arctic seems to be throwing at us all that its got. Clenching our teeth we push forward looking at GPS and the map on computer screen more than through the windshield and reach island Russkiy. The vehicles and the crew are behaving well. We are on the move 24 hours per day. Night shifts are easier than days as the ridges and terrain is easier to read at night in the light of our projectors, than in the milkish whiteout of the day.

Abandoned polar station on Russkiy island in Kara Sea. MLAE-2011

We come across an abandoned Polar station on the Russkiy island, its windows and doors are taken broken by the bears. Strong Arctic wind creates another polynya that stops our progress to the North. We send greetings to all our meteorologists (Day of a meteorologist in Russia), wish them luck in everything including their witchcraft job. We have a celebration of our won as well: today Afanasy Makovnev, turns 49 and invited us to celebrate with him. All’s well, and our best wishes go out to everyone on the continent.

Afanasy Makovnev is 49 today. MLAE-2011
The expedition is currently on the Russkiy island in Kara Sea and the island is surrounded by a large polynya. The crew is searching for a passage to move further North to the Severnaya Zemlya. Coordinates on 16:00 MSK:N77° 1.847', E95° 32.401'

Translated from Russian by Ilya Kovalev

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hummocking in the Arctic near Dickson. MLAE-2011 Diaries. Russian Arctic Expedition

MARCH 16th MLAE-2011
We were maintaining heading 0° to Dickson and had 50 km left to go. Our “train” was driven by Vladimir Obihod. As we were crossing Cape Mys Efremov, a stretch of large hummocks and ridges crossed our path. Looking through his binoculars, Obihod saw a large and even field within about one kilometer from the shore and decided to drive on it. To the right he noticed an expanding crack in the ice. He came outside the vehicle and with the sticks of his ice pick checked its thickness. The ice was 25 centimeters thick and wet, but held the vehicle weight well. The crew was asleep. Vladimir woke everyone up and at the same time the crack began rapidly expanding  and new cracks began to appear to in front and to the rear of us. It was the result of ocean tide. We attempted to move West – away from the shoreline we needed to eventually reach. Than we found the narrowest place (45m) to cross back to the east side. We inflated the boat, and got out the Kevlar rope. Sergey Isaev and Vladimir Yanochkin crossed over to the other side in the boat, tightened the rope and set up the crossing. In the mean time our mechanics inspected seal gaskets on the driveshafts. One of the had to be replaced, and while we worked on that, the ice floes came together allowing us to cross over driving. Temperature is at -30°C, it is nice and sunny. By 21:00 hours we reached Dickson arrived in Dickson to the warm welcome of the border guardsmen and old friends – Vladimir Demchuk, Valeriy Savin, Vladimir Krylov.
Coordinates on 21:00 MSK: N73° 30.438', E080° 31.131'.
Vasily Elagin

Translated from Russian by Ilya Kovalev

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Russian Atomic Icebreaker ship Taimyr. Yenisey River, town of Karaul, Russian Arctic Explorers MLAE-2011

We have covered 1230 km. 120 km left to go until we reach Dickson. The vehicles, trailer and the crew seem to be tugging along smoothly. The breaking in period is over. Expeditions is picking up the pace. On our way down to Yenisey Bay we stop in the old village of Karaul.

Russian Atomic Icebreaker vessel Taimyr on Yenisey River
Vasily Elagin

We meet good people here. Nenets Svetlana and Rostik Vaenga sold us freshly frozen whole deer (a 30kg female). Michael Aliev and his relative Zulfin – both from Azerbaijan presented us with 2 bags of whitefish and three sturgeon heads for fish soup.
Russian diesel operator Dima sold us a barrel of freshly caught sparling (on the shores of Yenisey River they call it “zubatka”)
MLAE-2011, Vasily Elagin and Nuclear Powered Icebreaker Ship "Taimyr"
We exchanged three long siren blasts with a captain of a large atomic icebreaker ship “Tymir” that passed 200 meters away from us in “the opposite lane”. Upon noticing us the captain halted the machines, stopped the vessel and then commanded full steam ahead and the huge machine’s black and frost covered hull side passed above us, crushing the ice underneath it. Huge ice floes behind the vessel were being carried along the canal. The might and power of this atomic reactor powered lunker next to the fragile “Yemelyas” is well captured in the photos and video.
Coordinates: N70° 28.396', E083° 22.409.
Our current position at 08:00 MSK time is:  N70° 28.396', E083° 22.409.

Translation from Russian by Ilya Kovalev

Monday, March 14, 2011

Russian Atomic Icebreaker Taimyr in The Arctic Ocean MLAE-2011 Arctic Expedition

March 14th
The expedition proceeds along on the ice of Yenisei River. We bought 70 kilos of Sig fish in Karaul village. Karaul – ancient village founded in 1616 as a guard post. A winter hideout for travelers and traders at first, it later becomes home to settlers.  Prominent Arctic explorer – F. Nansen describes Karaul of early 19th century, in his “Into the country of Future” : “This is an important fish trade hub of the Yenisey River and belongs to a rich merchant from the city of Krasnoyarsk. There is fairly large and substantially build house in it and overall it is a large modern village.” 
Translated from Russian by Ilya Kovalev 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

March 10th 2011 Enisey River

Between March 4th and 9th the expedition traveled close to a thousand kilometers on the Vankor-Neft’ ice road and reached Dudinka.  The vehicles traveled on the ice road at the speeds of 10-15km/h, covering up to 200 km daily. The ice-road runs over the frozen waters of Enisey River. The Hydro dam in Krasnoyarsk had recently been drained and under the snow of the ice road, we encountered water, which did not, however impede our progress, as the light weight of Yemelyas spread over the large surface area of their soft tires prevented them from sinking through the snow, as the large and heavier Ural trucks, which were stranded waiting for this water to freeze, before they could continue along the ice road. In Dudinka the expedition was greeted by the head of the regional headquarters of “Nornikel”. The good man – Igor Borisovish Uzdin. Both “Yemelyas” were parked in heated garage and the crew – on board of the ice breaker ship “Dudinka”. Today, March 10th we are repairing one the shafts of the rear axle on “Yemelya-4” and treating two of our young mechanics – Andrei Vankov and Aleksey Zaitcev, both of whom caught cold. For our more experienced adventurers and athletes Vasily Elagin, Vladimir Obihod, Sergey Isaev and Vladimir Yanochkin, the process off acclimatization to the harsh Siberian temperatures seems to have gone over easier. Afanasiy Makovnev is still waiting for our passports with Canadian visas while maintaining correspondence with communications officer for the Canada Border Services Agency - Stephen Hoyt.

Translated from Russian by Ilya Kovalev