How do you relate to The Arctic

Thursday, April 7, 2011

April 7 2011

We are presently near Voronin Island. A tall lighthouse is visible from here, but we are separated from it by a large polynya ranging from 300 to 3000 meters in width. To cross over to the shore ice belt we need to find the place where the polynya is most narrow. Wind is out of North East and strengthening. Driving north along the polynya we find a narrowing of no more than 200 meters in width covered with thin ice. Men come out on the ice with the picks, and report back that they think the vehicles without trailers will be able to make a dash and reach the water without falling though the ice. 
Factoring in the wind we pick the spot on the other side where to get out of the water. The decision to cross afloat is made. 

We prepare the boat, the blocks, the dollies and Kevlar hawsers; we designate responsibilities and roles between members of the crew; everyone will be involved. By now the thin ice cover begins to tighten around the open water until it vanishes right before our eyes.  The water still, however, remains open to the right and to the left. Our only chance at crossing now is to drive fast over the thin ice and dive into the still uncovered water.

Ice fields close over the water completely and begin to crawl onto one another and soon become drivable The vehicles are speeding over 12 sm ice. It is sags, but holds! Now trailers. We have six of them. The “dispatcher” gives the go ahead to the first “train” consisting of three trailers. Kevlar cables are tied to the hitch of “Yemelya-4”, guide dollies with blocks are stuck into the ice and the “train” is underway. Going over a stretch of thin ice the trailers fall through it and are now floating on their tires. Our team gets to pulling the cables by hand to help “Yemelya” and eventually the trailers with our food, fuel and personal belongings roll out of the water and onto the ice. All things are safe, secure and dry in the water tight plastic barrels. Second train overcomes shorter distances  from one ice field to another. We gather all the metal gear.

Translated from Russian by Ilya Kovalev 

No comments:

Post a Comment