15 AUGUST 2001
15 August - Moscow-Murmansk
Departing from Moscow's "Sheremetyevo 1" airport, our expedition arrives in
Murmansk. From the "Murmashi" airport we take comfortable buses and are transferred
aboard the icebreaker "Yamal." We sail late in the evening.
16 August - Barents Sea
The voyage to the North Pole has been organized to offer passengers a thorough
insight into the polar world, and fascinating glimpses of the Arctic. Today
we head towards the Franz Josef Land archipelago. En route we have time to rest
and explore the "Yamal." In the company of the captain, you will be introduced
to the ship and the sophisticated technical equipment in the engine room, as
well as to the basic principles of ice navigation and the navigator's job. You
will also learn about helicopter operations, and how to use safety equipment
17 August - Franz Josef Land
We cross 80° north latitude and penetrate
the remote world of ancient pack ice, towering volcanic mountains, icebergs
and glaciers. Discovered only in 1873 by an Austrian expedition aboard the "Tegetthoff",
most of the archipelago remains largely unexplored. Our onboard helicopters
will afford astonishing views of the area's magnificent landscape. We plan to
call at Calm Bay to view Rubini Rock and its numerous nesting seabird colonies,
closely approaching the sheer basalt cliff if conditions permit. Close by is
a deserted research station and, offshore, enormous fragments of calving glaciers
are sometimes seen. We also expect to spot polar bears and walruses, and it
is quite surprising that the polar bears often ignore the ship, and even curiously
approach it, thus enabling us to take wonderful photos. We also plan to visit
Cape Norway where Norwegian explorers Fridtjof Nansen and Hjalmar Johansen wintered
in 1896-1897. During the second half of the 19th Century a number of daring
expeditions tried to make their way through the ice to the top of the Earth,
and many attempts exacted a heavy toll in human life. The two Norwegians survived
by hunting walrus and seals for their sustenance. Considered lost, the remains
of their hut - one of the symbols and landmarks in the history of Arctic exploration
- was discovered by a joint Soviet-Norwegian expedition in 1990.
18-19 August - towards the Pole
Ever farther behind we leave Franz Josef Land - the last solid land and remains
of civilization in this area of the Arctic. Heading due north, the "Yamal" forces
its way through thick, multiyear pack, riding up on top of several meters of
ice that breaks under the ship's tremendous mass.
Our expedition divides into several groups to board the helicopters and watch
the operation of our vessel from above. On the bridge we can observe the work
of experienced hydrologists who update maps of ice conditions from satellite
data, and are constantly looking for stretches of open water and cracks in the
ice. These conditions significantly improve our progress. Finding a solid piece
of ice, the ship may stop for us to take a walk on the ice. During these days
scientists, travelers, and explorers who have dedicated their lives to this
austere world deliver a series of interesting lectures.
20 August - North Pole
Today the expedition expects to reach the geographic North Pole. This time of
year the weather is usually mild, with air temperatures of 0 - 1° C (32
- 34° F). As our vessel steadily approaches 90° N, we meet on the bridge
of the "Yamal" to celebrate our achievement.
Upon reaching our goal, we disembark onto the ice. Here, at the top of the
world, we enjoy the silver and azure landscape and pause to reflect on the early
explorers' heroic efforts and sacrifices to reach this point. The crew of the
ship prepares for a celebration, including a picnic on the ice, and the most
daring can take a plunge into the Arctic Ocean. Special communication facilities
permit contact with civilization to share our achievement with friends. The
celebration is in progress..
21-23 August - due south
Our icebreaker moves on, smashing through high ice hummocks and pack ice. Our
precise southern heading depends on local conditions. We make ice reconnaissance
flights and flightseeing excursions. We may see solid white Ivory gulls, and
realize that soon we may view a dark strip of land on the horizon
24-25 August - Novaya Zemlya (New Land)
We will approach the northwestern part of Novaya Zemlya, an archipelago comprising
the northernmost extension of the Ural Mountains. Here we will enjoy a magnificent
view of the renowned "Maka" Glacier where tremendous masses of ice calve off
the glacier and splash into the water. Polar bears, dolphins, killer whales,
walruses, and seals are frequent visitors to this area.
"we are lucky to know the happiness of
a journey home."
East, West, home is best.
On the way to Murmansk we recall the exciting experience of our wonderful
voyage, full of discoveries and adventures. We belong to a select group of people
who have conquered this icy realm, the Arctic. We return home with heightened
ecological awareness and renewed commitment to one of the last wild places on
earth, our minds stocked with valuable experience and knowledge.
Please note: read this itinerary
as a guide only; our exact route and program varies according to weather and
ice conditions and the wildlife we encounter.
Our goal is to reach the North Pole.
|| Extremal part of the voyage (skydiving,
scuba diving, ballooning and paramotor's flying) are organized by POLAR