A WWF-led research team, a Canon photographer, and crew are traveling to Siberia’s Arctic coast on the Laptev Sea, to help solve a scientific mystery. The Laptev Linkages expedition is sponsored by Canon.
Finally, the boat Taimyr has launched and we’re off for the Laptev Sea. There are 35 people on board, and 18 berths. A bit chaotic and it feels lousy to take up places from the Dolgani (local people) who normally take this boat. Geoff, polar bear researcher, and I decide to sleep on deck to relieve the pressure. The temperature is nearly five degrees C outside, but we have good sleeping bags, so it works. The atmosphere on board is great, and an old Dolgan woman invites me to eat smoked salmon and sugared blueberries. Great to see that women are definitely in charge on this boat – the men are low profile here.
After sixteen hours we arrive at the last Dolgan community on the Khatanga River, and everyone except the research team and the crew heads off. The whole village meets us on the beach – along with a dozen dogs. Misha Stishov, expedition leader and captain, has made a plan to try to visit a few places where walruses were seen in the 1980s – when they were last here.
My old boyhood dream is now reality – I’m on my way to the Laptev Sea. There is a hot shower and all the food tastes great – I can live with that. For lunch we had carrot soup and roast reindeer with mashed potatoes. Maybe we’ll see the first walrus tonight. More later.