Diary of the Arctic leg of a transglobal car expedition
Translated from Russian by Igor' Lebedev  

06.04.2024 N89°58'06", W022°. Odometer reading the same as before, 3491 km, this is half the length of our route leg.

During the night, we drifted for 3 km southwards in the direction of Spitsbergen.

The sky is clear, there is no wind, we slept until 7 a.m., at eight the mechanics went to attend the vehicles, while I started phone calls on organizational matters, having given the task to calculate the fuel reserves. Last night, after running out of fuel, the engine of the yellow vehicle stalled. After the checkup it turned out that only 70 liters of fuel were left in the entire caravan. We can say that we arrived at the pole on the last drops, so it is out of question – driving to Barneo for fuel. I phoned to Margarita, Barneo director, and found her quite upset: they have acute shortage of fuel on the ice due to three times of searching for an ice floe suitable for runway construction. With much effort I persuaded her to deliver fuel to us in the area of the pole. Tomorrow the first flight leaves from Krasnoyarsk via Khatanga for Barneo. The flight is a technical one, it carries various equipment, a group of skiers who will go on skis straight from the plane to conquer the "last degree", and Zurab with a cargo of spare parts, oils, antifreeze and ... chacha (Georgian grape vodka). Finally, there will be an opportunity to celebrate the arrival of our caravan to the pole in a real, masculine, Russian way, after all. And our Canadian from Los Angeles will have a happy opportunity to see the prowess of the Russian soul in all the breadth of its spread when not burdened by the presence of a local policeman. But let’s return to the matters; we decided to drive southward to Greenland staying in the Sydney-Honolulu-Magadan (choose according to your taste) time zone. This was done not out of love for some or other place on our planet, but in order the sun on our way southwards did not shine in the eyes, but rather in the back of the head; it is more pleasant, and besides the hummocks are better visible. If everything goes according to the plan, then there is a possibility of our departure to the south on April 9-10. Time is running out, it is more than 700 km to Greenland land-ice over a straight line, with a coefficient of looping in the hummocks and between water openings taken as 1.3, it is almost a thousand. This, according to my calculations, will take three weeks at least, and besides, the authorities of this hospitable island did not allow us to follow the shortest route to the dome, but obliged to arrive to Nord station to evaluate our trustworthiness, which lengthens our route by at least a couple of hundred kilometers. The task is: to reach the land-ice by the beginning of May, in commemoration of the holiday of peace and labor for those who have nothing to lose except their chains.

Now, about the local news: yesterday Obikhod accused Maxim Badulin of atheism. Today is the Annunciation day, the faces of the workpeople are appeased, but Andrei Ivanovich from Los Angeles perceives this calmness as fatalistic submission to fate, because we are standing at the pole, fuel is running out, and in case of non-flying weather – tragic outcome is not excluded. In short, he is not happy with the calmness of the team. While I was writing this message, the mechanics replaced one shock absorber and checked the others, now they are replacing the spring in the suspension of the middle right wheel in the blue vehicle. They will replace it for a reinforced spring, because Zurab will be riding in this vehicle. And finally: a message has just arrived from the headquarters that the ice floe with the ready-made runway has broken, and tomorrow's flight is canceled. The situation is becoming more and more intriguing. On this occasion, our crew is planning to watch the movie "Election Day" in the evening.

Tomorrow morning we are waiting for the news from Barneo area.

That’s how the matters are here, at the pole. V. Ye.

06.04.2024 N89°59'59", W-------. Odometer reading 3491, daily run 52, useful 43 km. We are at the pole!

Four vehicles, two new ones and two veterans, red and green, are standing at the North Pole again. But it will happen later, at 13:00.

The morning is clear, almost windless, - 25°C or so, we immediately drove westward, because the view from height made possible for us to see the compression zones of the water opening to a width that allows us to lay our rescue ladders. The drone flew for several times, in the end it always turns out to be faster than spending time in search for a crossing on foot, demonstrating courage and heroism, especially because you can't see from below what awaits you ahead, and the work done can lead you to the place which is not the right place at all. Soon the matters went on more cheerfully, the terrain became friendly, and by 9:00 we had passed 25 km already, and 10 latitudinal minutes or nautical miles (18.15 km) remained to the pole. The yellow vehicle was leading the caravan after lunch, and by one o'clock p.m. we were at the pole. Upon arrival, we had a chance to observe an intriguing sight from the cabin window: bending over a GPS navigator held in the hand, the polar explorers, looking not quite sane, wandered in circles around the invisible point of the earth axis coming through the ice of the Arctic Ocean. Some of them, having stumbled upon it (the axis), stopped still and immediately, snatching out their phone, tried to capture the sacramental figures: Those who managed to complete the task successfully were easily recognized due their relaxed gait and smile, their faces became noticeably kinder. Now they could send this photo to all corners of the world.

That’s how the matters are. V. Ye.

05.04.2024 N89°36'36", W102°19'53". Odometer reading 3439, çà äåíü 62, useful 44 km. K-1.41

It is clear in the morning, gentle S-W wind. We instantly drove into the zone of multiple breaks, cracks, on the first section of route a few kilometers long we lifted the drone into the air not less than five times. I requested the second vehicle to assist the blue one, so that Obikhod could reach faster the place of search. The red vehicle with a crew consisting of Van’kov, Gavrilov and Zaitsev supports after lunch the yellow vehicle which leads the caravan. The daily result today is average, 24 latitudinal minutes. Not much and not little. The pole is still about forty km away, there is hope to be there tomorrow. Things are not very good on Barneo, one promising ice floe cracked without waiting for start of the runway construction work, another ice floe waited for the start of work, and then cracked malevolently. Barneo, or, more exactly, Zurab’s arrival, is beginning to slow us down; in the best-case scenario, it would be good for us to leave the pole about the 8th of April in order to reach Greenland land-fast ice in late April – early May. Our crew is driving immersed in thought – whether Andrew Ivanovich Comrie-Picard, the Canadian from Los Angeles, is carrying a bottle of champagne or not. After all, he is going to become the first Canadian to arrive to the North Pole on a motor vehicle.

I promise to inform you from the pole about the availability of champagne.

That’s how the matters are. V. Ye.

04.04.2024 N89°12'51", W109°50'52" Odometer reading 3377, daily run 88, useful 76 km.

The morning is clear, the wind is westerly, from fresh to strong, during the day it changed to southerly. The driving was good, the terrain was not complicated; we used ladders several times, the trailer fell through ice a couple of times, but it is lightweight already, half-empty, the vehicle easily pulled it ashore. A fresh photo came in the morning, but the terrain was so easy for the most part that there was no need for the photo. After lunch, the column was led by a yellow vehicle with Alexey Safonov at the steering wheel, we stopped for the night at 20.00. For dinner – buckwheat with vacuum-dried meat, a little of stroganina from nelma. Barneo is 80 km to the south from the pole on the Russian side, so there is no hope to get there, take a shower and stay in civilized conditions for some time.

That’s how the matters are. V. Ye.

03.04.2024 N88°31'46", W110°07'51" Odometer reading 3289, daily run 41, useful 29.6 km.(of which 4 km. are due to drift)

Whiteout since morning, tormenting driving, countless cracks and water openings. An ice islet also cracked in a couple of places was floating in a water opening. By way of re-laying ladders and ruthless destruction of hummocks, completely spoiling the landscape of the ice islet, we managed to get to the northern side and rushed further northward. At noon it got a little brighter, then whiteout came again. At 6 p.m. we stopped for the night, full of enthusiasm to replace the slightly leaking radiator in our vehicle, the green one. This is not a real leak in the sense of plumbing, but just steaming before the driver's eyes, constantly reminding us of its existence, and as is well known, importunity wastes our nerves, one the few things that are worth taking care of in this life. We started preparations for the replacement. With substantial efforts we found out where the spare radiators were lying, then painful search for the pipes took place, because the spare radiator has connecting nipples of different diameters; as a result, we ascertained that the pipes of the required diameter were left at Cambridge Bay as unnecessary. An hour and a half flew like an instant in creative bustle, then dinner time came, and after an abundant repast, the only correct decision was made: to postpone the repair to the pole. Zurab will arrive to the pole, loaded like a pack-horse with various spare parts bought for us in Krasnoyarsk by Igor Kanana, a colleague in the construction of crazy vehicles. Barneo has not been opened yet, the cargo lies on the ice, but, evidently, the strip has not been prepared, so Zurab, who has already arrived in Krasnoyarsk, has nothing to do but to enjoy the industrial landscapes and the Yenisei. New high-resolution satellite photos were received, but in the conditions of active drift it is very difficult to use them, especially on terrain lacking any notable landmarks.

That’s how the matters are. V. Ye.

01.04.2024 N87°53'26", W113°45'46" Odometer reading 3199, daily run 42, useful 15 km.

The morning is clear, -25°Ñ, feeble wind. The driving is simple, although sometimes we find ourselves in the zones of multiple breaks; one water opening was crossed along a bridge of sophisticated configuration composed of three ladders. We were too early rejoicing the successful crossing: in a couple of hours we ran into a water opening more than a kilometer wide and boundless in latitudinal direction. The water opening is no more than a day old, it is absent in the previous photo, while "fat" has already formed in the water, though I cannot call it "nilas", it has not grown enough yet. One vehicle drove to the east, the other – to the west, ascertained the absence of any prospect, and in the afternoon we calmed down, accepting the fate to some extent. In the process of riding in search of the bright future, the front axle gearbox failed on the green vehicle, so the forced stoppage was instantly replaced by repair work until midnight. We did not receive a new satellite photo today, so a slight reminder that the pendulum of fate is gaining backward swing has taken place. The wizard Zurab will bring another gearbox to the pole in addition to the one already present on Barneo, because we haven't covered even half the way yet, so I think it's necessary to restore the stock. It's not too far to the pole, but the number of obstacles is increasing, so it's not the right time for relaxing and sending success reports yet. Well, I have completely forgotten, Maxim, our operator, cooked a hot dinner for us while our vehicle was being repaired. Thanks to him!

That’s how the matters are. V. Ye.

31.03.2024 N87°45'31", W111°48'52". Odometer reading 3157, daily run 70, useful 55,5 km.

Not bad at all, the ratio of useful to covered distance: 1.25.

It's clear since morning, -25°Ñ, wind S-W, drift N-E, we were dragged for 3 km during the night. A new satellite photo has arrived, but it is about 10 hours old, and due to drift it can be used very tentatively. The caravan is led by the green vehicle till lunchtime, by the yellow vehicle after lunch. Both crews jealously watch the choice of the route in the hummocks by the leader, and every day they come to one and the same discovery that THEY (the others) cannot choose the route correctly. It brings freshness to our relationship and invigorating drive. Both crews are using more and more often the drone named in honor of Anton Yershov; in general, long live the small-sized aviation. Our caravan is moving north slightly ahead of schedule, which causes euphoria in some of the participants, while I, as a pessimist, am waiting for the reverse swing of the pendulum of luck, and as an optimist, hoping that the blow on the forehead will be not too stunning.

That’s how the matters are.

Looking with hope into the boundless snow-white future, yours V. Ye.

30.03.2024 N87°15'38", W111°15'46". Odometer reading 3088, daily run 53, useful 43,5 km. Ê = 1.22.

Strong whiteout since morning, so we did not depart, stayed for repair and preventive maintenance of the vehicles. We replaced the middle left shock absorber in the green vehicle, refastened and strengthened the ladders, and drove off at 10.20. Hummocks, water openings are on the route, it's good that visibility has improved. Christian has sent a new satellite photo with good detailing, it matches the reality well, despite the nighttime drift. Anton and I are unable to understand - why. The nighttime drift, while we are at a stop, can somehow be taken into account, but the daytime drift, when we are on the move, is not subject to taking into account. Well after all, it matched – and that’s enough for us. After lunch the terrain was easier, and despite the late departure, the daily total was not bad. The remaining distance to the pole is 300 km. The plane with the cargo to be dropped on Barneo did not take off today, the helicopters have found an ice floe suitable for the runway, but it cracked, so they are in search for a new one. The IL-76 loaded with camp equipment, tractors, etc. is standing "under steam" at Murmansk, ready to fly off and dump all this stuff together with parachutists - tractor drivers out of its generous ass on the ice of the Northern Ocean. The crew of the blue vehicle is preparing for a warm welcome of another polar explorer from sunny Georgia, Zurab Sanikidze. With the first flight from Hatanga, he will arrive to Barneo, and we will reunite.

That’s how the matters are. V. Ye.

29.03.2024 N86°51'37", W110°22'20". Odometer reading 3034, daily run 54, useful 38 km.

Before lunch K = 1.37, after lunch (yellow vehicle in the lead) 1.49.

Whiteout since morning, no visibility, we are slowly making our way forward. The terrain is unpleasant, freshly broken ice, sharp ice floes, very tough for the suspension and tires. Almost all breaks covered with fresh ice need to be checked, we don't want to take the risk, as it will require much longer time to recover a sunk vehicle. Sun came out by 11.30, but the long-awaited visibility did not bring cheer, hummock fields to the horizon are seen in the perspective view, of course there are glades, but driving is slow, burdened with multiple breaks and water openings. After lunch the red vehicle fell into one of them, it was pulled out by the other vehicle; the wheels are good, they meticulously broke the thin ice while the vehicle was pulled to the "shore", and in general, I am very satisfied with TRECOL tires. We stopped at 19.00 for the night, fish soup from white salmon and tea with almonds in chocolate for dinner, in short, an unpretentious dinner for tractor drivers. The evening is warm, -20°C, windless, sunny. Dropping of camp equipment was planned for today on Borneo. I'll call them tomorrow morning to enquire. The Internet (Starlink) is working properly.

That’s how the matters are. V. Ye.

28.03.2024 N86°31'02", W111°56'13". Odometer reading 2980 km, daily run 66 km, useful 52 km.

We departed after refueling at 7.10. The driving is simple, but there are a lot of breaks, then we either lay the ladders or search for clamped areas, they can be seen from afar due to raised snow-ice ridges. Once the rear bogie of our vehicle fell through the ice, but the front axle was on solid surface and, having blocked everything that can be blocked in the vehicle, I drove out successfully. Somewhere under water the brake hose was torn, but the brakes were invented by a coward, isn't it so? People from Barneo have already told Zurab to buy a ticket to Krasnoyarsk, so our ranks will soon be replenished with another polar explorer. As in the previous year, while we are approaching the goal, the doctor more and more often has bouts of unhealthy generosity in the sense of handout of foodstuff. Another 400 kg of grub are waiting for us on Barneo, and a large amount of fuel, hence there are reasoned fears that we will not be able to drag all the difficult-to-obtain foodstuff with us to Greenland, so his nervousness is understandable, but does not arise sympathy. As the weather warms up, the vehicles, as I have already written, move much easier, but on the other hand, there are more days with poor visibility. The sun has stopped setting over the horizon, but we still go to bed diligently; no rush work - that's our motto.

That’s how the matters are. V. Ye.

27.03.2024 N86°03'05", W112°20'20". Odometer reading 2914 km, daily run 51 km, useful 26 km.

It is clear since morning, it got colder over -30°Ñ, the wind changed to South-West, but the drift is slow, for 1.2 km during the night. Since morning we are standing for repair, welding the brackets of the upper fasteners of prostheses in trailers. They are fixed by bolts, but due to harsh ride and overinflated wheels, the fastening has loosened on the trailer of the yellow vehicle; as for the other vehicles, we do it preventively. In parallel, the backlash of the hub bearings is checked and, if necessary, taken up in the vehicles as well as in trailers. The right tie-rod end was replaced on the green vehicle. Shock absorbers and engine oil are already in Khatanga, thanks to Alexey Dubinin, Vladimir Sergeevich Dozortsev and Igor Kanan. Shock absorbers are classified as hazardous cargo, but despite their hazard, the parts and oil are in Khatanga. Barneo helicopters are already at the 86th degree, waiting for fuel drop and then further - to pole region, in search for a suitable ice floe for the landing strip. The first clients on Barneo are expected by the fifth of April. By the end of the day we were stopped by a water opening, wanted to stay overnight, then decided to take off, and drove around the water opening and stopped for the night on a good ice field. The methodology of working with the drone is being improved, the video image from the drone stops at the right place, the driver drives, and the navigator constantly compares the picture in the glasses with the reality and corrects. It turns out to be effective.

That’s how the matters are. V. Ye.

26.03.2024 N85°49'45", W111°12'33" Odometer reading 2862 km, daily run 63 km, useful 57 km.

Departure was at 5.30 as usual, the terrain is good, we covered 31 km till lunchtime, 29.6 of them to the north, very effectively. After lunch the yellow vehicle was in the lead, they drove according to satellite photo in which they believe devotedly, they drove 32 km over somewhat similar terrain, but with lesser efficiency (27 km). In my opinion, the photos do help a lot, but in the conditions of strong drift it is not easy to match the photo accurately with the GPS receiver, and sometimes it hinders choosing the route correctly. In general, especially when the ice is in stable state, the help is remarkable, especially when combined with the drone.

V. Yelagin.

25.03.2024 N85°19'04", W110°53'09" Odometer reading 2799, daily run 44 km, useful 35 km. The relationship is not bad.

We flew off immediately in the morning, visibility is below average, but numerous breaks are visible. In 3.5 hours of movement we covered only a few useful kilometers, dodging like hares. We crossed one of the cracks right during the ice shift. Then the driving became more cheerful, though still with numerous cracks. For the most part, you manage to guess whether you can drive across ice-covered breaks without checking by icepick, or you need to probe the ice first. In the end, our vehicle fell into a narrow water opening; the vehicle was taken out with the assistance of the red vehicle by pulling the trailer. At the end of the day whiteout occurred, visibility dropped to 10 meters, and at 18 o'clock I stopped this martyrdom and useless waste of fuel. We retired for the night.

That’s how the matters are. V. Ye.

24.03.2024 N85°00'10", W111°24'13" Odometer reading 2755 km, daily run 52 km, useful 50 km (6 km of which was the drift).

We departed at 5.30, the weather is clear, the wind is southern, visibility is good, the terrain is simple for the most part. But there are plenty of cracks, including those covered by snowdrift, fresh snow, and it is necessary to check almost every of them so as not to have to pull out the sinking vehicle. We were lucky twice, the vehicle passed over safely while the trailers fell through, but due to their incomplete loading, they submerged not too deep into water, and the vehicle pulled them out without additional aid. During 6.5 hours till lunch we moved 37 km to the north, covering the distance of 42 km. By lunchtime, noise appeared in the differential lock of the gearbox of the red vehicle. They said the repair will take an hour, but actually it took 6 hours; if the forecast of the repair duration were realistic, it would be easier for the others to plan their maintenance work. At the 85th degree we approached the zone of breaks, and by a strong-willed decision I stopped the emotional impulse of the higher authority to move on and on.

That’s how the matters are. V. Ye.

23.03.2024 N84°32'39", W111°49'56". Odometer reading 2703 km.

Daily run 74 km, useful 66.5 km, while we drove just 63, i.e. 3.5 km were added by drift in favorable direction.

We departed at 5.30, it's getting light early in the morning, the actual polar day has already started; the wind is strong, nasty, from the south. The green vehicle was in the lead till lunch, we overcame 18 minutes of latitude with good efficiency. The terrain – ice fields interspersed with fences made of hummocks. Finding passages in them is an exciting activity, everyone strives to be the first to find a passage to the bright future and declare that his passage is the best. The size of the pack ice fields ranges from 500 m to a couple of kilometers. Experts in the most effective destruction of the ice landscape of the Arctic Ocean basin have been identified. We try to implement dry passages across the cracks, sometimes ladders are used, their deflection clearly shows which vehicle has much excess cargo. When the blue vehicle drives upon the ladders, the hall becomes stockstill. But for the present, we're still holding on. Now, in more detail about the blue vehicle and its inhabitants. Its crew is the most interesting, one Canadian from Los Angeles, a purely television person, Max Badulin, our cameraman, who has traveled half the world with his camera, and, finally, Vladimir Nikolaevich Obikhod, aka Uncle Vova, aka Nikolaich, a vehement bearer of Russian culture and Orthodoxy. Uncle Vova keeps the crew in strictness; during the inspection of the engine compartment, both Andrew (the Canadian) and Max are driven outside so as not to interfere with checking, for the third time in a day, the oil level in the engine, in the gearbox and the main gears of all three axles. Uncle Vova talks to the Canadian from Los Angeles in strict tone and only in Russian. Andrew answers him in English, increasing the volume sometimes contributes to a better understanding of the material by the Canadian Andrew.

V. Yelagin.

22.03.2024 N83°56'59", W111°57'46". Odometer reading 2629 km, daily run 23 km, useful 18 km.

South wind blows since morning. The day before we stopped for night earlier than usual, at 18:00 we selected a field for drop of fuel. In the evening we replaced the additional shock absorbers of the front axle. In the morning we were busy with the standard shock absorbers (on which the suspension springs are installed). At 9.30 a.m. Basler airplane arrived, in three passes dropped six parachutes with soft fuel bags of 200 liters each. For one parachute, they forgot to fasten the carbine of the auxiliary chute to the airplane, and a bag with valuable fuel went down with a parachute in the pack. The pilots asserted that the carbine had broken, but we have got the carbine! It's intact. Then, from small altitude, they dropped tires, foodstuff, and walkie-talkies. Though the doctor had made a request for vodka, it was not delivered; maybe for religious reasons, maybe for political ones, it is difficult to comprehend the Canadians. Now we have to move further without vodka and with scarce diesel fuel. Anyone can do it when both are in good supply, but we'll have to cut down consumption. We’ll have to arrange with Barneo about a helicopter flight to us with a couple of barrels of fuel, which we have prudently prepared for some bad case. After the drop, two vehicles drove to the bags with fuel to pump it into our barrels, while two other vehicles remained at the place of the overnight stay. Our thanks to Maxim who is a smoker, he went out to smoke and noticed that the ice floe was torn apart by a crack, and our team found themselves on opposite sides of a fresh polynya (water opening). It has been a long time since I had to collect the things scattered around the vehicle in such a hurry and drive in search of the remaining points of contact. We found a point of contact, crossed the crack. In regard of the lack of fuel and my anxiety, I was advised to be an optimist, i.e. to see in the cemetery not the crosses, but plus signs

Such are our optimistic affairs. V. Ye.

20.03.2024 N83°18'20", W112°41'09" Odometer reading 2543 km. Useful distance to the north 56 km.
The light green line is our overnight drift

There was some haze in the morning, but visibility is satisfactory; it has warmed up to -27°Ñ, the vehicles, like the day before, started from the overnight stay much easier, the grease has loosened. Apparently, the operating range of hub lubrication grease in our vehicles is limited by minus 30°Ñ or something like that. It is very interesting, today we will find out the fuel consumption. The day after tomorrow the fuel, tires, foodstuff and radio stations will be dropped. Yesterday we talked with VS and Safonov, in their opinion, the path I am choosing is not the optimal one; today after lunch Safonov held the lead, the result in useful kilometrage and traveled kilometrage is the same as mine. The same eggs, but viewed in profile.

V. Yelagin.

19.03.2024 N82°48'05", W111°46"20'. Odometer reading 2468 km.

Daily run 70 km, useful distance to the north 53.7 km. Whiteout is present since morning, fortunately not of the strongest degree, but quite substantial. The driving is fascinating, suddenly an ice block appears literally 3 meters in front of the vehicle, and you need to be able to evade it; or a slope appears, you give gas to drive in, but you don’t see it; two vehicles rolled back, folding the trailers and breaking the tow hitches. And this is only the beginning of the travel, only a quarter of the ocean route was covered.

That's how the matters are. Yours V.Ye.

18.03.2024 N82°19'10", W112°06'41". Odometer reading 2398 km.

Useful distance to the north 87 km. Excellent result. This is not because we are so good, but simply we whizzed over a frozen river for about 30 km in the required direction. As for the rest, the ice fields were also quite good. Today is the first day when the yellow vehicle was in the lead after lunch. After careful calculations of fuel consumption, catastrophic shortage was revealed in the caravan, but not due to thievery of the participants, but rather because of low temperatures coupled with loose snow, many places difficult even for our vehicles to overcome, and negligence of crew members who stubbornly refuse to minimize engine operating time in idle mode and Starlink mode. As compared to the consumption of the same vehicles in 2013, fuel consumption increased by 30-35 percent. Another type of wheels, increased vehicle weight, different driving style, most likely a combination of the above factors. At the evening briefing I held an explanatory talk. Menu of the unpretentious dinner - fish soup from white salmon, tea with prunes, dried apricots and honey, as appropriate for pensioners. Today we overhauled the left torque rod on the middle axle. I hope the rattling will disappear.

That's how the matters are. Yours V.Ye.


A miracle happened in the morning. In the evening of the previous inept day, we checked our watches during the "briefing", the time on the mechanical watch and on the iPhone was the same. I set an alarm on my iPhone for 5 am and drop off to sleep. Morning came, we drank coffee, looked around and realized that two other vehicles were still asleep. The phone, without informing anyone, changed time during the night, and we, together with the red vehicle, woke up an hour earlier than planned. Despite the switched-off geolocation, the phone still spies on the naive owner. A short clarification of the situation, and we depart. Whiteout of medium lousiness, morning twilight - in general, bad driving. Anton was helping to search for passages in the hummocks using a powerful flashlight from the hatch, but we moved forward very slowly. Gentlemen armed with ice picks often went ahead in search for the way, but if it was not found, they carved it themselves in the piles of ice blocks. Finally, something started to rattle in the red vehicle, either in the transmission or in the front axle gearbox. After half an hour of investigation the cause became clear - the front axle. A spare one is available, the replacement is underway for four hours, the wind has strengthened, visibility has completely disappeared. Glaciologists have sent the latest photo to us, fresh breaks are clearly visible on it; after consulting, we decided to try to percolate between the hummocks in the fields of pack ice to Borden Island tomorrow. Today, most likely, we will have to stay and wait till the bad weather is over. The vehicle rocks noticeably in the wind, but while the cabin heater is on, it's comfortable inside. We are sitting in comfort, but actually we are sailing towards the Pole at a speed of slightly less than one km/hour. The smoothness of motion is superb, no one gets sick.

That’s how the matters are. V.Ye.

09.03.2024 N79°08'04", W107°53'51". Odometer reading 1820 km.

Daily run 112 km. Useful distance to the north only 40 km. By morning it got warmer, to -37°C. At first the ride was good and cheerful. By midday we observed "watery sky" ahead, and soon approached the unfrozen water. I measured its width with a rangefinder: 70 meters, and Maxim, the cameraman, raised his copter into the air. It should be mentioned that drones behave not very well in such frosty weather. This time, having risen to about fifty meters, not paying any attention to the commands from the ground, it announced: "I'm landing," this happened over the water, the operator almost had a stroke, with difficulty he persuaded the ”bird” to fly to the shore. We started preparations to sailing, selfless Van’kov already put on his life vest, we unwound the ropes, and then noticed that the northern shore had floated away from us. Because of the mist, the rangefinder failed to see the target, and the hope for crossing melted away in the clouds of mist. We wound up our gear and drove along the shore to the north-west. "Along the shore" - this is strongly said, because hummock ridges oriented at right angle to the channel with intervals of 100-150 m did not allow to relax. Due to low speed, the lubricant in the hubs of vehicles and trailers cannot warm up, and it is very difficult for the engine, especially for our vehicle, because we have two trailers on our tail. After "riding" along the pool of unfrozen water, we turned south in search of more passable terrain, but darkness suddenly fell on us, we drove some distance through fields of pack ice and, convinced of the futility of this activity, stopped for the night. A dozen eggs, the remains of pasta trash in a frying pan with fried pieces of good sausage - and here you are, dinner is ready! The unproductive day ended on this note, the main result of it was a reminder: "if you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans in the Arctic!"

That's how we live. V.Ye.

08.03.2024 N78°46'32", W104°58'43" Odometer reading 1708 km. Isachsen polar station.

After refueling on the Isachsen runway, we departed from the island at 17.30. In the morning we drove to the remains of two airplanes from the heroic forties of the last century. One is a Douglas DC-3 (Dakota); only a wing with two reciprocating engines remained from the other, a four-engine plane, we could not identify it on the spot. 1200 liters of diesel fuel already delivered here by Kenn Borek Air are waiting for us on the runway. The time is 14.30, meanwhile we are standing, making repairs. That’s a big word, basically it is fixing tires, replacing dust caps cracked due to frost, replacing the fan motor of the stove in the red vehicle, and other little things. Zaitsev, the chief in the red brigade, decided not to replace the gearbox, the men preferred to recall the gearshift technique used in vehicles from the 50ies of the last century, when gearboxes had no synchronizers. It is simple – double-press on the clutch pedal, throttling if necessary for equalizing rpm of the gears – and voila, the required gear is inserted. At the start of mastering this technique, Zaitsev's active headphones proved to be very useful: they are so active that the driver's hearing ability does not suffer at all from the premortal crunch of gears in the gearbox unit. Alexey Safonov is cooking fish soup from nelma heads, I am writing a diary, the remaining members are outdoors. I asked Cedric by phone to send us a wired grinder of the common design; we have one, but it is battery-powered, and despite the fact that this is a Makita, a high-quality product, at forty-degree below zero the batteries run low very quickly. On the other hand, they charge slowly, because the smart charger at first brings the battery to acceptable temperature, and only then starts charging. In short, the wired option is more reliable. After repairs is the fish soup, then refueling – and on the way. Today we resolved to get off from the polar station and spend the night in the field, it is psychologically easier to begin polar working days in this manner. Today the glaciologists sent us two images of the transition to floating ice, one dated March 01, the other – March 7th. Polynia (ice opening) has increased, so goodbye, the boredom of a sad ride over the straits of the Canadian archipelago, adventures are waiting!

That's how the matters are. V. Yelagin.

06.03.24 N72°02'18", W102°20'14", Odometer reading 1505 km. Daily kilometrage 187 km. We passed over the 72nd degree of latitude.

The night was very cold, I woke up at 4 a.m. due to cold, my feet were icy; an hour of wiggling, auto-training, at last I warmed them up and fell asleep again. Now I am sharing company with Dubinin and Ershov in the vehicle. The happiness is unspeakable – both of them do not snore, unlike the two previous fellow travelers, when the snoring was so loud that safety in regard of a bear attack was guaranteed. What sounds are generated by the author of these sad lines during sleep remains a mystery due to politeness and tact of both cellmates. At lunchtime we refueled the vehicles; the fuel gage showed that the Starlink consumes the same amount of fuel as towing of additional trailer. It is not kosher to pull the trail northward these days without Starlink (Internet and satellite images) or without the additional trailer (fuel and other provisions), so we have to submit. By the end of the day of intense work, the steering rod on the left side started rattling, and the dust cap on the drive of the rear right wheel fractured due to frost. Despite careful selection procedure, almost all protective dust caps and corrugated sheaths turned out to be unsuited for 40-degree frost, we are replacing already the fourth such item in ten days of the travel. The gearbox on the red vehicle is malfunctioning: it is impossible to switch in motion from the third gear to the second; you have to stop, then you can switch it. We will install a spare gearbox at Isachsen polar station (seasonal, no one lives there in winter). We are moving on this haul with a substantial economy of fuel, and this evening I permitted to switch-on the cabin heaters for the nighttime. A riddle for inquisitive readers: at lunchtime, three of four vehicles are placed with the windshield towards the sun, it warms the cabin well. However, one vehicle is placed with its stern to the sun, and Alexey Safonov does not disclose the reason, why. We are lost in conjectures. Tomorrow we expect to reach the fuel drop on the landing strip at Isachsen polar station. The remaining distance to it – 160-170 km.

That's how the matters are, V. Yelagin.

05.03.24 N76°50'43", W097°42'19" Odometer reading 1318 km. 166 km covered during the day.

There were quite many hummocks of varying degree of lousiness. This is useful for fuel planning, I anticipate that the ride over the ocean will be more difficult, but this is some sort of approximation. Lesha Safonov on the previous day had laid down the supposed route on satellite images, and it helped a lot, with minor adjustments we drove along it and saved plenty of time and effort. At 8 p.m. we stopped for the night; because of the frost we decided not to prolong the ritual briefing outdoors, we finished it in a couple of minutes. The gearbox on the red vehicle sends SOS signals, tomorrow during the day we will carefully observe how it will behave. A spare gearbox is available, replacement may be required. To be on the safe side, Dubinin has already found such a gearbox in Ekaterinburg, it was already bought, handed over to the sportsmen, they will weld its differential, and send it to Moscow. I called Dmitry Glagolev, the chief parachutist of Barneo, and he promised to take it to Barneo for the drop.

That's how the matters are, V. Yelagin.

04.03.2024 N75°36'30", W097°08'37" Odometer reading 1152 km. Distance from Resolute - 145 km.

ÈWe departed from Resolute at 12.15. From the airport we drove to the sea, the road is good, part of Cornwallis Island we cut short over land, bypassing the coast with the ridges of hummocks. After studying satellite images we anticipated the presence of hummocks there, so we did not take the risks, all the more so because a snowmobile trail lay into the island in the place we needed. 145 km were covered in 7.5 hours, not a bad result. Harris Seals departed for home due to business; Maxim Badulin relocated to his creative colleague, a Canadian from Los Angeles with a French surname – Andrew Ivanovich Comrie-Picard; Anton Ershov and Alexey Dubinin relocated to me. So, there is almost a complete change of scenery in the green vehicle. In the blue vehicle are: Max, Comrie-Picard and Obikhod, the latter will improve his English. The red vehicle is the rampart of proletariat: Zaitsev, Van’kov, Gavrilov, the yellow vehicle – Shakhnovsky, Safonov and doctor Larin. On the way to the Pole two drops are planned, 1200 liters of fuel at Isachsen polar station, and the same amount – at the 84th degree latitude, the 110th meridian. In addition to drop of fuel, there will be two parachutes with two rubber-fabric tanks each, cargo will be dropped from a low–flying aircraft - four spare tires and 130 kg of foodstuff. Two options are expected: the sight will be either enchanting or heart-breaking in case of package breakdown.

That's how the matters are. V. Yelagin.

03.03.2024 Resolute settlement.

The moment of separation from hot water supply and similar advantages of civilization is approaching inexorably. The Canadian customs and border guards wished us a happy journey, so we cannot evade and not depart anywhere due to "force majeure". It’s a joke. No one forced us to come here. A fuel tanker is ordered for 10 a.m. tomorrow, we refuel, then to the canteen – and off we go. I talked to Brian today, this gentleman will arrange dropping fuel for us at N84° W110°; we decided to drop there four spare tires and about 130 kg of foodstuffs as well. Foodstuffs and tires will be dropped from Basler (upgraded Douglas DC-3) from a height of 30m at a speed of 100 knots (185 km/h). The bags with food were wrapped in many layers of stretch film, the aviators will then add bubble wrap and place all this into a garbage bag. We will try to find a smooth ice field so that the cargo can slide better. Preferably with deep snow, but one should not rely on it, the snow is swept by the winds into accumulation zones (ridges of hummocks). The spare lower spherical joints were lost somewhere; two spherical joints are available, it should be enough, within my remembrance we had to replace them very seldom, and four units will be brought to the Pole by Zurab. Today I phoned Alexey Shkrabkin, a participant in many of our travels, and he agreed to buy and bring it to my home, from where the spherical joints will go to Barneo in Zurab's bag. Tomorrow Daniela will send by mail from Cambridge Bay the steering rod end boots which Zaitsev recklessly left off for the sake of reducing the weight. We managed to settle it, these rod end boots will fly to us along with the fuel. What else is forgotten – a good question, less than twenty hours remain to answer it, and then, finally, when the smoke of Resolute remains astern, calm will come, and one will just have to drive patiently, taking care of the vehicles if possible. After a long and exhausting struggle, we managed to solicit the third Starlink from Andrew Ivanovich Comrie-Picard. The parting was not heart-breaking, but rather sad. When he asked, what we would do if the TWO main units fail, I replied - what we would do if the three and more units fail. The heaviest vehicle is the yellow one, the ladders bend more under it than under the others.

With greetings from Resolute, V. Yelagin.

02.03.2024 Resolute settlement, the acting characters are the same.

By the way, Resolute is the second northernmost settlement in the world after Longyearbyen on Svalbard. Everything is as usual with us: someone is busy in the garage with the vehicles, someone is in another garage with a trailer, someone is frantically buying the foodstuffs which were not purchased before. The weather has worsened, fresh wind is blowing, but apparently it will not last for long. Vasily Shakhnovsky and Lesha Safonov are absorbed by studying satellite images and plotting the route to the ocean. A video conference was held yesterday with glaciologists from the Alfred Wegener Institute, we are practicing reception of up-to-date high-resolution satellite images. In regard of fuel, I have developed a simple generalized formula for calculating the amount of fuel for our caravan. Our total consumption per 100 km of STRAIGHT route is 210 liters, or one 55-gallon barrel. We have 10 barrels in our trailers, plus one barrel in the fuel tanks. Thus, our capability of autonomous travel is 1000 km of straight route. Six barrels of fuel are already waiting for us at Isachsen polar station at 78 degrees N on the island with the aristocratic name Ellef Ringnes, and at 84 degrees N of 110 meridian, fuel will be dropped for us on parachutes. We are preparing some of the foodstuffs and gas cylinders for dropping together with the fuel. This will make our trailers lighter and reduce fuel consumption, if only a little. Van’kov has been fiddling for the second day with installing a boiler heater in the red vehicle, Dubinin and Obikhod are busy for the second day already with the green vehicle. In short, "it is tales that are quickly spun, deeds are sooner said than done".

That's how the matters are. With greetings from Resolute, V. Yelagin.

01.03.2024 N74°41'48", W094°49'23". Canadian outpost of civilization – Resolute settlement. Odometer reading 1006 km.

Travelling time 62h 13min. Average speed in motion – 16 km/h. Neither bad nor good, all depends on the terrain. We arrived to Resolute yesterday, on the last day of winter, at three o'clock in the afternoon. The weather is good, -30°C, practically no wind. Fragments of icebergs are scattered here and there in the sea in front of the settlement, one, visible in the distance, was of impressive size, no match for other remnants of "soap blocks"; the most exalted part of the team arranged photo and video sessions near one of them. A drone was launched, the guys perched here and there where they could manage to, and photos of polar heroes flew to the Internet. After some more looping among the hummocks, we came upon a snowmobile trail and drove along it to the settlement.

The history of appearance of Resolute is quite tragic; in the remote fifties of the last century, several hundred Eskimos/Inuit from more southern areas were forcibly brought and landed on the deserted coast of Cornwallis Island. Many of them died, some survived, then a military base was built here, an airfield, which is operated mostly by shift workers. The locals subsist on tourism, hunting, and who knows what else. Despite the generally high living standard in Canada, not everything is cheerful here, drug addiction and suicide cases are quite common.

Now about the good side - we are accommodated in an excellent hotel, with a good canteen; we found a warm garage, so our mechanics are maintaining and preparing the vehicles for a long journey in warmth. We planned to complete everything in two days, but after mature deliberation we decided to stay for one more day, so our start to the north is scheduled for March 04. I know it's late, but I also know that well-prepared vehicles will save us time afterwards. We are reinforcing the trailers, the doctor is buying more foodstuffs in the local store, cargo is packaged for the fifth trailer which has been left here the year before last. We cook some of the foodstuffs, primarily fish (due to its weight) and something else that is also heavy. We have been cutting weight in Cambridge Bay so actively that left the steering rod end boots (though their weight is negligible); during the first three days of ride, both rod end boots broke on the green vehicle, and after installing the new ones we had no extra spare rod end boots, and there is still to start and finish, almost 7 thousand kilometers of heavy route. The airplane does not fly from Cambridge Bay to Resolute, so it is problematic to deliver the rod end boots from there. The first day in the Resolute was spent in such bother.

That's how the matters are. V. Yelagin.

28.02.2024 N74°30'27", W096°33"58'. Odometer reading 919 km.

It was the coldest night of the travel. It is - 25°C in the cabin, below - 40°C outdoors. Actually, the scale of our thermometer ends at - 40 degrees, so further assessments are subjective. Almost no wind, and it makes life a little easier for those who work outdoors. In the morning - replacement of the right front wheel on the green vehicle, it is deflating gradually, we are fed up with pumping it, so we replaced it. At midday - the turbine impeller of the yellow vehicle was clogged with ice; in this sterile area we drive without air filters, thereby reducing the suction resistance. We cleaned the impeller, luckily, it was not damaged. We are driving using the map from a hunting application for locals, it helps.

In the morning we scrutinized two options for achieving Resolute: either straight on, through the area with the potentiality to run into open water, or in the old man's manner, along the path which is longer but more reliable. Due to my age I agreed to the longer option, also for the reason of driving more over hummocks in order to estimate better the fuel consumption when driving over areas of rough ice. Fuel consumption has reduced abruptly after I made a scandal at the briefing about the endless hanging on the Internet. Maxim Badulin stated remarkably well: “when the Internet became available, the guys were paralyzed”. You can't say it more precisely.

Today, Vasily Shakhnovsky sat to the right from me all day long, working as a navigator with a map which he loves with all his heart, and maybe even with his soul. The map really makes life much easier, without it in the hummocks, moreover, in the dark, we would have been messing around twice as long, at a minimum. Refueling was at the 822nd kilometer of the route. The green vehicle – 29 liters, the red one – 29, the blue and yellow ones - 32 and 33 liters, respectively. Now it's better. I calculated the preliminary looping coefficient: with a straight line length of 670 km, we actually covered 919 km. Ê – 1.37. If it will be 1.5 in the ocean, I will be happy.

These are our small news here. V. Yelagin.

27.02.2024 N73°41'30", W095°48'06".Odometer reading 760 km.

The frost in the morning is again below -40°C. No wind, we started exactly at 6 a.m. The road, or rather off-road, is good, suitable for 4-5 gear. We refueled, the green vehicle – 34 liters per hundred km, the red and yellow ones - 39 and the blue one – 35.

V. Yelagin.

26.02.2024 N71°58'36", W095°54'38". Odometer reading 552 êì.

We stopped for night at half past nine in the evening. The frost is over 40°C. Gentle breeze. It is bracing up. We refueled, the consumption shocked me, green and red vehicles – 40 and 42 liters/100 km, respectively, vehicles with a Starlink on the roof – 46 and 47 liters/100 km. Starlink consumes almost a kilowatt, for this purpose the engine is not turned off during stops, and at idle speed our engines consume a liter of fuel per hour. And consumption is increased on the move as well: nothing can be obtained from nothing, as is known. The driving was not bad this day, the terrain is simple, rare ridges of broken ice were overcome without problems. At midday a dispute arose over the topic: which side of the Peel Sound waterway to follow driving to the north, either west or east. Savelyich stood for the western option, Yershov and I - for the eastern one. An application for hunters and other nomads in the form of a colored map of the state of the ice was found in the smartphone of Brandon, our local hunter. We chose the eastern route, at the end of the day Max Badulin decided to work as a navigator, and we amused the rest of the company pretty well, dodging a lot until we managed to leave the bad place. In the evenings we have gathering on the central square, called “briefing”, today it was resolved: departure at 6.00, and time for getting up – whenever you want. In general – democracy.

That's how we live. V. Yelagin.

25.02.2024 N71°04'32", W98°19'06". Odometer reading 401 km.

We stopped for night at 21.00. There were two repairs during the day, since morning we were strengthening the blue trailer, at midday the splines were sheared off at the drive of the intermediate axle of the blue vehicle. I suppose that these are the consequences of careless assembly. It is very cold in the morning, everyone's noses are closed, hands feel cold even in warm gloves, while working in mittens is inconvenient. We had covered 100 km by the evening, the terrain was simple, allowing to drive in the dark. The days are short for the present. Soft-salted nelma prepared beforehand was for dinner in our vehicle. Ham sandwich, tea. This time spirituous liquor was not purchased centrally, although there is no ban on it. Those who wished made provisions for themselves optionally.

That's how the matters are. V. Yelagin.

24.02.2024 N70°27'38", W99°51'25". odometer reading 301 km.

Distance from Cambridge Bay over straight line is 255 km; so, the coefficient of increase in the length of the traveled route as compared to the straight line is 17 percent. Fuel consumption varies very strongly from vehicle to vehicle and from refueling to refueling. I am not saying that the refueller is swindling with the meter, but rather that some crews are consuming fuel barbarously. The morning is cold, something around 37°C, I ascertained this from the fact that I woke up because my feet became cold. Then, warming them up by superhuman strain of thought, I fell asleep again. In the morning the boiler heater refused to operate, and I did not try to switch-on the cabin air heater. Pressing the clutch pedal with effort, I warm the candles for eight seconds, then start the engine. It starts instantly! After all, we are lucky with this piece of iron from Dallas!

After about 20 km ride, the upper frame of the trailer of the red vehicle breaks down. The load turned out to be too heavy for the current wheels without suspension. We reinforced it by what we could find; the task is to get to Resolute, we will reinforce it there, it's not difficult at all. Then we had to repair the steering rod which was broken due to my stupidity. I dropped the vehicle off the jack, and the rail of the Hi-Lift Jack broke the steering rod. At half past two we drove further, warming up with all the stoves and enjoying the driving with the help of satellite photo. The efficiency is incredible, the areas of hummocks and smooth ice are visible. The romanticism of driving-walking blindly, just heading north, is gone. The driver is watching the cursor on the computer screen, while those who are sitting behind are talking to their home-folk, and the third person is in Telegram messenger.

A briefing was held in the evening at full moon and no wind, the participants listened to each other, agreed that the meeting was held at a high level, and dispersed to their lodgings.

That's how we live. V. Yelagin.

22.02.2024 Cambridge Bay behind.

On February 22 at 14:00 the Yemelyas caravan set off from Cambridge Bay with a team of 13 people. Next stop Resolute.

Expedition headquarters

21.02.2024 Cambridge Bay. -37°C in the morning, clear sky, windless.

Alexey Dubinin installs a fuel injection pump taken from the faulty engine on the engine in the green vehicle, we are looking for the result with hope. Finally, a test drive. Hurray! The engine pulls excellently, in fact, as it should pull. Due to small empty weight, Emelya ATV differs from its classmates by a higher specific power, making it possible to pull three or even four trailers on long travels. The weakest vehicle in the caravan is the red one; we decided to drive to Resolute, and there we will decide whether to replace the fuel pump on it, or drive further on without repair. In the afternoon we were rejecting excess spare parts, relieving ourselves like aeronauts on a balloon which is losing gas or warm air. We leave in the garage that has become our home: two Hi-Lift Jacks, spare suspension springs, some of the drive shafts, etc., etc.. Maxim Badulin, our cameraman, came, grunting, and confessed that he had too many things. Taking advantage of a moment of weakness of the comrade, I persuaded him to leave a tripod, some other items similar in shape to the fantasies of Salvador Dali, a bulletproof case for the copter, etc., etc. Regrettably, my passionate appeals to the participants had proper effect not on everyone, and the degree of vehicle overload will be clear already by the end of the first day of the travel. Tomorrow a fuel tanker will arrive to the garage at 11.00, we fill up "to the full", and after lunch we depart. At last! Zurab flew to Edmonton today, he has a lot of work on organizing the project. Andrey Ivanovich arranged a farewell parade drive of two ATVs over the streets of Cambridge Bay, accompanied by police cars with flashing lights and an ambulance car. The schoolchildren were taken to the street in an orderly manner, and some onlookers came by themselves. The event ended at the science station with a presentation, a slide show and a narration about the upcoming feats. Frankly speaking, my impression of all this was not entirely mournful, but, speaking more politely - rather ambiguous.

V. Yelagin.

20.02.2024 Cambridge Bay.

We are still at Cambridge Bay. Clear weather, -37°C, waxing moon, soon it will be the best time to start our long travel. Everyone is busy with various matters, Andrey Ivanovich is actively performing reception of local population, the doctor is checking for the hundredth time whether he has bought all the necessary foodstuffs and all sorts of small household articles. A hard and uncompromising struggle for the medicine box continues. It has already been completed, but new supplies of medicines are brought and brought from the center with insistent recommendations to take them for the travel. Persons who consider it necessary and permissible to interlope with advice even when they are not asked for, cannot quiet down. Alexey Safonov has made an incredibly beautiful wooden seat for toilet, it will be interesting to see this creation in action

Today is my birthday, in the morning the technical men congratulated me by a stern handshake, and at breakfast Vasily Shakhnovsky presented me a gift – mittens made of seal fur. Seal fur is waterproof, so one can swim in icy water without risk of freezing the hands. The delivered engine was finally installed into place and started. We got on board, drove to the outskirts; it doesn't have enough power, dammit. We compared it with the red vehicle, which is also not a Ferrari, but still better. At dinner we resolved: to follow the logical path, first the injectors, then the turbine, then the fuel injection pump. While I am writing these highly dramatic lines, the mechanics are changing the injectors. Soon they will call to evaluate the results of engineering research.

Full of hope for a good pull, V. Yelagin.

19.02.2024 Cambridge Bay.

A bright frosty day. -35°C. It's good that the wind is feeble. Dubinin, Van’kov and Obikhod since morning are busy installing the engine, the other members are arranging comfort in their vehicles. This enthralling process has not yet started in the green vehicle, the cabin is full of tools and spare parts. Vasily Shakhnovsky is an absolutely well-mannered and tactful man, but several times a day his iron self-possession fails, and he casually asks - when our camp will leave the hospitable Cambridge Bay at last. Your humble servant was asked to help the mayor in driving our ATV tomorrow; after that, according to proper ceremony: embroidered towels, native maids, bread-and-salt and a farewell with weeping and a brass band. The column will consist of three vehicles only, because the green one will not be ready for the trick riding yet. But we all know what is important: the imposing picture, courageous words, and as for the details... well, let's not be meticulous fault-finders about the details. We drive around the corner, and that's enough.

Now, about the sorrowful matter. Our route from Cambridge Bay and Resolute to the north initially was planned over Eureka Sound waterway, then to Ward Hunt Island, and from there - straight to the pole. But in 2019, a Marine Protected Area was created there by order of the environment protection ministry of Canada, and we did not manage to obtain permission to travel on the ice of this territory, and now our route over the open ocean has almost doubled in length, from 780 to 1400 km. There's nothing to be done, we'll drive as we are permitted to.

That's how the matters are. Regards to everybody. V. Ye.

18.02.2024 Cambridge Bay. ATVs named in honor of Emil Grimsson

Zurab has arrived, the engine also, and everything was prepared for a trial run. Everybody gathered; we try to start the engine, several attempts are unsuccessful, and finally the engine is working, spewing huge clouds of smoke. Everything breaks off inside me, but then, apparently, the engine manages to clear its throat from the rubbish accumulated during downtime, and the exhaust becomes absolutely clean. Hurray!!! This is real luck! The engine mileage is small, the turbine has no backlashes, so start working, dear mechanics! In the evening Andrei Ivanovich came, having completed the medical reception of the local population, he decided to visit our repair workshop with the news. The main news: the dropping of rubber-fabric reservoirs with fuel has been tested and practiced already at temperatures as low as -50°C. The reliability is high. Tomorrow I’ll sit down again to calculate the amount of needed fuel in the newly discovered circumstances. Our lodge has run out of water, local utility companies are short of workers, so there are interruptions with water supply in the village, as well as with sewage disposal. I hope the problem will be solved tomorrow, but still, the Motherland should know that they have difficulties here too

The Moscow branch of the expedition headquarters sends directives: what, how, and in what format to photogragh, speak, and write. Sure enough, Moscow has always known better and seen better, not without reason they say that there are buildings in Moscow, from the basement of which even Kolyma can be seen. Our vehicles are provided with more and more stickers, the inscriptions on some are absolutely mysterious; when the gluing of vehicles is over, I will take a photo and post it on our website. And those who wish will be able to test their abilities in guessing the meaning of the stickers.

That's all for today, wait for the next messages. Greetings to all. V.Ye.

15.02.2024 Cambridge Bay. ATVs named in honor of Emil Grimsson

I started the morning by surveying the ATVs that arrived yesterday, the vehicles are "inspiring", as one TV character used to say. Brief characteristics: The platform – Ford-350 with extended frame and wheel formula 6x6, diesel engine 6.5 L, vehicle curb weight with accommodation module on the back – 7-7.5 tons, fuel tanks – 580 L, fuel consumption is impressive, 80 + L / 100 km. The accommodation module is large, for four persons it is quite spacious, but the irony is that travelers use this spacious module only during night, while on the move they are forced to spend all the time in the confined cabin of a serial pickup truck. Therefore, it turns out that the vehicle has two separate compartments; if you need something from the other compartment you need to stop, go there, and then go back. In search of adventures both these ATVs are accompanied by a maintenance vehicle, a similar Ford which platform is loaded with cases full of spare parts, tools, etc. Two mechanicians are from Iceland, and Marcel, our old friend from the trip of the 2022, is from New York. On the way back, Yershov and Van’kov boarded as passengers on the maintenance vehicle to watch the process of steering this almost cosmic machine. When approaching an obstacle, the gearbox is switched to manual mode, the lowered gear range and various locks are switched on, and the obstacle is overpassed. The tire pressure is adjusted if and when necessary; minding the load of more than a ton per one wheel, the tire pressure has to be changed quite often. The smoothness of riding is significantly worse as compared with our vehicles, this is the estimate of our men from the main team.

The turbine of the red vehicle was adjusted today, it seems to ride better. I am waiting, holding my breath, for the engine for my vehicle. Maybe we’ll be lucky. The first engine on my (green) vehicle worked perfectly, but it was replaced for a turbocharged engine before the Antarctic travel due to the altitude of the ice dome, which reached almost four thousand meters in some places.

In the evening we arranged a dinner party in our lodge. Present were: Vasily Shakhnovsky, Alexey Safonov, Andrey Ivanovich Komri-Picard and Maxim Badulin. Kostya Gavrilov fried nelma fish, cabbage salad was prepared, the result - overeating. We drank grapefruit juice instead of alcohol. It resembled the time of Gorbachev's anti-alcohol campaign, but the lads were self-restrained, gave no sign, drank juice with pleasure.

Zurab with the engine on his back will be in Edmonton by midday tomorrow. Further – by airplane. We are waiting tremblingly.

The issue of dropping/delivering fuel to us at 83°N is not resolved yet.

That’s how the matters are. Greetings to all. V.Ye.

14.02.2024 The weather is clear. ATVs named in honor of Emil Grimsson

-36°C in the morning, it is very good for us: the open water in the straits towards Resolute will be covered with ice quickly.

We are preparing the caravans to receive much fuel, we have to load 2700 liters onto five trailers. Two fuel barrels, 220 liters each, are on each trailer, while we need to take 540 L, i.e. another 120 L barrel must be filled with fuel. We made a ride to pick up the main team staff today, I drove the yellow vehicle, it goes well, the strait is in good condition. Our main problem presently is the delivery of fuel to 83°N. The Enterprise air company is ready to drop a rubber-fabric reservoir with 1200 liters of fuel from a Basler aircraft at the required point, the procedure was already practiced in hot countries, but it is unknown how this bladder will behave at -40°C. Besides, they have to get a permission for this operation.

We have purchased the engine in Dallas, and the pickup truck with Zurab at the steering wheel is already devouring American highway miles towards Edmonton. Zurab as a driver is remarkably endurable over long distances. Besides, he does not lose time while driving, he actively communicates over smartphone, watching the road with a quarter of an eye. Sitting next to him in a vehicle is a somewhat uncanny experience, but the fact is that he is still alive, with no accidents on the record. Maybe he has some kind of faceted eye design, if only for one of the eyes, allowing him to follow two hundreds of moving objects simultaneously. Such outstanding personalities are in our team.

That is all for now. Wait for the next news. V.Ye. From C-Bay.

13.02.2024 Cambridge Bay. ATVs named in honor of Emil Grimsson

The morning is sunny and joyful. It is twice as joyful, because I got up a bit earlier than the others, and managed to wash and brush my teeth before the water came to an end. It was pleasant to look down on the colleagues with unbrushed teeth, even the smile seemed to become wider. The whole day passed waiting for a miracle – what if kind people will manage to deliver fuel to 83°N for us. Alas, the miracle this day happened only once: brushing the teeth. In view of the necessity to carry a large amount of fuel with us, we lighten up as much as possible, remove the suspension struts from the trailers, replace them with prostheses, just pieces of pipe; anyway we will drive slowly, adjusting tire pressure slightly lower – and everything will be OK. We save 100 kg on the struts only, which is equivalent to approx. 50-70 km of travel for the entire caravan of four vehicles over rough off-road terrain. My calculation of fuel in the ocean is: 50 liters per 100 km of STRAIGHT route. In my opinion, the realistic coefficient of looping in hummocks is 1.4. Hence this enormous fuel consumption of 50 liters per 100 km. The main team staff is approaching inexorably, but today they did not manage to arrive. Tomorrow we are going to meet them on the south side of the strait, during this ride we will fine-tune all the navigation devices, listen to all kinds of small knocks in the suspensions, it is similar to diversionists leaping before start of operation in order to check if something is clinking. At 5 p.m. a video conference with Zurab took place, he is in Dallas already at the engine warehouse. One engine, the same as ours, is available, tomorrow morning there will be a trial run, and Zurab with the engine under his arm will rush to the North to us, to Nunavut. The main team spends the night 50 km from Cambridge Bay, almost on the shore, and from there we will lead the caravan to the settlement tomorrow.

That’s how the matters are, all the best to everybody. V.Ye.

12.02.2024 Cambridge Bay, -30°C, moderate wind, the weather typical for these places. ATVs named in honor of Emil Grimsson

We had an incident. The folks were working in the garage on February 10, Saturday, in violation of the basic laws of the universe. To protect the suction manifold against ingress of dust during the repair, the inlet was plugged with a rag; upon completion of the work the rag was removed but, apparently, a small piece of cloth remained inside. When the engine started the piece of cloth got under a valve, the valve did not close completely and was bent by a bump of the piston. The conclusion is: one MUST NOT work on Saturdays. The necessary type of engine was found on the Internet, even in Canada, on closer inspection it turned out that it was in Dallas, and there were three such engines there. Tomorrow our "magic wand" Zurab Sanikidze is flying to this gangster city, the engines will be put on a trial run in his presence, and we will choose the most suitable one through video conference. I wanted to fly with him, because though Zurab is a mighty man, he is not a mechanic. I do have a valid US visa, but I did not dare to try again the hospitality of the immigration authorities on the Canadian border. The delivery time is 4-5 days. In short, our departure to the north is delayed by 5-6 days. We have some activities to be busy with; apart from the engine, the most vital topic is the foodstuff caravan. Doctor Larin is exhausted by the problems of nutrition, medicine, but most important - by the advice given by enthusiasts, incompetent, not participating in the journey, but full of energy that does not allow them to remain aside from the events. Like in the anecdote about sex on the Red Square: "The task is impossible, you will be martyred with advice from bypassers". Similar situation is with our doctor. Following the advice of our old friend Brandon Klengenberg, we contacted the company that delivers fuel by air to the most remote corners of Nunavut Territory. What if a miracle happens, and kind people will deliver 8 barrels of diesel fuel for us to the 83rd degree of north latitude, rather than to where it is more convenient for them, like Kenn Borek company, well-known in the high latitudes of both hemispheres, but not feeling ashamed of dictating their terms to the customers while offering high-latitude prices. The main team of the project arrives tomorrow to the meeting point, some of our guys will go to meet them in order to cross the strait on floating vehicles.

That’s all with the main news for today.

Till next communication session. V.Ye. from C.B., Nunavut Territory.

11.02.2024 Yellowknife Airport. The weather is fine, -15°C. ATVs named in honor of Emil Grimsson

. I'm waiting for my flight to Cambridge Bay. The mechanicians have been staying there for 10 days already, while the main team is traveling from Yellowknife to Cambridge Bay on powerful ATVs named in honor of Emil Grimsson. While I'm catching up with the expedition.

The circumstances of my falling behind schedule are as follows: on 22.01.24, I am at home; a phone call from the Canadian embassy in Moscow, and an amicable female voice informs me that my visa has been canceled; the fact is that my flight was to be the next day. After my questions – what should I do, the voice allows me to fly to Canada and solve the problem on the spot. Upon arrival to Edmonton, I was interrogated for three and a half hours, being asked the strangest questions, completely inconceivable to me: whether I had been rescued in Canada, whether I had fallen through ice with my vehicle, and the like. My answers are negative; the officer marks in his computer the discrepancy between my answers and the information stored in his system, and shows me the monitor where the verdict "CANCELED" stands near my visa. I am given 48 hours for solving the visa issue, we fail to resolve it during this period – and I am solemnly moved under escort to the airplane to Amsterdam and further to home. To say that I am shocked and upset is to say nothing. The reasons are unknown; appeals to various Canadian power-holding structures remain unanswered. I rearrange my life plans, but anguish periodically pervades me. On 06.02.24 – a new call from the Canadian embassy, and the same voice informs me that my visa has been reactivated for its full period of validity. On February the 10th I fly to Canada, another two-hour interrogation on the border, but this time I am better prepared, proving with photos and various other documents that it was not me in the drowned vehicle, no one was saving me, but on the contrary – WE saved the remaining vehicle, and so on. After all, they let me in to hospitable Canada – and eventualy here is the last flight to Cambridge Bay and reuniting with my vehicles. Now I know, what it is: to argue against accusations, if a picture has already formed in the minds of the accusers and they do not want to change it at all. Well, anyway, that’s memories, too. Not the most pleasant, but against such background the events that seemed ordinary and self-evident before will be perceived more vividly.

In short: "You are very welcome to Canada".

That’s how the matters are. V. Yelagin from the shores of Great Slave Lake.