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Following the trail of the two captains

When I speak about expeditions of "Wildlife Discovery Club" to the Franz-Joseph Land in 2010 and 2011, first of all I ask a question whether my interlocutors are acquainted with novel by L. Kaverin "2 captains". If their eyes light up with interest after these words, then my interlocutors will understand me and will get interested. If not, then most likely they will get surprised and will think: "How cranky they are. Why can't they just stay at home".

We do not understand ourselves - why can't we stay at home.

But we managed to find everything in spite of all difficulties of our time. Up till now I can't clearly realize what a great work we have made together with guys. It is cool, as they say nowadays. We found expedition that had disappeared nearly 100 years ago and we found it in the Arctic. We didn't only find traces of it, but we found remains, artifacts and what were the most important - original documents from "St Anna". Whether we feel ourselves as Sanya Grigoyrev, I think we do. Working nowadays with modern equipment is not the same at all as it was in 1914. And you can't stop getting astonished at strength of spirit and wish to live of those young men who reached Franz-Joseph Earth on "St Anna". They were much younger than we, and they so much wanted to live...

Each participant of our two expeditions for sure wrote his thoughts in diaries. The same as those in 1914... Some of them more often, the other not. Some of them are writing books about expedition, some of them grant interviews. And all of them perceive the events of summer 2010 and 2011 in their own way. Doesn't matter how. What really matters is that we have done it. Whether we continue it - the life will put everything in its place...

And now I shall adduce the materials from report.

From July 19 till August 9, 2010, on the Frantz Joseph Land a multipurpose expedition of the Wildlife Discovery Club "Following the trail of the two captains" was carried out with the support of Border Police, Federal Security Service of Russia Aviation and Russian Geographical society.

 The expedition's primary objective was to discover the traces of presence and the possible place of death of the lost group of Brusilov's expedition in 1912-1914, which left the ship in 1914 and headed in the direction of the Frantz Joseph Land archipelago. Brusilov's expedition on the "St. Anna" schooner made an invaluable contribution to the Russian scientists Arctic exploration. Its story became the plot of Veniamin Kaverin's novel "The Two Captains".

 The main information about the destiny of the group and their route was taken from the officially published journal of the group leader, navigator Valerian Albanov. According to the journal, the group of four people (the sailor Vladimir Gubanov, the steersman Petr Maksimov, the sailor Pavel Smirennikov, the steward Yan Regald) went missing on the Prince George Land island.

 Searching took place on the territory with total coastline length of 50 kilometers. All the work connected with collecting historical materials was carried out under the academic advising and direct participation of the member of the Archaeology Institute of Russian Academy of Science, that has all the appropriate permissions for carrying out this type of work. During the expedition the detailed photo and video shooting was performed.

 As the result the remains of the First Russian Northern Sea Route Expedition led by Georgiy Brusilov in 1912-1914 were disovered.

We found valuable material and documentary evidences of the lost expedition. They all mix well with the plot of the novel "The Two Captains": when young Sanya Grigoriev finds the postman's bag with wet and hard-to-read letters, there is also a letter from the captain Tatarinov from the "St. Maria" schooner. For 96 years Frantz Joseph Land has been saving the journals we found, which are possibly the only preserved original documentary evidences from the ship "St. Anna".

 Apart from the primary objective the following works have been carried out:

 1. Allocation of the other Arctic expeditions' traces of presence on the explored territory (the English one - that of Frederick Jackson (1895-1897); the Scottish one of Benjamin Lee Smith (1880-1881); the one of the "Krasin" icebreaker for the purpose of Nobile expedition rescue in 1928; Norwegian expedition on the ship "Bratvaag" in 1930).

 2. Upon request of ornithological service of Arctic and Antarctic institute (Saint-Petersburg) observations of bird and mammal life were made on the Prince George Land island.

 3. Glaciological observations of the Prince George Land island ice-flows.

 4. By efforts of the expedition members a memorial cross was made and set in place, where the remains of one of the Brusilov's expedition members had been found.

On September 12, 2012 more than 90 finds were solemnly transferred by O.L.Prodan, the chief of expedition, to the exposition of Arkhangelsk lore museum within the framework of a scientific conference with the international participation called "The History of study and development of Arctic Region - from the past to the future", taking place in Arkhangelsk.

The question about the name of anonymous rocks on George Land Island of Franz Josef Land, where the bodily remains of the participant of expedition of G. Brusilov had been found, as Rocks of Appeasement was raised.

 

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Results of expedition, 2010
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