July 12 - July 18. Final Preparations
We are intensively preparing the vessel for the expedition during the last week before departing. The largest part of the equipment is already on board. We still have to buy rations and expendable supplies, and do the fuel and oil bunkering. We pay careful attention to the way the food supplies are stored, as we have to buy them in advance for the whole period of expedition, which is almost three months.
Everything is cheaper in Murmansk; the farther to the north you go, the more expensive it becomes. Variety and supply reserves are greater, too. The next major point of our expedition, Naryan-Mar, is supplied via sea, and prices are tangibly higher there, and we can hardly purchase 200 or 300 kilos of meat at once.
The variety of food supplies on board is carefully balanced, but we take a double of canned food, grain, cereals, sugar and flour. Our rations will also include dried fruit, chocolate and even twelve sorts of tea. We pay meticulous attention to the vegetables, so as they will not decay during the expedition; to store vegetables, we make special wooden boxes with air holes. We place meat, poultry and butter in freezers, and perishable food in the fridges. It takes us not less than two hours to efficiently place the meat in the rectangular block of the freezer. The full weight of the products is getting near to three tons, and everybody including the LMSU Marine Research Center experts and the photographers participate in the loading procedure.
It is imperative for us to do fuel bunkering in Murmansk, as it is cheaper. The price of fuel doubles when heading east. We can have enough oil for the rest of the expedition, but we will have to refuel several times anyway.
In a few days before departing, we load motor boats that we will use for disembarkations. The boats have undergone maintenance operations and have been upgraded. Finally, the preparations are over, and we are waiting for clearance.