THE POLAR STORIES
The Arctic captivity of the ice breakers Taymyr and Vaygach and the first radio signals from the island Dikson

Ice-breakers Taimyr and Vaygach staying for winter
Photo: polarpost.ru
1914 the end of August. "Taymyr" and "Vaygach" were huge icebreakers going the Northern Sea Route from the Bering Strait to the West. The hydrographic expedition of the Arctic Ocean commanded by the captain Boris Vilkitsky had discovered an archipelago a year before, which was called first "Emperor Nicholas II Land" and later renamed as Severnaya Zemlya (Northern Land). The goal of their expedition was exploring a way to Europe through the Kara Sea among the endless ice. Nevertheless, in September "Taymyr" and "Vaygach" bumped into heavy and solid ice. The steamships were damaged and stayed for a wintering near Zaliv Tollya (bay). "Everything is covered with ice, a happiness and a chance", said the 29-year-old captain. The crew began to observe the ice and the climate from their location, they also took photographs of the peninsula Taymyr.

The expedition needed help, because the wintering continued for already half a year. So in March 1915 the Council of Ministers decided to found a base for the staff of the expedition on the neighbor island Dikson. In the summer two barges brought there coal, two houses for living, a bathhouse and a radio station, which gave its first signals on 25 August 1915. There were also installed some meteorological devices: a weathercock, an ombrometer and an English psychometric cabin and they began to build a meteorological station. However, the situation with the ice changed, "Taymyr" and "Vaygach" were released from the Arctic captivity and went on the Northern Sea Route. The saving base on the island Dikson was closed.

The new radio signals came from the island only in 1916 again when the polar commission of the Academy of Sciences solicited the Council of Ministers that the coast of the Kara Sea has its own permanent station for hydrometeorological observations. A director, a mechanic, a radio operator, two sailors and three workmen — that was the staff who first came to serve the wild island Dikson. After the Great Patriotic War the radio-meteorological station of Dikson had already more than forty polar stations in the western region of the Arctic. And half a century later there is again a small handful of people who live and continue the hydrometeorological observations on the island Dikson.