On May 20, a month from the start of our drift, the ice floe crossed the 83rd parallel and turned east. The construction of the camp had been completed; research was in full swing. Life on the ice gradually got into a rhythm.
With each passing day, the sun rose higher, and the first icicles grew on the southern slopes of the hummocks. A snow bunting — a polar sparrow — visited the camp; God knows how it got into the North Pole region. This tiny bird lived in the camp for four days, put on some weight, then disappeared.
The first crack that opened on May 5 west of the camp divided our field in half. On the same day, we began to cut out a new series of holes on the eastern side of the camp. Thanks to collaborative efforts, the crew completed this painstaking work in a short time, and soon the hydrologists began their first relocation.
In the meantime, tents were set up above the holes, and deep-sea winches and other equipment were lowered into them. One of the holes was for complex hydrological gauging. The hydrologists took the water temperature and water samples from varying depths to determine its salinity and the hydrogen ion and oxygen concentration fished out plankton with special nets, collected benthos from the bottom of the ocean with trawls, and extracted soil core for evaluation. Other tents were intended for measuring currents using automatic recorders suspended at various levels.
Of the five houses delivered during the dismantling of the NP-3 station, one was given to the hydrologists and equipped as a hydrochemical lab. At a distance west of the camp, platforms were built to observe the freezing and melting of the ice
Along with the usual weather vane, the meteorological station in the southwestern part of the camp had a precipitation gauge, and a remote weather station tower connected by cable to the house nearby, so that the crew could measure the wind direction and speed, temperature and humidity without leaving the house, which greatly facilitated their work.
Away from the weather site were devices for monitoring solar radiation; part of the equipment was automatic. A long cable connected them to the recorders installed in the house.
Aerologists camped next to the weather site. A hydrogen generator and a tent were installed to prepare the radiosonde for launch and fill to balloon with hydrogen. We also installed a theodolite for observing the pilot balloons and small towers for a radio station sitting in a nearby house to receive signals from the radiosonde twice a day.
The aerologists’ observations and weather reports were immediately transmitted to the radio, which forwarded them to the Central Institute of Weather Forecasts and numerous weather bureaus of the Soviet Union.
We gradually arranged the science pavilions, the labs, and observation sites, and by the middle of May, research at the station reached full swing. We got immersed in our routine painstaking systematic research. But our calm did not last long; the insidious arctic nature soon reared its head again.