Author Topic: The Northeast Passage  (Read 1620 times)

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Offline Galicia–Volhynia

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The Northeast Passage
« on: September 02, 2010, 09:21:42 AM »
OOC: This epistolary thread is the narration of an Finnish expedition to the Arctic Ocean, told through various documents pertaining to the expedition (for example: letters, newspaper reports, diaries, log books et cetera). 

IC:

Dearest Hannele,

As you read this I am in Helsinki. The city retains all of its splendour and charm despite the still obvious scars of the Civil War. Only now are they taking down the barricades and defensive positions, returning civilian life to the city. I am glad that normalcy is finally returning and I will surely have to bring you here too. You’ll love it.

At the docks, earlier this morning, I finally saw the ship on which we set sail for the Arctic. She is a fine vessel, named the Arktis – I believe that’s Swedish for Arctic! The ship is an icebreaker, meaning it can easily break through the ice that makes up the Northern Ocean, however from what I hear, that does not correspond to good handling on the open water. The ship is just under three-hundred-and-fifty feet long. A majestic vessel and I look forward to serving on her!

Today I also met some of the crew members, who seem friendly but are not used to being around someone like me who spent his life ashore. Nevertheless, I hope a friendship between me and the crew will develop. Already, I met the captain, Einar Tuompo from Helsinki – a sound man, though stoic and unwilling to talk at length; the commander of the military operations Colonel Kaarlo Malmberg, a loud and boisterous man who seems maybe a little too enthusiastic; and my research assistant, Pekka Hämäläinen – she is quiet and like me shares an interest in the Arctic environment. Our role is to assess whether the Northern Islands can continually support human habitation.

We know little of the islands in question other than that they are uninhabited, though there is rumour of a base station there – they are rich in wildlife unmolested by humanity. I think there is a biologist on board and I know that he is excited to catalogue the islands’ ecosystem. One thing I am sure of is that it will be cold – the warm coat you brought for me is sure to be useful.

We set sail tomorrow for a long journey through the Baltic and the North Sea before even coming around Finnmark. There we will stop over at Vuoreija before heading out into the Arctic Ocean itself. Yes, the journey will be long but the thought of you keeps me strong. I look forward to returning successfully to your arms.

You remain forever in my heart. Forever yours,
Mikko
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(Formerly Finland)

Offline Galicia–Volhynia

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Re: The Northeast Passage
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2010, 12:49:55 PM »
Logbook for RV/Arktis

Crew:
Captain: Einar Tuompo 
Chief Officer: Sami Seliö
 Second Officer /Second Mate: Saku Koivu
Third Officer / Third Mate: Jurkka Kurri
Boatswain: Jere Ruutu
Able Seamen: Sami Salo, Janne Niskala, Toni Lydman
Ordinary Seamen: Olli Jokinen, Juhani Ylönen

Also onboard: a company of 12 Finnish Army soldiers commanded by Colonel Kaarlo Malmberg, three researchers for the University of Helsinki, and one research assistant.

Weather conditions on day of departure: 11°C, cloudy skies, Wind speed 15mph Northerly direction, humidity at 67%


On leaving Helsinki, the ship will steam south-southwest out of the Gulf of Finland before adjusting to a westward course towards Gotland.


No unusual events to report, clear sailing ahead.
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Re: The Northeast Passage
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2010, 04:17:27 AM »
Dearest Hannele,

Our journey has been long and tiring but I write to you now from our last stop before the Great White North. We are in Vuoreija, the easternmost town in Norway, at the edge of the Arctic Circle. The crew have been granted leave for the day to explore the town – I joined Chief Officer Seliö and some others to wander round the harbour.

Our voyage to Vuoreija was taxing though uneventful – the worst sailing was around Hordaland when a storm buffeted us. Being unused to the life of a sailor, I am ashamed to say I was stricken by sea sickness. However, Captain Tuompo proved himself an admirably captain and safely navigated us through the worst swells. I have become good friends with the crew of the Arktis, joining them in card games most evenings however the soldiers on board often keep to themselves, refusing unless necessary to socialise with us.

I have also gotten to know my research assistant, Miss Hämäläinen better. She is from Tampere originally but has worked at the University for nearly three years. She is mild-mannered and quite shy but I have discovered she enjoys singing and will often accompany a sailor playing on an accordion with a delightful melody. As well as us two, there is also a biologist and a geologist on board, whose roles are to assess the ecosystem of the island and its suitability for human habitation. My role is to aid in the planning of suitable habitation for long-term occupation of the islands.

Our journey will now take us from Norway out into the Arctic Ocean past Petsamo and Murmansk out to Novaya Zemlya, without stopping until we reach the westernmost island where we will dock. We must make quick progress for soon the ice will reform and our travelling will be slowed down considerably as we force our way through the ice packs. Hence, we only get one day’s leave here in Vuoreija. 

Though our time here is short, it has enabled me to hear the latest news from home – particularly: we now serve a King. Captain Tuompo has been overcome with patriotism and vows to reach the Islands by the coronation date. I welcome the stabilising influence a non-partisan King will have on politics and I hope, should our mission be successful, I can meet him. The election results for which we cast late ballots here are still undetermined, unsurprisingly owing to the schemes of the bickering parties to form a majority government. 

I should not bore you with politics though my dear, I know you are worried but please remain calm and strong. I long to return to your arms and to tell you of the wonders I have seen. You remain forever in my heart.

Yours,
Mikko
Ще не вмерли України ні слава ні воля

(Formerly Finland)

Offline Galicia–Volhynia

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Re: The Northeast Passage
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2010, 03:33:06 AM »
My dearest Hannele,

As I write this letter to you, we are momentarily docked in the harbour at Belushya Guba, on Novaya Zemlya. The name of the only major settlement translates into the Bay of Belugas, poetic yet for us – a misnomer as we have seen no belugas thus far on our journey east. We are only stopping temporarily here as we take on extra supplies pertaining to our expedition – mainly foodstuffs and fuel. Yesterday as the day dawned, we were treated to a peculiar phenomenon in which it appeared that the sun was rising earlier than expected, truly the polar landscape is full of wonder and yet at the same time is rife with hardships.   

Belushya Guba is a stark and empty town, serving as a military base and as a result, we must tread carefully. There are remnants of the indigenous population, a Siberian ethnic group known as the Nenetses, who thrive in this bleak and harsh environment, surviving by hunting seals and polar bears. On a related note, as we approached the harbour here, several seals followed us, inquisitively swimming around the stern; some of the crew threw them some fish.

Our progress so far has been good, with limited problems aside from the occasional ice pack that forces us to slow down. However, owing to the ship’s bulbous bow, at high speeds she tends to roll back and forth, leaving those susceptible to motion sickness very ill. I have been fortunate so far not to fall ill, but I cannot say the same for the soldiers on board who are unused to the nautical life. They are often bed-ridden and bad-tempered. This short stop has cheered them up considerably. 

After our morning in Belushya Guba, we will depart on the final leg of our journey, direct to the islands through the Kara Sea, which despite the onset of winter still should be relatively ice-free; though whether or not there is ice is a moot point since the Arktis is an icebreaker. I shall be glad to leave this place and continue making swift progress as I long to return to your arms again.

I received your last letter and I am glad all is well back home. I hear that the IKL have announced their cabinet and most importantly, our King has been officially crowned. Captain Tuompo received the news with great fervour, though upset that he could not present a successful expedition on the coronation day itself. He however has sworn that we will not stop now until we arrive at the islands, which means full speed ahead henceforth.

Daily I think of you, missing you so much. I think of your hands, your eyes, your face, your hair, every part of you, and I long to be with you once again. You remain forever in my heart.

Yours,
Mikko
Ще не вмерли України ні слава ні воля

(Formerly Finland)

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Re: The Northeast Passage
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2010, 07:19:29 PM »
(A telegram received by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from the Artic Expedition early this morning.)

Ministry for Foreign Affairs
P.O.Box 176
FI-00023 Government
Finland
Message

ARRIVED AT SEVERNAYA ZEMLYA STOP MISSION ACCOMPLISHED STOP ISLANDS CLAIMED FOR FINLAND STOP GOD SAVE THE KING STOP

Captain Einar Tuompo, M/V Arktis
Ще не вмерли України ні слава ні воля

(Formerly Finland)