19 July. Shushenball in Muche-Bay

There come the final day of the first stage of our expedition Class@Baikal.

Mixed feelings filled our team since morning. From the one hand everybody tired after week full of work and we look forward to approaching break and rest. From the other hand, despite accumulated weariness, it was sad to think that soon we will have to say “Goodbye” to some participants of the expedition.

When morning msit disappeared, the first gravity core went down to the bottom to take samples. There was no time for meditation. Gas hydrates obtained in three cores did not leave time for sentimentality. You have to work fast or they disappear, leaving only a little puddle behind. That’s why marine geologists are so rigorous! But this rigour is always rewarded.

Like today, when the expedition made a little discovery without meditating. At one of the bottom sampling station, near the strait Malye Ol’khonskie Vorota, Jeffry determined an anomalous high thermal gradient. This phenomenon has no explanation yet, but we had time only to describe all cores in details, to take gas samples, to put sampling sites on the map (rigorous geologists call this processes “documenting”). There was enough work for everybody. This sudden discovery forced to postpone the closure of works of the first stage of the expedition and to prolong our investigations for one more station. We used 5 meter long gravity core to penetrate deeper and to take longer sample. It became a good final point.

Sad but the first part of the Class@Baikal-2014 is over. It was a tender sunny weather. And we, of course, could not refuse the main privilege of cruising on Baikal – something which you cannot even think about when you are on expedition in the Ocean – to debark straight on coast to just the closest bay and to have some relaxation. According to our schedule we had to leave and to start heading toward Listvyanka in two hours – so, no time to saunter! We selected quickly the bay closest to our last area of study and disembarked near the rocky cliffs. Someone proposed to give a name to that previously unnamed bay. And the bay got the name Muche-Bay!

Not to miss a good chance, the expedition scientific party members examined quickly the closest coastal outcrops of the rocks of Ol’khon Formation. And, of course, later everybody took a swim in the clearest waters of Baikal. “Recharged” with new energy we returned onboard. During the transit to the place of crew change we organized international Shushenball Contest.  The Champion of Belgium, Jeffry Poort, and the Friendship got the main price.

Both winners and just participants of Shushenball Contest took part into our traditional evening lection. Today’s lecturer was our biologist, Stepan Vodopyanov.