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Life on a remote island, even if it is only for a short time, is somewhat different from the life you live back home in your daily routines. The biggest differences are most likely the direct connection with the surrounding nature and the seemingly timeless way of living.

During the polar day the sun shines 24 hours a day making it possible to rhythm the life completely according to one’s own will. The restrictions posed by weather become more important than the ones posed by day and night and it is exactly this sense of freedom that attracts many in these remote places.

This freedom can though also turn against you, when the stay is restricted in time and the work during the winter depends on the samples and data one manages to gather during these short summer weeks. It is not unusual to see people out in the field still after midnight or analyzing their samples long after the usual bedtime.
To structure the life a bit here in the wild, there are few routines that will not be deviated from at any cost.
The most important routine is the banja that is heated every Saturday and Wednesday. Like Hanno put it, the banja divides the week to good and bad half, the bad half being the one where you have to wait for the next banja for three days instead of two, like during the good half.

Another important routine is the Sunday trip to one of the close by islands. Usually, there is no work done during these trips, though that happens also, giving people time to recharge their batteries over a relaxed walk and a lunch break out in the nature.

Sundays are also in other ways a bit more relaxed. Molo's morning brunch is at 10, instead of the regular 8 o'clock breakfast, allowing people the necessary morning rest after Saturdays banja. Dinner is served as usual at 7, but consists most often of something truly delicious, like reindeer or fresh fish from the river, that Molo prepares with great talent.
Last Sunday we made a trip to Sardakh, an island in one of the delta channels. The weather was perfect with a slight wind, keeping the mosquitos away while we had a good long walk on the beach and a lunch by the fire. Below some pictures from the trip.
small Sasha and Misha on a Sunday trip
 Josefine and Anna on Sardakh some people got style
P1000965 smallThere is one thing that has not failed the past 15 years here on the island; Molo’s birthday party.
Every July 21st, a feast has been prepared by the July crew together with the station staff to celebrate one more year of Molo.

Lucky me, July 21st is also my birthday, so this year I got to float along and had one of the most memorable birthdays of my life.
In a truly Russian style, we lacked nothing in the dinner table and I guess I will never again receive a gift as the one I got for this birthday from Ira and Olga; a real mammoth vertebra.
Unfortunately, since Samoylov is part of a nature reserve and nothing is allowed to be exported, or even collected, I had to leave the bone to the island. But I will certainly cherish the very beautiful gesture of the girls and tell anyone who just wants to listen that I have a mammoth a very good care in Siberia.

I would have loved to have some pictures from the evening, but I was just too busy eating and dancing to take any pictures. Instead, I will post one of the Arctic Poppy, one of the flowers growing on the island.
All good things come to an end, and so did this expedition.
After few weeks on holiday and already one week at the office again I have had time to look back and go over the expedition in my head.

While the data is still waiting to be checked and thus the real judgement on the success of the expedition is not yet there, I must say that all in all, the expedition was of course an experience of a lifetime.

The nature in the Arctic, in its roughness and minimalism, is simply beautiful. The tundra, the many small islands in the delta and the Lena itself compose a balanced, but powerful landscape in which peace of mind is not difficult to achieve.

The work itself was anything but boring. Just to see and learn to understand how the polygonal tundra has been formed over thousands of years was already worth the trip. To be able to discuss and ask questions on other peoples work and research in this unique environment was naturally priceless.

But what really stood out from this expedition, was the great atmosphere and good spirit in our group.
All 25 people staying on the island in July made an effort to make the month the best it could be.. and good it was.

I am very impressed by the level of cooperation and the overall willingness of everybody to share on their own research and understanding and above all the willingness of everybody to help each other in the field, lab or just in preparing the work.

For my part I want simply to say Thank you!
I had a great time, I learned a lot and I hope that I managed to do my small part well enough, so that it will help our scientists in their work.
Below, some last impressions from the past month.
 DSC 0065.small  a halo1
 Katja and Anna  Molo
 P1000742small  P1010031.jpgsmall
 Josi and Niko  DSC 0126.jpgunnidsmall
 20150715 102737.small  MMGamez Samoylov 2015 22 small
 DSC 0082.jpgunnid  the sandy beach of Lena river
Met station Stolb St.Basil Moscow