Stage I

Expedition stages
Stage I
The first organizational stage of our expedition is in full swing.
We are looking for equipment, negotiate with suppliers, enter into contracts and discuss the details of the project.

     

To date, some part of the devices is purchased, and we are waiting for their delivery.

There is a lot of work to be done, it is necessary to think over and talk through all the details.

The first stage, preparation for the expedition, was completed by July 25. Its result looked like this:

     

Stage II

Stage 2
Part I (from July 26 to August 10)
By the time of the departure, the weather turned bad in the region: the clouds overcast sky and it was drizzling in Magadan, while the road to Susuman and Burkandya settlement was attended by heavy fall of rain. As a result, the road, which usually takes about 10 hours, took more than a day.

In Burkandya it was rain, the guys from the “Drazhnik” artel and two all-terrain vehicles were waiting for us; three more days of a not so simple journey were ahead.

The route of our travel to the lakes was being discussed until the last moment. As a result, fitted into two all-terrain vehicles with all our baggage, we decided gradually transfer to Darpir through Lake Momontai by one team.
The road was tense, incessant rains, significant load of all-terrain vehicles - all this has made its own adjustments. Meanwhile, having left Burkandya around 7 am, we reached Lake Momontai only late at night, where those who remained there to work, had a sigh of relief, and those who rode on were able to spend the night in cozy houses, so that in the morning they would be ready to set off again.
We express deep gratitude to the "Polevaya" artel for the opportunity to live and work in comfort conditions on Lake Momontai - their comfortable base is located in that picturesque place and they favorably allowed us to use it.

There is a small photo report – the state of the field station after our departure.

The road to Lake Darpir took two more days of the way for the rest of the group. Despite the fact that formerly there was a well-trodden all-terrain road from the Momontai to Darpir going to the reindeer village Kuntek, in practice everything turned out to be not so rosy. Today driving by the all-terrain vehicle this way in the summer is hard. Perhaps, in our case, it was due to prolonged rainy weather. Everyone was exhausted for these two days. In addition, it became clear that journey on foot is impossible. At least until the water starts to fall. We decided to wait for a few days (in our region the rivers quickly both “swell up” and return to their still standby). In case of an extreme, we considered the possibility of transferring a walking group through the most difficult parts by the all-terrain vehicle. Consequently, there was nothing to talk even about the all-terrain journey, and all of us (stationary and foot groups, as well as drivers of the all-terrain vehicles) remained on the Darpir.

Although the most part of the equipment was waiting on Lake Momontai, the walking group was able to make a thorough exploration of the territory in the Darpir region. As soon as the rain subsided, they went to the routes. This allowed both to make overview and detailed pictures of the area, and to capture extensive material for assessing the diversity of the flora of this territory. After each foot outing they returned with hundreds of photos and bags of "greenery".


We worked on the Darpirs until August 8, the collecting of benthos samples and aquatic vegetation was complicated by high water levels. Since we had plans for autumnal part of the expedition, we were not too upset, and would probably get this material later.
The way to Lake Momontai took two days as well. On the way, we were able to select material in Omulevka, as well as in the lakes of Ui, Valunnoye and others being on our way.
In the evening on August 10 we met the guys on Momontai Lake. The bad weather also changed their working plans; however, most of the tasks were successfully implemented.

Packing things and equipment, minor completion in place and now the way home.

Part II (from September 23 to October 04)
It’s time for autumn work. We reckoned on this time a lot. In the summer there was a lot of water, while late September and early October is the best time to catch low water and collect samples of benthos, as well as water plants that are inaccessible to us during high water.
In autumn, we planned to work only on the Darpirs, at this time in the studied area it is winter already, and there is no need to plan the successful transfer and work at several remote points. At the same time, the thorough investigation of one area is quite real.

The autumn stage of the expedition was realized by a small group of three people: E. V. Khamenkova, A. V. Andreev and one employed worker.
The police department of the Magadan region and the Drazhnik artel agreed to help us with the transfer once again, two all-terrain vehicles were involved, the area was difficult - driving in pair would increase the safety and successful overcoming of the route.
This time we travel through the watercourses Burkandi (tributary of the Berelekh river) and Gorondya (tributary of the Omulevka), then again through the Kuntek settlement to the isthmus between the Bolshoi and Malyi Darpirs.

The road through the Gorondya is shorter than the summer road. Late in the evening we reached Bolshoi Darpir Lake; the camp was set up in the morning. According to the plan, we were to work three days on the B. Darpir and two days on the Malyi Darpir. One day of the sunny weather was followed by one week of nasty weather forecasted by meteorologists. And again sampling took place in extreme conditions, but the main criterion for us was the water level, and the latter was more than comfortable for collecting samples of benthos and aquatic plants. We managed to take samples along the lake and catch at least 11 species of aquatic vegetation in addition to the lists obtained in the summer.

Due to the fact that the weather was getting worse, it was decided to move to the Malyi Darpir to the weather station, to implement the volume of works there and to move back at the next opportunity, since the snow and wind persisted.

E. V. Khamenkova and A. V. Andreev at the M. Darpir meteorological station (10/02/2018)
The northern part of the Malyi Darpir was securely sheltered from the wind by the coastline, which made it possible to collect samples in this part of the lake with greater comfort than on the B. Darpir. At the same time, however, due to the blizzard it was impossible to flout out the boat and collect material to further south. Now we hope for the summer collecting.
Three days later, the wind died down, and we started to go back. There was a lot of newly fallen snow. If you do not know the month, you will never guess that it is not February, but just early October. On the way back, we were able to collect benthos samples in the Omulevka, Kuntek and other small rivers.
In a day we were already driving home along the Kolyma “highway”, filled with impressions of the trip and hopes for the results from the collected materials.

Stage III

Stage III

The third stage of our work in the framework of the RGO expeditionary project has begun, namely, the laboratory stage. Our colleagues from the IBPN FEB RAS have been involved to its successful realization: O.A. Mochalova, leading researcher, Laboratory of Botany, and I. A. Zasypkina, senior researcher, Laboratory of Ichthyology, and staff of the Laboratory of Freshwater Hydrobiology, FSC of Biodiversity of Terrestrial Biota of East Asia, FEB RAS: E. A. Makarchenko - Professor, chief researcher, T. M. Tiunova - Professor, chief researcher, V. A. Teslenko - leading researcher, O. V. Orel - senior researcher, M. A. Makarchenko - researcher.