In search of the schooner “St. Anna”
A group of researchers for several years in the Arctic looking for traces of one of the most enigmatic domestic expeditions.
Icebound schooner Georgy Brusilov, the nephew of the famous General and hero of the Civil war, had disappeared in the area of Franz Josef in 1914. To the mainland, her crew got only two people — Navigator of the Albans and sailor Conrad. Ironically, this expedition became one of the most famous in Russia after Veniamin Kaverin used her story in the novel “Two captains”.
After decades of obscurity, the organizers of the expedition “In the footsteps of two captains” has managed in recent years to find the first artifacts from “St. Anna”, but the remains of one of the members of his team. In 2017, they simultaneously found the place flooded of another ship — the schooner “air” of the British expeditions of the late nineteenth century, to find that still no one could. And all this on a small yacht Alter Ego.
In 2018, the explorers are preparing to continue to look for “Saint Anna”, although, as you admit yourself, it all depends on luck. About how were made the first finds, where are the archives of the expedition and how to look for the ship, whose fate is generally unknown to portal iz.ru said the leader of the expedition “In the footsteps of two captains” Eugene Forster.
— How did you start the expedition “In the footsteps of two captains”.
In 2005 we first came to the Land of Franz Joseph. Our task was to search the schooner “Eira” expedition Lee-Smith, 1881. Then we failed, unfortunately, to carry out the dive. But we got to the place associated with the story of two probably the most tragic expeditions in the history of the Arctic expedition of Georgy Sedov and Brusilov. It then emerged our interest in this topic. “Two captains” after all, we all read since childhood.
— The fate of “St. Anna” Georgy Brusilov very little information. What you were based, starting the search?
— Somewhere in early 1914 the ship after two years the ice drift was between Franz Joseph and the North pole. At this point, the part of the crew, 12 people, led by the Navigator Albanov decided to go to the mainland for help. At some point, gone decided to split into a Hiking group that went up the Bank, and water that was moving through the water.
Of the Albans appointed from the group meeting place at Cape Grant of Franz-Joseph. This group had four people.
They started with the Cape of Nil. But the Cape Grant never came: there is a starting point, is the point of finish, to which people got.
It seemed to us the best history to find traces of the team, “St. Anne”. Because here is clear: in the Land of Franz Josef very few ways of movement. There’s either a beach or the dome of the glacier, which still have to climb. That is, the route was predictable. And after that we are almost five years preparing for this story.
The only documentary evidence
— What was the main difficulty?
In those regions it is more difficult to get. In 2009 we met a very nice man — Oleg Prodan (in 2016 Oleg Prodan killed in the Arctic while searching for “St. Anna”. portal iz.ru). He has provided the logistics and headed the expedition. In 2010 with the help of helicopters of aircraft of FSB of Russia we got to Franz Joseph. And literally within the first week we spent such a historical reconstruction — put yourself in the shoes of these people and decided to go the same route that they went. And within weeks stumbled upon human remains. Moreover, there were not only the remains — were there personal belongings and a diary.
Most importantly, that of the Albans in his diaries wrote: I’m from the party left a Cup, a bucket, a rifle, 40 bullets and only watch belonging to Smirennikov. When we found this man, next to him was a mug, a bucket, clock. Rifles with cartridges, unfortunately, not found.
But there was some personal things. Sunglasses, which if to believe Albanova, did Stoker Freiberg by boat from the dark glass bottle it was a bottle of gin. The knife was there — he was lying directly on the stones.
A man apparently died somewhere up the glacier and it stasila down.
— Found the diary was deciphered?
— Yes, it all went to the lab of the FSB of Russia. They are partially transcribed this diary. But there we are basically talking about life on the schooner and not a word about the transition that we were interested in in the first place.