We were supposed to continue our work on the North Pole-8, but nature made its own decisions. The station was destroyed by the elements, and we had to evacuate people and instruments. The decision was made to build a new drift station – North Pole-11.
We took off from Leningrad on a calm spring evening on March 31, 1962 and arrived in Tiksi the next day. It was winter and the blizzards were raging. The temperature was around -30 ° C, but the sun was shining brighter and longer every day as polar day approached. We decided to build a new station north of Wrangel Island, where NP-2, NP-4, and NP-8 started. The ice in the area is drifting towards the Greenland Sea as the circumpolar region rotates clockwise.
We found suitable pack ice on April 13 and flew there with the basic necessities. From the plane we saw an endless wasteland of ice: snow covered ice, messy twists of old mounds with clumps of cool blue-green ice in places. Dark cracks and black spots of open water flashed below. Finally, we saw our pack ice. Against the snow background, we could clearly see the tents, the An-2 plane and the airstrip marked with small red and black flags. The sun was sending out its last rays as evening approached.
In the early morning, we carefully inspect the pack ice. It was MYI pack ice. The airstrip was located on coastal ice – even year-old ice. It was 140 cm thick and was covered with snow. It was a great natural trail. There were ice drifts up to five meters high on one side of the runway and fresh ice and ice channels on the other.
April 17 was a sunny day, and I defined the coordinates of the station: latitude 77 ° 10 ‘N, longitude 165 ° 58’ W. We had to build a camp as soon as possible. The radio operators were efficient: they had already equipped the radio and contacted the metropolis. Our NP-11 went on the air, transmitting regular weather reports and our coordinates.
On May 1, we all gathered near a snow grandstand at 10 a.m. local time (2 p.m. Moscow time). We had a short meeting and fired a gun salute with rifles and signal pistols. Our fatigue was gone and we were all in a good mood. We have received many greetings from our families, friends and colleagues.
The official opening of the NP-11 station took place on May 5, 1962, exactly 25 years after the construction of NP-1, the world’s first drift station.