Kolodiev Nikolay Yakovlevich *

(25.11.1909 - 10.28.1940)  


Arctic hydrograph.

After school, like many of his peers, he went to work on the railway, first as a fireman, then as an assistant driver, and then as a train driver on a steam train in the village of Talovaya.

For three years Kolodiev served in the army in the Far East, where he made his way from a private soldier to a platoon commander of anti-aircraft artillery. He could remain in the military service forever, but chose a different path. Ocean conquered Kolodiev with its beauty and power. He decided to link his fate with the exploration of the seas and oceans and after demobilization he entered the Leningrad Hydrographic Institute. In order to live somehow, he had to combine his studies with work. In the years 1937-1938. still, as a student, Kolodiyev participated in the famous drift on the icebreaker steamer "G.Sedov". In April 1938, he returned to Leningrad and continued his studies, and “G. Sedov”, as we know, was encased in heavy ice and released from ice captivity only in 1940.

In 1939, Kolodiev graduated from the institute with a degree in engineering hydrograph, and a year later he headed the expedition on the ship Whirlwind. The young boss was given a responsible task. The Whirlwind, on board of which there were 20 crew members and 3 research assistants, had to make the most difficult transition along the entire Northern Sea Route from Arkhangelsk to Providence Bay in one navigation and in a short polar summer to carry out a large research program.

The vessel was staffed by the best local sailors, highly skilled commanders, led by the old polar captain R.K. Ivanov, who had a great experience in long-distance and polar swimming, is well supplied with food, warm clothes and fresh meat.

July 21 left Arkhangelsk to the east. According to the assignment, already from Bely Island (Kara Sea) they began to produce associated measurement, and after Cape Heart-Kamen (the Chukchi Sea) to Cape Dezhnev, systematic measurement.

Four days later, "Whirlwind" came to the Strait of Yugorsky Shar, which was clogged with ice. After a three-day unsuccessful wait from the headquarters of the marine wiring received instructions to go, bending around the Cape of Desire to the island of Dickson. From Dixon, pure water reached the archipelago of Nordenskiöld, and from where, in the caravan of the Litke icebreaker, to Cape Chelyuskin. From Cape Chelyuskin to Tiksi Bay through the heavy pack ice "Whirlwind" traveled independently.

Three days had to wade in difficult conditions: there were heavy ice. The ship with a runway broke individual lintels and large ice floes.

It was very difficult for mechanics and mechanic to work in the engine room. Extremely great art and vigilance were required from the captain, his assistants and steering sailors: the main engine stopped the ice from falling under the propeller.

But the crew overcame these difficulties. In Tiksi Bay came safely. Replenishing fuel and resting, August 26, went to the east.

The East Siberian Sea met the expedition unfriendly. The ship was in a particularly tense position in the Aion area, where heavy ice pressed the ship to the shore. Of the heavy ice managed to get out only with the help of the icebreaker "L. Kaganovich".

On September 5, the expedition reached the Chukchi Sea. It was one of the least studied sections of the Northern Sea Route. Hydrographs "Whirlwind" had to carefully measure the depth, identify underwater hazards, study currents, wind speed and direction. During this period, there was a fierce struggle with the elements.

Continuous storms raged on the sea. The Chukchi Sea stormed, not giving people a day of respite. Around the "Whirlwind" the mountains of water raged in a frantic dance - any of them could crush in one minute, turn a tiny little ship into slivers. Waves swept over the captain’s bridge and aft deck. Water penetrated into the cabins, in the cabin, in the radio room, but the sailors did not give up. In spite of everything, he had a measured working life. No matter how difficult the navigation situation was, the expedition participants carried out the program of planned research. N.Y. Kolodiev was tied to the superstructures with a cable and worked with others on deck. Sailors are not so easy to surprise with courage, everyone has seen. But this young hydrograph had enough courage for three. On the ship, they somehow learned that their chief used to work as an assistant driver on a steam train, served on the Far Eastern border, and in the winter of 1939 he led our tanks on Vyborg on the ice of the Gulf of Finland.

The expedition left the survey area only after a categorical order received by radio from Chukotka: due to bad weather - strong storms, snow blockages and impending ice - to go to Provideniya Bay. The path from Kolyuchinskaya Bay to Providence Bay was accompanied by 7-8 th balancing storms. The ship threw like a chip. Stern superstructure went into the water. From the accumulated water in the cabin went the waves. The engine room, located under the aft superstructures, was also flooded with water, short circuits occurred in the wiring. One dynamo failed. It was only thanks to the efforts of the mechanics Veshnyakov and Vorontsov that it was restored.Iron umbrellas were arranged over other dynamos and the control post. Mechanics and mechanic worked in the salty rain. The ship's roll reached 48 degrees.

There were moments when it seemed that some more and the crew would die together with the ship. However, the crew of the ship fulfilled its mission with honor.

The expedition also fully coped with the work plan on co-measurements and hydrometeorological observations.

On the seventh of October, two months and sixteen days after leaving Arkhangelsk, the Whirlwind ended its way into Providence Bay. If we exclude thirty days, during which the expedition worked in the Chukchi Sea, the transition along the polar route took a little more than a month. In 1940, there were not many ships that passed the Northern Sea Route in one navigation. "Whirlwind", who had completed a difficult and dangerous journey in 36 days, fulfilled his task with honor. Another valuable contribution was made to the development of the Northern Sea Route.

In the Providence Bay, Kolodiyev, along with his expedition, moved from the Vortex to the icebreaking steamer "Malygin", which left for Vladivostok. On the night of October 27, the radio station of the port of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky took anxious the message that the steamer "Malygin" is in distress near the eastern coast of Kamchatka near Cape Low at the entrance to the Litke Strait. The ships in the sea heard “SOS” “Malygin”, but could not approach it.

From the memoirs of eyewitness Peter Belov, a sailor of the Kamchatka Shipping Company, whose ship survived this storm:

“We served the east coast. On the eve of the passed - moving cyclone. Before Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky was two days of progress. More on the coast of the bay was not where you could hide from the storm. So that the ship would not break against the coastal stones, there was only one way out - to go into the open ocean.

At first there was a slight swell. Then the wind intensified, really began to storm. The sky was gray. All the hatches shook. You look out the window, and a huge shaft of water rolls on you. So big that eclipsed the whole horizon. You think that's all. But everything goes well, only you feel how someone throws you into a huge abyss, then throws it out with the same force. And so endlessly. Terribly, especially a newbie. In order not to look, I buried my face in the pillow, I decided to fall asleep. It is easy to say: fall asleep when you are thrown in different directions. I heard about 12 o'clock: - “Everyone to the captain!” We arrive. On the table is a telegram transmitted by a radio operator. At 120 miles from us the ship Malygin is in distress. It receives signals "SOS". One solution. We go to help, this requires not only a marine charter, but also a human conscience. There is little hope of salvation. According to our captain, the Malygin was located at the very center of the cyclone. There is no easy way to get through. Although we are in full swing, but we are moving forward like a turtle. We learn that the steering has failed at Malygin, some superstructures have been washed away, water has penetrated into the hold. In this position, the ship can not cope with the elements. It is about to turn the water ridge. In all likelihood, if we get into this hell, it will still be too late. But we were going. From the outside, nothing could be disassembled. Solid darkness, squalls with whistling wind, rain, every now and then, huge masses of water fall on the ship, floods the captain's bridge. Waves roll over the deck. The ship throws like a matchbox. You wonder how it could stand? But we are still not in the epicenter. And where is the "Malygin" ?! The more persistently we went towards rapprochement, the further we were taken away from the location of the “Malygin”. We used all the means and changed the course - everything is useless. The storm ring was impenetrable. There was no limit to our patience, because there were people on the ship”. “Two months of searching from the air, sea and land did not give positive results. Beached near Cape Low: the corpse of the hydrograph Sokolova, the wooden parts of the deck settings, the boats, and small items of equipment, were silent witnesses of the tragedy that broke out at sea. In December, the search parties stopped work, and Malygin was removed from the list of floating vessels”.  The hydrograph N.Ya. Kolodiev was also killed along with the Malygynians.

Bay on the east coast of Nansen Island. The name was approved by the Arkhangelsk Regional Executive Committee in 1963 on the proposal of the Hydrographic Enterprise  Ministry of the Navy (Decision No. 651 ...).


* based on buturlinovka.ru website


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