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Appendix IX

The Russian Visit to Wrangel Island

[The only known Russian visit to Wrangel Island previous to
that of the Red October in 1924 is that of the steamer Vaigatch,
under Commander Konstantin V. Loman, in 1911. No published
record of this visit is available in the western world except a brief
note in the German scientific journal, Petermann’s Mitteilungen.
Just before going to press I have been fortunate in securing some
verbal information from Lieutenant Nicholas A. Transehe, formerly
of the Imperial Russian Navy, who is now in New York. I have
summarized below my conversation with him and he has read
what I have written to see that I understood him correctly.]

Two ships, the Taimir and Vaigatch, composed the great Rus-
sian hydrographic expedition which operated for several years to
the north of Asiatic Russia. They did much solid scientific work.
Their most spectacular result was the discovery of Nicholas II
Land, a large island to the north of the north tip of Asia. Lieu-
tenant Transehe did not join the expedition till 1912, then with the
rank of assistant to the commander.

The summer of 1911 the Vaigatch had been to the Kolyma on a
hydrographic survey. On her return eastward she succeeded in
making a landing near the southwest corner of Wrangel Island.
So far as Lieutenant Transehe remembers from what his comrades
of that ship told him later, the Vaigatch was at anchor only long
enough to wrait for a clear, starlit night for exact astronomical
observations. She may, therefore, have been at Wrangel Island
anything from one to five days. Having established the astronom-
ical position of the landing place and erected a beacon there, the
Vaigatch attempted to proceed northward along the west coast
of Wrangel for survey purposes but was forced offshore by the
ice and was only able to circumnavigate the island going north,
then east and south at a distance so great that she could not con-


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