Disappearing Land: RGS’s Expedition Explores Newly Discovered Island Of Yaya

The hydrographic vessel "Romuald Muklevich", having traveled 3,000 miles, reached the Laptev Sea
The hydrographic vessel "Romuald Muklevich", having traveled 3,000 miles, reached the Laptev Sea

A complex expedition of the Russian Civil Society and the Northern Fleet to the Severnaya Zemlya archipelago, launched on September 2, begins exploring Yaya Island, washed by the Laptev Sea.

The hydrographic vessel “Romuald Muklevich”, having traveled about 3,000 miles in 18 days, reached the Laptev Sea. The expedition participants have begun exploring the island of Yaya, which is part of the Lyakhovsky Islands of the Novosibirsk Islands archipelago.

“We have been working for the fourth day in the area of one of the most mysterious islands," says documentary filmmaker, traveler Leonid Kruglov. “Yaya is not always visible, it appears and disappears depending on the sea level and the size of the waves. We tried to land on it several times, but strong waves did not allow us to do so. Our task is to determine what exactly Yaya is, whether it is really an island or something else, and to establish its size and basic geographical parameters.”

Yaya Island was first discovered in September 2013 by the crews of two Mi-26 helicopters transporting cargo to Kotelny Island. A repeat flyby in April 2014 confirmed its presence. The participants of a round-the-world expedition on the Baltic Fleet research vessel “Admiral Vladimirsky” landed on it the same year.

There is a legend about the origin of the name of the island. When they tried to find out who first discovered it, the crew commanders began to assert: "Ya! Ya!" (eng. “Me! Me!”) So it was decided to name the island Yaya.

Yaya is presumably located on the site of Vasilievsky Island, which disappeared in the mid-1930s, that consisted of ice mixed with rocks. According to one hypothesis, the island of Yaya may turn out to be a long-extinct volcano. Whether this is true or not, the RGS’s expedition will have to find out.