Cape Dezhnev and Uelen village

Aug 26, 2019 - National Geographic Orion

What an incredible scene to wake to! A glass-calm sea with a beautiful sunrise. The weather stayed mostly calm for the morning allowing us to go ashore at Cape Dezhnev, the remains of a Yupik village abandoned in the 1950s due to Soviet resettlement of the villagers. Here we could see the remains of houses and stores all made from rocks carried up from the beach, and then the remains of large whale bones which would have supported the roof on the buildings.

In the afternoon we arrived at Uelen; a modern Yupik village where the traditional cultures and dress meet with more modern technology and architecture. Villagers were processing several walruses killed earlier when we arrived. Tusks two feet in length were excised first. Outsiders may wince seeing the process, but it is just as fascinating to witness – firsthand – the role of these magnificent animals in sustaining an otherwise traditional Russian culture. The indigenous people of the Arctic have a quota for marine mammals that they can hunt for subsistence, and substantial parts of the walrus will be used for food and other utility.

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About the Author

Peter Webster

Naturalist/Expedition Diver

Born in Scotland, Peter became fascinated with nature and wildlife from a very young age. This early interest led to him earning a degree in conservation biology followed shortly after by an M.Sc in marine and fisheries ecology. He is currently studying for another M.Sc in digital mapping. After working as a commercial diver for several years Peter was offered the position of Field Diving Officer with the British Antarctic Survey in 2012. He then spent the next 16 months in the Antarctic, stationed at Rothera Research Station, on the peninsula where he managed the dive operations and a team of scientific divers working on a wide range of research on climate change, ocean acidification, and increased seabed disturbance by icebergs. As well as diving Peter also spent several months in the Antarctic deep field working in aircraft operations, depot laying, and meteorological work whilst living in tents in conditions below -30oC.

About the Videographer

Mark Coger

Video Chronicler

Growing up in a military family, Mark Coger has been traveling most of his life.  While living in Japan, he developed his passion for videography.  He began his venture in the field of video production by filming numerous events for a local high school and the military community before moving to Southern California, where he obtained his degree in filmmaking at California State University Northridge.  From there, he went on to produce and direct his first major short film, An American Journalist which was screened at the Method Film Festival.

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