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Baikal-Alaska historic expedition to cross Chukotka in 2018

The expedition coincides with the 150th anniversary of Alaska's sale

IRKUTSK, August 11. /TASS/. The Baikal-Alaska historical-geographical expedition, repeating the route of Siberian merchants, made a stop at Kamchatka, and in 2018 it will continue the extreme trip, including across the Chukotka Peninsula, the expedition's head Anatoly Kazakevich told reporters on Thursday.

"We have studied thoroughly the weather conditions and decided that the best time to cross the Bering Sea would be late June - early July. For you to understand the weather conditions: visibility not more than 30m, we have never seen the top of our mast which is ten meters high, the wind was 25mps, the wave was strong, short, the water in the sea was cold - 5-10 degrees. Cold but exciting - this is our formal slogan," he said.

The exhibition's Pacific stage will continue in June, 2018, he continued, and the organizers plan crossing Chukotka, along the shore. This is the most safe route, which is also interesting from the historic and geographic positions, as people living on two neighboring peninsulas - Chukotka and Alaska - are historically connected, he explained. This year, the interest to the project was seen from residents of Yakutsk, Magadan and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.

In 2018, the organizers will promote the route for the American side, which may favor attraction of tourists to the Irkutsk region.

The route will be completed within two years, and thus it becomes more thorough from the historical point of view, as traditionally the Irkutsk merchants spent winters and built ships for crossing the sea in Okhotsk or on Kamchatka, head of the Irkutsk branch of the Russian Geographical Society Leonid Korytny said.

"We can see many expeditions now, including with involvement of the Russian Geographical Society, but the scale is different, of course. For the first time in recent years, we have managed to unite that many regions in Siberia and the Far East. And it is most important that the project connects the past and the modern times," he said.

The Baikal-Alaska expedition started in Siberia's Irkutsk on May 30. The explorers will repeat the route of Siberian merchants, who founded first settlement in North America 150 years ago. They will cover the route of more than 11,000 kilometers within three months on board a sectional sail ocean-class catamaran, which they will have to transport over two dividing ridges in the Irkutsk region and in the Far East. The expedition members (totally 20 - six-eight at every stage) come from Moscow, Rostov-on-Don, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, Yakutsk, and Kamchatka.

The expedition coincides with the 150th anniversary of Alaska's sale, to 210th anniversary of diplomatic relations' establishment between Russia and the U.S., and to the 200th anniversary of the Russian squadron's arrival to Hawaii. The project is supported also by the Ministry of Far East Development and the Emergencies Ministry. TASS is the general information partner.