Our research ice-class vessel Noosfera has reached Antarctica and is already standing near Galindez Island, where the Ukrainian Akademik Vernadsky station is located (large vessels are not able to moor to the island because of the shallow water). Her journey from Chile to the icy continent took 5 days: the Noosfera left Punta Arenas on the evening of March 25th, and on the evening of March 30th (it was already night in Ukraine) arrived at the station.
On the way, the incredibly stormy Drake Passage was kind to our team. The former British captain of the icebreaker Simon Wallace, who has worked in this harsh region for more than 6 years and has significant experience, helped Ukrainian captain Pavlo Panasyuk to navigate the vessel from Chile to Antarctica. He noted: “For the first time that I can recall, the weather in Drake was good.”
RV Noosfera delivered to Vernadsky station a lot of different necessary cargo, but most importantly – members of the 27th Ukrainian Antarctic Expedition. The team of winterers of the 26th UAE and the seasonal team, who will now be able to return home, were very much waiting for their colleagues.
Unfortunately, because of the storm right near the station, it is not yet possible for the 27th UAE members to get from the vessel to the island (the waves are too high for small boats). But as soon as the weather changes, the polar explorers of the new expedition will join everyone at Vernadsky.
Also, over the next few days, the unloading of annual supplies of food, fuel, building materials, etc. will continue. Then the Noosfera will start its way back to Chile with one interesting stop. We will write about it a little later.
In the meantime, we rejoice to the first arrival of the Noosfera under the Ukrainian flag to Antarctica and sincerely thank the crew of the vessel for the excellent work!
Photo by Pavlo Panasyuk, Simon Wallace, Yurii Otruba and Anastasiia Chyhareva