The second Antarctic season of the Ukrainian research icebreaker Noosfera has ended. The vessel arrived from Antarctica in Cape Town (South Africa) today, April 29, 2023.
From the icy continent to the mainland the icebreaker has delivered 3 expeditions:
- the 27th Ukrainian Antarctic Expedition wintering team, members of which worked at Vernadsky station for a year. These are scientists working in the fields of geophysics, biology and meteorology, as well as a life support team;
- a seasonal team that performed tasks at Vernadsky during the Antarctic summer. These are scientists and technicians;
- members of the Polish Antarctic expedition from the Arctowski station.
In total, the second season of Noosfera lasted 4 months and consisted of 2 parts.
In December 2022, the vessel set off from Cape Town to Antarctica, delivering a team of Polish polar explorers to Arctowski station, and a team of Ukrainian technical specialists to Akademik Vernadsky station. Also, cargo was delivered to both bases. Then Noosphera left Antarctica and arrived in Punta Arenas (Chile). The icebreaker overcame this part of the journey under the leadership of Captain Pavlo Panasyuk.
At the end of March, the vessel left for Antarctica again with the 28th Ukrainian Antarctic Expedition on board and the cargo necessary for the wintering of the new team. Having ensured the rotation of annual expeditions at Vernadskyi station and having taken the Polish winterers from Arctowski station, the icebreaker set off for Cape Town. This part of the journey was led by Captain Oleksandr Gryshko
During the season, the ship 4 times crossed the Drake Passage – the stormiest place on the planet. But the most extreme conditions had to be experienced already on the way from Vernadsky station to South Africa, in the Atlantic Ocean. There, Noosfera encountered a tropical storm for 4 days: the wind reached 60 knots (31 m/s), and the wave – 8-9 meters. But thanks to the professional work of the team, all obstacles were overcome.
“The team, all without exception, great job! I am deeply grateful for that. For the most part, the weather helped us, but we had to storm a few times. However, all the tasks were completed, and Noosfera returned to Cape Town, where we are always warmly welcomed,” said Oleksandr Gryshko.
Shortly, our winterers will be returning home by plane and land transport. Noosfera is likely to remain in Cape Town until the next Antarctic season: the return of the ship to Ukraine until the end of a full-scale war is not planned.
“We all dream and make every effort there to be a time where Ukraine will celebrate the Victory, and we will meet our fine Noosfera in Odesa. But now we can be proud that the flagship of the Ukrainian research fleet has been successfully carrying out the Antarctic mission for the second year running. We do not stop despite all the attempts of the enemy to destroy us,” said Evgen Dykyi, NASC director.
Photo by Oleksandr Gryshko Anatolii Andreev Dzvina Kachur