“Today,” Antarctica: the fifth continent in questions and answers

After the collapse of the USSR, Russia kept all five Antarctic stations. Ukraine could remain without a research base at the South pole, but in 1996, Britain sends one of their stations with all the equipment for a nominal fee — one pound. And Ukraine received its Antarctic station “Akademik Vernadsky”. It is located on the island of Galindez, near the Western part of Antarctica. Founded in the 30-ies of XX century. Was named “Faraday”, or the “F”.

On it and was visited by correspondents of the TV channel “Ukraine” Alexander and Ruslan Makhov Couzigou. And found the most interesting.

  • Who goes on our station?

Every year in late March — early April, the station sent a group of 12 people. There they spend a year. From 1996 in Antarctica visited 167 Ukrainians. Nikolay starinets — record. He was on the sixth continent eight times. In 2017, the station went 22nd scientific expedition.

  • And I can go there to work?

No problem. Scientific personnel — meteorologists, biologists, geologists, geophysicists — sending institutions. But every year goes to the station and the so called technical support team: cook, medic, system administrator, electrician and motorman. The salary for all the same — about 15 thousand hryvnia per month. These five vacancies can claim anyone. It is enough to submit an application to the National Antarctic scientific center. If your application is approved, you will have to undergo training at a military training ground and interview with a psychologist. Age or any other restrictions for applicants no.

In the composition of the 21st scientific expedition, for example, traveled chef from kindergarten. However, to get to Antarctica, you need to resign from a permanent job temporarily to get a member of the National Antarctic scientific center. After returning from Antarctica will have to look for a job. No benefits, payments or other privileges in Ukraine work in Antarctica does not. So far, there is no law on the explorers. So go there not for money or merit, but for the sake of science, experience and love for the continent, clad in eternal ice.

  • In the Antarctica cold. How do they live there?

Yes. Cold. In Antarctica recorded the lowest temperature on earth — minus 90 degrees. But on the island of Galindez, where the Ukrainian station, is relatively warm. 47 degrees — a record. In the past year column of the thermometer did not fall below 22 degrees. In the winter (Antarctica is located in the southern hemisphere, so winter here on the contrary — from June to August), the station fills up with snow so that you can move only on skis or snowmobiles.

And sometimes to go out not allow a storm wind that reaches speeds of 100 km/h There is almost always overcast. But when the sun shines, you can get burnt: sunlight is absorbed by the nothing — everything is white because of the sunblock and sunburn — the required attributes of the explorers.

The heart of the station. Three diesel generator provide life

  • And what do explorers?

Everyone has a work plan for the year. Scientists are studying the flora and fauna, searching for underground lakes and fossils. There is a person who records the information using a special device every earthquake that occurs on the planet. A group of meteorologists reports daily reports in Ukraine: the amount of precipitation, air temperature, barometric pressure, water level in the ocean. According to the results of research scientists write the doctoral dissertation.

  • Scientists have made some discovery?

By studying plants scientists have discovered so-called black yeast is a microorganism which under the action of ultraviolet light generates immense amounts of melanin — the dark pigment as in humans, during sun. Based on the melanin already created veterinary medicine for animals. Besides now conducted preclinical studies of the drug for the healing of burns and wounds for people.

  • I have a dog. It is possible to take with you on an expedition?

No. Pets in Antarctica is strictly prohibited. When Antarctica actively developed by man in the last century, on the continent explorers traveled by dog sled. But the dogs began to attack the penguins, therefore, forbade any animals in the continent. Even a favorite flower to take will not be allowed.

  • What are you eating polar?

Everything that we do. Each expedition carries with him a supply of food for the whole year. Approximately one ton per person. Eat polar according to the norms of submariners. Various meat, fish, pasta, cereals, canned food, red caviar. All bought in Argentina. Even the wine included in the diet. Bread, of course, one can not bring, but they bake themselves.

Bread. On the Antarctic station chef bakes it himself. Every day

The only thing significantly lacking fresh vegetables and fruits. Deliver an additional batch of products is impossible: the ocean from may to December freezes, and ships approaching the station can not, and by land to them not to get because the station is located on the island. Lunch and dinner on schedule. The Breakfast each prepare themselves.

A ton of products each. Supplies to bring for a year

  • And the water they have?

In the Antarctica has the largest reserve of fresh water on the planet. But explorers take it from the ocean, passed through filters that remove the salt and get drinking water, which is used in cooking and for technical needs. This is followed by electrician-mechanic.

  • And what sort of living conditions?

Not a resort, of course. But you can live. Explorers live in a cabin for two people. Also each have their own office. The station has a kitchen and large dining room. The toilet and shower with hot water. There is even room. Each day is assigned day and night duty who keeps order.

  • And sports do they do there?

And even hold tournaments. Several times a year the explorers are playing football on a frozen lake near the station. They even have a symbolic gate. This year for the expedition, the players club “Shakhtar” Andriy Pyatov and Taras Stepanenko passed the ball, a scarf and a t-shirt with autographs. During rotation, when a few days on the station for two expeditions of 12 people each, they are conducting a friendly match. In addition, there is Billiards and Darts. Each year, the members of the expedition had engaged in tournaments in these sports. The winner gets a can of beer. The station also has a small gym with exercise bike, free weights and a barbell.

  • And how are they entertained?

One of the main attractions of the station is the bar “Faraday”. In fact, this is a classic English pub. Was built by an English Explorer in 1980. He used extra materials during the construction of several buildings of the station. The casino is in all the world’s lists of the most unusual and unique bars on the planet and is the only drinking establishment on the entire sixth continent. Every year it is visited by about three thousand tourists who come to the station on passenger ships. Travelers can use the symbolic 50 grams of vodka or whiskey. Women can drink for free, but in return they have to leave their own underwear. In the bar there is even a collection of bras.

Girls drink for underwear!

In addition, there is the player and a unique collection of original vinyl records. Just more than a hundred albums, some really rare: Abba, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin. On Saturdays, the explorers are going to the bar on traditional English party in costume. Pants, jacket and tie should bring to the trip, each participant of the expedition.

The southernmost bar on the planet. “Faraday” – Championships in Billiards

  • And holidays are celebrated?

The main holiday in Antarctica — Midwinter — June 22, our — the summer solstice. However, the explorers out there this time of year, deep winter. After all, the continent is in the southern hemisphere. On this day all the expedition members swimming in the ocean in shorts and tie. It is a kind of tradition, which do not change for many years. For beginners — those who first went to the Antarctic trip, this bath serves as a dedication to the explorers. In addition, on this day, without exception, all the stations are in Antarctica, exchange congratulations on the radio. Each year our explorers congratulated by the President.

  • And Church holidays they celebrate?

Of course. There is a small chapel of the Holy Prince Vladimir, which was opened in 2011. It is the southernmost Orthodox building on the planet. Every year one of the members of the expedition determine a priest in Kiev, he receives the blessing ceremonies in the chapel of the Antarctic. Such an expedition takes with him to Antarctica all the attributes of the priest’s prayer book, crosses, candles. In part of the 22nd scientific expedition such person appointed Geophysics Anatoly Chernov.

  • A call to Antarctica?

You can call and even send a package. Address and phone number will prompt you in National Antarctic scientific center. Explorers can themselves only once a week send a private message to the families and friends on the mainland over the Internet. In the same way once a week come news from home. News from Ukraine and the world they are sent to a text file. TV stations no. Forces system administrators who each year travel in the expedition, the station managed to create a kind of internal social network to which you have access to all of the members of the expedition. Here explorers can exchange messages with each other from their computers and download advance brought with movies from the common database. Also the station has telephone connection. You can call every day, but the connection is very expensive — about $ 1.5 per minute. For money explorers from their own salaries. The Ukrainian station “Academician Vernadsky” is the only in the whole of Antarctica, where no high-speed Internet. Therefore, social networks and Skype polar is not available.

The most popular room. From the radio room to call my family

  • Medic on station the medicine?

The station is operating, the x-ray machine and all the necessary medicines. Also, the medic is able to conduct a detailed analysis of the blood. In fact, a hospital in miniature. In the composition of the 21st scientific expedition medic was Konstantin Danilenko, who himself has his wisdom teeth removed.

Full blood count – easy!

  • And there’s a lot of penguins?

Black-and-white birds everywhere. On the island of Galindez settled the rarest species of penguin on the planet — Gent. It is called the penguin donkey, because of the characteristic sound it makes. These birds came to the station seven years ago. And so it remained. Now there is almost a thousand individuals. Half of all life they spend in the water, but nest on land. Are divided into pairs and are committed to their partner life. Interestingly, hatch the eggs, the penguins at a time. Generally very similar to humans. There are trudyazhki who diligently carry small stones to build their homes, and there are hooligans, petty thieves — they Rob their relatives. The main enemy of penguins on land — bird, the Skua. It steals eggs and even attacking the little penguins.

  • Penguins and polar flip?

No. And contrary to mainland opinion, such profession as “flip the penguin” does not exist. This is a real myth. Penguins are actually very deftly move over the rocks and ice. Even if you fall on your back, it is easy to get to his feet. Do the penguins have to be wary of humans, though, and build nests near the station. To tame them, too, will fail, because they eat exclusively in the water. In addition, the penguin can hurt beak. Therefore, not to be trifled with.

Penguins are very agile. And is easy to move both in water and on land

  • Besides the penguins in Antarctica have more animals?

Animals that live on land at all. But you can find other birds, petrels, Skuas and terns. Another lie on the beach face seals, sea leopards and sea elephants. In the water you can see whales, orcas and dolphins. Once upon a time in Antarctica there lived the dinosaurs.

  • And trees grow there?

Many millions of years ago were growing up, but now no. In General, the vegetation in Antarctica is very scarce. There are only two types of flowering plants. And mostly mosses, lichens, fungi and algae. So poor flora due to the very harsh Antarctic climate. Few plants can survive in conditions of eternal frost.

  • I heard there is the ozone hole. It can be seen?

No. Ozone hole the naked eye cannot see. To watch it every year as part of an expedition goes to a special person — ozonometric. He has a special device for Dobson observations of the ozone layer. The data it records and transmits to Ukraine and international organizations several times a day. It over Antarctica was discovered first ozone hole on the planet. The opening belongs to the group of British scientists who worked at the station “Faraday” (now the station “Akademik Vernadsky”). Now this hole is considered the largest and most dangerous on the planet. It flows a large amount of dangerous ultraviolet light.

Meteorological observations. Forecasters three times a day transmit reports

  • In Antarctica there lives someone other than explorers?

In Antarctica no permanent population. If you don’t count the participants of scientific expeditions from different countries who live on several dozen stations across the continent. All activities on the continent governed by the Antarctic Treaty, which entered into force in 1961. The participants agreement includes 47 countries, and only 29 are eligible to vote, including Ukraine. According to the contract in Antarctica allowed only scientific activity. To look for minerals is permitted, but to extract them is impossible. Antarctica belongs to no one at all. But territorial claims were put forward by Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, great Britain, New Zealand and Norway. The USA and the Russian Federation declared the continent a zone of its interests.

  • And just on a visit to the explorers to go?

No problem. For this you need to get to the Argentine city of Ushuaia. From the local port you can take a boat to Antarctica from December to March. You can also hire a private yacht. Tickets cost about seven thousand dollars over a 10-day tour. You will have an unforgettable adventure — the passage of the Drake passage, the most dangerous sea section of the route on the planet. He who is afraid of the ocean, can go to Antarctica by plane. From Chile you will be transferred to the international airport on the island of king George in the Northern part of Antarctica.

  • And what Souvenirs you can bring from Antarctica?

To take from Antarctica can only be an unforgettable experience and photos. Neither stones, nor plants, nor anything else to take out is prohibited. All this must confiscated during the customs and border control at the airports of South America. The only thing that take themselves explorers, is accumulated per year trash: paper, glass, metal. All this passed for disposal in Argentina.