Antarctic landscapes, a library and tuxedoes once a week: a polar explorer’s life in pictures

The base receives 5,000 tourists during the summer season (December to March), most of whom are from Antarctic cruises.

We take you on a virtual trip to Antarctica, even though it is not possible to visit the base in person.

What are they doing with their time at the far end? What do they research? What are they doing during their downtime? How do they keep warm? Why do they wear tuxedos only once a week?

Yevhenii Prokopchuk
Yevhenii Prokopchuk

The story of the station and its team

The Faraday Station was the original name of the research base that is located on the Wilhelm Archipelago’s Argentine Galindez Island. British colonial founders in 1947 gave it this name. It was given to Ukraine in 1996, almost 50 years after its founding. This month marked the 25th anniversary of the mission.

There is a polar research team at the base year-round, with 11 team members currently onboard, including geophysicists, biologists and hydro-meteorologists.

Vadym Zhukovskyi

Research work

Oleksandr Salahanski, the station’s biologist, explains their current work: “The penguin colonies and biodiversity of the surrounding islands are the focus of our current research.” Scientists learn about climate change from bacteria and plankton.

This team studies the feeding habits of marine mammals and birds and their diets. Oleksandr is also concerned about the influence of penguins and sea lions on local flora.

For research and catalogisation, photo identification of species can also be done.

Yevhenii Prokopchuk
Yevhenii Prokopchuk
Antarctic landscape photographed during a scientific whale watching tripYevhenii Prokopchuk
Yevhenii Prokopchuk
Biologist Oleksandr Salhanski during field workYevhenii Prokopchuk
Yevhenii Prokopchuk
Colonies of penguins near Akademik Vernadsky Antarctic StationYevhenii Prokopchuk
Yevhenii Prokopchuk
Penguin nesting time at Galindez IslandYevhenii Prokopchuk
Yevhenii Prokopchuk
A crabeater seal near the main building of Akademik Vernadsky Antarctic StationYevhenii Prokopchuk

“Antarctica, the only continent that has not been anthropologically affected, has remained as pure as it was millions years ago. “We might discover the keys to our future by studying its history,” Yurii Otruba, leader of the 25th Antarctic expedition.

He continues, “For example.” “The climate of the whole planet is affected by the icebergs, glaciers and icebergs of Antarctica.” We study the ozone hole and the ionosphere.

While conducting research, polar scientists must ensure that their training in extreme weather survival and fire safety is current.

Yevhenii Prokopchuk

Time, food, and traditions are yours

The station also has a bar, pool table, and a library to keep the staff entertained. Tourists used to be able send postcards from the base in the past. The station is now only connected to the internet.

Yevhenii Prokopchuk
The library at Akademik Vernadsky Antarctic StationYevhenii Prokopchuk

They bring food supplies for the entire year to the station. Their menu is “continental”, and it’s similar to what they would have back in Ukraine. They love soups, omelettes and steak, as well as fish. Dried milk is used to whip up dairy products like cheese, yogurt and sour-cream.

The shipways become blocked by ice in winter months so fresh fruits and vegetables are not available from October through February. Some treats are delivered to the summer expedition, which joins the main crew for a few months.

Every Saturday night, the team dresses up in evening gowns or suits to continue a tradition started by British occupants.

AP Photo
Pickled cabbage preparation is teamwork at Akademik Vernadsky Antarctic StationAP Photo
Yevhenii Prokopchuk

Weather

According to hydrometeorologist Ihor Aramenko, it is summer at the base. This means that temperatures fluctuate between a few degree below and a few degree above zero. Winter temperatures can drop to -25degC but are usually between -5degC to -15degC.

Yevhenii Prokopchuk
Snow covers the entrance to one of the The Ukrainian Antarctic Akademik Vernadsky station buildingsYevhenii Prokopchuk
Yevhenii Prokopchuk
The view of Akademik Vernadsky Antarctic Station, Galindez Island, Wilhelm Archipelago, AntarcticYevhenii Prokopchuk

The humidity levels can reach 100 percent and it snows or rains here 270 days per year. The snow depth is currently 140 cm. Wind speeds can reach up to 40 km/h.

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