“Misadventure” guru Lena Nikolaeva, and Antarctic solar eclipses

by ABCCmain on February 05, 2016

Here’s a little online piece by in Misadventures Magazine on the Russian Liaison Officer Lena Nikoaleva who was our bridge between the Russians at Bellingshausen scientific station and the volunteers with The VIEW Foundation during the cleanup project story we share in The Antarctic Book of Cooking Cleaning. Lena works for The Russian Antarctic Expedition. A couple excerpts:

One of my adventure gurus is the understated and accomplished Lena Nikolaeva, possibly Russia’s foremost female Antarctic expeditioner.

When I met her in St. Petersburg I was wowed. Forty-something, daring, brilliant, fun, Lena was an invaluable teammate on our polar expedition–the woman who helped make the ecological project we were about to embark on happen…

I loved that Lena gave Wendy her cabbage pie recipe, which appears in our cultural history book about that cleanup project, The Antarctic Book of Cooking and Cleaning

Lena gave insight into how the Russians were experiencing our presence and tips on how we could make it better for them or the volunteers. She worked hard day and night and helped with logistics planning and diplomatic outings.

We’ve kept in touch.

In 2003, Lena wrote that she participated in something amazing that occurs only every 18 years in Antarctica, 11 and 1/3 days – the geocentric conjunction of the moon and the sun:

“I was at Novolazarevskaya station, at Novo runway, which is on the glacier 10 km from the station. I worked with the NHK [Japanese TV] team on the total solar eclipse project. We stayed in the tents with others mostly of national expeditions waiting for the feeder flights to their stations in Dronning Maud Land: Finns, Swedes, Norwegians, Germans, Japanese, South Africans.

 The aim was the filming of the eclipse and the live transmission of it to Japan. The weather was very rough, with winds up to 30-35 meters per sec. Some days we were completely bound to our tents. 

The eclipse day, 23 November, was a nice surprise–absolutely lovely windless day. We could watch the eclipse from our tent camp and to film it from the hill, the air and other points. The live transmission was very successful and my team was very happy and so was I.” 

by Carol Devine


Antarctic Circle: Living with Russian scientists at the edge of the world

by ABCCmain on January 17, 2016

In Calvert Journal, a journal about “the new east” ABCC cowriter Carol Devine tells of learning Russian in a strange way and glimpses into Russian and Soviet Antarctic history tasted during the cleanup expedition at Bellingshausen station with Wendy Trusler. With images by Wendy, Carol and Sandy Nicholson and a few bonus ones from other Russian Antarctic activities in Antarctica.

from The Calvert Journal, image Sandy Nicholson

“The next time I practiced my memorised phrases it was five years later in a place that felt like the moon.

“Where did you learn Russian?” Sergey, the Russian base commander, asked.”

The most famous (and best named) of the six defunct Russian bases is the Pole of Inaccessibility: Polyus nedostupnosti, the place on the continent furthest from any ocean. Short-lived as a base due to its harsh location, a small team did meteorological observations there for 12 days in December 1958

Hospital at Bellingshausen Russian station, Antarctica 1995

Vostok Station Antarctica, National Science Foundation/Josh Landis