“Misadventure” guru Lena Nikolaeva, and Antarctic solar eclipses

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


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