Friday, February 15, 2008

Verdansky Station

This afternoon we stopped by an old British research facility that has been turned over to the Ukrainians called Verdansky Station. It is quite a large facility and they spend 12 months straight there and then rotate home. Their primary goal is ozone level monitoring and this station was the discoverer of the hole in the ozone. They send ozone reports in every 3 hours. One of their claims to fame is the best bar in the Antarctic and the NG Endeavor often has requests to bring them 50 KG sacks of sugar (used to make vodka). There is quite an attitude of assistance down here as you might imagine. Ships pick up, deliver and drop off all sorts of goods and people. Anyways, back to the bar, awhile back when it was in British hands they had a load of wood that was meant to make a dock of sorts but winter came early and they were unable to complete the task. So, they decided to use the wood to build a bar. It's a fantastic bar, beautifully carved and I'm sure they use it every single night.

Tradition says that guests partake in a shot of vodka followed by a dip of an orange slice in coffee grounds and sugar. It was actually quite tasty. They have a tiny gift shop and a post office as well. If you had your passport (which we didn't) they would stamp it with an Ukranian stamp. Pretty cool. We partook, had a tour of the station and met the scientists and their support people and of course, the bartender. After our tour we took a Zodiac over to the kayak platform and kayaked for a second time. What a blast. A big brown Skua came swooping out of the air and just missed Dena and I's head, then he proceeded to hover over the front of our kayak for a little bit, about 6 inches off the bow. It was really something as these are huge birds. We had a nice time, saw a Weddel Seal and got some much needed exercise. Another lovely afternoon. This evening we will be heading North up the Lemaire Strait for a second pass.


Anonymous said...

Does it feel like 4-ever since you have been home? When are you due back?


Anonymous said...

YAY! Drinking stories! hehehe This bar sounds amazing though. Was the vodka good? Are the people desperate to see outsiders or leery of them? I wonder if being down there changes your perception of things?

Anyway, hey, of more importance, you won the week of Survivor. You got 250 some odd points. Jane is still leading the pack though. So good job!

Travel well my friends!


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Dena and Happy
Anniversary to you both! What great memories! Love your writing and photos. Anxious to hear more.
I've made comments but don't seem
to get them through. Oh, Well! I'll keep trying. Indy Irma

Anonymous said...

BUT You didn't say the most important piece of information - how as the Vodka???????


Sorry I haven't been on - I just hooked up my computer in SC now I am trying to catch up on your blog!

Great Pictures

Anonymous said...

But you didn't give us the most important piece of information - How was the VODKA??????

Just hooked up my computer in SC so trying to catch up on your blog.

Great pictures!