Seasonal expeditions to Novolazarevskaya Station
One of main goals of work of Russian Antarctic Expedition (RAE) in summer Antarctic season (November – February) is to prepare an ice airfield for appropriate receive and maintenance of transcontinental IL-76 airplanes and transport airplanes BT-67 «Basler» for all season. All these works handled by RAE in cooperation with ALСI (Antarctic Logistic Center International).
Summer in Antarctica is the most intensive time for work at Novolazarevskaya station. New groups of polar explorers fly from Cape town to Antarctica every week via ALCI by IL-76. After arrival all expeditiors and their cargos dispatches by BT-67 «Basler» airplanes to their next working location points - other polar stations or field works.
In 2005-2010 at the place of old polar station (500m from new one) was built additional living complex for seasonal short-time living in case of bad/non-flying weather. This complex includes guest house, mini-hotel, museum-café and Russian Bath.
In 2007 Greenside Antarctic team have built Russian bath made of glued laminated timber in Antarctica. It is still the first and unique building of that kind on the Antarctic land. Russian Bath became very useful and popular for polar explorers since its first season in Antartica.
The slogan of 2010-2011 Antarctic expedition was – «…From hot Russian bath to cold South Pole and back… to hot Russian bath». Antarctic expedition of 2010-2011 was the most intensive of all other. Novolazarevskaya station had 609 visitors from 23 countries. The most pleasant moment in polar expeditions is to come back from extremely cold South Pole to hot Russian bath. Antarctica has big opportunities for those extreme tourists who want to feel themselves as polar pioneer explorer of White continent.
The most interesting events, except scientific and sport actions, were expeditions to geographic South Pole. With this aim people from different countries take part in these extreme tours every year to see Antarctica for real. In tour program was included travelling to Schirmachers oasis – one day trips to Shelf’s ice waves, Adeli penguin’s nesting’s, Fang Mountain and a visit to ice dome break.
In season of 2010-11 was provided several expeditions. They were conducted in the beginning of Antarctic season (Novermber – December 2010) by two ways. First one is well known earlier method – fly on the BT «Basler» airplane with ski/wheel chassis, handled by Canadian pilots.
One of stages of the tour was the fly to the geographic South Pole and passing the night on FD-SP point. After night on South Pole next fly was planed to the Emperors penguins nesting’s. In flying expeditions to South Pole have took part travelers from Russia, China, Switzerland, USA, New Zealand and other countries.
Second transport way to South Pole - using Toyota trucks which were special made for ice travelling in Arctica and Antarctica. In summer season 2010-11 ALCI have provided three South Pole expeditions by Toyota cars: for India, for Geographic Society of Kazakhstan, and to pick up England, German and Austrian skiers right from South Pole.
The best time on the route «Russian bath – South Pole» was shown by mixed Toyota crew from Kazakhstan (Konstantin Orlov, Stanislav Makarenko), Iceland (Gudmunder Gudenson) and Russia (Andrew Muller). This crew have reached South Pole and turned back for eight days. Total ice distance was 4800 km. That is absolute world record. We can say confidently that in summer season 2010-11 new age of speed ice travel by car in Antarctica has begun. For all four years of Bath existence, it was visited by more than 1600 people from 23 countries. Many of them was there several times.
Scientific investigations was one of aims in Antarctic Polar expedition of 2010-11. For example Russian group of hydro - and microbiologists were studying hydro/microbiological specialties of 27 different types of Antarctic lakes in West of Antarctica (Tals Hills, Schirmachers oasis and Larcemanns Hills). Specialists have measured changes of temperature, electrical conductivity, oxygen level, chemical structure, bottom precipitations and took microbe samples for research. The results of these tests will help scientists to understand better direction of climate change and its influence to the Antarctic lakes ecosystems.
Guest contingent is very diverse – explorers from different polar stations, scientists, travelers, tourists, extreme sportsmen, artists, businessman’s, foreign public officials, government ministers from Germany, China and Russia, Albert II, prince of Monako had several visits to Antarctic Russian Bath. Greenside team is really proud of Antarctic Bath. Our glued timber successfully handled extreme Antarctic conditions and after four years of intensive explotation its condition is like new.