In the spring of 1994 we flew from Moscow to Buenos Aires, the Argentine capital. Our destination was Ushuaia, a port on the tip of South America, on Tierra del Fuego. Once there, we boarded the Russian research vessel Akademik Sergei Vavilov for a long transoceanic voyage. But there were actually two such voyages before us.
The very name fired our imagination. Verbally. Tierra del Fuego. "The Land of Fire", a land at the back of beyond! It was autumn there as we landed on that archipelago. Here and there we could see snow-capped mountain peaks. As to vegetation, it was amazingly like ours near Moscow-the same camomiles, daisies, white clover and birch-trees, though stunted. And all that basking in the sun in a warm spell of wonderful autumn weather.
Leaving our gear on board (over 70 kilos), we rushed to see the sights of Ushuaia, the capital of Tierra del Fuego. Although weary because of the jet lag, we were pretty curious. It is a small town, Ushuaia, with its neat and cosy streets flanked by posh mansions, two and three stories high, climbing from the bay up towards the mountains. This port city is a hub of tourist traffic in which our snow-white beauty, the Akademik Sergei Vavilov, must have been playing a leading part-she took wanderlust travelers on arduous voyages to the shores of Antarctica, to its icebergs and penguins...
Early next morning our research ship weighed anchor and started sailing out of the bay. We were fascinated by the thrilling sight beyond: for a time the sky, mountains and water blended into a flaming-red fiery mass, as if the molten sun had engulfed everything.
So we left Tierra del Fuego. We were bound northward: first passed along the eastern coast of Argentina, then across the Atlantic over to the shores of Africa and Europe, and through the Northern and Baltic Seas on to our homeland, Russia. During this voyage we were to make geochemical and biological studies of ocean surface waters, and ascertain their gas composition.
We had ... Читать далее