Antarctica does not forgive mistakes

this year in Russia is declared the Year of Antarctica. 200 years ago on 28 January 1820, the Russian sailors discovered the sixth continent of the Earth — Antarctica. Then the participants of Russian round-the-world naval expedition led by Thaddeus Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev saw the fog wall of ice that blocked their path. Thoroughly to the South pole of the planet, Russia has come after a century and a half, when Soviet explorers first set foot on Antarctic land, but rather on the ice. Unique colored frames Chronicles this historic event — in the material of the daughter of the polar Explorer Antarctica by Ekaterina Gracheva.

If Lazarev and Bellingshausen discovered Antarctica for the world, the first of our people, who stepped on the continent, were members of the Soviet Antarctic expedition. On the night of 5 January 1956 diesel electric ship “Ob” approached the Bay of the Depot. At 4 a.m., the rope ladder came down on the ice came down the first man of our country. It was Igor Grachev, my father.

“no One has ever landed on this continent. Lazarev and Bellingshausen landed, members of the whaling flotilla Slava not landed. The participants of the Soviet expedition were the first people,” – said Valery Lukin, the former head of the Russian Antarctic expedition.

“It was really an all-Union event. The selection was severe. Selected the best,” — said the academician, glaciologist Vladimir Kotlyakov.

After his father’s death in 2014, I began the search for the last living members of this expedition. And here’s the result: from 425 200 anniversary Antarctica will mark three.

Nikolay Paleev — he — 90 — jokingly calls Vladimir Kotlyakov “young man”. He is two years younger and went to Antarctica the second flight. Paleev was a doctor in the first Complex Antarctic expedition (CAE) and the head was responsible not only for the health of the explorers, but also for strategic reserves of rubbing alcohol.

Alexander Lisitsyn — 96. In the first expedition he rescues ships from ice captivity with the help of TNT. Was responsible for tons of explosives.

Until today I had only seen black-and-white chronicle of the campaign, although the father knew that the cameraman Alexander Kochetkov had taken with him to Antarctica colour film and shot almost every day. So, you need to look for the crumbs of this invaluable historical chronicle. In this we are helped by the polar explorers ‘ relatives. Restoration takes more than a year.

Antarctica is unforgiving. On the island Burakovo — more than 40 graves of our explorers. The first victim of the complex expedition of the USSR was the tractor driver Ivan Khmara.

“my Father told me, as accidentally filmed the footage. He saw the tractor leaves the ice, and before it was a choice to continue to shoot or not. And he decided to shoot,” recalls Alexander Kochetkov, the son of the cameraman first, SQC.

“I have a telegram he sent that our son Volodya was born. And the next day comes notice. Mom went to the post office, returned all in tears. Says Vani is no more,” said Valentina Khmara, the widow of Ivan Khmara.

“The worst thing is not natural disasters, but to inform the mothers, wives, fathers, that their relatives died and will not return. I’ve said it seventeen times,” said Valery Lukin.

on the eve of the 200th anniversary of Antarctica, it was important we go out on the sixth continent, to see the living conditions of our explorers, who their neighbors. Today Russia 5-year stations. This year our Holy Trinity Church at the Bellingshausen station is 16 years. Station “Vostok” still holds first place for number of records. And this year here from Russia will bring the most modern winter facility.

“Remember “White sun of the desert”? For power it is insulting. We must do this station. She is the most unique of all. Minus 89,2. If I’m not mistaken, it has the lowest temperature”, — said Leonid Mikhelson, the investor of the project “East”.

On the continent, where the entry arms closed, self-sustaining country, as half a century ago, only by the victories of science. It is for Antarctica calculates the forecast coordinates, taken here, planes fly, there are hidden 70% of the world reserves of fresh water, and most importantly, to these waters to take a dip, do not need to apply for a visa.

Text: “News of the week”