ANTARKTIK – ANTARCTICA

Obala Antarktika-The coast of Antarctica

Obala Antarktika-The coast of Antarctica

Pejzaz na Ostrvu kralja Dzordza-A landscape on King George Island

Pejzaz na Ostrvu kralja Dzordza-A landscape on King George Island

Pingvini na plazi-Penguins on the beach

Pingvini na plazi-Penguins on the beach

Pista-A runway

Pista-A runway

Ruska istrazivacka stanica-Russian research station

Ruska istrazivacka stanica-Russian research station

Usamljena foka - A lonely seal

Usamljena foka – A lonely seal

Usamljena foka-A lonely seal

Usamljena foka-A lonely seal

Cileanska baza-The Chilean base

Cileanska baza-The Chilean base

Crkva Svete Trojice-Trinity Church

Crkva Svete Trojice-Trinity Church

Kineska stanica-The Chinese station

Kineska stanica-The Chinese station

Kolinsov glecer-Collins Glacier

Kolinsov glecer-Collins Glacier

Leopard foka na santi leda - A leopard seal on the iceberg

Leopard foka na santi leda – A leopard seal on the iceberg

Leopard foka na santi leda-A leopard seal on the iceberg

Leopard foka na santi leda-A leopard seal on the iceberg

Nelsonov glecer-Nelson Glacier

Nelsonov glecer-Nelson Glacier

Putokaz-A road sign

Putokaz-A road sign

Kao i većina posetilaca ovog kontinenata koji zauzima južni pol naše
planete, i ja sam, na žalost, video samo jedan mali deo. On se nalazi na
njegovom kraku ili poluostrvu koje se pruža ka Južnoj Americi. Bilo je to
Ostrvo kralja Džordža, deo čileanske teritorije Antarktika, mada on sâm ne
pripada ni jednoj državi. Na njemu trenutno 28 zemalja ima svoje
istraživačke stanice i svi ljudi koji tamo žive prijateljski sarađuju u toj
negostoljubivoj sredini. Neke od njih su aktivne samo u letnjem periodu, dok
manji deo ostaje da radi i onda kada ih vremenski uslovi učine nedostupnim.
Samo su leti, oko Nove godine pa do marta, moguće turističke posete, avionom
ili najčešće brodovima koji obilaze Južnošetlandska ostrva. Na većini od
njih nalaze se glečeri koji se sjedinjuju sa morem u harmoniji plavih boja,
a posebno su živopisni kada na njima ugledate kolonije pingvina, foka ili
morskih lavova. Ako neki dani osvanu sunčani, sa mirnim morem i santama leda
koje plutaju po njemu, na kojima se bezbrižno odmara poneka velika leopard
foka, zadovoljstvo postaje još veće.
Ova hladna pustinja, visoki, ledeni i negostoljubivi plato sa razornim
vetrovima, oduvek je privlačio istraživače koji su, često herojskim
naporima, savladavali njegove prostore. Jedan od njih je bio i Ser Ernest
Šekelton koji je početkom prošlog veka, u malom brodu, krenuo u pohod ovom
kontinentu, našao se okovan u ledu iz koga je izvlačio brod, peške odlazio
po pomoć za svoju posadu i tako ušao u legendarne priče o svojim poduhvatima
na granici mogućeg.
U toploj sigurnosti bara koji nosi njegovo ime, u Punta Arenasu na krajnjem
jugu Čilea, mala grupa ljudi obavlja poslednje pripreme za sutrašnji polazak
na Antarktik. Prelećemo najpre Ognjenu zemlju, rt Horn i Drejkov prolaz na
putu ka najjužnijem kontinentu. Sletanje na neravnu pistu čileanske
istraživačke stanice Eduardo Frei izgleda kao spuštanje na mesečevu
površinu. Beskrajni negostoljubivi pejzaž čudnih obrisa i razbacani
kontejneri čine rusku, čileansku i kinesku stanicu. Na obližnjem brdu
nailazimo na neočekivanu i jedinstvenu građevinu za ovaj deo sveta – malu
rusku crkvu Svete Trojice, koja je, napravljena od sibirskog bora, u
delovima stigla brodom iz Kalinjingrada, a potom sklopljena kraj ruske
istraživačke stanice Belingshauzen. Ljudi koji ovde rade veoma su ljubazni i
predusretljivi, kao da žele da što duže ostanemo sa njima i ne ostavljamo ih
u ledenoj samoći.
Pingvini nas prijateljski okružuju i bez straha se teturaju oko nas,
radoznalih posetilaca njihove kolonije u kojoj uživaju na suncu. Kupanje u
ledenoj vodi, ali i plivanje stotinama kilometara od obližnjih Foklandskih
ostrva, za njih ne predstavlja nikakav napor, naprotiv, izgledaju srećni kao
delfini u toploj vodi. Visoki kraljevski i carski pingvini hodaju u dugim
kolonama pre nego što, kao na neku nevidljivu zapoved, zarone duboko u more,
često i po nekoliko stotina metara. Poneki morski lav prodornim glasom
najavljuje svoje prisustvo, dok se, naizgled nezainteresovano, proteže na
crnoj, vulkanskoj steni.
Koliki je bio strah od neizvesnosti prilikom dolaska, toliko nam je žao što
odlazimo iz ove netaknute prirode, velikog belog prostora prekrivenog
hiljdugodišnjim ledom koji se nikada ne topi, najčistijeg vazduha na svetu,
do koga još uvek nije doprlo nikakvo zagađenje, igre oblaka i mora preko
plavičastih glečera sa kojih nestašni pingvini uranjaju u ledene talase.
Život je, ipak, nepoznata pojava.

Mart 2013.
___________________________________________________________

Like most of its visitors, I only saw a small piece of the continent that
occupies the South Pole of our planet: a peninsula, situated on the tip of
Antarctica, stretching towards South America. This is King George Island,
part of the Chilean Antarctic territory, although Antarctica does not belong
to any particular country. 28 countries currently have their research
stations on the continent, and even in this inhospitable environment there
exists a friendly cooperation among those who live there. Some of the
stations are active only during the summer, while a smaller number continue
to work even during times when weather conditions make them inaccessible. It
is only possible for tourists to visit Antarctica in the summer, between the
New Year and March, either by flying there or by sailing in large ships
which cruise the South Shetland Islands. Most of these islands are home to
glaciers, embracing the sea in a harmony of blue hues; they appear
especially picturesque when they are inhabited by colonies of penguins,
seals, and sea lions. Yet the view is even more pleasurable on sunny days,
when the sea is calm and drifting icebergs carry huge leopard seals having a
relaxing siesta.
This frosty desert, this high, icy and inhospitable plateau with its
devastating winds has always attracted explorers, some of whom have managed
to conquer it with nothing short of heroic efforts. One such explorer was
Sir Ernest Shackleton who, at the beginning of the last century, departed on
a mission to this continent. The small ship he used for this purpose became
trapped in sea ice and in order to rescue his crew he travelled on foot in
search of help, thus becoming the legendary hero who performed impossible
feats.
In a warm, safe bar named after Sir Shackleton, located in Punta Arenas at
Chile’s southernmost point, a small group of people are making final
preparations for tomorrow’s departure to Antarctica. On our route to the
southernmost continent we fly first over Tierra del Fuego, then Cape Horn,
and finally the Drake Passage. Landing on the bumpy runway at the Chilean
Exploratory Station ‘Eduardo Frei’ feels like landing on the Moon. An
infinite, hostile landscape and a scattered assortment of containers
comprise the Russian, Chilean, and Chinese station. On a nearby hill we spot
a most unexpected, unique building for this part of the world – a small
Russian church, Holy Trinity, made out of Siberian pine and transported by
ship from Kaliningrad; the parts were then assembled near the Russian
Bellingshausen exploratory station. The people working here are pleasant and
kind, acting as though they want us to stay for as long as possible, so as
not to leave them all alone in icy solitude.
Later, penguins, enjoying the sunshine and fearlessly tottering around,
surround us, the curious visitors to their colony, and circle around in a
friendly fashion. Bathing in the icy water is not effort for them, neither
is swimming for hundreds of kilometres to the nearby Falkland Islands; to
the contrary, they seem as happy as dolphins are in warm waters. Tall King
and Emperor Penguins march in long columns before they plunge into the sea,
as if they had heard some inaudible command, diving deep to several hundred
metres. The occasional sea lion would announce his presence with a piercing
sound, while stretching, seemingly disinterested, on a black volcanic rock.
As much as we feared the uncertainty of our stay, we are now sorry to leave
this place – its unspoiled nature, with the cleanest air on Earth still yet
untouched by pollution, its vast white space, covered in never-melting
perennial ice, its bluish glaciers, from which penguins launch themselves
into the icy waves, immersed in a play of clouds and sea. Life is, after
all, an unknown.

March 2013

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