site.btaDay 73: RSV 421 Commander Congratulates Crew on Successfully Crossing Stormy Drake Passage
Hours before arriving in the Chilean port of Punta Arenas, the commander of the Bulgarian naval research vessel Sv. Sv. Kiril i Metodii (RSV 421), Commander Nikolay Danailov, congratulated his crew, as well as the Bulgarian and Spanish polar explorers on board the vessel, on the successful crossing of the Drake Passage, which is considered one of the stormiest and most dangerous sea lanes in the world. A small ceremony was held on the starboard side of RSV 421, where those present received certificates for crossing the sea strait that separates the South Shetland archipelago from South America.
Danailov said he was proud of his crew for successfully completing perhaps the most serious leg of the ship's historic maiden mission to Livingston Island and the Bulgarian polar research base St Kliment Ohridski there. He congratulated those on board on the success through the subsequent Le Maire Strait between South America and Isla de los Estados, where the ship coped with strong swell and headwinds before entering the Strait of Magellan.
Dragomir Mateev, head of logistics and science at the National Center for Polar Studies, said: "On behalf of all the polar explorers, I would like to express my immense gratitude to the ship's crew for all that its members have done over the past two years, since we have had the ship. If it wasn't for these people working around the clock since we acquired the ship - without rest or leave, we would have nothing."
Mateev said that for him the expedition will end on April 28, when everyone is back in Varna, on the Black Sea, safe and sound.
The last 26 Bulgarian polar explorers to leave Livingston Island until next season disembarked the ship in Punta Arenas to return to Bulgaria on various flights from South America. So did the seven Spanish polar explorers from the Juan Carlos I base, adjacent to the Bulgarian one, whom the ship transported to the Chilean city. The RSV 421 and its crew will continue their journey from Punta Arenas to Bulgaria, sailing across the Atlantic Ocean. The ship will weigh anchor at midday on March 12.
BTA's Daily News editor Konstantin Karagyozov is the only member of the media who is travelling on board the ship to Livingston Island and back and covered the Bulgarian expedition throughout its stay in Antarctica.
All media outlets can use the Bulgaria-Antarctica BTA's Log for free.