site.btaDay 122: RSV 421's Second Engineer Dimitrov: Journey to Antarctica Made It Special
"I'm not easily impressed. To be perfectly honest, I couldn't share the widespread enthusiasm of most people who have experienced Antarctica. It's impressive, but not that impressive. The journey to the edge of the world itself makes the moment special," said Senior Lieutenant Georgi Dimitrov, Second Engineer of the Bulgarian naval research vessel Sv. Sv. Kiril i Metodii (RSV 421).
The 29-year-old sailor, born in Stara Zagora (southern Bulgaria) serves as technical maintenance and repair officer at RSV 421 but he said that his job description is rather formal, as his and his coworkers' functions are intertwined - everyone in the engine room has to understand everything to some extent in order to be of use to the rest of the team.
"After graduating from the Nikola Vaptsarov Naval Academy (NVNA) in Varna, I was assigned to the navy headquarters. For three years I served in the information provision centre, whose staff I congratulate - I have built many friendships there. However, I felt it was time for a change, I was wondering where to continue my professional development when I received a message from the Commanding Officer of Sv. Sv. Kiril i Metodii, Commander Nikolay Danailov. We arranged a meeting, he told me about the plans of the Navy regarding the ship and her voyage to Antarctica, and offered me to become part of the crew," said Dimitrov.
"I accepted as my desire for change was strong and I was looking forward to taking up my new job, embarking on the challenge ahead. When the moment arrived, some difficulties kicked in and I was faced with the reality - not everything is rosy. The very process of bonding between new colleagues, the process of making friends on the way to forming a healthy crew hides pitfalls. The long refit and learning the specifics of the ship's mechanisms under the demanding eyes fixed on the crew's prep work was also a big responsibility. And here we are now, a few months later, and we've managed to bring things to fruition - we're almost on the final stretch," he added.
The engineer described each shift on the ship as different. "You have to be alert, to react quickly, but to also do your job carefully no matter what time of day you are on duty," RSV 421's Second Engineer noted.
"I'm not sure if I've managed to preserve myself mentally," Dimitrov said laughing. "The sailing was long and exhausting. After four months you start to get a bit sick of it, but we'll all endure. A few times I reached my breaking point, but family and friends were there for support. They are the engine that helps one moving forward. Without the people in the crew, you are lost - you share everything with them," he pointed out.
In his free time, the sailor is a photographer. "Through the lens, I managed to capture the emotions of the expedition members, above all, which was also my goal. Yes, penguins and seals make photographs interesting, but their emotions cannot be captured in a photographs like a human being's. I tried to shed some light from a different angle on the journey itself and how people spent their time onboard," he said.
"I was confused before the journey about life and now I probably even more confused. I came, I saw and persisted in the face of the challenge, but I still find myself asking many questions about life. After all, I am glad to have my name become part of history, as the rest of the crew. People will always remember the first Bulgarian journey to Antarctica," Dimitrov said.
RSV 421 is scheduled to return to the Bulgarian port city of Varna on May 2 after successfully participating in the 31st Bulgarian Antarctic expedition on Livingston Island.
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 on site throughout its stay in Antarctica.
All media outlets can use the Bulgaria-Antarctica BTA's Log for free.