site.btaDay 94: "Bored by Long Voyage? Think Positive and Smile," Says LS Ivan Nedelchev of RSV 421
"To ease the boredom of a long voyage, you have to think positive and smile," Leading Seaman Ivan Nedelchev, helmsman of the Bulgarian Navy Research/Survey Vessel Sv. Sv. Kiril i Metodii (RSV 421), said in a BTA interview.
RSV 421 took part in the 31st Bulgarian Antarctic Expedition to Livingston Island.
"Before I joined the RSV 421 crew, I served at the Bulgarian Navy frigate Smeli and then with inshore minesweepers. After the minesweepers division was disbanded, I served at a Land Forces unit. When Commander Nikolay Danailov offered me a position on board the Sv. Sv. Kiril i Metodii, I accepted without any hesitation," LS Nedelchev says.
His job is manoeuvring the vessel on orders received from the watch officer or the captain.
"Right at the beginning, I was not even aware that we would be sent on such a mission. I knew that the ship will be used for training by the Naval Academy. After I realized that RSV 421 was to carry out a logistical operation to Antarctica, I was proud that I would sail to a Bulgarian spot at the end of the world," the seaman says.
He singles out the separation from the family as the greatest challenge of a long sea voyage. "Most of the crew members, including myself, have wives and children, and being torn away from them is heartbreaking. This is the first time that I've been away from my family for more than a couple of days, and it was hard on me at first. Then you put up with the fact that you're doing it for a purpose, that the person beside you supports you and takes over your share looking after the children while you're away, and you're both certain that things will work out," the helmsman says.
Nedelchev believes that when positive emotions keep spirits up during the voyage, serving is far easier, and the long days at sea pass faster. He tries to stay cheerful, tells jokes and smiles. "This is how I cope with the boredom of day in, day out at sea."
"Our Antarctic explorers stuck to their commitment for more than 30 years, despite the formidable difficulties they confronted, above all in terms of logistics. They worked hard, mainly manual labour. That's precisely why now that we have a ship that can ferry any essential materials to our base on Livingston Island, we must redouble our efforts to put to practice the idea of Antarctic research," Senior Seaman Nedelchev insists.
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.