Drake Passage

04.08.2021 | Marko Prokhasko

Thinking about how to describe the crossing of the Drake Passage, I mentioned the Chervona Ruta (Red Rue). Chervona Ruta is the name of suburban diesel trains in the Frankivsk region. Now they are mostly blue. But they were originally created in red - hence the name. Railway in the Frankivsk region is not electrified. Apparently, some railways are too tortuous. In any case, suburban trains run without electricity. The tracks are still wooden. But there are no electric poles, only semaphores. It is nice to go on such a track, for example, to the river. Sometimes this is the fastest and most convenient way. Such archaic and authentic!
But on the train itself is very, very difficult. At Ivano-Frankivsk railway station, four cars are filled with summer residents. They are going several stops to suburban garden houses (dachas). Many more tourists sit with them during the season. Fresh air supplies are depleted in a short time. Before you reconcile - you feel despair, suffocate. It often happens that the first time there is no place to sit, and even little space to stand. When summer residents go out - sometimes it gets very good, there are travelers who open the windows - you can live. Sometimes there are so many of them that the exit of summer residents does not improve the situation much.
It's good to drive for two hours. Worse when the trip lasts six hours. In the end, you are bored, demoralized, exhausted, and sticky. But when you get off the train to the station, where there is only a sign - everything changes so much. All around - the mountains with their unique Carpathian freshness. The air is saturated with pine needles, the breeze. A few other people immediately leave you alone. You are always overwhelmed by exaltation. Some psychological readiness and strength come to you. During the first minutes of the walk, you gain freshness and joy from the mountains. Climbing, evening fire, cool water, and a complete reset of the head are ahead.
Apparently, everyone has a lot of such examples. Unique or regular. Whether it's a bus trip to the sea, lasting about a day, or hours of waiting for a plane at the airport. But in any case, it's commonplace. After suffering - a reward. Now I am multiplying my memory of the Red Rou by twenty if you measure the duration. And about a hundred, if you measure the terrible feelings that had to go through to overcome the Drake Passage.
No wonder everyone who has been to Antarctica wished me "easy Drake". Later, after returning from Antarctica and crossing the Drake Passage twice, I also wished "easy Drake" to my new acquaintances, who went to our station in Antarctica. Because I felt in my own skin what a "heavy drake" is.
Before that, I took the wish of "easy Drake" as a formula of politeness, a sincere wish, certain protection against accidents, and something abstract in general. In the passage, I realized that it is a very, very specific wish. It literally means that Drake was at least moderately stormy and that your body somehow managed to cope with the challenge before him.