The first impression of Antarctica

11.08.2021 | Marko Prokhasko

The worst thing for me as a person who undertook to write a book about Antarctica is that no words can bring all the impressions received even in a day. And no photographs can convey the atmosphere that takes you here. Looking for words for descriptions in a notebook, you realize that there are none. After all, expressions are based on visions, and you have never experienced such images as in Antarctica before.
To describe a fragrance, you need to compare it with a mix of five other smells that you smelled in other regions. But still, it will not be precisely that smell. You still won't be able to figure the proportion.
Most of the elements are familiar at first glance: mountains, snow, water, birds, and stones. And only some things are strongly different, unique, for example, penguins.
But the peculiarity of Antarctica in everything is this: if nature played with a constructor of the world, made up of LEGO, then out of the entire countless set of details and colors, it took only a few. Nature composed them here gracefully: thousands, millions of small volcanic stones, with an average diameter of 1 centimeter, poured out from each other for many years. On the one hand, plain water. On the other hand, there are hills, and behind them are small mountains, from which the volcano crater is built (!), but everything, it would seem, is monotonous. And white snow is over there.
But when the sun appears, then suddenly, all the tones change. The water, which is gray without rays, seems to wash every small coastal pebble, and each shimmers in the sun refracted in moisture. Stripes of snow pass into the mountains. Higher rocks and shades replace the hills.
So, you'll find there a subtle play of tones, and if you compare it with photography, then the creator of Antarctica shoots, of course, on film: it gives a little graininess, archaism.
It is about Deception Island - one of the first on the way from Argentina. It could be an ideal hiding place for pirates: mountains around, a narrow gap, and inside - a bay. It is the crater of the volcano, which, with its eruptions, forced the evacuation of research stations in 1967 and 1969. Now here, the most distinct sign of the presence of people, open to the public, is an abandoned whaler's station. In addition to the collapsed hut, giant, let's say, barrels for storing fat obtained from whale fishing.
And isn't it strange? In the background of untouched nature that is a bit deserted, a bit mysterious, a bit extraterrestrial, in the crater of a volcano resembling a pirate bay, in winter, the first thing you see is the long-broken remains of some human activity.
Whalers themselves fall out of the ordinary. But they took place a hundred years ago. Although, this may look like some primitive industrial settlement on the moon in the not too distant future. And this is only the first day, the first island.
I would like to believe that Antarctica will never be fully discovered and known.