Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Professor Multanovskiy

After seeing Ushuaia and its environs, we were finally allowed to board our ship, Quark Expeditions' Professor Multanovskiy , a vessel that was built by the Finns for the Russians during the end of the Cold War, but has now been refurbished for polar expeditions.

I was pleasantly surprised by the Multanovskiy, as though its conditions were a bit spartan, they were far more comfortable than I had expected given what Quark's people had told me.

I had to share toilet facilities, but my cabin contained two cots, a desk and a sink. The bed was actually pretty comfortable and I was able to sleep well in it, especially when the boat did some serious rocking.

The ship also boasts a dining room, a small bar, and a captain's bridge that passengers were welcome to enter at any time.

Early on, perhaps when we were still sailing out of the Beagle Channel, we were required to endure an evacuation exercise in which we all got inside the "life boat," or as I prefer to call it, the "escape pod." We were instructed how to enter the pod, that there was enough food inside for 35 of us to last for three days, and how to "live" inside the pod.

The only problem with the drill was that the Russian subcaptain who was the leader of my pod, appeared to be just a little drunk as his eyes were red and he stunk of vodka. The smell of vodka doesn't do a lot to inspire confidence among passengers contemplating death at the hands of an angry sea. I was more than a little relieved when we were able to escape the escape pod.

One thing I really enjoyed doing was visiting the ship's bridge, which is something we were encouraged to do. On the bridge, we were able to observe the captain and his crew navigating the waters and making decisions about where exactly the Multanovskiy was going to go on any given day based on the weather, ocean conditions and the likelihood of being able to observe wildlife.

I also liked the bridge for its control panels and instrumentation. They were straight out of the USSR during the Cold War and reminded me of props from an outdated science fiction movie.


Anonymous said...

A drunk Russian explaining proceedures for an escape pod... this was a hillarious story, one that required an oral reading for all Americorps*VISTA's in the office at the time.


stuffonly said...
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stuffonly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
stuffonly said...

hey! it's my boat!!! i was working there during 2 seasons. nice boat)
now she is back to Russia. second life boat was under my command