Academician Vernadsky Station

Base in Argentine Islands

This Ukrainian base, which accommodates 24 people, is located on Galindez Island. Transferred from the UK in 1996 for £1 (look for the actual coin embedded in wood between the taps at the station bar), it was previously called Faraday (after Michael Faraday, the English discoverer of electromagnetism). The station now commemorates Vladimir Vernadsky, first president of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences.

A popular remnant from the station’s British era is the pub, with a dartboard, a billiards table and a magnificent carved wooden bar – built by station carpenters who were supposed to be working on something else. The pub is richly decorated with flags, banners and photographs from visiting ships and neighboring stations. One oddity is the pub’s large collection of bras, periodically added to by visitors. Sample the gorilka, a tongue-burning pepper vodka made locally – say Budmo! (Ukrainian for 'Cheers!') and then drink it down in one.

Among the unusual souvenirs for sale in the Vernadsky shop is a bottle of ‘low-ozone air,’ collected locally and officially labeled.

One important upgrade to the station was made soon after the transfer: the Ukrainians added a sauna.

Long-running weather records kept at the station show that mean annual temperatures along the Peninsula’s west coast have risen by about 2.5°C since 1947. Local ice cover has declined, and the number of plants (such as Antarctic hairgrass and Antarctic pearlwort) in the vicinity has increased, possibly as a result of the warming.