Chasing the Light by Jesse Blackadder

A photo by Viktor Lyagushkin with Natalie Avseenko as a cover for a book.

A fictional recounting of the little-known true story of the first woman to ever set foot on Antarctica, and her extraordinary fight to get there

It’s the early 1930s. Antarctic open-sea whaling is booming and new commercial giant Unilever has a stranglehold on the industry. The territorial race for Antarctica is also in full swing, with Sir Douglas Mawson voyaging on Discovery to reinforce British-Australian interests and pre-empt Norwegian claims. Amelia Earhart is blazing a trail (on land and in the air) for intrepid women, but although women have been applying to join Antarctic expeditions for more than 20 years, none have been accepted.

Against this backdrop, the resupply vessel Thorshavn sets sail from Cape Town, carrying the Norwegian whaling magnate Lars Christensen and fuel for his fleet of factory ships, which are hunting whales through the uncharted wild waters of the Southern Ocean to the very edge of the Antarctic ice.

The story of this shot is here

To know more about the book and/or order it

Princess of Whales Story in Asian Diver Magazine #116

“It is not far from Moscow to the Polar Circle dive centre – about 2,000 kilometres. For Russians, this is even considered close. While our train was carrying us from the spring capital to the snowy north, we were chatting and smiling, but I could see the same thoughts in the eyes of my friends that lingered in mine: “Will she really dive?”
Marine experts believe belugas do not like to be touched by artificial materials such as diving suits. Thus, in a unique and controversial experiment, scientist Natalie Avseenko would swim naked to see how these creatures would take to a human, au naturel. The skilled Russian diver took the plunge as the water temperature hit -1.5ºC”

Belugas: Northern Mermaids – NG piece

White Whale (beluga)One more publication in National Geographic Magazine

There are not too many legends about white whales in this part of the world. People say that St Zosimus, the founder of the Solovetsky Monastery, sailed to the island on a beluga’s back. There is also a legend that speaks of sailors, out at sea for many months, would become mad and would see belugas as beautiful naked women. Here, specifically, began the myth of mermaids.

To read the entire article click here