The "Polar Pioneer" was built in 1985 in Finland as an ice strengthened research vessel for Russia. In 2000 the vessel was refurbished in St. Petersburg to provide tourist accomodation for 54 expedition passengers. The vessel which has a Russian Captain and crew specialises in wildlife and diving expeditions using several inflatable zodiacs.
The Photo above shows the vessel arriving in Ushuaia on 7th January, 2003 on the day the cover below was posted.
PIONEER 1. 2003 (January 7th) Envelope posted Ushuaia ex Antarctic cruise. Price US$6.
Note: This cover has the special Ushuaia "La Ciudad Mas Austral Del Mundo" postmark which means "The City at the Bottom of the World". The envelope has been datestamped on arrival in Stanley in the Falklands on January 27th having flown airmail via London!
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