Cheers, mes amis

O wait. That should be “mis amigos.”

Have you ever looked back and thought that had to be a dream? That it wasn’t real. That it never happened?

Stepping on board the Vavilov, hanging out with the penguins, listening to the glaciers crackle, hearing “Penguin” (aka the awesome Chinese guy) sing opera, hiking up the mountains, getting stuck in the bar table – yes, stuck, and backpacking Patagonia and seeing Mt. Fitz Roy all seem like a dream.  I have traveled before, but nothing was in comparison to these journeys and adventures.  I thought my eyes were opened in Morocco, but when you travel to literally, the end of the earth, you see a land so untouched and pure, it’s like magic.

What’s the best about all these tales of venture?  The friendships you make.  It all started with getting stranded in Dallas Fort Worth (overnight, during the Box Holiday Party…so umm yeah, I was issued a cot and a NYPD white blanket while my colleagues were dancing the night away at the De Young Museum).  But sometimes, I think I had the better end of the deal.  I met Jenny, Claus, Gabriel, and Byron.  We camped out by the TVs inside DFW while outside the winter mix was storming and caused a whole bunch of delays and cancellations of flights.  People were trapped in the airport for 3+ days!  “Make sure you get your food before 10 pm – that’s when the shops start closing,” one guy told us.  This was his third night.  I’ve since gotten together with Jenny and Claus in SF, and last week Gabriel and his wife were in town (they’re from Buenos Aires) and we all headed to Sausalito for a reunion.

It was fun reminiscing that night as we were all off to our different places.  I was trying to make my Antarctica trip, Jenny and Claus were vacationing and going to a wedding, Gabriel wanted to make his niece’s birthday, and Byron was starting work in Argentina.  And that cancellation all brought us together.  There’s a pretty good chance Gabriel and Brenda will be moving to SF, which is pretty cool.  🙂

“I was so confused,” Gabriel said. “While we were in San Francisco everyone kept asking, ‘How’s George Bush?’ ‘How’s George Bush?’  And I didn’t get why they were asking about a former President so I asked them, and I found out that ‘George Bush’ is a major highway near DFW airport. Apparently no one could drive over it, which explained why we were all trapped in the airport.  You know, I don’t think they would name a highway ‘Obama’ in Texas.”  Yeahhh, probably not.

The six of us met at Claus and Jenny’s place in Sausalito (gosh, the drive there is SO BEAUTIFUL) and walked over to Fish.  Delicious.  And then walked along the water, while Brenda had some pretty awesome photography skills of the landscape.  I took a pic with my phone but it didn’t capture it:

Sausalito

….

Earlier a few weeks back, G, Jess, David and I had dinner in the city.  We met at A16 in SF.  It was awesome to see my good ole shipmates again!  What an awesome dinner…getting together made we think back on what a great trip we had.

  • “Hey guys, Cheers to Durward!”  ’nuff said
  • “I’m on a boat!  I’m on a boat!” dance it Kathleen.
  • Dig. Your. Grave.
  • Chinese man in a full suit. Under his red Antarctica gear. Every. Single. Day.  Odd?!  (We had our theories.  I mean, what ELSE are you going to talk about when there’s no internet?  That and much more of course.)
  • Penguin + microphone = awesomeness
  • Hammock on the boat.
  • Nearly having a heart attack at the Buenos Aires airport, while I counted down the hours, minutes, and eventually seconds we had till we miss our bus to the ‘other’ airport in BA.  Thank God we took a taxi.  Oh, and Kathleen pushing little old ladies out of the way to get off her plane in order to make it to the second airport.
  • Sunsets from the Vavilov.
  • “You will come back a different person.”  Actually, very true.  My life goals and dreams have changed.  (for the better IMO)
  • The patch. It worked wonders. Though we looked like we were totally drunk walking down a ship that rocked from side to side, we felt perfectly fine…that and dehydrated, oh and tired.  Bring it on Drake Passage.  Bring. It. On.
  • “The number of things I wrote down to Google when I got back home.”  – David
  • “Gooooood Morning Vaviloooooooooov!!!!”
  • Listening to nature in a zodiac. It’s unbelievable. Not kidding.
  • The 7th Continent – the landing – officially.
  • “Wait, they’re together?!”  Oh yeah, that kinda makes sense.
  • Dancing, dancing, dancing. Annnnd opera.
  • The last night. And the bar table.  And then going outside and WHAM! Chris slipping on the deck, while Yee warned him ahead of time.
  • Sledding backwards.  Literally on your back, head down.  In Antarctica.

Mini-Vavilov Reunion - Dinner at A16

Well that was the Antarctica portion of the trip.

Great dinner with friends.  Good times.  And David departed on his skateboard.  Some things never change 🙂

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