Tuesday, 3 March 2015

18 February - Water Boat Point

Having landed the bike at Paradise harbour we headed over to Water Boat Point to visit  the Chilean Naval base - Gonzalez Videla.  This historic site has been used for research since Shakelton's expedition in 1922. Today it is home to a large colony of Gentoo penguins and13 men (at least for part of the year).  We radioed ahead and asked permission to land. Permission was granted and so we set about baking them a cake by way of thank you. They were near the end of their "shift" and presumed rations would be low.



We received a warm welcome as we arrived in the Zodiac and soon they were showing us around the base.  It was not what I had expected at all. They had a well equipped gym, a very cosy house and even a “bar” area with a Karaoke machine! After a thorough tour we were invited in for some tea and guess what? They had baked US a cake too!

Gonzalez Videla is manned from November to March (Summer time) and the crew are changed every time with a rigorous selection process taking place beforehand. They see it as a great opportunity and their home amongst the thousands of
penguins is very well set up. They even have wifi (although slow) and one channel television! The smell of penguins takes some getting used to.

This crews job is to help with rescue situations and to conduct scientific research. They are actually made up of Navy and Airforce. I just couldn't get over how extremely welcoming they were! It was so unreal to sit with them around the table drinking tea and eating delicious cake.

After such a great experience we decided to invite a few of them on  board that night to join us for a few beers. They jumped at the chance. Probably glad to have a change of surroundings and company! They were also keen to meet Rhonda! Olly taxied us across in the zodiac 5 at a time. We wanted to treat them to a barbi and some beers but once again they out did us, bringing with them more beer, whiskey and even coca cola as a contribution. They were clearly not in short supply and did not believe in turning up empty handed! It turns out the only thing they ran out of was of course fresh fruit and veg which only lasts a couple of months.

Somehow that night I was dared to try and take off the Chilean flag from the arm of one of the officers. I had one minute to do so. I couldn’t do it. Then he gave me a knife and said to try again and I had another minute! I’m not quite sure how this came about or why! However, I do like a challenge and succeeded the second time around! I am now the proud owner of a Chilean flag and two name tags which I won later! I do hope I don’t get searched on the way out of Chile. It may take some explaining as to how I came about having these in my possession! "Well... I was in Antarctica having a barbi on a sailing yacht with some Chilean officers and......".

That night was great fun!

I think they left around 2am when the skipper decided it was time for us all to go to bed! Olly bundled them back in to the zodiac and took them home!





5 comments:

  1. Once again amazing!!! But Steph you are one of the few people I know who can go to the Antarctic - supposedly one of the least populated places on Earth - find a party & come back having put on weight!!!! GO STEPH!!!!
    Take care & ride safe! Big sis Karen xxxx

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  2. I agree - everywhere you go you seem to get some beers in somehow. Brilliant!

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  3. I have been following your adventure since day 1 and am so happy for you for getting Rhonda to Antarctica despite all of the many obstacles! Congrats Steph!! :)
    Nancy from Canada

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  4. Steph Jeavons - Partying round the world, one continent at a time :)

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  5. Amazingly, you can also visit Antarctic and have a great journey with http://poseidonexpeditions.com/antarctica/ travel service, I was there last year, and I should say it was unforgivable.

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