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
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.
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!