“This will be a life changing experience”
This is not something you hear very often in your life but something I have heard many times when I told people we are headed to Antartica to run a half marathon. These are, of course, from those that have gone there before us. I hope to learn what, “this will be a life changing experience actually means.
In the back of my mind I think it is something someone says when something really sucks but don’t want to admit it. They spent a ton of money and want others to follow in their foot steps. I know Catherine is not looking forward to it but if I tried to go without her that would not be possible.
To have done something she has not done is not how it works in our relationship. She still holds over me the fact that she ran a marathon faster than me and since I am not getting any faster that will be something she can hold over me till the day I die.
You hear the term, this will be a life changing experience when referring to Marriage, Child Birth and I guess Death. At over 1K a day I hope it is not like what I had referred to earlier. This will be our 7th continent and I read the other day that someone discovered a 8th one. We are going to Madagascar in June and many think that is the 8th continent.
You can prepare all you want when it comes to running a marathon or half but in this case I should plan on the unexpected. There have been many examples where the adventure has gone all wrong but for me I am sure it will be smooth as silk.
No sense worrying about what you can’t control and weather is top of the list of things you can’t control. It could be in the 30’s but last year the wind blew 35 miles an hours so the wind chill was 5 degrees. In the same year folks that had signed up for the full were called off the course due to bad weather. They did get credit for the half since they had all gone at least that far when the course was closed. That is the main reason we are only doing the half but by far not the only reason.
I am a bit concerned about the boat trip down there. It will take about three days and it can be calm as the Caribbean or as rough as all get out. I am hoping for the former but will be flexible to handle either. I tried to get patches for Catherine but there was a moderate interaction with another medication she is taking.
We have been on nearly a dozen cruises since we have known each other and even though she has felt sick she has never actually gotten sick on any of them. She wears wrist bands on each wrist that applies pressure to a vein and seems to work great. I did buy some dramamine just in case.
The cold is another concern of hers and just like hills there is not much you can do about it. I pretty much cleared out our storage unit with cold weather gear and was told to bring it all ashore in case you need it during the race. I kind of look at being cold as a temporary inconvenience. Just like the pain you feel during the marathon itself. Pain is temporary but failure is permanent.
I am presently sitting in first class on our way to Buenos Aires just because I was able to find some thermal underwear for Catherine. We went to several stores yesterday and hit all in a 10 mile radius today until we hit the jackpot at Shopping World in Camp creek. Just like everything else I was determined to find thermal underwear in ATL in March.
Catherine was so grateful so when there was only one seat available in first class for the upgrade she gave it to me. She did remind me that she was taking the one on the way back later in the month no matter what. Being double diamond, as a perk, we both get 4 global upgrades each a year and that basically puts us ahead of all other upgrades. I watched the flight for the last 3 months and even tried to buy the upgrades but at $16,000 a piece one way I even have my limits.
Some days there would be three seats available and others none. Not sure what was going on but thought my best chance was for someone to miss their connection for both of us to be upgraded. As I watched the plane fill up I noticed two seats that were not occupied in first class. 10 minutes prior a lady came on board out of breath and I thought it was just a matter of minutes before they would go get Catherine and move her to the other seat.
We have seen this play out many times. They had 10 people wait listed so move her up and fill her seat in the back. We have been the benefactor of such action a few times in the past. Not so fast, the door closed and the announcements began. After which, I called an flight attendant to ask what could be done and she said that only the gate agents could make that change. She suggested I go to delta.com to complain.
After we were airborne I asked the purser, not sure what that exactly means, but he also said that nothing could be done and if he moved her himself he could be fired. I am not one to make a scene so here I sit with guilt all over my face. I think this would be a good time to take a break to write my complaint to Delta.
Don’t get me wrong I love the airline and we flew on American last week and they are heads and shoulders above them. Over the two plus years traveling the world they are our go to airline and have very few complaints about them.
Turns out someone got pulled off the flight at the gate for one reason on another and that is why there was an empty seat. Perhaps the agents were busy dealing with the problem they forgot to go the next two steps in their handbook. Upgrade someone, and clear the waitlist with someone else.
Catherine seemed happy enough in 17J and at least she did not get a 300 pounder next to her. She also loves being able to parlay my guilt into her gains. All is fair in love and war. I am just hoping that the overwhelming guilt does not prevent me from getting at least 4 hours of sleep on the way to EZE.
I was able to get right at 4 hours and when I went back to check on her she said she has been awake the whole time watching movies. We met up with one of our favorite Marathon Tour and Travel guides, Jacquie, in EZE so all is now right in the world. Catherine loves her and we have been on many trips with her in the past. The latest and most memorable being Africa.
That evening they had their typical reception and dinner and it was over the top. Thom, with Marathon Tours, pulled out all the stops and the wine and beer was flowing nonstop thru out the 4 hour affair. Thom and Jeff were able to surprise us and present Catherine and I with our 6 Marathon Majors medals during dinner.
We had gotten the Certificate last week and just figured we would get the medals in the mail when we got back from this trip. Jeff contacted them and had the medals sent to him so he could do the presentation in front of the 200 folks headed to Antartica. That was a great surprise and brought tears to Catherine’s eyes.
Five out of the six majors we crossed the finish hand in hand. Catherine crushed me in Boston 13 years prior
The next day we were suppose to go on a 4 hour bus tour of the city. The handout said 9 am but for some reason I thought it was going to start at 9:30. With very little to no sleep on the way down to Buenos Aires I planned on waking up in time for breakfast at 8:45 and on the bus at 9:30. There were plenty of people still there eating but it did not occur to me that they were the people that did the tour yesterday and were on the first boat to Antartica.
When we arrived in the lobby and no one was there I quickly figured out my mistake and this was the first time I had accidentally missed a city tour. We have begged out on purpose and in some ways it was the same here. I think I subconsciously did the math and felt that sleep and breakfast was more important than the bus tour.
Instead we went for a 8 mile walk at a very leisurely pace. Not really knowing where I was going I headed in the direction of their famous park called, Reserv Ecologica Costanera Sur park near Puerto Madera. This is a popular area along the canal. Since we had plenty of time we managed to walk just about the entire park. For dinner we ate at El Establo which was recommended by Lenny, another retired management UPS pilot who spends a lot of time in Argentina.
All along the park they have statues like this one of famous Argentinian’s
It was very close to the hotel and there were plenty of folks on tour with us there. They are famous for their steaks and I was one happy man. I went for the big boy steak and Catherine got the smaller one. We also got some type of chips and they had a great salsa type sauce to go with them or the steak or both.
Catherine managed to eat about half her steak and almost all the chips and licked the bowl the sauce was in. I must admit I did not have any problems finishing off both mine and Catherine’s steak. I thought the steaks were excellent but Catherine’s opinion was not so much.
The next day was our free day so after a light breakfast we spent about 2 hours in the fitness center taking advantage of all the equipment. Everything there was a bit old but functional so no complaints here. After that shower, laundry, pack and dinner. We were able to meet up with 8 others and 6 of them had been on the Africa trip last July.
We did managed to find two Irish pubs while there and their Pagoda beer was very tasty, so much so that I passed up KilKenny at the second pub. Note to self don’t get pizza in Buenos Aires. Thick crust that was barely heated. The frozen Baileys’ drink, however, hit the spot. Camera crew and a washer machine showed up at the corner as we were leaving and with all the lights and camera angles it was clear to see the washer machine was the star.
Irish Pub anyone
Hurry up and wait is the theme for the day as we rushed thru breakfast prior to the 7am one hour bus ride back to the airport. We are at the international airport for our domestic flight to Ushuaia. As I mentioned earlier there are two ships utilized for this adventure. Since no more 100 people can be on King George Island at a time one ship left yesterday. Also they split each boat up into two different flights each day.
We are on the second flight on the second ship so will only have about an hour to tour Ushuaia. As I have often said you can’t do or see it all so we passed up the 2am departure so we could tour Ushuaia for several hours. The same applied for our free day. Many caught the ferry over to Uruguay. I guess since they were so close then why not. With our lifestyle of always coming or going from somewhere I have to factor in some free time just so we can relax. If that means we don’t get to see everything so be it. I am sure most will say that we have seen more than most.
Tango dancing was all the craze while there. Many said they went to the show and a few said they actually joined in and danced. I guess they have an instructional period and then a free for all. Once again we passed that up especially since I have problems doing any sort of planned dance routines. I am more of a freestyle type dancer.
As we walked the streets near the hotel there were plenty of shops and in the walk way there were over a hundred folks calling out cambio, cambio alerting you that they were willing to exchange your money into peso’s right there for a fee. Not sure how any of them made any money since I never saw any transactions actually taking place and some were literally standing next to each other.
The flight was uneventful but long since they packed the plane like sardines. I did get a few minutes of a nap in as I about broke my neck off. We stopped in the middle of no where in a place called El Calafate. As we approached the airport I wondered why anyone would ever come here but as we left and saw the huge lake with the city along side I could now see why.
During the bus ride to the ship we were told that since we were running late we would not have any free time and there were many that were very bummed out. The Captain ended up subsuming to the pressure and allowed us 1 hour to tour the town. Basically to go to the store for beer and wine, get a picture in front of the Ushuaia sign and getting stamps and certificates for being in the southern most part of the civilized world.
We got two out of three accomplished. I did buy 3 small penguins for the folks back at the Marriott in ATL. That is something I rarely do since if I can’t eat it or drink it I don’t need it. There were plenty of shops and even a brand new Hard Rock Cafe for some strange reason. We saw another one in St. Maarten a few weeks back.
Accommodations on the ship are very nice. I went for the Shackleton suite since I only plan on doing this once so might as well do it in style. Nice size sitting room with desk and refrigerator and queen bed with normal cruise ship size bathroom. It was named after the famous explorer, Shackleton, who was one of the first to this area some 200 years ago. The ship itself looks like someone put some containers on top and made it look nice.
Kind of ironic with all that is going on back home that it is a Russian research vessel outfitted for tours with a mostly Russian crew operating the ship. The stff for tours and presentations are from all over the world and are great. Since I upgraded to a suite they had a bottle of wine waiting and an email address set up for us. Took me awhile to get use to no key to the room, safety reasons, and the constant broadcast throughout the day, Whales off the starboard side of the ship at 4 o’clock. One lady, Tammy, who works on the ship, is also a nomad and has been at it for 10 years. Working jobs like these and other types all over the world.
I must admit the crew of One Ocean expeditions are not what we are use to. They are nice enough but not the type that will go out of their way to please their customers. I guess they are use to more scientific type of clients whereas, as frequent cruiser, we tend to be more particular.
Our Home for the next 10 days, “OH MY”
No TV or internet but you can buy phone usage just in case someone needs to call home. I had advised my folks that I would not be calling in my INR numbers since I did not know about that service. I have to test my blood once a week since I am on blood thinners due to my artificial aortic valve but for the last two years the numbers have been steady so no big deal.
We got outfitted for our foul weather gear which is required when we go ashore for our expeditions. Catherine is feeling somewhat better after being on the verge of being sick. I feel great and from what I hear the ride so far is not bad at all. One crew member said that on the last trip he even got sick.
Since I have flown planes for 37 years I don’t have any problems usually with cruise ships and we have actually been on worst rides in the past. The mind can play funny tricks on you and with everyone running around talking about how rough the Drake passage can be might have gotten to her more than the ride itself.
Just came back from a somewhat interesting briefing on the Antarctic explorations from 1819-1922 with Glenn. He tried his best to make it exciting and I did not fall asleep so that is saying a lot. The take away is that even the Japanese came down here to explore back then and few actually knew what they were doing and were lucky if they did not kill themselves getting here or back home.
We do get three square meals a day. The food is actually pretty good on the ship and plenty of it. The wine, beer and sodas are an extra fee but the prices are very reasonable. They say you can judge how the people are handling the rocking back and forth by the number of people at each meal. The dinning room has been full so that is a good sign. They are actually calling the Drake Passage the Drake lake for this crossing. Some say if the ride is smooth one way be prepared for the return. So maybe we will get the Drake Shake on the way back.
Today’s presentation was called, Humps and Bumps with Mark and it was basically all you wanted to know about whales and seals but were afraid to ask. I must admit I did snooze a bit during the A-F category of them but did wake up in time for the video showing the whales teaming up to kick a seal off a floating piece of ice so they could have a meal.
Little known fact that only about 50% of whales survive the first year of birth and that females live about 50 years longer than males. The reason why was even more intriguing. First females are full of toxins and they pass this on to their offspring and a high percentage can’t handle it. Since the mothers are getting the toxins out of their system as they nurse their young they get to live longer. Since males have no way to rid their bodies of the toxins they don’t live as long.
They have several mandatory requirements and presentations while on board. We first had to sign our lives away saying we read a 3 pager on, whatever, and also had to give them a detailed list of ailments and medications. If you don’t sign you don’t get to leave the ship. Next we had to bring down all of our outerwear that is going off the ship for the Bio Secure. Basically clean and sanitize so that we don’t bring anything foreign to Antartica.
Finally we had to go to a presentation on how to get on and off the zodiacs and all we should not do while on land. That was a very long list of do’s and don’ts. Once again we had to sign that were going to do all that they told us to do. I will not say it is overkill but just something that has to be done by everyone that plans on commingling with this pristine part of the world.
The iPad that they had set up for us to get email also has some great short videos on this part of the world so in between the mandatory requirement or our three daily feedings and meeting we are able to view a all of them. The gym on board is not much to look at and the foggy view out the window or decks not much to see there either.
Now imagine trying to do this on a pitching ship
Needless to say Catherine is getting a bit stir-crazy but all is well with me. Gives me some time to keep this blog entry current as we rock along toward King Charles Island. The ship ahead is already there and setting up the course for their race tomorrow. One more thing I choose not to do on this trip is Kayaking. After seeing the whales team up on a seal and in one of the video’s and even a zodiac I decided the best way to stay dry was to avoid the Kayak experience.
The afternoon presentation was Penguins with Eva and she did the whole thing in a penguin outfit on. Very informative and we were told that we would be seeing three types of Penguins in this neck of the woods. The chin straps were the cutest but some other breeds was more plentiful. Another little know fact is that the different breeds do not inter breed because they speak a different language.
We did to get off the ship today and experience Antartica first hand on Aitcho Island. It was a bit chilly but we had plenty of layers on to handle the cold and slight wind. The penguins were cute and curious and the stench was not that bad.
We also got to see two Fir Seals come out of the water right where we were standing and pay us a visit. We had to move a bit since they seemed to want to test the official distance between us and them, 15 feet. I got plenty of pictures and it was fun to watch some trying out their swimming techniques for the first time. Many were molting so we had to give them even further birth since that process is exhausting and did not want to give them a reason to exert themselves.
About an hour was all I could take so back in the zodiacs to the ship for us. I think we will have enough layers on minus the outer wear for the race tomorrow but will test it out this afternoon when we go back ashore on Robert Point.
Had to cut the 14 min video down to 6, 1 minute 64MB videos, ENJOY
Robert Point had it all and in multitude. Several types of penguins everywhere and even got to see some elephant seals enjoying the sun on the rocky beach some of the Leopard seals where a bit aggressive so having a walking pole close at hand was recommended. Not sure how those big boys got up on the beach since they don’t call them elephant seals for nothing.
The Kayakers cruised by and with all the seals around them it confirmed in my mind while I chose not to partake. The last time Catherine tried that was in the Caribbean and yes we did fall out and with the strong current had to be rescued. They call this part of this world pristine but there, for me, there was remnants of penguin and whatever poop and various carcasses shattered throughout the island and the smell was a bit stronger.
Race day was much better than I had expected. It was better to be over prepared than under prepared. They used the same course as last year and the terrain had it all. Rocks, boulders, pebbles, mud and very hilly. They even threw in some snow showers along with the wind and cold at no extra charge. We came in once again hand in hand right on my predicted time. A bit slower than my last few half marathons but we did run/walk the entire time. When we started to heat up or there was a up hill we would walk and when we would start to cool off or there was a down hill we would run.
Good thing I worked for the largest logistic company for 27 years because it was a hand full to figure it all out. Dress in outwear for the zodiac ride to the start line near the Russian base. Once there take the outer wear off and change out of your boots to your running shoes and add any layers you think you might need for the run. Put all the outer wear in a water tight bag along with your boots and then start the race.
I had timed it so we were the last Zodiac going ashore and once there we were given 15 minutes to get ready for the start. No since waiting for the 9am start since the marathon had a 61/2 hour cut off and the weather was not going to get better as the day goes on. There was a nice down hill stretch to the finish and those that were doing the marathon had to run the out and back 6 times. That meant 3 times for us and that was a plenty. I know I would have turned my ankles at mile 23 in the rockiest portion of the course near the Chinese base let alone the chances of having the mud capturing my shoe right off my foot.
Catherine managed to stay on her feet so I was impressed. We were so thankful that we chose the half since the folks doing the marathon looked rather miserable. After the race the reverse in terms of clothes had to happen prior to the zodiac ride back to the ship in sweat soaked clothes. Needles to say it took some doing to get the mud cleaned off our shoes. I am very glad and thankful that our quest to conquer the Antartica Half Marathon is over. We have unofficially completed either a marathon or half marathon in all 7 continents.
They say that less than 1 % of the population have completed a marathon in their lifetime. Couple that with the fact that we have done all 6 major marathons and at least a half marathon in all 7 continents and my computer can not do the calculations. I say unofficially since the way it works at Marathon Tours and Travel to get the official medal you have to either do a marathon or half marathon in all 7 continents and not a combination of the both. Catherine has done a half in all seven but I have to go back to the Oceana Continent for me to get my medal.
While we were in Australia I did the full and she did the half since she was healing a broken ankle 8 weeks prior. She actually did the Outback half in a boot and the course is very sandy.
No big deal but I am going have her wait for her medal until we complete the Queenstown half marathon in New Zealand this November so we can get our medals at the same time. I am sure she would do the same if the tables were turned.
We had a bottle of champagne chilling in the fridge in our room back on the ship so after the hot shower and along with the chili for lunch all is now right with the world. The anchor has been pulled and we are now drifting overnight south to the Antarctic Peninsula. After the happiest of happy hour and we will once again put on the feed bag. Tomorrow we will have the awards ceremony after the deck barbecue to see who were the fastest male and female from both ships along with age group winners. Here they will do them in 9 year increments.
Over night we made it to Mikkelsen Harbour and were able to go ashore and view many more penguins and seals. On this island there were some cool whale bones strewn amongst the pieces of ice that had also come ashore. Small icebergs were plenty full and the glaciers all around were magnificent with there dark blue color in the cracks due to all the oxygen being compressed out of the ice.
It was much colder and windier than where we ran the race the day before so was very glad we did not attempt such this far south. They do have a race in the north polar region of the world but I think this adventure will cap off my cold weather runs.
Never thought I would say that I enjoyed the Awards ceremony and barbecue off the back deck of the ship in 30 degree weather while a seal floated by on a small ice berg. I can now start to see why some people say that this is a life changing experience. Our location was Neko Harbor and the cooks threw everything they had in their freezer including the kitchen sink at the barbecue. I had not had warm wine in awhile and the apple strudel was a fine finish to the meal.
Once again we pulled up anchor after saying goodbye to the folks from the other ship as they were now going to start there trip back north. We kept heading south and some brave souls went on a zodiac cruise or Kayaking a few hours before sunset. They were told to put on everything they owned since it was going to be a chilly trip. I on the other hand enjoyed to floating landscape go by.
We did get to see a few whales from the ship and I am sure I will hear plenty of tall tales from those that cruised around in the zodiacs. Turns out I came in 4th in my age group and Catherine and I were half way down the list for those that did the half marathon. It has been awhile that I had been a mid packer in a race and doing so way out here was a nice touch. No medals for fourth and they only gave them to the top two in each age group which is a bit unusual.
What we missed
I love peer pressure or maybe it is the thought of just missing out on something. During dinner everyone was talking about the amazing time they had on the water cruising amongst the humpback whales. Two even went under one zodiac and came out back up on the other side. I had visions of them teaming up and causing a wave to knock them in the water for dinner.
I had to keep telling myself like I did in Africa, wild animals don’t eat jeeps. In this case it would be zodiacs and if you stay in them you will be okay. Needles to say I did go out for a morning cruise in Wihelmina Bay and we did see two whales doing there thing. I was told that in the morning they are pretty much sleeping so nothing to worry.
They would come up to the surface and then lead us to another spot where they would go under for awhile and pop up somewhere new. We tried to get the perfect shot of the kayakers in the foreground and the whales in the background but they were not cooperating. All of us made it back to ship to no tall tales to tell about.
Things do not always go as planned especially here in Antartica. You learn to go with the flow and today we were to do another landing to see the largest population of Gentoo penguins but the whales had another idea in mind. Mother nature helped with the change of plan. As we were headed to the landing we could see a storm in the distance right where we were headed. While we stopped to come up with plan B a hundred or so whales decided to put on a spectacular show for us.
They did not hold back on their bag of tricks and had a few I ddi not know about. They breached, tail slap and even threw in a few fin waves. A few tried out a new trick of going back and forth under our ship. That is the only way I wanted to see them do that trick and not try that with a zodiac like they had the day before. It was funny watching everyone going back and forth from one side of the boat to the other so not to miss a moment of their entertainment.
After the show was over we turned away from the storm just in time before it started to precipitate on us. We now headed for another bay and had our first landing on the actual Antartica Peninsula. There were plenty of penguins there and even got see some come in from the water after filling their bellies and feed there young. Just like they say the one with the food make a call out and then the chase was on with the youngster trying to catch their parents for the food. It is defiantly survival of the fittest. That being the one that caught them got feed while the other had to wait for the next time around.
The last day on the Antartica Peninsula did not disappoint. There was a nice steep climb up to the top to get a great view of Paradise Harbour. He is where the Argentine Research Station sits after it was rebuilt. It seems there was this Doctor that was not pleased that after a year the relief crew forgot to bring a doctor with them. After his buddies left and he saw that he was looking at another year it did not seem like paradise to him.
He set fire to the station in hopes the ship would see and return but they kept sailing and by the time they heard of the fire it was mostly burnt to the ground. You could still see chard areas but we were here for fun and plunge.
Everyone made the climb to the top and then slide down on our rears. Most even stripped down to their suits so they could say they did the polar plunge off the Antarctic Peninsula. Catherine and I watched and took pictures and made sure we were on the first zodiac back to the ship where we were greeted with warm rum cider. After lunch the decision was made to do some ship cruising near the tallest mountain in the region called Mt. St. Francis at over 9,000 feet, but the peak went into the clouds so nothing much else to do but watch more whales feed on krill as we turned towards home.
Easy to see why they call them chin strap penguins
The Drake Passage was forecasted to be rough so we started our trip back earlier than planned since we would have to take the rough part slow. We pitched our way thru the Antarctic Charity Auction and dinner. As a group we did manage to raise 7K for the Oceanites Charity. They are billed as those that count the penguins so we don’t have to. Most were to bed by 9pm and we rocked and rolled all night long. We have two more full days of this up and down and side to side but they say the worst is probably over.
This will give me some time to reflect on the trip and the title of this blog entry, this will be a life changing experience. I am not so sure about that. I have done and seen a lot in my life time and this was very interesting but not life changing by a long shot. Having open heart surgery is life changing. Pulling back on the yoke of a 500K pound plane and taking it 7 miles in the air at over 500 MPH and landing some 5K miles away is life changing. I could go on and on but this does not rate in that category.
It was not a bust either and it did not suck but there were times I wished I was somewhere else. Mostly warm and being connected to the outside world. They say it is great to disconnect every now and then but for this long is not my cup of tea. I did find a book to read on my computer but with the constant pitching and rolling that was not always a great idea.
I am glad I came to see for myself but can’t see myself doing it ever again. There are too many other things to see. Turns out I was able to do some calculations and I have visited 60 different countries in my lifetime and have run either a marathon or half in 24 of them. With 195 countries I have still have some work to do since right now I am only about 30% done.
In an effort to keep us busy while we rock and roll our way back to civilization they had a few presentations and movies for us to experience today. Our ship board historian, Glenn, gave a great presentation on Shackleton the explorer as he once again failed to achieve his goal of exploring not one but two polar regions.
In the afternoon we watched the movie, Endurance, that described his attempt at Antartica. It did have an happy ending in the fact that he did not lose a single crew member but once again was a complete failure in terms of exploration. His adventures, however, made for a great story.
Turns out with my unscientific survey, me asking a few people, the overwhelming opinion was that it was a life changing experience for them. There were quick to come to that answer but I also noticed that the majority of them were under 50. Seems like they were use to roughing it and had saved up for this trip.
I found that interesting with many on their own personal quest to see as much of the world as possible. Some in very unconventional ways. Hiking or biking for months at a time or climbing the tallest mountain they could find. Money did not seem to be a concern for them. We did not spend a lot of time hanging out after hours in the bar but you could tell that some did.
Some described life long friendships that were made and as a whole we did come together as a team so as to better experience all that Antartica had to offer. I think that over time I have been somewhat desensitized by our extensive travel. This trip does rate right up there but for me experiencing the wilds and people of Africa was a life changing experience.
The media group on board put together a great slide show of our adventure and hope to be able to figure out a way to include it in this blog. They gave us each a thumb drive with all the charts and information on the trip. We were able to come within 3 miles of Cape Horn and saw a presentation on what it was like back then to Navigate these unforgiving waters back in the day.
The running community helps me to understand just how small the world is in certain ways. The youngest runner, Quinn, was 11 years old and is on a quest to run a half marathon on all 7 continents. Turns out that him and his mom also ran the Kauai half marathon in Hawaii at the same time as us in 2016 and The Outback Half Marathon in Australia along side us in 2015.
Don’t remember ever seeing them before this trip but during conversations we were able to figure it out. He came in 3rd overall for the half and my goal was for him not to lap me during the race.
There were 9 of us from the Africa trip and a few from Easter Island. Just like Quinn I am sure there were a few others that were at many a start line at races all over the world. The world is huge but if you lace up your shoes just to prove to yourself that you can it can be pretty small.
Thanks again Jaquai for another great trip
I hear all the time that I use to run but this our that hurts and don’t do it anymore. A few of us don’t run as fast or as long as we use to but Frank at 70 walks the half distance now and has done so in all 7 continents. There was another guy David, who is legally blind and he beat me and along with his guide plans on doing all 7 continents. I try to point out to folks that don’t run/walk races anymore that their excuse of a sore knee or whatever just doesn’t hold water for me when I have seen individuals like the ones I have met along the way continue to try and sometimes fail.
Where all did went
The last night the 5 of us from the Africa trip got together for a fine meal at Cabana Las Lilas Restaurant in the Puerto Madera district. It was a bit pricey but the food and such was endless and the the laughs and memories are for a lifetime.
The next morning Catherine and I went back to Reserv Ecologica Costanera Sur park for one final run before we were to leave Argentina. I will explain what I mean by, “were”, in my next blog called, Live and Learn. There were were able to see others from our group coming and going prior to their flights back home or wherever. Quinn and his mom were also doing the loop.
What a change of scenery
I have decided that instead of being a life changing experience it was more of a once in a life time experience. Small difference but for me I highlight the word, “once”, since I do not plan on doing it again.
Next we are headed to Bebedouro, for a few days to visit Catherine’s brother, Larry and wife, Eliana which is about a 4 hours drive from Sau Paulo. After that we return to ATL with the month of April unplanned. Looking at a half marathon in Oakland and maybe a visit to one or more of our respective kids. We leave on the 3 of May for Italy, finishing up in Madagascar the middle of June.