We return our hire car and the nice rental man runs us to our airplane, where we load all our stuff in. We are greeted by a man introduces himself as Peter. He starts asking us many question about our plane, our trip, and our journey. We have become accustomed to people being curious about our US registered plane but after a while I get suspicious and ask him “are you a helicopter pilot?” as there is a helicopter sightseeing place next door. No Peter explains he is the commander of the Navy base!! My first reaction is “on no what is wrong and does he want now?” He asks for all our paperwork and a copy of the flight plan from Stanley. He jokes with me about the hangar fee being higher now he realizes we are a USA registered plane, shakes our hands and leaves. A little later at the international Ushuaia airport, we land and give the PSA our paperwork and show our entry to the flight plan office. We see Peter the naval commander again and Chris reckons that we have got them all baffled as we did not land in Rio Grande our first place on our flight plan not Ushuaia. Chris explain our need for “gasoline” and “mucho vento in Patagonia” After a while he understood our reasons for landing in Ushuaia joked with us about our language barriers and left. After the PSA took a picture of our plane as usual, we continued on our way, flying over Beagle Channel, and zig zaging through the mountains valleys, looking in wonder at the amazing ice lakes and snow covered mountains. Our route direction now was towards the east coast of Tierra del Fuego, as we proceeded along our course the ride began to get bumpy, we were certainly back into Patagonia I said to myself through gritted teeth as I banged my head on the plane, “this is Patagonia!”
Before long we were descending into Rio Gallegos main airport where we were pleasantly surprised to be met by our friend leny. Unfortunately more paperwork is needed to be done, Chris does this part while I attend to our refuel issue. The same people are there and they smile and laugh when they see me. Next leg is a short five minute flight to the Rio Chico aero club. Of course Chris has to do a couple of buzz jobs over the club hangar. We hope that some of our friends will be waiting there for us. As we do a low flight pass of the club we see several people on the ground. Chris continues to complete the landing pattern and as we taxi up to the hangar we see many people waiting as we step from the plane, we see Leny and a camera team. Leny says “I hope you don’t mind, but a local camera crew is here to interview you, I will translate for you”. Chris is on great form in front of the camera, he rattles off our mission and the cause we are trying to highlight by doing this flight. He states the importance of organ donation and the reasons why everyone should be a donor. I am very proud of the way he can speak in a confident and calm manner despite microphone pointed in his face and camera right in front of him. I on the other hand am not natural in front of a camera but feel my whole body either going rigid or I clam up. Once the camera goes away we get reacquainted with the friends we made on the outward board, and I am pleased to see Jose and Juan are here as is leny. The club have kindly organized a barbecued of cordero, or lamb (which Chris had jokingly requested on our way out). The evening was a great as we not only got to show the guys our pictures of our trip, catch up with the friends made on the way out but also make new ones. I felt touched that they had all made an effort for us, and kind of understood what all this meant to Chris, to be involved with a great aero club, the camaraderie of pilots, all talking about their adventures, their flights, and their shared experiences. I watched all the guys and saw although we spoke a different language they all had the same passion about airplanes and flying.