The last morning was all about packing and making our way off the ship. Hugs, goodbyes, and some final shenanigans before we disembarked and said goodbye to the staff who had formed a receiving line outside. We may have been just another set of passengers to them, but they will always be an unforgettable set of characters in this grand adventure and I am forever grateful to all of them for helping to create a trip that fell beyond my expectations.
Due to some flight rearrangements in Ushuaia (supposedly due to hostility between Argentina and Chile that had temporarily closed their shared border to travelers) a number of us ended up with an extended stay in its small airport, though with the promise of flying us directly to the international airport in Buenos Aires and thus avoiding a trip across the city to change airports. One last extended-group gathering with our new friends as we pushed tables together and passed the next few hours eating and chatting. On the plane, Erin and I sat with Helga, a woman from the ship that we had wished we had gotten to know much earlier. Helga was older than us in years, but perhaps younger than us in spirit. For instance, we learned that while Antarctica was the seventh continent I had walked on, it was the seventh continent that Helga had camped on. She regaled us with stories of past adventures and of her upcoming trips this year to New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, all on her own. She was such an inspiration that even as this adventure was still winding down, we couldn't help but start planning our next one.