>Vladivostok v. SYC: Final score 9-2


Having crossed the Pacific, sailed most of the way around Japan, and pulled into one of the largest ports in Russia, SYCAMORE was given yet another daunting task: challenging the Russian Border Guard to a soccer game.

As we pulled up to the soccer field dressed in ODU undershirts and gym shorts, we quickly realized that the team we were playing against was a couple steps ahead of us. Many SYC crewmembers had duct-taped numbers and names onto the back of their shirts, but the Russian BG’s team had matching blue and yellow jerseys, with matching blue and yellow shorts, and even a matching blue and yellow bus.

Improving international relations through a friendly soccer game.

SYC fielded a team of just under 30 people (more than half of the crew) and about 10 spectators, who took pictures and cheered as we held our own against the expert BG team. EM3 Giacalone scored both of SYC’s goals while ENG2 McGinnis and FS3 Patterson did their magic in goal. The final score ended up being 2 to 9. The game was a lot of fun, and most of the SYCAMORE soccer team ended up getting something out of the game (be it bruises, skinned knees/elbows, or even a potentially broken collar bone).

VADM Breckinridge, the Russian BG General, and the soccer teams posing for a photo.

While in Vladivostok the crew got to explore the city, visit the Russian maritime museum and do a lot of trading with their Navy and Border Guard comrades. We moored at the Navy base, which was just a short walk from Vladivostok’s outdoor farmer’s market, their university district, and a hand full of shops and restaurants.

SYC’s cooks put together an absolutely beautiful reception, where we welcomed aboard VADM Breckenridge from PACAREA, RADM Colvin from D17, as well as dignitaries from the Russian Navy and Border Guard, members from the Embassy in Moscow and from the local US Consulate. The menu included exotic fruits, shrimp, roast beef, finger food, and (of course) we served Alaskan Amber.

After leaving Vladivostok, SYC headed down the western coast of Japan in hopes of dodging a typhoon forming on the eastern side of the island. We are now well on our way to our next, and final foreign port call. We are also over half way done with the patrol!