It is indeed fascinating what you can do on VHF when the conditions are right. I remember one evening in the spring chating on a local 2-meter repeater and stations from as far as canada were getting in to the repeater. Troposheric ducting deserves the credit for that incident.When on board, the best achievement was in the 2-m band. With piled up Yagis we opened the Catavento repeater (located in a hill near Rio de Janeiro) some 1000 Km away. A conclusion I've got: the best ground (plane) is the sea water!
One of the radio operators at Esperanza, I think it was, told me about things like that. Those experiences are interesting and it's good to keep an eye to recognize them.At my last QTH, I seemed to have a vertual "pipeline" to the south for some reason. I had quite a bit of LU's logged on CW. I think my L-shaped longwire yeilded some directivity to the south