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"Egret" N4674 - Scott and Mary Flanders

Ed. note: On February 10, 2011, Scott and Mary Flanders, on board their Nordhavn 46, Egret, arrived in the Canary Islands. In doing so, Egret became the eighth Nordhavn to circumnavigate the globe. It had been four years, five months since the couple departed Gran Canaria, intent on seeing as much of the earth as possible, although not necessarily with an end goal to circle the globe. Voyage of Egret documents the Flanders’ entire trip, an endless adventure that has put them in touch with the most fabulous places and interesting people. Much route planning and forecasting was required in order to get to some of their ports of call. But the days of detailed planning are over…for now. “Egret” is now back in Fort Lauderdale, the place the couple called home for so many years, and, ironically, the starting point of their world wide cruising escapade that began with the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally in 2004. They currently travel hither and yon, sometimes by boat, sometimes not. Here, the latest update from the Flanders as they keep us continually apprised.  

April 30, 2008
Position: S27 08.72 W199 26.18 Hanga Roa Harbor, Easter Island, Chile

Well, mis amigos, Tue AM before daybreak and the morning before landfall. Our new/old buddy Southern Cross is marching by the pilothouse window. There is a reddish star low on the horizon to the west we have been chasing all night. What's left of the moon has the water to the west and in front of our little white fiberglass ship illuminated to the point we still have to run the radar one number brighter. The air is crystal clear and untouched by pollution. The ocean water is super clean. The wake boiling behind the transom is sparkling greens, blues and whites. For the first time yesterday after leaving the nearshore coastal water we saw our first sign of humans, a plastic jug. On both Atlantic crossings the North and South Atlantic oceans were filthy in places with pollution from plastics and other discards collected by current edges and distributed in long lines. During the NAR, buddies on N62 Autumn Wind tangled their prop with a huge ball of discarded fishing netting, hawsers, smaller lines and so on wrapped together and thrown overboard by an uncaring fisherman. Naturally this was at night causing them to run on their wing engine until daybreak when the netting could be cut away by a diver. In a number of places the water didn't appear clean even at a distance from shore. So what we are saying is, this water is a treat and because of the lack of population and industry this far south it should always remain the same.

The seas started laying down during the late evening and on thru the night. Currently we have 12 knots of NW wind on a rising barometer (1013). The NW winds have been mild not causing a cross chop to any degree from our past days of tradewind ESE winds and wave sets (our heading is almost due west). The CCOM is hovering around a 3. We'll see what today brings. Hopefully a nice fat fish.

Tue PM. Great day today. Gentle trade winds, relatively calm seas and cinco (5) smallish dolphin filleted and released and another released to fight another day when it grows up. So, our fish fry with the other cruisers is complete...if they are still there. We are exactly on line for a daybreak arrival off Hanga Roa, the island village. Exciting stuff. The history of the island is facinating and shrouded in mystery. We'll report history as we learn more and what we see during our stay. And of course with pictures as well. Egret is possibly making her own tiny bit of history. We believe this is the first time a little white fiberglass powerboat has made her debute at Easter Island. Kinda cool.

Wed AM before daybreak. Easter Island came up on radar during Frank's watch. Shortly after he saw a tiny light in the distance, first thinking it was a running light but as we grew closer he could see the light was on the north end of the island. Now Frank is off watch and YT is watching the island slowly come to life. A few more lights are shining in the distance but we have yet to see the dark outline of the island. In reading the different guides last night on watch, one, South Pacific Handbook, had some interesting statictics. "Barren and detached, Easter Island lies midway between Tahiti and Chile, 4000km from the former and 3600 from the latter. Pitcairn Island, 2100km west, is the nearest inhabited land. No other populated island on earth is as isolated as this". Geesh, I guess we are out here.

The first light to the north is simply a marker. We can now see the second lights are the town of Hanga Roa shining between the mountains on either end of the island. The island is starting to take shape at 6 miles out. It will be daybreak in 45 minutes. Can't wait.

1455Z TK dropped into 55' of water in Hanga Roa Harbor. There are 5 boats in the harbor; three we know from the Deep South. We have cleared in with the Armada by radio but still have to go to shore and formally clear in. The anchorage is a bit rolly however with little wind there are no safety issues except the fact the sandy bottom area of the anchorage is limited so we are anchored tighter than we prefer.

So it begins. You know what we know. Ciao.

 

April 28, 2008
Position: S28 31.81 W104 47.28 (251.5nm from our first Easter Island waypoint)

Well, mis amigos, it is Sat AM before daybreak, calm seas, 12 knots of wind from behind, scattered rain showers on radar and all is well. In fact, better than well. We are turning 1210 RPM making 5.7 knots. For the first time this morning Frank had to wake me. The internal alarm clock didn't go off nor did our arranged alarm of Frank opening the salon engine room hatch for his final engine room inspection, 15 minutes before YT's watch. We have the stateroom fans on low for the first time in a loooong time to keep tings cool. Sleeping under sheets with the cool air from the fan and a little boat motion knocked this kid out.

A bit different from our buddies starting their summer Med cruise on N47 Bluewater. We'll copy their last email below. You will see they have joined the GofLKC (Gulf of Lions Killerated Club) (W coastal France) along with Egret and two other NAR buddies. Gulf of Lions is a natural trap with wind being funneled from the north between the Pyrenees to the west and the Alps to the east thru a low plain sweeping over a crescent, shallow water gulf. The coastal road has wind socks along the route. The bridges have high, clear plexiglas shields to keep cars on the bridges. You get the picture.

"We put Bluewater's hook down at 1955 tonight in 30 feet in the Baie de Canoubiers, adjacent to San Tropez, after a 244-mile 37-hour run up the coast from Barcelona. The Gulf of Lions lived up to its name and roared at us nearly all the way across its 130 mile mouth, with winds in the 20-30 knot range, usually about 22-26 knots, and big swells with a nasty, confused chop on top. The seas tossed our 100,000 lbs. boat around like it was a beanbag, knocking Judy out of bed twice, but no damage was done to either the boat or the admiral."

It happens to all of us in time (getting bounced) as we head offshore. Once you have done your coastal primer miles and have gotten bounced here and there you lose your anxiety and realize you are safe but may be uncomfortable. Being uncomfortable from time to time is insignificant in the big picture. Not to go offshore would be like not hiking for fear of a scratch. Yup, you may avoid scratches by not hiking but look at what you miss. Same ting.

Egret has weather coming as well so we'll enjoy every minute of the good weather we have presently. At daybreak the worms will go out and perhaps will bring us a snapper. We are sticking with deep baits to avoid any more bird incidents. Speaking of birds, check out today's bird pics. In full resolution they are beautiful. The bird shot with vertical wings is 50% shadowed. The top wing and upper half of its body is in bright sunlight and the bottom half is shadowed. The splayed tail feathers are all bright (splayed to slow its flight as it dives on the bait) The second picture is a bird diving on a bait just before it folds its wings for the plunge into the water. Hopefully with the low resolution we are forced to send via the Iridium phone you are still able to see these details.

Sun AM, daybreak. OMNI Bob's predicted weather arrived at 2:00 AM this morning with showers and wind gusting to 30 knots. The seas picked up but not uncomfortably so and have since laid down a bit. The CCOM (coffeecarryometer) is back barely lifting off the peg from its early morning 4-4.5. Our speed is still a bit fast (for a daylight arrival) in the 5.6-5.8 knot range at 1210 RPM. With more weather predicted we'll keep up the higher speed anticipating we'll slow and will be able to make our daylight arrival in Easter.

Thinking about the 4-25-08 report's small rant about fuel systems we should explain something beyond our own personal interests (Egret), and trying to pass on what we know about her fuel system. In another life, for many years we were in the wholesale marine distribution business selling various items to boatyards, boat builders, independent contractors and so on. Racor items along with Parker hose and fittings were part of this business. I could never understand reasoning that tried to save money on such important items as fuel systems and its hardware. Unfortunately so much new boat construction, including major refits, are compromised by cost at the sacrifice of safety. It didn't make sense during those years and still doesn't today. So enough said, we'll move back to wave bashing or perhaps even catching another fish.

Mon AM before daybreak. Wave bashing and catch a fish we did. Late yesterday afternoon the seas picked up considerably driven by wind as a constant chain of showers marched by. Just before dark we had a snapper and Frank reeled in a 'one mealer' (for 3)...a small dolphin. Rather than slide around the cockpit while cleaning the little guy Frank released it for another day. The wind and waves continued into the night and until now, building slowly with the more constant winds to 30 knots (NNE). The waves are still aft of the beam but not optimal so we are rockin n rollin. We made two adjustments to the Naiads dialing in more 'fin' as the night went on. The CCOM bounces between 7.5 topping out at 10 when the RBG's roll thru in sets of 2 1/2 (really big guys). Along with the Naiads we bumped the speed a little to a roaring 1300 RPM keeping us on track for an early morning arrival in Easter.

In spite of rockin n rollin we are sleeping well having adjusted to the routine, motion and waves slapping against the hull. It does appear the weather will continue to have the same pattern of increase/decreased winds thru arrival in Easter. The Chilean Armada in Easter Island requires a person aboard at all times capable of handling the boat in case of a wind shift. This is mentioned in all the guides as well as the author's warnings of wind shifts. After all, Easter is a small rock in the middle of a very big ocean. Mary and I will go ashore first to check in with the Armada and like everywhere else we have visited in the past we'll find out the drill in time. We hope to be able to spend quality time for the three of us exploring this small and historic island.

Mon 11.11AM local (1411Z) The seas continue to be large, sailing in from off the stbd quarter. Hopefully later today they will lay down and we can do a bit of fishing. We are looking forward to seeing if our sailboat buddies are still in Easter. Wouldn't it be great to arrive with a fridge full of fresh fish for a Wed evening fish fry aboard Egret? Mary has bacon cooking with other tings for breakfast (Franko just got up from his after watch snooze). Two days from now TK will be on the bottom. Can't wait. Ciao.

To: Captain Scott - M/Y EGRET Fm:O.M.N.I./USA 1100Z 28 APR 2008

A stationary area of low pressure near 25S 107W will change little through tonight and Tue/am. A new low center will tend to develop SSE of the low thru Tue/am then should move SSE-SE across 40S 95W through Wed/midday.

High pressure ridging extending WNW from a 1030mb high center near 41S 88W across 37S 110W will also remain stationary through Tue/am, then should slowly weaken through Tue/night-Wed/am.

Overall, the broad circulation of the low center will continue to impact your wind/sea conditions for the remainder of the trip. At times the wind direction could become more ENE-NNE and even variable at times as you near Easter Island. This should maintain an overall sea/swell pattern that remains aft of the beam to following until arrival.

Along the rhumbline route to Easter Island adjusting your course/speed as necessary for the best ride, expect:

Mon/28: Range NNE-SSE 22-30kt, gusty 35kts at times. Waves 3.0-3.5mtrs. Swells SE 2.5-3.0mtrs. Cloudy with periods of rain. The wind direction could become more variable, which could include a more N-NW wind/sea direction, from Mon/aftn-eve.

Tue/29: Range NE-SE 20-25kt, gusty 30kts at times. Waves 2.5-3.0mtrs, occ 3.5mtrs. Swells SE 2.5-3.0mtrs. Variable to partly cloudy with rain/showers expected.

Wed/30 - Easter Island: Mostly E-SE 20-25kt, gusty at times. Waves 2.0-2.5mtrs. Swells SE 2.0-2.5mtrs. Cloudy with periods of rain.

Please continue to advise your daily position. We will continue to watch and update. B/Rgds, Bob/OMNI

 

April 25, 2008
Position: S30 12.12 W97 45.75 (633.2nm from our first waypoint at Easter Island)

Well, mis amigos, last night and early this morning (Wed - Thur) was a gentle downhill ride. Our speed has risen to over 6 knots stacking up the fuel reserves in this game of give and take. If the weather continues to be as it is now (before daybreak) we'll put out a couple of worms to see if anything snaps. We are down to one fish meal after last night's super duper dolphin dinner. Yup, YT cooked...again. Frank has finally given up proclaiming how good HIS tunny tastes. You can put wings on a pig but you can't make it fly...you get the picture. So we'll save the two bags of cooked tuna for chumming the reefs down the road. (Chumming is where you broadcast chum, in this case cooked tuna, to bring bottom fish up to the surface where they are easily caught while competing with others for the chum.)

OK, enough fish tales, lets get techno for a bit and talk about fuel mileage. In a nutshell, fuel mileage is in your right hand (throttle hand). If you look at a fuel burn chart for your engine it is surprising how much more an engine burns as you increase RPM. All I will say is that the last knot and a half on an Egret size waterline come at a dear premium (full displacement hull). Conversely, if you drastically reduce RPM your fuel mileage is extraordinary. A perfect example is a year or two ago an N40, with 940 gallons total fuel, ran 3000nm from the U.S. west coast to the Marquesas in French Polynesia. On arrival they had a 1000nm reserve. They didn't exactly race over however it doesn't matter. They still took less time than an average sailboat to make the same trip. The voyage Egret is now undertaking is well over 4000nm. In addition to straight line distance we need to include a healthy reserve plus the variables of generator burn, and like a few days back when we 'hove to' for an afternoon and full night going the wrong way. The lost time doesn't matter. Time means nothing on a trip like this and should NEVER be allowed to matter on a long trip. Lost fuel is the issue and needs to be part of pre-planning contingencies.

We planned this particular route about three years ago. We can't make the trip on our own tanks, including a healthy safety margin, without guaranteed fuel. When you know a little about South American efficiencies you understand there are NO guarantees. Not wanting to take the chance of becoming an expensive raft we ordered four inflatable fuel bladders from Boat Fuel Bladders, Inc on the west coast of Florida to be flown to Barcelona. It's a VERY long story but we paid for four bladders, 1-150gal, 1-100gal, 2-50gal, received three (missing one 50 gal) and apparently the company went out of business after agreeing to reimburse us for the missing bladder and the promised 5% discount for ordering 4 bladders. (The only reason we are airing our dirty laundry is so you don't get caught by the same company if they are still in business) The bladders came from Aircraft Rubber Manufacturing, Redmond, Oregon and are of the highest quality, certified for gasoline and diesel. With the confines of the bladder placements we believe we have about 285 gallons of fuel in bladders, another 65 gallons in jerry jugs and 11 gallons in our fuel tank for the diesel heater. Egret's total fuel when we left Talcahuano, Chile for Papeete, Tahiti was 1360 gallons (5170 liters).

We first used the fuel bladders on the Atlantic crossing from the Canary Islands to Brazil in order to bypass the Cape Verde Islands. As it turns out we didn't need bladders for that trip. We used two of them again (150-50) when we left Ushuaia, Argentina for Puerto Montt, Chile simply to save money on fuel. Chile's fuel is double Argentina's. And now we are using the bladders on this trip. If we were to do a normal westabout circumnavigation we wouldn't have bought fuel bladders. When we arrive in Easter Island we'll have a better handle of fuel burn. If we are able to buy fuel in Easter we will as a precaution. We also have a safety valve for fuel in the Gambier Islands, the last chance for fuel before Papeete. If they don't have fuel on hand, and probably won't, we can order fuel from Papeete to be delivered on the twice monthly supply ship. Fellow Chile cruisers, Dick and Gail Barnes on N57 Ice Dancer II, gave us the name and e-mail address of the agent they used in Papeete on their visits there. We'll use their agent for fuel in the Gambier's if necessary as well as Papeete. http://www.polynesia-yacht-services.com/ Listed e-mail address is pys@mail.pf, Contact is Laurent Bernaert, cell phone 689 77 1230. So there you have it, more than you wanted to know about fuel but NEED to know about fuel if you plan to stretch your wings someday and head offshore.

Thur late afternoon. Today was one of those perfect days at sea. 15 knots of wind, following 1.5 meter seas, a few puffy white clouds but no fish...so far. We almost caught a diving bird we hadn't seen on this coast or anywhere since leaving the Bahamas. We don't know what type it is, perhaps a type of tern with long white tail feathers, but will have a great photo on Mon's VofE so perhaps you can figure it out. One dove on a bait and temporarily got hooked but fortunately got off as YT was trying to reel it in. We'll fish tonight until about 10:00 when Frank and Mary head below for sleep before their watches. We still have a bright moon and pelagic fish feed at night against the moon. We'll pull dark baits for a better silhouette against the light. (later...no snappers)

Fri AM before daybreak. Wow, if we thought yesterday evening was perfect cruising weather this morning is even nicer. 11 knots of breeze from behind, slight rolling swells, the Southern Cross marching by outside the pilothouse door and all is well. That along with a cuppa with a couple of Mary's homemade cinnamon rolls, life at sea is very good. While Frank was on watch he ran the numbers for our Tuesday arrival in Easter Island. We are going too fast for a daylight arrival at 6- 6.1 knots (turning 1300 RPM) so a little bit ago YT reduced speed to 5.5 knots turning 1210 RPM burning about a gallon per hour. Egret's kind of fuel mileage and a probable daybreak arrival in Cook's Bay off the main town of Hanga Roa.

Today's chores are emptying the jerry jugs into the port tank along with emptying the diesel heater tank. The next big job is changing one of the baits to a swimming plug and putting a noisemaker in front of the second. With calm seas and slow speed we need to pump a little life into the baits trying to encourage the fishes to snap. Other than those two grande jobs our duties are routine engine room checks, nap chores, having to read and eat three great meals a day. Ho hum. Haven't worked so hard since yesterday...or the day before...you get the picture.

We hit a minor milestone yesterday. 6000 engine hours on our happy little Lugger. Original injectors, original everything except belts, filters and oil. NEVER a problem. A great fuel system, 2 micron Racor filters, and fresh oil on schedule are the key. "A great fuel system" is easy to say but expensive to do for a builder. Fuel systems are not a place to save money for an offshore powerboat. Save your money on cute drink holders and fou fou do-dads. Egret's fuel system has heavily insulated, gravity fed fiberglass tanks that DON'T make water (condensation), two very large inspection-clean out ports on TOP of each tank and internal baffles. Every inch of the tanks can be cleaned by yourself with minimal equipment. Next are Parker 2200lb working pressure, wire reinforced fuel lines with heavy flare fittings on the connections (2200lb working pressure to hold a bit over atmospheric pressure...not bad). Polished stainless steel fuel distribution and return manifolds using stainless steel ball valves. Ball valves have that valve's function stamped into the handle. A proper day tank (Egret has the N40 day tank - the newer day tanks are even better). Dual, oversize Racor fuel filters...two separate filters manifolded together with a selector valve to choose either filter allowing the contaminated filter element to be changed under way. Overboard fuel vents that have a high hose loop above the vents to keep seawater from back-feeding thru the vents in heavy seas. (Sorry for the soap box but when you are 'out here' clean fuel is VERY important.)

Fri early afternoon. The fuel is transferred, the baits have been changed and all is well. We had to reduce RPM a second time to slow speed to 5.5 knots. Currently we are turning 1160 RPM and streaking along at 5.8 knots (at under 1 GPH). We have obviously entered a west bound surface current along with a little wind push. If we can keep this up for the next 3 1/2 days we'll really bank the fuel reserve.

On a sad note before we changed baits and were getting the fuel transfer tings in order one of those beautiful tern like birds dove on a bait and got hooked in the wing. We reeled it in and Mary covered it with a towel until we got the hook out. When we released it it swam on the surface trying to figure out what happened. All seemed well as long as we could follow it. Up close we saw the bird is much larger than it appears flying. It has about a 2 1/2' wingspan and is more beautiful than the pictures. An aggressive critter, it attacked the paravane not letting go until it reclamped its long, sharp beak on the paravane chain. Glad it wasn't a finger.

So there you have it, another couple days in The Life. Ciao.

To: Captain Scott - M/Y EGRET
Fm:O.M.N.I./USA
1020Z 24 APR 2008

High pressure to your south and low pressure to your north are expected to
weaken gradually through tonight and Fri/25th. The high center should merge
with another high approaching from the south/west and the low center should
dissipate. The new high cell is expected to relocate further south/west near
45S 105W while a new low center develops near 25S 107W through late Sat/am.

The high center is expected to drift eastward across 45S 90W through Mon/am,
but the low center should gradually weaken and even force the low to
relocate NW near 20S 110W through late Sun/night-Mon/am where it should
remain through Tue/29th. As the low weakens, ridging from the high is
expected to extend WNW across 35S 115W where it should remain nearly
stationary through Mon/28 and Tue/29 and this should help maintain the
mostly aft of the beam to following wind/sea pattern through the forecast
period and possible through arrival.

Along the rhumbline route to Easter Island adjusting your course/speed as
necessary for the best ride, expect:

Thu/24: Range ESE-NNE 17-25kt, gusty 30kts, Waves/swells SE-E 2.5-3.0mtrs,
tending to ease ESE-NE 17-22kts, gusty 25kts. Waves/swells 2-3mtrs during
Thur/pm. Variably cloudy, chance of showers/drizzle.

Fri/25: ESE-ENE 12-20kts, gusty. Waves 1.5-2.0mtrs. Swells ESE 2.0-3.0mtrs.
Variably cloudy, chance of showers. Some breaks in the sky cover are
possible.

Sat/26: ESE-E, occ ENE and gradually freshen through the day; 15-25kts.
Waves 1.5-2.5mtrs Sat/pm. Swells ESE-SE 2.0-2.5mtrs. Skies variably to
mostly cloudy, chance of showers.

Sun/27: SE-E 20-28kt, gusty 30kts at times. Waves 2.5-3.0mtrs, swells SE-ESE
2.5-3.0mtrs. Variably cloudy, chance of showers.

Mon/28: SE-E, occ ENE 22-28kt, gusty 30kts at times. Waves 2.5-3.0mtrs, upto
3.5mtrs at times. Swells SE-ESE 2.5-3.0mtrs. Variably to mostly cloudy,
chance of showers.

Please continue to advise your daily position. We will continue to watch and
update. B/Rgds, Bob/OMNI

 

 

April 23, 2008

Position: S31 16.17 W91 55.08 (942.1nm from our first Easter Island waypoint)

Well, mis amigos, first we would like to mention during the past weeks we received a number of VofE Forum questions. Perhaps you should give these a peek to see if any of your own questions are answered. Secondly, we mailed a picture CD from Robinson Crusoe Island for posting on the VofE website. The pictures should be posted within a few weeks.

Tue AM just after daybreak. We spent last night and early this morning comfortably riding largish waves downsea with mid 20s wind. It was a beautiful night with a full moon and a few stars including the Southern Cross. At first light with the moon still high to the west a mature wandering albatross sailed across Egret's bow turning its 11' wingspan vertical at the height of its climb before swooping back down to the waves. It would be an impossible photograph but the mental snapshot of that majestic bird's vertical wings just below the full moon will be etched into the memory banks forever. I just wish Mary and Frank could have seen it.

I don't know if you have noticed, but at sea VofE's change. Tings become simpler and more focused to the daily routine and running the boat. We have a lot of time to think and muse without distraction. It is peaceful and relaxing. Such simple pleasures as seeing a single bird in flight, the moon on the water, the Southern Cross and other small items give us great satisfaction. Uncomplicated, simple and rewarding after years surviving the battles we all fight, climbing the mountains we had to climb to be where we are, when we are. Not bad mis amigos.

The price we paid for last night's comfort is we are making more northing than we should to keep somewhat near our WNW rhumb line to Easter Island. We are having to use tactics our world cruising sailboat first cousins have employed for years. We are working the sea sets to make landfall in the shortest and most comfortable way. It isn't often we can't simply put in our waypoints and pull the trigger. The first item we missed is tiny Podesta Island marked by a triangle and warnings on our C-Map charts. We would like first of all to see the island but secondly, pass on the exact coordinates on to the www.noonsite.com website. Podesta Island is south of the normal sailboat route to Easter Island, however most sailboats don't run a laptop full time under way, much less radar, saving electricity and could well miss the charting, possibly running into the island at night if they happened to be south. We were within 18nm but couldn't mark the island on radar in the high seas meaning it must be a very small, low island. Jimmy Cornell's, noonsite.com is the gathering point for all long distance cruisers looking for information about different locations. Noonsite is a great planning tool if you aren't familiar with the site.

This morning's chore will be to transfer as much of the foredeck fuel as possible (150 gal total) to the port tank and two empty jerry jugs. This will remove over 1100 lbs of high weight off the foredeck and something we certainly want to do before running cross sea to make our westing. It will be a 3-person job. Mary will run the boat, Frank will hold an umbrella over the transom protecting the Baja filter from seawater splashes, and YT will pump the fuel using an electric pump vs siphon to speed tings up. We'll letcha know.

Tue, late afternoon. Yup, it worked and all went well. The fuel was spotless with zero debris in the filter. We are VERY happy to have that 1100 lbs of high weight below in the main tank where it belongs. Currently we have been able to run a rhumb line course to Easter Island without diverting for a better ride. The seas roaring past are intimidating but behaved on this course. We'll see what night brings.

Wed am (daybreak). We were able to continue on our rhumb line course to Easter with smooth sailing the early part of the evening with wind and seas picking up around 2:00AM. The wind is blowing between the mid 20s and low 30s consistently with a bit lower and higher occasionally. As we move into early morning the seas have increased proportionally and rain showers are marching by on 12 mile radar. Fortunately they are following seas. Whatever great navigator first named this ocean Pacifico, (placid, tranquil, calm) must have been jacked up on Mountain Dew, Mount Gay or perhaps a bit of Jamaican weed. Altered mind for sure. You get the picture.

Our buddies on N47 Bluewater leave today from their winter port of Barcelona, Spain on a two day trip north. OMNI Bob suggested they hold up a day to let weather pass and they readily took his advice after a 6 month layoff. The Gulf du Lyon is no place to take a chance this early in the season. They have so much to look forward to with their planned itinerary this summer.

So it goes, a couple days in The Life...underway. Ciao.

To: Captain Scott - M/Y EGRET
Fm:O.M.N.I./USA
1020Z 23 APR 2008

In the short term, the pattern is not expected to change much. High
pressure to your south and an area of low pressure to your north will
prevail but slowly weaken through Thur-Fri/am. The high cell will
gradually weaken and merge with a new high cell resulting in a
stronger high cell near 50S 90W through Sat/pm. Meanwhile, the wave of
low pressure will also weaken, but it will tend to merge with another
wave of low pressure that develops along the weakening weather front near
108W.

This new low center is expected to organize and move east across 27S
100W through Sun/midday. This low should remain stationary during
Sun/pm while the high center moves eastward across 90W through
Sun/eve-night.

Overall, with the weakening and development of new highs/lows in your
area, you should be able to maintain a mostly aft of the beam to
following wind/sea pattern through the forecast period. Easier
conditions will develop the next 2-3 days, then tend to freshen into
the weekend as the stronger high to the south and new low center to the
north develop.

Along the rhumbline route to Easter Island adjusting your
course/speed as necessary for the best ride, expect:

Wed/23: ESE-E, occ ENE 20-25kt, gusty 30kts at times thru the day.
ESE-E 2.5-3.0mtrs. Mostly cloudy, chance of showers/drizzle, periods
of rain through the day.

Thu/24: ESE-ENE 17-25kt, chance gusty 30kts, Waves/swells SE-E
2.5-3mtrs during the morning. Tending to ease ESE-ENE 17-22kts, gusty
25kts. Waves/swells 2-3mtrs during Thur/pm. Variably cloudy, chance
of showers/drizzle.

Fri/25: ESE-ENE 12-20kts, gusty. Waves 1.5-2.0mtrs. Swells ESE
2.5-3.0mtrs. Variably cloudy, chance of showers/drizzle thru midday,
with some rain tending to end and some clearing during Fri/pm.

Sat/26: ESE-E, may tend to become more NE-NNE 12-20kts, gusty 25kts
during Sat/pm. Waves 1.5-2.0mtrs, upto 2.5mtrs during Sat/pm. Swells
ESE-E 2.0-2.5mtrs.

Sun/27: Winds continue to freshen/range NE-E-SE 20-27kt, gusty 30kts
at times. Waves 2.5-3.0mtrs, swells ESE-E 2.5-3.0mtrs. Chance of
showers expected.

Please continue to advise your daily position. We will continue to
watch and update. B/Rgds, Bob/OMNI

 

 

April 21, 2008

Position: S33 02.39 W86 52.54 (farther from Easter Island than we were yesterday afternoon)

Well, mis amigos, after the anchor confusion leaving it was welcome to get back to sea and begin the routine for the next days. We really prefer to begin offshore treks with a calm beginning and this is one of those times. Seas last night (Thur) and early this morning were gentle with a SW swell. No spray on the glass!! Our kind of voyaging but it will be short lived as you saw when you read the most recent OMNI Bob's weather forecast. Those few days will pass then hopefully we'll have an easy cruise on into Easter Island.

At daybreak this morning the gray shape of Alexander Selkirk Island (90nm from Robinson Crusoe Island) appeared out of the dark. Within a few minutes it was awash in reds from the rising sun. We passed within 18nm. Using binoculars we couldn't see a single tree on the high, steep sided, eroded rock. Our C-Map charts show harbor detail (the word harbor is generous here...it's just a beach open to the north but protected from prevailing SW swells) with a small dock. According to Pedro the diver there are 40 folks who live here. Fishermen no doubt and their families. If it weren't for weather coming relatively soon it would be worth a detour to stop by for a day to see just how these folks live in a valley floor along the beach with no water, no nuttin. In a perfect world Egret would be loaded with fresh fruit and veggies to give to the villagers but it isn't to be. We ourselves are down to oranges, apples, a few tomatoes and cucumbers. There wasn't a single piece of fruit or veggie to be had in the number of tienda's (small shops) on Robinson Crusoe Island. They grow a little fruit and veggies on Robinson Crusoe but not enough for their own supply according to one restaurateur.

Early this morning (Fri) we put out a worm to see if anything snaps. Wouldn't it be great to catch a nice fat yellowfin tuna? We'll see...(later) no snappers, however we chased a large school of dolphins mixed with tuna but they were fast moving and we didn't get the baits into the fish.

Fri was another beautiful day at sea with little wind and a gentle swell. We are running 1290 rpm at speeds from 5.5 to 6.1 knots. The speed will drop when weather moves in for a few days starting tomorrow (Sat). Overall our average speed from Puerto Montt to here is 5.9 knots. More important than speed is our fuel mileage averaging a bit over 4 mpg since leaving the mainland. The longer we can maintain this mileage the larger our safety margin without refueling before Papeete, Tahiti. We'll make the call in Easter where we should be able to get some fuel, probably not a lot.

Sat AM early. Starting about midnight the wind picked up just a bit with a little wave chop from the W mixed with the SW swells. The wind has swung to the NW at 17 knots apparent with the barometer dropping exactly as OMNI Bob predicted. So weather is on its way. Shortly after daybreak we started experimenting with RPM. We had been running 1290 RPM but had slowed drastically. By increasing the RPM to 1350 we immediately picked up 4/10 of a knot by not having the bow drop so far into the wave troughs. In doing the math, using .1GPH with the added RPM, it is more efficient to increase speed vs burning less fuel per hour. Another precaution we took late yesterday afternoon was to raise the paravane poles to decrease the windage as the wind swings to the NW and headseas for the next few days. When the wind eventually swings aft of the beam will we drop the poles again. In this fuel mileage stretch its a game of inches we have been and will monitor closely.

In re-reading what I had written earlier I found that I was repeating myself. We write what is important to us at the time but in this case we'll let tings stand as written instead of giving an overall synopsis. We'll continue to give you our thoughts as they occur. I believe this way you can truly extract exactly what we are doing at the time making this trip as accurate and close to reality as possible so when its Your Time you'll know what to expect.

Sat PM, Sun AM early. Washing machine. Yup. Imagine yourself inside a washing machine on agitate but not getting wet...then once a minute or less someone swatting the side of the machine with a bat...then every two minutes or so it sounds like you and your washing machine have been in a train wreck. Thats what the past hours have felt like and sounded like with the waves hitting the side of the boat. Even in this mess we were able to sleep a bit but not easily. The waves weren't that big, perhaps up to 3 meters with a few bigger rolling thru from time to time. The problem was the SW, W and NW swell competing with each other. The wind never exceeded 28 knots, not that big of a deal. Fortunately just before daylight when the NW swell had established itself with grande swells it rained quite a lot tempering the waves. Now, at 8:30 am local, the waves have diminished to a 2-3 meter slop and our speed has increased. In the big picture this is one part of ocean voyaging. It isn't dangerous a bit (unless you have a girlie boat with cute drink holders in the flybridge and the like), just not as pleasant as the first two days. Along with the waves came the whales. Mary spotted two, one at 1/4 mile and one NEXT to the boat. Spooky.

Frank has become well acquainted with Egret hand holds all thru the boat. The Nord guys have it figured out. There isn't a place we walk where there isn't a hand hold within easy reach. It doesn't take long to get used to the motion of the boat then using that motion to move around. For those of you who were reading this drivel during our Atlantic crossing became well tuned to Egret's coffeecarryometer. The CCOM is a 1-10 scale for difficulty carrying coffee from the galley to the pilothouse with no spills. Yesterday afternoon and last night was a CCOM scale 8.5.

Sun afternoon. The seas laid down and out went two worms. Franko caught his first fish aboard Egret, a fat little tuna about 8lbs. More blood than a Robert Ludlum book. Later we caught a dolphin about the same size. So it was fried dolphin for dinner, YT's specialty, with the tuna cooked in the pressure cooker for fresh tuna salad later.

Sun PM. Tough night. The predicted front came thru about 8:00PM local with rain. By 10:00 PM we were 'hove to' running at very slow speed back to the SE into the seas (1.3-2.1 knots). (the reverse of our heading to Easter) The average seas were 3-3.5 meters as predicted but every two minutes or so a pair of RBG's (really big guys) would steam thru laying us dangerously over. The waves were driven by winds steady in the high 20's and low 30's with gusts up to 36 knots. So we spent the night watching RBG's foaming and crackling as they swept thru. Egret's bow would rise to meet them then plunge down the trough to meet the second wave. If we were able to stay square to the wave it was no biggie however with the ancillary waves throwing us this way and that it wasn't pretty. The CCOM was a 10...meaning you can't safely make or carry coffee. At 8:00AM this morning (Mon) we decided to give it a go and turn downsea with the waves diminished a bit and winds down to the low 20's. We tried to set a course for a little dot of an island but couldn't so we fell off 10 degrees. (We JUST fell off another 2 degrees trying to stay more square to the following seas) Hopefully the seas will lay down a bit today so we can make some more westing. We are now running 1400rpm at 6-6.1 knots. We'll see what today brings. Ciao.

Yesterday's OMNI Bob's forecast is added below. Yup, Bob works thru the weekend with daily forecasts. Great service.

To: Captain Scott - M/Y EGRET Fm:O.M.N.I./USA 1325Z 20 APR 2008

Captain, thanks for your position report Sat/19th. It appears the cold front we have been watching has weakened a bit more than expected (which is a good thing) and also slowed some during the overnight so its movement away from your area should take a bit longer today. However you will get into a more favorable SSE-ESE wind/sea pattern during the course of the day.

The cold front will tend to stall to your north/east during Monday and high pressure to your west/south will take control near 40S 105W then drift eastward toward 90W through Tue/night. Meanwhile a wave of low pressure will attempt to form along the stationary front during late Tue-Wed/23. The low will develop further near 29S 92W Wed/night-Thur/am where it tends to remain stationary through Thur/night then weaken into Fri/am.

The high cell near 40S 90W Tue/night should merge with another high center that drifts northward through Wed/23rd. This will allow the high cell to reorganize near 44S 93W during Thur/Fri. This pattern will allow for a mostly ESE-ENE wind/sea pattern to prevail for most of the coming 3-5 days after the weather front moves through. The rhumbline route to Easter Island remains valid, altering your course/speed as necessary for the best ride, expect:

Sun/20: Shift SW-S to SSE-SE 20-27kt, gusty/30kts through the day. Waves 2.5-3.0mtrs. Swells SW-SSW 2.5-3.0mtrs. Mostly cloudy with showers possible through the day.

Mon/21: SE-ly 20-28kt, gusty/30-33kts at times. Waves 2.5-3.5mtrs. Swells SSW to SSE 2-3mtrs through Mon/am. Swells tending to become more SE-ESE 2-3mtrs from about midday through the night. Mostly to variably cloudy, chance of showers.

Tue/22: SE-ESE 20-28kt, occ 30kt with gusts to 35kts possible thru the day. Waves/Swells SE-E 2.5-3.5mtrs. Variably to mostly cloudy, occ showers/drizzle even steadier rain at times through the day. Winds could increase/range closer to 25-30kt (from the ESE-ENE), gusty 35-37kts) during Tue/eve-night. Waves/swerlos SE-E 2.5-3.5mtrs.

Wed/23: ESE-E, occ ENE 24-30kt, gusty 35kts at times thru the day. ESE-E 2-3mtrs. Mostly cloudy, chance of showers/drizzle, periods of rain through the day.

Thu/24: ESE-ENE 20-27kt, gusty 30kts, SE-E 2-3mtrs. Variably cloudy, chance of showers/drizzle.

Please continue to advise your daily position. We will continue to watch and update.
B/Rgds, Bob/OMNI

 

April 17, 2008

Position: S33 37.22 W78 49.39 (just offshore Robinson Crusoe Island, Juan de Fernandez Islands, Chile)

Well, mis amigos, it is time to be on our way. It is Wed PM and we received the OMNI Bob weather forecast listed below this afternoon. First, let's back up a bit. We were weathered in for a couple days then spent a couple days ashore hiking. In any case we were biding our time to leave with winter weather approaching bringing more unstable weather along with more severe weather. Literally every cruising area of the world is dictated by seasonal weather itineraries to be comfortable and safe. Bottom line is we need to beat feet before too long.

In our shoreside wanderings we came across the Picaflor (flower pick) (fernandensis galeritus) or red humming bird. The Picaflor is indigenous to Robinson Crusoe Island only and has somewhere between 500 and 1200 birds. Fortunately they have no natural enemies and are on a slow rebound. On a recent hike we ran across two young Washington State University students clearing invasive growth out of a habitat for the hummingbirds on the other side of the island. When we met them hiking they were weathered in with the harbor closed and their ride to the other side of the island bouncing on a mooring. Pictures 1 and 2. Speaking of pictures, as we travel to Easter we'll include more Robinson Crusoe Island pictures in our vofE postings. We don't expect to see anything in route but seabirds, and a lot of water. It would be highly unusual to see another boat of any kind because this isn't a normal sea route.

We are ready to begin our next leg of the southern route into French Polynesia. As you can see from the weather report we may have to alter course from time to time to be more comfortable on this long leg to Easter Island (Isla Pascua - Rapa Nui). We are in no rush with comfort and safety our main objective. This leg should take between 12 and 13 days, about the same as from Bermuda to the Azores. We have put in a number of sea miles since we undertook that journey June 2004 so it won't be the daunting mileage it was at the time. Offshore voyaging isn't rocket science. It is a matter of acclimation, sea miles gaining experience and doing your homework. Along with sea miles gaining experience this includes the necessary asset of self reliance taking care of boat issues. It isn't the big stuff that fails, it's the little tings. Little tings are nothing more than common sense and a bit of practice. Most tings are avoided by proper preparation. Egret's first offshore jaunt was during our first days of retirement. We went from Ft Lauderdale offshore to St Mary's Inlet, at the Fla/Ga border. We were SOOOO nervous making the three waypoints around Cape Kennedy and then on to the entrance to St Mary's. Anchored off Cumberland Island a few hours later after transiting St Mary's inlet we were sooo proud of ourselves. And so it went. Egret's first long distance offshore trip was from Ft Lauderdale to Nantucket the following summer. We left June 25th arriving Nantucket 5 1/2 days later (1100nm). We arrived at daybreak with the fishing boats leaving the harbor, the fog lifted and the Blue Angels overhead practicing for July 4th festivities. Spectacular!! We highly recommend U.S. East Coast boats taking this first big step offshore riding the Gulf Stream north. Egret's next hop was to Shelbourne, Nova Scotia and then north to Halifax returning to the Bahamas for the winter via Maine, the Intracoastal with stops in Baltimore for the Cruiser's Reunion (195 boats), and Trawlerfest in Solomons, Md, then offshore from St Mary's south to Ft Lauderdale for provisioning.

Below is OMNI Bob's report and our departure report.

To: Captain Scott - M/Y EGRET Fm:O.M.N.I./USA 2005Z 16 APR 2008

Currently, high pressure is located to your west near 34S 90W. The high cell is expected to move across your location through Thur/17th, then it should gradually weaken through Fri/18-Sat/19.

We are watching a cold front that extends NW across 43S 100W. This front is not expected to move much the next 24-36hrs, but should develop a deepening area of low pressure along it near 40S 110W through late Thur/night. The low center will move E-ESE through Fri/18th and deepen while another cold front to the south pushes northward. The cold front will weaken and cool/cold air will spread northward. This will bring a trailing cold front from the low center north/east across the 30S 100W area through Sat/morning-midday then should continue to spread north/east across 20S 95W through Mon/21st when the front will tend to stall.

As the front moves north/east and stall during Sat-Mon, a broad area of high pressure is expected to move north/east across 40S 100W through Mon/21st where it should become stationary. The expected stationary front is expected to develop an area of low pressure along it hear 28S88W by Tue/22nd-midday. The low center should not develop any further through Wed/23rd as it tends to dissipates into Thur/24th. As the low dissipates the high center near 40S 100W should gradually weaken and drift north across 35S 100W through Thur/24-night.

Overall, there is still the risk of some rough NW to SW conditions near the cold front as it approaches and from the west during day 2-3 of the voyage. However, after the front moves through, the waves of low pressure develops and high pressure becomes stationary, a more favorable wind/sea pattern is expected to develop on Monday/21st which should prevail all the way to Easter Island.

Therefore, basis a departure Thur/am along the rhumbline route to Easter Island keeping in mind you may need to alter your course/speed at times in order to maintain the best ride as the cold front approaches, then passes, expect:

Thu/17: SSW-SE 08-15kts, waves 0.5-1.0mtrs, Swells SW-W 1.5-2.0mtrs.

Fri/18: SSE-SE 08-15kts, waves 0.5-1.0mtrs. SW-WNW 1.5-2.0mtrs. Winds tending to become more Var to N-NW 12-20kts, waves 1.0-1.5mtrs with SW-WNW 1.5-2.5mtrs during Fri/pm.

Sat/20: Freshen N-NW 20-30kt, gusty as the front nears. Waves 1.5-2.5mtrs. Swells WNW to SW 2-3mtrs through Sat/aftn. A buidling SW-SSW swells 3.0-3.5mtrs is expected as the winds also tend to shift NW-SW to SSW 22-30kts Sat/eve-night.

Sun/21: SSW-SSE 22-30kt, gusty at times. Waves 2.5-3.0mtrs. Swells SW-SSW 2.5-3.5mtrs.

Mon/22: SSE-SE 22-30kt, gusty/35kts at times. Waves 2.5-3.0mtrs. Swells SSW to SSE 2-3mtrs through Mon/am. Winds/seas becoming SE-ESE 22-28kts, gusty 30-33kts with waves 2.5-3.0mtrs with a mixed/lowering SW & ESE 1.5-2.5mtrs during Mon/pm.

If the above forecast is too rough and would rather wait for a more favorable pattern, then we would suggest you consider waiting until Mon/21st or later and allow for the winds to become more SW-S to more SE. There is the chance the developing high pressure pattern during Apr 21-24 will break down through Apr 25-27 which will allow for a more forward of the beam to head pattern to develop. However, by leaving tomorrow and not waiting until Mon/21st you will be in a better position to reach Easter Island with an increased chance of experiencing favorable wind/seas.

Please keep us advised of your intent, Watching/updating. B/Rgds, Bob/OMNI

We be gone...but not without a bit of effort. It's a long story but our anchor chain and mooring chain became married. The divorce took a while but thanks to the efforts of Pedro Niada who ownes a local pension, restaurante' AND diving service. www.endemica.com For those of you who would like to see this beautiful slice of the world. Sooo, at 4:20 pm (1840Z) Egret is on her way. Quick stats are 748.44nm from Puerto Montt, Chile, 2558.78nm from Ushuaia, Argentina and 10,697.2nm from Gibraltar. Our rhumb line waypoint well offshore of Easter Island is 1619.4nm in the distance. So it begins. Ciao.

 

 

April 14, 2008

Position: S33 38.36 W78 49.52 Cumberland Bay, Robinson Crusoe Island, Juan de Fernandez Islands, Chile (339nm offshore)

Well, mis amigos, another grande hike to the east of the end of the island with the On Vera crew (Thur). Another olympic event to the top where the radio antennas are located. Much of the trail is quite crumbly with unstable dried clay that gives away. Alfredo the Italian spun out a couple times on the way up. A local walking his kids took a short cut a few years ago and slipped then slid waaay down to the rocks below. Sad. The top was quite windy and cool but the view was priceless. It would be great fun to explore the entire island however it would take more time than we have to spend. (Winter and its weather is on the way.) On the way down we stopped to pick 'two bite' berries. Alfredo the Italian told us about soaking the berries in rum then sitting them in the sun to perk. You eat the berries with a spoon spitting out the chaff. Yup, gonna have to give that a try...spoonin rum. At the bottom where the trail meets the sidewalk is where Frank headed for the barn, Cumberland Restaurante', for his afternoon cervesa. By the time we caught up with Frank he had cornered the outside table and was in deep conversation with a young cutie who was charming our crewmate. Her big brown eyes and smile melted Franko. Soon a local walked by and the little sweetie ran out and started talking to her, turning on the charm. The passerby reached in her purse and gave her a candy bar. Ya know, they're all alike (women). At 2 years old she had it all figured out. Candy bar today, SUV tomorrow.

While we were gone the wind swung and Egret sailed east toward the rocks and near a mooring vacated by the Finn/German boat. The American single hander was concerned so he dinked over and using his line secured Egret to the mooring as well. We don't think TK dragged, he has never dragged, however we are tethered to the mooring still as well as to the anchor. When we set the anchor we pulled it bar tight anchoring in 39' then dropping 200' of chain plus the snubber. This is just another case where we all look out for each other.

Fri. All three sailboats left today about two hours apart; Alfredo the Italian/American, Scotsman/German, and Dave, the American single hander. They all left for Easter Island riding the SE'ly. We still have some exploring to do before we leave as well, also for Easter. These three boats are many-years cruisers having been everywhere (2 have circumnavigated). None have refrigeration or radar and only one can receive weather via the SSB. One's laptop is broken but have a handheld GPS and charts. This is not the way we prefer to travel and probably not theirs. However, they are 'out here' seeing the same sights as Egret vs staying ashore and working for the next this and that. There is a message here mis amigos to be applied to whatever level you may.

There was a large swell/surge in the bay and we attempted to land for a hike ashore but it was too much. We retreated back to Egret and spent the day reading and putzing.

Sat. With a new landing strategy we left Egret mid-morning for a hike around the west end of the island. We landed on the dock ladder then used a VERY long line to move the dink into position and tied it off with two lines. Dry feet no less. So the tres (3) gringos left for their little adventure.

We came to the end of the trail and past the WWI British shell damage in the cliffs where three British warships engaged the German battleship Dresden. In a nutshell, the Dresden was sent to the South Pacific to harass shipping but in the end ran out of coal. The Dresden took refuge in Cumberland Bay (Egret's anchorage) then sent emergency messages for a ship to deliver more coal. The Brits intercepted the messages and sent a 3 boat fleet to deal with the coal-less battleship. After a short battle the German captain scuttled the battleship choosing to save his crew vs losing all in a hopeless fight. The little museum has pictures taken in sequence of the ship sinking. Today it is a popular dive site for the few touristas who arrive to this small island.

At the end of the trail we turned left and started climbing...climbing into a trap. The ground is dried, crumbly clay but early on we kept climbing higher hoping to get to the trees, some ground cover and stability. Wellllll, to make a long story short it was probably the most dangerous thing we have ever done...ever!! Stupido. We got separated with YT tying to climb higher into the trees looking for a route out with Mary and Frank reversing their route. YT couldn't go back down. Much later we arrived at the bottom, in two different places at the same time. All I could think about was Mary and she was calling to see how I was doing. I couldn't hear her. Later at a restaurante' the owner said 21 years ago he did the same thing as a boy. He also said occasionally a horse or mule will slip and fall. Finito. They keep pushing to get sweet grass around the next corner then can't go any further. When they try to back up and misstep it's over.

Sun AM. 35 knots into the bay but with smallish waves. We have the paravane arms deployed with flopper stoppers so no problema. As we said before, the weather is changing. The normal high between here and Easter is becoming unstable. As soon as we get OMNI Bob's blessing we'll beat feet heading WNW.

Sun PM. Boatbound in the high winds. The surge would be too great to land and I don't want to leave the boat without an anchor watch.

OMNI Bob's forecast is below. I won't preach again on the safety of professional long range forecasting but you can see why in the report below. We could ride the SE'ly's to the NW then turn more west but would run into large head seas. Large headseas is something we don't want for two reasons: killing the fuel mileage plus we also need 4 full days before we can empty the 150gal forward fuel bladder lowering the majority of high weight. This needs to be done in relatively calm seas. OMNI Bob has picked up the long term weather shift describing the reasons whereas our grib weather reaches but three days.

Strong high pressure to your south near 43S 92W is producing a fresh S-SE wind/sea pattern in/around the Juan de Fernandez islands. Further to the north/west, a low center near 30S 109W is expected to remain stationary through Mon/14th, then should weaken into Tue/15th, then should drift southward toward 35S. The high center should drift NNE toward 40S through Tue/night then toward 37S through Wed/night and weakens further through Thur/Fri.

As the high moves north/east the low center described above will drift southward and merge with an approaching cold front through late Thur/night-Fri/am. As the high exits the area the combination of the broadening low center and approaching cold front will bring an increasing N-NW to WNW wind/sea pattern and NW-SW swells pattern west of the high ridge. This pattern will build to forces 5-7 with 4-6mtr NW to SW swells along the direct route to Easter Island.

The direct route to Easter Island will bring these increasing conditions within 48-72hrs of departure that would continue through Sat/19. Initially forces 4-6 with 2-3mtrs swells develop, but would gradually reach force/7 even gusty/8 with 4-6mtrs thru Sat/19.

Overall, there is a concern taking the direct route. The options you have are to wait for the pattern to improve (toward next weekend) and let these rougher conditions to move away; or if you have to depart Mon/Tue take a more NNW-ly heading allowing the wind/seas to remain aft of the beam and get north of the area where the strongest WNW conditions develop. As the conditions improve (easing and becoming more ENE-ESE) you'll be able to commence a more direct route to Easter Island.

Therefore, our preference would be to suggest waiting for a better weather pattern. Otherwise, if you need to depart we would suggest a NNW heading forward 28S-27S or at least the first 3-5 days, then adjusting to a more WNW-W heading as conditions improve. Along this route expect:

Mon/14-Tue/15: S-SE 17-25kt, gusty 30kts at times. Waves 2.0m-2.5m, swells SW-S 2-3mtrs. Winds easing S-SE 15-20kts to 12-18kts through Tue/eve-night. Waves subside 1.5-2.0mtrs thru Tue/aftn, then 1.0-1.5mtrs through Tue/night-overnight.

Wed/16: SSE-SE 12-16kts, waves 1.0-1.5mtrs. Swells SSW to SSE 1.5-2.5mtrs, possibly mixing NW-WNW 1.2-mtrs during Wed/pm.

Thur/17: S-SE to Var 07-14kts. Waves 1.0mtrs. Swells confused to WNW-WSW 1.5-2.5mtrs.

Fri/18: Var to N-NW 12-18kts, Waves 1.0-1.5mtrs. WNW to WSW 2-3mtrs, upto 3.5mtrs would be possible by the pm/hrs.

Please keep us advised of your intentions. Watching/updating based on your intentions. B/Rgds, Bob/OMNI

We'll take Bob's advice and wait for the weather to improve. Hopefully today we can make it ashore but tings need to lay down a bit first. So there you have it, a few more days in The Life. Ciao

 

 

April 8, 2008

Position: S33 38.36 W78 49.52 Cumberland Bay, Robinson Crusoe Island, Juan de Fernandez Islands, Chile (on anchor)

Well, mis amigos, this place is great. After a quick trip to the Armada and check in we took a short hike around the waterfront. The small town (800 folks in summer - 300 in winter) is spotless particularly considering most of the town's trade is fishing. The far majority of their commercial fishery is for lobster (more like a large crayfish) which is a clean fishery with the lobster kept alive in pens. The second main trade comes from eco tourism and its attendant businesses/administration. Robinson Crusoe Islands is a Chilean National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its comforting to know this place will remain pristine in the years to come. The town has a road, mostly gravel but is being paved with concrete. Nearly all the paths to the houses and trails have been finished. There are local flowers everywhere both wild and decorative. We have already found the flowers full of different types of rare hummingbirds. Our new camera proven its worth with the super fast motor drive shooting these elusive devils. We toured the caves carved into the hillside that housed political prisoners years ago. We couldn't even imagine spending the winter here with the rain and cold living in open faced caves. More on the island later.

Last night (Mon) was a cruiser's birthday party held in a local's small cottage on the hill in front of the anchorage. Typical cruiser's party with lotsa food, too much vino tinto and lotsa conversation. In our little group of 4 boats were 2 Germans, 1 Finn, 1 Scotsman, 1 Italian, 1 local Chilean and 4 Americans. The conversation flowed in English, second language English, a bit of Spanish and Italian and Frank who speaks none of the above being raised in Tennessee. We have gotten quite used to these mixed conversations and catch nearly every word. Poor Frank has to try and translate from Spanglish/Italglish, to English to his dialect, a three step process and time consuming. Alfredo the Italian had caught a large local fish and prepared it three different ways, two more or less raw with a marinade. Delicious. One of the Germans brought a super potato salad and all brought plenty of vino tinto (red). Presents were typical yachtie; a small pack of cookies (unopened but not necessarily always the case) with a candle on top, a bar of chocolate candy wrapped with a bow, and so on. Birthday girl was thrilled. By 10:00 we bailed to get back to the boat for some rest after a long night the night and morning before. The Finn/German boat leaves today for the Chilean mainland and a trip up the coast to Peru and on to Alaska whenever. Peru is very rarely visited by yachties because they get so few cruisers and you are treated as a ship (quite expensive). Now there is a port serving Lima that has a yacht club and welcomes yachties with a nominal charge and 30 days free dockage to attract cruisers.

The departing boat gave us their yachtie book to sign. Many cruisers have these books and are quite entertaining with imaginative entries from different cruisers. For our entry we put a small picture of Egret in front of a glacier in Seno Pia, Chile a place where Ultima visited as well. We cut out a small picture of a hummingbird in the flowers, a small picture of the anchorage and wrote the boat names in the sidebar, plus a 20 minute old picture of their boat lit up by the setting sun against the mountain background. We also made them a CD of our short tour of the town. They will be thrilled when they stop by this morning to pick up the book. Great fun and easy to do with a modern printer, 4 X 6 pre-cut photo paper and a laptop.

Tue 4-08 After our generator burn and a quickie breakfast we took the dink to the dock to begin our hike to the mirador (overlook) Alexander Selkirk (real life Robinson Crusoe) hiked every day to look for passing ships (over a mile trail and 1800' high). Four years and four months worth. Musta had legs like a race horse. After two months without serious hiking and being slightly overserved the night before it was a struggle, however in due course we made it. Pictures 1 and 2 are exactly what he (big Al) saw in 1704 (minus the boats and buildings) when he was deposited on the island after an argument with his captain. BA was later rescued in 1709. The surrounds are absolutely beautiful with greens, browns, sharp peaks and so on. We hiked thru arid areas, trees we had never seen with a bluish tint to the leaves, different types of pines, walked stooped under a canopy of ferns in a cool tropical setting and finally to a more scrub setting near the top. Lining the walk were wild blackberries and red '2 bite' berries. 2 bites are a small wild berry that you crunch twice and spit out the balance. Delicious. If we have time MS will pick a pile and boil then strain them to make a sauce for yogurt. At the top quite by accident Mary found a plaque set in 1988 from one of the direct descendants of Selkirk from Scotland. She walked up an overgrown trail for a higher view when she found the plaques. There was also a cast steel plaque set by a British warship in the 1800s along with graffiti carved in the soft rock from the 1700s on.

After all this effort with only a bag of peanuts and soy to eat at the top, after a skimpy breakfast no less, Frank and I started fantasizing about food. We decided a huge Chuck's Steak House hamburger (Ft Lauderdale), lettuce, tomato and mayo, fries and salad bar would be about right. Of course with an ice cold mug of beer...sooo cold it would burn your lips. And so it went with the boys torturing each other on the way down with food fantasies. Frank stopped by the CONAF (Chilean Park) office and asked where to eat. Soon after we were at the Cumberland restaurante' with the best fish sandwich ever (a huge hunk of grilled fish on an 8" bun, tomato, sliced avocado, lettuce & mayo) and a truly cold local beer. Not bad mis amigos.

After returning to the boat we were brought the Club de Yates Higuerillas Robinson Crusoe (RCYC) guest register to sign and add our comments and pictures. This particular book started in 2004. Some who's who of world travelers have made their entries. A number of boats are names we recognize from magazine articles we read in the past along with a few of our 'Class of 06-07' Deep South buddies. We are flattered to include our little white fiberglass ship to the cast. Egret is the first powerboat to be honored. Pretty cool.

Wed 4-09 Maintenance day. We emptied the 100 gal. cockpit fuel bladder into the port tank and put the balance in a jerry jug. Not bad, 94 gallons burned for the trip so far including two days gen burn. We changed the oil in the main. It didn't need changing or even close but with the longest single leg on our trip to New Zealand coming up, nearly 1800nm, we wanted fresh oil. Friends just came by with 4 fish they speared. They are coming over for dinner with the fish and Mary is fixing some other tings. So there you have it, a couple more days in The Life. Not bad...again. Ciao.

By the way, our buddies at Nordhavn are having their first Nordhavn Rendezvous for Nord owners and owners to be. Log on to the Rendezvous section (under the Nordhavn Community tab) in the Nord website and get the details. Egret won't be there but perhaps we can have a mini rendezvous in New Zealand this coming summer. We all learn from each other. This is a perfect way to meet folks with the same interest and issues to trade tales and maintenance tips. Lugger Bob (Bob Senter) from Lugger/Northern Lights will be there as well with his maintenance tips. Great fun.

 

 

April 7, 2008

Position: S33 38.36 W78 49.52 Cumberland Bay, Robinson Crusoe Island, Juan de Fernandez Islands, Chile (339nm offshore)

Well, mis amigos, lots to report. Thur 4-3-08 Egret arrived Talcahuano just at dark after a sleigh ride up the Chilean coast with following winds, seas and a grande current push. The final fuel mileage figures were obscene so we won't publish them because they don't represent the balance of our trip. At daybreak the morning before arrival we pushed up the throttle to 1400 rpm trying to make a daylight landing. The last hour we went to 1600 rpm. We found the yacht club docks just before dark but it is a yacht club in spirit only with mainly small sailboats stern to a small pier and no place for Egret. We anchored in their large basin for the night.

Fri 4-04-08 After a half hour process of squirting heavy oil caked on Egret's anchor chain off we went to the fishing harbor for our gas n go and new zarpe (cruising permit). Yea, right. Fairy tale. The harbor was a swarming mass of fishing boats in constant motion, a zillion sea birds feeding on the boiling waste of fish bits constantly being pumped from shore, sea lions feasting on the same along with the fish feeding on the same mess. Along with the mix was oil and diesel floating on the surface with small dead baitfish mixed in. Pollution at its best. In due time there was an opening at the Copec fuel station shown in the guide. We slid in with the entire waterfront waiting to catch the lines from this unheard of la di da yacht. We were trying to sort thru the Spanish being shouted by different folks, folks of more importance as time went by. In the end we were rescued by Jimmie, the local hustler/agent. Dockside fuel must be subsided by the government for the fishermen and they wouldn't sell to a private boat.

It's a very long story but in the end we anchored in the harbor, de-rigged one side of the paravanes, launched the rubber dink into that mess and went ashore with Jimmy to sort tings out. We ended up with a local guy and his antique hand cart carrying our 9 jerry jugs (65 gallons total) back and forth from a service station across the street, transferring them to a panga (10' down from the dock - low tide) and offloading them onto Egret. We then used our Jabsco water puppy pump to pump the fuel into the port tank first, then the 100 gal cockpit fuel bladder then stowed the jerry jugs along the stbd side. These two sentences were a 5 hour endeavor. The guys hanging around the waterfront reminded me of the bar scene in the first Star Wars. You could arrange one group by teeth. 1 tooth, 2 teeth, 2 teeth & 2 snags, 3 teeth and so on. By 40 these guys were used up and on the beach. Across the street it was life as usual in any modern town anywhere except for this wild guy who pegged along stoned out of his mind shouting to the world. He had a hand carved, and not well, wooden peg for a left leg. (Actually it was more of an octagon than a peg) Jimmy, the cart guy and panga guy knew him and shooed him off. His possession was a shiny gold CD for a belt buckle. Its like a guy wandered off the Pirates of the Caribbean set. (Where's a camera when you need one?) Waiting for the hammer to fall on Jimmy and crew's fees (by our 4th and final trip lotsa dockies were in the act as well), in the end they were nominal. Cart guy and Panga guy were 10,000 CP each, about 23 US Pesos. I gave Jimmy 40. The new zarpe was painless with the most efficient Armada station to date. So in the end all went well and we left immediately after securing the dink and re-rigging the paravnes to deploy if need be.

On leaving all the fishing boats were hooting and waving. The harbor and outside anchorage were packed with boats fishing the sardine run. We dropped the paravane arms in the harbor to give them a show and something to talk about. Incoming boat crews were all at the rail as well and we shouted and waved back. They particularly liked MS (my sweetie) and her blond hair. Great fun and a little sideshow for their tough lives. Picture 1. Purse seine trawler with its crazy little trawl boat on the transom. Picture 2. One of a zillion.

Rounding the headland to head offshore we hit 28 knots of sea breeze making lumpy going for a bit. It laid down then picked up with SW and WSW winds up to 25 knots and seas just forward of the beam. Lotsa spray for a while but around 4:00 AM this morning (Sat) the seas laid down a bit and all is well. Our speed has increased from around 5 knots to 6. We are running 1300 rpm carrying a total of 1350 gallons of fuel, 350 gallons above our normal tankage. She is handling surprisingly well for the extra fuel weight along with the extra provisioning weight. The electronic Naiad Stabilizers (Multi Sea II) are magic. When the going was sloppy I turned up the controls to about half and the worst of the rolling went away. Only when we got slapped by the extra big guys rolling thru from time to time did we roll about 20 degrees. So, its 244.3 nm to go before our waypoint off the Juan de Fernandez Islands. Wandering albatrosses are keeping YT entertained on this early morning watch. All is well AND we're heading west...finally. Tell the Kiwis to leave the light on.

Sat PM The waves laid down and we put out a trolling bait to see if anything snapped. They didn't. Early evening the wind began to freshen and the SW swell picked up. Nothing serious but a bit rolly.

Sun AM early. It was rolly with foaming trains roaring thru every now and then. One memorable one came thru about 4:00 am that sounded like we had been T-boned by a freighter. Ok, Ok, YT got up and screwed the Naiad's back to their straight upright position (about half way). Getting up called for a trip to the head. The door wouldn't close. The pop from the wave had slid the mattress off the bunk...with Mary and YT sleeping...or trying to sleep. Geesh. Coming on watch after Frank at 6:00am I found the neatly stacked plastic boxes with safety gear under the salon table scattered. (Our watches are: Mary 10:00 - 2:00am, Frank 2:00 - 6:00am, YT 6:00 - 10.00am, the rest of the time its casual who is on watch) Making the rounds outside later we found everything snug in place and no shifting.

Sun PM early. The seas have laid down to where we can put out a bait. Franko isn't doing well in the fish dept, however he has a lot of miles to make it up. He has to reel in a lot of fish to keep up with Master Angler Steve who was with us on the Atlantic crossing. Our Swedish buddies on Lindisfarne, hundreds of miles ahead, have just landed a "1 meter dolphinfish". The tournament is on. In their e-mail they said there are 5 boats at Juan de Fernandez. We know 4 of them. Should be great fun. Hopefully we can catch a grande fish and have a fish fry Mon night with the other cruisers. (76.89nm to go - 2:00pm local)

Mon AM. Egret's anchor, TK, dropped into 52' of clean water in Cumberland Bay at 0930 local time after comfortable overnight seas. When we were within 8 miles of the island we reversed course to stand off until we could make a daylight landing. There are 4 boats here (the Belgians left), 3 we know from Ushuaia, Arg. We've already been invited to a birthday party tonight for one of the cruisers. The social whirl starts. Bacon, eggs and Frank's grits are cooking. Coffee is ready. Life is good for the Egret crew.

As you know OMNI Bob, Bob Jones, Ocean Marine Nav, Inc, is Egret's professional weather forecaster. Bob has been in constant contact with Egret since leaving Puerto Montt 748.4 miles ago. Normally we include Bob's reports with VofE and will in the future when our posts and Bob's forecasts mesh. Included is a forecast warning we received last night. Here you can see the absolute value of a professional forecaster vs Egret's less sophisticated weather analysis. We would never have picked up on this possible long term heavy weather. We will follow this closely with Bob and make our decision based on his recommendations. You get the picture. Ciao.

Captain, thanks of the update. Looks like you'll get in before the front does and stay in/near the weak ridge that extends to the east along 35S. This will help keep the winds on the lower side and swells closer to 1.5-2.5 mtrs to arrival.

Still watching a cold front approaching during the next few days, but it stalls near 40S during Mon-Tue. As it does, a wave of low pressure is expected to develop along the stationary front then move eastward. This would tend to force the protection of the high ridge to move north/east of you and weaken. Should this occur a more NNW-NW wind/sea pattern will develop, but the real concern will be later in the week when the trailing front from the low center moves north/east across the Juan de Fernandez Islands and strong high pressure develops across the SE Pacific. This will produce a broadening area of increasing SSW-SSE winds and building rough to very rough SW-SW swells from the Islands north and west across the S/Pacific waters.

Please keep us advised of your intentions after arrival. If you are planning to leave during the coming week, you may need to consider a more northerly then NW-ly track to better follow the rough southerly swells developing toward the end of the week into next weekend.

B/Rgds, Bob/OMNI

 

 

April 3, 2008

Position: S37 04-91 W73 42.29 37.99nm from our waypoint before Talcahuano Bay, Chile

Wed AM daybreak. Well, mis amigos, it was an uneventful night at sea as are all good nights at sea. There were a few ships but none closer than 2 1/2 miles. The wind was 12 knots from astern with comfortable swells pushing us along averaging 6.4 knots for the trip so far. Daybreak to the east was spectacular with the sun lighting the clouds over the Andes in various shades of pinks and reds for those magic 20 minutes. Early morning we were greeted by Wilson's storm petrels, busy little guys working the waves and doing their walking on water routine along with their smaller gray backed storm petral cousins.. The big guns, wandering albatrosses were also up early. You don't realize just how big the wanderers are until they pass close by the boat giving a reference to size. Early on one passed just in front of the bow. It was a monster bird with an 11' plus wingspan yet as graceful as the smaller sea birds working the waves.

Early afternoon. No whales so far today. The wind has piped up to gust from 20 to 28 knots directly from astern. Depending on wind speed we are being pushed comfortably between 6.4 to 7.0 knots turning 1300 rpm at 1.3gph. At times the following seas rise WELL above the transom before crackling and foaming by but fortunately being so direct on the transom we have little cork screwing. Fishing in these seas would be a bit much so we'll pass. Shore has fallen away to 40 miles to the east as our waypoint takes us around an offshore island coming up in 46nm before a course adjustment to the NNE and our waypoint off the entrance to Talcahuano and our fuel. What we are hoping to do is pull up to the fuel dock, Mary take our zarpe to the Capitania del Puerto's office to get a new zarpe for Robinson Crusoe Island while YT fuels. We'll see how this shakes out tomorrow afternoon when we plan to arrive. In a best case scenario we accomplish these tasks and immediately get underway. Lotsa tings have to fall in place including weather. There is some nasty weather south of us and staying nasty for a few days. So far the waves we are experiencing have been generated by local wind and not the southern storm.

Thur AM daybreak. Another uneventful night at sea. Dawn is bringing 150' visibility fog and diminishing seas. As YT replaced Frank on watch we checked the average speed for the trip, the speed at the time and decided to bump up to 1400 RPM trying to make the fuel stop before dark. Gas n go doesn't look promising. Early last evening I adjusted the alternator reducing the volts, thus engine drag, to maintain charging but not overcharging as we were with these new thinner plate batteries. While doing the adjustment I noticed an unusual vibration in the alternator. Soooo, as you can imagine I have been giving this a lot of thought. During the day today we'll monitor it closely and after stopping tonight we'll remove the fiberglass shroud covering the front of the engine (belt guard) and check everything thoroughly. If we find an obvious loose mounting bolt or something of that nature we'll change the belt and keep the alternator in place. If not we'll put on our spare and see if the original has a front bearing starting to go bad and perhaps find a replacement in town.

If this would have happened at sea we would round up into the sea running on the wing and sort tings out. Working on a hot engine isn't ideal but with gloves and patience changing an alternator wouldn't take long. The trick is to spread towels under where you are working to catch anything you may drop. A wayward nut or bolt could be a nightmare if shuttled wherever in a pitching sea.

There is a small lesson to learn here we'll pass along. When we ordered our spare alternator, Leese Neville big frame 140 amp, it came with a dual belt pulley from Lugger. In the Med we watched two friends attacking their alternator with everything in the tool chest to remove their pulley. In the end tings didn't fare well. The problem was there is nothing to stop the armature from spinning to remove the nut holding the pulley. It takes an impact gun just a couple seconds to spin off the nut. Something we don't have aboard nor do many boaters. We had the Lugger dealer take our spare into the shop, remove the dual belt pulley and put on the serpentine belt pulley (we purchased separately). Now its two bolts, a couple wires and off comes the old alternator and on with the new. No problema. Along the same lines we installed the bevel gear (separate part number) on the Northern Lights generator replacement raw water pump as well so its ready to go when needed without the fuss of removing that pulley.

Thur, early PM. Our speed increase will allow us to enter the bay before dark. The fog has risen to 300' visibility, birds are doing their deal, seas have laid down to gentle swells from astern. Harbor tales await. Ciao.

 

April 1, 2008
Position: S41 10.00 W74 01.33 (70nm and we will be out of the Roaring 40's)

Well mis amigos, Egret is currently pushing her way slowly thru the tide in Canal Chacao waiting for the tide to swing and flush our little white fiberglass home out into the Pacific. Tides on the fall run up to 9 knots. We'll see if we beat our all time record of 13.4 knots set in Hells Gate, NYC. Backing up to yesterdays run, we enjoyed a smooth, sunny ride with the tide thru the near-shore islands until our speed began to fall rapidly and we needed to find an anchorage. We ended up in Puerto Abato (pp 203 Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego Nautical Guide 2.26). Puerto Abato is simply a channel between the mainland and a longish island. The holding was good and the weather benign. Shortly after anchoring and Mary fixing a pitcher of pisco sours (the Chilean National drink) a small single cylinder inboard rowboat came by with a local family (Mom, Pop & son) holding up a large merluza (a delicious local fish) 3000 pesos later, about 7 USPesos, we were the proud owners of this fish, still cold from the water. Normally in situations like these you bargain, however after looking at the poor family with their catch of the day how could we bargain? Yup, it was as good as ever with the second fillet squeezed into the freezer. The anchorage was calm and uneventful. It will be our last anchorage for two days on our run up the coast for final fuel before turning left heading west.

So, we're now up to 6.5 knots from 4.6 knots. Exciting.

OK, we're thru Chacao. Our top speed was 10.4 knots on the weak tide, not an Egret speed record but over 8mpg was probably an Egret mileage record. After worrying about Chacao for months it was a non event. No waves at all, just a few 6' max swells. We are now running north at 1300rpm/6.1 knots to our first waypoint, a headland before a slight turn back toward the coast. It is a beautiful sunny day with practically no clouds and little wind. The offshore swells are gentle and well spaced. The Naiad's are turned down to nearly their lowest settings. We have the paravane arms (only) deployed for a little extra push from the wind on the stern quarter.

Grande news flash!! There were birds feeding everywhere. Pelicans, seagulls, terns, both the black browed and the magnificent wanderer albatross and a few sea birds we don't know what they are for sure. (Pelicans and albatrosses are an unusual mix as parrots and ferns in the Deep South) In the distance Mary saw spouts.......VERY high spouts. It turned out to be several huge blue whales feeding on krill, Egret's first blue whales. We pushed thru acres of reddish krill (a small shrimp like critter a little over an inch long) on the surface. Below the krill were jillions of small fish feeding with birds feeding on both krill and fish. Tomorrow we'll have to put a couple of trolling baits out and see if anything snaps. We are close enough to the next stop we can put any fish we may catch in the fridge and give away what we can't eat or put in the freezer.

Later. Whales pop up everywhere every few minutes. We have seen more blues, humpbacks and one sei whale. Ho hum. Numbers of sea birds are working the wake to see what goodies may boil to the surface. The wind and seas have picked up a touch from the port stern quarter but we are still averaging 6.0 to 6.3 knots. It will be dark in a few hours giving Mary and I our first night watches at sea in over a year. Frank has seen many night watches in the past year. He is already familiarized with our simple electronics so he will begin his watches solo the first night.

Before today gets away there is a small personal milestone we'll pass along. Exactly six years ago today YT (yours truly) retired. Mary retired six months earlier about the same time we took delivery of our new shiny white fiberglass home. We spent this day and the next entertaining friends and former business associates aboard Egret before casting off from Bahia Mar Yacht Basin in Ft Lauderdale on April 3d, 2002. We never in our wildest dreams would have believed we would be cruising north along the Chilean coast six years later. Imagine the sights and happenings between then and now. Priceless!! Let these words percolate thru your work/media numbed brains. If its near Your Time think about this alternative lifestyle to set yourselves free. With TWO willing partners, an open mind and a spirit of adventure you'll never look back.

So there you have it mis amigos. We're off and at sea......finally. 99.58 miles down and a few more to go before NZ. Ciao.

 

 

 

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