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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 28, 2011

Position: 37 41.38N 000 08.59W Yes, in 8.59nm Egret will enter E longitude and will be once again on the far side of the world.
Speed: 5.9 knots @1360 rpm
Average Speed: 6.2 knots
Seas: .5m swell with a bit of wind chop
Wind: 7.6 knots NE
Distance traveled: 271.7nm
Distance to go: 165.5nm

G' Day mis amigos, Egret is under way once again. She left the fuel dock in Gibraltar at 1325, Tuesday afternoon. First let us say, in the past we said a number of times it would take 5 days to reach Mallorca in the Balearic Islands off the Med coast of Spain. Well, I didn't figure the mileage, I just remembered it took friends 5 days back in 2004. They must have stopped along the way because it is little over a three day trip at 6 knots. So that's good. Mary put in a waypoint just off Cabo de Gata on the SE corner of Spain. From Cabo de Gata we can either stay close to the coast and head north before turning northeast or just put in a waypoint off Mallorca and pull the trigger, weather permitting. We'll see.

Later. Mary and I were trying to figure what Cabo de Gata meant in Spanish. Cabo is Cape and Gato is Cat in Catalan, a dialect of Spanish. She looked it up in the English/Spanish dictionary and Gata means something like crawling around. Looking at the cape there is a shallow underwater peninsula up to 127 meters deep sticking quite a way due south into 500 meters of water or more. So with the wind and tide churning the water piling over that peninsula at the treeless windswept SE corner of Spain you can see how early sailing ships crawled around the cape. So now we know.

After paying marina fees and last minute details we left the dock and moved a few hundred meters to the fuel dock. Shell Oil in Gibraltar is now GO Marine (Gibraltar Oil). Shell is selling their European retail operations to an American company. So after near panic when we thought getting Rimula Oil at the last minute (Rotella T in N. America) would be difficult it was not an issue. So here's the fuel deal. Between Egret's main tanks, fuel bladders and jerry jugs we took on 4,484 liters of fuel (1180 U.S. Gallons) at .925 GP (Gibraltar/British Pounds) per liter and 5 - 20 liter pails of Rimula R3 15W 40 oil. The fuel cost about $5.48 U.S.P/U.S. Gallon. The total cost was 4395.2 GP or about $6861.46 U.S.P. The oil plus 2 pails we have in stock will last 2 years and the fuel this cruising season.

Let's talk about costs once again. First of all, you Know we aren't going to say how much it costs Egret a year to cruise because we are all very different. However, we have been giving you actual costs for this and that and will continue for the big pieces related to the boat. The cruising season in the Med is roughly from April 1st to October 1st. If we can run on the main tanks and deck fuel this season as we believe, and we show up in Barcelona for the winter on fumes, it will have cost $6,470 U.S.P for fuel. Dockage in Barcelona will be in the $6,000 U.S.P range, just guessing. Boat insurance will drop drastically during our time in the Med because there is little risk compared to higher latitudes. So what we are saying, it isn't prohibitive or stupid expensive for even squeakers like the Egret crew. Costs tend to even out whether making a big mileage push like last year or spending time in the Med with relatively few miles. We don't have the fuel costs of last year but do have wintering costs. It sorta evens out.

Currently Egret is cruising in less than 10 knots of wind, gentle swells under a clear sky with scattered pink clouds and a pink horizon to the west. The pink is sand from the Sahara desert. The happy little Lugger is turning 1350 rpm and she is making 6 - 6.1 knots. We had lunch in the flybridge driving around The Rock and are now inside the Mediterranean. The Rock from the backside is quite impressive and formidable. It is a bit cool in the flybridge and we are away from any sights except lotsa shipping so we came down below. Six mile radar looks like a shotgun blast and the AIS has been busy. MS saw me fooling around on the laptop typing this VofE and rocketed off for the first nap chores, the wench.

So with The Wench napping lets talk about something that is very close at hand just now. AIS. Egret didn't have AIS until we reached New Zealand. From the Canary Islands south, around the bottom of South America to New Zealand, I'm not sure we saw even 6 ships. The route was simply that unusual and not in any shipping lanes. The only boats anywhere that were a problem were small, unlit wooden fishing boats off the coast of Brazil that were a pain at night with no radar return. We installed AIS in NZ and it started slow but nearing Cape Leeuwein at the SW tip of Australia and again when nearing Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, AIS proved its worth. And so on. Just now there are 14 ships on 6nm radar going every which way. Now just suppose it was night, no moon and the wind and seas were cranking. AND there were all these targets on radar and you are trying to make sense of the lot. Now it is simplicimo. When the alarm goes off, push the mute button then see what's happening. Do we need to move or not? Generally not. So what we are saying is, when it is Your Time or if is already Your Time and you plan to travel in commercial traffic areas, AIS is the Real Deal.

At 0644 this morning, 4-27-11 (Wed), Egret's happy little Lugger reached 10,000 hours. Perhaps now she is broken in and moving into early adulthood. Thank you Lugger for the bulletproof conversion. And thank you John Deere for the heart. She has Never missed a beat.

0720 Wed. Wow what a night. If every night at sea were that calm and beautiful, anyone with 2 or more brain cells of imagination, adventure and the ability would be on the water. Shipping was heavy but most opposing ships passed at 6+nm. Overtaking ships passed no closer than 2nm. Dolphins were up at night as well. It is so oily calm you could hear them jumping and breathing. Phosphorescence was turning the wake into wide swaths of luminescent green. I couldn't quit watching. It was better than TV if you can imagine that. (Mary said later, when on her watch the dolphin's wake would light up and they would trail luminescent bubbles as they dove. That had to have been wild!!) There is Very little motion, just a bit of bow rise and fall. We're talking about well less than a foot of bow rise and fall unless a ships wake rolls thru, then is is just a bit more but hardly noticeable. There has been a bit of current as well. As of this morning, Egret's average speed is 6.6 knots and has been running as high as 7.2 knots at 1350 rpm just barely ticking over. Buena Vista, a largish long distance powerboat from Australia passed Egret before dark and was running at 8+ knots just ticking over as well. The longer waterline and perhaps a bit more throttle made the difference. Sunrise this morning was spectacular. It was blood red to the east from the Sahara dust. The sky was deep blue, then purple, then orange and so on and the water reflected the same. I used Mary's camera and tried to capture the colors. Hers is better than mine in low light. Looking at the back of the camera screen we got a couple keepers. Last night's sunsets shots had some keepers as well. Looking out the pilothouse glass just now there is the first evidence of any wind at all. There are small patches of wind ripples. The anemometer is showing 7.1 knots and we are generating all but .1 of that running for the moment at 7.0 knots. Yea, another tough day at sea. More to follow.

Later. The sun has been blinding as it rises and moves across the sky. We have the radar turned up to max brilliance (8) and are still on 6nm. The gain is cranked because it is so calm. There was a small target that seemed stationary and didn't have AIS show up. So I got up to get the binoculars and my sunglasses to find the target. Finally at 1/2 nm I found it in the sun. It was a float with a single radar reflector. We are going by a seamount so a fisherman has a long line or something draped over the seamount.

That reminded me of last night's fisherman episode. There was this el loco fisherman calling everyone in the Western Mediterranean on Channel 16 pleading and whining is surprisingly good English to give him room. He was trying to fish in super busy traffic areas. Most folks raise a ship, get a reply and switch to VHF 06, 08 or some other working channel. This guy did all his whining, "Oh pleeezzz Cap pi tain, I am just a poooor feesherman" etc on VHF 16 blocking the channel for a couple hours until we were out of range with the squelch cranked. There was Nothing wrong with his VHF's volume. Ships watch standers for the most part are super professional but even a couple of those guys cracked and asked he switch channels (in so many words).

I picked up Mary's sunglasses by mistake and saw green Interlux bottom paint near the lens where she adjusted them with fresh paint on her gloves. Now how many of you know wives with green bottom paint on their favorite pair of Bolle's? Is she great or what? Bottom paint on sunglasses would be an admirable goal every wife could shoot for when it is Their Time. And it doesn't have to be green. Blue, black or red will do. Thinking more about it, I think I'll send an e-mail to Joe Purtell*, our favorite Interlux rep back in Ft Lauderdale and see if Interlux couldn't put bottom paint in fingernail polish bottles with a small applicator so wives who don't want to paint their own (boat) bottom but have the look, could simply buy it at their favorite marine store and paint their own sunglasses. Even more subtle and in addition to, a couple well placed drops of matching bottom paint on their Teva sandals would be very cool in the yachtie world. It would sorta be like adding grill guards and light protective cages on giantus SUV's to drive to the mall. Or buying a raked back windshield boat that is GB-LDS rated by ABS* or Bureau de Veritas. (Girl Boat - Light Duty Service) Of course MS is the Real Deal, just like Egret.

*American Bureau of Shipping.

*Joe Purtell joe.purtell@akzonobel.com www.yachtpaint.com Joe is a good guy, has been with Interlux forever, can answer any paint questions you may have and perhaps even furnish samples of bottom paint in fingernail polish bottles. Give Joe a buzz. Tell him Scott Sr. sent you. (These days Joe works with our son, Scott Jr.)

Wed, 1500. Egret just rounded Cabo de Gata and it was just as we suspected. Even with little wind it moved into the low 20 knot range approaching the cape. The cape itself is a couple low mountains with mountain ranges both north and west of the cape. Any wind from the north or east gets accelerated along the NNE - SSW mountains trying to push inland, compresses at the mountains, accelerates south and sweeps around the cape. A similar scenario is water flowing thru the Straits of Messina between Italy and Sicily. Tides near Gibraltar and western Spain are about a meter but as you move farther north and east; east in Italy's case, tide height drops dramatically. Even so, with all the water moving between Italy and Sicily getting compressed by the Straits it moves quite rapidly and with it creating its own localized sea breeze. So when plotting a course, now you know that when you compress wind by mountains or high hills or water by deep to shallow, or in a venturi like the Straits of Messina, both wind and water accelerate. The acceleration is obviously increased in windy areas or areas of high tides. Again as we suspected, as Egret moved away from land the wind dropped to less than 10 knots.

Wed, 2200. It was another great day at sea plus 3 super meals from MS, and now she is off watch. After moving away from the cape and it calmed, we double checked weather and decided to pull the trigger and head straight to Mallorca. We have a turning waypoint south of the smallest Balearic Island of Formentera. The waypoint is south of the shallower water and away from shore so the wind and seas should be normal and not accelerated. Formentera is popular with the young European crowd. It has a long sand beach full of sun worshipers. This was Egret's first landfall after the NAR back in 2004. It was on this beach where we saw our first mass topless sun bathing. Walking inland we found the remains of a Roman road and thought we really saw something historical. Of course as time went by this was nothing but a pile of rocks in perspective. Formentera isn't our kind of deal so we moved on to Mallorca. This time we will bypass both Formentera and Ibiza and will just visit Mallorca and Menorca. (The 4 Isla Baleares)

We received an e-mail from New Paige Joan back in Canada saying New Paige Roger should arrive in Mallorca Friday afternoon from Sardinia. Egret will arrive in Mallorca at the same time, so we e-mailed back and asked Joan to ask Roger if he couldn't just come around the corner to Andratx and anchor with Egret. The last time we were together was in Nelson, South Island, New Zealand. Small world.

Speaking of small worlds, I almost forgot. Our last day in Gibraltar, Mary and I were walking into town and almost literally ran into an American couple we met in Ushuaia, Argentina with a Westsail (43' sailboat). A couple years later on an around the world flight to see our son in Thailand and connect the family dots we stopped in London to stay with Brit friends we met in Patagonia as well. They had been in e-mail contact with Mallard (the Westsail) who were wintering in Brighton, England (on the SE coast), so we drove down and spent some time with them. And now here they were again. The Mallards plan to inland travel a bit then spend perhaps one more year in the Med then sail back to the U.S. and mix coastal cruising with dirt dwelling. So anyhow, small world indeed.

Wow, I was getting ready to shut down the laptop when lights were dancing around the pilothouse. Outside was a small coastal patrol boat of some type with lotsa guns and young guys with flack jackets and lotsa more guns. Mary came up and they asked where we came from, we said Gibraltar, one guy spoke to another in an American accent and repeated Gibraltar. Then they asked where we were going and we told them Mallorca. With the two mom and pops standing there they just waved and left. We believe they were a NATO patrol boat because of a Spanish accent we heard and the obvious American voice. Later a Spanish accent was hailing a sailboat with no reply. Then someone repeated the message in French and did get a reply so here again, we think they were NATO. Pretty cool and we are glad they are here.

Thur, 0920. Shipping traffic during the night thinned but was more problematic. Ships were leaving inland ports heading for the shipping lanes an difficult angles. We had to change course 3 times. After the NATO patrol boat episode we had a military helicopter flying over the shipping lanes most of the night. This morning, fishing boats pulling nets have been everywhere. We obviously track them on radar (they don't have AIS) but they fish bottom contours or current rips so meander vs a straight line course. We have had to change direction a few times for them as well. Now we are moving into deeper water away from the mainland coast so the fishing boat traffic should thin.

One last techno item before we fire this VofE into space. Yesterday afternoon I was doing nap chores in the salon and heard what I thought was a machinery whine related to rpm. First I checked the shaft stuffing box and it was cool. Then it was a temp gun reading of the gear. It was cool. It persisted and because it was so calm we popped off autopilot, centered the Naiad's and went to idle out of gear so I could check the oil level in the gear. It seemed a tiny bit low so we added a touch of oil. (Straight 40 weight. When it is cool like in Argentina or Chile we used 30 weight. The gear temp with respective oil weights are scribed on a brass plate riveted to the gear) Back in gear and up and running the noise seemed to go away but returned this morning. Mary put her ear to the stack housing and could hear it clearly. While speeding up to pass a couple fishing boats the noise went away. Bottom line: it was a harmonics problem at 1340 rpm. Now we are running at 1360 rpm and it is quiet. Another lesson learned.

The next VofE will have a Gibraltar to Mallorca trip wrap up and first impressions of Mallorca. However, while you may be waiting for the next VofE, Mary and I will be enjoying cafe' con leche' and light as a cloud empasadas (pastries) at the little waterfront cafe' in the seaside village of Andratx. Yes, I know it is cruel to say things like that but it is the truth and the truth sometimes hurts, however the choice is yours to join us or not. You get the picture. Ciao.

Passagemaker Magazine asked if they could sister publish VofE (along with the N.com site) in their internet blog section of the magazine. We agreed because PMM can help spread the cruising abuse you now endure to an even larger audience. So a few more minds will become twisted but more importantly, informed. Information and inspiration is what VofE is all about.

 

 

 

April 25, 2011

Trip stats from Gran Canaria to Marina Bay, Gibraltar
Total Distance: 709.97nm
Total time at sea: 4 days, 3 hours, 20 minutes
Average Speed: 7.2 knots
Highest speed: 17.7 knots (must have been surfing down a giantus wave)
Fuel burn: 265 U.S. Gallons - 1007 liters
Fuel reserve on arrival: 200 U.S. Gallons - 760 liters
NM per gallon: 2.67 This is our lowest ever but we were pushing to make a daylight arrival and miss weather.
NM per liter: .70
Engine hours at finish: 9982.1 (we predicted to reach 10,000 hours on this trip but came up a bit short. Soon to come.)
Generator hours at sea: 0
Water used: 50 gallons - 190 liters

Position: 36 08.88N 005 21.26W Marina Bay, Gibraltar (Marina Bay is a marina in the Gibraltar recreational boating complex)

Thur, 1330. The wind picked up to the mid 30 knot range gusting to 47 knots or so with a squall line moving from west to east. Fortunately the wind and seas are behind Egret so far and fairly square to the stern. When RBG's roll thru we get a twist and roll job. Mary said a while ago we rolled 40 degrees. However, there is a 486' (152m) tanker* passing to stbd at 1.05nm (according to the AIS) that has waves sweeping over the bow and down the deck because it is so heavily loaded it can't rise to the waves. Spray is going everywhere. That's cool. What is even better, Egret has NO spray on the pilothouse glass and hasn't the entire trip except for a bit of fresh water from rain. We are sooo lucky. That could be Egret running into the seas bashing to windward, probably at 4.2 - 4.5 knots or so.

The tanker is on its way to Walvis Bay (Whale Bay), Namibia, arriving 0900, May 4th. Lucky dog. Mary and I really enjoyed our time there.

We had a another guest appear. There have been martin type birds around Egret during the day from time to time. Late this afternoon one flew thru the open pilothouse window and tried to fly out the pilothouse glass. I caught it in a towel, Mary snapped a quick picture and we let it go. It stayed with the boat for a while then disappeared.

Around 1900 local (Thurs - tonight) the weather will be at its worst then will diminish for the remainder of the trip, however the seas are predicted to move from astern to the beam at 3.3 meters (10.5') and 9.8 second spacing. When they do move to the beam we'll just give the Naiad knobs a twist. Latest weather shows mild westerlies into the Straits of Gibraltar at the time of our estimated arrival. We'll see.

Fri, 0700. It was quite a night. When it gets rough I get feisty. Last night I was going to write something about being out in this slop in a girl boat and carry on but it was too rough to type and I'll spare you the narration. Lets just say it would not have been nice to be out in a lesser boat. In the dark these giantus white things kept popping up all around the boat, higher than the boat. Every now and again she would spin like on a turntable when a RBG blasted thru until the rudder caught and swung back the other way. Mary said she saw a wave break into the cockpit and I felt one but didn't see it. Of course the water was gone in a nanosecond so it wasn't any biggie. Finally in the hours before daylight this morning things got a little more reasonable. The past hour or so it has been raining giving the little girl a nice rinse. The boat traffic has increased and the CPA is getting closer as we near the turning point. It isn't far until waypoint 005 where we make a slight jog to stbd then across the shipping lanes. It is only 39nm total to the far side of the Strait and then a shorter distance into Gibraltar Bay or officially, Bahia de Algeciras. It won't be long. The waypoint lollipop (005) just popped up on 12nm radar. This is exciting.

OK, here is the Straits of Gibraltar deal. When we left the last time we got killerated rounding the Moroccan point where the Med and Atlantic meet. This time we caught the flood tide exactly perfect, there were no waves and we were rocketing. We turned inside an incoming ship, changed course drastically and slowed quite a bit, but in a half hour or so the ship was riding the same tide and took off. We changed course to cross the Strait on an angle skipping the original waypoint. The predicted weather of severe westerlies apparently missed us and we have southerlies at 11-15 knots of breeze. The Strait is relatively calm with a gentle swell. There is no incoming traffic behind Egret however 6 mile radar is full of outgoing traffic. As we close with the outbound lanes we will pick a place to dodge thru traffic to the shallow northern side. The AIS has been frantic. Mary has been the mute button pusher for a while. It has cleared since the rain left so I would have to say it is as good as it gets. The Gib marinas are about 25nm away. It is 1050 local. The Rock is hiding in the clouds. More to follow.

Pick a place to dodge traffic we did after splitting two outgoing ships. Once in the shallow water on the N side of the Strait we rocketed with the flood tide. The bay was busy but no biggie picking our way thru the traffic. We called 'Gibraltar Port' on VHF 12 to ask permission to enter the dock area to Marina Bay (marina). Permission granted. Marina Bay had a killer spot on the brandy new floating docks in the complex next door. The cost is 23 GP (Gibraltar Pounds - same as British Pounds) per night. Floating docks in the Med are rare and allow us to Med moor* without using the passarelle. We will stay until Tuesday when we can get a 'pratique' from the Port Authority which essentially restarts the E.U. clock. Egret will leave after receiving the pratique and fueling assuming weather is cooperating. Med weather in the spring can be volatile so we must be careful.

*Med mooring is very different than docking in the U.S. Dock space is an absolute premium most everywhere so there aren't any finger piers or side ties. Here you back in to the dock and attach two stern lines. Then you pick up the 'slime line' which is a small messenger line attached to a heavy line that goes forward and attaches to a transverse chain. Anyhow, you pick up the slime line, walk it forward, pass the heavy line thru the hawse pipe, take 3 turns on the windlass (after loosening the clutch making the capstan operational and chain wheel inoperable) and stand on the windlass button. This tightens the large line that goes forward and the boat is suspended between the stern lines and bow lines. Usually there are two bow lines and 4 stern lines after everything is sorted. The 4 stern lines are tied like this; two from the side hawse pipes to the cleats on the dock, and two from the transom crossing in an X to keep side to side motion in check. There is little tide in the Med so there are no issues there.

After we got the power hooked up and a quick wash it was champagne time. I think it evaporated on the way down. This was the third and last bottle of South African champagne. Mary, Dickiedoo and I enjoyed the first after crossing the Equator and the second after reaching the Canary Islands. So that is the end of the champagne. Oh well, I guess we will have to drink the local wine. Ho hum.

After our short time in Gibraltar there is so much to write about we don't know where to start but need to stop relatively quickly because tomorrow we lose internet access to send pictures. Egret is berthed at Marina Bay's new floating docks in the latest waterfront renovation project. Gibraltar enjoys a special tax status that residents are only taxed a maximum of 15,000 GP (Gibraltar Pounds) a year. With Gib being such a tiny geographic area everything had to be built up and new development in the past few years has been remarkable. With so many fleeing stupid tax rates to support the non workers it is no wonder Gib has exploded. I will say the locals have done a great job and the new towers are good looking and organized. After a quickie boat wash, Mary and I hit the bricks and hiked half way up The Rock the morning after arrival. We would like to spend more time exploring this small area dripping with history but have a great weather window to get to the Balearics and meet Roger from N55 New Paige 2. We also needed to go because there is a camera store with U.S. mail order prices with Everything in stock. I did buy a lens I Needed (there is a difference between want and need and I needed this lens......you get the picture) It was so cheap compared to U.K. prices that a U.K. resident could fly to Gib on a package weekend deal, spend the weekend, buy the lens, return home and save money on the lens AND have a free weekend.

Tomorrow morning (Tue) we will visit the Port Authority and get a 'pratique' which is a document that restarts the E.U. clock after having spent a couple months in Gran Canaria (Spain). After a quickie trip to the marina office to pay the bill then it will be across the way for fuel and oil. The fuel will last all season and we will buy 2 years of engine oil. By filling the fuel bladders and buying oil early the savings will be over $2,000 U.S.P and this doesn't include filling the main tanks.

Now for a little techno. We had to change a new Racor filter element just a couple days out from Las Palmas. Then the second new filter's vacuum started climbing. So we got dirty fuel in Las Palmas. We have had spotless fuel since Chile all the way to Las Palmas. We were down to 200 U.S. Gallons - 760 liters of fuel so we transfered fuel from the port tank to the stbd tank leaving a couple gallons. So I went to work spraying the tanks walls and bottom with the same fuel and THEN had a brainstorm. After washing everything I put the Baja filter into the tank inspection port, stuck the discharge hose inside and swished the intake hose back and forth for 4-5 minutes or so. (We had ty wraped the intake hose to a 5/8" - 15mm, hardwood dowel) You should have seen the dirt in the Baja filter!! Nasty. This is in addition to whatever the circulation pump trapped during the time under way in its 10 micron filter. (We run the circ pump full time when under way from departure to arrival) We repeated the same on the other side. Of course you know who had a dumb attack and dropped the filter into the tank when I was removing it and had to do the deal again. The big advantage to this new method vs the old way of pumping those 2 gallons into a jerry jug is it eliminates one step and probably gets the tank even cleaner. If we have filters clog after leaving Gib we know what the deal is.

We met three powerboaters that follow VofE here in the marina. The first are from the U.K. and have a largish coastal cruiser trawler. We spent time this afternoon with them and had a good visit. They would Love to have Egret's fuel mileage. They have two 460hp Cat's. The next we met are Aussies with a largish long distance trawler. In two years since delivery they have made two trips from Oz north into the island chains visiting New Caledonia, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and Pappa New Guinea. They shipped to the Med and arrived a couple hours before Egret. The third is a large go fast boat from the U.K. that suits their lifestyle now until the kids are in university then they want to do what Egret and the Aussies do. I imagine we'll see the Brits and Aussies who are heading to the Balearic's along the way. Great fun. It really is a small world.

So there you have it. Life at sea, not enough about historical Gibraltar, techno and meeting two no longer dreamers and one dreamer with a plan. Ciao.

 

April 21, 2011
Location: en route Gibraltar

G' Day mis amigos, Egret is back at sea. It is a beautiful sunny day with 20 knots of breeze behind the beam, 2 meter or so swells and she is running along at 6.6 knots at the moment turning 1450 rpm. She cleared the marina jetty in Las Palmas at 1210pm local. Currently it is 1600. Her course is NE at 048 degrees M, steering 054 degrees M, on an overall trip of 707nm to the last waypoint off Marina Bay entrance in Gibraltar. Dolphins escorted her for the first few miles and largish shearwater type birds have been working the wake for a while. As we said in the last VofE, this will be Egret's last ocean voyage for some time. We plan a couple, few years in the Med then plan to work our way to Scandinavia for a while then recross the Atlantic via Iceland, Greenland, Newfoundland and so on back to the U.S. What will really happen is anyone's guess.

We'll have sea conditions as they unfold but let's get back to Puerto de Mogan (Mo gahn') on the south coast of Gran Canaria where Egret hauled. PdeM is a tiny fishing harbor with a small recreational marina and resort apartments on the flat and local housing on the hills above. The coastal area is quite dry with mountains all around, narrow twisty roads and protected from the predominate NE trade winds. Because of storage boats and fish traps, there is only room in the working yard to haul two boats Egret's size and one about 30' or so set to the side. We told the yard manager we didn't have a set schedule because we didn't know when the parts coming from the States would arrive but also didn't make a big deal out of it because possession is 9/10ths of the law and once on the hard it would be hard to get rid of us. Easter weekend was coming and everyone was trying to get hauled for the big weekend. Unfortunately we blocked a German cruiser with a large Beneateau sailboat but in the end he resigned himself to being trapped until Egret went overboard.

Mary and I put two thick coats of Interlux Micron Extra green on the bottom and a third coat at the waterline. The bottom was surprisingly clean after painting last in New Zealand, December 09, and a pressure washing only before leaving Australia. We did change zincs in Australia and again in PdeM. During the day when we weren't working we walked around the village, rented a car to pick up parts and snapped a few pictures here and there.

There is a cool story in Picture 1. Mary snapped this great picture of PdeM from the car as we were driving back to Las Palmas to pick up parts. It was early morning. We waited until a few cars passed then left after them hoping to be able to stop quickly for this picture at the highest point in the road. Welllll, some Big Dog in a giantus Audi came roaring up behind in a cloud of dust, indignation and importance. You know, Audi has done a great job with a little marketing trick. New giantus Audi's have these cute little led lights that look like a smile on either side of the headlights. I imagine you can turn the silly things off during the day but of course BD's leave them glowing so everyone knows they are BD's and have a giantus Audi. So anyhow, BD was huffing and puffing in our wake as I was trying to position Mary for The Shot. In the end we slowed to about 20k's, about 12mph, for this particular shot. Well, BD nearly stroked out. So I did my BD deal and gave him a shot of 25 years experience in race cars. AND I didn't break the speed limit or even stand on the gas.

There are three truths in racing. You can decelerate 10 times faster than you can accelerate. Exit speed (out of a turn) squares itself. If you are on the outside, you loose. Back to number one and two. By carrying braking a touch later than normal then smoothly accelerating out of a turn sooner than usual you can rocket away from typical BD's in their giantus cars. The most fun was to reach a speed about 5k's under the limit and let BD come roaring up behind and find the little rat rental Citroen traveling under the limit after you just pulled out a big lead. Then the fellow fumes, eats stomach lining and so on until the next turn when you smoothly rocket away to 5k's under the limit once again. So we did this for a while on the twisty mountain road until the Predictable Event; at the first glimmer of a straightaway, BD rocketed around the little rat car in a flurry of impotence (driving skills) and impatience. When he finally turned off at the next town we were just a few feet behind putting along in traffic just as he was.

Anyhow, that is the story of Picture 1.

The pictures taken at magic hour just before sunset with wire frames in the pictures, the wire frames are for fish traps. If you have to use fish traps, these are the most humane we have seen to date. The wire frames you see are covered in light chicken wire that rusts away quickly. So if the trap is lost it doesn't kill fish for long. The trap fishermen are continually cutting rusty wire off the frames and replacing it with fresh wire. There was a large dumpster behind Egret just for the fishermen's old wire. There were two abandoned fishing boats on the beach with stored trap frames that made perfect backgrounds for sunset shots.

Mary told me this scary PdeM story. There was a really old dude with a cane walking alongside Egret as it was being lifted and taken to the haul slip as we were leaving. We saw him every day in the early morning. He would walk thru the yard to the restaurante' out by the fishing boats for morning cafe' con leche' and a chat with his fellow ol' tyme fishermen buddys then walk back to town. He probably didn't hear well or see well so was puttering along and walked just in front of the travel lift as it was moving. Mary said it just missed him.

Faces of Spain. And then there is the travel lift operator who also is the local fork lift operator. This character would start the folk lift every morning just after daybreak, drive thru the yard, around the yard, sometimes move a few fish traps for show and just generally run the fork lift to be seen by his buddys. He would stop and talk to every one from his high perch looking down on the peasantry and do you think he would turn off the fork lift so both could hear? Never. Why would he? He is Fork Lift Man. And then of course when he fires up the travel lift he is in FLM heaven. FLM has NO travel lift spotter like every other yard in the world because the boss, Miguel, keeps busy with coffee breaks and doing paperwork for two launches a week. So FLM recruits touristas, fishermen or boat owners to guide the lift. Mary and I were spotters for Egret's launch. We did have to stop FLM from ripping an awning off a local tienda (store selling el tourista junko) with protruding hydraulic lines, while the frantic tienda owner rolled in the awning. So now you know about FLM of Puerto de Mogan.

Yard charges were 335 EU (about $500 U.S.P.) including lay days, haul and launch. Because it was Saturday when we hauled, FLM who normally does the pressure cleaning was off after he lifted Egret so local hustler Ramon charged 50 EU to pressure wash (included during the week). In the end I fired up the pressure washer after Ramon left and got everything perfecto (perfect).

(Yikes......a target just showed up on AIS with a CPA (Closest Point of Approach) of .06nm and a time to CPA of 16.25 minutes. Yes, we changed course 20 degrees to stbd at 4.45nm)

More to follow.

Late this afternoon a pigeon landed on the cockpit cap rail. Mary spotted it desperately drinking water from the passarelle socket. It was banded and was not afraid so I suspect it is a racing pigeon or something. Mary put out bread soaked in water but it didn't eat. When it jumped in a bucket with a couple crocs inside (shoes), she poured some water inside and the pigeon slurped it down. Later Mary put out a water dish on the mat behind the salon door. The pigeon drank and drank then settled in for a nap. Just before dark it flew off. Good luck to it. There was no land for over 50nm in any direction.

Mon, 2200. Egret has been underway 10 hours. Her average speed is 6.4 knots. A full moon is lighting up the water outside the open stbd salon door. A ship is getting ready to pass from behind at 5.4nm to port. The AIS didn't go off because we have the alarm set to a CPA of 4nm or closer with a closing time of 25 minutes or less. The ride is good with a little corkscrewing in the following seas when a big set rolls thru. Mr Naiad is doing his deal and the ride is great. Mary is down below sleeping off watch. Tonight I told her I will watch until I got sleepy then will wake her. After we'll do our usual 4 hour watches.

Tue, 0830. The sun is up and it is another beautiful day with clear skys, a few puffy white clouds AND it calmed somewhat during the night. It also appears to be getting a bit cooler as we move north. During the early morning hours we passed west of the northernmost Canary island of Lanzarote. 198nm to the east is the Moroccan coast. Egret is just north and west of the town of Sidi Ifni. We set our turning waypoint about 65nm off the coast of Morocco to keep honest fishermen honest (312nm to the NE). Some Argentine power boaters told us when they were close to the Moroccan coast an old wooden fishing boat called them and claimed distress. When they Argentines closed, the fishing boat tried to ram them on the stbd side so they could damage the powerboat then claim the powerboat violated rules of the road, tow the damaged powerboat into port and claim salvage. They managed to avoid ramming and were able to outrun the fishing boat. In any case it is easy to stay off the coast and it costs little extra time. Egret's turning waypoint is: 33 36.42N 009 40.95W, west of and between the coastal cities of El Jadida to the south and Casablanca to the north. The next waypoint is 35 45.23N 006 11.39W. This waypoint is offshore of the 200 meter shelf to keep out of the current waves as much as possible as the Med and Atlantic swap water. And the next waypoint is 35 58.7005 44.80W across the Strait, north of the outbound shipping lanes. The course threads between Banco Majuan (Bank) and another relatively shallow part so whatever wind waves there may be won't be worsened by swirling current over sea mounts and broken bottom. The rest of the waypoints are just connect a dot into Gibraltar, north of the shipping lanes.

So what will today bring? One thing for sure, I made coffee for MS. She comes on watch in 11 minutes but she didn't sleep well last night off watch (she never does the first night out) so I'll take her coffee down below and tell her she can sleep as long as she wants. When the sun comes up we both come alive and could go forever. Other than that we don't have a clue except we do have a line out so we will see if something snaps.

Tue, 1450. Mary is fixing lunch. I just changed a primary Racor filter at 4.5" of vacuum and replaced the broken AA battery holder in the stove that powers the igniter for the gas. We bought a battery holder in Ft Lauderdale at good ol' Radio Shack after ours got cracked by a sliding pan. At the time we duct taped it back together but today it gave up so we did the deal. Now MS is happy and I'm getting fed. Win, win.

Wed, 0715. Mary is down below sleeping off watch. At 0630 this morning the sky started to lighten to the east. Quickly the sky went into its orange band at the horizon stage then went flat for a while and just now the dark rain clouds that minutes ago disappeared into the darkness have orange fringes. This is one of the treats of being at sea, particularly on a kind morning like this morning. Tomorrow morning may be different as you will see from OMNI Bob's weather report at the bottom of this VofE. We received Bob's report last night at 2000 local. We pushed the throttle up to 1675 from 1425 and went from the middle 6 knot range to the low 7 knot range. Later during the night Egret was running in the high 7's and occasionally touching 8 knots. Just now she is back to the low 7 knot range.

Wed, 1200. Flat seas are over. A small front pushed thru with just 15 knots of wind briefly followed by a vanguard of waves from the low churning away to the north and west. As the low moves south the seas will increase along with the wind. The highest winds will be from behind and the largest waves will be on the beam. It doesn't look that bad, just sloppy. Farther to the west is IS that bad. 10 meter seas on tight spacing driven by 40 knots of wind. The car carrier looking ship that passed below Egret's stern yesterday evening seemed to be heading straight into it. Yikes!! Spring is definitely not the time of year to be fooling around near the Azores or Madeira in a small boat.

Wed, 1800. Mary made a slight course adjustment to stbd heading directly for waypoint 5 near the entrance to the Straits of Gibraltar. This will slightly put the wind more on the stern when it arrives later this evening or early tomorrow morning. It will be interesting to see if the increased push from the wind makes up for the sloppy seas. We'll see.

Thur, 0945. Before we fire this VofE into space we will describe last night and this morning. It is usual to have NE trade winds blowing the year round in this area. We resigned ourselves to pounding uphill to Gibraltar as is the norm. However, with the low churning away to the north and west the CCW winds have reached between the coast of Africa (Morocco) and the center of the low. (At least for the time being) Starting last night, winds picked up to the 25 knot range from behind so we have been enjoying a major wind job pushing us uphill in the high 7 to low 8 knot range. Egret's average speed has risen from 6.4 knots when we increased rpm to 1675 from 1425 after a day and a half, to 6.9 knots. Currently she is making 7.9 knots. The seas are lumpy on top of a fair size swell. Between Mr Naiad doing his deal and Mr Simrad (autopilot) doing his deal, the ride is very good with just a bit of corkscrewing when a big set rolls thru. You would never guess the ride looking at the seas. Egret is surrounded by rain showers but unfortunately has gotten just a brief rinse but nothing substantial. There is no heavy wind with with the showers and no lightning. And of course OMNI Bob called the shots perfectly so nothing was a surprise.

Bottom line: life at sea is very good at the moment. Egret will arrive in Gibraltar tomorrow afternoon well before dark unless things change significantly. We sent an e-mail to Marina Bay where the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally boats berthed at the finish of the rally (July, 2004). We have yet to hear back but it would be great to get in for nostalgia's sake. We will send a trip wrap up on Monday as well as Gibraltar impressions. Next comes the Mediterranean. Prepare to be tortured. Enjoy the holidays. Ciao.

The sunset picture taken Wed night has a bit of Egret history flying from the pennant staff. First is the yellow ribbon we fly as a tell tale for wind direction. Somewhere we received a yellow lei before we left the Med. We flew ribbons of the lei during the entire circumnavigation but this is the last piece. However, we have a second purple lei so you will see that from now on. The more significant item is the Seven Seas Cruising Association Associates pennant. This is the last of 3 from when Egret left the Med. The first two were shredded before Cape Horn. We flew this pennant around Cape Horn, the other capes and significant landfalls. The balance of the time it is wrapped tight to the pennant staff and held in place by a single ty wrap.

Mary and I joined SSCA before delivery in 2001. We went to the Sunday morning SSCA breakfast get togethers in Ft Lauderdale to meet other cruisers and to glean any information we could about our new endeavor. At the time we joined, SSCA begrudgingly allowed long distance powerboaters to join but were reserved to Associate status no matter if they met the qualifying miles or requirements to become Commodores. Of course we all want what we can't have but then we changed. Two sailboats we respect as much as any in the world are SSCA members and have maintained their Associate status. Egret will never, ever come close to their accomplishments so if Associate status is good enough for them it is for ourselves as well. However, a few people have worked tirelessly to get powerboaters Commodore status. One is Al Golden from IMIS Insurance. (Al@IMIScorp.net) Al has insured Egret since she left the Mediterranean. When we were struggling to get insurance for the South America trip, Al came thru in 3 days. We have been with IMIS and the Jackline Program ever since. Via e-mail I argued with Al to keep Egret's Associate status but in light of the work Al and others have done to promote powerboaters that go somewhere, we agreed to be sponsored by Al and long time SSCA Commodores, Milt and Judy Baker, N47 Bluewater. So what we are saying, some months from now Egret will be proudly flying the SSCA Commodore pennant from the bow staff.

In the meantime Egret will fly the Associates pennant. When the time comes we will have it framed behind glass. There is a lot of history behind that faded nylon triangle.

SSCA is a world wide social organization with over 10,000 members founded in the 1950's. SSCA produces a monthly bulletin with articles of interest from members about anchorages and destinations all over the world. This information is Priceless. www.ssca.org office@ssca.org 954 771-5660

Here is a link to a 'fireside chat' interview PAE did of Mary and I while back in the U.S. It started out to be a quick interview but fortunately the interviewer is a boater himself and they plan to head into the sunset when it is Their Time, so kinda off camera he asked questions they were interested in and we got on a roll. We saw the 5 video segments the other day for the first time and I believe you will enjoy them. Also, this isn't just for guys but the admirals as well. Mary gives her opinion about things and there is a lot of consoling possible fears during the segments. http://www.nordhavn.com/egret/video.php

To: Captain Scott - M/Y EGRET
Fm: O.M.N.I./USA www.oceanmarinenav.com Tel: 1-302-284-3268
1815UTC 19 APR 2011

Captain, thanks for your 19/1700UTC position.

Weak low pressure off the coast of Portugal is expected to merge with a stronger developing low east of the Azores through Wed/am. The new, complex low should work its way across 35N 15W through Wed/aftn-eve, then across 36N 11W through Thur/morning-midday. Thereafter the low should move north to off the coast of Portugal through Thur/night-Fri/am. However, the circulation around this low should extend to the Morocco coast and Gibraltar Thur/night-Fri/am.

As a result, you have about 24hrs or good weather left. After approx Thur/0000UTC, you should start to notice increasing SSW-WSW winds with a gradually building NW-ly swell pattern. This increasing pattern will continue through the Gibraltar Straits on Friday as well as to arrival Gibraltar and along the south coast of Spain through Fri/night.

With increasing wind/seas developing, gradually enroute to Gibraltar, you may wish to consider either a closer coast to the Morocco coast or increase your speed in order to minimize the time you encounter the strongest winds and highest seas. Expect:

Tue/19 eve-night: Range WSW-SSW 10-15kts. Seas 0.5-1.0mtrs 6-8sec through Tue/night. Swells: WSW to WNW 1.0-2.0mtrs, 8-10sec

Wed/20: Range SW-SE to occ ESE 10-15kts. Seas 0.5-1.0mtrs, 6-8sec. Swells: WNW to WSW-SW 1.5-2.0mtrs, 8-9sec.

Thur/21: Freshening WSW-SSW to more ESE at times; 10-20kts through the morning, then 20-25kt, gusty/30kts. Seas increasing 1.5-2.5mtrs thru the day, could reach 3.0mtrs late Thur. Swells SW-WSW, could become more WNW during Thur/am, 1.5-2.5mtrs, 8-10sec.

Fri/21-Gib: SSW-WSW 20-30kt, gusty/35kt at times. Seas 2.0-3.0mtrs, with Swells WNW-NW 2.0-3.0mtrs, 9-11sec Fri/am. Westerly gusts of 35-40kts possible through Gibraltar Straits throughout the day.

We will continue to watch this pattern and update. Please continue to advise your daily posn/weather while enroute. B/Rgds, Bob/OMNI

 

 

April 18, 2011

Position: At sea somewhere north of Las Palmas, Gran Canaria (this VofE was sent shortly before departure)


View of Mulle Deportivo (marina) the Puerto de Luz (Harbor of Lights
- commercial harbor, and part of the land based homes and businesses in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria.

G' Day mis amigos, lets talk about shipping into a foreign country. VofE is written to an international audience but what we are going talk about here is shipping from the U.S. to another country AND with limited experience on our end. We currently have an ongoing incidence with Fed Ex shipping into Las Palmas from the U.S. The Canary Islands are a duty free zone so you would think shipping into here would not be an issue. It is.

We have a 75lb box coming from the U.S. shipped via Fed Ex to Las Palmas. I believe what has happened is the same thing that happened to us in Argentina when parts were shipped via Fed Ex from the U.S. and it took 10 days with parts held up in Buenos Aires Customs, actually an agent Customs uses before we received them and only then by hiring a private car and driver from Buenos Aires to drive them to the Customs office where we were. Customs then had to come to the boat and open the package on board to make sure they matched the manifest.

The same thing has happened again. Fed Ex in the Argentina case shipped to the major hub in Buenos Aires via a Fed Ex plane then was forward by an independent shipper. Here the parts were flown by Fed Ex to Madrid and there the parts sat for days in the care of Spanish Customs before it will be released to the independent shipper hired by Fed Ex. It is a VERY long story but Spanish Customs would not release the shipment to us and told us we had to find a Spanish national to use his personal Spanish I.D. number and take personal responsibility for the shipment. In the end we did by spreading a liberal dose of Euros and paying expensive customs fees.

Here is where it gets beyond an inconvenience. In this case the parts were tools and just in case stuff to be used by a tech flown from the States to fix a specialized problem. The tech arrived on Tuesday. Today is Friday, we hope to haul tomorrow am and the parts are supposed to arrive 50 kilometers away on Monday or Tuesday being delivered to the Spanish national. So when they are in we will rent a car and retrieve the parts and get busy. The worst case scenario fix is 11 labor hours. Then after the fix we hope to be put back overboard for sea trials. We are coming up on Easter weekend and Easter is a big holiday for locals. Of course many locals waited until the last minute to haul themselves, so this yard is a back up yard. Hopefully we won't be blocked in because it is a tiny fishing yard. (Puerto de Mogan on the south coast of Gran Canaria)

Now here is the tough part. We told the company to ship the parts with the tech, and Why, and even what travel agent* to use in Ft Lauderdale who's specialty is crew movement all over the world AND they have a no charge policy for changes on the return flight. Global Marine Travel also gets two 50lb bag allowances per person on an international flight, even with a connecting domestic flight. Las Palmas IS a duty free port and you can walk thru the nothing to declare line with what you wish. We have found it the same in all our travels including 350lbs thru the nothing to declare line in Istanbul. The only time we got stopped (EVER) was in Barcelona. We argued the Vessel in Transit deal, had the documentation and in the end just wore the agent out and he got rid of us.

*Global Marine Travel, info@flyissgmt.com, 954 761-9595

How this is going to work out in the end I don't have a clue. We certainly don't want to pay a tech's wages for days and days when we had nothing to do with the shipment AND told them exactly how to handle things putting the liability on ourselves. The story even gets deeper but I won't bore you with those details. Who it is doesn't matter. What matters is the lesson.

So why am I even bringing up this whinefest? When it is Your Time or if it is already Your Time, remember what happened here and the time before. My advice is to research what is best for whatever it is you are doing then insist that is how it is done coordinating parts with the person, however the liability will be yours. Now you know the questions to ask, like WHO is actually going to deliver the parts.......Fed Ex, UPS, DHL all the way, yes - no, who is, etc. Like medicine, your care, or parts are in your hands.

Later. We were told by Argentine cruisers living in Gran Canaria, the ONLY way to ship into Gran Canaria is by your country's postal service, NOT by private carrier like Fed Ex, UPS or DHL. He said Madrid Customs are the issue.

It is Sunday evening, we have two coats of Interlux Micron Extra green on the bottom, zincs changed and now it is just waiting for parts. Of course the tech is having the time of his life living our life along with us. We rented a car and took him sightseeing inland for his birthday plus sightseeing every day in Las Palmas. Here in Puerto de Mogan when Mary and I aren't working, we have been walking around the harbor and tiny tourist village. Of course the tech is getting slowly twisted into our way of thinking. We told him when he gets home he and his sweetie who are currently looking at an expensive apartment rental to forget it, put the rent money into buying a small trawler and live aboard. Then they can have weekends out of the marina on the water and have a great time. Of course they may rent the apartment and live as boring usual but again they may not. We're working on it.

Since Egret came out of the water there has been a steady stream of the curious and fellow cruisers stopping by. The curious tourists seem to be most interested in the paravanes, stabilizer fins and the wing shaft and prop. The German cruiser in the large sailboat ahead of Egret has been lotsa places including the South Pacific, New Zealand and Australia. So we have been chatting with him and he still has the enthusiasm of a newbie. He gave us a great tip about a couple islands just south of Corsica. We'll be in Corsica in a couple months so we'll have to check it out. A couple of Argentines stopped by that were first sailors and later long distance power boaters for some years then sold that and are currently boatless. The past few years they have been living in Gran Canaria but are now looking at another small boat for sailing inter island. Mary was talking to a fellow that seemed to have a French accent but is a Spaniard from Barcelona. Rico circumnavigated in his own boat, then captained largish charter sailboats in the Caribbean. He came to Gran Canaria on a 2 year plan and has stuck for 12 years. These days Rico is the captain of the Yellow Submarine, a real sure nuff submarine that seats about 20. So he invited us to be his guests today, sat us in the front seats so we had views not only thru the side windows and front glass. He even gave us some extra time and did two laps around a couple wrecks. Great fun. We find boat yards are hard work at times but never boring. Egret as always is a people magnet and Puerto de Mogan is no different.

Now we have a dilemma. Before we left Las Palmas we sent Jenny Stern in Rhode Island a pile of pictures to be posted with this VofE. They are showing Las Palmas and the surrounds with a single Faces of Spain. Of course during the magic hour just before dark we have been snapping a few more pics here in Puerto Mogan, the Yellow Submarine pics and so on. Puerto Mogan is a small fishing harbor full of real fishing boats and fishermen plus the usual tourista dwellings. This entire area is so picturesque and photogenic we can't stop shooting. Its always a dilemma when the pictures overrun the words. We'll work it out.

The next hurdle is picking up the parts. It is Monday, the parts are supposed to have arrived in Las Palmas today. As of late this afternoon they hadn't been delivered to our contact in Las Palmas. We can't wait for his call to let us know they are in. Rental cars are scarce so we rented one late this afternoon for tomorrow so we'll drive back to Las Palmas and wait until they come in. If they don't come in tomorrow we will return on Wednesday. In the meantime the German cruiser we have trapped has resigned himself to wait until Egret is launched before he can make his own reservations to fly home after putting his boat away for the summer.

OK, the parts came in one week and 5 hours after the tech arrived. Additional Customs fees were 290 Euros or about $435 pathetic U.S.P. (U.S. Pesos). This is in addition to the Euros the local received for his efforts, the rental car trips, Fed Ex fees and so on.

The fix was as predicted taking just a day. Sea trials on the way back to Las Palmas turned up another issue (broken wire) but that is now fixed so after the big breakfast Mary is currently fixing we'll do a quickie sea trial then back to the marina until the tech is able to get a flight out and we provision for the trip to Gibraltar.

Later. Everything es perfecto. (is perfect) Here is the bottom line for this entire episode. The actual labor to fix the problem took 9 hours. It took 12 days with the tech living aboard Egret and a personal cost to us of well over $1,000 U.S. in unnecessary costs AFTER we told the company what to do (putting the liability on ourselves). We have yet to be billed but are sure the company will do the right thing. Whether they do or not is between us and we won't trash a good company and a good product because a single person didn't listen. The tech himself is a great guy and very good at what he does. Bottom, bottom line. Would we buy the same product again? Yes.

Later. The tech has an early Sun am flight back to the U.S. Mary and I will provision tomorrow (Sat) and prepare to leave. We sent an e-mail to OMNI Bob telling him of our intentions so we'll see if weather will be kind enough to leave. This will be Egret's last ocean voyage for a while until we recross the Atlantic some years from now. After fueling in Gibraltar we have another 5 days to the Balearic's but we may stop and anchor off the beach. Or we may not. We can do whatever we want however we are making an effort to meet Canadian cruising buddy Roger Allard from N55 New Paige 2 who is loading NP2 in Palma de Majorca (Balearic Islands) for the Dockwise Express trip back to the U.S.

It is interesting to think about what is next. This year we plan to go no farther south than Rome but of course we may change our minds. We got a notice the other day we were accepted into Marina Port Vell in downtown Barcelona for the winter so that is taken care of. We LOVE Barcelona. The next winter may be Turkey again but who knows. Because of urging from friends we will visit Croatia that we missed the last go round and after that we will visit Venice for sure, this time with Egret instead of by train from Rome. Can you imagine sitting in the dinghy before daylight, two anchors out, tripod set up and start photographing before sunrise with long exposures? We will have special pictures from a different perspective. Then of course will be the night shots when the weather is perfect. We can wait on weather because we will live in the marina just across from San Marco square. Ho hum. Maybe we'll stay a month. Maybe more if we feel like it. Ho hum again.

And if you are a European and have a pocket full of Euros* and aren't investing in fiberglass if it is or near Your Time, shame on you. Go ahead, turn on the TV. Its OK. We'll just have to do it alone or with others who saw the light. Ho hum again. (Can you tell MS has been feeding me Rhum du Cane and I'm feeling a bit naughty?)

*Here is something I just don't understand. The Euro yesterday was nearly 50% higher than the U.S.P. For example, N57 Bagan is listed for $899k U.S.P. So that means it would cost about 600k EU. Think about it. A highly upgraded 57' N for 600k (17.8m). On top of that, the NZ$ and AU$ are at all time highs. So what is it? TV and Life in Prison? Well, perhaps that is a little harsh. Lets just say TV as boring usual or The Life. Next time you pick up the controller, have a little chuckle on us when you defiantly push The Button. After all, all we are encouraging are just a few interesting, forward looking free spirits to join the cruising community, not the masses.

OK, now we have that out of our system we'll be kinder. Lets get up to date. Mary is off shopping for the trip, not only to Gibraltar but to the Balearic's as well so we can limit our time in Gibraltar and keep moving to meet Roger and NP2. Under way we'll give you a few interesting stories from Puerto de Mogan - www.puertomogan.es, like how the travel lift driver nearly ran over a really old dude with a cane (with Egret in the slings), as well as at sea conditions and goings on.

So there you have it. A couple whinefests, why haven't you, and what's coming up. Ciao.

Below is OMNI Bob's weather forecast. As you can see it isn't pleasant. We Want to leave but we don't Need to leave. There is a difference. Later today Bob sent a quick note saying it is better to wait at least a day. We will.

(just before departure) The latest weather shows a very serious system north of the Azores moving south. However as it moves south a window opens along the coast of Morroco with little wind. Later in the trip it shows largish waves from the NW, but not being driven by wind the spacing should OK. We'll see.

To: Captain Scott - M/Y EGRET
Fm: O.M.N.I./USA www.oceanmarinenav.com Tel: 1-302-284-3268
2315UTC 16 APR 2011

Captain, thanks for the update on your schedule.

In short the eastern Atlantic ocean is fairly active with a series of low centers expected to impact the waters between the Azores, Canary/Madeira Islands and Gibraltar. Fortunatel, the low pattern should remain mostly to your north and west through arrival Gibraltar.

Low pressure west of the Canary Islands near 28N 28W is expected to move slowly north/east to across 30N 20W through Sun/eve-night. The low should weaken slowly as it continues to move north/ward across 35N13W through Mon/eve-night, then 40N 10W through early Tue/am.

A cold front moving east of the Azores through Sun-Mon will trail SSW-SW across the Madeira Islands. It should merge with the front through Tue/am. This will result in the low relocating to east of the Azores near 40N 19W through Tue/night-Wed/am, then move southward toward 36N 20W through Wed/eve-night, then SE/NE to 40N 12W through Thur/eve-night.

With the low center pattern remaining to the north/west, this will give high pressure the opportunity to persist across the NW Med Sea. This will maintain a tighter Easterly wind/sea pattern from Gibraltar Straits eastward to the S-SE coast of Spain during Wed and Thur.

With the low center pattern to your north/west, you should remain on the weaker side of the low, but it will be still strong enough to produce SW-ly winds 25-30kt, gusty/35kts with SW sea/swell 2.5-3;0mtrs Sun/night through Mon/afternoon. Thereafter the SW-WNW wind/sea pattern should ease to the low pressure area relocating near the Azores. This will result in subsiding SW to SE-ESE wind/sea along/off the coast of Morocco Wed-Thur/am. As you near Gibraltar SE-SW winds will freshen again as the next low approaches and passes to your west, then east west of Gibraltar and thru thru Gibraltar Straits Fri/pm.

The low pressure pattern should force the high ridge pattern across the central Med Sea area (southern Italy) through Fri/pm and this will bring a more SW-W wind/sea pattern to the Gib Straits. Fortunately, as this low weakens Fri/night into Sat/am, wind/seas should ease east of Gibraltar toward S-SE Spain through Sat/am, but tend to increase again from the east Sat/pm-Sun/24 as high pressure re-establishes itself across the western Med Sea area.

Based on leaving Las Palmas Sun/17-am along the direct route toward Gibraltar, with a tendency to stay closer to the coast of NW Africa in order to stay in a more SW-ly wind/sea pattern expect:

Sun/17: SSW-SW 20-30kt, gusty. Seas, 2.0-3.0mtrs, 6-8sec. Swells: SW-confused 1.0-2.0mtrs, 8-10sec through Sun/night.

Mon/18: SW-ly 25-30kt, gusty/35kts at times, especially early-late Mon/am, Seas 2.5-3.0mtrs, occ 3.5mtrs, 7-8sec with SW-confused swells 1.0-1.5mtrs, 8-9sec. Winds tending to subside SW-WSW 20-25kts to 15-20kts through Mon/night-overnight. Seas, subside 2.5-3.0mtrs to 2.0-2.5mtrs through Mon/night. Swells SW & NNW 1.5-2.5mtrs through Mon/night.

Tue/19: Range WSW-SSW 15-20kts to as low as 10-15kts at times through the day. Seas 1.5-2.0mtrs, to as low as 1.0-1.5mtrs, 6-8sec through Tue/night. Swells: WSW to WNW 1.5-2.5mtrs, 8-10sec

Wed/20: Range SW-SE to occ ESE 10-15kts. Seas 0.5-1.0mtrs, 6-8sec. Swells Confused to WSW-W 1.5-2.0mtrs, 8-10sec.

Thur/21: SW-ESE 10-15kts, 0.5-1.0mtrs 7-8sec, with WSW-WNW 1.5-2.5mtrs, 8-10sec Thur/am. Freshen SSE-SW 17-25kt, gusty with 1.5-2.0mtrs and WSW to WNW swells 2.0-2.5mtrs through Thur/night.

Fri/21-Gib: SSW-WSW 17-27kt, gusty/30kt at times. Seas 2.0-2.5mtrs, up to 3.0mtrs, with Swells SW-WSW 2.0-2.5mtrs, 9-11sec Fri/am. Wind/seas tending to subside around Gibraltar Fri/eve-night, SW-W to variable 10-18kts even 10-15kts with seas 1.5-2.0mtrs subsiding to 1.0-1.5mtrs through Fri/pm. Swells WSW-SW 1.5-2.0mtrs 9-11sec Fri/eve-night, then confused 1.0-1.5mtrs thru the Gib Straits area late Friday.

We will continue to watch this pattern and update. Please advise your departure and daily posn/weather while enroute. B/Rgds, Bob/OMNI

 

April 4, 2011

Position: Slip N73, Mulle Deportivo, Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain.

G’ Day mis amigos, lets talk about our neighbors. They are an inspiration to all of us hoping to stretch our boating years before bed pans and drooling and the rest. The couple three boats away are from Sweden, retired in 1994 at 60 (she was 63 at the time) and have a first class production sailboat (Halburg Rassey). They spent some time in the Med, lotsa time in Venezuela (BC) before Chavez, loved the folks there then moved on to the Caribbean for some years. These days they spend much of their time in the Canary Islands and summers back home in Sweden. He admitted today sailing is getting harder so I pointed to the 36’ Grand Banks owned by the other neighbor we’ll talk about. He smiled and said he is looking in that direction as well. So we talked about easy places to cruise where they can anchor most of the time. Like so many, they don’t have the budget to be full time Marina Queens during their travels. We told them how we anchored almost everywhere in the Med, how we enjoyed the Greek Islands and other places. It was a nice chat.

The other folks are from Holland and the same age. Picture 1. They have owned their 36’ GB for 19 years and a 32GB for some years before that. They have been Everywhere you can imagine without crossing an ocean. In the 32’ they circumnavigated Western Europe via canals, Med, AND Bay of Biscay, Brittney coast of France and back to Holland. Amazing!! With the new 36 they have been as far east as Egypt on the EMYR (Eastern Mediterranean Rally), spent 4 winters in Turkey among other Med cruising, and ran straight from Portugal to here. Amazing again!! They must have had every inch of deck space filled with fuel jugs. They have a daughter who lives here in Gran Canaria so they spend lotsa time here as well as touring the other Canary islands and even Morocco. The Canaries are small Spanish islands with all the homeland features, better weather and a vibrant population. The only downside from the boating side is they are volcanic islands with little anchoring. However, marina prices aren’t hyper expensive like some places in the Med. (Our Dutch neighbors were having a mid morning coffee and biscuits when I snapped this picture. 79 years old and wearing a Daffy Duck tee shirt. You gotta love their spirit!! These folks aren’t quitters.)

Both couples seem to be in good health and are having fun. They aren’t crossing oceans any more but so what? Having fun is what it all about, particularly when you are way north of 70.


Mary and I have been spending time walking inland as well as ticking off the boat chores list. Let’s talk about today’s boat chore then get on to something more interesting. Our 12kw Northern Lights generator ate its exhaust elbow (mixer valve) at about 1825 hours. The inside was nearly clogged with a rust and carbon mix. Fortunately NL replaced the traditional cast iron elbow with an exact copy in cast stainless steel*. We bought two and a couple extra gaskets. Some time ago we checked the elbow at roughly 3500 hours and it was perfect. Today’s chore was to check it again at 4200 hours. Perfect again. There wasn’t the slightest build up inside. The job itself is relatively painless and we didn’t even bleed. The trick is to remove the cast iron air intake manifold. This is held in place by 6 – 10mm bolts and a hose from the bottom that has to be taken off. With this removed, with patience you can take the 1 nut (off a stud) and 3 bolts out of the elbow flange. For a down and dirty check you don’t even have to take off the exhaust hose to get it far away from the flange to stick a couple fingers inside to see if there is any clogging.

After remounting everything we used a 1 ½ throw away brush with the bristles cut to half length and some spray degreaser to clean the engine and spritzed the cleaner off with a spray bottle of water. Then it was a drip tray clean up and all was spotless again. And then we changed the oil so all is brandy new and ready to go.

*If you have a Northern Lights generator and the exhaust manifold is white, it is cast iron. If it is shiny unpainted metal it is cast stainless steel.

Yesterday was a play day downtown. In the old section there is a Sunday market with vendors selling this n that. We loaded up on fresh veggies, fruit and bread to die for. In one area near the old cathedral (the earliest version was from the 1400’s – this version is from the late 1700’s) there was two happenings; a puppet show for the kiddies, moms and dads and traditional Spanish music for the rest. The puppet show was great and most the kids lined up front. The folk music group was at least 20 men on guitars, a few lead vocalists and a bunch more in accompaniment. The crowd was really into the music including the young folks. Mary and I stayed for quite a while enjoying the music until they finished. Then it was off to the Casa de Christobal Colon (Home of Christopher Columbus). It turns out it was a house dedicated to his travels, not his actual house (but a house of the period) like we visited in Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic. So we went down into the basement first then the upper floors. It’s hard to describe what it is like if you haven’t spent much time in Europe. As Americans we have our history but it is short lived compared to Europe and even now we still are awed by the early architecture. The nearby cathedral was full of locals attending a service so we snapped a few pics from the back and moved on.

Then we lugged mucho kilos of fruit and veggies back to the boat. We didn’t have a clue where we were but as long as we kept spotting the water on our right every now and then, all was well. When we saw the loading dock of the port we turned right and there we were. It was a good day. Just that one day reinforced how much we enjoyed our time in the Med before and we haven’t even started*. There is a lot to look forward to. And we’ll share. *The Canaries are part of Spain so actually we have started in Europe, just not in the physical Mediterranean.

(Sunday, a week later) Today it was off to the north end of town to the other Sunday market. This market was larger but was mostly clothes and tacky stuff for tourists. We did buy bread (pan) from the busiest boot in the market. Like in Barcelona, the North African booths were loaded with leather goods, carvings, genuine fake watches, Gucci sunglasses and purses and so on. There were 3 giantus cruise ships in port so the vendors were having a field day with the touristas trying to haggle to pay 3-4 times the regular price. There was a junko vendor selling this n’ that. We picked up a Spanish edition of National Geographic pictures of the world. We put it back but in the end bought it for 1 Euro. He gave us one still in the wrapper. Not bad. Then it was off to an outside café’ for a café’ con leche’ (coffee with hot milk) to sit a spell and people watch. It was another good day. Another work day was changing the keel cooler hoses to the main. Lotsa hot water has passed thru the hoses in the past nearly 10k hours so it was time. We bought the hose from lewismarine.com back in Ft Lauderdale. It is 1 ½” ID, very flexible heavy duty wire reinforced hose. (The hose is Lewis figure number 9037. The clamps are figure number 9696) Along with the hose we bought special hose clamps used on turbo installation and areas of high vibration. The clamps are the best of the best with tensioning rings that tighten with the screw and holds even during high vibration. The traditional clamps lasted all this time with no issues so perhaps it wasn’t money well spent but so what? Why take a chance for a few pesos? It took longer to drain the antifreeze than to replace the hose and clamps. One thing that is super important if you change your keel cooler hoses is to be sure and bleed the air from the compression fitting just behind the header tank on the front of the engine (on the right side facing aft). Fill the header tank to near full then crack the top nut just a bit. Air will immediately start spitting out. When solid antifreeze starts spiting out close the compression nut. Run the engine for a bit until the thermostat opens, let it settle and repeat the process. You will have accumulated more air. Trapped air causes hot spots in the system and this is NOT a good thing.

(A day later. We cracked the compression nut and again we bled a little air so we’ll keep it up for a couple more days)

Today was another walk into old town and a visit to the Museo de Canarias. (Museum of the Canaries). It was interesting to learn the first inhabitants were really old tyme Cro Magnon folks. Their remains were scarce in mainland Europe but were everywhere here because here they practiced mummification. Over 2000 remains have been found. Later arrivals were a more advanced race but after arriving they lost their learned skills so they retreated as a culture to an earlier time and had no written language, metal workings and just subsistence lived as perhaps a thousand years before. Their tools were made from stone or obsidian and only their pottery was somewhat advanced. The museum had this all on record and even had a ‘head room’ where it was easy to see developmental skeletal head changes as time went by. So then it was lunch, people watching and just playing until we returned to Egret. We don’t have a car so today’s jaunt was about 6-7 miles (10+k’s) keeping us in shape.

Picture 7 is an interesting story. Bjorn de Gotenburg, a Swedish high latitude sailor had a frightening experience during a storm force gale that sent him to the foredeck to reduce sail in the middle of the night. Being a former bridge engineer he was inspired to come up with a safety device beyond the traditional jackline and secondary clip.*

*traditionally sailors on deck clip themselves along during heavy weather as they move fore and aft in addition being clipped into the jackline.

Traditional deck shoes or sea boots just don’t cut it in seas like those. So Bjorn prototyped a unisex deck shoe he was originally going to call Twist Locks from the twisting of the leg to lock yourself into the stanchions or lifelines during a knockdown, but instead bowed to marketing hype and named them Dalmatians after the original dog skin used in the prototype pair he made for himself. So he made a few sets for friends, one thing led to another, and now it is the standard footwear among Swedish high latitude cruisers. The French have adopted it with open arms as well as the Southern California crowd.

The design is interesting. Note the taper of the heel, the robust shoe and toe section, non skid spike and toe sole, and denoting high latitude usage, note the white and black design. As you know, during the cruising season in high latitudes there is between 18 and 22 hours of daylight depending how far north or south you may be. This is represented by the dominance of the white pattern with minor black spots. Also, since Dalmatians have nearly become a household name in Sweden they are simply referred to as ‘Dogs’. Riding on that success, Bjorn introduced lace up the back foulweather pants named Ohmys with a fleece lining and a gortex shell with signature buttons on the side. In this case, the fellow wearing Dogs and Ohmys opts for 3 hour watches, thus three buttons on the side. So you never know what the real story is behind a simple pair of deck shoes and foulies. Now you know.

I wrote the deal about our neighbors a while ago but have been thinking about expanding on the travels of the Dutch couple with the 36 Grand Banks. A while back we got a Forum request from a couple who visited St Helena by ship and enjoyed St Helena so much they named their 35’ Nordhavn, St Helena. I countered with it is a perfect size for the Med. So let’s think about this. A 35’ Nordhavn is a take no prisoners coastal cruiser but not an ocean crosser. They aren’t stabilized nor have the range. However, there are a number of manufacturers that make quality smaller coastal cruisers (40’ or under) like Grand Banks, Nordic Tug and others that would do well in the Med. (It is the same with sail but understand you will be motoring most of the time.) Med cruising during the cruising season from April 1st until October 1st, has benign weather for the most part except in the Aegean during the months of July and August. Weather forecasting is excellent and the distances between anchorages aren’t far at all. I would be willing to bet that if you staged a small boat, power or sail, in or near Ft Lauderdale when Dockwise is loading mega yachts for the trip across the Atlantic during the spring you could get a reasonable price on a crossing to Palma de Majorca in the Balearic Islands (off the Mediterranean coast of Spain). This would be a perfect place to start a multi year Med summer cruise and is exactly where Egret will begin her Med cruise in a month or so. All you need to prepare a North American 60 cycle boat for European 50 cycle service is a small isolation transformer and a dedicated 50/60 cycle battery charger. This is all Egret has and it has worked everywhere. Just a bit of food for thought.

Our NAR buddies, Braun and Tina Jones on N62 Grey Pearl are on the move again along with N62 Seabird with Steve and Carol Argosy, this time from Hong Kong. Tina writes a great blog with photos telling how it really is without much PC smoothing. Check out The Pearl on the N.com website and subscribe to Pearl’s updates for the latest from the Far East.

While we were back in the States, Mary and I were interviewed by PAE and were asked a few questions. Unfortunately we aren’t able to view it with the slow wifi here in the marina but we know there is some information and inspiration to be had. The video interview has been placed in the nordhavn.com, Voyage of Egret site under a new heading…. Video. There are 5 different clips. We hope you enjoy the videos and pass it along to your friends.

So there you have it. Boating neighbor gossip, a bit of techno, Las Palmas walking tours, a technical break thru success story from Sweden and required reading. Ciao.

 

 

Ed. Note - The glossary of Egretism terms will be posted on the Captain's Log home page for easy reference.

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