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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.  


August 25, 2007

Position: Ushuaia, Argentina harbor, on anchor.

WINTERING IN THE FIN del MUNDO (end of the world) - the Feminine Perspective Egret Log report by Mary Flanders

WE SHOULD TALK! For those of you following the VoE and her Captain's Log, this entry will NOT be a rerun of our Journey to Cape Horn/Chilean Canals but the musings of the feminine half of Egret's crew regarding the Good, Bad and Ugly of wintering at the end of the world. Why? Because I want to make sure that my counterparts reading VoE don't say "oh sure, that's what HE says, but what about HER?"

SHE SPEAKS! Let me be frank here. I am NOT a born mariner. Prior to meeting Scott I had no experience on the water. I was born and raised in the mid-west town of Superior, Wisconsin and never handled more than a rowboat. My parents were not boaters; I didn't SEE the ocean until my family moved to Florida when I was in high school. Honestly, I have never taken a sea class. What I have learned thus far is through the Captain and being "out there". That is not to say taking classes, obtaining certificates,etc. aren't important, but indeed are truly helpful, however the cruising life for me sort of "metamorphed" over time and well, here I am. Having confessed that, I have slowly learned a great deal from Scott and along with Scott, to be a valuable member of the crew. There can only be one Captain, there is no question about that. I trust Scott and this fantastic little "ship" to get us where we want to go in comfort and safety. He also needs me as well, so we have become closer since we've started cruising than in almost 39 yrs. of wedded life! A PLUS for THE LIFE!

HANGING OUT IN USHUAIA - As I write this there is a partly cloudy sky, the outside temperature is 48 degrees Fahrenheit and it is blowing! I'm not sure exactly how much, as the anemometer is not working, but from previous experience I can say it is gusting close to 40 -50 knots (conservatively). We are at anchor in the harbor. The small inflatable is swinging astern (our transport). The wind is out of the west, so the waves are only choppy. When we go to town we will "suit up". It is not so bad! Scott and I are now used to putting on plenty of clothes to not only keep warm but dry, as the weather changes so often here. We often carry a backpack with extra gloves, hats ,etc. and it comes in handy when we want to shed layers of clothing. We have a good heavy anchor and lots of chain. Egret's anchor, TK, has been well set for a while so there is no concern about dragging. We are just very careful about getting in/out of the dinghy and taking our time when we run to the dinghy dock. We are not boat bound. We enjoy walking into town (about a half mile around the harbor) and up and down the streets as it is good exercise. The locals are friendly, we always run in to other cruisers at the internet cafes and of course often stop at our favorite French bakery for hot chocolate and a treat! We have also hiked pretty trails that lead out of the city into the forest and into the mountains. The view is breathtaking. Ushuaia itself has plenty of restaurants, a few small museums and a cinema, so there are things to entertain you. There is a small ski area right on the edge of town and a larger one about 45 min. by car . Many cruisers get a winter ski pass and go to the larger ski resort by catching a bus that comes several times a day right to the yacht club. Ushuaia is NOT fancy! It is NOT Aspen! I have never been to Alaska, but from the description of people who have, Ushuaia is like a frontier town, a little rough around the edges. You don't "dress up" around here to go to dinner, you just dress warm. We wear boots all the time, because with intermittent snow, rain or sleet, the streets and sidewalks are often muddy. BUT - Ushuaia doesn't need to be fancy, it is just plain COOL!

CANAL CRUISING - I can't see anyone not enjoying cruising the Chilean Canals! The scenery is spectacular and it is for the most part protected waters. It can be very windy, but wave action is rarely over 3' at it's worst because there is little fetch. I'm speaking about the main channel, the Beagle. There are plenty of fjords and anchorages to tuck into to get out of the wind if you find yourself in that position. We however rarely find ourselves in that position as we have access to weather information, and I for one refuse to budge if the weather is not to my liking! Let me repeat...I LIKE CALM WATER, LITTLE WIND! We do not need to rush anywhere to meet a schedule! Often when we are anchored, we have lines ashore as well as TK. We are tucked in very close to shore. I am apprehensive about placing and removing lines in a small area in high winds with Scott in the dinghy being blown about if I don't HAVE to! So we sit and wait, read a book, hike or otherwise occupy ourselves until it calms down. Along the Beagle we are in communication by radio with the various coast guard stations, and sometimes while at anchor in a cove. However often the mountains block radio communication, in that case we email the Chilean station at Puerto Williams our location each day. I feel good about this, as if heaven forbid an emergency should arise, the word would get out. We also have a satellite phone to use if necessary. When we cruised the "glacier loop" this winter, Scott and I did not see another boat. After about 6 weeks, I was happy to return to civilization in Ushuaia, as it was just the two of us all that time and by then we were both ready for socializing. Of course there are many more cruisers in the summer here, but we have gotten to know others who winter here and along with the locals it can be a social whirl if you are inclined.

MY TAKE ON THE CRUISING LIFE THUS FAR - I am traveling on the "original highway"! I'm not a "tourist". I'm learning new things everyday...I'm keeping my brain cells alive and forming new neuronal connections! For me, this is the ultimate way to really see the world and I am so fortunate to have such a boat and mate to share it with. I enjoy being "at sea", but I also enjoy coastal cruising and when we can, inland trips by car. It is a great combination; changing your routine keeps everything fresh. I enjoy meeting new people and despite differences in culture and language, people are people and we somehow communicate and get to know one another. When you are cruising in more isolated areas, cruisers tend to be especially close and locals are most interested in who you are and what you are about. In fact, I found that once Scott and I got away from all the hustle and bustle of daily needs and desires in civilization plus the constant "bad news about the state of the world", I've become more of an optimist about humanity!

That being said, there are trade-offs (of course). I miss our families! However, we live in good times and modern communication allows us to keep in touch on a daily basis even. We also include a trip or two "home" in our budget and promise a welcoming berth to friends or family who wish to join us along the way. Do I feel lonely? Sometimes, especially at holidays , but if you can't be with the ones you love.....then love the ones you're with.....(isn't that in a song?). We get together with other cruisers then, after all, we are all in the same "boat" so to speak.

Have I ever been scared (weather, pirates, boat problems)? Not for my LIFE certainly, I've never been in a situation like that. But I've been frightened by certain situations. Now you who have been following the Captain's log know we have crossed the Atlantic twice, come down the notorious coast of Argentina and have rounded Cape Horn. We have weathered storms and once a tremendous squall, but I will honestly confess that my most frightening experience thus far has been while entering the Cape Cod Canal with wind against tide and our little ship sideways to the waves! That ladies, was for a few moments, where we took the boat off of autopilot and steered clear of the shore and went on our merry way was my "nightmare". I have been anxious...many times....but that is in my nature. Scott teases me about it often. I'm ALWAYS anxious when we are going to or from a dock with my fenders and lines responsibilities (getting much better though), going through a narrow pass in rough conditions (who isn't?) and I would have to admit, anytime we are getting ready to go to a new location! Once we start moving I'm fine. It is the unknown, really...but I keep trying to be adventurous in my own small way and have had a richness added to my life that I would otherwise have never had.



August 24, 2007

Position: On anchor, Ushuaia, Argentina harbor

Well, mis amigos, Egret's short hiatus to the Argentine national park in Lapataia is over and we have returned to Ushuaia for a bit before heading 35nm east to the Estancia Harberton area (southern Tierra del Fuego). We moved to Lapataia for several reasons, a change of scenery and to hide from the wind. We have had a windy week with a few more days of wind to come. The barometer has been rising and falling like the tide. We feel more comfortable on anchor in high winds vs being on the dock. We are anchored in 26' on the outside of the mooring field with over 200' of chain out and TK buried. No problema.

We took long daily hikes in Lapataia but nothing difficult. There is one high mountain trail we climbed partially but had to return in falling light and the road icing more by the half hour. The main problem with that particular trail is the 2 1/2 hours each way before beginning the hike. The road in between the mountain trail early mornings and late afternoons is pure ice making for slow going. Nevertheless we managed to hike each day and bushwhacked a bit as well.

One bright spot was we were FINALLY, after 9 months in Tierra del Fuego, able to get some quality pictures of the elusive Oystercatchers (bird). These birds are few and far between - isolated pairs, quite skittish, making an approach difficult. We were able to take pictures of a pair for two mornings in a row with a lot of luck, a big lens and perfect light. Nearly every beach at low tide in Tierra del Fuego is covered with mussels. The oystercatchers peck a hole in the shell then pry it open with their long beak. (We have a series of shots that would make bird watchers quite happy.) Picture 1 is one of a number of quality shots. Along those lines (birds) their mussel mates, kelp gulls, have a different strategy for opening the shells. Kelp gulls pull a mussel loose from the bottom, then fly up about 15' and drop it either on a nearby road or the rock covered beach. The shells open readily and the kelp gull eats as fast as it can before the local small hawk swoops down to steal their snack. Picture 2 is a kelp gull with its mussel.

On the social front, tomorrow night we are invited to dinner at a local French couple's boat we first met in Mar del Plata, Arg. on our way south. They are hosting a cruiser from Belgium who is giving us both cruising information for another area. One thing so nice about this area is the sharing among cruisers. We all help one another. The Deep South is a difficult area making every bit of information welcome. There is no sense of competition here. We have said it before and probably will again, we could easily spend another year here exploring this special area.

For you photography fans we have some new news. We have been hinting at upgrading YT's camera and giving Mary my camera. I have been doing my internet research and so forth. To make a long story short, this morning I called the camera salesman we have used to help us obtain the difficult-to-obtain lenses we have ordered in the past. Nikon's new lenses (18-200mmVR) are on continual back order. He got us our first lens in just 3 months when there was a 4-5 month back order and also found our big lens at a Denver store and got both for us in time to make a flight. Both were at prices that were less than the internet scams. So, with that story we called today to check on the difference between our existing camera (D80) and the D200. Today HAPPENED to be the day Nikon announced their new D300 with all its advancements. Wow!!! We have one on order. I am VERY happy. Bottom line: VofE readers will benefit with better pictures.

Our new best friend is Michael Abate, at Wolfe Camera (Federal Highway/Sunrise Blvd store) in Ft Lauderdale. 954 522-6500 REBATE1@bellsouth.net Michael is also holding Mary's new lens (18-200mmVR) for our arrival in October. (Also earlier than promised.)

So there you have it. Ciao.

 

August 20, 2007

Position:S 54 51.35 W 6834.25 Bahia Lapataia (National Park - Argentina) pp583 Patagonia &Tierra del Fuego Nautical Guide

Well, mi amigos, Egret has moved after the first symptoms ofDock Rot. Lapataia is just around the corner from Ushuaia. We are anchored in the fjord as deep in the park bay as boats are allowed. Beautiful. Here we'll starting hiking the nearby trails to see what that brings. On the way we revisited the sea lion island and again took some great photos. My sweetie took some outstanding pictures. All she needs is more pixels. Hmmmm.

Prior to moving it was a couple more local hikes, found a better grocery store and have started loading our little home with canned goods for the future. Last night (Fri) was another yachtie get together at the YC. Ho hum. This excuse was the boat kid's 11th birthday from Santa Maria Australia. If there is ever a closer mother-daughter resemblance I haven't seen it. Two young beauties. Happy birthday was sung in order: Spanish, German, French, Dutch and English. Another small herd of cattle grilled and eaten. Great fun. There is danger here however. All of the adventure charter guys are filling YT's little brain with wild tales from Antarctica and South Georgia/Falklands. Hmmmm, again.

Sunday. another VERY long hike in the park. Not challenging following the road up and down low hills but beautiful none the less. We did manage to stop by the park restaurant and have a great meal. We didn't find the black necked swans that were so elusive on our last visits by car. Another day for the swans, another great day for the Egret crew.

So there you have it on the local scene. Lets go back to the Mediterranean with a cruising flashback.

September 10, 2005 Egret had been anchored in a small protected harbor on the SE side of Sifnos, Aegean (Sea) Greek islands for about a week. By now we were semi local, knew our way around and were smiled at and waved to by a number of the residents of the few scattered homes and tabernas (restaurants) along the waterfront. The circular harbor is completely protected from the northerlies with crystal clear water and a white sand bottom leading to the beach.

In the center of the harbor there is a small jetty where a few local fishing boats berth. A few other fishing boats and small local sailboats lie on moorings in front of their homes. In the smaller harbors around the Greek islands the fishing boats are all brightly painted wood, usually around 16' long, powered by the ubiquitous green single cylinder inboard gasoline engine. In the larger harbors fishermen have a few of the two cylinder versions with larger boats usually around 18 to 20' for fishing further offshore. The fishermen putt-putt out in the early evenings to set their nets marked with a couple of milk jugs. Their single gill net is about 200' long and rises about 3 feet above the bottom on floats. At dawn they return to pull the nets hand over hand with a small roller mounted on the bow. In some harbors such as Sifnos, there are still a few fishermen that row out into the Aegean to set their nets and row back. During the season they also set octopus traps. These are weighted wicker baskets with a restrictive neck they lower to the bottom. Octopus move at night and seek shelter before daylight occasionally in a happy little basket. Whoops! Early mornings you can sometimes hear the fishermen slapping the octopus against shoreside rocks to 'tenderize' the tentacles.

We explored Sifnos by foot starting locally then taking the bus into the metropolis of 1500 downtown folks and walked from there. The stories could go on forever but we'll settle for one special day downtown. Mary and I decided to strike out for this little 50 home village perched on a rock overlooking nearby islands to the north. It was a 3-4 kilometer hike from the bus station. The easy way was following the road. Nope, not us. We took the thousands of years old donkey path leading down into a ravine then up the other side. Near the half way point there is an ancient Greek Orthodox church and cemetery. Typical of the Greek islands it was perfectly whitewashed with a bright blue dome roof. Locals thought we were crazy by not taking the bus. Why should we take the bus when we could get sunburned, dried out, dusty feet, and scratched by bushes? Besides, in the Greek islands you are never far from the local lifesaver, ice cold Mythos beer. Arrive we did to the village. We treated ourselves to a local specialty, a type of iced coffee, and home made crepes. Later we toured the little winding streets making a day of it before returning via the donkey trail. That evening we again treated ourselves, this time to an octopus dinner ashore at a beachfront restaurant where your table and chairs are set in the sand just a few feet from the water. Egret looked her usual lovely self anchored just off the beach illuminated by the shore lights but a bit pretentious as the largest boat in the harbor. (Pretentious is not our cuppa tea.)

By now we had heard rumors about, then finally were told, where a local potter lived at the far end of the bay. Before leaving Sifnos we took the rubber dink and beached it in front of the last few houses along the bay. It didn't take long to find his home and workshop. Picture 1. He is a third generation potter living in the same home as his parents and their parents. Outside is the brick kiln for firing the pottery. Inside is a typical Greek workshop with a dirt floor, a few dusty shelves filled with pottery, and the original foot powered wheel for shaping pottery. Picture 2. (This village has only had a road and electricity for 10 years when we were there). Typical of most Greeks he spoke some English. He was very friendly, had paw like hands and was dressed in rumpled striped pants, a checkered shirt open to the waist and was barefoot. Our kind of business dress!!!

Obviously this old boy had seen gringos before. He stood there smiling sheepishly and let our imaginations run amok. We picked up thisas and thats for friends and bought a couple of goodies for ourselves we still use daily. Loaded down, we left a few euros lighter but were happy and obviously haven't forgotten the experience.

It's people like this, anchorages, villages like this, dusty feet and so on that made the Aegean Greek islands one of the highlights of our three cruising seasons in the Med. We promised ourselves when we left Turkey, April 06 and revisited the Greek islands we would return. Perhaps someday we will. You never know.

We'll spend some more time passing along different Greek island experiences during our Med flashback series but we can't leave out Sicily, Malta, Italy, Spain and so forth.

note: In addition to the Heikell Guides we used thruout the Mediterranean (available at Bluewater Books and Charts in Ft Lauderdale and others) we also used the locally published 777 Guide to the Greek Islands. (available locally only at that time) The 777 guide is full of facts, pictures and is well written. There is also a 777 guide to Croatia.

 

 

August 14, 2007
Position: AFASyN YC dock, Ushuaia, Argentina

We had a bit of technical difficulty delaying the last VofE (TD is our life). This is the reason we have back to back VofE's.

Well, mi amigos, big wind the other night. I know we keep bringing up grande wind but it is a big part of our lives. The grib files showed 50 knots south of us over a big low bringing northerly winds to Ushuaia. This was a mooring holding test along with a windward side of the AFASyN YC dock (Egret's side) nightmare. The smart guys on the leeward side of the dock were fine even though they are rafted three deep. Fortunately our British friend has left Egret's side and the tide was on the lower high of its high tide cycle (the highest daily tide is about 3' higher than the other high - we're just off the moon). One boat reported gusts to 60 knots but it sure seemed like a lot more. The most we have had here (when our anemometer was still working) is 55 knots sustained for a short while and gusting a bit higher. These gusts were WAY beyond that. We had heavy spray going over the boat with less than a half mile of fetch. We popped two fenders. The mooring sailboats were sailing back and forth on their mooring lines & nearly putting their rails in the water when the biggest gusts caught them off the wind. A 30' excursion boat docked in front of Egret had her cap rail crushed in two places along with a lot of gel coat damage. Fortunately Egret escaped without a scratch. Wild!!

Egret carries 8 fenders; two 10" x 26" hole through the middle (burst), two F8 Polyform (15" x 58") and four 12" x 72" inflatable fenders. Mary is pushing to get 2 large square inflatable fenders when we return to Ft Lauderdale for the boat show in October. By the time we leave for the show we'll be off the dock and on a mooring. After, we'll be here for a relatively short while so I think we will pass (expensive) even though we would love to have all inflatable fenders because of their light weight, durability and stowage when deflated.

Saturday's hike was around 9 miles up above the tree line in Ushuaia. Ushuaia has a number of great hiking trails. This is the most difficult one. The trail winds through the snow filled woods crossing and recrossing a small stream. Beautiful. The last part is quite steep tuckering us a bit. We left our new ice axes at home and didn't need them. We also have some new la di da hiking sticks with an ice spike on the bottom. We used these extensively. Once above the tree line we stopped for a quick snack of chocolate, bananas, munchies and a thermos of hot tea. It was beautiful but VERY cold in the blowing snow at that altitude. From super overheated after the climb to getting chilled in a few minutes wasn't our cuppa tea so unfortunately we trekked back down. Four hours up and three down. Great day.

A couple more hikes completed these few days. Along with a new round of snow. Beautiful. Today's pictures were taken in the past two days. Picture 1. Two gray lovebirds looking out to sea. Reminds us of some people we know. Picture 2. Overlooking Ushuaia with the harbor in the background and Chile in the distance.

We have tried unsucessfully to lure a few boating friends or family to the Deep South to share this special place. We are happy to announce boating friends currently berthed in Panama are making the trek south mid November. We will go on a two week plus glacier loop cruise. We have a few minor obstacles to overcome. They don't have much footwear beyond running shoes and flip flops and didn't know what fleece is. The night they arrive, before an all you can eat Fuegian lamb dinner, we'll do a quick shopping trip to buy what they need. We're as excited about their arrival as they are about arriving. One thing funny to us is the prolific e-mails send back and forth answering anxious (reading between the lines) questions we find so familiar and commonplace. No matter what we say I believe they will arrive on faith they will somehow survive and return to their mosquito netting and salt tablets.

One big issue is they think they are going to freeze to death after spending so much time sweating in malaria and yellow fever infested South and Central American countries. To this day, even our family believes we are suffering miserably here in the land of snow and high winds no matter how many times in various VofE's and personal e-mails we have declared we are NOT suffering and are enjoying the experience. Living in Ft Lauderdale during our working years we always felt anyone who lived north of Atlanta lived in the frozen wastelands of America. Our experience here has been an eye opener. Now I believe we could live most anywhere in the States or elsewhere despite snow and so forth (as long as we could smell salt water). We could easily spend another year we enjoy it so much here in the Deep South.

 

August 9, 2007
Position: ANASyN YC dock, Ushuaia, Argentina

Well, mi amigos, life in Ushuaia is very slowly changing. Yesterday the British sailboat rafted next to Egret left for her slow trip north up the Chilean Channels then off to Hawaii and eventually to Victoria, BC. This morning a Canadian sailboater was rowing back to their wooden sailboat with final, final provisioning for their trip north to BC as well. An American sailboat left moments ago in the settled weather for their hopeful Cape Horn rounding. The wintering adventure charter sailboat crews are slowing down their daily skiing and starting to prepare for their upcoming charter season. Some start as early as October with Falklands and South Georgia trips. The weather is changing as well with less rain except short frontal bursts followed by snow. We still have our windy periods but overall the weather is very comfortable.

Between boat sitting during the windy periods we have been hiking nearly every day. The other day we took a taxi to the local ski lift above town then hiked north from there to the glacier. As we approached the last sign pointing to the glacier we saw a pilgrim taking what appeared to be a hard way up to the glacier. Well, YT had a BETTER idea. Pay now but easy later. Yea, right. We paid all right. What appeared to be a relatively simple climb then a traverse across to a high point to look down onto the glacier soon had us on all fours climbing inch by inch over steep ice covered by thin snow and iced in small rocks. We persevered, however we ultimately came to a point of not being able to go up OR down. Geesh. Down we went but it wasn't pretty partially sliding on our bums, and climbing down. Wild!! On the way back Mary dropped into a waist deep crevice. Picture 1 Walking back to town YT & MS made a reconnaissance trip to the local high end sporting goods store that has the REAL stuff. Bottom line: We treated ourselves to two climbing/ice axes.

The days are slowly getting longer. We generally get up with the first light coming thru the portlights, now about 8:30 AM (much better than 9:45). The kettle goes on for coffee (French press - NO amps!), a quick e-mail check, breakfast, then whatever the day brings. The early riser cruisers are dinghying in, the blue eyed shags are fishing just off Egret, the sun is slowly illuminating the mountain tops and most mornings an enterprising local leaves in his large inflatable fitted with a boom, block and tackle for pulling crab traps. (centolla - southern king crabs). This is a peaceful time of year. No hustle bustle like in summer (Jan-Mar). The local merchants are serving the ski trade and in turn each other. By now we are semi-locals in the places we visit most often. Lots of smiles and friendly conversation. It's going to be hard to leave in a few months.

There are tar pits like Ushuaia all over the world where cruisers get mired in comfort and routine. There is certainly nothing wrong with tar pits however it does take away momentum if you wish to see across the next bay, gulf or ocean. An e-mail received this morning is a good example of cruiser mentality and our freedoms. Kiwi friends on a 54' steel sloop, Vision, said their goodbyes when we saw them last in Puerto Navarino on a summer trip to the Chilean Channels. We exchanged boat cards and promised to meet in New Zealand this coming winter plus keep in touch (we did). (They were sailing back to be with their first, and new grandson.) They left Vision on the hard in Puerto Montt at the north end of the Chilean Channels and flew back to NZ. In a reversal they are now back in Puerto Montt and are talking about returning to the Deep South. The Deep South does deserve more than a month during the normal cruising season as cruisers trade one ocean for another. This is exactly why Egret spent the winter vs sailing to New Zealand as planned.

On yesterday's rounds we stopped by Natalie Goodall's in town home. (Natalie and Thomas Goodall are owners of Estansia Harberton east of Ushuaia). Natalie (an American) is a scientist who has devoted her working life to the sea mammal museum located on the Harberton property. On a prior visit we left a bag of bones and feathers with her thinking perhaps they may be condor bones. We found these while hiking in Caleta Olla, Chilean Channels. She cleaned off the bits of dried skin, moss and whatever reveling pure white bones. It turns out we had delivered most all of one condor's wing, breastbone, wishbone (huge - looking like a sharks jaw - not like a chicken or turkey wishbone) and one leg but no skull. It is amazing how light the long wing bones are. Now we would like to go back to dig deeper and see if we can find the balance. We'll see.

We'll leave you with a scary story and food for thought. Our Brit friend who left yesterday spent quite a bit of time in Puerto Williams, Chile waiting for crew to arrive. He was rafted outside two other sailboats who in turn were rafted to the Micalvi (a sunken freighter). He had his foul weather jacket partially unzipped in high, gusting winds as he was crossing from one boat to his. A gust turned his jacket into a sail sending him overboard breaking through the thin skim ice. He flailed around for a while shouting for help but soon realized this was not just an embarrassment but getting VERY serious very fast. With near dead arms he managed to get his legs around a tire used as a fender and hold on until help finally arrived. Obviously this could happened anywhere but just goes to show how careful we all have to be. Ciao.

 

August 5, 2007
Position: AFASyN YC dock, Ushuaia, Argentina

Well, mi amigos, its back to the Ushuaia scene for a bit before continuing our Med flashback series. In the last VofE we left you with stiff N'ly winds pushing Egret against the dock. Those winds were NOTHING compared to Sat PM and Sun AM & PM winds. Egret is getting spray on deck from OVER the 40' sailboat rafted outside us. Egret is facing W/E along the dock. The winds are NNW-N gusting quite high (40+). When the winds were NNW the doubled forward dock and spring lines were stretched tight. Now, we don't need dock lines. Enough whining. You get the picture.

After watching the neighboring crews leaving morning after morning to go skiing we decided to give it a go. We haven't skied since the early 80s. During the 5 years or so we skied (once or twice a year) our skill levels rose dramatically from very bad to bad. Big improvement. We haven't even SEEN a ski since except when our skis, boots and so forth went to American Veterans when we sold our home to move aboard Egret. Since those prehistoric days, skis have changed a LOT and now there are these snowboard deals. Young, and a few not so young, kamikaze pilots rocketing down the mountain on a single board. Wild!!! Fun to watch. Not fun when they come by the numbers racing by.

We caught the bus to the ski area at the YC dock. We were being shepherded by a local German/Venezuela sailboat couple. Off we went. At the quite modern resort we rented our skis. They looked like old fashion wood ice cream spoons with a spoon on each end and narrow in the middle. On filling out the rental form they wanted your shoe size in centimeters. Yea, right. They also wanted our height in meters. Egret's draft is about 5' 6" - 1.65 meters so we added and subtracted from that. In the box to show skill levels from experto or something like that on the left we checked the box on the far right.

Off we went with our ice cream spoons, boots and sticks dressed in our finest plastic hiking pants and foul weather jackets. Oh yes, we had on yellow sunglasses I used moons ago for cast netting bait in low light before dark. (for fishing) 1970-80sh aviator glasses. Cool. With our cowl vent type head socks we looked like movie stars trying to hide. Not the case. Simply preserving whatever self esteem we had left.

To spare you most gory details we'll give you the big picture. It was icy compared to Colorado. Icy = speed. Speed = it wasn't pretty. Mary picked right up within an hour or so. The only way YT can turn somewhat is by going a bit faster. So, YT would ski ahead until getting nearly out of control, then would round up and wait for MS (my sweetie). We both had Naiad failure a few times and capsized. Near the end of the day the light was flatter n' flat. MS decided to work on her turns on a simple slope so YT had the opportunity to ski at speed and not stop. The big benefit is he wouldn't have to retrain after each stop. To make a long story short YT was rocketing along nearly out of control then came to the steepest slope of the run. He tried to turn but the tail of the outboard ski got stuck in a rut resulting in a spectacular high speed downhill crash n' burn. After sliding to a stop, skis still attached but askew a little boy of 6 or so skied up and asked in the sweetest little voice if YT was ok. Of course I was OK, just couldn't move. Its a good thing because I would have smothered that kid if I could have reached him. After rolling in the snow a while and getting the remaining stick to pop a binding loose, then the other we were on our way...but a bit slower.

All in all it was a great day. We have snow coming on Tue so we'll give it a go again when the track is a bit slower (and softer).

On Friday night we had a yachtie gathering at the YC rec room celebrating three cruisers' birthdays. We were asked to bring our own meat and drink, they would supply the rest. The little kids were on one end and the big kids were on the other. It was a great evening of friendship and camaraderie. This is a typical yachtie gathering, however it was untypical in a way by such diverse nationalities represented. From memory, excluding kids, I'll try to give you the countries and count. USA - 4, Canada - 3, New Zealand 1, Australia - 2, England - 1, Argentina - 1, Venezuela - 1, Germany - 3, Holland - 2, Scotland - 1, South Africa - 1, Belgium - 2 and France - 6. Actually not that many people, just that diverse. All speaking English as a common language outside of their spouses or fellow countrymen. Pretty cool.

Tonight it's off to the beautiful South African/Scottish boat, Wandering Albatross, for dinner. Its a tough life mi amigos.

In the malfunctioning wing engine department, we have taken the wing out and apart. The initial diagnosis after looking at it apart in the shop is: the block, pistons, rings, rods, bearings and so forth are all ok. There was no water in the oil. The head is quite possibly shot from corrosion, the valves are shot, springs, rocker assembly and the balance are ok. The mechanic says the head can be repaired but I asked the head go to the machine shop for evaluation before we make any further decision. I'm not sure it can be salvaged. The wing will cost about $3000-3500 to fix if the head can be repaired. A new engine delivered to Ushuaia is around $7400. The balance of the old engine is perfect with only about 250 hours. So, you know what we know. The only reason for mentioning this at all it to help others in the future. When the wing issue is resolved we'll outline all of the details in a future VofE, what happened, reasons for doing what, resolution, what we'll do in the future and so forth.

To close, a boating friend and former photojournalist gave us sage advise about pictures. We copied his advise below.

"In teaching photojournalism, one thing I tried to make clear is that a photojournalist is really a journalist using his or her camera to tell a story. I always found I could take a journalist and team him photography, far better than I could take a photographer and teach him how to tell a story. Approaching a subject with the idea of telling about it with the camera seemed to help many people get a handle on what they were doing--it's more than taking pictures. It's using the camera to tell a story.

Something else, I think, is keeping in mind that our eyes see everything, but the camera sees very little. We need to make the camera see more. With that in mind, paying attention to the different kinds of shots is important: in telling the story we need to use long shots (wide angle), medium shots, closeups and, occasionally, extreme closeups. Varying the shots really helps tell the story; not varying the shots makes for a less interesting presentation. (On VOE, for example, I'd love to see an extreme closeup of the face of a crab!)"

We can't accommodate an 'in your face' crab picture for a few months so we'll have to make up for lost time with a couple of local actors. Ciao.



 

 

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