"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.
December 27, 2007
Position: S49 13.58 W74 05.55 Caleta Sally, Seno Eyre, (around the
corner from glacier Pio XI) pp333-4 P&TdelFNG
Well, mis amigos, a quickie update before year's end. Early Wednesday
morning, 12-26, we fired our year end VofE into space. Wednesday's travels
were routine, actually not quite routine with no wind or rain. It was
overcast however. Along the way we were escorted by dolphins, pinguinos,
albatrosses and flights of terns swooping and diving when the pinguino's
surface. Apparently the pinguinos are pushing bait to the surface. As we
were passing a seno to the east we could see a huge permanent ice cap
glacier covered with snow. The seno was spewing ice by the acre but was
contained by the wind on the opposite side of Canal Wide while we travel
We reached a significant milestone at 1701 UTC when Egret passed into the
roaring 40's from the furious 50's (degrees south latitude). Egret has not
been into the 40's in over a year. For the most part we stayed within a
tight N/S range centered around S54 48.40 (the latitude of Ushuaia),
reaching as far south as S56 00.00 degrees when we turned west below Cape
Most notable is the rise in air temperature. Yesterday when hiking we were
down to tee shirts and that was too much. For the past year we have had the
engine room blower disconnected along with bypassing water in the keel
cooler to keep the main up to temperature. Tomorrow we reconnect the
blower. We have already screwed the adjusting screw back in the keel cooler
just a bit and will screw it all the way back in after our trip to see
glacier Pio XI in a day or so.
Wed evening. So much for no wind and rain........35 knots and light rain
before entering the two mile entrance into a fjord for tonights anchorage.
(pp340 P&TdelFNG 6.2 S48 45.65 W74 26.75) Expecting to find a little cove
like the past weeks we finally figured out the little peninsula sticking out
protecting the beach and detailed items described in the guide was it. We
didn't take the guide's advise to back into a VERY shallow notch with stern
lines. We anchored with TK in the notch, placed a bow line ashore as extra
security and two stern lines to trees. TK is pulling downhill but not such
a steep angle plus the bow line. We aren't expecting big winds so all
should be well. There is a family of red headed geese at the head of the
little beach just off the stream. Also, the usual family of steamers are
nearby. Just 75' off the bow is a house frame put up by fishermen for
winter duty. (they cover these shelters with tarps while in use) Outside
is a pile of cholgas (giant mussel) shells. We don't know how old the
shells are but it is very explicit in our zarpe (cruising permit) not to eat
shellfish south of 43.1 degrees because of red tide. One bad mussel and you
are history, finito, daisy pusher. You get the picture.
Early Thur am. Egret was underway at 0650 with little wind, a misty rain
and heavy fog/mist clinging in layers on the mountains and settling into the
water at times. The past couple of days we have noticed a layering and
swirls of gray clouds and again this early morning. In their own way they
are quite pretty. (our usual escort of dusky dolphins just showed up
throwing head wakes as they raced to our little ship)
Thur pm. After reading the Italian guide's warning of heavy ice in Seno Eyre
approaching the glacier, we left early to try and make sure we could
negotiate thru the ice to reach the glacier in a single day. As a last
resort we could stop where we are anchored now, three miles from the head,
and continue the next day. Ice is worst in the fall however, it must be
best in early summer (now). We essentially drove to the head of the glacier
dodging minimal ice. And the sun was trying to shine thru the clouds.
Things were good. Three miles out we drifted and launched the dink. When
we were within a half mile YT took off in the dink and MS worked her way
forward thru accumulating ice toward the glacier face. I could hear roaring
water coming from under the ice creating quite a current. MS could FEEL the
current setting her off the face. She did a great job running the boat
while I clicked away with the camera. This wasn't the thrill of taking
pictures in front of our first glacier in Seno Pia on the glacier loop out
of Ushuaia but it was spectacular non the less.
The glacier face is over 2 miles wide and 165' high at the face continuing
forever into the distance. Pio XI, named after a current pope of the day,
is located approximately 3/4 of the way north on the Southern Icecap.
(Campo de Helio Sur) The northern icecap is much smaller. Using dividers
on a cruise ship chart, it appears Pio XI is the largest of the glaciers
reaching water. It was so unusual turning the corner 18 miles south and
seeing the glacier. At six miles out it seemed close. We launched the dink
at three miles and the face seemed 5 minutes away, not 40 minutes. Floating
ice lost its dimensions as we made our way in. Only when the floating ice
was very close could we see the threat!! Inspiring. You get the picture.
At anchor in Caleta Sally, Seno Eyre, S49 13.58 W74 05.55 (around the corner from glacier Pio XI) The little cove decribed in the guide has been blocked off by a line strung by fishermen tied across from side to side. They have built a substantial little warming hut plus have a large water hose permanently running from a waterfall to fill their tanks. No watermakers for these guys. Lines strung by fishermen are common all thru the channels to tie to at night or wait out weather. Other times they drop a stern anchor and tie off the bow to trees. In a few places they lay against tires hung from trees against steep rock. Whatever works is the name of the game for these guys. Basic stuff. No dinghy's, no nuttin. Egret is anchored nearby with two stern lines ashore.
Speaking of pictures we're playing catch up with pictures. This VofE's
pictures were taken the other day but I didn't want to miss showing them. I
was happy with the reflected ice picture and the steamer duck picture (best
duck shot in a year's trying). In the first VofE of 2008 (imagine
that.........2008), we'll show one of the posed pictures with Egret in front
of Pio XI. After reaching Puerto Montt, Chile mid Feb we'll mail a picture
CD for posting on the website. (by mailing a hard copy we can get much more
So there you have it, a couple more days in The Life. Enjoy the rest of the
December 26, 2007
Position: Poza de las Nutrias (Otter Port) off Canal Pitt. S50 37.98 W74 15.74 (pp355 P&T delFNG 6.19A) (Egret is under way north. Otter Port is the past two days anchorage)
Well, mis amigos, we'll go through the past days' travel then move on into Egret's year in review.
Fri 12-21 Egret departed Caleta Bernard (Bahia Moore) (pp369 P&TdelFNG
6.32) early on a blustery, rainy - misty gray morning. It was a sloppy day
underway, however we had no bouts with aquarium glass which was a plus. The
end of the day brought us to Puerto Bueno (Good Port) (pp364 P&TdelFNG 6.26)
where we dropped TK in 32', swinging to the anchor alone. Puerto Bueno is a
pretty little anchorage, totally protected with a low relief, circular
shoreline. It would have been fun to hike the shoreline but with the steady
rain it was not to be.
Sat 12-22. We decided to take an unplanned diversion east, deep into the
Patagonian interior up to the heart of the permanent Patagonian Icecap.
Here we will visit the glaciers at the head of a number of fjords reaching
still further into the interior. This area is little explored, not even
being charted until 1969, and then only partially. The P&TdelFNG give this
area a lot of attention with many navigational warnings, particularly
accentuating wind, ice choking the channels and lack of anchorages. It
would understandably take sailboats a great deal of time to explore this
remote area. Because there is no fuel between Puerto Williams to the south
and a tiny village with 'sometimes fuel', Puerto Eden, a good ways to the
north, sailboats must sail when possible to save fuel. * Because the
Magellan and a couple other places are so dangerous they must use the fuel
there unless conditions are right (rarely ever), plus save enough for
emergencies and entering anchorages. To sail these channels tacking
endlessly against the strong, funneled winds, dodging ice as well, is
difficult at best. Beside the intrepid Italians (authors of P&TdelFNG),
American ex-pat Ken Murray (a local Ushuaia powerboater helping with survey
work for the guide) I imagine very, very few have made the trip. Sooo, with
this little challenge we will attempt to visit the fjords and glaciers at
* According to Charlie Porter, an American living in the Deep South these
past 15 years studying glacier movement and related subjects, there are but
1000 people living in an area the same distance as from Boston to Ft
Lauderdale, the length of the Chilean Channels. Most of those are
concentrated on the island of Chiloe' near the top. So, you can easily see
there is little support anywhere in the Channels. There is one stretch (the
one we are on now) where there are no houses for 600 miles. You get the
Our first fjord and glacier today (Sat) is at the head of Estero Amalia.
With a ten mile escort of dusky dolphins we reached the estero head early
afternoon. The glacier was covered in misty gloom with no chance for
pictures however we did get to see the unusual 'stairsteps' of rocks and
stones on the center glacier face pushed down by the glacier. The area 1/2
mile in front of the glacier was totally choked with ice trapped by the
wind. We then backtracked to our anchorage in Caleta Amalia (pp361-362
P&TdelFNG 6.23, S50 56.3 W73 52.10) We are deep enough into the
Patagonian interior the trees are back to full size and are healthy,
standing straight and not windblown.
Sun 12-23 We departed Caleta Amalia early, east bound for Estero Calvo
(Calving (ice) Fjord). Along the way we had to negotiate ice spewing from
Estero Asia into Estero Peel (the main channel east), a smaller fjord with a
single glacier. Slowly bumping in and out of gear we gently moved the
smaller pieces of ice avoiding the car/truck sizes. Soon we were free for
the run thru scattered ice from Estero Calvo with our dolphin escort. EC is
a large bay narrowing toward the end with several fingers reaching further
into the interior. Along the way and in each finger are multiple, or should
we say a continuous glacier from high, flowing blue tongues of ice into the
fjord. To make a long story short we worked our way as far inland thru the
ice as prudence would allow then retreated. During this time a breeze
started puffing and happily cleared away a number of the smaller pieces of
ice. The highlight was the 'hurricane' glacier. This perfectly defined
glacial ice hurricane swirling around a central eye moving west with
dangerous quarter storms following. (of course this is a southern
hemisphere storm - clockwise) Picture 1 is the best we could do with two
days of imperfect lighting. (to give an idea of the size, the eye and
surrounding ice-storm are well over a mile wide) After repeating the ice
dodgum we anchored for the night in Caleta Valdivia on a mainland peninsula.
(pp360 P&TdelFNG 6.22 S50 47.60 W73 53.88)
Mon 12-24 The trek further east past Estero Calvo has a number of dangers,
primarily ice. When it is overcast and the wind is puffing, ice bits, even
some large ones are difficult to see. The worst are chunks of clear ice, at
times large enough for serious concern. What we needed was an impossibly
good day or we were going to head north continuing our journey.
We woke early Monday to 2.1 knots of wind, a promise of sunshine and a rock
steady 1022 barometer (very, very high for this area plus unusually steady)
TK was up in a flash and off we went. A perfect day, sun and no wind. One
of just a few during the year in this area. During the night the north
breeze swept away all the small ice leaving it easy to dodge larger bits.
Within a few hours we were past Estero Calvo heading into the unknown, and
uncharted. From 10 miles up the narrow fjord (Estero Peel) ice flows
continually west, faster on the ebb. We slowly worked our way thru the ice
to an island blocking the narrows. We were on HIGH alert looking out for
shoals marked in the Italian guide and fast moving ice. With MS calling out
the depth we moved VERY slowly against the strong current (ebb) to round the
island and escape the exposed rocks and moraine debris just under water.
(the tide runs up to 6 knots in this restriction) It was nip and
tuck.......then we touched.......then it was ugly for a bit. In the end no
harm was done but the old ticker was doing the Bo Jangles. We didn't make
it to the end, however we saw most of what we came for. We weren't willing
to wait for slack tide (as recommended) to transit THEN have an issue on
return. (there are no anchorages above the narrows) The objective wasn't
just another glacier, it was seeing the Andes soaring higher and higher as
we moved inland with their permanent ice cap flowing down from the top.
Reversing our route, we are now under way northbound up Canal Pitt (pp356)
and our anchorage this evening.....this special evening, Christmas eve.
12-25 Christmas day. No wind and sun.......a perfect gift. The 1019 high
is still with us. Egret is anchored in Poza de las Nutrias (Otter Port) off
Canal Pitt. (pp355 P&TdelFNG 6.19A S50 37.98 W74 15.74) Otter Port is a
tiny, perhaps 100 yards across, perfectly circular bay with a notch in the
rocks to the west. The bay entrance is to the north. We dropped TK in 55'
on a rapidly shelving bottom backing into the little notch. Once inside all
went still while we placed our two stern shorelines. This time we have a
third line ashore to the north attached to the bow keeping Egret from
swinging at all. We have but 30' on either side of the notch. The
surrounding shore is nearly vertical with healthy jungley growth all around.
Picture 2. We won't waste this gift of a day traveling. Nearby is a trail
that leads to an inland lake and so forth. So, what will today bring?
We'll see.....after my sweetie finishes her first cup of coffee in bed
enjoying the luxury of a sleep in morning.
At times I think the Italians are a bit twisted. The Italian guide mentions
a stream and a trail to an upland lake. We found the stream, sort of a
trail that led us high into the rocks and that was it. To get to the lake
you need a helicopter. YT BLED getting scratched mercilessly along the way.
Geesh. Up high however, the scenery was stunning. But then it always is.
Swamp trotting thru the jungle back down (An Indian scout with GPS and bread
crumbs couldn't find the trail back) we left for a bit of dinghy exploring
around the little bay. Along the way we traumatized a couple steamer ducks
(flightless ducks that paddle with their feet AND wings to escape) to take
pictures from the dink. We did get our best yet and soon after they were
back together and all was well. And so the afternoon went. Later back at
the boat, we scraped the Ushuaia slime off the waterline and gave her a
wash. The water here is fresh floating on top the salt. In fact, in the
channel with the glaciers we marked 4 feet of fresh water floating above the
salt on the depth finder. The transition line on the bottom machine was so
distinct we even took a picture.
Today was a special treat having such a sunny day for Christmas. Mary keeps
her own log that includes weather. She mentioned yesterday and today are
the 4th and 5th sunny day since leaving Ushuaia, December 7th. Tomorrow we
are off again pounding out some miles. In two days we should be staged to
make the run back into the Patagonian interior to see the granddaddy of all
Patagonian glaciers, Pio XI.
So there you have it, a few more days in The Life (cruising life). Now we
have the year end reports. Another great year.
A short precursor for readers new to VofE.
Aug 6, 2001. We take delivery of M/Y Egret, a 2001 Nordhavn 46, hull number
Apr 3, 2002. Two days after retirement we leave our hometown of Ft
Lauderdale after shedding ALL our possessions. We haven't stopped since.
May 2004. Egret joined the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally (NAR), Ft Lauderdale -
Bermuda - Azores - Gibraltar.
July 2004 - April 2006. Egret cruised the Mediterranean wintering the first
year in Barcelona, Spain, the second year in Marmaris, Turkey
April 2006, Egret left her winter port of Marmaris, Turkey with our
destination goal of Ushuaia, Argentina. Egret's itinerary was: Turkey,
southern Aegean Greek Islands, Crete, Sicily, Straits of Messina, Italian
west coast and Riviera, French Riviera, Barcelona, Spain for provisioning,
Gibraltar - departed Gib Sept 15th, Grand Canaria, Canary Islands where we
picked up our super volunteer crewman, Master Angler Steve Lawrence. Egret
departed the Canaries Sept 30th for Salvador, Brazil arriving 20 days later.
Brazil to Mar del Plata, Argentina, south down the Argentine coast to
Ushuaia, Argentina, arriving December 28th, 2006, 7009.65 nautical miles and
110 days from Gibraltar. (Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world)
(Fin del Mundo - End of the World))
2007. A year in review. Along with crewman MA Steve we were joined by
PAE's Jim Leishman to round Cape Horn, doing so on Jan 21st (east to west)
and again on Jan 22d (west to east). This was followed by a weeks glacier
tour in the Chilean Channels. With our friends departed we cruised locally
for a bit then changed our intended itinerary of passing thru the Deep South
and on to our announced goal of New Zealand deciding to spend a year
cruising the Deep South. We simply couldn't leave this wild, unspoiled
frontier. With a full year in hand to explore the Deep South we wasted no
time. Here and there including a winter 'glacier loop' tour around Isla
Gordon we explored. As enjoyable as the cruising was, another big highlight
was socializing with the few winter-over international group of cruisers,
the adventure charter sailboat folks and the townspeople. We thoroughly
enjoyed the small town of Ushuaia, Argentina, headquarters for all who
arrive in the Deep South. Ushuaia is the main departure port for Antarctic
cruise ships as well as a ski resort in the winter catering mainly to
Argentineans. The full VofE's log of Egret's meanderings, from Turkey until
today, are available to read at your leisure on this same website. Also,
there is a Pictures section as well as a Forum section to ask questions you
2008 promises to bring more Egret adventure traveling the balance of the
Chilean Channels, thru the Pacific and on to New Zealand. As we move along
we will attempt to paint a real time picture with words and attached
photographs thru VofE. We hope you enjoy the ride.
Voyage of Egret was brought to life by the foresight of Jenny Stern, Pacific
Asian Enterprises, and web guru Doug Harlow, Harlow Media Arts. email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
It has been a pleasure to bring you Voyage of Egret again this year. Voyage
of Egret is our gift of inspiration, along with a bit of 'how to', for new
boaters as well as boaters to be, waiting for Their Time to enjoy The Life
(the cruising life). Mary and Scott
December 20, 2007
Position: Caleta Bernard, Bahia Moore S51 45.09 W73 55.00 (pp369 Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego Nautical guide 6.32)
Well, mis amigos, shortly after firing the last VofE into space on Monday,
12-17, the wind moderated as predicted by OMNI Bob, the tide swung and all
was well as we traveled the last few miles in the Magellan before turning
north into Canal Smyth. Shortly after entering Smyth is a mid channel
island with a Chilean Armada station (Faro/Lighthouse Fairways) along with a
complete weather reporting station. Mary dutifully called and was replied
to in English, sort of.... (sort of like our Spanish). He later called just
before our anchorage with no real reason but to practice his English. After
anchoring a bit later MS called him again with our position. He was
This first night's anchorage in the Smyth is Caleta Darde', named after a
French sailboat who found and reported this tiny, natural circular harbor
and its VERY narrow entrance (about 40' wide - 20' deep). (pp376 P&TdelFNG
6.41) Again, no shorelines with good holding in heavy mud. Before the
anchorage we passed two wrecks. One was nearly rusted away completely but
the second was a large single screw freighter, perhaps 150' or more long,
lying on its side rusting away as well but more intact. Picture 1. Canal
Smyth is straight in places but twists around small islets and islands in
others. The fairway itself is quite deep but off-channel are rock snags
waiting for the unobservant. Even with radar, paper charts and weak
electronic charting we needed to be on our toes in the heavy mist/low
visibility. We passed a large Norwegian cruise ship, in fact the same one
who rescued the passengers from the cruise ship that recently sunk in the
Drake Passage, after they exited Canal Smyth and were entering the Magellan.
Some of the turns are so tight I'm not sure they don't have to use their bow
and stern thrusters to help make the turns, particularly in heavy wind.
Tue am. Light rain all night with little wind continuing into the
afternoon. Soooo, it was a laundry, make water and rinse the salt off the
areas not exposed to the rain morning.
Tue pm. Rain all day. Puttered, read & watched BBC Planet Earth until
1:00AM. One thing we noticed recently with the Racors is Argentine fuel,
even though clean, clogs the 2 micron Racor elements in a relatively short
time (not with visible dirt), 150 hours or so. (we change the elements at 5
inches of vacuum, not the recommended 7 inches - the time difference between
5 inches and 7 inches is short) During the winter, fuel in our gravity feed
tank for the diesel heater gelled. We had to add kerosene, 15%, to the
mixture to keep the fuel viscous. The main tanks were never affected. The
water and air temperature is much warmer now plus we have the added head
pressure of full tanks pushing the fuel thru the system in addition to the
main lift pump. Bottom line: the Racor vacuum gauge isn't moving. Hmmmm
Interesting. Perhaps we were getting a slight thickening of the fuel
causing the filter element clogging. (Any N46 owners reading this and not
quite understanding, we specified the day tank from the N40 and gravity feed
main tanks be installed in Egret when we placed our order - most N46's have
siphon tubes in the main tanks)
Wed am. 12-19 Under way, light mist and overcast, 15 knots of wind, towing
dink, 30 miles or so to the next anchorage.
Wed pm. It was such a nice sunny day by early afternoon we bailed early and
anchored in Bahia Mallet, off the Smyth Channel (pp373-374 6.38 P&TdelFNG).
After launching the dink we followed the ancient portage where the Indians
used to portage their canoes across a low isthmus to save miles of rowing.
We puttered and explored. Mary found tadpoles. Amazing, here at 52+
degrees south. Just last night we were watching BBC reporting how 1/3 of
all frog species have disappeared in recent years from a fungus. They
appear to be alive and well here though I can't imagine how they can
possibly survive this climate.
After returning it was oil change time for the main. (YT's boat chore for
the day) MS's job for the day was trimming Egret's Christmas tree. We cut
a very small conifer and took the trimmings from nature: red califate
berrys for red balls, small purple flowers for ornaments, delicate reddish
miniature ferns for color, gray-white lichens for snow and a daisy like
little white flower for the star on top. Picture 2.
Last Christmas Egret was under way as well. We were at sea, three days
before arriving in Ushuaia. We took a picture thru the pilothouse window of
the three of us (including Master Angler Steve, Egret's super crewman)
sitting on the dock box, backs to the camera looking forward wearing red and
white Santa hats. It was a beautiful day at sea. We'll see what this
Thurs am. 12-20 Egret departed the anchorage at 0700 in blowing rain,
overcast and misty gray (a perfect day to travel - not to waste the good
days). As soon as we turned the corner from our little hidey-hole the wind
went immediately to 34.9 knots. The digital barometer looks like stair
steps going down. Yup, its going to be one of those days. 4.5 - 5.2 knots
depending on headwinds. 0900 Going by a steep sided island on the port side
there are 15 waterfalls within a 1/4 mile. With no vegetation to speak of
to hold the rain water, the water funnels to the crevasses and down it
falls. There is very little snow on top to melt. When the rain stops, so
will the waterfalls. During dry, sunny days you can see the courses of the
larger waterfalls along the way by the vertical smooth areas.
Paper chart navigating. We have a large gap in our DMA (U.S.) paper charts.
I don't know why, but it is what it is. Here again the Italian guide
(P&TdelFNG) has proved priceless. By cheating a bit and looking up
different anchorages along the way, at the top of each anchorage description
is the number of the applicable Chilean charts. (small and large scale) We
have the Chilean book of ALL their charts but in a size reduced to 8 1/2 x
14". Using the guide's chart numbers hugely simplifies flipping pages to
find the largest scale chart. We use a clear magnifying dome to read the
Thurs pm. Lotsa wind this afternoon......over 40 sustained. After a few
bouts with aquarium glass (thats where the spray is no longer spray but
solid water on the pilothouse glass.......its like looking into an aquarium)
we bailed and retreated 4.5 miles to an anchorage. Funny, 3.4 knots going
uphill, 8.8 - 8.9 downhill. We are anchored in Caleta Bernard, Bahia Moore
(pp369 P&TdelFNG). After turning into the anchorage all went calm. We went
to the end where we could have swung to the anchor alone but there was
another powerboater in our spot.....imagine that. Dirt bag. We retreated
to a tiny space between islands and put two lines ashore. While we were
doing the shoreline cha-cha their entire crew of 5 came by taking pictures
then left. (movies we found out later)
After getting secure, YT went over and invited them for cocktails.
Understand, we have had no human contact for a while. Getting kinda dry for
new conversation. An interesting boat. Its a single engine trimaran (Ocen
Alchimist) similar to Cable and Wireless, with a 80' main hull and two small
hulls aft, sort of like training wheels but VERY efficient. The owner came
by himself (his crew was working). Its a long story but he is quite a
famous sailboat racer, Frenchman Olivier De Kersavson who has won a bunch of
BIG around the world stuff. Nine times passing below Cape Horn racing. We
had a great evening listening to stories, killed a couple bottles of cheap
Argentine wine and exchanged numbers. We promised to call when in Tahiti
where he has a home. He is currently taking a French film crew around on a
TV program odyssey. Between the French and BBC they do a lot of boat
adventure stuff. Its too bad we Americans don't do the same.
Olivier stopped here because fellow French sailor Bernard Moitessier stopped
here as well. We stopped here to keep from getting killed. We all have our
Friday am. This is it mis amigos, the holidays. Mary and I wish you the
best. It has been a great year for the Egret crew and hopefully for
yourselves. Perhaps before long there will be a little white fiberglass
barco (boat) in your stocking. VofE will be back before New Years to keep
you from getting totally saturated with football. The best to everyone.
December 17, 2007
Position: S53 18.43 W73 00.18 Caleta Playa Parda, Western Straits of
Magellan (north side) (pp 414 Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego Nautical Guide
#8.6) This is not actually where we are (we are under way), but last
night's anchorage (Sun). Hopefully the Google Earth overhead is clear. If
you want to look up the last three anchorages yourself on Google Earth the
coordinates are: Caleta Brecknock S54 32.70 W71 54.55, Caleta Murray S53
56.83 W71 41.10, Caleta Gallant S53 41.25 W71 59.75
Well, mis amigos, what a difference a day makes. From the windy, rainy day
before, Thursday (12-14) was a perfect, perfect day making up for the
previous days of not so nice. We woke early in Caleta Brecknock to sun and
NO wind. We didn't waste a minute. First was transferring the fuel out of
the cockpit fuel bladder. We now actually have the generator and wing
exhaust above the waterline. No more blowing bubbles!!
After breakfast we were off for the first of three hikes. I wish we could
show you the pictures but it is not to be. What we described as a 60' wide
inlet into the little circular stone coliseum of Brecknock we could now see
is about 125' wide. What a difference the security blankey of bright
sunshine vs the threatening obstacles of rain, hanging mist and mucho wind.
The first long hike high to the east overlooking the inland lake and stream
feeding the large waterfall was a treat.
To regress just a bit, speaking of waterfalls, after anchoring the evening
before we were watching the high waterfall across the way exposed to the
wind being blown UP in the rachas (williwaws). Wild!! (not just mist -
Back to our little white fiberglass home for lunch then off dinghy exploring
up a creek fed by a second inland lake. Another long hike up we discovered
a third and fourth inland lake. The lakes were little sparkling jewels
surrounded by wind hammered, nearly barren rock. Only crevices fed by water
and somewhat protected from the wind is there any significant growth of
tortured trees. Later, dinghy exploring the little bay a mile before our
anchorage we took a third high hike to find the source of the waterfall and
stream leading inland. This time it was a larger lake being fed by numerous
waterfalls from 3-4 surrounding mountains. With the wind starting to puff
we headed back (downwind.....yes!). Just before dark a Dutch charter
sailboat came in. We gave them a hand with their shorelines but I will say
they were an efficient crew boathandling in the freshing breeze.
The grib forecast told of not so great, but acceptable morning winds on
Friday diminishing during the day. Yea, right!! We left Caleta Brecknock
without difficulty, entered Canal Brecknock scrambling to make sense of the
rusty channel marker and unidentifiable islands (not charted). We made it
after a while then entered Canal Cockburn leading eventually to the
Magellan. Canal Cockburn is open directly to the Southern Ocean with
nothing in its way. We got our butts kicked. Yup, KICK-ED. Had to tack a
bit using the advantage of the Naiad's in a just-off-beam sea then turned
downsea. Lotsa power in the waves and tide. The bright spot was, we were
RIDING the tide.....for a change. Running at 1725rpm (to keep more water
flowing past the keel and stabilizer fins) we were making 7.5 - 7.7 knots
even though it wasn't very pretty. Still not having any navigation
difficulties we decided to be a bit naughty and cut nearly 100nm off our
course by taking a different channel north. (not allowed by the Armada but
in foul weather is somewhat acceptable) By turning the corner north early
we got rid of the wind driven waves and were down to just a bit of
wind......no biggie. We made our way thru a number of islands then entered
Canal Acwalisnan leading into Seno Pedro (Pete Sound), that, in turn, enters
the Magellan. (pp452-452 P&TdelFNG) (Seno Pedro was named after Pedro
Sarmiento de Gamboa, who sailed with his ship Nuestra Senora de la Esperanza
(Our Lady of Hope) in February, 1580) We were lucky to be riding the tide
on the way north thru Canal Acwalisnan to Caleta Murray. The tide runs up
to 8 knots thru the narrows. Near the north end (before the Magellan) is
Caleta Murray (pp454 #9.4), a mile long gash into the interior of Isla
Caleta Murray, tonight's anchorage, is in front of a stream. We LOVE
streams. Streams deliver nice hard mud for great holding. We don't like
rock bowls, like Caleta Brecknock with its rocky bottoms and poor holding.
CB is our first poor holding EVER in the Deep South. Our late afternoon
Caleta Murray hike inland had a purpose, to get high enough to see the
Magellan and also Cabo Froward (yes, spelling is correct). Cabo Froward is
the southernmost point in the continental Americas and is located on the
north shore of the Magellan where it turns from N/S to E/W. Soooo, we
climbed to the next high peak, and next, and next, next and so on. We
finally made it. Geesh. Yup, we took a few pictures.
These past few days have been a number of firsts for Egret.
Farthest north in nearly a year.
First time bashed by the Pacific Southern Ocean (the Southern Ocean is made
up of the three great oceans below 50 degrees south: Atlantic, Pacific,
Indian) First time swinging on anchor alone since Brazil (no shorelines -
except Ushuaia Harbor & Estancia Harberton) Mary spotted our first conifer
trees in the Deep South on our Caleta Murray hike.
Mary discovers motor drive (see below *) First time on mainland Americas
exactly a year to the day (Dec 15th - the date Egret left Mar del Plata,
We have shown pictures of Puerto Williams, Caleta Olla and Caleta Emilita in
the last few VofE's. We'll keep up the tradition showing anchorages as we
are able along the way to Puerto Montt, Chile at the northern head of the
Channels. Picture 1 is Caleta Brecknock. Picture 2 is Caleta Murray.
These pictures will give you a good visual to help bring our words to life
and give you a bit of understanding about cruising this wild place in the
world. If we can get clear (no rain) pictures of every anchorage it will be
* One ting I must bring up, MS (my sweetie) has discovered MOTOR DRIVE on
her camera. No problema. Push the button and letterip. No problem for HER
banging out 3 frames a second. SHE isn't the one who has to take out the
2GB memory card and sort thru 7 zillion pictures a day. YT uses motor drive
sparingly: birds in flight, jumping sea lions, pole dancers, and so on.
You get the picture.
With good weather predicted for Saturday (tomorrow) we'll cross the Magellan
and trek a bit west to Caleta Gallant. Caleta Gallant is one of the most
historic anchorages in the Deep South.
Sat 12-15 Cross the Magellan we did and are now anchored in Caleta Gallant,
Bahia Fortescue. After leaving Seno Pedro turning into the Magellan we were
able to take pictures of Cabo Froward. CF looks like the head of a bull
dolphin (mahi mahi), a vertical cliff with a little whoop de doo on top.
Today we took an inland hike up the same stream fleets of ships over the
years have stopped to water. To give you a bit of history we'll copy
P&TdelFNG pp421-422 #8.13 (with permission) Visitors to this small bay
1587 Thomas Cavendish with his small fleet: Desiree, Content and Hugh
Gallant (Caleta Gallant was named after this ship)
1767 Louis Antoine de Bougainville aboard his ships La Boudeuse and Etoile
1786 Antonio de Cordova with the frigate Santa Maria de la Cabeza
1826 Capt Pringle Stokes of HMS Beagle
1828 Capt Robert Fitzroy of HMS Beagle (with Charles Darwin) 1830 Capt
Parker King of the Adventure
1896 Joshua Slocum, single handed on his yacht Spray (first American single
handed circumnavigation under sail)
Slocum was attacked by "savages from Bahia Fortescue who shot arrows at him"
and went up the way to Isla Carlos (Charles Islands) in the middle of the
Magellan where savage winds kept any canoes arriving from Fortescue. After
two days the wind moderated and Josh split. (Charles Islands are Egret's
Exactly nothing has changed in this bay since 1587. There are zero signs of
habitation or molestation except perhaps a bit of plastic on the shore (but
very little). Tony C. (Antonio de Cordova) send his crew up the 2461'
mountain dividing the Magellan from the bay. TC named the mountain Monte
Cruz (Cross Mountain) after an iron cross the crew erected on top.
Sun 12-16 Egret is under way. TK came aboard at 0700 on an overcast, misty
morning. 0815 we passed Tony C.'s Monte Cruz on the southern side as we are
running toward the west. Lying in bed early this morning looking at the
anemometer (we have a repeater in our stateroom next to YT's head) reading
.4 knots we made the decision to run for it in the calm weather even though
we would like to explore Isla Carlos, Chile's first national sea park set
aside to study whales who come into the bay and surrounding area, just a
couple miles up the road. The grib files show 2 1/2 days of calm. We need
to travel about 100 miles to get into Canal Smyth, a N/S channel for
protection from the westerlies and north westerlies. We talk a lot about
weather for good reason. Weather dominates all cruising decisions and daily
life in the Deep South. Quoting directly from the Patagonia & Tierra del
Fuego Nautical Guide (pp406-407) we'll give you the weather meteorology for
the western section of the Magellan and up into Canal Smyth (a N/S channel).
It is a bit lengthy but will allow you insight into the local weather every
cruiser faces daily in these higher latitudes traveling the Channels.
"This part is characterized by distressingly constant bad weather. The N/NW
frontal winds prevail and they blow at an average speed of 25 to 30 knots.
These values increase to 40 to 50 knots during the passage of a deep
depression. The conditions are worsened by the steep coast and deep
valleys, likely to divert and funnel the wind creating the well known
violent gusts called williwaws. These come from highly unpredictable
directions and combine a remarkable violence with a general descending
motion of the air, blowing spray and foam in a way reminiscent of a column
of smoke. Winds up to 70 knots should be expected in squalls. They are
fortunately of short duration, but if met unprepared, can cause serious
damage to sails and rigging. Once the frontal part of the depression is
passed, the wind turns to W/SW and blows with an average strength of 20-25
knots. If lower strengths of SW wind or calms follow the passage of a
depression, this indicates the arrival of another system, the frontal part
of which is counterbalancing the rising pressure of the first."
..."For vessels going N towards Canal Smyth the task is even worse, as they
are liable to incur almost endless contrary winds, waves and tidal streams
(the flood runs E). We had to wait 9 days for a good spell to cross the
last 20 miles from Puerto Angosto to IslaTamar, while the great Joshua
Slocum remained anchored in the same bay for a month..."
You get the picture...we are taking our Christmas regalo (present) early and
running for it. You can see why.
Back to wave bashing. Actually, there are NO waves, just waterbirds
everywhere without enough wind to lift off. The only ones feeding are
pinguino's (penguins). Albatrosses, shearwaters and giant petrals are all
paddling about moving away from our little ship. AND, we are riding the
tide...7.5 - 7.9 knots at 1500 rpm. Yes!!
Sun pm. Euphoria soon morphed into reality. Egret briefly touched 8 knots
THEN tings went south, or should we say east. Both the wind and tide
decided to swing. Yup, 3.4 - 3.5 knots and up to 30 knots of wind on a 'no
wind over 10 knots' day. Sooo, the best laid plans got changoed. Scanning
the Italian guide for a place to bail, simple math had us backtrack 4 miles
to Caleta Playa Parda (pp414 P&TdelFNG #8.6) Wow, what a treat this is! No
shorelines to fool with but a simple TK drop, with MS doing the foredeck
work in the rain while YT was inside nice and toasty.....yup, not bad.
Caleta PP is another circular basin with a narrow, kelp lined entrance.
Immediately to the right are two large waterfalls falling from quite high.
In front are a mass of mostly barren rock sheltering what has to be an
inland lake in the distance being fed by three more waterfalls we can see
flowing down a mountain in the background. We won't launch the dinghy for a
hike up high because of the rain and a short time before dark. We plan to
leave VERY early tomorrow (Mon) to catch the ebb and make the miles to turn
the corner into Canal Smyth. We'll see manana.
Time and time again I'm kicking myself for not buying the 12-24mm wide angle
lense the camera guy was trying to sell me so I could take a single picture
of what we are seeing out the pilothouse windows this very minute. I didn't
want to spend another boat unit on camera stuff but regret it now. I
thought I was going to stitch photographs together using Photoshop and
didn't need the lense. After buying a comprehensive DVD on the subject it
is more technical than I want to get into. Don't have the patience. Bottom
line: I have taken a series of overlapping pictures MS and I can look at
later to bring this beautiful anchorage back to life.
Mon 12-17 Egret departed Caleta Playa Parda this morning at 0550.
Immediately upon turning into the Magellan the wind ramped to sustained high
20's, went to the low 30's for a couple of hours and now is hovering around
mid 20's. This is on a sustained wind forecast of 10-15 knots. Normally we
add 10 knots to the forecast and are right more often than not but this
seems unusually higher. The Italians said in their guide unpredictability
is the norm and they are right. There comes a time when enough is enough.
We are determined to slug our way thru today unless OMNI Bob's forecast
coming later shows we shouldn't. It will take a lot of convincing even
though the head seas are growing by the hour. We are running at 1600rpm
maintaining an average speed for the day of 4.9 knots. (on a favorable tide)
We have passed just three ships since we have been in the Magellan. Two
yesterday and one this morning. We have passed a number of small wooden
Chilean fishing boats in clusters here and there and no private boats.
OK, on to OMNI Bob's weather forecast. You will notice immediately the
difference between professional forecasting and the nominal information we
have available. This is a lengthy VofE because of details however, there
ARE a lot of details. When we are on our trade winds passage starting in
April reports will be shorter. Ciao
High pressure ridging should extend from a 1024mb high cell near 35S 90W
Mon/am. The high is expected to weaken and drift SE'ward. Ridging from the
high cell extending SSE across the Magellan Straits Mon/am will also weaken
through Mon/night-Tue/am as a weather front approaches from the west/north.
A developing Gale low well south/west near 58S 90W and weather front/troughs
extending NE across the southern portions of S/America will produce an
increasing NNW-WNW wind/sea pattern from the Ushuaia waters north across the
Magellan straits and Canal Smyth waters starting during Tue/18th with a
little easier wind pattern during Tue/overnight-Wed.
The more protected waters will have their sea heights fetch limited.
However, across the more exposed waters to the WNW-WSW (in the
passes/straits) these areas will experience higher sea/swell heights.
Overall, expect an easier wind pattern during Mon/am that gradually freshens
during Tue/17th, maybe starting Tue/overnight. The strongest winds will tend
to occurs Tue/morning-evening where gusty winds above 33kts should be
Outlooks indicate an easier wind pattern developing in the Canal Smyth area
and northward from Wed/19th and continuing until Thur/pm. However, a new low
will approach the area during Thur/pm and this low will bring a new round of
increasing NW-WNW winds Thur/eve-night.
Expect cruising northward toward the Magellan Straits and Canal Smyth area.
Mon/17: NNE-NW 08-15kts, waves low in protected waters, partly cloudy, maybe
some morning clouds to start. Clouds tend to increase during the overnight.
Locally higher winds in the passes.
Tue/18: Freshen NNE-NW 15-20kt with low waves. Increasing clouds with
showers/rain developing through Tue/morning-midday, then NW-WNW 20-25kt,
gusty 30-33kts from midday-afternoon. Easing a bit WNW 15-20kts, gusty
toward Tue/eve-night. Mostly to variably cloudy with showers through the
evening, less likely during the overnight.
Wed/19: WNW-ly 15-20kts, gusty upto 25kts in the passes. Variably to partly
We will continue to watch this pattern closely. Updating as requested.
December 12, 2007
Position: S54 32.67 W71 54.60 On anchor, Caleta Brecknock, SW Chilean Channels pp479-480 Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego Nautical Guide (10.7)
(If Google Earth's overhead picture is clear you'll see how unique this
anchorage is) Picture 1: 'Sometimes kelp is your friend (marking
rocks/shallow water), sometimes its not'. Picture 2 'Wind and Ice'.
Well, mis amigos, Egret is under way.......again.......finally. After a
full day and night of rain on Mon 12-10, Egret departed Caleta Emilita at
0550, Tue am. The late night grib (weather) files show a bit of wind this
morning, calming late afternoon then slamming on Wed early am. We are
trying to make today's run to one of the most famous caleta's in the
southern area and hopefully we'll make it. If not we'll stop 25 miles short
at our back up anchorage. If we have to use the back up we'll move to the
other more famous caleta just to see it even though it is a short distance
up the road.
Our departure routine in the enclosed (little swinging room - ie Cta
Emilita) caletas is: recover the appropriate (leeward) shoreline then the
windward, tie the dinghy close to the boat (so we don't suck the towline
into the prop), raise the anchor (with MS rinsing the chain and removing any
kelp), motor into a safe area to drift to lift the dink and secure it on the
boat deck. All logical progression and usually not an issue UNLESS there is
mucho wind from the wrong direction, THEN it gets exciting.
So far this morning (0800) the wind hasn't exceeded 27 knots and averages
around 18. There is but a bit of chop. Also so far, a cautious so far, we
haven't found the poor charting to be an issue. Navigation has been
straight forward between using the radar, paper charts (DMA charts have
proven the best so far) and the world map charting on C-Map charts, Max Sea
navigation software. Today's run, depending on our mileage to the next
anchorage we choose, gets a bit more complicated with tight navigation
between numerous small islands. The magnetic compass is +16 degrees so we
don't use it much for reference.
If all this information detail seems a bit much let me
explain......again....our goals. Most magazine articles give highlights
about a cruise or areas but lacks details cruisers REALLY need to cruise
those areas. What VofE is all about is giving first, inspiration but just
as importantly enough detailed information.....REAL usable information, so
you too may use these logs as an aid to cruise this area (and areas in the
past and future) with much more information we had available. Of course,
for every given cruising area you need to obtain ALL the possible
information like cruising guides and the like. For this particular area
(the southern Chilean archipelago Puerto Montt to Ushuaia, east to the
Atlantic, then north to Mar del Plata, Argentina) we use/used the Patagonia
& Tierra del Fuego Nautical Guide, the excellent articles in Cruising World
Magazine by Beth A. Leonard and several other authors. Also, there is an
informative PassageMaker Magazine article, Argentine coast to Ushuaia,
written in 2003 by Ken Murray, an American powerboater. Currently you have
the excellent logs for the trip north thru the Chilean Channels from N57,
Ice Dancer II (available on the nordhavn.com website) as well as VofE in the
future. Mary and I both read and re-read ID II's logs for information.
Another important item (I just happened to look over and remember) is EPIRB
registration. By rooting around on the NOAA website I found a phone number
for EPIRB registration. A real human answered the phone. Amazing!! She
couldn't have been more helpful listing Egret's rough itinerary in the
computer and registering our second EPIRB (a gift from friends for our ditch
bag). 888 212-7283, 301 817-4515
OK, back to wave bashing, and wave bashing we did........and did some more.
From 1000 to 1400 we had steady winds of about 30 knots topping out at 38.8
in the Canal Ballenero (PP469 P&TdelF Nautical Guide). Canal Ballenero is
not so much as a canal (channel) but a large, narrow bay open to the
Southern Ocean with little diversion for the wind. These winds mixed with
tide made for TT waves (tall & tight). We increase speed to 1500rpm from
1350rpm to keep the bow from dropping so much and later increased to 1600
rpm. Our speed ranged from 3.8 to 5.5 knots including the increased rpm.
We had LOTSA time to look at the scrubby, stunted vegetation along the way.
It looks like a tree hell. If you have been a VERY bad tree, this is where
they get sent to the land of perpetual wind, rain, snow and little sun.
In due time we passed our first acceptable anchorage, however it was still
early enough with the prediction of decreasing winds and the long summer
days we pushed on. (there is usable light from 5:00am to 10:30pm local
time) This particular area is the most demanding navigation we have
experienced to date, however it turned out to be no biggie using our
different aids to navigation. (Necessity is the mother of invention!!)
Our optimum anchorage for this section is Caleta Brecknock, one of the most
historical anchorages in this area. Going for it, we passed our second
choice for anchorages and pushed on for Brecknock encouraged by a favorable
tide. (pp479-480 P&TdelFNG)
Before leaving Ushuaia, both Kiwi friends on Vision and the American/Italian
couple on On Vera both asked us several times to keep an eye out for 'red
sails Edward', a 73 year old single hander from New Zealand (I believe) in
his 28' simple sailboat. Both had met Edward in Puerto Montt, Chile on
their stay there. Edward has been at it for years and years sailing the
world single handed with no engine and basically, no nuttin. The Chilean
Armada in Puerto Montt wouldn't give Edward his zarpe for the Channels
without an engine, with VERY good reason. Soooo, red sails caved and bought
a 4hp, 4 stroke outboard. Next he built a simple bracket on the transom to
mount the little engine, however he mounted it to high and now had a 4hp,
gasoline powered fan. Vision got things straightened out and off red sails
went. The other two boats passed him and have been in Ushuaia for weeks.
Several miles before the turn-off for Caleta Brecknock Mary spotted red
sails Edward in the distance and hailed him on the VHF. Minimalist
sailboaters don't leave their VHF's on to conserve battery power, so there
was no reply. As we closed we drove over near Edward, who now hailed Egret
as "sport fishing boat". Edward was exactly as described; sitting outside
in the cockpit in bright yellow foul weather gear (it was raining hard at
the time and blowing over 30) towing his 3 piece nesting dinghy (three
pieces fit inside each other for storage on deck and assembled for use)
trailing knotted lines behind the dink. Edward doesn't believe in life
lines so tows the dink and knotted ropes behind. He fell overboard once and
this arrangement saved him. He told Vision "if I would have had lifelines I
couldn't have gotten back aboard". Can't argue with success.
We would loved to have Edward join us in Brecknock but it was not to be.
For Edward to beat back against the wind and tide he was riding would have
been a many hour affair, even for the relatively short distance, plus it was
around 7:30pm making for a time crunch. We said our goodbye's and later, at
his request, e-mailed Vision his position.
We have met a number of 'red sails' in our travels. This small group of
older adventurous sailboaters tend to take their time traveling, have been
everywhere and are readily assimilated into the more 'youthful' liveaboard
cruising community. This group suffers unimaginably, we all know it and
respect their independence and toughness. Their reward in suffering at
times while under way is the genuine warmth and acceptance as peers of this
small, mobile cruising community. Here, age is treated with a certain
respect, something they may not enjoy sitting somewhere ashore watching
re-runs. Mary has spoiled a number of red sails by inviting them for dinner
aboard Egret, exchanging books (as a group they are ALL big readers) and
fussing over them. They LOVE the attention & my sweetie.
Entering Caleta Brecknock was a trip. Brecknock is a 2 mile long narrow
fjord running SW/NE into Peninsula Brecknock. There are two indentations
(bays) before entering the narrows. Blowing rain, lotsa wind and no
charting of any consequence. Saved again by the Italian guide's single word
'end', we kept the faith moving past an anchorage (second indentation) that
appeared to be exactly as described right down to the waterfall. 'Faith'
required us to go thru a 60' wide opening between two vertical rock cliffs -
can't see the top from under the flybridge top, to see what is beyond.
Bumping in and out of gear VERY slowly, soon the narrow channel opened into
a smallish, circular bay with another waterfall and anchorage as described
in the guide. I was still not totally convinced when Mary raced to the
flybridge with pictures of the Caleta she found in the guide (pp 160 - 9
pages into the picture section). The high rock dome we could see in the
picture AND ahead convinced us this was the spot. Holding isn't the
greatest, rocky, so until the wind swung to the usual westerlies holding us
off the beach we weren't comfortable. As a precaution we moved the dink to
the port side along with dropping all our fenders in the water to become a
floating cushion. The water is deep next to the steep-to shore so if in the
chance TK can't grab notches in the rock we have a back-up if the wind
swings to the NE and we drag.
Wed am. Gusting westerlies, rain from time to time and the small part of
the bay open to the wind thru the narrow opening is churned white. Our job
for the day, or next time there is no rain, is to empty the 100 gal fuel
bladder in the cockpit. Deck fuel comes at a price and that expense is
accentuated pitching with extra weight on the ends (of the boat). The
cockpit weight is the worst being so far back. (The 150 gal foredeck
bladder isn't so bad because it is moved back as far as possible) With the
problems of fueling in Ushuaia, and not wanting to take a chance on spilling
any fuel the foredeck bladder isn't full. Big problema there. Now it
sloshes back and forth as we pitch compounding the pitching. We'll fill our
empty jerry jugs from the cockpit bladder with an electric pump, then take
the jugs forward and pump the bladder full. Next we'll evenly divide the
fuel between the main tanks. Any remaining fuel will be pumped into the
We plan to stay in Cta Brecknock a bit exploring this smallish stone
coliseum. According to the guide, "it is a wonderful place to hike. A
sparkling emerald lake lies just 10 minutes away, walking from the
anchorage. It created the waterfall in the NE corner" and so on. Not bad
mis amigos. Ciao.
December 10, 2007
Position: S54 52.97 W70 22.91 Caleta (Cove) Emilita, Isla O'Brien pp488
Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego Nautical Guide (10.18)
Picture 1 is our anchorage in Cta Emilita with two shorelines. Picture 2
was taken Sun. late afternoon when two dusky dolphins were playing with YT
in the dink. Mary took this great shot.
Well, mis amigos, rain, rain, rain mixed with snow and so on. Friday was a
'liveaboard' day here in Caleta Olla watching the continuous waves blow
through. After finish reading Two Years Before The Mast by Richard Henry
Dana, Jr, YT suited up in plastic clothes to check the crab trap. THIS time
it was baited with a juicy can of sardines with holes poked in both sides.
Nada. Zip. So we moved it for another go.
Tings are a bit different cruising today vs Dana's era. (1834-35) One
remnant of the past at least for the last few days, is the daily allowance
of hard bread. We mentioned before, when leaving Ushuaia we bought ten
loaves of just baked French bread wrapped to go. While sitting in Puerto
Williams one evening we heard the water pump go on. As every boater knows
it doesn't take long to identify with EVERY sound aboard, familiar and
unfamiliar. The water pump didn't shut off. Mary raced to the circuit
breaker panel and switched off the pump. YT grabbed a flashlight to
investigate. First, up came the master berth under which most of the water
connections are. Nada - dry. Next, under the master head sink, galley
sink, then the forward head. Yup. We had filled the guest shower with
consumables: 2 liter bottles of soda water, coke, paper towels, heavy
veggies AND our precious French bread. A few heavy loaves of French bread
(1 kilo each) had fallen over and turned on our la di da shower handle.
Yup, everything nicely sprinkled. Soooo, we re-wrapped the bread, all but
one loaf that got soaked. That loaf we left out to dry. Dry it did and is
now our daily allowance of VERY hard bread. Perfect for toast.
Sat am. Clear and windy with a fast falling barometer.
Sat pm. The barometer is rocketing down (978 so far) but it is clear, some
sun and windy. In addition to our analog barometer we have a digital
recording barometer giving current readings, 1 hour, 3 hours, 6 hours, 12
hours and 24 hours past. Graphic.
Looong hike today up above glacier Holandia and its inland lake below. Not
as strenuous as the other day but quite long. A number of times along the
way we stopped and just sat. Its so pretty its hard to describe. One thing
we noticed is the glacier and its basin being an illustrative example of
glaciers advancing, then retreating. At the terminal end of the lake is the
pushed up dirt moraine standing 100' above the lake. Around two edges the
rocks have been worn smooth by advancing/retreating ice. Another area is
vertical moraine along a side. We took a number of pictures during the hike
of different tings. We'll see what makes the cut.
Sun am. 0745 TK is snug in its anchor roller and Egret is under way. There
is little wind, a rising barometer (984), a bit of light snow and cool. We
are traveling west on Brazo Noroeste (NW arm of the Beagle Channel - about
1/2nm wide) with Tierra del Fuego to stbd (N) and Isla Gordon to port. Both
sides of the Beagle are littered with glaciers, 9 within these next 6 miles.
Between and below the glaciers are small waterfalls from snow melt and
inland, upland lakes. We just went past the waterfall where last January
Egret slowly bumped up to shore and Jim Leishman climbed over TK to the
rocks with a garden hose to fill the water tank from the waterfall. He
immediately filled one sea boot with ice water but braved it out holding the
funnel under the waterfall. We didn't really need water, we did it because
we could. Cool. On the protected side, Isla Gordon, the snow dusting is
down well into the tree line. The TdelF side is barren of snow to above the
Glacier Italia (Italy) spits out floating chunks of ice year around (the
first glacier W of Caleta Olla). A few pieces of ice made their way into
our anchorage yesterday afternoon being driven by the wind and tide. We
tried taking pictures of Italia this morning when we went by but it is very
overcast and foggy. This entire area around Isla Gordon (Gordon Island is
roughly a 28 mile long horizontal island with fjords entering from the north
and south to the interior) is considered the 'glacier loop' and is the
prettiest area in the Deep South. We'll be past this area by early
afternoon looking to our next anchorage to sit out the high winds coming for
the next couple days. We have several choices depending how much way we can
make against the tide. Currently we are going 5.7 knots, not bad
considering we are traveling west.
Wind in this area is filtered by the mountains making directional and true
wind speed forecasting inaccurate at best. (Ushuaia was more predictable
because of the funneling effect of the mountains - it's nearly always
windier than predicted) As some fronts (westerly lows) meet the Andes they
tend to turn south then wrap around Cape Horn. Other lows tend to trek down
the middle of the Drake Passage as the summer season progresses. As we
travel further west we come in more direct contact with the SW, W and NW
winds. Here the winds slam into the southern Chilean coast with full force.
Obviously it is important to tuck in well at each anchorage, particularly
over this next 150 mile stretch to the west and north. For the two
difficult southern passage areas, Straits of Magellan and Golfo de Penas, we
will use a professional weather forecaster as a secondary source of weather.
These two areas are not areas to make a mistake so it is prudent to get all
the help possible. The balance of the S/N trip to Puerto Montt are more
protected so we'll just use the grib files. OMNI Bob, Bob Jones, Ocean
Marine Navigation, Inc. (email@example.com)(866 505-6664) who helped guide
Egret on her Atlantic crossing last year and more recently forecasted for
the Med Bound 2007 group's Atlantic crossing will be with us again this
year. Again like last year we will post OMNI Bob's weather forecasts with
We are now passing Romanche Glacier with its huge waterfall exiting from
UNDER the ice down to the Beagle. Below the highest drop is a large, house
size, remnant of ice that slid down this past winter. When Darwin was
exploring this glacier in the Beagle's longboat (the ice reached the Beagle
Channel at that time) a large chunk calved into the water creating a wave
than nearly washed away the longboat stranding their small party. Lotsa
history here amigos.
Now its an obvious avalanche scar going by on the stbd side (N) along with
more waterfalls. As tough as this area is it is also fragile. A scar like
this, denuded of trees with a grass covering may take many hundreds of years
to reforest itself. In the Harberton area, trees are lying down looking
intact from a fire over a hundred years ago and still looks like it did
shortly after the fire. I'll try not to say it too many more times but we
are certainly going to miss this wild and rugged place in the world.
Now its snowing heavily. At least the radar is punching through giving us a
clear picture ahead. What happened to early summer????? Geesh. Sure am
glad we are in our toasty pilothouse with our buss heater pumping out hot,
dry air. Not having to look through salt caked, snow ringed eyes is also a
grande plus. A fellow boater a few months ago simply COULD NOT understand
we have NEVER turned on our windshield wipers...EVER. He began to argue
until I repeated myself (what part of NEVER - EVER don't you understand???)
and showed him one blade is missing with the spare in the chart storage area
under the pilothouse settee. (I'll put it on someday years from now so the
next owner of Egret won't have to use it.) Mary uses RainX on the
pilothouse glass from time to time to shed the water. Even at night we see
well through the salt on the windshield because of no reflection. Heavy
spray is self cleaning. Light spray sticks, particularly when its hot. We
wash down the glass with the saltwater washdown hose if there is a lot of
salt and it is calm enough to go forward to the hose. (Sorry about the
drift but its important you know if you don't.)
Sun pm. Egret is anchored in Caleta Emilita on Isla O'Brien. pp 488
Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego Nautical Guide (10.18) This is a small button
hole anchorage on the east side of the island giving protection from all
quarters except the east. We have two lines ashore to the trees. TK went
down in 57' and we are held in place in 35' near shore. There are two small
waterfalls behind us. Isla O'Brien is the dividing line between the
forested eastern part of Chilean Tierra del Fuego and the scrub, wind
scoured western part. For the next days travel the hillsides will be the
same. With the constant high winds, rain and so on nothing substantial can
Today's travels in a thumbprint were; foggy and cool, calm and overcast,
wind to 34.9 knots, heavy spray, no spray, no wind, sunshine and warm, heavy
driving snow, hail and rain. We dropped the dinghy in hail, but little wind
2 miles from the anchorage in the lee of some small islands. Fog obscured
the anchorage until we were close, radar and a GPS waypoint showing the way.
We anchored in calm and sunshine. Wild!! According to the Italian guide
hiking is excellent here. Very easy from the looks of things. If we have
mucho wind tomorrow (Mon) we'll stay and hike. If not, we'll move in the
good weather to the next anchorage.
Mon am. Here we sit in our little protected pool while the wind rips Canal
O'Brien to the south of us. The protective wind shadow reaches well beyond
our anchorage. Tomorrow (Tue) promises (I should say appears - there are no
promises here) to start windy then clear during the day. After checking the
weather this evening we'll move in the early morning for the run to the next
anchorage if there are no changes. Ciao
December 6, 2007
Position: S54 56.45 W69 09.40 Caleta Olla - entrance of Brazo Noroeste (NW Arm of the Beagle) (Caleta = Cove) (pp 507 #10.33 Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego Nautical Guide
Note: Last VofE we announced we would be out of internet and phone contact
for 2 1/2 months..no nuttin. That is not quite true. We still have Iridium
phone based e-mail so VofE's will follow their no schedule schedule.
Well, mis amigos, The Egret crew have gotten their zarpe (cruising permit)
from the Chilean Armada. We are cleared to Puerto Montt, Chile (at the
northern end of the Chilean Channels) due to arrive on or before Feb 20th.
We were lucky to get a zarpe direct for that distance with no intermediate
ports. (Not that we won't stop. The direct zarpe saves us from the
paperwork cha cha.) Guess our previous visits to Puerto Williams helped.
We were delayed for a day in PW because of weather. The Armada closed the
harbor to departures. We would have left punching into 40+ knots at times
heading west down the Beagle Channel (the wind driven chop isn't an issue in
the Beagle). We don't have a girl boat and would have been nice and warm
inside but that isn't the norm so we sat. And sat in the rain turned to
heavy snow. Just before dark a beautiful yellow wooden schooner arrived at
the Micalvi (sunken WWII ammunition ship where we are berthed). We were
rafted 2-3 deep with no room. The schooner moved over to the Armada buoy
for the night. We invited the American crew to Egret for a spaghetti dinner
however they had dinner underway. Later the owner and a friend came over
with a bottle of Australian rum and Chilean Channels tales. Interesting
folks and boat. She is a 65' schooner (rear mast is higher than the fore
mast), built of wood in Lunenberg, Nova Scotia, in a traditional style
complete with rowing skiff. They are on an around the world odyssey staying
south of the major capes continually moving. Quite a trip in a very short
time. Today (Wed) is a provisioning, fueling, propane and so on day,
tomorrow Cape Horn then on to Buenos Aires by Dec 14th. Pretty cool however
we all cruise differently.
Interesting, Tasmania (south of Australia) so far (except the Chilean
Channels) have been their favorite spot. N46 Arcturus went directly from
New Zealand to Tasmania (quite a trip in itself in the roaring 40s against
the wind). Hmmmm.
We meet so many interesting cruisers here and there. Yesterday we were
treated to pictures of Chagos, a dot of an atoll isolated in the southern
Indian Ocean) by an American cruiser, captain and owner of a smallish Taiwan
built sloop and her Italian boyfriend. Previously we spent some time with
them in Ushuaia. They arrived from the Channels a bit frozen (literally
with frostbite on fingers and toes) but in good spirits. After HOT showers
ashore, first in 2 months, they made the rounds visiting cruisers. We
donated 2 pairs of insulated boots we had on arrival in the Deep South and
later replaced. Also, we directed them to a local industrial hardware store
for gauntlet fleece gloves and rubber outer gloves. This and the fact they
finally got their heater working made them VERY happy. Now they don't have
to wear 4 pair of pants and 4 jackets all the time.
The Chagos pictures were outstanding. Beautiful, above and below water.
Always looking for an excuse for a get together, the yachties put together
an 'Adam and Eve' party for her birthday. An old piece of line and a
coconut head became the serpent. Leaves were the dress of the day. Only!!
Wild. A few of the Chagos yachties make pilgrimages to Madagascar (south)
for supplies and RUM and return for the next year. Madagascan rum will set
you free. We saw the pictures.
Wed, 12-5 0745 Egret departed Puerto Williams this morning heading west at
0545 with a few knots of wind and a bit of fog. Visibility is about 1 1/2
miles. 1350 rpm's and 6 knots against the tide. The tide along this
stretch flows continually east (speeding and slowing with the rise and fall)
to just east of Puerto Williams. The Pacific is slightly warmer (thus
higher) than the Atlantic so it is always trying to equalize itself. When
crossing the other day from Ushuaia with high gusts driving the tide we were
down to 3.8 knots at times at the same rpm. Our stop this evening is Caleta
Olla at the entrance of Brazo Noroeste (NW Arm of the Beagle) (Caleta =
Cove) (pp 507 #10.33 Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego Nautical Guide). We have
been there a number of time before. There are two long hikes we hope to
take if the weather cooperates. Caleta Olla is Egret's first anchorage on
our way to New Zealand. We have a few more to go.
To a degree we'll move in bad weather saving the best days for hiking.
Around the Magellan we'll wait for GOOD days. Weather wise, the Magellan
and Golfo de Penas (Gulf of Pain), both directly exposed to the westerlies,
are the two biggest challenges cruising north to Puerto Montt.
Yesterday's snow blanketed the high mountains just like winter. The
mountains are beautiful. I would imagine in a few days the high mountains
will be back to their usual summer pockets of deep year around snow and
exposed rock. Yesterday we fired up the diesel heater for the first time in
days. The heater is still on along with the bus heater under our berth
hooked into the Lugger's hot water loop. No frostbite here!!
The Beagle has a slight wind chop. The albatrosses are floating here and
there without enough wind to fly. Albatrosses need 8 kilometers/hour of
wind to soar without flapping their wings. Pinguinos (penguins) are
everywhere. Now, if the sun would come out it would be a perfect day here
in the Deep South. We'll see.
Egret arrived Caleta Olla in sunshine, no wind and a little light rain.
After dropping TK and backing him in Mary kept the boat squared while YT
took the two lines ashore to trees. (We drop the dink BEFORE entering our
anchorage while in a large area to drift.) After picture taking with Egret
and Boulard, a French charter boat, in the cove we fired up the suds and a
little rum n coke for MS. We'll see what tomorrow brings. Life is good for
the Egret crew.
Thur. Major hike. We left after breakfast to hike to a ridge described by
a friend as splitting the Hollandia glacier to the east and the stream fed
by an upland lake to the west. MS had a better idea (double duh) so we
turned north a bit early heading nearly straight up. An up. And way UP.
Looking at it now out the pilothouse window I don't see how we got up OR
down. It wasn't easy but never the less we had a great day taking lots of
pictures, (picture 1 is the flower of the local Firebush, picture 2 is an
artsy fartsy shot of our little white fiberglass home at anchor with
shorelines) didn't make the highest ridge in the five hours up (1 1/2 hours
down) but got close. Within the first minutes after climbing up we both
took off our light weight jackets and strapped them to the outside of the
backpacks. Mary also had a sweater. Somewhere up there, among the scrub
trees, bushes and rocks are Mary's sweater, jacket AND good sunglasses. We
looked on the way down but it was impossible to retrace our route. Oh well.
The route down was a trip. The mountain face is a series of downward
sloping narrow ledges. Some fall away to the east and others to the west.
Usually there is a drop in between. We kept heading down in the faith we
wouldn't have to backtrack and climb back up. In most places that would be
VERY difficult. In the end we made it. We were proud of our little
adventure and both have blisters as a reminder.
Today (Fri) we plan to take it easy. The wind is back with us along with a
slight misty rain. After breakfast we'll head out in the dinghy to the
beach to the east. From there we'll follow a much easier trail up to the
Hollandia (Holland) glacier. When we were there with the Cape Horn crew we
took pictures of two trees shaped by the wind with the glacier in the
background. The trees came out well in the picture but the glacier was not
clear. I now know how to make both clear (small aperture) so we'll try to
find those same two trees again and reconstruct the shot. (Now if the sun
will come out.)
Watching the sea gulls out the window is mesmerizing. They are feeding on
small baitfish driven up by bigger fish. The gulls have been moving around
the bay dipping and diving for their breakfast. There is so much food,
after a bit they go to the beach joining a second group resting then return.
So there you have it, a few days in The Life (cruising life). Ciao
December 3, 2007
Position: Puerto Williams, Chile Rafted to the Yacht Club Micalvi S54 56.10 W67 37.11 PP 543 Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego Nautical Guide
Well, mis amigos, sad day for the Egret crew. We'll save those thoughts for
later. Moving back in time we'll describe our last few days in Ushuaia,
Argentina, base of operations for Egret's Deep South cruise this past year.
After waiting a while to get fueling arrangements sorted we finally
succeeded. Twasn't easy. I'll copy an e-mail to our son in FLL to give you
an idea of the latest fueling arrangement in the Deep South. The Argentines
in Ushuaia have closed their only fuel dock to yachties. AFASyN Yacht Club
doesn't want fuel drums rolling down the dock as in the past. Quite
honestly, the boats fueling this way haven't all been diligent in not
spilling fuel. A large charter boat forward of Egret on the dock was fined
for a fuel spill the other day. THEN he was fined the next day for smoking
while fueling...duh. Should have been. So, we are in a fuel flux.
(Fri) We fueled today from a truck with 4 - 1000liter fuel bladders (we
took 3600 liters - 950 gallons) tied to a secret dock. It went without a
hitch...if you understand Argentine fueling. No fuel nozzle, single speed
pump (too fast), hose fitting direct into tank fill, fine for spilling if
caught, nervous about Prefectura showing up (Coast Guard) in unauthorized
fueling spot (there is NO authorized spot), and so on. We filled both main
tanks and 3 fuel bladders with no fuel overboard. (We don't need fuel
bladders for the trip north to Puerto Montt, Chile. Simple economics.
Every gallon we load here we save 3 American pesos in Chile.) Fortunately
the fuel hose, about 1 1/2", was thin and I could regulate the fuel flow by
folding it over. 2 hours, 20 minutes. AND the wind held off until just
after fueling & paying the bill. THEN 25-40 knots. We anchored when we got
back. The tide was too high to do a somewhat controlled downwind crash into
the dock. We anchored for an hour, cleared kelp off the anchor chain in
30+ knots, THEN crashed into the dock on a lull, just 25 knots, after the
tide fell a bit. Thank goodness for lots of oversized fenders. Geesh!!
This place isn't easy. Yesterday the Polish charter sailboat docked forward
of Egret, 50' ketch, had a guy up the mast in 40 knots. Spray from the chop
was flying over their deck. Then, it started to rain. Then, it started to
hail. The large, square guy had his short round legs wrapped around the
mast holding on with one hand trying to do wiring with the other. Another
large square guy at the base of the mast who winched square boy up wasn't
paying a bit of attention. He was worried about keeping his cigarette lit
in the wind, flying spray and rain/hail. Wild! Watching scenes like this
we should hug our little white fiberglass ship every day.
(Sat) Today they (Polish boat) left. Gusting to 45 or so. They used a bow
spring line (aft of the bow) and a HUGE round fender to rotate from the
dock. The captain knew his stuff but the charter weenie on the spring
didn't let the line go. Then IT hit the fan. Or should I say the fan hit
it. Lotsa yelling in some primeval language, lotsa grande white eyes, then
a spectacular crash back into the dock. They made it on the second try.
NEXT, the 60' French aluminum charter yacht that was rafted outside square
guy's that left decided to do a controlled crash with their toy fenders just
in front of Egret. He approached during a rare 45 second lull in the wind.
Just after passing Egret and clearing his 'stuff', including man overboard
poles and the like, past TK (our monster anchor) the wind hit. Seconds
earlier Turkish steel (TK) would have done a number on his stuff.
Lets be naughty for a bit and stereotype the charter clientele. They arrive
in herds of brandy new goretex clad pilgrims carrying their designer duffel
bags down the dock. (Sailboat charter in Ushuaia isn't cheap so it doesn't
attract the po folks set) They wander down the dock buzzing with excitement
and probably a little trepidation. They find 'their' sailboat (yacht to the
UK group) and pile aboard with their stuff. Meanwhile the sailboat skipper
and wife/mate are frantically trying to ready themselves after a short
turnaround. Provisioning, repairs, fueling and so on. Next the pilgrims
all sit outside on 'their' sailboat looking around and talking. In time
they figure out they are wet and cold so down into the cave they go only to
appear now and then. With the wind ripping the rigging realization starts
to set in...slowly...heavily. This is the REAL DEAL. This isn't like
reading a magazine or internet blog. This isn't like hazy summer Wed night
races around the buoys I got caught in a Chesapeake storm once and so on.
So, in time, off they go in their new plastic clothes to tackle Cape Horn,
the Drake Passage...TWICE...to Antarctica and back or whatever. Along the
way I'm sure more than a few are wondering why they are spending huge buckos
to be scared witless, freeze to death on watch, dry heave into the darkness
and so on. In due time they arrive back at the dock a bit worse for wear.
HOWEVER, they have survived an adventure they will NEVER forget. Very few people ever get to see Cape Horn or Antarctica from the deck of a small boat. Pretty cool. (After typing this paragraph I looked up and there are 7 colorful pilgrims exactly as I described standing on the dock - except previously I left out the latest designer footwear)
This afternoon Mary and I were invited to an asado (cookout) at the yacht
club hall. Great fun. Two birthdays were being celebrated. One was
Mariolina Rolfo, co-author of Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego Nautical Guide.
Early this evening she and Giorgio stopped by Egret for a visit. What nice
people. We gave them a CD of some of our favorite photos to show on their
website, www.capehorn-pilot.com. Working as captain/mate on a large
Italian sailboat this past summer in the Med they fell in love with a used
N46 for sale in Malta. They need to sell a few more books before they can
buy one but keep dreaming and reading Circumnavigator II. We didn't have a
latest version to give them (CN III) but will have one sent to Italy. They
too are leaving the Deep South...after 10 years. Sad for them as well as us
after just a year.
More last, last minute provisioning. Tomorrow (Sun.) is fresh fruit and
veggies day AND last minute phone calls. We will be out of voice
communication for 2 1/2 months except for emergency Iridium time if
necessary. No internet for 2 1/2 months. No nuttin. Monday before
clearing out of Argentina with the Prefectura we pick up our bread order (10
loaves just baked and wrapped) from the French bakery. We have been working
on leaving for a while so there is no panic and no loose ends (at least we
can think of this 5 minutes).
Sun. Mucho kilos of veggies and fruit. Last day phone calls to the family.
Rinsed Egret, it was too windy to give her a good wash, topped off water and
so on. Here and there we are saying our goodbye's.
Mon. More goodbyes. Pretty tough mis amigos. We left Ushuaia at 10:50
local time. It was blowing 25 knots. After leaving the dock it was gusting
to over 40. A proper send off from Ma Weather letting us know she is still
in charge. So, the next adventure begins with a trip back to Puerto
Williams, Chile to clear in then out and get our zarpe (cruising permit) to
Puerto Montt, Chile, 13.22 degrees north and two and a half months away (by
It is difficult to get here (Deep South). It is also difficult to stay
here. It is more difficult to leave here. And leave we are after just
under a year enjoying this wild, wild frontier. Will we return? Don't
know. Hope so. We'll see, however we still have some unfinished business.