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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.

February 22, 2008
Position: Oxxean Marina, Puerto Montt, Chile (Yup, still marina queens)

Well, mis amigos, the Egret crew has returned from our last venture into Argentina until who knows when. It was good to get back to the land of one thirds (1/3 the cost on anything except hard goods), Argentine beef and friendliness. We took the 5 star bus service both ways complete with stewards, movies and toilets. The ride thru the high foothills of the Andes pass was beautiful as expected. Along the way we passed miles long fresh water lakes surrounded by mountains. La Villa de Angostura is in the Los Lagos region of Chile/Argentina (The Lakes). Angostura itself is a shameless, purpose built from scratch tourista village like many we have seen in Colorado. Still it was quaint and well done. The main street and side streets were little money traps we couldn't pass up. First it was trick Salomon water shoes to wear in the S Pacific, then getting rid of the excess pesos we had retrieved from an ATM. Initially it was gifts and in the end the last pesos went to boxes of Argentine chocolate before catching the bus ride back. Our room is best described as early tenement or modern slum. It was a purpose built boarding house with 14 or so rooms, dining room and sitting room however it must have been built a loooong time ago. Clean and we got what we paid for so no problema.

Both the Chileans and Argentines are serious about border crossings. Bus travelers have it easier than private autos but still it took an hour in each station, each way. Both had drug dogs and the Chileans offloaded all the baggage and ran it thru a scanner. We had to take our backpacks to be checked as well. While in Angostura we saw an Argentine paper headline announcing 440,000 Argentines are on cocaine. Roughly 1% of the population. VERY sad. Chile doesn't allow any fruit or food across the border so Mary and I both wolfed our sandwiches and fruit before we left the bus. Overall it was a fun experience. The upside is we have another 90 days inside Chile.

Our computer issues are winding down with just a couple tings to sort. We have professional help but without it we would be doomed. If just goes to show how fragile our situation is when it comes to the mysteries of the black box. This is a lesson we know well and the reason we have so much backup. We would NEVER head offshore without being thoroughly confident ALL computer issues are sorted.

Speaking of offshore, our group of new friends are leaving within a week. Three are headed south (one already left), three west to New Zealand. One of the southbound boats deserves mention as a learning tool for VofE readers. We'll keep the people details vague as possible so there can be just a slight risk of connection. The English speaking boat has been out just two years traveling with two young children. It is a VERY modest production sailboat with modest gear. The boat arrived in Puerto Montt after passage from Panama to the Galapagos to Chile. Their intent was to travel to the Deep South. Here is what is lacking for their Deep South venture: Overall cruising experience, weather forecasting, ability to retrieve weather forecasts, near total lack of spares, ability to fix much, heavy anchor plus spares (not the toy currently on the bow), zero research including paper charts, Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego Nautical Guide, shorelines, kelp cutter, deck fuel containers, HEAT, isolation transformer, ability to accept 220V service required worldwide (with North American exceptions) AND the lists of deficiencies goes on. We cruisers put on a clandestine 'movie night' showing slides and movies from an Aussie boat. The Aussie boat showed various shots reefed down to a scrap of sail, spray everywhere, williwaws, scraping ice off the bulkheads INSIDE the boat and so on. Slowly the Deep South picture began to appear to the dreamers. We all encouraged them to spend this season cruising south to Laguna San Rafael, north of Gulf de Penas, heading west to New Zealand with the rest of the group and coming back some years later if they wish. It appears this is what they plan to do.......thank goodness. I'm sure in time they will acquire the skills to travel further south but now is not the time. I would also imagine when they do acquire the knowledge and skills they will decide to change boats to something more robust for high latitudes or not go at all. There is no shame in this, just smart. We ourselves didn't make the Antarctic trip because we couldn't get proper insurance coverage. No shame, just smart.

Batteries have become another boat issue checked off. However installation came very close to being a total disaster. I dissembled the battery cables and separated the 2 volt cells from each other in one bank (forward stateroom) after switching it off. The plan was to have the battery guys remove and replace that bank then I would hook everything up myself. I am very particular when it comes to boat tings and batteries are high on the list. I used a product called Kopr-Shield by Thomas and Betts to coat the battery posts and connections. Kopr-Shield is a copper slurry keeping out corrosion making a bulletproof connection. I shooed them off to a pot of Mary's coffee while I did the first bank. All went well. The second bank, switched off (the first bank back in service with the new batteries) was being taken apart by the tech. Grande mistake. Lotsa sparks......light show.....real bad deal. He took the negative cables off first (instead of the positive) which had two cables on that terminal. The power was being back fed from the solar panels. (I was using the solar panels to boost the small battery 50/60 cycle battery charger to help keep up with our problematic freezer drawing so many amps....my fault for not shutting them off) I was afraid the inverter and 50/60 cycle charger had been taken out along with the wind instruments. Fortunately the shop manager was right there watching. Even more fortunately there was no damage except to the tech's ears and feelings when I said a few naughties (%#$&*)@_+). Criticism is best served cold, not RED HOT. As a double - double check we ran the main, gen and wing this morning to make sure nothing had back fed to the starters or alternators. All was well.

So there you have it. A few more lessons to store away on Egret's nickel. Ciao

Picture 1. PTO 1 is one of three (PTO 2, 3) boats used in Chile's space program. Astronaut trainees are first strapped into shoes bolted to the pilothouse floor then run thru a wind against tide chop checking for seasickness. The second test is stepping out of the shoes and run back thru the chop for weightless training. There can be no other reason to have a pilothouse so far forward??? Picture 2. Mystery shot. Picture of a boy trying desperately to enjoy his summer vacation at the beach despite his broken arm. This kid's arm looked like a strange snorkel at times with his body under water.


February 18, 2008
Position: Marina Oxxean, Puerto Montt, Chile (yup, still marina queens)

Well, mis amigos, it has been a busy week. On boat issues we finally have a duct tape battery replacement fix. There are but 3 8D AGM's in Chile, not 4. And won't be for 90 days. I asked the battery salesman to call the Lifeline battery dealer in Miami. I know calling from Ushuaia I can buy them for less than $600 ea. The price came in at around $780 ea. Pricey but I told him to get 5 8D and 1 4D (4 - house, 1 engine start, 1 gen/wing start). We went in today to pay and found the bill was nearly 10K U.S. Pesos. He was quoting Chilean pesos and I was a decimal off. Almost $1900 ea. The issues are freight, 25% taxes on the batteries and the freight cost, an agent to retrieve the batteries at the port and transportation from the port to Puerto Montt. Bottom line: We are buying 4 AC Delco maintenance free 8D's, 200 amps each, not the 255 of Lifeline AGM's. We'll use them until NZ and will see then. About $225 each installed with the old batteries removed. They will be installed later this week. There is a lesson to be learned here for you who are about to set off overseas from the US if you need batteries or will need them shortly.

We contacted the local yard about hauling Egret however the cost was over the top (3 times more than we have ever paid). I believe if we can get Oxxean Marina, where we are staying, to level the drying grid next to the seawall we'll do a low tide bottom touch up, zincs and so on. It is really best to let bottom paint dry overnight between coats so we'll do the best we can using the tides. We'll see here.

Our British cruiser friends arrived on schedule to stay aboard Egret for the wedding of cruisers we both met in Ushuaia, Arg. The groom is a Brit and his bride is Chilean. Her father is president of the local yacht club. The wedding at the YC was great fun , a small group of cruisers mixed with a few of the grooms friends from home along with the YC contingent. The ceremony was performed in both English and Spanish. The food was prepared by a chef from Santiago.enough said there. Our table was a mix of we four gringos and three local sailor couples. Two of the three locals spoke some English. Between our weak Spanish and their better English we listened to their stories as they did ours. I believe it is universal among boaters to have a dream of sailing away into the sunset. One fellow is a fruit farmer, 50 years old with 3 grown children. After a few drinks his English improved and we heard their story. Bottom line for him: "more machinery, more employees, more money, more headaches". In 5 years he wants to be outta here. The other nodded his agreement as well. Like the Pacific Northwest you can cruise this area from Puerto Montt south to Bahia Anna Pink (staying in the good - safer weather) for years and not see it all. However I imagine most wonder after a while 'what is out there' just as we did and many others before us. I hope they are able to realize their dreams.

It is no secret Mary and I sold everything and went cruising. In our case we had to - financially - to cruise on the level and boat we enjoy. After the fact we discovered how little the tings we accumulated over the years matter. Of course we would do it again the same way knowing what we know now. Our Brit friends have a large home in a high end suburb of London. They have chosen to lease their home and use that income for their cruising expenses and maintain a small flat in London for their time at home. The advantage they enjoy is having a location/home in much demand by executives on foreign assignment to London. They have leased their home for two years at a time, usually to Americans. They have had no headaches over their years away and have benefited by appreciation of the past 4-5 years. A different twist on finances that works well for them, however I still don't think that would have worked for us in the transitory Ft Lauderdale area. Food for thought if you are in the same position.

Mary and I leave tomorrow by bus for Villa de Angostura , Argentina. VdeA is just over the border giving YT a fresh passport stamp and another 90 days in Chile. Mary is returning to the States within the 90 days so she didn't have a problem. We'll overnight in VdeA and return the next day. We chose early morning busses to sightsee during the 8 hour trip. We are looking forward to the trip inland through the lake district then crossing the Andes into Argentina. It should be spectacular. More on the upcoming trip later.

As in every port we are learning our way around town, finding this' and that's, the best grocery stores and so on. We have also been eating a pile of local seafood. Great fun and 180 degrees from Argentine beef and lamb. After the first couple days of internet news ashore we are VERY happy to be 'out here' and not part of the horrible tales of people destroying others and themselves by stupidity, dishonesty, or bombs. Come join us mis amigos and simplify your lives.

So there you have it, a few stories, a few others' dreams, a little soapbox, a few days in The Life. Ciao

 

 

February 12, 2008

Position: Oxxean Marina, Puerto Montt, Chile S41 29.64 W72 59.07 (pp 208-211 Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego Nautical Guide 2.32)

Well, mis amigos, The Egret crew is settling back into civilization. Several boat crews have visited Egret for C&C (cocktails and conversation). One American couple lived in a warehouse for over 10 years while sandblasting, replating and totally rebuilding a steel sailboat before finally leaving the Pacific Northwest three years ago. They are on a very tight budget but nevertheless are 'out here' enjoying exactly the same things as the rest. Thruough a local Chilean they just picked up a five week charter taking a group of four eco film makers back to seldom visited places in the Chilean Channels filming a documentary. They agonized about giving up their immediate plans to take the charter the night they were over aboard Egret but we encouraged them to take it. They plan to winter in Ushuaia, Arg. and have all the time in the world to get there. The income from the charter will buy them more than a year of additional cruising before they have to go ashore and replenish the cruising kitty. Simple math.

The Swedish couple we originally met in Mar del Plata, Arg. are much like Mary and I. They sold everything, bought a quality sailboat (Swedish) and have been out four years. They left Mar del Plata two weeks before Egret, rounded the Horn and went off to Antarctica, came north up through the Channels and left the boat in Puerto Montt for the austral winter. During their time back home they toured and lectured about their travels. This year they plan to take the same route as Egret to New Zealand and will stay in New Zealand during the austral summer as will Egret. I'm sure we'll see them along the way.

Alaska John and his wife live aboard a 30' Taiwan sailboat moving slowly on a six-month on, six-month off schedule. They return to Alaska each summer to work. He teaches mushing and cross country travel and she is a nurse.

American Dave has been cruising the world since 1974 in a VERY simple fiberglass sailboat. Dave takes his time spending quality time in each place. This year he is sailing single handed west to Tahiti, then north through Hawaii and on to Alaska. Dave is pleasant to be around and is a store of information. Ask about any destination anywhere and Dave has the answers.

As we spend time here there will be more folks and their stories. A German sailboat pulled in yesterday, however we have yet to meet them...but will. The people we meet are a large part of our overall cruising enjoyment. The diversity of this group by nationality, boats and so on is quite wide but there is a single common overall theme of adventure and wanderlust. None of us will ever see it all, but ya know, it doesn't matter. What does matter is we (the cruising community) are happy cruising at whatever pace we choose as well as destinations we choose, not what anyone else thinks.

Since arriving in Puerto Montt there have been daily local fires burning on the hills. These areas are inaccessible to fire trucks. Puerto Montt is affluent enough to have a helicopter to work these areas. Each afternoon the helicopter picks up water in a container suspended below the helicopter and flies over to dump water on the fires. Yesterday they were picking up water from the channel less than 100' from Egret. Noisy but effective. I asked one of the locals how the fires start. He laughed and said it was probably the helicopter pilots. Picture 1.

Another local agenda we are not used to is the goings and comings of boats at all hours. These boats arrive and leave on the tide in groups day or night. Oxxean Marina (where Egret is berthed)'s main business is the salmon farm business. Two of their three docks are packed with workboats, the third is for local and gringo private boats. We don't see any catch being offloaded but have seen specialty boats that carry salmon fry out to the farms, boats that bring nets in for repair, supply boats and so on. One nice bonus is just across from our dock is a fuel dock that serves their fleet. We are able to buy fuel from the marina at less than gas station price. Fuel is 517 Chilean pesos a liter. Earlier in Puerto Williams the U.S.P. (US Peso) was 525/1, Castro just a little over a week ago 450/1 and yesterday 440/1. ($4.46/gal...vs $3.74...geesh) A couple grande attaboy's to the US folks in charge of pesos.

Speaking of attaboys... Last evening Puerto Montt's Estrella Busqueda (Star Search) group Senors Larry, Curley and Mo, the Tres Stoogitos, have to be a ringer to win this week's competition. FV San Carlos II was attempting to lift their panga dinghy and its brandy new Yamaha quatro (4) stroke outboard when they didn't quite manage the angle of the dangle sinking the outboardo. This of course drew quite a fish boat crowd all loudly offering their advice not helping the capitana's BP (pressureo de bloodo). After the first dunking el capitan kept at it trying to get the dink with its soggy outboard on board. By this time salt water has to have reached all the expensive parts of the engine and started gnawing. In the end el capitan gave up and free wheeled the winch which sent el panga straight down like an arrow with just the bow sticking out. Double duhs and attaboys to el capitan and his two stoogito helpers. An hour later they left towing bailed out el dinko with el Yamahao laying on the docko. Picture 2.

Monday was spent at the Lider grocery store getting ready for guests arriving for the local wedding we are attending and the slow process of provisioning for the trip ahead to NZ. The Lider store is as modern as any you'll find anywhere in the world. The fruit and veggie section are better than ANY we have seen anywhere. We bought lotsa stuff (a taxi full) and are not 25% finished. I don't know where we are going to put it all but will find space somewhere. Leaving on the NAR we had ten cases of Viva paper towels wrapped in plastic in the flybridge. We'll do the same this time with paper goods.

From Puerto Montt to Papeete, Tahiti we have super volunteer crewman Frank Sain joining us (we met Frank on the NAR). Frank and his wife Barbara have their own N40, Darlin, in NC. Frank has joined a number of fellow Nord owners helping here and there. Frank has also crossed the Atlantic twice aboard N47, Strickly for Fun. From Papeete to Bora Bora we have my fishing buddy Kal, his wife Anita, son Eric and my nephew Markie. The two swabs, Eric and Markie will continue with us to Pago Pago in American Samoa. Bottom line here is we have to keep the forward stateroom (food warehouse) somewhat clear.

So there you have it. The latest from the MQ (Marina Queen) and a peek at Egret's coming itinerary. Ciao.

 

February 4, 2008

Position: Oxxean Marina, Puerto Montt, Chile S41 29.64 W72 59.07 (pp 208-211 Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego Nautical Guide 2.32)

Well, mis amigos as soon as we fired the last VofE off into space I looked up and saw the snow capped mountains of the Chilean mainland to the east. It's hard to believe for us sitting in this 'strange for us' heat and seeing snow. The best of both worlds. The wind and tide were kind allowing us to easily make our anchorage Caleta Huechun, Isla Alao. (pp195 P&TdelFNG pp195) The next anchorage over has escaped salmon according to the Italian guide. Sooo, we cast a bonefish wiggle jig for a while but have reduced ourselves to soaking a piece of steak fat on a hook off the stern. We'll see. In the meantime we did a bit of boat chores. We changed the injectors in the generator, a learning experience but not at all difficult once you figure out the routine. (We were blowing black smoke that was sooting the hull). We also changed the air cleaner for the main (two hose clamps - filter off and on).

After anchoring and the tide fell to the point of allowing a local to ride his horse along the beach he was off. A bit later he splashed thru the surf driving a few cattle to a different pasture. The two homes in sight of the anchorage don't have electricity. It's near dark now & no lights. Earlier this afternoon MS saw a small rowboat with a dad and 4 little ones rowing from around the bend. When they offloaded they were carrying grocery bags. The nearest grocery store is a looooong way off. Just like the old days. These folks are probably happy with their routine and their life is good. Can't beat that.

The nasty winds here are from the north, northwest and west. The anchorage is totally exposed to the south and of course is where the wind is coming pushing us toward the beach (a whopping 13-15 knots). Earlier at low tide we had just 6 feet of water under the keel. A bit different from the past year when many times we had 300+ feet close to shore. We plan to leave early tomorrow am (Sat) and let the tide and hopefully the wind blow us north.

4:10 am Sat morning. Something wasn't quite right. The boat movement was different. Yup, aground in soft mud. The depth finder was reading 5.2' (aground) but that reading comes from midship. I took a fishing pole and stuck it in the water off the transom and couldn't feel bottom. Then I took a scrub brush and stuck it brush down...bottom. We started the engine, thank goodness for her keel cooler and not raw water cooling, and used the windless to move forward before putting the prop in gear. The wind and tide had stretched the anchor chain letting us drift back a little too far. In the end we re anchored and all was well.

We left just after daybreak (0630) for the 45 mile hop to the next anchorage before the tide swung south. There are two passes going north to Puerto Montt. To try and push thru those passes on the opposing tide is not something we want to do when 18' of water is moving south thru those restrictions. Arriving Caleta Zapatero, Isa Malomacun (pp213 P&TdelFNG S42 03.31 W72 37.21) early afternoon we dropped TK in 39' but he didn't hold in the rocky bottom so we had to reset. We DON'T take chances! There were a few very basic tin homes on shore along with a few houses on floats. In the north of Chiloe Island and so far what we have seen here (further north) the homes are made from simple tin sheeting over a wood frame. In the south of Chiloe Island and further south the homes are mostly wood. This area was developed from north to south stripping the forest as they went. So much of the native forest in the north was burned years ago to make pastures for grazing livestock. Sad. The ferry boats serving these small islands are 20' or so narrow wood open skiffs with a small outboard. What is funny are all the passengers wearing bulky life jackets. The first skiff to arrive had school kids. Unlike the last anchorage these folks had electricity. Because of the following wind on the run to Caleta Zapatero we dropped the paravane poles giving us a slight bit more windage so a little push. We left the poles down overnight. Everyone came by for a peek & a wave.

(Egret just hit another milestone - 5700 main engine hours. A lotta miles, a lotta sights, a lotta stories, a lotta fun.)

Egret is currently under way for Puerto Montt, arriving later this afternoon. We are passing numerous colorful islands on the port side and have snow capped Chilean Andes on the stbd. The temperature is a comfortable 74 degrees F. in the pilothouse, the wind is calm and the sun is shining thru the early morning haze. Tings couldn't be any better. We'll see what today brings.

Egret arrived Puerto mid afternoon and was jerked back to reality of civilization since taking a year off. Commercial boats were hustling everywhere. Dire warnings and securite's were being broadcast about some boat moving somewhere and so on. We later found out it was for a departing Chilean warship. Yup, we were in the channel playing stupido Americanos - no comprende, but pulled off channel and let them pass. Puerto Montt is on the Chilean mainland. The working harbor for smaller, up to 200' boats is protected by the long, narrow offshore island of Isla Tenglo (open on both ends). The 24' tide (springs) race back and forth thru the harbor keeping tings interesting. Egret arrived on a non workday (Sun) trying to communicate with a very non-English speaking watchman. In the end with hand signals we found our berth at the floating dock. By this time we had drawn a crowd to help. There was a nice Swedish couple we met Dec 06 in Mar del Plata, Argentina, 3 Americans, a couple from the 80' trawler next door (owners of the local supermarket chain), a few Chileans, an Irish couple and others we didn't know. Finally, after answering their questions, receiving pages of advise we were able to wash our little white fiberglass ship, the first time since leaving Ushuaia, Dec 3th. She stayed spotless in the Channels with the rain but got dusted heavily in Castro thanks to the Armada helicopter and normal dirt road traffic.

So here we are in Puerto Montt ending the adventure of cruising the Chilean Channels and waiting to start our next, crossing the Pacific to New Zealand. This won't be idle time however. We have boat chores to do, Mary is flying to Minn. to see her mother, we have some inland touring to do and so on. Because we will be land based for the next two months VofE's will slow down to perhaps one a week or whatever until we are under way again. Once underway, as we have done in the past, we will keep you updated as much as possible so you may feel a little thread from Egret's cruise to perhaps to your own in the future.

To recap the Channels leg the stats are: Engine hours 281.2 Generator hours 92.4 Nautical miles traveled: 1,503.4 (Ushuaia - Puerto Montt) Nautical miles from Gibraltar - departure Sept. 15. 2006: 9,949.35 (11,441.75 statute miles -18,413.71 kilometers) (you Sherlocks looking for average speed remember the engine hours include warmup, lifting the anchor, lifting the dink, putting both overboard and so on)

So there you have it. A couple more days in The Life. We already have some interesting Puerto Montt stories, people and so on for later. Its time to go exploring. Ciao

(note - we received a lot of private e-mail, advice and so on concerning the little princess - Chonos. In the end, we simply said, "we will miss her". Because I was whining to one friend about sympathy she didn't send, her reply said our finale was matter of fact. I will assure you if those four words appeared matter of fact, they were not to us.)

 

Feburary 1, 2008

Caleta Huechun, Isla Alao, Chilean islands S42 35.97 W73 19.35 (pp 195 P&Tdel Fuego Nautical Guide 2.17) (Egret is underway to this anchorage. We'll fire this VofE off early to make today's (Fri) posting.)

Well, mis amigos, the Egret crew has been on vacation. Yup, we rented a car for three days, managed to stay lost for half the first day and had a great time. The first day we took the road as far SE as we could thinking we would dead reckon our way back to our first anchorage and see if we could find Bernardo, Chono's new dad. (our best map of Chiloe' came from Lonely Planet, we couldn't find anything better) When we hit the last gatherings of houses and a few establishments at the end of the road, we couldn't call it a town, we stopped for lunch. We got the gringo seats upstairs overlooking the bay, fishing boats on the move and shellfish farms taking half the bay. The waitress rattled off the lunch menu so fast we didn't have a clue. We tried to communicate but in the end we ordered dos menue de dia (2 menu of the day) and waited to see what happened. Well, it happened.......and happened......and happened. Geesh. Fishermen must feed like camels and store their food. First it was coszuela (like a stew) with chicken, potatoes and lots of veggie stuff along with pan (bread). We were stuffed and were waiting for the waitress to come with the check but instead she brought half a cow each along with more potatoes. We worked on that as best we could, then came melon for dessert. Geesh. Yup, we rolled out of town.

Then we rolled back thru town after hitting a dead end. Some dirtbag fishermen were loading a truck in the middle of the dirt road so we couldn't pass. Finally they finshed loading and moved. The road ended 100' past the truck. Grrr. Four hours later and lots of miles on dirt roads we found the churcho where we met Bernardo but no Bernardo. We took that road to the end looking for his truck but it was not to be. We had dirt, not dust, so thick on the rent a heap's back window I scraped it off with a flattened box. It took lotsa cerveza (ice cold frosty freezing beer) to wash that dust down. In addition to the rolling countryside, small homes and so on we saw The Dropout and The Man.

The Dropout appeared to be a gringo (foreigner) with mucho money and time to think about tings. This guy looked like a 60's dude with long grey hair and wearing rags (but cool rags). He had built a nice home, but not too nice...too nice would not be cool, a barn for all his tings, several out buildings for whatever, his own personal sawmill (I mean why buy pre cut wood when you can cut your own logs, let the wood age, then use it for whatever) He probably needed to dig a hole once so has a backhoe in one of the sheds along with a tractor of some type to haul logs and so on. Actually, kinda cool. Boys n toys.

Picture 1. The Man will certainly be controversial so we won't finish the story but let you write your own script as well as our take. Like painting by numbers we'll give you the outline. In the picture you'll see the boat with the tide starting to flood. Mary noticed the goings on first to clue me in. The Man had his three person abalone dive boat beached at low tide. (Abalone boats have hooka rigs (air pumps) with long hoses and regulators for divers to find and bag abalone) He carried two of the boards in the picture and dropped them in the sand next to the boat, stood on them to keep his little feet clean and stepped aboard. This was followed by his wife delivering 5-6 boards at a time on her shoulder while he supervised where she should load them. Lastly she picked up the now wet and sandy boards, rinsed them and loaded them as well. Yes, he did adjust the boards and tied a line around them in the end. It was hot and she had to have been sweating bullets. When the loading was done she manhandled and reset the anchor then came to the boat so he could use her shoulder to steady himself when he offloaded. They were met by their three daughters, about 10, 8 & 5 just guessing.

My take is she has been treated like this from the get go, however there are checks and balances. They have three daughters that shortly will be entering THOSE years when nothing can make them happy. AND the girls have TV and internet. Those girls want lotsa tings, not little tings like her mother or her mothers mother. Those were simpler times. So by the time the girls are off to their own husbands dad will be laying on the beach wheezing from years under cold water diving for critters to provide the girls with tings. So subtle its scary. Mom wins, dad wheezes.

Returning Tuesday evening we found Egret surrounded by racing sailboats, various support boats AND 5 Chilean warships. There were probably 75 sailboats and 10 or so powerboats. It is Chile's largest sailboat regatta during the summer season. Quite a spectacle. What else was suprising was how many of the pure raceboats had major sponsorship from multi national companies. Judging from the dinks racing around all hours going from boat to boat for a sippa dis n tat I'm sure some were slow to get up Tue am. The boats left for the next leg about 9:00am.

Wed and Thur were much the same with exploring, spending a lot of time on gravel roads and so on. Chiloe' is one of those places we'll never forget. There are three small towns, the largest is 40,000, and a number of very small fishing villages. The folks are friendly and honest. In other South American communities everyone lives behind bars on their windows and nicer homes have elaborate fences as well. Here kid's bikes are left out and so on along with no window bars. Chilote's livings come from aquaculture salmon and shellfish along with their attendant businesses, small scale farming (we didn't see any megafarms) and the beginnings of tourism, mostly local with a few gringos.

Yesterday we returned from the national park to find a Grand Banks anchored nearby. His dink was at the dock but later Raul came over to introduce himself. He is a Chilean from Santiago and later told us he has the only Grand Banks in Chile (GB49). He is due in minutes to meet the Egret crew and have us fill him out on cruising the Med. He wants to ship his boat to the Med in the future. So its the social whirl starting again.

Raul is super friendly and a long time sail boater and powerboat owner for just the past two years. His wife quit sail because of the difficulties but LOVES powerboating. Raul cruises one week a month year around based in Puerto Montt but is now on their summer vacation taking family along. He loved Egret and in the small world department was also aboard N57 Ice Dancer II when Dick and Gail were visiting his marina in Puerto Montt. His GB doesn't have stabilizers, a proper size watermaker and probably a few other goodies that need upgrading. He said everyone (Santiago folks) wants to buy his boat so with an easy resale market and the difficulty and expense of upgrading in Chile what would you do? I know what I would do......

We both left Castro this morning. Egret's check out and new zarpe to Puerto Montt was painless taking just 10 minutes or so. We have decided to move quickly to Puerto Montt, 2-3 days, to start land chores there. Mary is flying to Minn to visit her mother and attend a family wedding the end of Feb. Of course she'll fly back thru Ft Lauderdale to pick up a load of boat goodies AND YT's new camera. Our batteries are not doing well so they will be replaced in PM. We also need to find a refrigeration guy, paint the bottom, extend our visa and so on. British sailboat friends from Pen Azen will be staying aboard for a few days while we both attend a yachtie wedding (British - Chilean) at the local yacht club. So PM will be a working, playing respite for two months before Egret sets off again. Picture 2. A friendly pair of black necked swans.

So there you have it, a few more days in The Life. Over 2 weeks with less than 15 knots of wind, sunshine and just 1 day of rain......amazing. Life is good for the Egret crew. Ciao.

 

 

 

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