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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 26, 2010
Position: S38 20.84 E141 36.68
Portland, Victori a, Australia

G' day mis amigos. Just a quick VofE before the weekend. Egret continued to run thru the night with even calmer seas from astern and little wind. The nearly full moon kept the ocean illuminated nearly all night finally setting somewhere around 0400. Sunrise began at 0610. Mary went off watch at 0100 and I settled in with a Ken Follett book. Before I knew it, it was 0530 so MS got some extra sleep. We are trying something new this trip. Instead of strict evening 4 hour watches we are staying up until we are tired, even if it is 3 hours or 6. The off watch having no set schedule doesn't keep waking up so not to miss their watch. This is our first time at this and it works great. We'll keep at it and see if it works out long term. During the day we have always had a loose watch schedule.

We have been watching a strong high to the west moving slowly across the direct course to Port Lincoln on the Oz mainland. OMNI Bob confirmed what we thought. It was such good weather we kept going but diverted to the small but secure Victoria mainland harbor of Portland roughly due north of out course along the Tasman west coast. We dropped anchor in the inner harbor. We dropped in 14' and set 125' of chain just outside the mooring field.

Portland is a small town of less than 10,000 folks. It appears the main industry is the large aluminum smelter you pass on the way into the harbor and a wood chip loading harbor. There is a large wind farm on the outskirts of town. During the 1800's, Portland was a major whaling center. This time of year the humpback and blue whales are migrating thru. We are looking forward to seeing whales again when we leave. So tomorrow we'll take the dink to town and see whatshappening. Hopefully we can resume Egret's trek west in 3-4 days.

Todays pictures of our birds show how much they mean to us at sea. These flying acrobats are mesmerizing to watch. We never get tired of them.

This morning we received a very kind Forum Request from N46 owners in Norway. Please take the time to read it. This shows just how kind boaters are to each other. How many times have we said it is all about the people? You'll see. Ciao.

Below is OMNI Bob's report.

To: Captain Flanders - M/Y EGRET
Fm: O.M.N.I./USA www.oceanmarinenav.com
0015Z 25 FEB 2010

Captain, thanks for the email update. Sorry, never got your initial request. This one came in about 2.5hrs ago. Not sure when you sent it. Please note our new web site is www.oceanmarinenav.com and this email, ocmarnav@aol.com is the primary email to use.

High pressure is currently over Tasmania. It should continue to move eastward through Fri/0000Z. As it does, a new cold front will approach from the west and should pass the western Tasmania/King Island area through Fri/0900Z. Once the front passes, this will allow for a new moderate to strong area of high pressure to the west to build eastward and produce an increasing SW-ly swell but a more S-SE wind/sea pattern through Sat/1200Z as the high cell remains mod-strong. Since the high won't weaken or move much, the developing SW-ly swell of 4-5mtrs, even up to 6mtrs, will be slow to subside once the cold front moves through.

The overall wind/sea pattern should be on the weaker side until the front moves through, but once it passes, increasing SSE-SE winds will develop from north/west of King Island toward Port Lincoln.

Outlooks indicate the high cell will begin to weaken and move eastward by Sun/0300Z then continue to move eastward across Tasmania through Mon/1200Z. This slow eastward movement will allow for the SSE-SE wind/sea pattern to prevail through Mon/1200Z, while the SW-ly swells tends to subside to 2-3mtrs by Mon/0000Z then 1-2mtrs through Tue/0000Z.

So, overall, you could continue to King Island, but if you don't mind 10-12sec SW-ly swells 4-5mtrs with a developing SSE-SE wind/sea in the force 5-7 range from about Fri/1200Z through Mon/1200Z, then you could continue onward to Port Lincoln. However, if you would prefer to avoid these conditions, you may wish to stop at King Island and wait for the SW-ly swells to abate. This will take at least 48-60hrs. As the swells subside the SSE-ESE winds should also ease to the force 4-5 range from Mon/0600Z-Tue/1800Z.

Our recommendation would be to stop at Port Lincoln and let the highest SW-ly swells abate, then resume your voyage as the swells subside and the more SSE-ESE winds develop.

 

February 24, 2010
Position: S41 40.86 E144 36.16 Tasmania

G' day mis amigos, Egret is under way once again. She has started her fast paced trip to Oz's west coast. As I start this VofE we are mid way up the Tasmanian west coast. By tomorrow afternoon we will know if we will opt for the bail out harbor of Grassy Bay on King Island (just north of Tassie's NW coast). But lets back up a bit.

After the other days hike in the rain we were invited over to a boat who had a fellow aboard who knew N43 owner Graham Weir and had met Kiwi Dick Anderson. It is really a small world. We had a nice visit. One romantic but sad tale came from a woman aboard who had just left her husband's ashes on an unnamed favorite island the two used to visit. The owner told us a story about hitting a humpback whale in the Bass Strait. Several whales were in a mating frenzy and one charged his boat and he hit it. The whale left with a headache. I said something to the effect what would happen if he were disturbed while mating. He said "at my age I would be honored".

The next morning we had a lazy breakfast then chugged the couple miles around the corner to Clayton's Corner, named after a pioneer cray fisherman. This is a little hidey hole off Bathurst Harbour. We picked this last anchorage before leaving because it had another good hiking trail high up into the low mountains. Boy was it SHALLOW. TK dropped into 7' at low tide, we laid out 100' of chain (because it was soupy mud and the chain drag would help hold as well), back TK in gently and reversed back into a 9' deep hole. After lunch we hiked to the top. Along the way we snapped a few pics (picture 1.) It was a pleasant hike an hour each way we managed to stretch to 3 hours. Before leaving we invited the crew of s/v Caspian to join us for tea later in the afternoon. After getting back they had not returned from dinghy exploring so we invited the 3 guys on the powerboat next door over for a bit. What nice guys they were. Two were retired and one was "hoping for 2 more good years" (in the pit fruit business). Two sat with Mary and the boat owner with me. I think the two were taken how Mary just rattled off things like an old salt.

Shortly after the powerboat crew left, Caspian arrived with a guest and we talked into the night. It is sad to meet really nice people like this then leave. What is even sadder is the ridiculously short time we spent in the crown jewel of Tasmanian cruising, Port Davey. This area deserves two or more months the first time, not less than a week. Picture 2 is of Caspian at daybreak this morning.

The alarm went off this morning at 0545, about 45 minutes before daybreak. Coffee made, e-mail checked, a last look at the weather and once the main was warm we started the slow process of washing mud off the chain with the salt water wash down. (Do yourself a favor. If you are ordering a new build anything opt for the largest salt water wash down pump offered). Mary took her time and eventually we were ready to go. She put on the short 'at sea' snubber, put the chain plate over the chain pipe and secured everything on the foredeck. The night before we had gone thru the boat and made sure everything was secure. We left Clayton's Corner at 0630 and cleared Port Davey at 0830. The seas today (its getting dark now) have been gentle swells with a bit of wind chop on top. The wind hasn't exceeded 15 knots. Albatrosses, including the giant wanderers have been with us all day. A few gannets are around and swarms of small sea birds working the seals balling bait and pushing them to the surface. All is well.

Later. It is 0157 in the morning. MS is down below off watch. The seas are even calmer with nearly no wind. The 3/4 moon is just setting. If every night at sea were like this there would more boats afloat than space junk. Perhaps its best if Ms Ocean kicks up from time to time leaving us to savor nights like this and keeping the ocean highway relatively clean.

What will tomorrow bring? One thing for sure, a go - no go for the mainland. Egret will jog to port (mainland) or starboard (King Island) We'll see. Ciao.

 

Feburary 22, 2010
Position: S43 20.90 E146 05.56 Clytie Bay, Port Davey, Tasmania, Australia

G' day mis amigos, we gotta talk about Stephen's Beach on the ocean side of Spain Bay (Egret's first anchorage in the Port Davey wilderness area) we mentioned in the last VofE. The reason we need to mention it, it typifies one aspect of what cruising is all about...exploring, learning, having fun or whatever label it deserves. After a giant pancake breakfast off we went in the dink the 100 meters or so to the beach. Up the beach with the dink. Rather than drag it 75 more feet we set the dinghy anchor* at the end of its rode. We followed the trail thru the high then low scrub to the ocean side. It took about 45 minutes. Stephen's Bay is a crescent shaped white sand beach backed by high sand dunes. There are offshore islands to the west including the Pyramids and Muttonbird Island we saw on the way in. Nearing the beach the trail takes you past a pile of plastic tings gathered by other cruisers. Unfortunately it is fairly simple to point the finger at local fishermen. Almost all the plastic was fishing related. The next place due west is Africa and southwest is Antarctica. Just beyond the trash heap was a grassy area with a knotted line leading down the steep bank. Near that on the beach was a whale bone stuck vertically in the sand marking the trail. Now that was cool. A little farther along was steps down to the beach put in by the park folks. So We climbed down the knotted line and left the steps for girl cruisers.

*We use a 5lb Manson Supreme anchor and 5' of 3/8" galvanized chain attached to 75' of 3/8" yacht braid. It works great. Actually we have two identical. When using the big dink often we set a stern anchor offshore and the bow anchor on the beach.

The beach has to be 3 k's long (1.6 miles). So we walked along looking at this n' that. It was low tide, our favorite, so we could see what the tide brought in. The sand appears to have a give and take with the sea. Where the sea has won, the gnarled branches of weathered wood stand where trees used to live. Where ground cover takes hold there is a small dune with the sand swept away from all but the growth area. All along we were taking pictures. Even as a kid I have been interested in worn beach wood. So we took a lot of those pictures as did Mary.

Along those lines, a while back I wrote an article about cruisers and photography. I was hoping to sell it to a boating magazine but these days of few feature articles they want more meat and less fluff like this. I think what I will do when we reach the next internet access is send the article as a special VofE and include pictures from just today's walk on the beach. So you'll get it for free and will hopefully take some or all of it to heart.

One piece of wood told a sad tale. It was a piece of decking from a yesterday year boat of some kind. The decking was iron fastened (3" spikes) so it won't be a modern yacht. From where the deck was washed ashore the boat probably got caught on a lee shore in a SW'ly and either went ashore or broke up on the offshore islands. At the far end of the beach we made a discovery. There is a small fresh water spring seeping up from under the sand dunes and flowing out to sea. The immediate area around the spring is green and has grasses. Looking at the piles of scat it is a favorite watering hole for the local critters. Behind the spring is a high dune that is nearly covered with large snail shells, abalone shells, and animal bones from years and years of aboriginal folks camping by the spring and discarding their shells and bones in a pile to the east. If it weren't so difficult to get to it would be great to bring loads of school kids to see how these folks lived. While Mary cooled her feet in the spring I walked back inland and saw the animal trails leading to the spring around the dunes. Instead of taking a more direct line they keep moving from dune base to dune base I guess for a bit of shelter on the way.

Then the wind started puffing big time from a different direction we set the anchor. This isn't good. AND we were on the far end of the beach. Holding here isn't good at all. The first time we set in Spain Bay we anchored in 30' and dropped 150' of chain. When backing down on the anchor we could see the chain jumping (meaning the anchor was skipping, taking a slight hold, then turning loose). So we hauled it all in, moved over 75' and a little deeper, then got TK to set. We stayed in reverse for a while at 1100 RPM just slowly making sure the anchor was buried. We hustled back to the trail dragging our pile of polypropylene beach debris, left it in the cruiser's pile and hauled butt back across the trail. By the time we reached the other side, Egret was bucking on her chain in 4' seas. Thank GOODNESS TK is the Real Deal. A lesser anchor would have set the boat on the rocks just 200' behind. We charged the swim platform and were lucky to catch it down and not drive the dink under the bouncing platform. Mary jumped across the bow of the dink and took the lines to tie off to the two winches on the cap rail.

(While towing we use two lines, one to each side and both attached to the ring at the front of the towing harness. The towing harness is connected to the towing eyes on either side as well as a third line to the aluminum bow eye)

Mary went to the foredeck while I started the engine and got things going. After we got TK back aboard we had to slowly motor into the waves until we could get C-Map charting up and running. There are two rocks just off Spain Bay we would rather not hit. Once there it was pretty graphic where they were with waves breaking across the top. So we chugged inside Bathurst Channel and are anchored in Schooner Cove. Even here we drug the first set. So we moved over again and did it all over. This time we hooked up and again, we stayed in reverse for a while. A local Hobart boat, a beautiful old wooden sloop that reminds me of a Hinkley Bermuda 40, sailed by dragging his anchor during the wind gusts to 35 knots (same as Spain Bay). I got in the dink and went over to give him the news. EVERY boater's universal first reaction is...I AM NOT DRAGGING. You could tell by his body language he was thinking the same. When he seemed to wilt just a bit you could tell...HE KNEW. Then the fire drill started. He was single handing but was a competent boater and took care of tings with no problem after. And now the wind has all but stopped since the sun set a while ago. We have a quarter moon tonight but it is already sinking fast.

What will tomorrow bring? Who knows. By the way, what did you do today?

The next morning. Those of you who felt you were treated poorly by the last sentence, you'll get your revenge. The calm we spoke just above about was the calm before the storm. Soon after going to bed it started puffing again to 35 knots. Mary was up late typing e-mails to family. Before she came to bed she checked on the dink and guess what? Yup, upside down. We don't know how it happened but it doesn't matter. Fact was the dink was upside down. Soooo, we pulled it alongside the swim platform, turned it sideways and managed to turn it right side up. The oars and gas tank were still there but the anchor we talked about earlier was on the bottom. We started the main and lifted the dink to the boat deck with the engine facing forward. Off with the engine, out with the spark plugs and I started pumping the sea water out of the cylinders (by pulling the started rope). Mary brought a bucket of fresh water up top and we poured that over the engine and into the spark plug holes. Then we pumped the fresh water out. We took the engine off the stand and laid it down with the cylinders vertical then sprayed lotsa Corrosion Block into the plug holes and pulled the engine over slowly to get the Corrosion Block behind the rings and left everything until morning.

This morning we pulled the carburetor, took off the float bowl and poured out the gas and a bit of water. Next it was removing the jets and blowing then clear, draining the under cowl fuel line and filter then reassembled everything. We cleaned the plugs with a soft brass brush and sprayed the plug electrodes with CRC Cleaner Degreaser. Back together, we pumped the engine full of clean fuel, pulled out the choke and gave it a pull. She started on the second pull. It ran on both cylinders but poorly so we shut it off, pulled the plugs again, sprayed them again (getting water away from the electrodes), blew them dry and put the plugs back in. The engine started on the first pull, we ran it a few seconds (dry) they shut it down. We hung the engine back on the dink, put it into the water and started the engine once more then let it run at fast idle for 5 minutes. There were no misses so I took it for a spin, upwind of course, ran it wide open and let it idle on the way back. Perfect.

There is a lesson to learn here...again. I know it won't happen to you but this is the third time in 8 years Egret's dink has been upside down for 3 different reasons. Each time we were easily able to get it running again. It is all because they have been 2 stroke engines. Had they been 4 strokes it would have been REAL BAD, if not impossible to get them running again without major trauma. You can still buy Evinrude 2 stroke engines in N. America. In New Zealand and I assume Australia you are still able to get Yamaha 2 stroke outboards as well as Tohatsu and perhaps others. For N. Americans another alternative may still be the Yamaha dealer in Nassau, Bahamas. We bought two, 2-stroke Yamaha outboards from them over the years. The 30hp catamaran engine came from Nassau. Another little trick we'll pass along here is a simple 5 minute fix that will keep everything under the outboard cover as new for years. Every outboard we owned over the years got a CRC Corrosion Inhibitor spray. This is like a cosmoline spray. It dries to a light amber and WILL keep everything as new and impervious to salt corrosion.

Enough of Schooner Cove and its wind gusts coming off the mountains. We moved to Ila Bay farther up Bathurst Channel. We have NW weather coming the next day so we'll give this a try. This said, there isn't any hiking here so after dinghy exploring the shoreline we may move on.

Later. Sittin in the rain here in Ila Bay. We are doing laundry and making water. We'll top off the water here before moving farther into Bathurst Channel. The farther south in the channel, the heavier the tannin becomes in the water. It kills watermaker filters. There is southerly weather coming tomorrow (35 knots) so we'll move again in a bit to get protection from the south.

Our Swedish buddys on Lindisfarn wrote. They made it to Bluff, NZ and got checked in OK (customs & immigration), but got hammered with high winds in the marina. She wrote and said N57 Ice Dancer II got killerated on the way in. Apparently it was so bad they had to hang in the lee of Stewart Island before making it across the channel (Forveau Strait) to Bluff for check in. There is no free lunch in this part of the world. It is beautiful and challenging but you gotta pay Ms. Ocean her due. She doesn't miss many tolls. (More on Ice Dancer when they write.)

We moved to Clytie Cove, across Bathurst Channel due south from Ila Bay (less than a mile). This was in the rain. We set to the south even though there is up to 20 knots of wind still puffing from the north. On the way in to the bay we saw a trail leading up to the high hill ridge behind the bay. In a break in the weather Mary and I bailed out the dink and give it a go. Wellll, it rained nearly the entire time but it was still a great hike high up over the coves. Mary took her movie camera so when she was filming I held a plastic bag over the camera. When I wanted to change lenses she had to practically strip off her jacket to keep the stuff dry. So we hope you appreciate the picture of Egret anchored in the bay, the mountains behind and surrounding bays. You probably can't see but it was raining heavily at the time. This area is much like southern Stewart Island, NZ or similar to the upper Chilean Channels. Tomorrow morning we will move again to another anchorage with a hiking trail.

Soon we have to start looking at weather for the 750nm dash to Port Lincoln on the mainland. During crossings like this, OMNI Bob, professional weather forecaster Bob Jones from Ocean Marine Navigation (oceanmarinenav.com) will give us a hand. The crossing should take a little over 5 days. We have a bail out point (hidey hole) at Grassy Bay on King Island in the Bass Strait north of Tasmania. This is 36 hours north. If there is a big high we will probably keep going, however, if it is questionable it would be great to stop and rent a car for a day to see what King Island has to offer.

For you Google Earth fans, Egret's anchorages have been: Spain Bay. S43 22.05 E145 57.97
Schooner Bay. S43 20.47 E146 00.31
Ila Bay. S43 19.91 E146 05.26
Clytie Bay. S43 20.90 E146 05.56

So there you have it, a few more days in The Life, anchoring adventures and lotsa fun.

 

 

February 16, 2010
Position: S43 08.17 E147 21.35 Duck Pond, Bruney Island, Tasmania, Australia

G' day mis amigos, the Egret crew is preparing to leave. It is Sunday AM, the day before we fuel and head out. Mary has been preparing the boat to leave, stowing this n' that, provisioning, filling the water tank and so on. Today Egret gets a soap and water wash while on dock water before leaving, the small dinghy lashed down and other small items. The only items left on my list are adjusting the valves in the main and some small detail seam caulking on the port side. N57 Ice Dancer II returned from Port Davey (a wilderness area on the SW coast) after "eating so much lobster (crayfish) our cholesterol level was peaking". We had dinner last night with Dick and Gail aboard ID II and learned about Port Davey. ID II will fuel at the same time tomorrow morning as Egret then will check out of Australia and head over to Bluff on New Zealand's South Island. After checking into Bluff they will cruise Stewart Island. They have a lot to look forward to.

Speaking of fuel, on the Nordhavn Dreamers Yahoo Group website there has been discussions about fuel and range. One very tangible reason for large tankage is buying clean fuel where you can, at the best price while you are moving. We'll give Hobart as an example. Within 5 nautical miles of the yacht club we found pricing from $1.45AU per liter, two at $1.38, one at $1.33 and finally $1.30. Egret needs 3000 liters. You can see the fuel swing is $450AU (approximately $400+ U.S.). Not bad for making a few inquiries. The cheaper price is from a tanker truck that fuels the fishermen. We KNOW that fuel is spotless for a number of reasons but the most obvious is fishermen wouldn't put up for a second a fuel supplier who delivers dirty fuel. For any folks coming to Hobart and needs fuel in quantity, here is the information. Bennett Fuel, 6228 2987 (Brian). Brian will give you a price and will direct you to call the port control tower (6235 1061) for where and when to fuel. Call Brian back with that information, give him your credit card number (Bennett will precharge the card and will issue credit if need be) and you are all set.

While we are giving specifics for services, in the previous VofE we mentioned we bought a years supply of prescription drugs in Hobart. The script came from Dr John Farmer at City Doctors & Travel Clinic, 93 Collins St, Hobart (in the downtown district - an easy walk from the yacht club) The pharmacy is in the same building.

Reading the Tasmania cruising guide the first time for cruising south and west of Hobart we can see why the locals love their boating. There are tons of nooks and crannies to tuck in to depending on wind direction. We also got to see a few anchorages that looked interesting while on the southern loop by rental car. Dick and Gail marked our guide where they stopped and their impressions and we got the same from Lindisfarn. Its such a shame we have to leave Tassie so soon and get to Fremantle ASAP before the westerlies start pumping across the Great Australian Bight.

Typical of our little boats opening doors, a VofE follower from nearby Battery Point here in Hobart stopped by and introduced himself. We gave Geoff a boat tour and answered questions. Mary and I were later invited to their home to meet Geoff's wife Susan. Geoff is a home movie making buff and showed Mary a program to edit her own movies. So Mary has once again taken up her movie camera. Now all we need is an Apple computer, large tower, a modern movie camera (hers is 6 years old and an antique) plus more stuff. Geoff and Susan own a large power catamaran. After a particularly rough Bass Strait crossing they had enough and now are thinking about a N, specifically a N57. As luck would have it ID II would arrive that afternoon returning from Port Davey. Geoff and Susan got to meet Dick and Gail and had a boat tour yesterday afternoon. Susan would love to have a N57 in the Med for a few years. It is a very small world. We gave them an old Circumnavigator Magazine with a couple Med articles to keep the dream alive.

During our prep for the upcoming trip across the bottom the bottom of Australia and beyond we adjusted the valves. This time I was even more careful. Since the last adjustment there was little change but I decided to go one thousandth looser to guarantee no tight valves (not a good thing). I adjusted them at a tight .0014 Intake and .0018 Exhaust. Mary started the engine after the adjustment then shut down after a minute or two. Then I did it all again. Number 1 intake valve was slightly loose so we redid that.

During the crossing from NZ to Tasmania we had waves break with force on the port side from time to time. To make a long story short we got sea water contamination in our drinking water for the first time ever. On many occasions we buried the vent under water in head seas with no issues. This time because of the force it drove the water up thru the vent and over the top of the vent loop into the tank. Fortunately it wasn't a big deal but it could have if we were well into a long crossing. We bought a white plastic shell vent to cover the chrome water vent but I didn't want to put it on and have this white glob thingy on the front of the boat. So we did something else. I undid the vent flange nut from inside the anchor locker, loosened the vent hose, and pushed the vent forward thru the hull from the inside out. From the outside I put a ring of white silicone seal around the threaded part, turned the vent opening to face aft and a bit down, then re-tightened everything. I doubt we will be attacked by a gigundus wave breaking from behind so all should be well.

Its Monday. Egret and Ice Dancer II fueled this morning as planned. We ordered 3000 liters but could only take 2986. The fuel truck carried a special hose nozzle extension that screws on instead of the hard pipe nozzle for we small boat folks. It is a heavy duty flexible rubber hose that you insert WELL into the fuel fill. By shoving the 18" or so of hose into the fill and around the bend we could take fuel much faster than ever. I don't know why every fuel truck doesn't have the same. After fueling we said our good bye's and left ID II to refuel and check out with Customs. We talked later on the radio while they were heading out into the Tasman Sea for their crossing to Bluff, New Zealand. For sure they started on a great day. Its sunny, just a touch cool out of the sun and 5 knots or so of breeze. There is no question February or March is the time to make the calmest crossing.

Leaving Hobart, Egret chugged along at 1200 RPM riding the first of the fall a few miles to Bruny Island, around a couple corners into a mega protected bay called Duck Pond. There aren't any ducks but it is that calm. The small bay is surrounded by low hills and a bit of farmland. The ride here in the flybridge was spectacular. We are seeing some of the best Tasmania has to offer. After arriving we anchored in 15', dropped 100' of chain and snubber, shut down then tended to nap chores. The cool fresh air did us in. Now Mary is fixing lunch and I'm eying the low tide mussels. Oh ho hum, I guess we'll have to put the dink over to pick dinner.

Later. The low tide mussels weren't mussels after all but oysters. Mary doesn't eat oysters so we left them alone. All zillion of them. There was a trail leading off the beach heading into the woods so we took a short hike and discovered a plethora of very rare Tasman six eyed moths. OK, OK, I don't know how rare they really are or if they are called six eyed moths, or if they are even moths, but are the first we have seen. They were feeding on a group of wild flowers next to what must be a meter high termite mound. Along the trail a pair of wallabys crashed thru the bushes giving us a bit of a start. Then we headed back to the boat in the dink and Mary started whining but I simply explained we were going for a couple bottles of suds to take on the dinghy ride. Then she was all smiley faced as usual. Cruising the shoreline we saw a few rays in the shallow water. Most were the same like in Florida but without a long tail. One was a bit strange with a RHP (raised pilot house) type of head. I guess the RHP guy was an ocean going ray and the others were coastal cruisers. But again you never know. Rays may be like boats. Some boat manufacturers have raised pilot houses models, rake back their windshields like they can go somewhere but inside they are still a girl boat. So if you are going to coastal cruise but want to LOOK like you can go anywhere you wish, a girl boat with a raked back windshield is OK. However, if you REALLY are going offshore..........

On a slightly more serious note, a couple VofE's ago I was reminiscing and typed these two paragraphs. They didn't fit that particular VofE but now we are moving they do. We will start slowly but within the next month and a half Egret will have traveled a good distance moving quickly. Weather dictates the speed, not our desire.

The coming year and a half will be a first for Egret. In the past we did what we had to do to get wherever and then stay relatively local for a while. This time we will have just a few places to really stop and enjoy ourselves. It is simply how the geography and our preferences work out. What is interesting, we are looking forward to the Bahamas and cruising north up the Intracoastal before turning right. In the beginning it was our dream to spend time in the Bahamas. Our first real cruise ever was in Proud Mary, our 32' Grand Banks. We took an unprecedented month off work to cruise the Bahamas. In the past all we did was work and use vacation time a day or two at a time for car events. That single trip set us up for where we are today. In the beginning most cruisers don't have a real specific plan and tend to rush here and there. As we did. When wintering in the Bahamas we were thinking about here and there. While in the Chesapeake our first cruising summer we were thinking about the Bahamas. And so on. This time in the Bahamas we will have done the miles and owe ourselves nothing.

While we're rambling I'll pass along a little something about how Mary and I take things. When we took delivery of Egret August 6th, 2001, we really didn't have a plan other than finishing our careers during the coming 6 months and heading out. The Chesapeake was our first summers itinerary (we retired April 1st, 2002) and winter in the Bahamas. And we did. This lead the next year to Nova Scotia and our first long offshore run, from Ft Lauderdale to Nantucket. Then the NAR was announced. So we went. And so on. Ideas formed, some we followed, others took a back seat. Never in our wildest dreams, unspoken goals or anything else would we think we would circumnavigate. It was never our intention.......ever. So it appears we are. Quite honestly it isn't that big a deal for us. Having two great sons with families that are healthy and happy is a MUCH bigger deal. All we ever wanted to do was enjoy ourselves and see what we could. It was all about fun, adventure, pushing ourselves a bit and enjoying life. And we have. In spades. So what we're saying here it really isn't important how far you get geographically. What we do is not a competition. What is most important is you get yourself on the water, power or sail, offshore capable or coastal cruiser, unclutter your minds, grow into your new you and truly enjoy yourselves.......taking your time. If you give it a chance, cruising will give you those ideals. Your general health will love it as well being suddenly released from pressure, breathing clean air for once and most likely eating healthier. It is after all, all about enjoying what time you have left. Here endeth The Box (soap box, however, it is what it is)

So there you have it. The last of enjoying Hobart, a cruising tale and a bit of Egret history. Ciao.

This came back in this morning's e-mails from a cruising friend we direct copy VofE. They cruise on a stabilized 46' Grand Banks and have spent more than a few years in Central and South America as far south as Venezuela. You can see from reading their thoughts others think the same as we do. This further supports what we said about not having to travel far afield or circumnavigate to feel you have accomplished something during your cruising years. It is all about having fun and seeing what you may. What is in your mind is more important than actual doing.
"An interesting note to add to your mentioning you were looking forward to returning to the Bahamas. When we were there in 2002 also headed down island, we were on a beach in Rum Cay, sitting under a palm tree enjoying the beauty of the place and met another cruising couple. We told them we were headed South, but didn't know how far we would go as we had no real itinerary. They told us they just completed a circumnavigation and went on and on about how nice it was to be back in the Bahamas, with crystal clear water, great fishing and diving, white sand beaches, etc.

That conversation really stuck in our minds as we headed to South America. We are certainly glad we came this far South and enjoyed the Latin American culture for so long, but like the cruisers we met on Rum Cay, we are looking forward to the Bahamas again. All of our cruising from Annapolis North during our sailing days was also rushed into 3 or maybe a 4 week vacation.

From Annapolis to Maine and back in 3 weeks is crazy, but that's what we had to do. So we are really looking forward to seeing a lot of those places we zoomed through back in the 80s and 90s. So it will be interesting, not to mention a lot less stressful having real live mechanics and technicians available when we need them. Some of these shade tree mechanics can be more trouble than they are worth, as I believe you found out in Argentina."

 

February 11, 2010
Position: S42 53.85 E147 20.10 The Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, berth G14, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

G' day mis amigos, today we'll explain one of the harder parts of cruising. It is not about weather, fixing this n' that or cost of whatever. We said before it is people who make cruising what it is. Early yesterday morning we said good bye to N57 Ice Dancer II who left for Port Davey, a two day run around the SW corner of Tas. They did say they would make it a point to get together when they return to Hobart (we'll probably meet along the way if not in Port Davey) so they are not gone, gone. Our Swedish friends aboard s/v Lindisfarn left before daybreak this morning. We said our good byes yesterday afternoon. The first time we met was November, 06, in Mar del Plata, Argentina. We met again in Ushuaia, Argentina, Puerto Montt, Chile, French Polynesia, Tonga, New Zealand North and South Islands and here in Tasmania. During those years we kept in touch and knew we would see each other again here and there as our itineraries merged. Bjorn and Annika are more like Mary and I than most others we meet. They tend not to follow the herd, have no specific plan other than to have fun and see what they may, and are independent minded. This parting is different. Lindisfarn is heading up to Alaska via Japan and so on. Ultimately this could be a 4 year deal. Egret is slowly working her way to Northern Europe, the long way. I mentioned in an earlier VofE we agreed to meet in Patagonia in 4 years and perhaps we will, perhaps not. But it is still sad to see them go. It is what we cruisers do and is part of the cruising life.

Speaking of Sweden, we may winter there winter of 11. Reading thru the noonsite.com* information on Sweden it doesn't look good because of the Schengen agreement (90 day visa) but noonsite has to report the official agreement and of course there are 'agreements' and what really happens. We have written the Swedish consulate in Canberra, Australia telling them what we would like to do, time schedule and asked if it is possible, what forms and so on. When making long distance plans it is important to have details like this worked out. We would probably arrive at the Swedish winter harbor somewhere near mid September and need to know FOR SURE there are no problems. To be caught that far north at that time of year with no option but to slug our way south during fall equinox weather wouldn't be fun. *noonsite.com is an invaluable resource for long distance planing. The site is run by Jimmie Cornell's daughter and is sponsored by various links to products. Cruisers regularly upgrade with news of thin n' that about different locations around the world. For example, thru noonsite we know who the fuel distributor and his phone number is in Mauritius (an island in the Indian Ocean), same for St Helena (an island in the South Atlantic), Fortaleza, Brazil and so on. We sent several postings ourselves to help folks with information that was not previously posted.

On a happier note, we heard from the N55 New Paige crew and they plan to visit Egret around the first of March. They load NP on Dockwise Express bound for Palma de Majorca in the Balearic Islands (off the coast of Mediterranean Spain). So they will land tour Australia including time spent with Egret. We don't know where we will be in early March but as Roger said "they still fly planes". Paige (11) returns to land based school in 18 months. For the time they have left to cruise, NP felt their time was best spent in the Med and we agree. The Med is easy cruising and Paige will get to live history as she travels. I'm sure her home schooling will be heavy on European history during that time. What an adventure for that family. When the cruise is over NP will be up for sale and Roger will be planning their next boat to use while Paige is in university. In the meantime, Paige will be in the Canadian school system and they will live in their island home near Victoria Island, British Columbia. And so it will go.

So lets talk about Hobart. We'll start with a powerful statement saying Hobart is the nicest larger port city Egret has visited in her travels. A large number of her 190,000 folks live around the harbor AND have a harbor view. Hobart is every sailboat racer's dream with strong afternoon sea breezes dying near dark, perfect for Wed, Thur and Sat yacht (sailboat) racing. The N/S River Derwent makes a jog left to form the bay around Hobart. The Derwent connects to Storm Bay (appropriately named) that connects to the Southern Ocean. (The Aussies call the ocean south of Tas and the mainland the Southern Ocean) The bay is surrounded by hills and the homes rise up the hills. In museums we have seen maps from Hobart Town from the early 1800's. Like most island towns her beginnings started on the waterfront. The historic Salamanca District is a group of old warehouses bordering the waterfront. These days Salamanaka is home to the Saturday market and upscale shops and bistros. Moving around the inner harbor are two dock areas that used to hold square riggers. Hobart is the seat of the State of Tasmania's government. While walking by Parliament Center we regularly see talking heads being interviewed by TV folks. (some things never change)

The walk to town from the yacht club takes a while. Its not so much the distance, its the traditional stop at Jackman & Mc Ross Bakery for a cuppa and a sweet. The pastries are great (particularly the apple crumble) and people watching is good as well. Then its another 15 minutes to town walking by the restored old homes along the short cut ending in the Salamanca District. Most every home has a rose garden in front. This time of year they are all in bloom. Some homes have a large display of rose bushes, like a gardenia bush, that are so fragrant you can smell them for another house or two. Mary stopped at a house while an older gent was working in his rose garden and sniffed a large red rose. He told her the roses' name was Lincoln. Yesterday on the way back he was in the garden again so I said I saw he cut Abraham. He smiled, understanding I'm a little slow, and repeated Lincoln. Oh well.

Sunday was the end of a Tasman holiday. We walked to a waterfront park around the corner from the downtown marinas. There was a lot going on with sailboat races off the point, a log cutting (saw) and log chopping (axe) event going on. The contestants were BIG men with plenty of tummy to put behind the swing. These boys don't miss many meals. The axe heads are shiny as chrome. As soon as they finish their log chopping the axe head gets a WD40 type spray, is covered with a leather holster then returned to its custom axe box. Same with the 2 man saws. On top of the hill was a carnival type deal with all kinds of inflatable slides for the kids, food tents, games of chance and so on. It was packed with parents and kids. There were no tough guys hanging about trying to look bad. Just a bunch of folks having a great day. As we were leaving the Australian Army had 4 parachute guys jump, do some acrobatics then land in a small space trailing a column of pink smoke. As soon as they landed, one fellow took off his harness and helmet and asked kids to come over and have their picture taken. It was great. Another jumper was Camera Man. Camera Man had a Canon SLR camera AND a movie camera mounted on a carbon fiber helmet, AND another strapped to his waist for taking side shots. Camera Man thought he was cool and strutted around a bit with this contraption strapped to his body. Then CM made a great display of taking off the twin smoke cylinders that was still strapped to his right leg and smoking a bit. Of course it was probably burning a hole in his cute little leg but he couldn't let anyone know. And so it went.

On the way back we were walking along the waterfront and ran across a cray (spiney lobster) fisherman who had just docked. He was in a hurry but took the time to talk. He gave us a great fuel tip we'll follow thru. He was in to refuel and head back out until the end of the season that runs to the end of the month. The cray fishermen are having a hard time this year. Normally making quota isn't difficult, however this year they all are having a tough time. There is a jellyfish bloom that has kept the crays well fed. The crays don't have the incentive to crawl into the traps there is so much food. The downside is the fisheries folks will reduce quota for next year because the catch is so small this year. I don't know how many years it will take to get back to this year's quota. One fisherman told us the jellyfish bloom is a once in 20 year phenomenon.

Further along the dock were 3 ladies strolling along in their swoop de do hats with all kinds of tings bobbing or trailing or attached to various hat parts. They had dresses and shoes to match. They posed for a picture after telling Mary they were coming from Hobart Cup horse races. So that explained the costume. They were having a great time and were off to Salamanca to keep the fires lit.

The major accomplishment yesterday was getting our prescriptions filled. This can be a big deal when traveling. In Europe and South America all you have to do to get a prescription filled is give them a copy of your script and it is not a problem to buy as many pills as you wish (at least for the pills we take - cholesterol preventative for me & Fosamax for Mary). In Argentina we bought a year's supply at one time. New Zealand requires a doctor visit every 90 days to get a 90 day refill. In Hobart we went to a traveler's clinic, paid for 1 person, and were able to buy a year's supply (at less than U.S. prices). The young doctor happened to be a sailor, and that didn't hurt. He also threw in two H1N1 vaccinations for free. He said there is a large Australian producer of the drug and there is enough to give every Oz citizen a free shot. The other good news was we received an e-mail back from the Swedish consulate in Canberra, (Aus), saying we had to apply for a residence permit to stay in Sweden for more than 90 days. The form they sent is very straight forward. The person who sent the reply didn't think there would be any problem. Our mail came in as well so we will leave soon for the west coast of Tas.

This will be our last 4 picture VofE for a while until we get internet access again. It takes between 8 and 12 minutes to send two pictures via the Iridium phone. So we'll take it easy on the phone time. Enjoy the Miami International Boat Show.

 

February 5, 2010
Position: S42 53.85 E147 20.10 The Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, berth G14, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

G' day mis amigos, its been a social whirl. With the Ice Dancer II crew berthed across the way and the Lindisfarn crew the next dock over we have been busy. We split a rental car for two days with Dick and Gail ( ID II) driving approximately NW across the state to Strahan on the mid west coast, east then back south to Hobart. The next day we took the southern loop south of Hobart. By now we have seen a fair amount of Tasmania inland traveling. Tasmania is one beautiful place in the world from the rolling farmlands of the NW, the greener areas of the west coast and the south. Inland areas are more sparse and dry but has its own type of beauty. The first day on the swing north we passed thru a small town full of fire fighting crews from what appeared all around the state to deal with the fires to the west. Sadly, fires are the norm for this part of the world. Virtually every forest has evidence of fires over the years displayed on charred tree trunks.

Locals are quick to tell us Tasmania is VERY different from the mainland. Twelve thousand years ago Tasmania became isolated from the mainland when the ice caps melted and water filled Bass Strait between the mainland and Tasmania. So in other words, Tasmania has been an ark for its fauna and critters for a long time. About 25 species of land dwelling birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians are endemic to Tas. Locals and publications will also tell you Tasmanians are more laid back than their mainland kin. This is the same as South Island, New Zealand vs North Island. Perhaps it is because of harsher (colder, windswept) weather and also fewer people. There are less than 500,000 people in all of Tasmania. Most of those are concentrated in and around Hobart.

In addition to the social whirl we have been studying the weather for first heading north to the mainland, then west to Fremantle on Australia's west coast. This is NOT a place to fool with weather so we may leave earlier in the summer than we originally planned. More on that later.

Bjorn and Annaka from s/v Lindisfarn were over last night for dinner. After dinner they showed pictures of cruising their native Sweden. Annaka is a computer techie and by looking at our new laptop/monitor set up she suggested we change the cable connection to a hi def deal and now we have full resolution on the monitor for the first time. She brought their pictures on an external hard drive. So we got a narrated slide show and learned quite a lot. Our northern Europe plans got a big boost last night that may expand into a 3-year itinerary but we're getting ahead of ourselves. First we have a LOT to see and do in between, THEN we have to get there...taking our time. Minor details.

Now for a little techno info. Every now and then in the past Egret's autopilot would go into alarm. Previously this would happen only in very large following seas. When the autopilot goes into alarm the watch stander has to immediately punch the standby button, hand steer for a couple minutes then go back to nav. No big deal. (Egret has a Simrad AP20 autopilot with a non-Simrad autopilot pump from Accu Steer, maker of commercial duty autopilot pumps) On a trip south down NZ's South Island in large following sea conditions the autopilot went into alarm and could not be reset. Fortunately we were only 40nm from port so we hand steered those few miles. A quick Iridium phone call to the Accu Steer folks steered us in the right direction and his diagnosis was correct. The hydraulic pump seal was pushed against the coupling causing to much friction and sending the autopilot into alarm. He felt we had to much pressure in the Hynautic reservoir. We have always run 30lbs reservoir pressure as recommended by Hynautic for years but reduced it to 17lbs at his recommendation. We tapped the seal back into place using a socket as a drift and thought all was well. Just to be sure we installed our new HPU 75 Accu Steer pump and motor keeping the old unit as a spare.

We carry two complete autopilot pumps, one spare motor and a set of spare motor brushes. I was going to change the brushes in the used motor but on taking them out they were perfect even after all the miles so I reinstalled the original brushes.

The next time this happened (remember - new pump) we were crossing from NZ to Tasmania and well over 150nm from Banks Strait between Flinders Island to the north and Tasmania to the south. It was really rough and no time to be in the lazarette fooling around with an autopilot motor. Of course it was at night so we hand steered for nearly a full day before it was calm enough to work on the motor. Quickly taking it apart we saw the seal pushed out AGAIN, this time with just 17lbs of reservoir pressure. I smelled a rat. Something wasn't right and this COULD NOT happen on the long push in September (over 3000nm) from W. Australia to Mauritius (an island in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar). We will have following seas most of that trip. We tapped the seal back in place and continued on with no trouble.

As a reminder to any gonnabe long distance voyagers, when incidents like this occur you CAN NOT hope it won't happen again. It will. When it does it will ALWAYS be at the worst possible time, at night in rough weather. These problems must be solved before heading out again. So I called Mr Accu Steer... again. Sure enough, I did smell a rat. He finally confessed this particular pump is manufactured by Teleflex and has "occasional" problems. "Occasional" means when someone else with a HPU 75 pump and a large rudder is out in the same conditions it may happen. What happens is, when there is a large load on the rudder the steering system becomes pressurized. In Egret's case there is a safety pop-off valve in the Hynautic H25S steering head that opens a by-pass valve at 950lbs returning hydraulic fluid to the reservoir in case the rudder jams. This is to prevent the system from blowing lines or fittings. It appears 950lbs by-pass pressure is to much pressure to keep the seal from pushing out of the HPU 75 pump head. So the problem seemed insolvable. It wasn't. When there is so much as stake you have to think outside the box. And we did.

The pressure on the seal isn't really that great. We asked about using Lok Tite on the seal but Mr Accu Steer said it wouldn't work. We had to mechanically fix the seal in place. Picture 3 shows the complete pump/motor assembly. The reversing motor is on the left and the hydraulic pump head is on the right. In between are the couplings that attach to each shaft with a set screw and the rubber cross shown is the vibration dampener. Below the rubber cross is a fender washer and key to the cure. The fender washer fits over the shaft and inside the seal housing. The top of the seal is flush with the housing. So here is what we did. We took the pumps to a local Hobart machine shop. They cut a C-clip groove into the pump housing, dropped in the fender washer and snapped in a stainless steel C-clip. The fender washer is .0050" thick. As a safety precaution we took .0080" off the bottom of each coupling to give us enough clearance. The set screw in the couplings still has plenty of metal before the bottom of the coupling. The seal is captured perfectly and the fender washer is removable to replace the seal if need be. Picture 4 shows the fender washer held in place by the C-clip. Problem solved.

As an aside, you can see a knob on the hydraulic pump head. The knob is for adjusting fluid flow. The HPU 75 pump handles steering rams up to 40 cubic inches* so it is well suited for the job AFTER the fix. *well above Egret's K2B steering ram capacity. In Egret's case you adjust the flow to 6 seconds between 20 degrees Port to Stbd. Egret's original Simrad T160 pump is a girl pump and not nearly up to capacity of delivering enough fluid for 6 seconds P - S. (It delivered 14 seconds of fluid P - S) But that's another story.

Today is a rainy day and we had rain most of last night. The island needs rain desperately and hopefully we had enough rain to put out the fires. There is rain coming again in a couple days with another front so hopefully it will be substantial. We have a couple small parts coming along with our mail. Hopefully the tax information will be included in the mail so we can get that out of the way and start looking at cruising further south and around the corner to the west coast. More on that later.

A couple news items. The Miami International Boat Show starts February 11th. You know what to do.

A year ago we wrote an article for Yachting Magazine. It is as current today as when we wrote it and will be in 20 years. Nothing will change. This article is worth your time if you are a new, perhaps not quite so new or gonnabe boater. We originally named the article Yes, You Can Too. It has been renamed something else but the verbiage is the same. Essentially the article addresses his and her boat ownership uncertainties, fears and so on addressing taboo issues nearly all magazine articles sweep under the table. It would be worth your time to pick up a Feb 2010Yachting.

So there you have it. A few more days in The Life, a techno deal and a shameless commercial. Ciao.

 

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

 

 

 

 

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