"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 21, 2012
Position: Somewhere in South Island, New Zealand
G’ Day mis amigos. Today was a good day. Actually what made today such a good day started a few days ago, or to more accurate – in 2003 – pre NAR. Egret was anchored in Luperon Harbor, Dominican Republic. We were returning from town and came across an interesting sailboat, unpainted aluminum hull, teak decks and a painted house. It was flying a French flag. So the owners came out and we talked a bit (at the time their English was basic) and they invited us aboard. So we did the usual cruiser deal and traded meals and sundowners and one or the other moved on as cruisers do, however at the time we were interested in the NAR and told them if we came to the Med we would come see them.
The NAR happened, Egret wintered in Barcelona and we did visit as we said. At the time we were in the infancy of prep for Patagonia and they too said they would like to go some day. At the time Tony and Celine had sold their boat in the U.S. and were back in France to build one 46’ sloop on spec and then a second for themselves (Tony built the first as well). So for being such good hosts during our stay we sent a copy of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego Nautical Guide from the U.S.
Their new boat Shana was launched, off they went and did indeed head straight to Patagonia and met some of the folks we met as well. They worked their way to NZ spending 6 months last year in NZ and are planning to spend 7 months this year. And they came to Nelson. So the other night we picked them up at the marina and the six of us had dinner here at Dick’s house. Today MS and I went to Shana for lunch and a 4 hour chat. After seeing their CD’s of Patagonia I think we NEED to revisit for a year for so. We’ll see them again before they head off to Stewart Island – south of South Island – and Fiordland and MS and I head back to the States.
Tony and Celine completed 1 ½ circumnavigations on their previous boat but this time I believe they will stay in the Pacific for the foreseeable future. Of course they too would like to return to Patagonia and this time for more time.
So what’s the lesson here? It is all about people mis amigos. The wind, waves and hardships are forgotten, the destinations are great of course, but the real catalyst that binds this whole adventure together is the people. There is no doubt in our minds, that somewhere, somehow we will see them again and the next visit will be like this one where it seemed like a few months ago. In reality it was during early 2005.
Here is an interesting tidbit that came from lunch that day. Tony being the perfectionist he is, I didn’t talk about Shana but it is Very Special – the details and simplicity of details is as good as I have seen anywhere - kept accurate figures on his Patagonia trip. He said they motored 85% of the time……..not 82%........85%. After another year or so with Shana they plan to travel to New Caledonia (French island in the western Pacific NE of Australia) and work for a few years. Their next boat is going to be a long distance trawler because it is easier. Interesting, eh?
Next came a couple weekend events. Nelson had a car show with a broad interest base to say the least. There were young folks doing burnouts spinning in circles, a motorcycle section, a group of American muscle cars, show cars, steroid imports and hotrods, a Porsche section, a Mini Cooper section including the Nelson Mini Cooper entrant to this years Bonneville Salt Flats speed week. The Nelson entrant being prepared at the WOW Museum is trying to eclipse the existing Mini Cooper record of 120mph. Their forecast goal is 140 – 150mph based on their projected horsepower, weight, etc.
The next day was a historic car and aviation meet at a nearby airport. Dick and Suzie went in Dick’s 1930 Austin Seven special. There were a surprising number of cars for such a low key event. The planes were mostly a mix of different ultralight aircraft. Of course our favorite was a tiny seaplane.
Dick and Suzie went to the west coast in the campervan where Dick spent his childhood. So MS and I went to a nearby A&P show (agriculture and pastoral). What a great day that was. The first event was log chopping. This was an interesting event. We saw the same in Tasmania but this time they chopped both upright logs as well as horizontal. We talked to an entrant and he showed us his axe box full of different axes. He explained the axe heads were different weights, shapes and with different tapers. Each axe was for a specific size and hardness of wood. They were literally razor sharp. The winners of different heats were all sizes and shapes but the largest guys didn’t win. They would run out of steam first. In this photo you can see the chips flying.
Next was sheep shearing but of course since the last VofE you know all about sheep shearing so we won’t say any more except to say that an American girl won the Jr Division over all the male entrants. Cool.
Then came the horse trials. This was interesting because it was so local and a relatively low key event where everyone knew the others. Our favorites were the 5 year old and 6-7 year old entrants. This is a mother – daughter event. The dress of the mothers and daughters was anything but low key. They were dressed to the nines. The tack was immaculate and the horses were beautifully presented with braided manes and so on. We don’t know anything about the routine or judging but we enjoyed ourselves as did the entrants. We spoke to two of the mother daughter pairs. Taylor (5) was riding Peggy and Emily (6) was riding Dunboy Surprise. Both won their class. Here are a few of the mother daughter pairs and event snapshots. Great fun, eh?
Next we moved into the auditorium. Upstairs were show chickens (chooks to the locals). Downstairs on long tables were show vegetables being judged: pole beans, green beans, turnips, carrots, cucumbers, onions, zucchini, a couple other squashes, 3 unidentifiable vegetables, garlic, corn, 3 kinds of potatoes, tomatoes and pumpkin. The next table had home made wine and liquors. Then came show cakes with different categories, scones, cookies and other sweets. Of course there were flowers of every type. Our favorite flowers were an arrangement presented in a shoe that won the junior division.
Back outside there was an event where kids held dogs and the parents were on the other side of the field. At the whistle the dogs were let loose to run to the parents. The kids would shake the dogs and talk major trash to get the dogs hyped. Of course an always hyper jack russell won the event.
A couple show sheep winners walked by led on leashes then came one of the major events. Monster truck. However a monster truck in NZ is a bit different than the U.S. It was a Toyota 6 cylinder truck all jacked up with tractor tyres. So the deal was it was to climb over two small junk cars. So this monster truck dude did a couple laps then parked to check out the ramps leading to the cars. Then he gets back in the truck and made a big deal of putting on his helmet and neck brace. It’s all a show but the announcer couldn’t see all this drama and was wondering out loud on the mike what was going on. Finally monster truck guy (MTG) fired up the Toyota and creeped in low – low gear over the two cars. Yup, that was it. Well OK, MTG did a couple victory laps then left the arena of battle. OK, here is a photo of the monster truck. I had to choose a photo between the monster truck or show potatoes or show green beans or show onions, or show garlic, or…………
Back to more log chopping, sheep shearing and the finale horse event was horse jumping.
Around the periphery were games of chance, food vendors and every type of farm equipment was on display. You small Lugger owners will like to know that in New Zealand, John Deere is alive and very well. Most of the farm tractors we have seen here and there are John Deere’s so when you get here someday there will be plenty of spare parts.
So it was a good day meeting locals, seeing how they live and their interests. The ride back to Richmond (Nelson) thru the valley roads and over the mountains wasn’t bad either. In this photo the setting sun lit up the clouds nearing Nelson.
New Zealand is 18 hours ahead of the U.S. east coast. So now it is Monday evening and Sunday afternoon at the Miami Boat Show is well wrapped up. By this stage in the show the deals are mostly done. It will be interesting to see how the different builders and brokers made out during these times of pent up demand and a rising market. We wish them and the buyers well.
Of course the more I think about Stateside boating the more I think about getting back aboard Egret. I mentioned at the beginning of this NZ stay our candid feelings about how this trip away from Egret is a test of sorts to see how we would feel about being away for this length of time (90 days). When MS and I were here before with Egret and were inland touring we always felt we were near home and weren’t really away. If NZ immigration would have allowed we certainly would have stayed longer while Egret was in Nelson. This time it is different. So we’ll see how these next weeks go and how we feel back aboard Egret. We are all different but we will pass along our feelings down the road.
It is another day and the boat show is over. We hope you are happy and full of anticipation. Ciao.
February 10, 2012
Position: Somewhere in South Island, New Zealand
G’ Day mis amigos, Auntie Suzie’s plane arrived early so as Dick (Dickiedoo – D Doo), Mary and I walked into Nelson’s small airport there she was. The luggage was delivered on an airport trolley outside, in a rather informal deal instead of the usual zillion bags going round and round. Dick brought his little caaa (car), a 1930 Austin Seven to pick up Auntie Suzie; Mary and I took her luggage and off we went.
Suzie took a pro active approach and flew to Sydney, Australia first for a daie to decompress from the nasty 15 hour flight (12 to NZ from the U.S. west coast). So she did a quickie tour of the Opera House, took a Sydney harbour cruise and walked downtown a bit. So when she got to NZ, she was in better shape than our usual when flying from the east coast, cross country to the left coast and across the Pacific. So once back at D Doo’s house Suzie was treated to a glass of cheap but good enough Vino Tinto de la Boxe, 2011. Of course she got a bouquet on arrival shown here with a glass of Vino Tinto de la Boxe, 2011.
Then we three took a trip to French Pass to pick mussels for dinner. Dick stayed behind to work on the new 1929 Austin Seven hearse. (more on the hearse to follow) We explored inland waiting on the tide to fall and after noon rode out to French Pass. The road is paved about half way, then it goes to gravel and then to Narrow gravel with major drop off’s. So we took our time and shot a few pics along the way. So we did the deal, rappelled down the cliff using a hose type deal someone left and had to pick the mussels in a hurry because the tide was racing in. As we were getting ready to leave a mussel tender was steaming toward the pass. We figured NO WAY this guy is going to run thru the incoming tide. Tides in the pass reach 8 knots, we are on a moon, and the tide was whipping. Whipping good. So this hero driver kept coming, moved over into the counter current going his way and at the last minute hit the tide head on. The boat went from perhaps 8-9 knots to 1 at best. I imagine the driver was steering with his fingertips. One slight oversteer in this situation would mean an involuntary return trip and only if was lucky would he miss the rocks.
This pic was taken on the road back from the pass in the late afternoon. French Pass is at the extreme northern tip of South Island bordering the west side of Marlborough Sounds. The sounds themselves are glacier dug peninsulas and isolated islands extending from the mainland in a confused sorta N/S direction. A portion of the sounds are given to mussel farming and in the few spots along the trail when we are able to look down to the water you can see the lines of mussel floats. This is another late afternoon Sounds picture. The entire area is mountainous and most of the time the road is quite high because the valleys are water.
So after the French Pass trip we putzed locally then took a day trip to Wharariki Beach (Far reke Beach) on the west coast. There are three roads leading out of Nelson/Richmond, one east, one south and the third, west. All three have mountain passes to climb so the west coast trip includes a 25k – 15 mile section of up and downs, switchbacks and so on. There aren’t a lot of people in South Island – about 1m – fuel is expensive, around 6.25/U.S. gallon (diesel is about 25% less) and school is back in secession after the holidays. So there isn’t a lot of traffic and the combination makes we slow sightseer’s trip much more pleasant. So head west we did and of course stopped in Takaka for a venison pie.
Pie’s are a NZ staple. They are about 4-5” in diameter and most times are little fat pills that taste great. Let’s see, there are mince (hamburger) pie’s, steak, steak and mushrooms, and steak and kidney. Also are several egg pies like eggs and bacon, eggs and spinach and so on. Occasionally there are homemade venison pies, the best of them all.
Watered and pied we left Takaka and headed for Collingswood, the last village on the upper west coast. Once on the west side of the mountains the rest of the trip is thru valleys that have mainly dairy farms with a bit of deer and sheep mixed in. As you get closer to the west coast the vegetation thins because of the wind. Lotsa wind.
The first stop was a tramping trip thru sheep fields opening gates and climbing over special styles in places. This area has a number of windswept trees and a super rugged coastline. We also wanted to show Auntie Suzie some New Zealand fur seals. Of course one was on display laying on a low tide beach posing for Suzie. Then it was back to the car and over to Wharariki beach.
After parking near the beach we went thru the first gate into a sheep field and a farmer pulled up behind us in his truck and dogs in a cage on back. Mary opened the gate for him and when he came past I asked if we could go up to the wool shed and photograph the sheep being sheared. (We could see sheep in holding pens next to the shed and freshly sheared sheep in a nearby paddock) With his blessing off we went to see what was whipping.
So here’s the deal. This is a small wool shed with gates for 3 shearers. The 3 shearers were coming off break so we talked trash for a bit and I told them I wanted to see them shear a sheep in 20.4 seconds like we read about. They laughed and went to work.
Behind each shearer are small pens with sheep to be shorn. Directly behind their station is a burlap door where the shorn sheep are pushed to a pen outside. These guys have it down pat. Each sheep isshorn in exactly the same pattern. When that sheep is shorn the shearers don’t even look back. They just push the shorn sheep out the door from between their legs, move a chit (sheepchit) from one stack to another to show another had been shorn, open the gate and drag out another sheep by its forelegs, back to their body, to the sheering station. The clipper is a mechanical clipper driven by belts in side a metal pipe with several universals. After a few feeble kicks initially the sheep doesn’t move or complain while the sheering is going on. In this close up photo look at how the shearer bends at the waist.
Working with the shearers were two ladies sorting wool, throwing the wool into bins and keeping the area in front of the shearer clean. The 6th person was the wool bailer who took the wool, placed it into the hydraulic press and in no time another woven nylon bag of wool comes out and he loads another empty bag. Pretty cool, eh?
Warariki Beach is a semi circular beach with tough manuka trees on top of the cliffs as a backdrop and flax plants and tussock grass in the lower areas. There are a number of wild rock formations both offshore and inshore as well. We got to the beach at dead low tide and more caves were exposed than MS and I had seen in previous trips. The sand is quite fine and so smooth it doesn’t look real. In the flat areas there are no small rocks and almost everyone who comes is immediately barefoot when they get to the beach. So MS and I snapped a few pics and used Auntie Suzie and her Very Orange windbreaker as a model. We stayed most of the afternoon and left when the sun started down and had gotten chilly. Just before leaving there were horses racing along the beach. Mary got the shot. We didn’t get back to Dick’s house until 10:00.
We enjoy sharing our little finds like this beach with others like Auntie Suzie and we took our son and family there as well. It’s a shame you just get this miniscule peek at this and other things we share so I guess you’ll just have to bring your little white fiberglass ship here and see for yourselves. There is sooooo much to see in South Island and of course there is North Island as well.
What’s next for the Egret crew? Don’t have a clue. Isn’t that great? Of course what could be next for you is the Miami Boat Show (Miami, Florida). Wouldn’t THAT be great? Particularly if you ended the pain and Did The Deal. Ciao.
Ed. Note - The glossary of Egretism terms will be posted on the Captain's Log home page for easy reference.