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"Egret" N4674 - Scott and Mary Flanders


Ed note: After a summer filled with cruising along the Mediterranean and conducting final preparations for their big voyage, Scott and Mary Flanders left September 16th, 2006 for the Canary Islands - the first stop in their great adventure taking them from Gibraltar to New Zealand by way of Cape Horn. After successfully traversing the Horn, the Flanders fell in love with the pristine cruising grounds of the "deep south" and decided to winter in Chile, thus postponing their arrival into New Zealand by a year, but they reached their goal destination in October 2008. Now plans call for exploring the lands of New Zealand and Australia. Here, the latest update from the Flanders as they keep us continually apprised of their journey with weekly log reports.


January 28, 2007

Position: S54 48.80 W68 18.36 (AFASYN Yacht Club dock, Ushuaia, Arg) M Jo's temp 66 degrees

Sad day mi amigos. Special guest Jim Leishman from PAE (Nordhavn folks) left this afternoon for his flight back to the States. Jim was our good luck charm for Egret's great weather for rounding Cape Horn. Jim showed us how to tweak our autopilot settings that will be a big plus in the future. He also helped us with reducing the picture pixels into e-mailable sizes from our Iridium phone and Ocens software. Today will be the first big test so we'll see. If this works out we will be able to include a picture with every VofE to let you see what we are trying to describe. What a breakthrough this will be. As you know the Egret crew is technically challenged (to be kind to ourselves). Jim is also bringing back quite a few pictures of Egret's travels from Mar del Plata, Argentina to the Canal Beagle, around the Horn and our latest anchorages. They should be posted on Voyage of Egret soon.

Having founded and owned a boat building company ourselves and knowing what it takes it was a treat to hear how PAE progressed through the years from difficult beginnings to the industry leadership they now enjoy. We can share this with you. The PAE principals were, and still are, boatheads first and businessmen second. How nice it was to hear the enthusiasm after all these years.

After rounding the Horn we cruised and anchored three times on the north arm of the Canal Beagle. The first two we reported earlier but the third was really special. After leaving you last VofE announcing we were taking our Brit and Aussie friends on a tour up the western arm of Seno Pia we did just that. (pp 500-503 TdelF guide.)

There were no shallow hazards like our trek the day before up the eastern arm. The only hazards were the cold floating ones. Egret played ice breaker going very, very slow bumping in and out of gear at idle moving these chunks of ice out of the way. We worked and worked our way north and eventually made our way just in front of the continually calving glacier. The blue ice of the glacier was calving with giant booms, creaks and groans. Occasionally when an exceptionally large chunk broke off there would be fairly large swells radiating outward. Cool.

After positioning Egret in front of the glacier we launched the dink and motored away bouncing the little rubber boat between chunks of floating ice. Jim and I took picture after picture. When the sun came out for a bit we got some really spectacular shots with ice in between the dink and Egret and the blue ice of the glacier face in the background. Later, with the pictures loaded in the laptop we were sooo proud of our beautiful little ship and the shots we had taken. In our enthusiasm we told Jim this picture HAS to be a magazine cover picture. With a wave of his hand he dismissed it as a "typical SE Alaska" picture...the dog. Crushed and dashed you know who moped a bit.

Remember now, when Egret toured up and down the western arm we had the Brits and the Aussie sailboaters aboard. The Aussie was single handing in a beautiful 40' or so strip planked sloop he built himself. He left Australia, backtracked through the South Pacific, up to Alaska and now is in Chile. From here he will sail directly to Sidney non-stop below Africa and the Cape of Good Hope. Amazing.

The Brits own a 53' French built Amel ketch. Amel and Nordhavn owners are the two most passionate proponents of their brand we have run across. We enjoyed their company - even if he was a lawyer. He is good natured and loves to talk about whatever in his proper British dramatized speech. He also never forgets to put in a plug for his Amel. They have been aboard Egret a number of times and we always catch them looking out the salon or pilothouse windows, something they can't do without being outside. You could see the little wheels turning. Now during the day cruise we drove the stake directly into their sailboat hearts. A swell moved into the sound rolling Egret a bit so we just pushed the green Naiad active button and the roll stopped immediately. This of course launched a number of questions about stabilization. We told them without the slightest hint of the truth bending it was "it does this in 15' seas as well". We did concede Naiad's don't stop the pitch, just the roll. They now have to live with the fact all the Egret crew does to stop rolling is push a button. Great fun at their expense and almost the truth.

So there we have it. Egret cleared out of Chile and back into Argentina. We will provision, clear back out of Argentina, back into Chile and cruise the glacier loop for the next month around Isla Gordon and its fjords (pp 510 TdelF guide). At the end of February we will make the call whether to winter in the very DEEP south or trek north as originally planned on our way to New Zealand. Either way we will get to New Zealand. It isn't going anywhere. The absolute beauty is we can do anything. We sure couldn't say that when we were dirt dwelling and working. Life is good for the Egret crew. Ciao.


January 26, 2007

Position: S54 47.81 W69 37.71 Seno Pia (Pia Sound) Caleta Beaulieu pp 501-503 Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego Nautical Guide Temps for M Jo's weather - shirt sleeves.

Well, mi amigos, a lot has happened in the past few days. Where do we start? Since leaving Puerto Toro after rounding the Horn the second time (trying to go ashore without luck) we have been visiting anchorages west of Puerto Williams, Chile and Ushuaia, Arg.

The first night was spent in Bahia Honda tucked into a tiny bay on the east side. (pp 535) We dinked ashore for a hike then spent the evening with a great Kiwi couple on Vision.

The second night was spent in Caleta Olla (pp 507) tucked back in behind a narrow headland with two lines ashore. The crew all piled into the tiny dink and went ashore and FINALLY found the trail up to the glacier and glacier lake. This is the Egret crew's first glacier. By the time we all got near the giant blue ice machine we were tripping on our tongues. Beautiful beyond description. We have a few special pictures that will be soon posted on VofE.

Today was spent traveling the 20 miles up Brazo Noroeste of Canal Beagle (NW Arm of Canal Beagle). Snow capped mountains on both sides. The C-Map charts had Egret 1/2 mile ashore. Great. Along the way there were rushing mountain streams from the early morning rain and melting snow. Choosing a stream for watering we slowly bumped Egret next to the rocks allowing Jim to jump ashore from the anchor pulpit with a garden hose and funnel. Egret held station in the no wind or current next to the rocks with a kelp cushion. Jim scaled up to a place he could put the funnel in the waterfall and stand on the hose. Of course he promptly filled both sea boots with icy water but toughed it out until Egret had enough mountain water for her tank. It is not that we really NEEDED water but we did it because we could. Cool.

After watering we entered Seno Pia (Pia Sound), eastern arm. (pp 501-503) Before anchoring Egret wound her way up the fjord to the glacier at the north end. There were two shallow spots to negotiate with no real charting, however by taking it VERY slow we made it. Egret pushed aside bergy bits of ice for the first time avoiding the growlers (washing machine to car size pieces of ice) The glacier at the end was (how can we describe this so you can understand its beauty?) special. The wall is about 100' high of blue ice. Two huge glaciers feed into one with jagged black rock mountains above. We don't see how anything anywhere could be more beautiful. Different perhaps, but not more beautiful.

After sitting in front of the glacier drifting out of gear trying to absorb and never forget its beauty we returned to the anchorage. We dropped TK in 65' of water just off shore facing another spectacular glacier. Egret is just 20' from shore in 25' of water with two lines ashore. When we arrived an Aussie sailboater rowed over and took our lines ashore. Brit friends came over next, soooooo we had cocktails aboard Egret with glacier ice. Ho hum. After a couple of drinks we decided to take the entire lot to cruise the west arm of Seno Pia tomorrow at 11:00 AM. This is of course after a sleep in, hot showers in mountain stream water, a big breakfast and three pots of coffee. We don't need to strain ourselves ya know. So, there you have it. Another Egret crew adventure. Don't you think you deserve this too? We do.

January 23, 2007

Well, mi amigos, what is next after rounding the Horn east to west? This is normally the most difficult route against the prevailing westerlies and current. Sooo, next Egret rounded the Horn from west to east yesterday morning (Mon). Rounded the Horn...again. Ho hum. Actually we were trying hard to land the dink on Cabo de Hornos to visit the memorial, chapel and lighthouse keeper. There is a small sloping, rock-free beach on the west side. We ran in close, however there was a residual west surge rolling into the beach with heavy twisted scrub up the hill. Next Egret exaggerated the turn around the eastern ship eating rocks awash and others hidden with white breakers boiling over. By now the rare easterlies were puffing about 20 knots. Still, we ran in close to the usual landing beach on the east side but after scaring ourselves silly with an uncharted, AND unmarked, kelp-strewn rock shelf - leaving us with just six feet of water under the keel - we bailed and headed north on our return route.

Egret retraced her Chilean Armada dictated route through the Wallaston islands. Now, of course we were receiving the tide on the nose that the day before let us fly south. Great. Again we were blasted by the accelerated wind sweeping down from Isla Deceit. Again no biggie. However, Ms. Ocean wasn't going to let us smugly sail north without a spanking. Once in Bahia Nassau, the twenty-five mile stretch of open ocean until the next group of islands, she had her say. 20+ knots at times against the continual east bound current AND the south bound tide. Slop city. Water everywhere. However, been there done that. We cranked the Naiad electronic controls up a bit and letterip. In due time Egret dropped TK thru the kelp, backed him in and all was well anchored in our previous south bound port of Puerto Toro. (Port Bull)

Puerto Toro is a thriving metropolis of two civilian fishing families and a few Chilean Armada families. They DO have street lights (when the generator is running) and a real gravel street, not a footpath. Unlike the business-like VHF reporting of the Chilean Armada they welcome you to Puerto Toro in their best Spangleesh wishing each ship a "welcome you Puerto Toro....nice anchor". There are three sailboats sharing the tiny anchorage. One is a beautiful American sailboat, a Morris 51, Home Free. Our favorite is a nice German couple, who over the past two years have made three attempts to round the Horn FINALLY making it yesterday. This morning over coffee they were giddy with relief and VERY happy. The Belgian sailboat rafted next to them made it as well. The Belgians are also an outgoing friendly couple certainly deserving their rounding. Egret was berthed near them in Mar del Plata, Argentina. Their sailboat is a steel, low freeboard design. A slow boat, on the trip south they were continually mauled by weather, waves washing over the boat. We have said this before and will again. Every boat down here DESERVES to be here and has paid the price. The fact we four fellow cruisers did not have to take unnecessary risks to round the Horn because of modern weather forecasting does not take away from the accomplishment. Every boat paid their dues on the trip south where there is NO escape for over 1000 miles with no weather windows of any length. You get the picture.

Back to the present. Mary is fixing the boys a big breakfast. This is a three coffee pot (press) lazy morning. We all slept in after being wound tight for the past two days. Hot showers, warm day (61 degrees), bacon frying, life is good for the Egret crew. Later we will move back into the Canal Beagle and sail west to an interim stop as far west as we can before tomorrow's short run to Calla Olla. Ciao.

January 21, 2007

Position: S56 00.00 W67 17.30
One and one-half miles south of Cabo de Hornos

Well, mi amigos, Egret raised anchor at 0600 local time in our anchorage in Puerto Toro. With suspect electronic charting accuracy we stood vigilant watch looking for the tell tale kelp patches marking uncharted rocks. By riding the flood tide we soon entered Paso Goree between Isla Navarino and Isla Lennox. This is real exciting stuff knowing shortly we would be winding our way through the Wollaston Islands then THE CAPE. 0715 we got a VHF call from the Chilean Armada (Coast Guard) for the usual report. 0830 Egret entered Bahia Nassau, the most time terrible open water stretch between the lee of Navarino and the Wollastons. Currents rip through here plus there is enough fetch to raise large, tight seas.

The seas were so light we were hoping to make the entire trip without turning on the Naiad's. By 0915 that was a myth and we pushed THE button and all motion stopped in the beam seas. By 10:15 we could see a wall of fog ahead. Great. 11:00 Egret entered the fog with 1/4 mile visibility. Sooo, now we are in fog with low resolution charting. Great again. Thank you Mr Radar. 11:10 visibility 200 yards. 11:45 Egret entered Canal Bravo. Soon after the fog lifted. Beautiful. On the port side of the canal were the wind scoured hillsides of Isla Scourfield. On the starboard side were pockets of VERY tough trees hiding behind outcrops with their tree tops exactly at wind height. 12:20 we were back in fog with 1/2-mile visibility. 12:50 entered Paso Mar del Sur, the last pass before Isla Hornos. This was more like what we expected. With the easterly winds they blasted down the hill sides sweeping the fog along rising to 34 knots. No biggie for the Egret crew. 1:22 pm we spotted the north end of Isla Hornos (Cape Horn) The infamous 'Horn' was sticking up through the fog then would disappear, then reappear.

At 2:32 pm, 1-21-07 Egret passed south of Cape Horn at S55 00.00 W67 17.30. Egret passed east to west 'doubling' the Horn. We passed in sea swells but in relatively calm conditions. For those of you who wanted to hear about Egret bashing her way past the Horn let me quote the first American powerboat circumnavigators, Bruce and Joan Kessler on Zopilote. "Anyone who has been in rough water doesn't wish for rough water". Egret has seen rough water. We feel very fortunate NOT to have been in rough water. Egret traveled 7192.14 nautical miles from Gibraltar for this privilege. (8270.96 statute miles)

The history here is incrediable. Most of it is tragic. Looking at a shipwreck chart there are 78 known shipwrecks, many are unreported, within a very short distance from our current position. Modern weather forecasting and modern boats make Cape Horn today much, much less of a danger. The weather is still here and occasionally boats do get caught out and do pay the price. What Egret did today was NOT dangerous. We were cautious, followed the rules and were LUCKY with weather. If the weather was bad we WOULD NOT have gone today.

Speaking of modern weather forecasting we would like to thank OMNI Bob and
Susan Gennet for their forecasting skills and help. Both were right on. Any of you traveling where you cannot run for shore with weather issues, weather forecasters are a welcome and good value.

Thank you so much for following the Egret crew to her farthest point south in her travels...perhaps. More to follow.

The Egret crew: Mary and Scott Flanders, Master Angler Steve Lawrence, Jim Leishman


January 20, 2007
Position: S54 55.57 W67 34.71 (under way from Puerto Williams, Chile)

Well, mi amigos, Egret has her Zarpe in hand and we are running east before turning south along the coast of Isla Nararino and this evening's stop at Puerto Toro. PT has a few military guys and two permanent residents, both fisherman (crabbers). With such an unusual weather window, GOOD WEATHER for a few days, the Egret crew are taking their time and enjoying the trip. This evening will be Puerto Toro (SS55 04.93 W67 04.33). Tomorrow evening will be Caleta (Cove) Martial on Isla Hermite (S55 49.30). Early Monday morning we will leave for the short run to Cape Horn. We hope the weather will allow us to 'double' the Horn (going from east to west), take some great pictures and be able to land and go ashore in shifts.

If this happens as planned we plan to run west up the Canal Beagle to Caleta Olla, pronounced (O ya), and tuck into the tiny Caleta with two stern lines ashore to the trees. There is a mountain stream running into the Caleta with a trail to the glacier at the top. Ho, ho hum. We guess we'll just have to sit there and eat and hike ourselves silly. Did we tell you about the 4 kilos of Argentine steak we bought?? Or the pork chops?? Or...

So all in all today has been a relative windless joy starting off with a visit to the fur seal, sea lion and cormorant colony. In 10 miles or so we will visit the penguin colonies on the way to Puerto Toro. Life is good for the Egret crew.

Below we will list OMNI Bob's weather AND additional weather from Susan Genett. Susan is a professional forecaster like Bob. Susan's Cape Horn forecast is a gift from our Nordhavn NAR buddies before leaving Turkey. What a great group they are. THIS is why we encourage you to join Med Bound 2007 and other Nord groups. You will make friends for a lifetime as has the Egret crew.

(OMNI Bob) Latest observations indicate high pressure ridging across the Cape Horn area with NE to NNW winds 10-18kts in the area.

High pressure ridging extends SSW from a broad high center near 40S 58W across the Falkland Islands. This high ridge pattern is expected to remain stationary today through tonight and into Sun/am. The southern part of this ridge should lay SSW-SW across the southern tip of S/America and just east of Cape Horn during Sat/overnight and Sun/21st.

A stationary 990mb low near 52S 86W is expected to change little through Sun/21st. This low should produce a more WNW-NW swells in/arond the Cape Horn area during today and into Sun/21st. The ridge is not expected to change much during the day as second, weaker high begins to develop along the ridge SE of Cape Horn during Sun/night and Mon/22nd. This second highg will help keep the winds light in/around Cape Horn, but should also help force the 990mb low to move northward and weaken Sun/night-Monday.

With the low moving more northward, this should allow the swells to subside across the Cape Horn area through Sun/pm through Monday.

Overall, if you are able to make your passage from the Puerto Williams area, around Cape Horn then back inside during the Sat/20-Sun/21 period, you should be able to make this passage with tenable wind/sea conditions. If you need to spend additional time getting to/around Cape Horn, there does appear to be enough of a window across the Cape Horn area through Mon/22nd.

As of now, expect from the Puerto Williams toward Cape Horn:

Sat/20: NNE-NE, range NNE-NNW at times. 12-18kts, 2-4ft. Swell: Conf-WNW 6-8ft Sun/21: Continue to range NW-NE 10-18kt, 2-4ft. Swell: Confused-WNW 6-8ft Sun/am, easing WNW-confused 5-7ft to 4-6ft through Sun/pm. Winds may become more NE-ESE 10-18kts during Sun/eve-night in/around Cape Horn. Mon/22: ENE-ESE (var at times) 10-16kts, 2-4ft. Swells Confused 4-6ft early, easing confused 3-5ft during Mon/pm.

We will continue to watch and update Sun/am. Please keep us advised of any changes to your itinerary. B/Rgds, Bob/OMNI

(Susan Genett) A notable change in the forecast depict that the \ldblquote window\rdblquote for light winds and fair-to-clear skies for Cape Horn is narrowing. This is due to the weather pattern accelerating slightly in development. The Atlantic storm is already beginning to steadily advance E\rquote ward and the Pacific storm is expected to gain stronger definition as it inches N\rquote ward in movement offshore from coastal Chile, between 80-90W within 45-53S, Saturday and Sunday. As the Pacific storm remains centered well offshore for Sat-Sunday, the High pressure axis will become elongated in a North-South fashion over S\rquote ern Argentina, Chile and N\rquote ern Drake\rquote s Passage. As such, light and variable N-E quadrant winds are expected to prevail for the open waters of Bahia Nassau and for Cape Horn as early as late-day Saturday and prevail thru Sunday. Granted the winds to provide lightest intensity Saturday and Sunday, skies will remain mostly cloudy and the sea state (for open waters of Bahia Nassau and Cape Horn) to continue to provide an confused/if not agitated swell, taking until midday Sunday to average 6ft, and less. \par \par This scenario above, provides potential to plan a more swift cruising continuance beyond Puerto Williams and Porto Toro to Cape Horn, than depicted below. The timing plan below is conservative, though gauging your email this morning, it sounds like you are open to push at a steady pace toward the Horn. \par \par To depart Ushuaia tomorrow morning and cruise to lay-over in P Toro, after stopping in P Williams as necessary, we could be there Saturday evening. Then depart for the Horn Sunday morning. Given the weather pattern holds true to forecast and you are prepared for this leg, to reach the Horn Sunday afternoon, the winds will be light \endash averaging less than 10kt/NE-E \endash though skies a mix of sun and clouds. Then to duck into the Wollaston Islands near the Horn, skies are expected to be mostly sunny for Monday with winds beginning to increase from the NE-E/10-15kt. I think weather conditions will be comfortable to cruise the Horn on Monday, as well. \par \par By Tuesday morning, we\rquote ll want to be in a comfortable port/bay that is sheltered from the N-NE, especially if position is in open waters of Bahia Nassau wind an increasing swell flow toward the SW-W will establish. Additionally, seas for the vicinity of the Horn will swiftly increase and become agitated/confused as an E\rquote ly windfield provides 15kt or stronger winds due to sea convergence from the prevalent West-flowing-East current and a developing East-flowing-West windwave.\par \par Next update to send Saturday morning. Please send any thoughts you have on this forecast.\f1\fs20\par }Wind Forecast: (Wind direction True, Speed in knots) Local time is -4 hours UTC(Z),

Saturday, 20 January
0000Z: 350-010/5-10KT
0600Z: 360-020/5-10KT
1200Z: 010-030/5-10KT - Departure Ushuaia
1800Z: 040-060/5-10KT - Vicinity Puerto Williams
SEAS: low 1-3ft flowing W'ward
WEATHER: Becoming a mix of sun and clouds with any morning showers
ending by
midday.

Sunday, 21 January
0000Z: 040-060/5-10KT
0600Z: 050-070/5-10KT
1200Z: 060-080/5-10KT - Departure Puerto Williams
1800Z: 060-080/5-10KT
SEAS: 1-3ft long, multi-directional swell for Beagle Channel and E'ern Navarino Island
WEATHER: A mix of sun and clouds.

Monday, 22 January
0000Z: 040-060/5-10KT - Vicinity Puerto Toro
0600Z: 030-050/5-10KT
1000Z: 030-050/5-10KT - Departure
1200Z: 040-060/7-12KT
1400Z: 070-090/10-15KT - Bahia Nassau
1800Z: 060-080/10-15KT - Cape Horn
SEAS: 3-5ft long period, SW-W'ward flowing swell-confused offshore Cape Horn
WEATHER: Becoming variably cloudy to mostly sunny.

Tuesday, 23 January - Vicinity Cape Horn
0000Z: 040-060/13-18KT
0600Z: 030-050/15-20KT
1200Z1800Z: 030-050/15-20KT030-050/15-20KT
SEAS: 4-7ft moderate period with confused, multi-directional sea flow
WEATHER: Mostly sunny, few clouds.

Wednesday, 24 January - Vicinity Cape Horn
0000Z: 020-040/15-20KT
0600Z: 010-030/15-20KT
1200Z1800Z: 350-010/11-16KT330-350/8-13KT
SEAS: 4-7ft moderate period with confused, multi-directional sea flow
WEATHER: Increasing and thickening cloud development from early morning and throughout the day. Highest potential for showers to development will be in the evening, overnight Wed-Thursday.
Best Regards-Susan

January 19, 2007

Big days coming up mi amigos. Late this afternoon special guest Jim Leishman from PAE arrives along with a returning Master Angler Steve. Both will be tired after exhausting 24 hour flights and airline food. We'll have to feed them a little local beer and some Fuegean lamb and send them to bed. Tomorrow we leave after checking out of Argentina with the Prefectura (Coast Guard) for Puerto Williams, Chile to clear in and begin our steps for rounding Cape Horn. After looking at today's weather it appears that we may actually have an early chance to make the rounding. The wind has been blowing steady and hard for over a week in Ushuaia stranding some sailboaters aboard on anchor. Some have small dinghies with tiny outboards that don't have the seaworthiness to make it to the dock in the high wind and harbor chop. This morning's anemometer reading was 0.0 (knots of wind). Miracle.

Our strategy for rounding Cape Horn is all weather based. The route is dictated strictly by the Chilean Armada and rightly so. To allow a scattered fleet of private boats to sail around the southern archipelago with no way to track their movements would tax the rescue ability of the Chilean Armada. The weather is so unpredictable and dangerous at times there needs to be just a couple anchorages where the boats group to wait out weather. Ken Murray, an American power boater living in Ushuaia since 2001, has been trapped twice for two weeks at a time by weather in these anchorages before they could safely move. Ken just left Egret after giving some welcome advice about the anchorages and post Cape Horn cruising.

The first anchorage (both are in the Wollaston Island Group north of the Horn), and closest to the Cape is Caleta Martial on Isla Herschel. This is a protected but windy anchorage where you swing to your anchor in good holding. It is not uncommon to experience 100 knots of wind here. The second and more protected is Puerto Maxwell on Islas Hermite. Here you drop the anchor and take two stern lines ashore to the trees. This keeps the heavy winds whistling over head however you get bombarded by williwaws. There is NO free lunch.

We will give you a very brief description of Southern Ocean weather and how it impacts this part of the world. Antarctica never thaws continually pumping cold air north to meet the warmer air. These fronts are continual and abrasive. As the earth spins on its axis it puts wind in motion putting current in motion. From 50 degrees south to the ice, other than the southern tip of New Zealand's South Island and a bit of Tasmania there is NOTHING but water EXCEPT Cape Horn. Cape Horn is the northern boundary of the Drake Passage to Antarctica with the Wendell Peninsula the other. To further complicate things the ocean west of Cape Horn is very deep then shelves to 600 or so feet in the Drake Passage. NOW, you have all this east bound weather driving the currents up and over this shelf. So, we have a huge body of water in continuous motion from the earth's rotation and a pile of rocks in the way. We want to go around the rock pile in our little white fiberglass ship. Great.

Let's not forget about the wind. A low is a big hole in the atmosphere. The depth of the low (hole) and the steepness of the hole (gradient) defined by isobars of pressure are one factor. High pressure, cold air, is always racing downhill to equalize itself by filling the lows. Because the earth is spinning, the lows spin as well like water down a drain. They spin clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere. Low and high pressure never meet peacefully. Remember, Antarctica is continually pumping out cold air. Sooo, now we have a continual parade of lows (swirling holes waiting to be filled with colder air) marching in a chain around the earth pushing billions of tons of water with nothing but OUR pile of rocks in the way being harried continuously by the highs. Great...again. So there we have it. Cape Horn, we have all heard about it. Egret will experience it within a few days.

There is good news in all this. Doug Harlow, PAE (Nordhavn's) web guru will be standing by this weekend to keep you current with Voyage of Egret postings on Saturday and Sunday continuing into next week as usual. Gonna be wild mi amigos!!

 

January 16, 2007
Position: S54 48.68 W68 18.15 (Anchored in Ushuaia Harbor)

Well, mi amigos, what a day it has been. First let's go back a couple days. After we moved Egret to Bahia Cambaceres we spent the next two days exploring. We took a long hike in a marshy valley walking the animal trails along the edge. The beaver evidence of freshly gnawed trees were all along one area. Introducing beavers was ANOTHER failed experiment messing with Ms. Nature. In time they changed the water flow turning streams flowing into the bay into muddy deltas. Beavers, rabbits, a small breed of foxes to take care of the rabbits and non-indigenous people have taken their overall toll. One nice thing about the locals and visitors is there is a sense of taking care of the environment. Ushuaia is clean as is the surrounding area. Much cleaner than anywhere else we have seen in South America.

We saw our first condor flying within reasonable camera range. Because of the back light we don't have a great picture but enough to make a positive identification. Missing that shot and a couple of others have prompted us to phone Master Angler Steve in Colorado and have him buy an image stabilized 80-400MM Nikon lense. With this lense and another coming in a few months we should be able to take even better pictures. Great fun for us and everyone benefits. Bahia Cambaceres is protected from the violent compressed winds. There are no high mountains nearby to send williwaws hurdling down and no high hills to compress the wind. We had mild wind when friends back in Ushuaia waiting on parts were unhappy with the wind they had in the anchorage. We plan to go back to Bahia Cambaceres sometime in the future.

Back to today. We left BC with the intent to tow the dink to the next bay at Harberton Estancia. After the wind picked up making anchoring in Harberton among the day tripper boat moorings a chore, we decided to keep going the 35nm back to Ushuaia and get a head start on the weekend. Real dumb deal. To make a very long day short, traveling from 1.8 to 3.6 knots most of the time against the current driven waves and up to 50 knots of wind we finally made it four hours after our initial ETA in Ushuaia with the Argentine Pefectura (Coast Guard). Our catamaran dinghy is VERY happy to be back. The dink probably traveled another 35nm up and down in addition to straight line. If that had been the inflatable dink it would have been twirling at the end of its string in some of the heavy wind.

The Cordillera Darwin (Darwin mountain range) rising above Ushuaia has been dusted with a coat of snow. Beautiful. Off to the SSW across the Beagle to the Chilean side the mountain behind Ushuaia's airport is ALL white. The Canal Beagle is working its temperature tempering magic. On the water the temps are in the 50s. Every time we turn around we find another reason to spend the winter here putting off New Zealand until Dec 08. BUT, we'll putter around the Chilean Canals before making the call in late February.

We'll start following the weather tomorrow getting patterns for the weekend and early next week. Hopefully we'll have good weather as predicted by a boater this evening. We'll see.



January 11, 2007
Position: S54 52.35 W67 20.51

Well, mi amigos. We lied. We told you we were going to write the next VofE from Bahia Cambaceres but we can't wait to get there in a day or three to write. There is too much going on.

First however, let us throw in a couple of commercials that will help you, not us. We already bought. For the next weeks while Egret is on the Argentine side of Tierra Del Fuego (north side) and soon to be in the Chilean canals including Cape Horn, information we will be referring to is from the single best cruising guide we have ever seen with history, drawings and most every anchorage including line drawings, charts, etc. Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego Nautical Guide by Italians Mariolina Rolfo and Giorgio Ardrizzi is THE guide (capehorn-pilot.com). This guide was an eight year effort on their part and published by an Italian cruiser as a gift to the area. This 719 page guide serves a tiny market and is an obvious business loss. The majority of their sales have been to people who recognized the effort and have bought up too 100 books as gifts to support the cause. Without this guide, Egret, and we suspect many others, would not be here. It is simply too difficult without a guide of this scope. We encourage you to buy your copy and follow Egret's wanderings through the Chilean canals page by page if for no other reason to support the Ardrizzis and their monumental effort to help so few. If a single reader writes in on VofE Forum saying they bought the book we will give page numbers in our postings.

The second book is Rounding the Horn by Dallas Murphy. We bought our copy in an Ushuaian book store. It is well written and researched giving a complete history of Cabo de Hornos and surrounding area. The author includes irreverent views telling how rounding the Horn would be perceived today (not smoothed over) by the early explorers and conquistadors. My kind of writer. Mary and I are both reading it at the same time. Tough, but we are working it out.

Egret departed Ushuaia in no wind and anchored in 35 knots. Typical. We towed the catamaran dink for picture taking but the winds started puffing so that was the end of that. We traveled east up the Canal Beagle back the same route we had taken heading west to Ushuaia. Both the Argentine and Chilean navies have outposts on both sides of the Beagle and call you on channel 16 as you pass. They ask the typical information of boat name, registration number, how many people aboard, departure from and destination, plus length of stay. Part of it is their animosity for each other but also the Chileans are very safety conscious keeping very tight control of their waters. They know the difficult conditions and take care of boaters if they will follow the rules and call in at designated places mentioned in the cruising guide. Last year a French single hander was lost in Chilean waters and his buddy boater was rolled and dismasted but saved. Neither had bothered to call in. This year we are hearing from friends an American single hander was rolled and dismasted off the Chilean coast. Fortunately he was saved by a commercial fishing boat. Soooo, we don't mind calling in and following the rules.

The Beagle is quite wide but with underwater rocks well charted so you must follow a zig zag course even when there are no hazards to be seen. Close before our turn to the north and our harbor is Paso Mackinlay (Mackinlay Pass). Naval officer Mackinaly came to grief here May 1900. There is a fairly large island mid-stream with the north side impassable. Because of the restriction the current flow is up to 3 knots however at the far side is where east meets west. This is where the Southern Ocean meets the Pacific Ocean. The ebb tide flows away from each other at this point making for interesting currents. Just beyond is a tee shaped island with the tee to the east. On the tee is a penguin colony of many hundreds of Magellanic penguins. We made two attempts in the high winds and a low tide to navigate the kelp fields in the shallow bay for pictures. We got some overall distance shots but no close ups.

This was followed by our dodgem ride through the kelp into Bahia Relegada where Egret is anchored. BR is the first of three bays stretching close by to the east. We anchored in the middle of the small bay in 22' with 140' of chain out. (Because of swing we couldn't put out more). We set the anchor to the west giving two big chain straightening tugs. Last evening we had up to 46 knots from the north. Go figure. This morning it was 35 knots from the west. Now, at 8:18 pm local time it is again gusting to 35 knots. The good news is there is no fetch so no waves, just wind. We are surrounded by meadows and low wooded hills. Mountains lit up in the setting sun are in the background. Beautiful. What this means in this part of the world is SAFETY. With no high hills or mountains close by there are no afternoon williwaws (explosions of wind with no warning coming from the heat/cold differential of the setting sun).

The second of three bays is Puerto Harberton, a working enstancia (ranch) and small tourist destination. The fourth, fifth and sixth generations of the founding Bridges family are actively running the estancia. They have a small museum with a very good private collection of marine mammal skeletons, histories, whales, etc. We were given a tour by a young, second year student, (5 year program), showing us things and speaking Spanglish. We got most of it and had a great time. We told him we were from a boat anchored in BR so he switched gears and gave us the REAL DEAL tour. We have made him a super CD of all the marine critters from Gibraltar to here. The shots of albatrosses stopped in motion taking off from the water are wild. The water droplets hanging mid air from their feet as they flap their wings and paddle to rise are zoomed and clear. He will get his tomorrow, you will have to wait until Feb. There are also some good shots of other feathered and furry critters as well.

Lunch in the small Puerto Harberton cafe was a giant bowl of their house soup. It was thick as stew with everything thrown in. Home made bread, hot tea, and cake for desert. Urp! We met a nice American couple letting their grandchildren run their lives. How cute.

Mary announced a bit ago she would like to take a hike east past Puerto Harberton to see what there is to see. OK, we'll do it. Of course by looking at the chart we know there is a stream feeding into the third bay. We don't have any trout spinners but we do have a bonefish fly rigged with a split shot on a light spinning rod ready to go. Do you think there ever has been a trout caught on a bonefish fly in Tierra del Fuego? We'll see.

Whoops, we almost forgot M Jo's weather. When we fired up the laptop the pilothouse temperature was 75 degrees onerumago (say that three times fast). It had dropped to 63 degrees with the setting sun. Time to fire up the Dickinson. Ciao...

January 9, 2007

Hola mi amigos from the DEEP south. Egret is still in Ushuaia, Argentina but leaving tomorrow for a bit of local cruising until January 19th when Master Angler Steve is returning from his quickie trip to the States and our special guest is arriving. After will be the short trip to Puerto Williams, Chile, to check in and so forth.

We were kicked into action today with an e-mail from a cruising buddy saying we must write more about the local life ashore and happenings. Soooo, let's start with today's weather. When we boarded MA Steve and daughters today for a local boat tour, it was blowing 20-25 knots and drizzling; temperature was in the low 50s. Within a bit it was calm and colder. Later when visiting a local cormorant colony with attendant fur seals and sea lions the wind was still calm. After, when deciding to anchor for lunch and a trip ashore it was raining. When ashore the rain quit and the sun came out causing us to shed layers. On the way back to Egret it clouded over and the wind started puffing again dropping to the 40's and blowing up to 35 knots. On anchoring back in the harbor the wind dropped to the low 20 knot range and now is puffing 25-30 knots. Oh yes, it hailed for a bit also.

We got some great pictures as well as some in town but with the new camera and OLD lense. After our last carrying on about new lenses and such the one we want is on national backorder. Three months. Then we have to find out how to get it to us. Cruising isn't always "all you can eat Fueguan lamb slow roasted over a wood fire". A little rain must fall. If we eat any more lamb we'll be growing wool. Speaking of eating, the Egret crew has been eating their way through town. Except for a lousy hamburger in an upstairs joint called Che's after Che Guava or whatever his name was, everything has been first class. Our afternoon stops in Laguna Negra (Black Lagoon), an upscale chocolate and coffee shop is slowly giving us diabetes. The hot chocolate will stand up a spoon AND the hot apple pie is super. Did we mention they give you two pieces of very good chocolate with every hot beverage? Ho hum. It must be tough to be a dirt dweller reading this drivel knowing you'll have to wait your turn. Don't wait mi amigos.

The social life is very good here. Most every night we are on another boat sharing stories and conversation. Last night it was the Kiwi boat, Vision. Vision is a beautifully built steel 56' sloop. After three trips to Egret, the Vision crew is ready to switch to a Nordhavn. Sitting in Egret's pilothouse then moving to the salon each time they come over we know what is going on. We have seen it before. They are discovering comfort AND they can SEE out instead of living in a cave. In these typical scenarios we usually hear how much they actually motor, have to wait for wind from the right direction, etc. We are kind and tell them we really like their boat, and truthfully do, but not for us, and so forth. The boats arriving in this part of the world really are special except for the few who have taken a huge chance by trying and making it. Each year some don't make it. Serious stuff.

This afternoon after dropping off MA Steve and daughters, a Belgian steel sloop was re-anchoring in front of Egret after taking on water at the dock. They picked up a huge wad of kelp on their anchor that turned them loose. REAL bad deal in these winds AND in front of Egret. We jumped into the dink and raced to help but were beaten there by the French cruiser we met in Caleta Hornos last month on the Argentine coast. With the wife at the helm and the two of them pulling on the chain to assist the windlass they finally got the 5' ball of kelp to the surface. We loaned them our killer Turkish kelp cutter and after a bit they were able to re anchor. Three almost strangers from three different countries who would not glance at each other on the street taking risks to help another on the water. Cruisers helping cruisers. That is what this is all about.

We'll give our next report of Voyage of Egret from Bahia Cambaceres. This is after visiting the penguin colony on Isla Martillo. Bahia Cambaceres is on the Argentinean side (north) of Canal Beagle east of Ushuaia. To quote the cruising guide: "The basin is completely surrounded by forest and alive with flocks of birds and sea lions". A local said the stream flowing into the basin has local trout. Ho hum. Life is good for the Egret crew.

Life is also going to be good for some other crews this spring. Milt and Judy Baker's Med Bound 2007 has been gathering momentum with a number of participants. Northern Lights/Lugger is sending Bob Senter, a trainer in engines and generators, to Bahia Mar in Ft Lauderdale prior to departure. Lugger Bob also did the seminars for the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally and was excellent. Nordhavn is sending registration staff to Bahia Mar to help this private group of adventurers taking some pressure off Milt and Judy. This is a very worthwhile venture/adventure. Mediterranean cruising is a life changing experience and a great way to start your long distance cruising career as did a number of others on the NAR. The ocean crossing is a simple connect-the-dots itinerary. OMNI Bob will be doing the weather forecasting. May is the perfect month. Lifelong friendships will be made. There is still time to ready your Nordhavn for the crossing. Give http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MedBound2007/ a good review. Be part of the FIRST private motorboat ocean rally. Sooner is better than later.


January 4, 2007

In Ushuaia, Argentina

Wow, mi amigos. Today is the first time we typed 07. Oh seven, can you believe it??? Perhaps with another unrecoverable year gone it is time for some of you to dedicate this year to set a course toward your cruising goals.

VofE Forum request from M Jo was for air temperatures. So, for M Jo this morning's pilot house glass temp was 46 degrees.

Let us bring you up to date on Ushuaia. It is 10:20 local time. We are on anchor watch in the pilothouse. Last night and this morning the wind has been puffing from 25 to 40+ knots. Egret, the other long distance cruisers anchored and the small local boats on moorings are doing their best Bo Jangles imitations skating around in the gusts. With our 110lb anchor, TK, buried deep in the mud with a 7-1 scope, we are not afraid of dragging. The other long distance cruisers are not an issue either. By the time you reach this part of the world you have it figured out. The issue is the small local boats on homemade moorings with questionable attachments. If any one of those turns loose, particularly at night, it could cause BIG problems in the anchorage.

Now for the worst part. Yesterday evening we visited the camera store where our new Nikon image stabilized lense was waiting to be unpacked. The new D80 Nikon camera is on display with Egret's name on it. Of course there is a difference between want and need but we NEED those toys NOW... but we are boat bound. We have always written sooner is better than later and now is one of those times. After all, beneath this hair dyed gray there is a boy at heart. The bottom line is we will have even better pictures to share with you. Our only wish is you could see them in full resolution.

Egret hosted New Year's eve for an international group of sailors. She was packed with people and was trailing a dinghy boat show off the transom. Mary baked a huge platter of dolphin (mahi mahi) caught on the way to Brazil served on a bed of rice and veggies. Others brought volumes of food as well along with a bit o' da grape juice. By midnight we had a warm glow and all was well. Cruisers meeting as only cruisers can. Strong friendships bonded in a short time sharing each other's company. Great fun. Unforgettable times.

Ushuaia is a typical tourist town serving the Antarctic cruise ship trade in the austral summer and skiing in the winter (northern hemisphere summer). A number of national ski teams and olympic ski teams train here. The setting is beautiful surrounded by mountains covered with snow even in the summer. The Canal Beagle tempers the local weather both summer and winter with average temperatures varying little. A few miles inland there is a huge difference with seven feet of snow in the winter. Beneath the tourist shop facade is a small community of nice people. There is NO crime here unlike so much of South America.

Ken Murray, an American boater from Pelagic, a 25-year-old 40' Defever has visited Egret twice. Ken's tortuous journey south to Ushuaia was chronicled in the March/April 2003 issue of Passagemaker Magazine. Ken has lived here since and loves this area. Ken may ultimately have a big influence on Egret's cruising plans for the next year. First he is singing the praises of winter cruising in the Chilean Canals. Secondly he is saying Antarctica is very doable safely if you are not on a schedule. On our grib weather files we often saw the Drake Passage between Cape Horn and the tip of Antarctica with little wind for a few days at a time. Ken's wife is Dutch but has been living here for 22 years working as a pilot guiding commercial and private vessels in this area including Antarctica. Can you imagine the ice? Penguin colonies? Majesty? Pilot aboard, charts, history, local knowledge, WOW!! Sooooo, another seed is planted. We'll see.

Well, mi amigos, it is time to face another trial by water. Dinghy ride to the dock. Fortunately we have both dinghies in the water. With Master Angler Steve's daughters in town we leave the little dink for MA Steve and we have the luxury of Egret's 12' catamaran dinghy. Gotta go to the camera shop. Life is good for the Egret crew.