|"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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
\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
Next update to send Saturday morning. Please send any thoughts you have on
}Wind Forecast: (Wind direction True, Speed in knots)
Local time is -4 hours UTC(Z),
Saturday, 20 January
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
Sunday, 21 January
1200Z: 060-080/5-10KT - Departure Puerto Williams
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
1000Z: 030-050/5-10KT - Departure
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
SEAS: 4-7ft moderate period with confused, multi-directional sea flow
WEATHER: Mostly sunny, few clouds.
Wednesday, 24 January - Vicinity Cape Horn
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.
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).
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.