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"Egret" N4674 - Scott and Mary Flanders

Ed. note: On February 10, 2011, Scott and Mary Flanders, on board their Nordhavn 46, Egret, arrived in the Canary Islands. In doing so, Egret became the eighth Nordhavn to circumnavigate the globe. It had been four years, five months since the couple departed Gran Canaria, intent on seeing as much of the earth as possible, although not necessarily with an end goal to circle the globe. Voyage of Egret documents the Flanders’ entire trip, an endless adventure that has put them in touch with the most fabulous places and interesting people. Much route planning and forecasting was required in order to get to some of their ports of call. But the days of detailed planning are over…for now. “Egret” is now back in Fort Lauderdale, the place the couple called home for so many years, and, ironically, the starting point of their world wide cruising escapade that began with the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally in 2004. They currently travel hither and yon, sometimes by boat, sometimes not. Here, the latest update from the Flanders as they keep us continually apprised.  

July 31, 2007
Location: AFASyN Yacht Club dock, Ushuaia, Argentina

Sunday, 7-29, Ushuaia, on the dock. BIG wind from the north. As normal routine, Egret's bow and forward spring lines are doubled holding her bow into the usual westerlies. We have now tripled the aft stern line and doubled the aft spring line as a precaution if the north wind swings to the east with the same velocity. Egret has 8 fenders deployed. In the largest gusts the fenders are getting squeezed big time. We'll see.

Since typing the above we came within a foot of near theatrics but in the end all was well. Now the moon is waning so all is even better. In new news the #%$^*&@ wing is out and in the shop. In a few days YT will visit and make a decision what parts to order. The little Yanmar is a simple engine so its no big deal.

There is a new batch of pictures on the VofE - Pictures site. There is an accompanying Forum reply answering a readers photography questons. The CDs sent from Argentina arrived before the Chilean post. That's all the recent Egret news. Enjoy the Med flashback.

Egret Med Flashback (EMF) Egret departed Barcelona, Spain the first week of May, 2005, the day after receiving her air freight shipment of paravanes from PAE (Nordhavn folks). The paravanes were to be installed the following winter in Marmaris, Turkey. Bill and Arline Smith of N62 Autumn Wind volunteered to transport the two long paravane poles to Turkey. Egret steamed the short distance SW down the Spanish coast to Stiges where we met Bill and Arline in their small winter harbor. We transfered the poles from Egret and lashed them on top of AW's pilot house. After visiting with the Smith's for a couple of days Egret left with a good weather forecast for the Gulf du Lyon (France) on the two day journey NE to Calvi, Corsica. Corsica is one of many Mediterranean island jewels. Corsica is located south of mainland France, north of Sardinia, west of Italy.

Calvi is located on the NW tip of French owned Corsica. Calvi at the top and Bonifacio at the bottom of the island are the two major fortress cities. By this time in Egret's Med cruise we were well familiar with spotting towers dotting the Spanish coast, castles and crumbled fortresses. Inland touring Spain and France during the winter we had seen a few major fortress towns as well. Calvi was however, the first major harbor citadel we had seen. The citadel appeared out of the breaking daylight mist looking as she had centuries before. Mean and ominous for those who had unkind intentions. Egret dropped anchor just after daylight off the beach May 12th, 2005. It was very early season with NO other boats on anchor and the seasonal moorings had yet to be tethered to their holdings. Off we went exploring the city and citadel piling up the kilometers on the Teva's (sandals). Three days later in the morning a familiar boat anchored in front of Egret. It was one of those little white fiberglass long distance jobs. Picture 1. Without coordinating our itineraries the Stricklands (Scott & Teri) on N47, Strickly for Fun (NAR buddies), had left Barcelona after Egret and made the two day trip to Calvi as well. (They arrived Barcelona after Egret had left) Great minds think alike. Social whirl it was.

Two days later we took the narrow gauge railroad to the city of Ajaccio where we saw the sights before taking the train back to Calvi. It was quite a trip down the mountain valleys. There are still tiny inhabited villages stuck high up on the face of the mountains as they have been for hundreds of years. At about half way we side tracked to let another train pass. We stopped at a beautiful, picturesque little train station surrounded by trees with flowers like upside down trumpets. The railroad bed was a trip in itself. The driver, yes we mean driver, steered and braked the bucking train in places. It was like driving on a train after an earthquake. Perhaps during an earthquake. (4-6' confused seas off the bow). We were rockin and rollin. You get the picture. In due time we returned to Calvi shaken and stirred.

Calvi has a French Foreign Legion post. The Legionnaires were kept busy clearing a large wooden sailboat that had dragged anchor and ended her life on the jettys protecting the marina. Typical of government projects there were ten guys supervising on the jettys and two low rankers in the cold water. Each day they struggled to cut another piece away and drag it onto the jettys to be hauled away. At the same time Corsican fire fighting aircraft were practicing scooping water from the bay and dropping it over water to practice for the coming summer's fires. These aircraft had a scoop built into the bottom of the plane calling for precision flying. Pretty cool.

Each time we arrive at a destination like Corsica the wheels start turning, daydreams if you will. Wouldn't it be great to take the early season month of May and the late season month of October, sans crowds, and rental car or motorcycle tour little jewels like Corsica, Sardinia and so forth? During a driving trip on the next island south, Sardinia, I told Mary I would like to drive EVERY road in the island. With our planned (and executed) two winter, three cruising season plans of cruising the Med we have to pick and choose. We feel we got the flavor of all western Med rim countries including Turkey (minus Croatia). In Egret's agenda we feel it is a big world with a lot to see. Other NAR buddies on N46 Satchmo are going to do just that EVERYWHERE in the Med (see all they can). If it takes 10 years, so be it. Neither plan is right or wrong, better or worse. Whatever makes you happy is the right plan.

Egret departed Calvi with northerly swells moving into the anchorage and sailed south along the west coast of Corsica. It was a bit bouncy (following - no biggie), and too rough to visit the mostly unprotected bays along the way south. We over nighted in Ajaccio, terrible anchorage, then sailed for Bonifacio. The entrance to Bonifacio is stunning with the white sculptured islets and cliffs at the entrance. Egret's electronic charting at this point in time, pre C-Map, was marginal at best. It took forever for the harbor entrance to open to view. The patience clutch was slipping but FINALLY there it was and quite obvious. Patience pays. Early season is a joy, as this time, high season (July/August) is a nightmare. July/August there are literally floating traffic cops at the harbor entrance directing boat traffic. Egret arrived before the moorings were set in the second little 'notch in the rocks' on the west side across from the citadel. This little notch is exactly where Homer described Odysseus anchoring then escaping as the rest of his fleet was destroyed by strange monsters further up the deep water natural harbor. For the first time Egret deployed her lines ashore purchased in Barcelona the previous winter anticipating the trip to the Deep South. The notch acted as a wind funnel late afternoons. Later we loaned a struggling French couple in a sailboat an anchor to help hold them in place. Picture 2, taken from the entrance road up to the citadel, of Odysseus's and Egret's anchorage in the 'notch in the rocks'.

What a treat Bonifacio was. We explored every narrow street then took all the inland trails we could find. Hiking up to the citadel we pitied any who were told in the past it was their 'duty' to force their way inside.

Corsica is so different from Spain and France. We couldn't get enough. However, the Madelena's were calling. (A Bahamian type island group (low islands, clear water and white sand bottoms) just north of and owned by Sardinia/Italy) Just eight miles south. But that's another story.

Stricklands moved ahead of Egret. We met later in Rome early July with other NAR cruisers. But that's another story...

Med cruising builds on itself taken in the right seasons, moving minimizing weather and crowds. We wrote a short Mediterranean Cruising itinerary coming out soon in Circumnavigator Magazine. Circumnavigator is an in house Nordhavn publication available on the www.nordhavn.com website. The cruising itinerary is a worthwhile article to store in your 'someday when its My Time' file.

We saved ALL our cruising magazines from 1994 until after we were in the Med. You think you'll remember the details but in time they all blur together. During the winter in Turkey we turned the hundreds of pounds of magazines into files discarding the balance. The files are geographic, food and medicine, technical, weather and interesting. Much of what we have learned and early guiding came from these articles. These days we still reread the articles from time to time on rainy days however we listen to cruising tales from other cruisers as well. Having done this a bit, in a nano second you can sort useful information from fiction from cruisers. As much as anything we are now guided by others who have cruised along Egret's intended future routes.

Along these same lines we hope you serious cruisers of the future keep VofE techno goodies (as we describe them) in an electronic techno file or however you feel is best. We make an effort to describe different issues clearly and accurately. We learned much of this information after it was Our Time. We had to learn the hard and sometimes costly way. Bottom line: He who helps themselves helps themselves.

In the two Correos delivery competition (Post Office - Chile/Argentina), Argentina won. We mailed picture CD's from both. The bottom line is there are now a new round of Deep South pictures on the pictures section of the VofE website. We hope you enjoy them.

So there you have it. Another inside glimpse of Med cruising, a little encouragement to organize yourself for the future and a bit of Ushuaia's winter life.



July 24, 2007
Position: AFASyN Yacht Club dock, Ushuaia, Argentina

Well, mi amigos, the Ushuaia winter scene is moving along. The French family we first met in Mar del Plata and now wintering in Ushuaia are coming over tonight for dinner. All is well with the Egret crew.

Keeping with our promised Mediterranean flashbacks, let's move back in time to September 6th, 2005. Egret is moving toward her winter port of Marmaris, Turkey. We have been working our way down the chain of the southeastern Greek Aegean islands. Egret was steaming toward Rhodes, her last port and island before Marmaris. It was getting late so we looked for an alternative anchorage rather than enter the Rhodes anchorages on the SW corner. Electronic charting is fairly good in the Med, particularly in the larger harbors where commercial boats frequent. We could have entered the Rhodes anchorage in the dark using a combination of electronic charting, radar and depth finder however that is not our preference. Off Rhodes NW coast is the small island, about 8 miles long by 3 miles wide, of Kahlki. We hadn't read about Kahlki or considered stopping before but the Heikell Guide gave us the lowdown. Most importantly it had a small protected harbor and good holding. (Winds in the Aegean come from the north so almost every protected anchorage is on the island's south side) So Kahlki it was.

At first impression Kahlki is a harsh, sun bleached rock not worth visiting. As you close on the island you see centuries of terracing. Moving around the island toward the small harbor there are remains of a large city and castle. Entering the harbor in fading light we saw a two row deep group of typical Greek homes whitewashed white with blue shutters in a semi-circle around the harbor. The only thing green on the entire island was in this harbor. In reading the guide, Kahlki used to have a population of 90,000 engaged in farming but most importantly, commerce. This was a major trading stop as the small sister of Rhodes (Rhodes is one of the largest Greek islands). On Egret's visit there were 250 residents in summer and 120 in winter. In a village that small EVERY boat's arrival is a big deal. Egret being quite different as a powerboat drew a lot of attention. We typically eat out lunch or dinner most days ashore when visiting small villages. This opens a lot of doors. It doesn't take long before everyone knows who you are and from what boat. Between the villagers and the other cruisers, the social whirl starts.

The first full day ashore we tried to rent a scooter to explore the island. They don't have scooters (like most other islands). "They make to much noise". Kahlki has A road. Yup, A road. A road to the monastery at the other end of the island. Leaving town the road is paved for a bit. At the end of the paving is a marble plaque scribed in Greek and English naming their highway "Tarpon Springs Boulevard". There are still a few sponge divers on the island. Quite a number immigrated to Tarpon Springs, Florida. The Fla group have sent money back to their home. The money was used to pave the highway. (Highway in small Greek islands means wider than a donkey path, which is in turn wider than a goat path) Outside of town the road is gravel.

The Egret crew's uniform in summer Med cruising, except in cities, is tee shirts, shorts, Teva sandals and a baseball cap. Teva's are the best invention since the wheel and arch however they aren't-multi mile hiking footwear. So, what did the Egret crew do? Hike to the monastery that was described with a wave of the hand as 'up there'. Off we went with a small bottle of water. We can STILL feel the pain. First you climb WAY up taking the high ridges toward the other end of the mountainous island. Next the monastery is ALWAYS around the next corner. Nope, again. After a while it became laughable but we became more determined to see this through. After all we had cruised around the island and it wasn't that big. Yeah, right. FINALLY we saw that turkey at the end of a very long straightaway. FINALLY we arrived. It was closed. This means the little commissary mentioned in the guide was closed. That meant no more water, snacko's and such. They had a small guard puppy. We eyed its water bowl. A few pictures later off we went BACK. Geesh. It was like Lawrence of Arabia after crossing the desert. Mirages of Mythos (beer). Ice cold Mythos.

Obviously we made it. The staged picture of My Sweetie (MS) (or was it staged) was taken at the FIRST taberna (restaurante', restaurant, etc.) on the edge of town. We sat for a while. Notice the grapevines overhead giving the shade. Ho hum, more grapevines.

The picture of MS was taken on Sept 7th. The picture of the anchorage was taken on Sept 13th. This is typical of The Life. We stopped for an overnight anchorage before pushing on to Rhodes. You get the picture.

After anchoring in Rhodes we rented a car for three days. After two days we returned the keys with no refund happy to leave the commercialism and hordes of people. After two months of absolutely one of the highlights of our Med cruise to that point, the peaceful and sparse Aegean Greek islands, we didn't need the aggravation.

This is just the first of magical places we'll give you a brief introduction to. Yes, we know how painful this has to be for you strapped to jobs, dirt dwelling and so forth. When it's Your Time think of those ice cold Mythos we enjoyed after the long dry spell. The Mythos that washed away the dust and miles. Your Mythos will be your first voyage. Ciao.

 

July 23, 2007
Position: S54 48.41 W68 18.35 AFASyN Yacht Club dock, Ushuaia

Well, mi amigos, Egret is back in her winter home of Ushuaia. We have been catching up with tings and visiting the winter-over cruisers. We took a local family of five out to the sea lion island just off Ushuaia then over to another island for a picnic. The family is part of the Estancia Harberton clan and direct descendent's of the original British missionary settling in this area. It was a great day letting kids be kids, climbing all over the outside of the boat and so forth. We took 'Titanic shots of all of them on Egret's bow and family shots, giving the family a picture CD of those and sea lion pictures the next day. We're going to torture you with sea lion pictures INCLUDING our picture critic friend back in Fla. This VofE AND the next will have these little critters, actually big, FAT critters. When you are down wind from this group their smell will rock your little nose.

Today was a hike up to the ski lift AND back down. Geesh. The last time we took a taxi up and walked down we were proud of ourselves. Six weeks hiking up and down high hills in snow during the Chilean Channel glacier loop gave us Seabiscuit legs. No problema. We haven't been near skiing for years. Watching the kids on snowboards and the wee ones on their inventive plastic sleds was fun. We had to settle for eating exercises. (elbow bends) Jamon y queso en pan negra tostado. Con te'. (Toasted ham and cheese on dark bread with a pot of tea) Of course we couldn't get past the HUGE piece of apple pie with cream. Yup, we rolled part way back.

A couple days later. Ya know, we changed our minds. Instead of additional sea lion pictures and Ushuaia happenings we're going to do something different. Egret is ensconced in her winter routine here in Ushuaia. The happenings are interesting to us but perhaps a bit repetitious for you. This morning, boat bound in the rain, YT was in the pilothouse putzing with old pictures trying to move them from one computer to another. As you know we are not exactly doctoral nominees in the computer department however we did manage to find a way to use a memory stick to move our first picture. So, here is the Bottom Line. It is Egret's goal in writing to motivate and inspire readers to join all we long distance cruisers in whatever part of the world you wish to cruise. You have now read quite a bit about the Deep South and will again in the future. You get that picture. What we will do next is ratchet up the pressure by throwing Boy Scout juice (dinghy fuel) on the fire by telling a few Mediterranean cruising tales supported with pictures. As in everything we write they will be factual and without embellishment. We're going to drive a stake deep into your gonnabe cruising hearts planting a not so subtle message for when its Your Time. Don't fight it. It won't hurt a bit. In time you'll be rocking to your own gentle waves on anchor. You'll see. Ciao

 

July 16, 2007

Position: S54 48.41 W68 18.35 AFASyN dock (Yacht club), Ushuaia pp 589-594 Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego Nautical Guide

July 16
July 16

Well, mi amigos, since arriving in Puerto Williams we have provisioned for a few days, taken a couple of hikes, one VERY tiring half way up Cerro Banderas (Flag Mountain) in heavy snow AND mailed three picture CD's to the States. We asked the lady at the Correos (Post Office) how long it would take and her reply was "diez o veinte dias" (10 or 20 days). She doesn't have a clue! We will repeat with a second copy from Ushuaia on Monday. (They won't have a clue either.)

On one of the hikes we cheated with photography. You can spend hours stalking local birds of prey or you can cheat and go to the Puerto Williams garbage dump. Bird magnet. The largest local bird of prey is the Carancho, a good sized hawk. The male Carancho has a red and yellow beak and a beautiful fluffy yellow collar around its neck. Caranchos and their smaller cousins Chimangos are everywhere by the dozens. My sweetie (MS) had her new lense to be shooting away (18-200mm) and YT had big mama as well (70-400mm). Great fun and in the cold, no smell. Along the same lines our Canadian sailboat neighbors said they get their best bear shots around garbage cans. Sunset that evening returning from the dump and a roundabout hike above town was so pink it would look artificial in a photograph.

It is Saturday morning just after daylight. Running lights are on. We are steaming for the turning mark off the reef. Puerto Williams is just illuminating in the pinks of early morning. Across the Beagle in Tierra del Fuego the sun is as bright as a forge. The clouds are so brilliant in the clear air it is like looking at the sun. How many more times will we get to visit this little frontier town? Not many. The people are so friendly, particularly the Navy and Alcamar (Coast Guard) personnel. Late yesterday afternoon as we were checking out in the Capitana del Puerto's office we had a great time laughin' & jokin' practicing our Spanish and they their newly learned English. They are being given lessons by the ladies of American and Canadian sailboats. The last several times in PW when the Egret crew showed up they all gather around for old home week. Not so in the summer with the comings and goings of yachties and ferries from Ushuaia and so forth.

So here we go. Another trip on the Beagle. We still can't believe we're so lucky to be here. We never get tired of looking at the snow covered mountains on both sides, the sea lions jumping, fur seals, penguinos, albatrosses, terns, petrels, gulls and so on. Life is different here. Slower. More difficult. Yesterday we bought the last three shriveled cucumbers in the market for last night's Greek salad. This morning the ferry and supply ship, Bahia Azul (Blue Bay) was at the dock arriving on her bi-monthly trip from the major continental supply town of Punta Arenas. PA is located on the north side of the Straits of Magellan. As the fresh produce comes out of crates today in the various markets there will be a scramble for everyone to gather their two weeks supply. Special orders will be delivered. All will be calm by this evening then the two week wait begins again. A small price to pay for The Life in Puerto Williams.

Next, Egret's winter base of Ushuaia. What will Ushuaia bring? A few things for SURE. Groceries, a few goodies like rubber gloves for handling shore lines, a haircut (YT looks like a prisoner) AND dinner out tonight. All you can eat Fueguian lamb. My sweetie (MS) ALWAYS gets dinner out when we arrive back in Ushuaia. It's tradition.

We had a wonderful ride back down the Beagle. Picture 1. A young sea lion floating in the Beagle holding one of its rear flippers with a front flipper. Looks like a Fuegian basket. Bliss. No wind, sun and very few clouds. All the critters were doing their deal. On arrival at AFASyN's dock (yacht club) we did exactly what we said. Provision and dinner out. Groceries are just groceries however the highlight was a trip to the French bakery for two flutes (baguettes). Ushuaia's little bit of paradise.

One advantage we have in grocery shopping is our Barcelona cart. Picture 2. In Barcelona, Spain all the short, squarish older ladies dressed in long black coats (summer and winter) toddle around pulling these carts with their tings inside. These ladies are smart!! The carts work. Other cruisers lug their plastic bags down the dock to their boats or to the dinghy dock, then to their boats. We know in their little black hearts they are jealous. Particularly when they are doin the knuckle drag with cruiser fuel...beer and wine. We may not look cool but we ARE cool. Graying hair, OK, YT has premature gray hair and MS is on the bottle (blond bottle), but doesn't mean slow mind.

Yup. Dinner out was all you can Fuegian lamb and steak along with a hot and salad bar. Dinner with drinks, desert and so forth including tips was 25 bucks (American pesos). Egret's kind of deal. Notice we put tipS. A trick we learned is to put a two peso ($.65) bill in the meat servers plate and you get the best cut of lamb and steak. The fatty ribs go to the touristas. We used to get the ribs. No mo.

Sun AM we got a rap on the pilothouse door. Two returning American cruisers had a gift for MS & YT. Passagemaker Magazine with Egret on the cover. Yes we were thrilled. They were walking through a marine store in Maine and saw the words 'Cape Horn' peeking up from behind another magazine. Yup, they were surprised. PMM really did a great job with the pictures and so forth abet with a couple editing inaccuracies. We didn't think we would be able to see a copy until October when we return to Ft Lauderdale for the boat show.

Monday AM. Rain has turned to fat snowflakes. MS is baking two huge apple pies for dinner out tonight with locals (owners of Estancia Harberton) and their American guests. A little taste of America for the ex-British descendents and guests.

Yesterday when checking the internet we found the last VofE posting was 7-6 due to an emailing glitch. Catch up starting with the 7/9 posting.

Lastly we have a message from our Nordhavn amiga in Rhode Island who had the foresight to bring VofE to all of you. (Prior to VofE all YT wrote was memos and checks.) The Med bound 07 boats who traveled from Ft Lauderdale to Bermuda then on to Newport will be in Portsmouth, R.I. with some owners who made the trip, for your inspection along with a few other boats. If you are in the area this is a worthwhile venture sans crowds. Perhaps you can fuel your own fires for when its Your Time. Its all about baby steps. Learn all you can mi amigos. Here are the details:

Thurs. 7/19
11am-4pm
Nordhavn Yachts Northeast office at 222 Narragansett Blvd., Portsmouth, RI
We'll have a 40, 43, 47 and 55 here for display. And there will be some
owners on hand to answer questions.
Please rsvp before showing up - either to nesales@nordhavn.com
or by calling us at 401-293-0910

So there you have it. Another few days in The Life. Ciao.


 
July 11, 2007
 
Position:  Puerto Williams, Chile  Rafted to the Yacht Club Micalvi  S54 56.10  W67 37.11  PP 543 Patagonia & Tierra del Feugo Nautical Guide

Mon 7-09 PM.  Well, mi amigos, Egret and crew had a blustery ride east down the Beagle to Isla Navarino with sustained winds in the mid 30's and gusting near 50.  No biggie.  It was all from astern pushing our little home up to 7.5 knots turning just 1350 RPM's giving us about 7.5 MPG.  Our kinda deal.  Jumping sea lions and diving penguinos along the way.  Ho hum.....again.  We arrived Isla Navarino just about dark anchoring in front of the Alcamar's house (Coast Guard).  My sweetie spun the windlass wheel, dropped TK in 37', 130' of chain plus snubber.  Following a serious pull setting TK all was well.  If that seems a bit short on scope it normally would be.  We have restrictive swinging room but that is no excuse.  The reason we are comfortable this is about our 9th time anchoring here.  We have been anchored previously for two consecutive days with serious winds and never budged an inch in the great holding.  Tomorrow at daylight we'll hoist the CIB then beat feet for Puerto Williams.     

Tue 7-10 AM  Heavy frost this morning.  We lifted the CIB, hoisted TK departing just after daylight.  After early residual swells the Beagle is calm with an easterly breeze.  6.9 knots @ 1500 RPM.  Jumping sea lions, penguinos, gulls and a few albatrosses...yawn.   Across the way Ushuaia is waking up with the city lights still shining on the water, saucer shaped clouds in pinks and blues over the white, slowly illuminating mountains...yawn...again.  'Tain't bad.  Puerto Williams is next about 26 miles east.

Tue PM  Puerto Williams, Chile, rafted to the Yacht Club Micalvi (a sunken WW II ammunition supply ship).  FINALLY after burning up mucho Iridium time checking e-mail worrying about the Med Bound group we got Milt Baker's posting noting the arrival of the Med Bound boats.

We are proud of this first group of small powerboats crossing the Atlantic in a private organized rally.  Kudos to Milt Baker for his effort in putting this group together in addition to the boats who traveled as far as Bermuda before making their way back to the US east coast.  These three yachts have so much to look forward to in the Med.  It is now time for them to relax.  Great job.
Egret's glacier loop vacation is over.  Since arriving we have re-provisioned through Sat. when we will return to Ushuaia.  We can't think of a happier note (Med Bound 07) to end Egret's day to day reporting on her activities.  We will return to our usual reporting on no set schedule.  Today in a Forum Reply question we danced around a controversial subject.  The reply is interesting reading.  One point we hoped we made clear is the Egret crew is nothing more than a couple of retired folks enjoying themselves and telling our tales.  Our tales are truthful, not embellished and as accurate as we can make them.  Our reason for telling these tales is in the forum reply.

Ciao.

 

 

July 9, 2007

Position: Brazo Sudoeste (SW Arm of the Beagle) Underway

Fri 7-06 PM Well, mi amigos, Egret is now a flush deck cruiser. The snow

is HIGHER than the bulwarks on the foredeck. Soon even the little mound on top of the windlass will be smothered. The heavy winds of morning are mostly gone however the snow has increased with the rise of the barometer.

On returning to Ushuaia we will immediately shop for: FOOD, heavy rubber

gloves, a plastic snow shovel, and double lense-vented ski glasses for eye protection hiking in the woods and in blowing snow. Also, we will get serious about getting the #@%$&*%)^ wing back in operation.

Today we took the time to put together about 175 pictures on CD's to be mailed to the Nordhavn office in Rhode Island. Shortly thereafter their picks will appear in the VofE Pictures section. It is difficult to pick pictures that are interesting for non observers. We have enough scenery photographs for a number of TdelF calendars but they don't mean anything to viewers without an explanation. We included quite a few pictures of Egret in various anchorages to give you an idea of the anchorages themselves along with scenery. We also included a few more critters. A number of the pictures were taken by my sweetie and perhaps the very best one. When we return to the States in October for the Ft Lauderdale Boat Show we will buy her the same camera lense as YT so she too may take pictures that aren't washed out by the sun. Can't wait.

Sat 7-07-07 (what a date - the numbers will line up just 5 more times this century) Mucho, mucho snow. There are no longer any bumps on the foredeck from the hatches, the windlass is almost a memory, wild. Icicles

have reached from the boat deck to the rail. Stalactites have become stalagmites or shall we say a solid bar of ice? The high winds have stopped with a mild breeze bringing a bit more snow. We hope to get out today for a hike before leaving in tomorrow's calm. With the dwindling food supply now giving us a loose schedule we need to move.
Speaking of schedules. Schedules are probably the most common cause of abuses to navigation safety there are. Even in such normally benign areas

like the Chesapeake, Bahamas or Juan de Fucha to pick a few, a schedule causing transiting in marginal weather can cause crews to be quite shaken and stirred or worse. Here in the Deep South adventure charter sailboats and cruise ships having to meet crew/passenger deadlines (flights from and

incoming) can cause themselves great discomfort transiting the Drake Passage. In the Big picture missing a flight, a day of work, school or whatever is no big deal. It is best to leave early or later than to take a chance. Sorry for the soapbox. The weather that just passed south in the Drake really got our attention.

Sat PM Beautiful day. A bit of wind and snow. Our hike was short in distance but long in exercise. At times we were breaking the snow trail with our knees. If we keep that up we'll have the thighs of Seabiscuit. Time for snowshoes! Before we left to go hiking we saw a type of gull we didn't recognize fussing around in the kelp. It finally flew up five feet

or so then dove under water. It came up with a small centolla (southern king crab) then flew to shore. It ate as fast as it could with the crab doing its best to get back in the water. Next a large sea gull came shooing away the first bird. Next a small hawk came and took over from the sea gull. Interesting watching nature. Based on this we hoped to have a trap full of dinner. Not to be. Empty....again.

We received our daily log from Bluewater (Med Bound 07) saying they have no boat issues and great weather. Just as it should be. Even 'no fish Milt' has scored along with the other two N55's.

Milt's posting mentioned Andy and Pam Wall aboard Kandarik today. (A 39' sailboat that just arrived in Spain) We have had correspondence with Pam recently giving Mediterranean advice. She reported her Aussie husband Andy sailed his 30' sailboat from Australia, touching in New Zealand, straight here rounding Cape Horn in the middle 70's. This is before GPS, better boats, proper guides, today's charts and so forth. Talk about an adventure!!! What we long distance powerboat cruisers do is child's play compared to the wakes we follow.
Sun 7-08 Wind n' rain last night, just wind today. The winds are sustained in the 20's with higher gusts. The CIB is snow free but VERY full of icy water. Most of Egret's snow is gone except for the foredeck.

The expected high bringing calm weather won't be here until very early Tue

AM. Our next run is short to Isla Navarino so perhaps we can get out Mon noon or so. We'll see. Also this morning my sweetie brought up the 90 day visa deal. By staying in Puerto Williams a week or so and leaving a little early for the Ft Lauderdale Boat Show in October we can just scooch

under the 90 day visa. The alternative is we pay an additional $100 apiece and get a 90 day extension. We'll also have to check on the boat requirements. We'll see.
Sun PM The wind has mostly quit but the rain has taken over. YT finally quit procrastinating and took a look at the generator exhaust elbow. In this cold water we can't bring the generator up to its normal 195 degree temperature unless we run the watermaker. Even with the watermaker pumps running when the hot water heating element reaches temp and shuts off, the

generator engine temp drops a bit. On the days when we can't run the watermaker and are just running the reverse cycle air conditioners to load

the engine the gen temp is abut 150-155 degrees causing some sooting in the water. One concern was that with low heat the exhaust elbow would be clogging. Our original cast iron manifold lasted 1870 hours (over 5+ years) and should have been changed at 1500 hours. The new replacement elbows are cast stainless steel. By removing the maintenance side, top and loosening the back side of the sound shield you sort of have access to

remove the elbow. One trick is to remove the engine intake air box after removing the sound shield panels. Secondly have 1/4" drive rachets and sockets with swivels, etc. (13mm) You will also need a 13mm open end wrench and a large screwdriver for prying. Instead of a smaller screwdriver for loosening hose clamps we use the 1/4" drive ratchet with 7 & 8 mm sockets. (8mm for American clamps - 7mm for Swedish clamps.) Another important item is to use a plastic garbage bag for a water shield when you start loosening hoses that contain water or anti freeze so no water/AF drops into the electrical end. AND you need a lot of patience. Bottom line: After 775 hours (less than 1 year) of mostly cool running the elbow is PERFECT. The new elbow also seems to be a straighter shot - better design. We won't be in warm water until May of next year so we'll have to live with what we have.
Mon 7-09 Noon. Early this morning after a night of wind and rain Egret popped the shorelines and is under way. What a difference between a protected anchorage and the unprotected Beagle. When we popped free we had relative calms and a gusts in the 15 knot range. Out here in the Beagle it's a bit different. The good news is the wind is behind us and we
are cruising at 6.9 knots @1350 RPM. If YT weren't so lazy he would drop the paravane poles only and pick up a bit more...however. The snow is all but completely gone from Egret including the foredeck. Bailing the ice water out of CIB this morning was a treat.

So there you have it. Another couple days in The Life, a bit of techno goodies passed along and a short soapbox rant. Ciao.

July 6, 2007

Position: S55 03.43 W69 22.65 Caleta Maria Helena, Estero Penhoat, Isla Hoste pp512 Patagonia & Tierra del Feugo Nautical Guide (arrived Thur afternoon)

July 2
July 2

Well, mi amigos, big happenings. Med Bound 07 is well on the way of their final leg to Gibraltar. This 1200-plus mile jaunt will fly by. We can promise you when their group sees the Rock for the first time it will be quite emotional. All the planning, effort, anxieties of the unknown, and sea miles will evaporate when the cloud shrouded pinnacle appears. All the NAR graduates wish them the best and may have their own moist eyes when Milt's daily log announces seeing the Rock from THEIR decks for the first time.

Tue 7-3 We were a bit premature in the last paragraph of the previous VofE. We said "all is well". It WAS well when we typed those words and fired VofE into space. SOON our little white fiberglass world was being rocked by williwaws. One turned us sideways and pushed us near the rocky beach. Apparently the gust had taken the slack out of the anchor chain, cut through the top of the uphill slope and perhaps pulled TK in deeper. We refired the Lugger. Mary was in the flybridge keeping the boat straight and YT repositioned the stbd line ashore further to stbd turning Egret more into the worst of the williwaws (they were coming from EVERY direction) and giving us more distance from shore. Next we used the windlass to take ALL the slack out of the chain then relaxing it just a bit with a snubber. We were continuously rocked every few minutes when the next train roared through that afternoon and during the night.

Today it is still gusty but not as bad. It snowed a bit last night and the rain has stopped. We'll see what today brings. Hope the crabs are hungry.

Tue PM. Heavy snow with occasional williwaws. (A good day for reading and putzin') Since writing the above we have received the first Med Bound 07 posting from Bluewater since leaving Horta in the Azores. The Gibraltar bound small fleet is experiencing great weather with a barometric pressure reading of 1032.7 milabars. We have just pulled up the gribs (weather files) for today. The deep low passing due south of our protected anchorage is 945.4 milibars. The difference is 87.3 millibars. THAT, mi amigos is a VERY deep hole in the atmosphere. Now the surrounding high pressure is trying to fill that hole. See where these stiff winds come from? The Drake Passage between Cape Horn and the Antarctic Peninsula has to be every mariner's nightmare at the moment. Picture 1 is Egret's analog barometer bottomed out. You get the picture.

Tue evening. Williwaws most all day along with heavy snow. The trees behind Egret load with snow then shed every white flake when the trains roaring through shake their little evergreen world.

On a more humorous note, in the last VofE we referred to boats with beautiful varnish as "girl boats". This was of course directed at friends with beautiful brightwork. It took but a single day to have one reply. They are copied below (a bit censored):

"You referred to boats with beautiful varnish as being "girl boats". May I remind you that boats are always referred to as "she". So what you are saying is Egret is a "he" boat? That sure sounds funny, but I will take your word for it. We do enjoy your updates about the voyages of Egret and life aboard him".

Egret's reply: "Girl boats are boats whose OWNERS make everything shiny, untouchable and unserviceable. We use our raw teak cap rail for a workbench, step, etc. Of course all boats are 'she boats', vamps, wenches, or whatever. Actually we used to own a girl boat, a 32' GB. 'Bout killed ourselves trying to keep her decks and brightwork a thing of beauty until we finally used Awlgrip Awlbrite and Snappy Teak Nu 10-1.

Egret is a proper lady, not a boy. At times she is a bit naughty as all ladies are".

So, you can see how cruisers entertain themselves on steaming, sultry, breezeless, malaria infested afternoons aboard a girl boat (in their case) or snowing afternoons aboard a proper lady in Egret's case. We met this couple five years ago in Georgetown, Bahamas and have been in touch or run into each other since (Bahamas again, Dominican Republic and Barcelona, land travel for them). They are also good friends of Milt and Judy Baker on Bluewater (Med Bound 07). Its a very small world we cruisers live in. They currently float between Panama and the San Blas Islands, Bluewater will soon be in the Med and Egret is in Chile/Argentina. In two years where will these three boats be?? Who knows, but never more than an e-mail away. You get the picture.

Wed 7-4 Happy 4th! Finally, the digital barometer stopped falling at 970 millibars slowly marching up bringing more snow. The wind is STILL for a change prompting the crew to take a hike through the snow trying to climb the cliffs up to two inland lakes, one feeding into the other. There is another way up but more difficult from the three 'easier' ways we tried. We failed in all three attempts not willing to take risks near the top of each. All in all it was a great day and good exercise tromping through the highest snow yet. Reminds us of spring skiing in Colorado. On the way to shore and again returning we were visited by a pod of five dusky dolphins. Duskies have matching, elongated hour glass dark gray and white patterns along their sides. They would charge the CIB swimming so fast their dorsal fins would throw spray then at the last moment they would rocket under the dink. They were so close to the dink bottom their pressure waves would rock the boat. At times they would slow, roll on their sides and look up. Mary was in the bow waving her hands and talking with them. Great fun. Picture 2.

One thing we noticed when dolphins move into a bay they usually stay for two days or so. We have NEVER caught a crab with dolphins in the bay. Wonder if those water dogs are raiding our trap???? Time for the harpoon. Arggg.

Thur 7-5 Mucho snow. Egret is going to move today. We have a day of calm and two more days of somewhat diminished but still high winds before a big high moves over bringing calm. Snow on the foredeck is quite deep. Drifts are over the bulwarks. Snow in the cockpit is a drift from well above the cap rail to the salon door. It is getting light. Gottago sweep de white stuff.

Thur noon. Under way eastbound in Brazo Sudoeste (SW Arm of the Beagle) dodging floating ice. 6.1 knots @ 1350 RPM. The ice chunks (1' - 3' in diameter) have been swept by waves and have many SHARP shapes so it's best to dodgem. The snow is all the way down to the tide line. The sun is peeking through here and there illuminating the mountains on the south side. Sea lions and penguins. Beautiful.

One item we missed on outfitting for the Deep South are heavy gauntlet rubber gloves used by the local fishermen. Under those we could wear our fleece gloves. This morning we tried using heavy surgical gloves under our regular gloves. Better but not good enough when handling icy shore lines and mucho frio (very cold) sea water. It is harder on my sweetie than YT. She hand over hands the shore lines back into the cockpit pulling in YT and the dink after snapping loose from the trees. NEXT she has to go to the foredeck and handle anchor duties while YT is back in the pilothouse all toasty. YT always makes sure she get another cuppa when under way. It's not all ice caves and dolphins playing.

Thur PM Egret is anchored in another notch in the rocks inside a two pronged fjord. (see Position) This time we used two large rocks for securing the shore lines. We have low hills on three sides, all covered in deep snow. Beautiful. The crab trap is set, no wind and a bit of sun. Life is good for the Egret crew.

Fri 7-6 Wind n' snow from every southern quadrant. Horizontal snow at times. The shore lines set to the south are getting a workout. TK is getting some time off from hard work. We are determined to get out and hike today before we head for the barn (grocery stores). After a month and a half of vacation we are down to ziplocks full of ice in the freezer to make up for the MISSING food. With a week's provisions left we need to get back. We'll miss Estero de las 1000 Cascadas (Bay of 1000 Waterfalls). Perhaps next time.

We had two recent forum requests of interest. One was about solar panels and the other was about boat insurance. We answered both questions based on our experience. You may want to take a look for the day when its Your Time.

So there you have it. A few more days in The Life. What will the next week bring? We'll see. Dosen't matter. Still better than work. Ciao.

 

July 2, 2007
Position: S55 03.45 W69 50.28 Bahia de los Pescadores, (Fishermans Bay), Isla Gordon pp518 Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego Nautical Guide

July 2
July 2

Fri PM 6-29-07: Well, mi amigos, things have changed since this morning and our last VofE posting. From this morning's half-ice free bay and little wind have come the expected SW winds. There are several changes. The bay in now ice free, the ice disappearing in the waves and rain. The wimperwaws have turned into williwaws. Egret is surrounded on three sides by nearly sheer mountains. The open side faces south. We are on the WNW corner of the bay. When the southwesterlies rocket in (accelerated venturi like between two tall snow covered mountains with the lower glacier in between) they sweep around the bowl in front, to the left then into our little ship. We can see them coming. They start with a fog like rising of swirling water lifting straight up then moving inevitably closer and closer until slammo. Whack city. Egret's bow swings to stbd tugging against a VERY stubborn TK and chain. No problema. If we had a fourth polypro line we would lead it the 75 yards to port to the first tree giving a proper angle. If it gets REAL bad we'll dig out one of the 250' braided nylon anchor rodes and take that to the tree.

A second interesting situation is our elusive #%@$&^* crab trap. In between rain showers YT suited up and prepared to drag for the trap. Voila!! In front of the anchor chain was the submersed trap float just under water. It was within minutes of sinking entirely. Well, the trap wouldn't budge. After cleating the line to CIB and giving it a 30hp tug it still wouldn't budge, however the anchor chain moved each time we used the dink pulling on the line. Grande clue. Now the float is in the dink and the line is tied to the chain. When we leave perhaps we'll recover the trap full of dinner. We'll see. Another lesson learned. Heavy ice - no trapee PLUS we'll add a second float.

We are surrounded by even more waterfalls on the steep mountains since the rain. Oh yes, there is a second glacier, high and directly in front of our little ship. Ho hum...again.

Sat 6-30 Where has the month gone?? Another great one with time and memories that can never be taken away. It is early morning. My sweetie is still in her warm bed with her first cuppa while the generator gives new life to the batteries. The glacier out the pilothouse windows is getting bluer by the moment. The waterfall across the way has grown. There is no ice in the bay. The wind has quit for the moment. What will today bring? We'll see. It looks like another good one.

Yup, another good one. YT and my sweetie took the CIB across the way to the trail up to a hidden lake. After a near vertical start we trekked in the 8" or so of snow toward the glacier. Like in many things two minds are better than one. Mary picked up a hiking stick from a beaver dam as did YT. Boy did they come in handy. Next she tried the shallow stream mud bottom (glacier silt) and found it supported her weight so off we went on a much easier trek. Pretty cool. We hiked right up to the glacier. THEN we forded a little stream jumping from rock to rock and worked our way around to an ice cave in the face of the glacier. Here is where the hiking sticks came in VERY handy. The glacier was a steep angle of what looked like rock but was ice with black dirt mixed. Yes it was slippery. With the stick on the downhill side stuck into the stream we carefully worked our way to where we were able to take pictures. Then, for just a flash the sun came out and illuminated the cave and its chimney to the sky making the thin edges translucent blue and white. Wow!!! Picture 1 & 2 (Could this be the home of the abdominal snowman...or something like that?)

We made it away from the glacier without slipping and filling our boots with ice water. Yes. Next it was off to another three waterfalls forming into one. After it was a dinghy tour around the bay. We found two more glaciers up high where we couldn't see them from the boat. Back to our little home. On going by the anchor chain and tied off crab trap line we could see in the calm water the line had but a single twist. A few minutes later the trap was up and guess what. One more crab. Finally. We added more table scraps to the now stinking mess and fired her back down a little further away with TWO floats. We'll see.

Tonight its a batch of spaghetti and fresh baked corn bread. So there you have it, another day in The Life. Yup, another good one.

Sun 7-1 Wow, July 1st and a holiday week in the States. Enjoy your time off. Early this morning while enjoying the first cuppa Starbucks I was re reading some articles in our Chile file, magazine articles collected since 1994. This is where our Deep South inspiration and early specialized equipment knowledge came from. We in turn are passing along what we have learned knowing very few of you have access to the same information. We agree with most everything written but will include three items of interest. 1. One article said they put the line ashore bag in the dinghy leaving one end fixed to the boat using reverse to take the line ashore. Aboard Egret we leave the bag IN the boat with the line streaming easily over the cap rail and not thru the hawse hole. For girl boats with beautiful varnish this wouldn't work unless you were willing to give up some chafe for high latitudes. After the line is secure ashore we feed the line back thru the hawse hole and cleat it off. 2. In both dinks we installed an oversize cleat INSIDE the transom for tying off a stern anchor and taking a wrap of the line ashore freeing your hands. 3. This next item, anchor chain and attachments, is the most important item and applicable to ALL boats from coastal cruisers to ocean crossing voyagers. We will use Egret's chain for an example. Egret has 3/8" system 4 or HT4 high test chain. These are universal ratings. The largest shackle pin that will fit thru the links are 9/16" or 14.25mm. In US size shackles, a 7/16" galvanized forged steel shackle is the largest that will fit. A 7/16" shackle has a 1/2" pin. (A 1/2" shackle has a 5/8" pin). A 7/16" shackle has a safe working load of 2000lbs. Three eights HT4 chain has a working load of 5400lbs. The weak link is obvious. To expand a bit you should have a swivel attached to the anchor, not just a shackle. Egret started with barrel shaped stainless steel swivels but nearly came to grief when the two halves separated enough to expose the bearings. We went with the tried and true galvanized forged steel jaw and eye swivel, (3/4" safe working load 4 3/4 tons!!!) Notice the discrepancy in a 7/16" shackle and a proper HD swivel.

Before ordering Egret's anchor chain we had known it can be special ordered with elongated links on both ends. (Egret has American Chain and Cable Company - ACCO, chain) We ordered a full barrel of chain (400') keeping 300' for the main rode. The remaining 100' we had cut in half giving us manageable weight pieces (3/8" HT weights 1 1/2lbs per ft) ALSO with elongated links on both ends. We store those two pieces under the main engine for weight distribution and an out of the way place. With elongated link ends on the two pieces we can couple them together with a proper size shackle.

If you have an existing boat, all isn't lost. The French manufacture Wichard makes an extra strength stainless steel shackle that will couple your existing chain with a proper swivel before the anchor. The Wichard shackle number is 11206. It has a pin diameter of 15/32 or about a 1/2" (12mm). Its safe working load is 9920lbs. (4509kg) This will fit 3/8" HT chain.

Geesh, sorry for the side track but it's important. (Yes, we used to be in the boat parts business)

Today could well be a copy and paste of yesterday...except even nicer. What will today bring? We'll see. Sun PM, Ho hum, what a day. We climbed our highest yet. Almost needed oxygen. Just another day hiking in the snow and looking out over Isla Hoste's vistas, glaciers, etc. and across the Beagle to Isla Gordon. Returning we pulled the crab trap and voila, again we had another crab. This time however it was a MUCHO GRANDE crab. Between this big guy and the last one we'll have leftovers after tonight's dinner. Not bad. If weather cooperates we'll leave tomorrow and tour nearby Estero de las 1000 Cascadas (Bay - Estuary of 1000 waterfalls) before heading across the Beagle to Bahia de los Pescadores (Bay of the Fishermen). We have been to Pescadores before. It has a mean hike high up to two inland lakes we named after our long time dog and cat, Jake and Dusty.

Mon 7-2 What a difference a day makes! What a difference a mile makes!! Last night we pulled up the gribs (weather report) and found Mon thru Wed to have VERY high W, WSW winds. There is a 953.7 low going to pass just south of Cape Horn and a few miles to our south. (We are west of the Cape) Great. Well before daylight we were doing our generator burn and preparing to leave at first light. As the glacier was slowing turning blue we removed the bow line to the islet, port stern line then the stbd. There was little wind. Just as we were leaving the wind started puffing a bit as we departed thru a thin skim of ice forming. When we hit the Beagle things REALLY changed. Gusts to over 50 knots shooting down the Beagle from the west. YT was in the flybridge. Love that venturi windshield. The Beagle has high mountains on both sides capturing the wind and sending it funneling on its way. Bahia Pescadores is directly across the Beagle on Isla Gordon. Once inside the winds diminished. On reaching the protected anchorage it was STILL. TK down, two lines ashore, crab trap down, all is well. Ms. Ocean is letting everyone know SHE is still in charge in the Deep South. When she decides to behave we'll move on.





 

 

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