"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.
June 30, 2008
Position: Opunohu Bay, Moorea, French Polynesia S17 30.79 W149 51.10
Well, mis amigos, sometimes you get a break. If you remember a while back our small radar went Tango Uniform (quit working). The screen was displaying a pulse bearing error. You know by now electronics and YT aren't childhood friends. We tolerate each other. Dean Wiley, one of Egret's super crewman on the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally who IS friends with electronics and techno stuff, sent us a couple suggestions of tings to look at. Both required removing the fiberglass dome off the radar scanner. No problema, YT can handle four screws. So after putting it off for super smooth water and anything else we could think of, up the mast we went to take a peek. With the lid carefully removed, not losing any screws we might add, there was what we hoped was the problema. A very dried wasp was caught in the gears. We removed the critter's legs still stuck in the gears, greased the gears, went below and turned on the radar. Yup, kamikaze wasp did us in. The radar works perfect. Oh happy days!!
Friday evening it was the Aussie couple, their guests and our Swedish buddies over for D & C (dinner and conversation). The Swedes are retired, the Aussie guests are retired and spend their time flying all over the world to pursue their passion for diving. They met the Aussies at their home in Lord Howe Island, a speck of an island (350 permanent residents) WAY off the coast of Oz. The Aussies work in a coconut business three months a year and sail the rest. Not bad...work 3 months, cruise 9 months. Egret's kind of deal if you gotta work. It was a great evening in the flybridge. Yup, the sun was brilliant orange setting over Moorea and yup, the canoe racers are getting even more serious about their racing practice with the coaches in hot pursuit.
Saturday it was business. A nautical flea market held at the marina. We set up early under a palm tree for shade, unfolded our comfortable chairs and set up our goodies on a blanket. Our jerry jugs we couldn't give away we put on display with a price of 1 liter of beer/jug stuck on the top with blue tape. Our big sale, and only sale, was our spare battery charger. We got a fair price and the Kiwi sailor who bought it was thrilled. It will allow him to cruise Alaska and not have any issues with 60 cycle service for his 50 cycle boat. In the end we gave the jerry jugs to the lady next to us and other items to others. Not getting away clean we bought a la di da Magma grill new in the box from West Marine from some locals. We got a great deal (of course). Now all we have to do is get the aluminum rail mounting brackets machined from 1" girl boat size to 1 1/4", proper size and we be cookin. After the market, we bailed early, it was back to the boat to help the Flat Earth crew repair their leaking generator pump. OF COURSE the second bearing got stuck...TWICE, so we used two ceramic seals before the pump held water and didn't leak. And YES, the spare C clips spares we bought were not the right size. Grrrrrrrr. So we had to 'rebuild' the small C clip AND washer to be able to reuse them. So a half hour job took a bit longer, spilled a bit of brother Rick's blood (remember - We Give) but in the end all was well. Later this evening its off to dinner with Flat Earth. Another long hard day at the office. Just thinking of it makes me thirsty.
Ya know, last VofE we were a bit tough pushing the cruising commercial for those of you who haven't reached Your Time. I know its not fair. We all have to put in Our Time before its Your Time. However, those of you for who it IS Your Time and for whatever reason you can't , or don't want to, lay out Large Pesos (LP's) for an ocean capable powerboat there is an alternative. Pictures 1 and 2 show extremes in boating but both have a very common denominator. Both boats are in Papeete, Tahiti. Both boats sailed here on their own bottom. Both boats are fulfilling someone's dream. Both boats see exactly the same sights. The difference is their budget. Nothing more.
There is a bottom line here. Power or sail there is something for every budget IF you can turn loose of your comfortable, ever shrinking world (as you age) to give time on water a go. Water may not be for you but at least you gave it a shot. Start slow with baby steps like EVERY boater out here, start small (boat) if you wish, don't leave sight of land for a while, don't put yourself in a situation of uncomfortable seas, wait for weather but most of all keep a positive attitude and you may just change your lives for the better. Importance takes a new dimension, personal and material. You'll see.
Today (Sun) we had a beautiful trip back to Moorea pulling baits and spending the entire trip in the flybridge. We deviated our course to fish fishy looking water with debris and current edges. We saw a floating tree complete with bare branches. We pulled the baits close by but NO fish. In South Florida a find like a floating tree is like winning the lottery. Debris that large holds tons of bait and in turn larger critters for the drifting feast. Bottom line: no fish...again. This time we are anchored in Opunohu Bay (next to Cooks Bay). Spectacular and fewer homes and prettier surrounds. There are a few sailboats in the bay and a large powerboat with all its water toys spread about. There is a constant buzzing of wave runners with idiotic, thoughtless riders using the boats on anchor for turning buoys. Personal watercraft homicide by flare gun should be legalized. Perhaps maiming for the passengers as well. Grrrrrrr. There is a Kiwi couple nearby in a beautiful wood/epoxy sloop built in their home town near Auckland. They are the third owners. We were talking about their previous boat they abandoned at sea on their way from New Zealand to Chile. The rudder post worked its way loose and were near sinking when they were picked up by a freighter. Another boat later and here they are. We will have them over for a tutorial on Chile cruising. Chile graduates Six Pack (Aussies), Lindisfarn (Swedes) and Egret are converging on the Bali Hai resort in Cooks Bay, Moorea for a Wed night get together and native dancing. Samasan (Kiwi) will be there as well. It will be a fun night sharing experiences with the next to visit the Deep South. Also in the Papeete anchorage is a steel French sloop that spent two years in Patagonia. I asked where they are going next and she said "back to Chile". A warning mis amigos.
Its a rainy Monday morning. What will today bring? Hopefully a hike up to an overlook where we can see both Cook and Opunohu Bays. Ciao.
June 27, 2008
Position: S17 34.86 W149 37.13 (on anchor Papeete, Tahiti harbor)
Well, mis amigos, this picture show never ends. Yesterday just after firing VofE into space the sea breeze quit and Cooks Bay, Moorea went calm. In the calm water light yellow flowers were floating by dropped from trees along shore in front of the boat. Apparently after the flowers bloom during the day and its their time they drop into the water. So, yawn, while having a bit of red in the flybridge before sunset we were given a yellow flower parade. Not only that, but the setting sun was shining thru a hole thru the summit of Mt Mouaputa that is said to have been made from a spear thrown from Tahiti by the demi god Pai to keep Hiro, the god of thieves, from stealing the mountain and carrying it off to Raiatea (another island further north). We got out the grande lens and got a great shot. What is funny is in front of a resort along the bay is a 3 boat fleet of Hiro's Boat Tours doing sunset cruises. Demi God's thieving tours?
This morning (Wed) while being coffeed in the flybridge the early sun lit up the mountains and surrounds slowly like a stage set. Not bad. After breakfast its off for hiking along the coastal road then up into the hills on a road we saw entering the bay.
My how tings change. We were taking our walk along the road and we saw a sign for Bali Hai Resort that had a number of businesses including Avis Rent a Car so we popped in to check on renting a car for a day. While waiting we ran into an American single hander and struck a deal to split a rental and tour the island. Later while walking back a local stopped and offered a lift...in a 1944 US Navy jeep, surplus from the American Navy base on Bora Bora during WW II. Couldn't pass that up. A couple of miles back toward the anchorage he swung into a gas station for 'cheap gas'. He said fuel prices are going up July 1st to be announced today (Thur). Duty free fuel is going up 28 franks a liter ($1.45 a US gallon)($2.08 non duty free). As soon as he dropped us off, back to the boat, up came TK and we beat feet for Papeete and duty free fuel. We arrived just in time but the dock attendant begged us to come back in the morning because their pumps are slow. We did. We saved $1260 USP (US Pesos). Not bad for a happenstance meeting. N55 New Page saved a ton when they topped off. We also sent N50 Flat Earth the same message & they'll arrive Friday for their fuel. It was worth a slight bypass from the Tuamotus on their way to Hawaii. Flat Earth also needs a small part we have so its a double whammy for them. It will be good to see them before they head back north.
So after a brief sojourn to Moorea here we sit back in the anchorage. Sitting a bit lower we may add. Saturday AM there is a nautical flea market at the marina so we'll stay for that before heading back to Moorea and try to get rid of some extra tings we have. Among other tings we have a spare duplicate 50 amp 50/60 cycle charger new in the box we'll try to sell to a sailboater who doesn't need the power. In New Zealand we'll buy a much larger 50/60 cycle battery charger. Mary says the object is to leave with less than we take. We'll see.
Friday night its an Aussie couple coming over we first met in Mar del Plata, Argentina, Ushuaia and here and there until Papeete. Same for a Swedish couple. Both, along with the Aussies guests are coming over to Egret for French Polynesian Flybridge Spaghetti a la du' da du' Egret. Fresh baguettes, a bit of vino, AND MS is making a Key lime pie (out of local limes). Ho hum. Another night slummin with cruisn buddies. Sure beats the boob tube and tabloid news. 'Specially when the canoe racers speed by getting ready for the upcoming festivities, 'specially when the moon sets over Moorea in a spectacular orange burst, 'specially listening to Polynesian music coming from shore, 'specially...you get the picture.
So there you have it. A couple more days in The Life (The Cruising Life). For those of you close to Your Time, pick up the phone, dial the number (you know what number you want to dial - don't kid me) and just do it. VofE is real and not embellished. AND we are a very small part of what we see every day with all the nearby cruisers who made the same decision. Change your lives like we changed ours as they did theirs. Money buys a lot of tings but time mis amigos. Ciao.
June 25, 2008
Position: S17 30.24 W49 49.25 Cook's Bay, Moorea, French Polynesia
Well, mis amigos, the routine is killing us. It's up early morning to start the gen, turn on the watermaker, make a pot of just ground Starbucks French roast (yup, burr grinder), put a load in the washer if necessary, deliver a fresh cuppa to my sweetie (in bed) and head to the flybridge. Soon I hear her rings clicking on the stainless rail as she makes her way up to the flybridge not wanting to miss the sights. This morning she brought the whole pot for refills. It is cool early mornings. The surf break along the just offshore barrier reef is like watching a surfing movie that never ends. The surf builds high, the wind blows the tops off the waves then it crashes down on the reef. A bit later the scene repeats itself. Next it is time for MS to make breakfast while YT spends a little time pounding out VofE drivel. Breakfast, boat chores, visiting cruising buddies, meeting new cruisers, shopping, and now its time for retreating to the flybridge for a glassa vino or whatever. Yup, the surf's still breaking, it's cool again, friends may or may not be over, dinner, sometimes a movie, sometimes a book then its off to bed. Ho hum, another day shot and what have we done? Exactly what we want because we're free. Freedom however, sometimes comes at a price. #+%$&^*! inverter gets drowned, #+%$&^*! Whale type fittings leak, #+%$&^*! fresh water pump quits and so on. The good news #+%$&^*! tings are not a daily or often occurrence so in the grande picture these items are a small price to pay for freedom. So there you have it, cruising in a paragraph.
Today's chores are lowering the catamaran dink then cleaning up the old dinghy chock sealant and mixing paint to blend in with its epoxy patch. (Yesterday we very carefully positioned the dink and marked where the chocks are to be mounted for the dink's new location on the boat deck) After the paint dries we'll drill and tap the boat deck for the chocks in their new location, apply sealant, then bolt them down. (Egret's boat deck has a 3/8" fiberglass top skin, 1 1/2" of end grain balsa, then 5/16" of glass on the bottom skin) 3/8" drilled and tapped fiberglass is overkill for mounting dinghy chocks ) (9.5mm X 38mm X 7.9mm) Mary's job will to deflate Egret's 6 large inflatable fenders and stow them away. We won't need fenders again until we refuel in American Samoa. Also today we'll inflate our antique inflatable dinghy and set it on our new found space on the boat deck. We looked into replacing the 8hp Yamaha we lost in Easter Island while in Tahiti but the local dealer wants 40% more than we paid before so we'll wait for New Zealand's friendlier pricing.
We mentioned before the anchorage has an abundance of American boats. Nearby Egret are boats from: South Africa, Mozambique, UK, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, France, Poland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand,, and Chile. And we have probably missed a few. Quite an international community for sure in this, the most important crossroads of the South Pacific. A number of boats we have talked to are following the same basic itinerary as Egret. We hope to be able to get away from the crowds in the northern Tongan group of islands. This group is largely unchanged and yet to be overwhelmed by tourista pesos. All this said we are easily led by other cruiser's tales so it will be interesting to see where we have actually been when we arrive in New Zealand.
We are anchored near a shallow, circular reef. When the wind swings to a N'ly or NW'ly direction we are close to the edge but still in 61' of water. The anchorage is full on both sides of the channel. All day long arriving boats head for the 'big hole' in the anchorage. Fortunately either Egret or a nearby sailboat from Denmark give a shout and off they go. Yesterday a steel ketch from Poland went over the reef and miraculously didn't hit. It must be a swing keel boat with the keel raised. The water is clear, the reef sand reflects light green and the more shallow coral is yellowish but in low light or motoring into the sun without driving from a flybridge you can't see the bottom (that leaves out every other boat in the anchorage except N50 Flat Earth when they were here and Egret). Its funny we're writing about anchoring and just minutes ago an American ketch dropped their anchor between us and our anchor. The winds have gone fluky and boats are pointed in every direction. We didn't say anything until we saw how tings played out. We have the paravane arm lowered on the stbd side (their side) for raising and lowering the dink easier. We could see the heads swiveling looking at the shroud snagging paravane arm, the reef, lotsa hand waving bow to cockpit, and in the end they pulled the hook and reset. AND they didn't snag our chain. Now its the Denmark's boat problem. They dropped close behind their boat. Life in the big city. We'll see.
The wind puffed all day Monday so we stayed put except for a short sojourn to Swedish friend's boat and brought them back to Egret for sundowners. This morning (Tue) it was calm so we were OFF early am for the 18nm trek around to the back side of Moorea. After a straight forward entrance thru the barrier reef we are anchored in Cooks Bay named after Capt James Cook who was nearby (but not in this bay named after him) early June, 1769. The scenery is spectacular and has been drawn and photographed uncountable times. There is a small personal story here. Some years ago we saw a picture of Bruce and Joan Kessler's trawler Zopilote (the first American trawler circumnavigators), in either Cooks Bay, Moorea or in Bora Bora. This simple picture help set the wheels turning. Fifteen years later here we are. Amazing. Special. Perhaps we can return the favor to others. You get the picture.
Got the picture? Ciao.
June 20, 2008
Position: S17 34.94 W149 37.22 Marina Taina anchorage, Papeete, Tahiti
Well, mis amigos, math major we are not. In the last VofE we said additional fuel burn was 164.50 USP for 35 days at anchor. In reality it was double that because of burning 2+ gallons extra per day in the generator. The good news is the replacement inverter is up to speed so the tears have dried. The next task is to see if the freezer repair parts bring the unit back to usable life. We have already bought a supply of individual canned meats to give a try and see if they are acceptable in the case the freezer doesn't come up to speed.
Enough about that, let's get current. Crewman Frank left yesterday for home, his sweetie and the dogs. We have gotten together with the other Nord folks most evenings and at times during the day. We had forgotten how nice a N50 is until we visited N50 Flat Earth. The owner Phil and brother Rick delighted in showing off their engine room and HUGE lazarette (the dogs) vs Egret's smaller accommodations. This is brother Rick's domain, he keeps both areas clean, uncluttered and organized. Phil's area is navigation and electronics. Like any boat with sea time Phil has fine tuned their little white fiberglass ship to suit their needs. It is interesting to note as we all put in the miles our thinking becomes more alike vs all the theoretical knowledge from the beginning. Function and dependability become inseparable vs novelty and doo-dads.
N55 New Paige is a whole different deal, a whole different level. Spectacular. Owners Roger and Joan learned a lot on their first Nord (N40), and used that knowledge personalizing their new boat and it shows. Lotsa innovation. New Paige is a twin engine 55. Roger was objective in discussing the differences between their twins vs a single. He felt the twins handled better but on the long run from Mexico to the Marquesas it took them 1 1/2 days longer than a single because they had to throttle back because of more fuel burn per knot per nm. Mark on N55 Myah (named after his first granddaughter) loves his single. So who is right? Both.
Today (Mon) is provisioning day for the next few weeks. Myah left yesterday for Moorea just across the way. We will leave tomorrow along with Flat Earth for Moorea as well. Both have been there before so will show us the ropes. New Paige will stay on the dock doing chores. His wife and daughter flew out today for a visit home.
My how plans change. Tonight (Wed) its dinner aboard New Paige, Flat Earth's crew isn't going to show so they will leave in a day or three for the Tuamotu Islands. Being divers the Tuamotus are an underwater fantasy land. Drift diving through the passes (with a buddy boat above) is as good as it gets. Snorkeling and wall diving are great as well. Early this morning Lindsfarne (Swedish) and Six Pack (Aussie) boats showed up and are anchored near by. We first met these boats in Mar del Plata, Argentina, Nov 06 and have been in Ushuaia and elsewhere on and off since. Its like old home week. So later today we take both boats to town on Le Truck (local bus type deal) and help them get checked in.
Later today. While making the rounds during the check in cha cha we ran into another Mar del Plata, Ushuaia, Argentina etc alumnus, the Belgian boat. This is the low freeboard steel sloop that had weather so bad on the Argentine coast waves smashed their welded steel stern rails flat to the deck. We have said our goodbye's a number of times with them leaving in a different direction but time and time again they show up where we are for a number of reasons but mainly wind direction. So instead of selling their boat in Chile, and buying a home there, after a rough Chilean Channels trip they are going on to New Zealand with the rest of the herd.
The town of Whangarei, 2 hours north of Auckland by car, has taken a pro active route to entice cruisers to their town of 66,000 by sending a representative to Papeete and dropping brochures in the Customs/Immigration office. Every cruiser checking in gets one. They have full services, a number of marinas and so on plus everything is within walking distance. We sent an e-mail inquiring about slip availability, cost and so on for ourselves and asked if they can accommodate a number of other boats who may come as well. It would be great if we arrived with our own community of cruisers we have traveled with as well as meeting the locals.
Wed night was steaks on the grill aboard N55 New Page with the N50 Flat Earth and Egret crews. We had a great time talking boats (what else) and socializing. Dinner in the flybridge was like eating on top of the space needle (about that high). What a view. Roger gave us an engine room tour. Great layout, system placement, stainless steel work, fuel system, etc. One innovation Roger added was polished stainless steel panels (mirrors) on the outboard side of each engine giving a quick snapshot of that side of the engines during engine room checks. The flybridge top and stainless work were spectacular. The only thing missing was his wife Joan and daughter Kimberly back home in Canada for a couple weeks.
Thurs was spent changing Egret's paravane chains to 8mm, bazillion pound test synthetic line that will making life at sea much easier without working (fishing) in the cockpit around the chains. We also removed the dinghy chocks to be replaced fore and aft vs keeping the dink on a 45 degree angle. We moved a dockbox to give the extra room. We used 4mm synthetic line to 'safety wire' the masthead tangs that had started to elongate from dink lifting as well as the tangs on the boom. A couple days before we changed our boom winch and topping lift winch lines from stainless steel to the new synthetic line. We oversized both lines plus made the topping lift double purchase (half the lifting speed - half the strain on the winch motor). The boom winch has been double purchase for some time. On Friday we'll fill the screw holes from the dinghy chocks and will remount the chocks.
The anchorage is filled with American boats, more so than any other country including the French. VHF channel 16 sounds like a Chesapeake weekend minus the tow boat commercials. It appears quality of life vs a few more Pesos has taken hold. It seems strange to me that for the same money folks didn't choose a small ocean capable powerboat vs sail. The money is the same with a lot of the newer and larger sailboats. What we do is so easy vs the stories coming from our sailing first cousins. In the end it doesn't matter. We all see the same sights and have a similar social life. We just chose the easy way.
So there you have it. A couple mare days in The Life. Flat Earth is off to the Tuamotus and the New Paige and Egret crews are putzin with boat chores. Life is good in the islands. Ciao.
June 13, 2008
Position: S17 35.41 W149 36.96 Anchored off Taina Marina, Papeete, Tahiti
Well, mis amigos, What can we say? Tahiti is off to port, Point Venus is just ahead where Capt Cook observed the transit of planet Venus in 1769. It was Capt Cook who gave the name Society Islands in honor of the British Royal Society. Capt Bligh and his breadfruit procurement to feed the Jamaica station slaves...and so on. History at every corner. Pretty exciting. Two more hours and we should be in the harbor.
At 12:29PM local time TK splashed into 45' of murky water and good holding. Not quite what we expected. The numerous cruising guides were dated and the harbor changed considerably. Papeete is going thru an enormous expansion to handle more cruise ships (now 4 at once), mega yachts with their own impressive pier and a 500 slip modern marina. Egret is anchored near the marina. You can imagine our surprise and pleasure to see two new Nordhavn 55s at the dock. We have met one, New Paige (and have been invited to dinner this evening), a forward thinking Canadian couple traveling with their 10 year old daughter Kimberly. They have been home schooling Kimberly with a combination of Canadian and American programs. She is WAY beyond her contemporary classmates at home. New Paige will winter (summer) in New Zealand as well. We have yet to meet the folks from the other N55, Myah, but will soon.
On arrival and heading ashore to check in, Roger on New Paige led us to the bus stop, or rather Le Truck stop, told us the drill and where to get off. Picture a worn out small delivery truck, take the bed off, add a low wooden box with benches along both sides and one down the middle and you have Le Truck. But, you know, they work and are a relatively inexpensive form of local transportation. Customs and immigration were a tedious 1 1/2 day affair. The officers couldn't have been more accommodating and very laid back. It is simply the system. We had to go first to a local bank up the hill and post a USP (US Peso) $1400++ bond per person to assure our flight out of Tahiti if we decided to stay and got caught. Next, our three credit cards wouldn't accept the charge in francs. Soooo, we gave them $2000 in USP and ATM'd the balance in francs. When we present our check out papers we are returned the money, I believe minus 3%. Next hitch is we are given the money back in francs. To convert them back to USP costs another 6%. We'll let you know how this issue evolves. There were other issues but in the end we are checked in and all is well.
Papeete itself is crowded and has nearly constant traffic jams. Welcome to paradise. We have a few boat chores to do then will leave to find a peaceful anchorage somewhere before Frank leaves on Sunday. In all fairness, when we look above the city it is beautiful. Moorea is just eight miles away and within sight of the anchorage. We will stay within a relatively close range until friends arrive early July. One local highlight of the anchorage is the outrigger canoes, one man, three man and five man, practicing for an upcoming festival. On winding our way to the anchorage the locals were keeping pace with the boats, including Egret, in their single man canoes. Last night three of the multiple person boats were practicing just opposite the boat. When the third boat took off the coach's small outboard had to be up on plane to keep up. These guys, and girls, really move!! (There are men teams, mixed and women teams)
Fri AM. This has not been a fun couple days for the Egret crew. One ting after another. First, the water pressure system pump went out. No biggie. These inexpensive pumps work well but have about a 2-3 year life in constant use. We have 2 spares so installed one. During installation I jiggled a tee causing it to leak. We have written before about Whale type fittings and how they work on Chinese handcuff principles, sealed with an O-ring. We also mentioned before you CANNOT side load any of the fittings. This one was side loaded and was ready to give way in any event. So we changed it. The top of the tee connected to a fitting coming out of the bottom of the accumulator tank. This is a brass fitting with a pipe thread at one end (accumulator tank) and a smooth 15mm barb at the other. The barb was somewhat corroded but I wiped it with a paper towel and slid the tee up, connected the other two ports of the tee and went to turn the water pump circuit breaker. Coming back to the engine room checking for leaks there it was. Yup, spraying a mist of water on the inverter. Race upstairs and turn off the breaker. Back in the engine room the inverter was flashing all kinds of lights so we turned it off.
At the end of this we re-anchored, that in itself a chore moving here and there to find a better spot and holding. The good ting is running the engine heated the engine room drying the inverter. After re-anchoring and waiting a spell we turned the inverter back on and yes, it was inverting. Dodged a BIG bullet.
The highlight of that day was looking out the pilothouse window and seeing a Nord 50 coming in to anchor. Now it's 4 Nords within a few hundred yards of each other in this somewhat remote place. Cool. The N50 is Flat Earth with Phil and Jan, brother Rick and friend Frank. So we yupped it up on Egret that evening and agreed to get everyone together this weekend for a little social. After the Flat Earth crew left we fired up the gen to charge the batteries. We didn't dodge NO bullet. We were shot BIG time. Drilled. The next morning after burning Iridium time with the Xantrex folks (inverter) and help from Rick we determined the inverter is shot. (We know the reasons but it is probably more information than you want to know) HOWEVER, we have a spare (another long, sad story). HOWEVER the spare was repaired in Turkey. The repair tech showed me on the bench everything was working so we'll see. Later this morning Rick and Phil are coming over to give a hand so within a few hours of now we'll know. That simple statement does not reveal manhandling 90lbs of inverter off the bulkhead in a tiny space crowded by watermaker pumps and little sharp pointy tings like that. Cruising from time to time takes a pound of flesh...literally. ALL cruisers are blood and skin donors. We should wear little 'We Gave' pins, or should it be 'We Give' pins?
The bottom line is: if the second inverter doesn't work we'll have to reinstall the original to use its inverter function. Next we have to make the decision to fly a third inverter in from the States, deal with the customs cha cha plus the expense, OR become a no refrigeration boat like most of our sailboat buddies until New Zealand where we can get both inverters fixed. Does it make sense to have $8000 worth (3 inverters including freight for the third) of inverters on hand to HOPE the repair parts fix the malfunctioning freezer? Remember the extra generator burn for the amp draining, malfunctioning freezer in just 35 days of anchoring mentioned in the last VofE? That was 70+ gallons of fuel for 35 days. We'll be anchoring a lot more than 35 days between here and New Zealand. Duty free fuel in Papeete is $4.70 USP a gallon. Just 35 days cost $164.50 additional fuel. We can buy good quality canned meat from New Zealand here in Papeete plus other canned goods.
With our large solar panel display we don't need to charge the batteries if we don't have refrigeration. In an emergency we can use our separate whimpy 50 amp, 50/60 cycle battery charger along with paralleling the generator alternator to the battery bank. This combination produces about 35 net amps.
So after this tear soaked edition of VofE we'll leave on a high note. Ciao.
Picture 1. Single man canoe. Note the flower behind his left ear and the water bottle behind the seat. Working hard mon. Picture 2. Five man canoe racing by Egret.
June 9, 2008
Position: S17 33.56 W149 08.86 (within sight of Tahiti)
Well, mis amigos, Thursday, Thurs night and early Friday morning (so far) have been as uneventful as life at sea can be...and that is good. Our fishing, however, has been unsuccessful. We reached our first good fishing opportunity Thurs evening just at dark. Watching the huge surf break on the reef we didn't deviate an inch from our course to give it a go trolling near shore. Again unfortunately this evening we reach the first of the Duke of Gloucester Islands (Nukutepipi) after dark. Antoine said he heard the first island is now inhabited which means there is a cut in the reef. We would love to sneak inside the atoll and meet the folks even though the chance of them speaking any English would be slim. Our three words of conversational French wouldn't be much help but somehow, as always, we would converse using smiles, pantomime, lotsa hand waving and a strong desire on both parties to be understood.
Yesterday our small JRC radar went Tango Uniform (quit working). It is flashing a 'bearing pulse error' code. The operator's manual is zero help and doesn't have a troubleshooting guide. There is no e-mail address for service or the US headquarters. If we didn't have a second radar we would burn Iridium time trying to sort this out in route. In and amongst these atolls we feel radar is essential by our safety standards. Once in Papeete we'll use our Skype account at an internet cafe' and see where this leads. So far we have found the atoll placement matching radar (who never lies) perfectly with electronic charts, the exception being Duke of Gloucester Islands we discussed in the last VofE. I moved the small radar myself 5 years ago from the initial location in the flybridge for coastal cruising to the pilothouse where it belongs for going offshore. This meant splicing about a zillion small wires so there could be the problem. YT and wires don't get along. We'll see.
Thursday's highlight was YT's discovery if we moved the dock box from the indentation in front of the catamaran dinghy to the flybridge we can turn the catamaran dink fore and aft on the stbd side with a perfect fit vs having the dink turned 45 degrees. This gives us more flybridge seating for guests AND gives us room for an aluminum bottomed RIB (guess who has the hots for). We'll buy the largest one that will fit in New Zealand with an 8hp Yamaha 2 stroke to replace the Zodiac we lost in Easter Island. We'll still keep our trusty antique, wood floored 9' dink in reserve. Ya know, we're all boys at heart. There is a matter of want and a matter of need. Want for sure.
Thru the VofE Forum we received information we didn't think of and is important to EU readers. This compares an Imperial Gallon to the US Gallon. For the record, all of our fuel mileage or fuel related figures are in US gallons. We'll post it here as well as our reply on the Forum. Questions: "Looking at your last question and reply on fuel, it's worth noting that in Europe a gallon is 4.56 liters but the US gallon is considerably smaller at 3.8 liters. This means that the fuel burn looks worse than it is to anyone from Europe".
Sat AM, daybreak. The sun is starting to set a little later each day as we move north and west. This is a good ting. It is depressing to have full dark at 5:30PM. We were riding straight down the moon glow to the west. We are on a waxing moon so each evening the moon rises a little higher in the sky before setting. The stars were brilliant. We watched the Southern Cross doing its rotation from vertical to horizontal during the night and early morning. Mary was thrilled when she found the Big Dipper upside down low on the horizon way to the north. The handle was pointing to Arcturus as usual. Also on Mary's watch she saw our first boat at sea since leaving mainland Chile. It was heading away (SSW) so it must have been a sailboat or supply ship heading for the Austral Islands. (The Australs and Gambiers are the most remote islands of French Polynesia) About midnight the seas started to pick up from astern in winds from 20 to 25 knots. The ride is still good and most importantly good enough to fish...so far. Finally today about noon we will have a chance to troll by an uninhabited atoll if the seas don't build further. My fishing buddy who is joining us in Tahiti sent an e-mail in exasperation because we aren't catching fish. He was even offering advice...giggle. Soooo, I had to send a Dear K. letter explaining when we are in fish we'll catch fish. When we were in fish near Easter Island we caught 5 in two hours. There were 18 boats on the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally, most of which were pulling baits. We traveled around 3900nm together. Egret caught 3 fish and broke off two that were too big for our tackle. The entire fleet caught less than 10. Ten (10) fish by 18 boats in 3900nm. Not bad fishermen, simply no fish.
Sat afternoon. OMNI Bob described today's winds as "freshing" and it is a perfect description. All day the winds have been increasing slowly to sustained winds over 20 knots. Also as predicted the wind and sea direction remains favorable, almost directly on the stern, increasing along with the wind. Our speed is in the 6.3 - 6.5 knot range (at 1350 RPM) being pushed by the wind and following seas. Instead of threatening, the friendly seas building behind the transom then are passing under in a crush of bright white foam and such brilliant blue they almost look artificial. Over photoshopped if you will. So different from the endless gray seas of the Southern Ocean just a few months ago. We are ever so slowly banking time for our hopeful intended late Monday afternoon arrival in Papeete, Tahiti. This said, OMNI Bob predicts the wind to swing to the NE, NNE for a short period meaning seas forward of the beam and will slow us considerably. In the give and take of passagemaking we still have the option early Monday morning to increase speed to buy us a bit of time.
Along with the building seas went our diversion to the atoll we passed a few hours ago. The favorable fishing side would be smothered in heavy surf, not a friendly place to try to catch a fish. Additionally, the diversion would mean running to and from the atoll with our friendly but high seas on the starboard, then port quarter at about 45 degrees, our worst point of travel in now unfriendly seas. We passed.
Sat late evening. The seas slowly continue to build along with the wind. It is impressive seeing the waves pop up in front of the pilothouse glass that have been disrupted on their journey to nowhere by our little white fiberglass ship. One minute moonbeam, next a large black shape spitting foam. We increased speed to 1400RPM to give a little more flow past the stabilizer fins and the rudder. We also turned DOWN the Naiads that were starting to steer the boat from the seas racing past. Our speed increased immediately .4 knot from a simple 50RPM increase and stabilizer adjustment. Cool.
What is really cool (yup, this is a commercial) is the July/August issue of Passagemaker Magazine. We haven't seen the issue but have a bit of insider view into the contents. This entire issue is dedicated to powerboat folks who headed offshore. There are a number of short stories from around the world about various adventures. This single issue gives credit to not just the named boats but to all who have turned their bows east or west, north or south into the deep blue. Forever, offshore voyaging tales was the forte of sail magazines (with token powerboat voyages in powerboat magazines) and where we got a large part of our inspiration (Cruising World was/is our favorite). Early issues of Passagemaker Magazine is one of the major contributors of why there IS an Egret and why Egret is approximately 32 hours from landfall in Papeete, Tahiti. I also believe subsequent issues of Passagemaker will have additional long distance tales as well. To keep the cruising fires lit let us suggest a visit to www.passagemaker.com if you don't already have a subscription.
Sunday AM after daybreak. Grrrrrrrr. Let's talk about how the domino principal affects cruising. YT is cranky. Not much sleep. It's not the seas even though they are no longer kind. It is the heat down below in the master stateroom. Normally under way this is never a problem. We turn on the stateroom fans and that is the end of it. This is cumulative heat from a hot engine room and lack of ventilation. We are running downsea in fairly large seas with the wind behind us as well. I am not comfortable leaving the salon door open at night with a single watch stander while we are being twisted now and again by an occasional large set of waves moving thru. A single freak wave would cause havoc if it were to break in the cockpit and the salon door were open. Plus running downsea the dorades don't help. Let's cut to the chase and explain the extra heat and dominoes. Our freezer is nearly empty so it cycles much more than when full. Our freezer is also malfunctioning. It cools well enough but when trying to start it pulls an enormous AC load for quite a while until the compressor kicks in. That load in turn has to come out of the batteries through the inverter. The inverter is working very hard and like any type of physical work creates a lot of heat. The inverter is located under the refrigerator and freezer in the hot engine room. A hot electrical device is not efficient. The alternator is working overtime trying to stuff amps back into the batteries to feed the overworked inverter feeding the $@%#^*&^ freezer.. More heat, less efficiency from the alternator so more work from the alternator to make up for less efficiency. None of this is a secret. It's math. The root of the problem is the malfunctioning freezer. A couple of years ago I installed two layers of 7mm close cell foam above the inverter area on the engine room overhead. We also added a 3" pancake (computer) 12V fan that runs 24/7 blowing down on the inverter exhaust to help dissipate heat. This normally works well. The bottom line and lesson to learn is on board a single item not working properly can cause an unpleasant chain of events. (Our buddies with newer boats have their inverters OUT of the engine room.) Cool.
Also, what I didn't mention and is also a big part of the malfunctioning freezer domino effect is generator burn. While on anchor we normally charge the batteries for 1 3/4 to 2 hours in the mornings, let the solar panels take over for the day and the batteries are fine until the next morning. Currently we are running the generator 2 hours in the morning and 2+ hours in the evening. The 12 KW generator burns 1.2 GPH at full load. So let's be generous and say we are burning just 2 extra gallons of fuel per day. AND lets say we have been underway for over two months and have been on anchor 35 days of that (accurate). Simple math. 70+ gallons of additional fuel burn while we are trying our best to stretch fuel for this 4000nm+ run. We have been averaging over 4 MPG on this trip. 4 X 70 = 280+nm lost fuel reserve. Fortunately we were able to get plenty of fuel in Easter Island. Also fortunately we have friends coming to Papeete with repair parts for the freezer. Got all this? Real life cruising mis amigos.
And now its time to make coffee for MS (my sweetie). Tings always brighten up when she is around.
Sunday morning thru early Monday morning was a downhill run with a wave twist thrown in every so often. Not bad but we will be glad to be on anchor and open the boat up to get rid of the HEAT from the #@$%&*^ freezer problem. No fish. In the past we had a couple hooks bitten off the heavy monofilament leader so this time we added a bit of steel leader. ONE fish has a sore jaw but they are still a mystery as to what they are.
Frank was the lucky one to have Tahiti come up on his pre dawn watch. The lights were twinkling in the distance and two dark shapes of the mountains, Tahiti Iti and Tahiti Nui could be seen. It is just after daybreak (1625Z) and the mountains are clearly visible. We have set a safe offshore approach to Papeete harbor. Our last waypoint before the harbor entrance comes up in 11.53nm. Bottom line: TK will be buried in the mud early afternoon. It is hard to believe Mary and I have reached such a historic crossroads of the Pacific in our own boat...the long way. The hard way. Certainly when we wrote the deposit check for our little white fiberglass ship at the Miami Boat Show, February 2000, we didn't have a clue where this decision would lead us. Not the slightest idea. Pretty amazing when we think about it. Can you begin to imagine what we have seen these past 6+ years? We can't.
We need to go before emotion kicks in. Next VofE will have voyage stats and first impressions. Ciao.
June 2, 2008
Position: S23 07.22 W134 57.98
Rikitea Village, Mangareva Island, Gambier Island Group, French Polynesia (rick e tay uh) (Mangareva means Floating Mountain in Polynesian)
Well, mis amigos, this high tech junkie is sitting in the pilothouse listening to Antoine music loaded on the hard drive while pounding out this drivel. Yup, MP3 format (whatever that is). While helping us with the music he blurted out something like "living in caves or stone age something or other" in exasperation trying to explain why we couldn't make "normal' music CD's directly from his CD. I didn't think there was anything wrong with the boom box our oldest son gave us ten years ago and CD's. So now we have every Antoine song from 1974 until now. We, in turn, gave him some electronic information he didn't have.
The big news in the anchorage this morning (Sat) is that the supply ship is in. This means a number of tings. Hopefully we'll have tomatoes and fresh veggies later this morning. Most of the anchorage boats need fuel so there is a scramble trying to borrow empty 200 liter barrels (55gal) from locals. After they will transfer the fuel to more manageable jerry jugs. The ship's fuel pump is too powerful to pump into jerry jugs, however they will pump directly into the boat's tanks from their tanks. We have a number of empty jerry jugs and have offered them via VHF to the fleet to use. A few we will give away. We don't anticipate having to use them again in our cruising and don't want to haul them around for years 'just in case'.
Saturday turned out to be another grande hike day. After hiking the southern, more jungley trail crossing the island we tried to circumnavigate the island on the western road then around the southern tip. Not to be. The road ended after mucho kilometers in a family's yard. So back and back. The southern road was as pretty if not prettier than the northern road around the top of the island. There were solid trees, flowers, flowering trees lining both sides of the unpaved road. We'll do our best to convey what we see when we send out pictures back with Frank in two weeks. Shortly after they will be posted on the website.
There is a much better way to put a picture to Egret's Polynesian travels. We spent last evening aboard Banana Split with Antoine looking at his video of the Gambier's and surrounding islands, plus the Polynesian islands we plan to visit. In addition to being a long time musician he has made a number of travel videos and documentaries for French TV. He quickly forwarded thru his travel documentary, Tahiti And Her Islands, with most of last night's time spent on the Gambier's. Many of the shots were taken from EXACTLY where we have been. He uses a polarized filter and the water scenes are stunning. So here is what we suggest, but first we need to announce a Stern Safety Warning. If VofE has stirred a bit of interest in our lifestyle, cruising around the world in our little white fiberglass ship, visiting interesting places with a dash of adventure thrown in, let us warn you this video will drive a cruising stake deep into your dirt dwelling hearts. Danger lurks here. Grave danger. If you are strong, healthy and up to the task let us suggest a trip to www.antoine.tv, find the Tahiti And Her Islands video and order your copy overnight delivery. We have not seen the website however the Tahiti video is one of many. If there are others along Egret's route to New Zealand they may be worth a look as well. Antoine narrates his own work and having lived the film it is informative and well done (in English).
He and I got sidetracked discussing the technical aspects of photography and YT got a tutorial in GOOD film making with quality equipment. What a difference. The only downside, Antoine said it takes 50 hours of film to produce 1 hour of product. I'm not sure I have that much patience to attempt a professional quality film but am drooling over the new camera he is going to buy. The only problem is the Sony camera cost six (6) boat units, a bit steep for us.
Later this morning we'll loan Banana Split our Baja filter to transfer fuel to his tanks (after the rain quits). Its a long story but yesterday all the cruisers received their fuel pumped into mostly rusty 200 liter fuel drums. After, he'll be off to another part of the atoll and we'll go ashore for a hike.
Late Sun PM. Yes, during a short lull in the rain we helped filter the fuel into Banana Split. Yes it rained the rest of the day. The other yachties in the anchorage were out in bathing suits doing their laundry. Their rigging is draped with clothes from front to back. So not much going on.
Our latest plans (as of this 5 minutes) are to leave Mon about noon after checking out with the Gendarme for Papeete, Tahiti, but travel just across the way to the abandoned island of Taravai we saw on the way in. There were two boats anchored off the still maintained church. If we can find our way in we'll spend a day and leave on Tuesday when the light is good enough to read the water.
Mon AM early. The wind blew into the anchorage last night for the first time, a bit more than forecast. We even had a little chop. So we'll fire this VofE into space and make our decision later today. If we do leave today it will preclude visiting the nearby island. The wind will put us in an uncomfortable position. We'll see. Ciao.