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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.

44 22.53N 64 18.63W

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June 25, 2012
Position: 44 22.53N 64 18.63W Lunenburg Harbor, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

So how did this happen when we were talking about Washington, D.C. ? Keep reading.

Hello mis amigos, Egret departed Washington, D.C. this morning at 0600. We woke early, showered, pulled TK - a 10 minute chore for MS to blast the mud off the chain - took on water and off she went. An hour or so later Egret was passing Alexandria, Virginia heading down the Potomac when she hit the 1000nm mark since leaving Ft Lauderdale.

So let's talk about D.C. Riding up the Chesapeake we called Capital Yacht Club and made reservations for 2 nights. We read where there was talk of closing Washington Channel to anchoring - the main southern waterfront area - so we thought it would be a good thing to have a guaranteed slip and get the lay of the land.

On Egret's first trip north after retirement we stayed at Capital YC for 3 weeks. It was steaming hot and we had my 84 year old father with us so the A/C was nice plus not having to land Pop from the dinghy. The 2 ½ months he spent with Mary and I cruising that first summer was one of the highlights of his later life. So I'll tell you a short story about my dad. He died the day Egret arrived in Tasmania (we had seen him 2 months before). He had a good life and lived to be 91. He was cremated and Scott Jr has had Pop during the past few years. My dad was a Gator (graduate of the University of Florida). Scott Jr is a Seminole (graduate of Florida State University). So Jr took great pleasure putting Grandpa in front of the big screen and having him watch the Seminoles murder the Gators in football......most years. We picked up Pop from Jr a month or so ago and he is up forward in his stateroom for a final spin to Nova Scotia and back before he gets buried with my mother. Kinda cool, eh?

Capital YC was as nice and accommodating as always. Egret spent two nights on the dock then moved to the anchorage but retained YC privileges by paying a landing fee. The fee includes all member privileges including wifi, member pricing at the bar and so on. The costs were: $2 U.S.P./night/ft and $12 USP for electric plus tax. Landing fee is $16 USP/day.

One unexpected treat was running into Dave and Candy from Endeavor, a 46' steel ketch we met in Puerto Montt, Chile. Dave and Candy spent 18 months in Patagonia then headed east to the Falklands and were off to South Georgia but the weather wouldn't let them make any southing so they turned for egretTristan de Cuna, a seldom visited island well south of St Helena. They later visited St Helena and the usual stepping stones north to the U.S. So Dave is working in D.C. refilling the cruising kitty and Candy is working on Endeavor, who turned 50 this year. Small world. Endeavor is the ketch to the left of the Washington Monument.

So with a city map off we went. Well, don't EVER go to D.C. just after school lets out for the summer. There were a thousand jillion school groups mobbing all the museums. If that were not ENOUGH, it was the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts so there was another thousand jillion of that mob. We love kids but I will say it was suffocating. However, these two kids instead of walking behind their wide eyed parents thru the museums dragging their arms egretlike chimps and whining, made the most of a small thing. Inside an art museum was an area with two pools of decorative water at floor level. So you know what kids do. Yes, back and forth, b&f, b&f, etc.We did the best sightseeing we could, took a lay day when it rained a bit and then magically the crowds went away and it was reasonable once again. We did the usual Smithsonian/mall/Arlington museums playing the tourists that we were. We won't bore you with museum photo's but this one we took at Arlington National Cemetery touched home. The front center headstone was for a 1st egretLieutenant born the same year as myself but died in 1968 in Vietnam. All I will say is it is very sad. Robert E. Lee's house is in the background.

One Smithsonian highlight was a display of award winning nature photographs from around the world. The photography was beautiful. Of course now I have the hots for a Nikon 500mm lens but it costs 8bu's so we'll have to pass.

egretWe had to go dinghy exploring while in DC so we took the little dinghy and went farther up the Potomac to upscale Georgetown, a D.C. suburb. The waterfront has been restored and there are city docks for day docking on a first come - first serve basis. Well, our buddy B's main man made the Potomac trip with Never Enough - Hangover and was enjoying the waterfront crowds.

More to follow.

How about those N46's? You can't kill them and you can't keep them in port. We just heard more about two. We mentioned in a recent VofE posting about N46 Starlite leaving the Bahamas and running to Jacksonville (N. Florida) for a quickie get ready and was heading to Europe. We received a blog copy this morning and Starlite is in Bermuda. So that is the first step in a connect the dot Atlantic crossing. The Azores will be next.

At the Capital Yacht Club we met a member who follows N46 Emily Grace's blog. EG is in the Diego Garcia area in the Indian Ocean and I assume EG will head south to Mauritius or Reunion next. EG is traveling with a Boat Kid. What an education she is getting, eh? If you have an adventurous streak and think perhaps this may be your cuppa tea someday, both of these blogs would be worth following. I imagine if you root around the N.com website you can find both and more.

So let's talk about world cruising. There are places in the world that are a mess as you know. However, it is a big world and there is a lot to see Safely including a circumnavigation. These days it is prudent to circumnavigate via the Cape of Good Hope and if you followed or look up Egret's postings from her rounding the Cape of Good Hope you will find she didn't even have spray on the pilothouse glass until nearing Cape Town. The key like always is being patient and waiting for weather. In Egret's case we waited for a 5 day high to move in and off she went and it was no biggie. I believe it is the lack of knowledge or preconceived notions that keep people chained to the coasts vs heading offshore. This is an Important sentence so let me say it one more time to make the point........ I believe it is the lack of knowledge or preconceived notions that keep people chained to the coasts vs heading offshore. If you are new to VofE and take the time to read the past years postings you will not see any trauma she suffered in her travels. In fact, if you cut out the Argentine coast and Tasman Sea crossing it has been a pretty benign life at sea. The balance is acclimation and a positive attitude. So don't think you can't do it because you can IF you want to. Look at Starlite and Emily Grace. They are just plain folks having quite an adventure.

Of course you could also spend Your Days dirt dwelling reading Facebook and for adventure try a new restaurant. Or, if you are Really Adventurous, try a different type of wine. Ok, I'm being naughty and shouldn't* but at least go buy the two books we mentioned in the last VofE and perhaps you'll get started. If that doesn't work there is always F...book and after a particularly adventurous restaurant outing you could tweet someone on the way home with tales of your adventure. Maybe even send some text messages. Of course after a half bottle of wine you are at greater risk driving home than Egret has ever been at sea including Argentina or the Tasman. You get the picture.

*VofE could drive down the middle of the channel, nod left and nod right smiling, tell sweet stories and everyone would like it. However, what would you learn? Nothing of course. So we tell the un sugar coated truth as we see it and if someone gets upset I'm sorry but it is not those people VofE is trying to reach. VofE is looking for those with imagination and spark so we may pour a bit of fuel on that spark and perhaps someday they too get the fire and head Out.

Now we should give credit where credit is due. If you are reading this VofE you most likely aren't in the group we mentioned above. Or at least so buried in that life that there isn't hope. So give yourselves a pat on the back and Egret will keep pouring gas on the fire.

Ok, so Egret arrived in Annapolis, Maryland during mid afternoon. Not long before the turn from the Chesapeake to Annapolis harbor we came across this contraption anchored south of the Bay Bridge. It is a shipload of harbor cranes bound for Baltimore made in China. You can see in the photo a ship was cut down to carry this huge load from Asia to the U.S. I don't think this arrangement would be Panama egretCanal capable because of the overhangs so that meant this rig had to be taken around the Cape of Good Hope and north up the Atlantic. (Can you imagine insuring this rig? Al would be freekin.) We later heard on the VHF that when the ship was scheduled to move into Baltimore they were closing Bay Bridge to traffic and the bridge leading into Baltimore ......just in case. Amazing. .

Egret anchored off the U.S. Naval Academy in 18' - 5.6m and fired out 125' - 39m of chain and snubber. Annapolis is the capitol of Maryland and the historic district near the waterfront is all restored 18th and 19th century homes and business fronts. It was the weekend so there was a lot of boat traffic chopping up the water and ashore it was packed with tourists. Still it was Much better than DC with all the DDK's - dirt dwelling kids. There is a good hardware store across the street from the dinghy dock so we bought some more Rain X for the pilothouse glass* as well as a gas additive**.

*If you are new to VofE let me mention that years ago we removed Egret's windshield wiper arms and blades. We have Never used the wipers. We use 2 coats of Rain X and there has never been a problem seeing thru the glass including at night. If Egret is at sea and there is a salt crust on the glass, AND if it is calm we use the salt water washdown hose to melt the salt off the glass as well as the rails and forward part of the boat.

**So let's talk about the gas additive. When we put away the 3hp Yamadog for months out of service we ran it for 5 minutes or so in a 5 gallon pail of fresh water to give it a good flush and ran the carburetor dry. (It is a Big Deal to reach the carb drain screw to drain the last bit.) Well, it didn't start but 'popped" once then would not restart. So I changed the plug and there was no difference and not only that the new plug remained dry - no fuel. A 3hp is a compact little engine and it took a while but finally I figured you had to remove a 2 piece bottom engine housing cover to remove the carburetor. Once I got the carburetor apart there was just a tiny bit of dry residue on the side of the float bowl but the jets were half closed in places from %#@#$&^* ethanol* in the fuel. We cleaned the jets, blasted everything with CRC Cleaner Degreaser (brake clean, carb cleaner, electrical cleaner and a few other rapidly evaporating products would do the same) Reassembled, it started on the second pull and ran perfect since. So we bought a product called Sta Bil that is supposed to deal with the %#$@#& ethanol and put it into all of Egret's outboard tanks.

*Every drop of fuel that gets put into Egret's outboard tanks gets filtered thru a 5 micron Racor filter funnel so it was not debris but a hard white residue. One other detail is Yamadog's use O rings to seal the float bowl so you don't need any spare gaskets to dissemble and reassemble the carb. The linkage and fittings are metal. Some other popular brands use el junko plastic fittings and when they break it is Real Bad unless you have spares and of course you won't. So that's our plug for Yamadog 2 strokes.

egretSo we played walking tourist for a few days, including a highlight visit to the Naval Academy Museum and a tour thru the first Revolutionary War U.S. Naval hero's crypt. John Paul Jones made the statement from a sinking ship "I have yet begun to fight" and went on to capture the British ship it was fighting. Jones' ship later sunk.

Here is a bit of interesting history about Commodore Jones. Jones died on July 18, 1792 at 45 in Paris while in his street front apartment at 42 Rue de Tournon. "He was buried in a cemetery belonging to the royal family. After the French Revolution, the property was abandoned and eventually built upon. In the early 20th century, Horace Porter, the American ambassador to France search for Jones' grave site, finding it in 1905". Jones was buried in this crypt on the Academy grounds in 1906.

egretThe replica ship Bounty which was used for the 1962 movie Mutiny on the Bounty was in Annapolis. It was interesting that it was built one third larger than the original because the Hollywood Guys thought it should be larger. Duuuh.

However, the major highlight of the Annapolis visit was getting together with Braun and Tina, formerly from N62 Grey Pearl and now from N64 Ocean Pearl. We haven't seen B&T for a while and it was great to get together. B&T aboard Grey Pearl were one of the 2004 NAR participants and in more recent years joined N62 Sea Bird and N68 San Souci for the infamous Sushi Run from the Pacific North West, thru the Aleutians, Russia, Japan and so on to Phukett, Thailand. We met Pearl here and there during Egret's time in the Med. Ocean Pearl is a new purchase so they are anxious to make her 'their boat' and personalize it for themselves. It is the people mis amigos, but I believe we have said that before.

egret
egret

Egret cleared Annapolis harbor this morning at 0535 fast tracking for Maine. She has been riding the tide NE toward the C&D Canal (connects Chesapeake Bay & Delaware Bay) averaging somewhere in the mid 7 knot range with a high of 8.2 knots at 1450 rpm. Our plan is to get thru the C&D today and ride the tide toward the Atlantic until it swings to incoming then anchor for the night. Delaware Bayhas a lot of large floating debris so we always make a point to transit during daylight. Incidentally, the C&D is usually chock a block with debris so a night transit there is particularly not a good thing.

The Chesapeake and Delaware have unique lighthouses. The first photo is of a Chesapeake lighthouse with a cool outhouse and the second photo is from the Delaware.

More to follow.

My how things change. First, the C&D for the first time in our travels didn't have any debris of any consequence. Second, Egret rode the tide thru the C&D and the entire way down the Delaware except for the last 20nm before the exit into the Atlantic. We wuz flying. Yup, 9.7 knots at the peak at 1450 rpm so the fuel mileage was better than a truck and trailer we used to own AND this is our home. So we kept going offshore and set a course to Block Island, NY. It was a beautiful night to be at sea with very little breeze, a slight swell and the stars were out. Her speed varied between 6.5 and 7.4 knots depending on the tide. This morning it was even better with a cool breeze from the north and a slight swell from the south giving the little white fiberglass lady a push.

egretLater. So today has been about perfect. In the morning there were a few shearwaters flying but with little wind they soon quit. The same with the Wilson's storm petrels. We saw a shark chugging along on the surface but the best was a number of large sea turtles. I don't know what kind they are but they have a high shell and float quite high in the water. This one came egretcomplete with moss and barnacles. Just now we are going thru a batch of long line buoys with reflective flags on top. Six mile radar looks like a shotgun blast. There is a bit of plastic in the water but most noticeable is more than a few dozen expended child's foil balloons floating and trailing egrettheir cords. We saw sport fishing boats pulling baits so we sent out couple worms to see what snapped. Actually while I was writing that sentence I stopped to catch what I think was a large bluefish. We turned it loose. So far it has been one of Those Days at sea that makes you want to keep going forever.

 

So anyhow we changed our mind again for a number of reasons but the first was of Egret's unexpected average speed it meant a 0200 arrival in Block Island. We have never been to Block Island before and we don't do arrivals in the dark unless it is Very well charted and we know at least something about where we are going. Of course we have no guides for anything on the East Coast because we gave them away years ago when we didn't think we were coming back. So the lesson here is; you never know.

At this time (1450 Thur) Egret is on course for Nantucket and will skip Maine until the way back. We looked at the chart and Egret would have to travel a fair ways west to visit Maine then chug back east and around the bottom of Nova Scotia and up the east coast and time is getting short. This way we can head more NE to Nova Scotia in a direct shot. So the new plan is to spend a couple days in Nantucket then head two days NE to Lunenburg, NS, clear Customs and Immigration, stay a few days then beat feet for the south coast of Newfoundland for a few weeks exploring the fjords before the organized cruise begins July 23d back on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia.

So that's the plan of the hour. Could you imagine structuring your work life like this? Can you imagine being this Free and not owe anyone anything including your time? Can you? You get the picture.

Oh, ho hum. A couple minutes after closing the laptop the short flat line went off and ho hum again, we caught our first Atlantic bluefin tuna. Fortunately it wasn't too big, about 25lbs so it wasn't a big chore to bring it to the boat for a filet and release. During the filet and release we fed the swooping shearwaters well. Of course 60lb - 27kg line on a heavy stick and 2 speed reel whooped its butt quickly. So tonight Mary is fixing slightly seared tuna medallions with olive oil and balsamic and a green salad.

Later. Of course dinner was perfect. And we have lots of tuna vacuum packed.

OK, new plan. Nantucket is out and Egret is on an Irreversible Course for Lunenburg (N.S............unless we change our minds again but won't. The weather was sooooo good we decided to take the Nantucket time as well as any possible weather wait and spend it in Newfoundland.

One interesting and frightening thing that happened while Egret was still on course for Nantucket was we saw a small (18' - 5.m) open skiff approaching thru the haze running directly for Egret. So some fiftyish guy pulls up and asks IF WE WOULD POINT TO MARTHA'S VINEYARD because he "got lost in the haze". This is not a joke. I asked if he had a compass. He said it was broken. So let's see. No compass, no gps or plotter, no VHF, no shirt (with a red back), and NO CLUE. Lost Boy was 11.5nm from the end of Martha's Vineyard he hoped to find in the haze with about a 1nm visibility. Can you imagine? (Martha's Vineyard is west of Nantucket - we were east of both) So I pointed and he asked "about 12:00" so I said about 11:30 or 35 degrees magnetic and off he went. Lost Boy was trying to act nonchalant but Mary picked up he was scared silly and should have been. After he left I thought I should have given him a hand held compass to use and return but he did leave looking down at the dash so I suppose his "broken" compass was OK (compasses rarely break), it was just he never used it before.

There are a number of obvious lessons to learn here but think about this. What are the chances of Lost Boy finding another boat in the haze on the east side of Martha's Vineyard to point him in the right direction? Very slim at best. Frightening. The only good news is that M'sV and Nantucket are close together so he had a many miles wide chance to hit land.

It is 0800 Saturday morning. Last night at sea was about perfect.......again. We did have a fast moving front blow thru but there was hardly any wind, some sweet rain but did have a bit of lightning in the distance. We don't do lightning.

One thing that was amusing was listening to the commercial fishermen giving each other a hard time about crowding their boat. Of course none have AIS (so their competitors can't follow their travels) and their lights are confusing because of the super bright lights lighting the fishing cockpits. Plus, they don't run a predictable course like a passagemaker so problem - no problem - Big Problem is a regular occurrence. None give their boat name because they have to live with each other back at the dock. Their local accents are wild as they grouch back and forth in commercial fisherman speak. Fortunately we missed that mob.

One thing we should mention for you Future Mariners who will travel this area. There are shoals surrounding Nantucket that are well charted. We chose the deepest water route and made two turns to stay in the deeper water. However we found that a total offshore passage to the east would have been better if there were any wind at all. The current was very swift with rising current waves in a no wind sea. Had there been wind against tide it would have been Very Bad. We ran up to 1750 rpm, closed all the doors and hatches and blasted, well sort of blasted, thru the incoming tide. Even at 1750 rpm, at times we had a forward speed of 4.6 knots. So we learned a lesson. Don't fool with Nantucket shallows.

Egret is running at 1500 rpm. As always in coastal water, speed is a give and take. Currently Egret is making 7.5 knots. When the tide swings she may slow to 6.2 knots. We are hoping to average 6.5 knots for a late daylight arrival into Lunenburg Sunday evening. We'll enter after dark if necessary because we have been there before and know the charting is spot on (C-Map uses Canadian charts for the Canada portion) and the harbor is lit by the shore side lights. More to follow.

0420 Sunday morning, arrival day. The ocean chopped up for a few hours yesterday afternoon then calmed during the night retaining a 1+ meter close swell. Egret is so far north that it is slowly coming light even at this early hour. It was foggy last night and we had a fishing boat approach quite close (1/16nm). I suppose he wanted to see who was encroaching on his territory but he kept running directly at Egret even though we changed course twice. I called on the VHF twice and the second time gave him a shot then he turned away. He never did reply.

We'll run the gen and top up the water today before we head into Lunenburg harbor. The harbor is dirty with silt so we'll take it easy on the water maker pre filter. In 2.4nm is the waypoint to turn parallel to the Nova Scotian coast and the turn in for Lunenburg later today. We set a course well outside the offshore marks most boats run along the coast so there shouldn't be any boat traffic. More to follow.

So we topped up water like we said, following seas picked up as we neared Lunenburg and 4 ½ days almost to the minute after leaving Annapolis, Egret arrived in Lunenburg. She has traveled 1875.96nm since leaving Ft Lauderdale and averaged 6.6 knots for the trip including time spent waiting for bridges, anchoring, etc. We called Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) 905 679-2073 as Egret was entering the harbor. CBSA directed us to the Fisheries Museum, Government Wharf or the Yacht Club and to call back after we docked. We went to the Government Wharf, called and were cleared into Canada for 2 months (by request) by phone and didn't have to wait for the CBSA officers to arrive. I believe it is because we arrived from the U.S. and not the Azores like last year as well as this being Egret's third time in N.S. We posted the clearance number in a port side pilothouse window.

After clearing we moved to the anchorage across the way, dropped in 18' and sent out 125' of chain and snubber. The holding is good. We had dinner ashore and had local seafood chowder that was to die for.

Next morning (Mon). The sun is out, it is warm and we be gone to town to see what is whipping.

Ciao.

 

June 7, 2012

Position: 38 52.80N 77 01.66W Capital Yacht Club, Washington, D.C.

Hello mis amigos, the Egret crew has been changing their minds like school kids about where to go when so we’ll just give you the short story. Egret needs to be in Nova Scotia around the middle of July for an organized cruise a week later. With offshore weather a mess thanks to tropical storm Beryl, Egret was ditch crawling (cruising up the Intracoastal). We popped offshore at Jacksonville, Florida and set a course to follow the inside of the Gulfstream north past Cape Hatteras, offshore of the Nantucket banks, then by turning west she would arrive in the Portland, Maine area. Last night before we committed to Cape Hatteras (we got sorta killed there once and will Never forget) we checked the weather and found that beyond Hatteras it turned to slop so we bailed for Beaufort, N.C. (36nm from now). So that’s the Egret travel itinerary to date.

The other day we ran across a couple interesting boats so let’s take a quick look at ocean capableegretegretpassagemaker design. There are two general schools of thought; forward pilot house and aft pilothouse. Both are correct. One has more living space, the other has a longer foredeck for killer tenders. In these two photos you can see an example of each. An imaginative salesman (you’ve met those, haven’t you?) can tell you the differences and in this case could assure you in the right conditions each of these would be Bahamas capable. But you are a bit smarter than to rise to that bait and if this case were a little more realistic you might. That would not be a good thing if you truly wanted to go offshore. But we have been thru all this before and won’t dwell on it but you can see in the first paragraph and the two wanting design examples, weather dictates what we do.

So let’s talk about weather. Near shore weather forecasting in most western countries is excellent. In areas like the Med, weather is so localized the best forecast is simply look outside because you rarely travel any distance. If you do plan a longer run in the Med, the weather generally comes from the north so you give that a long term forecast look. On the east coast of the U.S., WX1-2 on the VHF is good and today by using your smart phone you can watch live time weather radar as our buddies we’ll talk about in a bit pointed out. I can see a weather discussion becoming novelish so we’ll leave what we said stand except to say for an ocean crossing there are just a couple rules. The first is cross during the right time of the year. All of this is spelled out in Jimmie Cornell’s World Cruising Routes. And you leave on a favorable weather forecast. The rest is what it is and the boat design is important but what is Really Important is build quality. However, taking a chance on quality when crossing an ocean isn’t prudent. All the macho talk back at the dock goes to custard when it starts puffing.

One other point we’ll make about weather then move on is if you are planning an extended offshore cruise or ocean crossing; professional weather forecasting is a cheap form of boat insurance and comfort insurance. Professionals can look into the future and watch for trends. If something super nasty is coming days down the road you may have time to miss the worse and that alone is worth the price. A simple example; when Egret left the Canary Islands for Brazil it was during hurricane season (she left on a Sept, 30th). Pre hurricanes generally come offshore from the African coast near the Cape Verde Islands as depressions. They don’t leave Africa as hurricanes but still have more punch than we would be happy with. OMIN Bob constantly monitored the bands of weather coming off the coast as Egret passed. OMNI Bob, Bob Jones (ocmarnav.com – Ocean Marine Navigation, Inc) helped Egret on the Brazil crossing for the first time and with every ocean crossing since.

One last thing I can’t leave alone. Have you ever heard a salesman say; the extra speed lets you run from the storm? Give me a break. Are you kidding me? At 6 knots it takes 10 minutes to travel 1 nautical mile. A bit more or less speed is math. What are you going to run from? Do they think a mile or two or ten is going to make a difference? If you are thinking to yourself, I may be just 10 miles from port, go back up two paragraphs and re-read about excellent weather forecasting. If you get caught in something truly bad today and you are close to port, well, what can I say? Leave your last port sooner or stay put comes to mind. A fast moving summer squall is just that. Lotsa wind, sometimes lotsa rain but it is brief. There is no time for the ocean to whip into something dangerous. Choppy perhaps, but not dangerous. Besides, rain usually pounds the ocean flat. If it is a system that is moving thru, it is what it is because systems are generally so large any extra speed the sales wonder is pushing won’t buy you squat. The good news is, if you have a truly ocean capable boat the worst that will happen is you will be uncomfortable but not in any danger. Just guessing, Mary and I have been uncomfortable less than a total of 2 weeks* in the past years. And as always, those days pass.

*Half of those days were seven of nine days on the Tasman Sea crossing from Nelson, South Island, New Zealand to Tasmaina. If you have Any Brains and want to go to Tasmania you will read VofE about that crossing and will take the advice we gave and leave from the top of North Island (NZ) to Sydney (Australia) then work your way south to Tasmania like smart people.

egretThe other day Egret was leaving her anchorage near Daytona Beach, Fla, when we got a VHF call from friends on Tothill, a 46’ stabilized Grand Banks. (We had just sent out a VofE and they saw we were in Daytona.) Tothill was leaving Daytona an hour or two behind Egret so we both agreed to anchor just south of Jacksonville, Fla and get together for dinner.

First of all, I don’t believe I ever mentioned Tothill’s boat name before. You always knew them as the much abused Glitter Boat Folks*. We met Tothill on one of our first trips to Georgetown, Exumas (Bahamas) and have been friends ever since. The second time we met Tothill they had a new Boat Puppy, Coco Bear. Well the boat puppy is now a middle aged Boat Dog. The years have been kind to CCB. He has been the dock king from the Bahamas thru the Caribbean spending lotsa time (years) between Cartegena, Columbia, Puerto la Cruse, Venezuela, the San Blas Islands and Panama. Tothill is back in the U.S. for a while but age is catching up with CCB. Like second hand smoke, the glitter coat has taken its toll on CCB’s eyes. But like good parents his mommy and daddy had custom made sunglasses fitted for CCB so the glare from the glitter coat won’t damage his eyes any more.

*The glitter boat has hand rails, toe rails, decorative strips and a transom so shiny it is blinding. Wecould float Egret in the varnish the glitter boat has consumed over the years. You get the picture.

egretSo we went over to Tothill for dinner with Tut and Eddie*. CCB had his chew toy to keep him company. So we chatted, re hydrated after a tough day on the ditch and had a great meal. Of course it was South American cuisine. This photo shows the Tothill crew and CCB, the wonder dog.

*Tut and Eddie have been full time live aboards for the past 32 (thirty two) years, first in a series of sailboats and now aboard Tothill. T&E retired about the same time as Mary and I.

How many times have we said it? It is the people who make the magic what it is. When we will see the Tothill crew again? Who knows? They are taking their time slowly exploring as far north as Charleston, South Carolina this year if they make it that far. It doesn’t matter how far they get. It is all good. Perhaps we’ll see each other on the way south. Perhaps at the Ft Lauderdale Boat Show in the fall. Perhaps not for some more years. But when we do it will be just like the other day when it all comes back.

And it’s not just people. Coco Bear is waiting to get back together with his smoking hot lady friend, Katie, the Boat Dog aboard N47 Bluewater. Perhaps he’ll get to see her in the fall as well.

OK, so Egret rode the tide into Beaufort (Bowford to locals), North Carolina and left the ditch to anchor off the town. Beaufort is a small town; its waterfront can be walked in 10 minutes or so. The waterfront is lined with small marinas and restaurants. We planned to anchor and go ashore for a meal and a walk. It is a long story but the old anchor field is full of moorings, they were all taken so we left. The next issue was where to anchor. Fortunately we were on an incoming moon tide* and rode the tide thru all the harbor busyness and thru a long canal. She wuz flying!! Up to 9.5 knots at 1425 rpm. Exiting the canal we saw two full displacement trawlers on anchor. We called the first on the VHF and asked if we could anchor behind them. Well, after pulling out of the channel it showed 7.5’ and it was nearly high tide so the water would drop a little over 3.5’. Whoops. So we called them back and told them what we saw and left to run the last few miles into the sound to the north. We did and dropped in 10’ and fired out 125’ of chain. The trawler pulled their anchor and followed Egret to the next anchorage. There is a lesson to learn here. We learned it the hard way (aground and tilt city) and it was in N.C. on Egret’s first cruise north. Plan your anchoring well in advance so if there are any issues like we had in Beaufort there is a back up plan.

*During a full moon or a new moon the tides are higher and lower than the norm with more water flow.

So this morning Egret was chugging along thru the sounds winding her away around the markers and we came to a short, fairly straight canal connecting two bays. Off to port was a shrimp boat dock with a sign out that advertised fuel, fresh seafood and marine supplies. Of course the fuel and supplies were to serve the shrimp boats but fresh Carolina shrimp are as good as shrimp get. So we pulled egretover and asked how much large shrimp were. Yup, $3.75 U.S.P./pound. So we gave the dock man $17 pesos and asked for that much. Well, he wasn’t into higher math so we got 4lbs. So how fresh were they? He had to pick thru last nights catch to get just the large ones. Then he washed them clean from the net debris and put them in a bag.We didn’t dock, just idled off the dock and he handed Mary the shrimp in a bag full of shaved ice and gave her the change. How cool is that? So have you been eating farm shrimp lately? Farm shrimp? Oh my.

Egret left Ft Lauderdale early morning a week ago. So she has been under way 7 days and 6 hours. She has traveled 708.5nm and averaged 6.6 knots. I don’t believe we have been in seas over 1m - 3’ except for some long, well spaced swells. I checked the main oil filter* this morning and we have 90 more hours on this oil. We change oil faithfully at 200 hours or less. The only exception to that is at sea. We Never shut down at sea. I feel with continuous rpm, heat and a relatively lightly loaded engine this isn’t a problem. So those are the stats.

*We write the engine hours on the oil filter at each change. The filter is our log. Simple.
We do the same with the generator and change the wing oil once a year even though it is well less than 50 hours.

The last day before Norfolk (Virginia) and the end of the Intracoastal is one of the prettiest of the entire trip. The low country gives way to more mature trees, the ditch winds around in a continuous series of bends and there are a few oxbows along the way. The first year cruising Egret went to the Chesapeake. Returning in the fall we saw one of these oxbows, perhaps a 1nm loop, off to port (east) so we gave it a go. It is fresh water and there were turtles sunning on the logs, all types of birdlife and a semi displacement trawler anchored right in the middle of the channel facing the same direction as Egret was traveling. Well, Egret was running very low rpm and was basically silent as she slid in from astern. There was a relaxed dude reading a newspaper in the flybridge when we passed. When he saw Egret appear from nowhere he freaked and seriously rattled his paper while his brain tried to keep up with his eyes. Now that was cool. So of course we had to revisit the oxbow. There was a sailboat behind us at the time getting ready to pass so I motioned we were turning into the oxbow, made the turn and immediately got stuck city in the soft mud. Real stuck city. Like 3.5’ on the depth finder. So we put it in R and lettereat. The mud wuz flowing forward in a giantus cloud of silt. It took a while to dredge a hole but after a couple minutes Egret slowly started moving backward and another 3-4 minutes or so she was free. Thank goodness Egret is keel cooled and didn’t have an old fashioned raw water pump to stuff the engine full of mud.

So that is the second time on this trip Egret went aground. I don’t think I remembered to mention the first. You know how that goes. So what’s the lesson here? It happens to everyone. No biggie.
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Egret cleared the last few bridges up to Great Bridge Lock. There are courtesy docks lining the sides of the canal so we turned around mid channel before the lock and tied up for the night. By dark the dock was full. We met a full displacement trawler we met the year before as well as a egretsecond trawler along with several sailboats. So that was fun as always.

The next morning Egret cleared the lock and ran into Norfolk past all types of U.S. Navy ships in port and anchored off Hospital Point. Mary dropped TK in 30’ and sent out 125’ of chain. Holding was better than good.

Egret left this morning a little after daybreak heading out into Chesapeake Bay in route to Washington, DC. So you can see how Egret’s itinerary changes with the wind; in this case literally by the wind. One day we had set a course directly to Maine and a week or so later she is off to DC. As we said before; it doesn’t matter, it is all good. And Egret will still make it to Nova Scotia in plenty of time.

These last photographs are typical scenes from the ditch. You will see the same and more when it is Your Time.

Decorative bridge abutments in Daytona Beach.

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Roseate spoonbills along a North Carolina lowland area.

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Who said the earth is flat? This photo was taken of a Very Large sloop with a serious telephoto lens.

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The osprey family is typical of making their home on top of navigation markers along the Intracoastal.

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The barge and tugs showed up on AIS well before we saw them in the early morning light.

We’ll leave you with a task. Last night I started re-reading a book we bought in a very unusual place. The author’s inscription inside reads January 2d, 2008, Caleta Ideal (Chile). Caleta (Cove) Ideal is the staging anchorage just south of the most difficult passage in the Chilean Channels. Egret was anchored waiting on weather to make the 60nm passage north. At daybreak New Years day we heard an anchor being dropped. This was Exciting!! We had only spoken to one other human face to face in two months (a wild and crazy Frenchman……but that is another story). It was the well traveled 47’ aluminum sloop, Hawk, with Beth and Evans aboard.

We know they got Killed on the passage so we let them sleep. After noon they came back to life and the usual back and forth yachtie deal started and continued for 3 days. Evans is a technical writer and has authored a number of sailing magazine how to articles. Beth is a prolific writer with at least a zillion thousand magazine articles to her credit as well as 5 books. We have two of her books aboard. The first we bought before taking delivery of Egret; The Voyager’s Handbook……..The Essential Guide to Bluewater Cruising. This book is most likely considered among sailors as the best source of Real information about long distance cruising that is available. Voyager’s is extensive in its scope and details. Both Mary and I gained a lot by reading this book. The Voyager’s Handbook, Beth A. Leonard, ISBN 0-07-038143-7. Some technical information, like electronics – AIS, etc is dated but the balance is timeless. The Voyager’s Handbook is Very worthwhile.

The second book I started re-reading last night is a must – must. This book is a series of articles Beth wrote for Blue Water Sailing magazine combined into a single book. The four page introduction is worth the price of the book. In the introduction Beth describes in perfectly clear prose what I wish I could put into words. None of the articles are technical how to’s. Any brief mention of sail is easily interpreted into trawler speak. The articles are about feelings, emotion and how you literally change with the miles as well as different experiences in different locations around the world. It is also about People. People like you who dared to be different. Blue Horizons is goose bump inspiring.

Beth and Evans have completed two circumnavigations; the first a three year mid latitude and the second a very high mileage – high latitude – five Great Cape - eight year romp thru the world’s oceans. Blue Horizons…….Dispatches From Distant Seas, Beth A. Leonard, ISBN 0-07-147958-9

So help yourself and get both. We did. It is money well spent. Ciao.


Ed. Note - The glossary of Egretism terms will be posted on the Captain's Log home page for easy reference.

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