"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.
March 29, 2009
Position: S41 15.62 E173 16.86 Nelson Marina, D27, Nelson, South Island, New Zealand
Crikey dix mis amigos, the Egret crew is back home after our camping vacation. How do we even start explaining this trip? We could simply say we had a great time, weather was good and the scenery was beautiful. There was no wave bashing. The notorious west coast harbor bars were behaving and on both coasts the weather was benign. If your interests end here its OK. There is no boating knowledge to be gained in this VofE and laboring thru someone else's vacation may seem tedious. However, in the big picture there is something to be gained. Land touring in conjunction with sea travel is something we have always done since leaving the States 5 years ago. We have many great memories from land travel and the people we traveled with, the folks we met and what we saw. During our time in the Med we land traveled with different boat crews sharing the kilometers and adventures. We also land traveled in South America and here in New Zealand we really have put in the K's. If we ever return to Argentina and Chile the major thrust would be land travel. Of course another go at the Chilean Channels wouldn't be bad......and perhaps while reminiscing we could throw in South Georgia Island with intermediate stops in the Falklands coming and going. But that's another story for another time years from now.
In a nutshell we started the trip by camping 3 days in nearby Cobb Valley and were joined for 2 days by the New Paige crew. It was quite an introduction to camping setting up the tent in wind gusts of over 40 knots, light rain and a bit of snow. Yes, we had ice on the tent one morning. Yes we had a great time and started learning the camping routine of setting up camp, cooking, what you need and don't and so on. We returned after the 3 days to Nelson for an overnight aboard Egret and to buy some fine tuning camping gear the next morning. Our route around South Island was: west coast as far north as Karamea and as far south as Jackson Head (by secondary roads* the last K's and just north of Fiordland) (as far north and south on the west coast as you can drive) *rather than repeat roads we traveled at every opportunity on secondary roads to get away from crowds (that never materialized).
Our route then took us south thru Wanaka, Queenstown, Invercargill and to Bluff (as far south as you can get). From Invercargill we took the SE coastal road* up to Dunedin, north to Omaru, N then NW back across the island, back NE near Christchurch then north to Nelson. Obviously this is a simplified itinerary and doesn't include the towns along the way. Highlights were spending two days in Wanaka hiking inland valleys, the gold mining town of Arrow Town, attending a weekend sports car race in Invercargill (it is tough to be a spectator when we did just this for so many years and got the 'I can still do this' feeling) and spending a day in the restored village of Oamaru on the SE coast. Perhaps the highlight was while in Invercargill I was taking pictures of the beautiful Court House when some old guy (like YT) came by. I told him I was taking the pictures for Burt*. *Burt Munro of Invercargill from the movie World's Fastest Indian (motorcycle). I imagine every red blooded male in the US and perhaps elsewhere who has the slightest sense of gearhead in his body has seen the movie staring Anthony Hopkins. He knew exactly what I was talking about and sent us to Hayes Hardware just blocks away that had Burt's original bike on display along with the streamliner body. So we went. Before he died Burt sold all his motorcycle 'stuff' to the elder Hayes who was a gearhead like Burt so his lifetime efforts would remain in Invercargill. Hayes the younger and now owner of the collection personally showed us around, moved display paraphernalia so we could take better pictures and so on. Later after seeing our enthusiasm he invited us to his house to see the rest of the collection. So we went. The opening scenes of the movie were panning over shelves full of broken pistons and other gear, a painful tribute to speed. ALL this was EXACTLY as shown in the movie along with the pouring pot for molten aluminum and the steel piston die. This was living history from one persons effort to "do something big". I won't bore you with the technical end but will include one innovation from Ol' Burt. There was an aluminum aircraft engine head he fitted to his motorcycle engine to try to get more horsepower. The valve damage in the combustion chamber of the head showed the results. A second highlight was in the village of Te Anau meeting with senior DOC (Department of Conservation) folks to not only learn more about the two large Fiordland Islands set aside to preserve native bird species but to also get 'not for public' topographical maps of where their induced pest game trails were cut for inland pest trapping (for our hiking). We received these and more. To make a long story short we exchanged e-mail address and have volunteered to do anything to help the DOC crews while in Fiordland. (they have 2 trips planned) We'll see how that goes when we visit Fiordland during the winter. Here again Egret and her travels opened another door not available to dirt dwelling masses.
Back to the trip. The scenery in South Island is magnificent and diverse. Within hours in any direction you can go from the coast to inland dry areas to mountains (with and without snow) to valleys to areas with one of the world's highest rainfalls. All are magnificent in their own right. The entire country seems to be growing something from meat, dairy, grapes, pit fruits and veggies. I believe the entire population of South Island is around 1 million. A Brit we met camping said the UK has less land area than NZ and supports 66 million folks vs NZ with 4.5 million. Big difference and why the majority of South Island is so open. The NZ Department of Conservation is well funded and it shows. There are groomed DOC trails with hour hikes (tramps) to day to multiple day hikes everywhere. The DOC also has campgrounds within hours drive of each other. Some are free and others have a nominal charge ($3 U.S./night per person). The multi day great hikes are dotted with huts (that look more like houses) with outhouses, stoves, firewood and mattresses on the bunks. Some even have running water (cold) in the middle of nowhere. Along with DOC campgrounds there are many commercial campgrounds as well. We paid from $10 to $18 U.S./night for tent sites. During two rainy nights we stayed in rooms for reasonable charges as well. One special night was spent at a farm cabin with all those farm stories coming from the owner. We enjoyed virtually every kilometer spent on the road. There are a number of ways to repeat our trip and of course what we encourage. If its not close to Your Time and you want to keep the fires lit, a NZ South Island trip will do that job well. We wrote before we think the Med is the best bet after your first ocean crossing, and still do. However, in your future plans a looong visit to New Zealand is a must. There are a number of ways you can tour South Island. We camped with high end camping equipment we can use forever so it made sense spending the money for good equipment. If we were not campers and were fly in visitors we would recommend renting a Kia camper. Kia has a VW Passat van based camper with a pop top (and not one of their larger campers unless you are more than a couple). (just guessing kia.co.nz) The problem with traditional boxy campers (camper vans here) is NZ roads are narrow and twisty. Plus up and down hills/mountains. The box vans are lumbersome and slow and can't go some of the places we went. It personally pains me to hold up traffic and we don't. When an obvious faster car pulls up behind we put on the left hand blinker (remember we are driving on the left side of the road) and slow allowing the faster car to pass. Camper vans do the same (most of the time). Two weeks in South Island is about the minimum amount of time to see what we did. More time would be better for hiking or weather days. We were very lucky to have so little rain. March is a great month to travel. Its fall, the crowds are down and the changing leaves and so on are about perfect. Clothes aren't a problem. All you need are normal cool weather clothes, a good raincoat, tough nylon hiking pants and good boots. Most commercial campgrounds have washers and dryers so you needn't travel heavy.
This is just our first trip camping. After sorting taxes and attending a wedding in Auckland we'll return to provision Egret for her winter cruise south to Stewart Island (south of South Island) and around to Fiordland. After returning to Nelson we'll do some more camping before leaving this coming December for Oz.
Special thanks to the New Paige crew, Roger, and while Roger was away attending a Trac stabilizer seminar, the girls, Joan and Paige took over checking Egret every 2 days.
A second special thanks to Dick Anderson, a local and N46 enthusiast, who loaned us a car for the trip after the HBC (Honda Beater Car) failed inspection and had to be taken off the road. Long story.....grrrrrrr.
And we'll leave you with this short tale sent today by my fishing buddy for a number of years who is a self proclaimed DAD "dumb a__ doctor" when it comes to fiberglass work. If you need spinal work he is the best of the best. If you need fiberglass/paint work, read on.
"Almost finished with the Dink bottom, one more coat of Perfection.* ed note. Perfection is Interlux polyurethane top coat paint.
Yep it's been 3 months, upside down in the back of the house.
Sanding, glassing, sanding, filler, faring, sanding, more sanding, epoxy clear, sanding, epoxy clear, sanding, epoxy primecoat, sanding, epoxy primecoat, sanding, Perfection poly, sanding and now the final coat today. Still looks like shit but is a much better functional bottom. Should have given it away and bought an aluminum bottom dink. Hindsight. WIll it ever become foresight?"
The joys of boating. Ciao.
March 11, 2009
Position: S41 15.62 E173 16.86 Nelson Marina, D27, Nelson, South Island, New Zealand
Crikey dix mis amigos, the Egret crew is going on vacation land cruising here on South Island so this will be a short VofE and we won't have another until we return to report our findings. Back to last weekend. We drove the HBC to the Nelson Lakes District for the Wooden Boat Festival. The weather was perfect with clear and sunny skies and a bit cool. There was quite a turn out from the woodies. Our favorites were the assemblage of steam launches. Some were quite beautiful and their engines were a mass of polished copper tubes, boilers and brightly painted engines. Every group of small wooden boats were represented from strip planked kayaks to plywood hydroplane race boats. Boats were paddled, rowed, poled, steam driven, early gasoline engine driven, outboard driven including a group of British Seagull engines, and on up the line with inboard race engines. And then there were the sailboats, all small and in every configuration you can imagine. The drive by of every boat together later in the afternoon was a nautical study in diversity. I asked one fellow to puff some steam for a picture. He smiled and accommodated but apparently was running out of steam. I apologized for using so much fuel but he said (seriously) no problem but I have to pump more water into the boiler so proceeded furiously doing just that with a hand pump. He was really into his steam. It was a great day. And the drive to and fro on different roads was another highlight of the day.
Yesterday (Sun) we took a walk about Nelson early in the morning to catch the sun (for picture shadowing). Between Mary and I we took a few hundred pictures and later boiled them down to a favorite 60 or so. We have made a picture CD of our Nelson walk and the Wooden Boat Festival we'll mail tomorrow to Jenny Stern at the Rhode Island Nordhavn office. She in turn will pick her favorites and send them off to be posted on the VofE website. The pictures will most likely be posted before we return so keep an eye out. Nelson continues to impress us. Past Cathedral Hill at the end of town is a lovely neighborhood of quaint homes from the past. Most neighborhoods in NZ are for sale signs but in this neighborhood there are none. I can understand why. Our favorite was a smallish white home from yesteryear accessible only by crossing a narrow creek on their private bridge. As time goes by we'll keep exploring by foot and see what else Nelson has to offer. We ended the trip at a downtown camera store where we bought a heavier duty camera tripod than the one we have. I have started using one of these cumbersome tools to help improve landscape shots. The tripod is a nuisance to carry but the results are worth it.
Rooms on the road are relatively expensive so today we bought a high quality tent, down sleeping bags and other tings equivalent in price to a couple weeks on the road. The tent is a super lightweight trick model with good netting to keep the ravenous sand flies outside. We bought lightweight pieces so if we decide in the future to hike in and camp like our buddies did in Ushuaia (Argentina) we have the gear. For this car trip we'll buy a heavy, two burner propane stove, and carry normal boat pots and pans for camping. New Paige has loaned us self inflating mattress pads and a 'kitchen tent'. They have a camping set up as well. In any case this will be a learn as we go deal and time will tell how we make out.
Picking today's pictures was tough. Just one from the boat festival and one from Nelson. The balance will be up shortly.
So while we are gone if you pick up the phone, do the deal and start your own adventures, goodonya. If not, we'll be back after a bit. Ciao.
March 6, 2009
Position: S41 15.62 E173 16.86 Nelson Marina, D27, Nelson, South Island, New Zealand
Crikey dix mis amigos, Egret is a Marina Queen (MQ) once again back at D27, our home away from home unless we are away. Actually our home is home no matter where she happens to be so when we're away from D27 we're at home. Give that a little thought...or don't...it's not worth it. It's been a busy few days. We flew to Auckland with NPR (New Paige Roger) so he could FINALLY buy their new car. NPJ and NPP (Joan and Paige) were ready to leave their home in - head for our home in D27 to get some some relief from dad's marathon researching the car market THEN test driving multiple cars in every major NZ city. In the end they ended up with a late model Subaru, perfect for twisty NZ roads, rain and snow. Now of course we want one as well but with the mix of cruising and inland trips during the relatively short time we have left in NZ it doesn't make sense in the declining resale market. But again, its a great time to buy. So we'll see.
Since we have been here at home in D27 we have had a number of N enthusiasts stop by to introduce themselves. It's really nice to meet the locals and see their enthusiasm for cruising. There are so many interesting folks around the marina, local to Nelson, elsewhere in New Zealand and from offshore. Egret is in Nelson because of a story we read in Cruising World Magazine written a few years back by American Beth Leonard and her husband cruising on their aluminum sailboat, Hawk. Beth painted a great picture of Nelson and the cruising community. Now we are here we have to agree 100% and in turn are passing on our opinion. We have written before we are easily led by other cruisers. Those before us have given us their opinions. We sift these facts with what we have read and heard from others. From the locals that stopped by we learned about South Island's east coast, something that doesn't appear in any NZ cruising guide we have seen so far. We have collected multiple cruising guides about relatively small areas here and there but there is NO overall North and South Island guide. (Hint, hint to you locals). We do have an excellent cruising guide (Mana Cruising Club) for Stewart Island (south of South Island) and Fiordland at the south west end of South Island loaned to us by a local in Opua. One priceless bit of information we received was from an Aussie couple who refitted a 40+ year old timber (wood) Aussie cray fishing boat with new power, wiring, house and so on. They spent 8 months in Stewart Island and Fiordland during summer and winter. We in turn, gave them a tutorial on Chile and Argentina where they plan to visit next. We all share information freely with each other. As far as sifting information, we can tell in a nanosecond if what we are being told is fact or hearsay. And again like we said before, what we do isn't a competition.
If you're REALLY competitive let me give you a goal to shoot for. Minoru Saito of Japan has completed 7 (seven) SOLO circumnavigations, the last at age 71. He is currently on his 8th, sailing west to east against the prevailing winds. SOLO. When he finishes this circumnavigation Minoru plans to circumnavigate Antarctica. SOLO...again. (www.saito8.com). So, tough guys, give this a bit of thought. In our own small world of little white fiberglass ships, Germans Heidi and Wolfgang Haas are enjoying their third circumnavigation aboard their N46. This is after completing their first by sail. So it makes sense to do whatever makes you happy, whatever that may be. If you look at Egret's history, we pound out the miles then take it easy for a while. Then pound out some more until the next destination to take it easy. All the while we keep a loose plan (written in sand at low tide) for coming years. What is coming up for Egret's next years after NZ is really exciting to us. As this unfolds it will be exciting to you as well. But again we enjoy every day where we are and don't dwell on the past or future. This is what makes us happy. Others pound out miles then get off the boat until the next go round. Others move slowly then get off the boat for a season. Others move slowly...period...but keep moving. Others choose to get stuck in tar pits for extended periods then move on to another. Again, it really doesn't matter what you do except you enjoy the water during your boating years.
A number of boats here in Nelson, even more than we saw in North Island are a tough breed. Quite a few of the sailboats (yachts) have hard dodgers for protection from the wind and cold. There are quite a few well maintained old wood power boats (launches) that seem to be unique to New Zealand. They are long and narrow, some with their original gasoline engines, with a light foremast and aft mast, ketch rigged if you will, to give them stability in choppy seas and as emergency propulsion. The Aussie couple we mentioned above with the ex cray fishing boat has the same set up but with a beam and draft designed to carry a load and a heavy mast capable of carrying sail in high wind. One thing interesting about their boat is they still have the open well inside the boat to carry live crayfish. There are holes drilled thru the bottom to flood this large chest. This water weight gives them quite a bit of stability at sea in addition to their sails. Poured cement in the bottom of the well fine tuned the ballast. If in the future they need more storage they could easily plug the holes and pour more cement for ballast. Yesterday we saw an old powerboat whose stern has as fine an entry as its bow, the ultimate canoe stern. So what we are saying is the boats and their folks are an interesting lot giving us a lot of pleasure while we wander around the marina. This weekend we are off to a wooden boat festival in the Nelson Lakes district. That should be fun as well.
In the small world department, the Grace crew (mom, dad, and three boat kids we first met in Papeete, Tahiti) are in town visiting the NP crew. We all went to dinner last night then came back to Egret for ice cream and coffee. Their sailing catamaran is in a port (Bundaberg) just north of Brisbane, Australia where they did a bit of a fluff and puff (cosmetic refit along with refrigeration) before heading out again. In the same harbor is N55 Myah (we first met in Papeete as well) getting some warranty work and upgrades (solar among others) taken care of. Both Grace and Myah are joining a boat rally in June from Oz to Indonesia. Small world indeed, and again you can see how some of us moving slowly west seeing this n that are bumping into each other here n there. When we do meet again its like they never left and we take up where we left off. The Grace crew has one more year 'out' before returning home and the BK's (boat kids) return to formal schooling instead of home schooling.
A couple days later. Its been a social whirl with the three boats, NP, Grace and Egret meeting daily for dinners and thisas and thats. Today was a yachtie gang visit to Nelson's World of Wearable Art (WOW) museum. WOW is a combination automobile museum and the wildest imaginable clothes art collection you can imagine. In fact, you couldn't imagine it. It is practically emotional watching the displays of clothes entries from 2000 until now. How can folks have THAT much imagination????? Unfortunately you aren't allowed to take pictures of the clothes to preserve the artists' originality. The cars however were a different matter. Both Mary and I took a number of artsy fartsy pictures of different cars. Pretty cool. We'll show an example today and mail a few along with some New Zealand photos back to the States to be shown on the VofE website.
Along these same lines we went to the Nelson equivalent of a soap box derby with a twist. Unlike US soap box derby cars some of these entrys have the engineering of an Indy car. Demonstration runs by a few entrants were being held in the rain after the event was cancelled. One unfortunate fellow, an adult no less, in an entry that was shaped like a high top shoe complete with laces in front crashed and burned* after the finish line. This entry had pre-K engineering. So they hauled him away in an ambulance. And the kids kept coming down the hill. Great fun except for the crashee. The crashor had a few scrapes and is ready for the next upset. *'crash and burned is an expression from our old race car days. He didn't burn... gravity and cajones were his only fuel. Unless of course he shot a couple quick beers to get the nerve to ride this ting. But that is speculation, not known fact.
So there you have it. A little home base happenings and a few more days in The Life. Ciao.
Ed. Note - The glossary of Egretism terms will be posted on the Captain's Log home page for easy reference.