|"Egret" N4674 - Scott and Mary Flanders
Ed note: After a summer filled with cruising along the Mediterranean and conducting final preparations for their big voyage, Scott and Mary Flanders left September 16th, 2006 for the Canary Islands - the first stop in their great adventure taking them from Gibraltar to New Zealand by way of Cape Horn. After successfully traversing the Horn, the Flanders fell in love with the pristine cruising grounds of the "deep south" and decided to winter in Chile, thus postponing their arrival into New Zealand by a year, but they reached their goal destination in October 2008. Now plans call for exploring the lands of New Zealand and Australia. Here, the latest update from the Flanders as they keep us continually apprised of their journey with weekly log reports.
March 23, 2007
Position: S54 52.35 W67 20.55 Bahia del Relegada
Well, mi amigos, the Egret crew has given up city lights for wildlife
(Ushuaia harbor & town/El Zorro Chico - Little Fox). Wednesday morning
after calling 'Lima Tres Pappa' (L3P), the Argentine Prefectura/Coast Guard,
on the VHF for harbor clearance and destination information, Egret FINALLY
left the dock and trekked the 35 miles or so east along the Canal Beagle to
Bahia del Relegada. BdelR is the first of three bays on the Tierra del
Fuego (Land of Fires) side of the Beagle after Isla Mackinlay. Isla
Mackinlay is owned by the Chileans. The east side of the island narrowing
the Beagle is where the Atlantic tide meets the Pacific tide. Interesting
currents, interesting navigating for ships. Ships require a pilot to enter
the Beagle east of Isla Mackinlay. Jumping ahead a bit, when we asked a
staff person yesterday at the Harberton Estancia (ranch) tea room about a
VERY old steel boat at the dock she said in her best Eengleesh the boat was
a "pilote taxi" (pilot boat for the ships).
Further east just past Isla Mackinlay is a T-shaped island with the T facing
east. On the T are two penguin colonies living on the rocky shore. There
is quite a large magellanic penguin colony and a relatively recent and
small, about 12 pairs, of the beautiful gentoo penguins. Its a long dinghy
ride over but perhaps if we have a VERY calm day we'll scoot over and land
to take some close up photos with 'big momma', our super zoom lense.
All three bays are encompassed by Estancia Harberton, about 50,000 acres.
The second bay is Bahia Harberton and the third is Bahia Cambaceras. The
first and third bays are totally protected. Harberton is protected from
everything but the SE. SE winds are VERY rare. Yesterday in a conversation
with Tom Goodall, owner of the estancia, he said in his 50 years there they
had but one significant blow from the SE. When it did blow it blew 200
kilometers per hour (120 mph), straight past Cape Horn and straight into his
little bay with fetch from Antarctica. Tom said there was kelp in the trees
over 1/2 mile away AND up the hill.
The storm popped 200 rivets from the family launch brought from England
after breaking loose from its mooring and driven ashore onto the ONLY rocks
in the bay during the storm. The hull was breeched and filled with water
with each high tide. The 30' launch, built in England in 1907, is built of
3/8" riveted iron plate. She is twin engine and carries 8,000 lbs of
ballast stone in the bilge. Not exactly a modern, efficient passagemaker.
It's a long story but she was hauled on the hill & there she sits waiting
someday to become a museum piece for the wildlife museum Tom's American
wife, Natalie, started on the property.
We discovered the tea room at Estancia Harberton on our first visit here a
couple of months ago. It is a small, simple room, attached to the main
house, with a single menu of the day along with tea, coffee and home made
deserts. The walls are covered with memorabilia. The view is over
Harberton bay and the low hills to the east. The room is heated by an
industrial wood burning stove made in England in 1907, the same year as the
launch. The stove is quite heavy iron radiating LOTS of heat from a
relatively small fire. On a tiny scale we found if we covered Egret's
Dickinson diesel heater top with stone we get the same effect. Mary found a
piece of shale type rock that fits exactly & we added two more smaller but
higher rocks for the heat sink. In tests with the infra red temperature gun
we find a significant heat increase by adding the rocks.
Yesterday's lunch was Harberton stew, a potpourri of veggie tings with a
little meat & homemade bread. Desert was homemade manzanas y currant crumb
cake (apple and currant) along with bottomless cups of coffee. Ho hum.
There is so much to tell about this place so we'll dole it out a bit at a
time. The battery charging is about complete so we're off for whatever
today brings. Yesterday's highlights were two great hikes, meeting a few
critters including el zorro chico, lunch and a long conversation with Tom
Goodall. Life is good for the Egret crew. Ciao
March 20, 2007
Position: Ushuaia harbor - on the dock
Well, mi amigos, this is Egret's life on the dock the past couple of weeks. The dock at AFASyN, a Spanish abbreviation for a yachtie and diver group, is a single long dock with a dog leg to the right into deeper water. It also has a small floating dinghy dock for those on anchor or moorings. The dock costs Egret $16/day with water but no electricity. We came into the dock initially for water but were able to get next to the dock AND on the preferred side (weather) so we stayed meaning to leave nearly every day. Here we sit. The social life with the returning Antarctic boats and other arrivals is too good to pass up. In the picture of the five boats rafted behind Egret they are: Mallard, Americans from Georgia, Wandering Albatross, a South African and Scottish wife just returned from 2 months in Antarctica (over tonight for dinner), a French boat with two on board (short stay & no contact), Seal, a Brit and Canadian wife + two young daughters (beautiful, high end adventure charter boat just back from Antarctica), Gloria, American owner with a crew of 4, just in from New Zealand and on to Ireland via Buenos Aires. The two boats rafted outside Egret are a young French couple (boat bums - really nice) and another French boat registered in Antigua, also really nice.
On the other side of the dock and just forward of Egret are Sadko, our British ex diplomat buddy and outside him is Roger on Orbit, a former British scientist and sailing school owner (both over last night for dinner - Sadko is flying home to the UK for a hernia operation so Mary is pampering him & he loves the attention). Behind them is Tari II, an Italian boat registered in Rome with Antonio (a wild and crazy guy - Tony talka wid de hands aflyin'). Tony is trying to charter but being a small boat only sleeping three in discomfort its tough. Behind Tony is Shanty, a German boat with four half lambs hanging from the solar panel bracket (yes outside) It is tradition for boats leaving to hang a lamb in the rigging outside for later. Unfortunately for the meat but good for us it has been warm. The other night we had a large yachtie gathering in a close by eatery honoring Shanty's buddy Wolfgang, another German, who runs the Patagonia single sideband cruisers net. Two years ago Wolfgang saved a couples life when they didn't report in daily as usual & pestered the Chilean Armada into searching for them. They were shipwrecked and ashore in bad condition in the Chilean Canals. The Chileans found them using Wolfgang's approximate location. Outside of Shanty is a very small Canadian sailboat who just arrived with a single hander.
So there you have it. A small community of constantly moving little floating homes here in a beautiful part of the world. There will be about 6-8 of us wintering here. Our plan is to cruise the Chilean Canals returning to Ushuaia from time to time. We'll see what really happens. There is so much to do and so little time. We have a few plans but that is for another day.
I promised an update of our Aussie cruising buddy on Carmen who lost his lovely sailboat at 47 degrees south in the South Atlantic. In reading the full e-mail (sent from the rescue ship) Michael mentioned loosing everything on top of the masthead during the knockdowns and losing the rudder. There was no mention of other damage but probably was some. The cruising friend who forwarded Michael's e-mail has the same probable assessment we did. After 4 days by himself in a horrific storm and 3 more days in heavy seas waiting for rescue he was probably beyond fatigue and clear judgment. This takes absolutely nothing away from his seamanship. Michael has many tens of thousands of sea miles however he is just a human, nothing more. The rescue ship will drop Michael in Malaysia (their next stop). From there he can fly home to start over. Knowing Michael a bit he won't be satisfied until he replaces his beautiful Carmen.
If the weather's good tomorrow, we're off for a couple of weeks. If not, you know the deal. Ciao
March 16, 2007
Position: Ushuaia harbor (at dock)
Well, mi amigos, another sad tale. We always try to focus on the positive
aspects of Egret's cruising life however we feel it is importatnt to share
everything good and bad. We don't want to paint a picture when in the
future if you choose long distance cruising as a lifestyle you realize it
is not always Fuegian lamb, beautiful glaciers and a continuous round of
visiting other cruisers. As with dirt dwelling we also have our sad
tales (just not as many). Todays pictures are of SV Carmen and its owner.
At evening cocktails aboard Pen Azen anchored in Seno Pia (Chilean
Canals) the characters from left to right are: Jim, Ian (Pen Azen's owner
& wife Judy taking the picture), Michael from Carmen, Scott, Mary and
Master Angler Steve. In a brief e-mail this morning from Pen Azen we'll
describe what we know to date with a few details. On March 11th Michael
was rescued from Carmen somewhere between South America and South Africa.
Carmen was in a four day storm and knocked down three times. Michael
called a mayday for unkown reasons & was rescued three days later by a
bulk carrier. He scuttled the beautiful sailboat he built himself before
being lifted aboard the bulk carrier with a simple bag of possessions. He
saved his laptop, a few odds and ends and his Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego
Guide. Michael is one of the 'best of the best' having sailed for years
all over the globe aboard Carmen. The current eastabout voyage was from
Austrailia with a stop in New Zealand, Tierra del Fuego (completed) and
was enroute direct to Austrailia. He predicted the non stop voyage from
TdelF to Aus would take between 65-75 days. This circumnavigaton would
have taken him below all of the great southern capes of the world. We'll
pass on the details in a few days. I will say Michael wouldn't abandon
Carmen unless she was WAY beyond repair at sea.
The great run of weather we have enjoyed the past days is grinding to a
halt, actually blasting to a halt. the coming weather is testbook for
this part of the world. the light and variable winds suddenly went calm.
Then there was a warm slight wind from the NW. We are now experiencing
the NW blast (to 49 knots so far). Following the wind will swing to the
SW bringing high winds and cold from Antarctica. According to two charter
sailboats captains a few hours ago there are still two sailboats down
there. Antarctica has been having hurricane winds the past few days. The
two remaining boats must be holed up somewhere where the ice isn't a
factor waiting for their window to cross back across the Drake Passage.
With doubled dock lines we'll leave you. We have two sailboats rafted
outboard of Egret. Fortunately we are on the lee side of the dock being
blown off the dock. There are five boats rafted behind us. The boats on
the weather side of the dock are rafted two deep and are getting mushed.
We promise to have a more positive note on the next VofE. Ciao.
March 10, 2007
Position: Ushuaia, Arg. harbor - at the dock.
Well, mi amigos, Egret just can't leave the dock. We came in for water and
haven't left. The Antarctic boats keep pouring in with tales of wild ice
and pictures. Two are rafted to Egret's port side. We can cruise later.
This is too good to pass up. We have just had four days of glorious sun and
warm weather. T-shirt weather.
The pictures are of Egret getting fueled from drums arranged by Roxy, the
local 'get everything' agent and Egret being invaded by a just unmasked
super hero. This is a boat kid living on Vahalla, berthed behind Egret, who
was 'saving' all of the boats on the dock. He speaks Spanish, French
(mother) and English (dad). Four year Antarctic veteran.
We had two single handers (sans crew for the time being) over last night for
dinner. One, a British foreign service diplomat, primarily in Russia, on an
aluminum sailboat who has sailed high latitudes everywhere plus, plus, etc.
(72 years old). The other, an American who has been out eight years
finishing a circumnavigation on a 1960s vintage motorsailer (38 years old).
Both just came back from Antarctica. The ice got thicker and the waves
bigger as the wine flowed. The American is writing for Sail magazine. His
pictures are spectacular. It will be a great article when it comes out.
We did have some good news from the home front. Scott Jr. e-mailed and said
our wayward camera lense is in. Great! Mary can pick that up on her trip
to Ft Lauderdale. Better pictures for you amigos.
On the local not so good news front, our wing engine has been giving us
fits. It won't play. Bled the injector pump, injectors, got fuel, fuel
injection shut off lever is properly adjusted. Tomorrow it gets a shot of
WD40 in the air intake. If that doesn't work, it's the bonfire. Grrrrrrr.
Life isn't always all you can eat Fueguen lamb (Tierra del Fuego) roasted
over a wood fire. x#@%&^*+
On the happy front again, we found a way to get even more performance out of
our diesel heater. We shortened the tailpipe above the boat deck by one
extension. It burns even hotter and cleaner. Soooo, life is good again
for the Egret crew...until tomorrow's showdown with the #@$&^%*) wing. Ciao
March 7, 2007
Position: S54 48.80 W68 18.36 (Ushuia Harbor, Argentina)
Well, mi amigos, Egret is still in Ushuaia harbor. First the pictures.
Cruising buddies now berthed in Colon, Panama (mugging capitol of the world)
have gotten the camera bug as well so these pictures are for them as well as
you amigos. They were both taken with 'big momma', our 80-400mm Nikon
Vibration Reduction lense. The first critter is a common ringed kingfisher
but with winter plumage and the second a female black crowned night heron,
sort of a rare bird. They have the same D80 Nikon camera body but have the
18mm-200mm lense we have on order and are months away from getting. They
snagged theirs through the internet somehow, the dogs. These are the
perfect lenses for boaters because of our motion under way and our
unwillingness to lug a tripod while hiking. The VR reduces the camera shake
while zoomed out. Unlike Egret in the DEEP south with few critters they
have all kinds of jungley stuff in Panama and needed a telephoto lense.
They can even take a few snapshots of their muggers over their shoulders as
Cruising is a continual game of lessons learned. Egret's latest lesson is
summer diesel in cold weather. Yesterday we had horizontal snow driven by
LOTS of wind. It was our first snowstorm since our skiing days in the
middle to late 70s. Probably a yawner to most but we thought it was
beautiful. Our gravity feed diesel heater tank is next to the flybridge
steps. It is about 10-12 gallons made from stainless by our Turkish
friends. We have a drain in the bottom and take the fuel an inch above
that. We bought a Dickinson's fuel filter when we bought the heater and all
the accessories. This filter must have come from the Smithsonian. It is
one of those 60s deals with a wire bail and screw arrangement at the bottom
holding the metal bowl. The filter element is cindered stone. We
insulated the tank with 1/2" closed cell foam and a Sumbrella cover. This
all metal filter sits exposed with the fuel line going down the stack trunk.
Wellllllll, the fuel turned to jelly...twice. WE fired that puppy and
hooked up the fuel hose directly to the tank and have spliced in a modern
in-line plastic filter behind the stove. Problem solved.
A second heater lesson learned is we kept a 12V fan running all night in the
salon on low speed. We were able to turn the heater down 50% AND the boat
was warmer in the morning than usual. Once again our heater is happily
keeping Egret toasty inside burning half the fuel. Cool.
This morning's boat chore was shopping for meat and fruit/veggies. It is
quite a hike but we dragged our 'Barcelona cart', a two-wheeled enclosed
cart about 3' tall, to the butcher shop in a local neighborhood. Today we
bought two complete tenderloins, (or whatever you call where filet mignon
comes from), 10lbs of boneless pork chops, three large chickens cut in half,
and two back quarters of lamb (cut boneless). About $105. Our kind of
deal. Next door is the fruit & veggie shop. With Mary's backpack full and
the cart overflowing we trekked back to the dinghy, then to the boat. You
wonder where the day goes. Shopping, then vacuum packing, then lunch, then
nap chores, then filling the diesel heater tank, then typing this VofE & all
of a sudden it's time to round up some cruisers for cocktails. Another
great day doing nothing. Sure beats what we used to do. Ciao
March 3, 2007
Postion: S54 48.80 W68 18.36 (Ushuaia, Argentina harbor)
Well, mi amigos, what a fiasco with the Nordhavn site down. All's well that
ends well and it appears the new server will give better service. (This is
assuming you know what a server is...we don't. It is one of those mystical
Doug deals.) One improvement that directly affects VofE is now we will be
able to send two pictures with each posting instead of one. This will allow
us to keep more current with pictures/text.
Back to a topic we know something about: having fun in the uttermost part of
the world. ('Uttermost' was coined by Darwin.) We left you last with the
Egret crew going over to Ice Dancer II (57' Nordhavn) for dorado. We had a
great dinner and evening sharing experiences. The next night the ID II crew
were over to Egret for a fresh caught crab dinner. The critters in the
cockpit soon became critters on the dinner table. Another great evening.
Dick and Gail left early the next morning in little wind. Within a very
short time it was howling...big time. They were traveling west into that
mess. We sent an e-mail saying we hoped they were tucked in safely
somewhere. It blew hard for two days from the west. Egret traveled east so
it wasn't much for us. We have mentioned this before and will again.
Cruising is a constant parade of unexpected treats. What was to be a couple
hour get-together on a chance meeting turned into a two-day affair of two
boats enjoying each other's company.
This happened again two days later. Egret was anchored in Puerto Navarino,
Chile when we heard the Kiwi boat, Vision (54' steel sloop), on the radio.
We had said our goodbyes to Vision weeks earlier and here they were again.
Sooo, another great night with the Vision crew. We'll meet them again in
New Zealand. They were both smitten by Egret so we'll see if their two-year
plan for their own Nord comes true. One of the items of conversation that
evening was how much they enjoyed the American crew aboard Mallard (43'
Westsail). We met the Mallard crew, Bob and Betty, in Puerto Williams,
Chile checking out at the same time as Egret to return to Ushuaia. This is
their first time here so we gave them the usual pointers: grocery store,
meat market, restaurants, internet, etc. Tonight Mallard and a Brit boat,
Sadko, were over for cocktails.
If you have been reading VofE for a while, you by now have gotten the
picture that bashing waves is a small part of what we do. So, here we go
again. Cruising is a constant parade of unexpected treats.
Mary and I were walking in downtown Ushuaia today getting ready to enter a
restaurant when two couples approached us and asked if we were Scott & Mary
from Egret. Russell and Nicolette Waldon are Americans from Atlanta along
with their British friends Graham and Jean. They arrived early this morning
on a giant cruise ship. With binoculars they found Egret anchored in the
harbor & saw us leave in the dink wearing red foul weather gear. We were
the second couple in red foulies they approached. It turns out they have
been following VofE religiously. They are sail boaters keeping their boat
in Beaufort, NC. They have a third friend following VofE, Richard Ossoff,
from M/Y Crunella, they rescued years ago from a certain boating disaster.
We shared lunch and conversation. Small world. Again, cruising is a
constant parade of unexpected treats.
So there you have it. We'll finish our business here in a few days, or
maybe a week (it doesn't matter) then we will leave to cruise east down the
Beagle staying in Argentina until Mary leaves for the States in early April.
Life is good for the Egret crew.