"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.
May 26, 2010
Position: Derby, Western Australia
G'Day mis amigos, the Egret crew is on the edge of the gigantic NW - WA region called the Kimberly. This area is only visited by extreme 4WD cars or trucks and even then just a small portion of the area, by air overflight and by boat. The area has the second highest tides in the world. Here in Derby tides are 11m (over 35') and move in and out at a fast run. More on tides later as we experience them ourselves.
The topography changed considerably on the way to Derby from Broome. The land is flat, greener and has a proliferation of different colored termite mounds and we entered boab (tree) country. The soil has gone from rust red to a more light tan seen via the termite mounds. The termite mounds look suspiciously like the pinnacles we showed in pictures a couple VofE's ago. I wonder if the scientists who have two different theories on how the pinnacles were formed are on the wrong route? I wonder if the pinnacles are petrified ancient termite mounds? Who knows, it's a mystery.
When we first came across the termite mound I thought that is what they were.......so I had to find out. I picked a small one and poked the top with a stick. It was very hard baked but eventually I pried the top off and saw what appeared to be the dark worker ants. Then I was bad. I kicked it over and found the food stores (wealth) in the base with what appeared to be fat blind queen ants among the food stores. Is this a look into mankind's future? Workers and fat lazy wealthy? Hummmmm.
The boab trees (Oz spelling - different from the African spelling). Boab trees are unusual in their shape. They have a round fat trunk and frilly thin branches. They swell during the wet season and shrink during the dry. One example we stopped to see has a lot of fairly recent history from the 1800's thru the early 1900's. The tree itself is believed to be 1500 years old. We have all read the African baobob trees have hollow trunks and are used by locals for shelter. This particular hollow base tree was used as a local jail as prisoners were brought from elsewhere on their way to Derby. Are boabs a look into mankind's future? Fast food figures with frilly thin uppers? Hummmmm.
OK, I'm thru being naughty. While in Broome we met a South African couple, now Australians, who are recent retirees. They have two homes, lotsa stuff, a couple kids who are independent and one remaining parent. Sound familiar? So now they are caravanning and were content with plans to upgrade their caravan until......well until they met Mary and I. We introduced them into a world besides living in a small box parked in the dirt. So......we sent an e-mail to N43 owners Graham and Margarite who live in Sydney (Australia) asking they show their lovely 'Barquita' (Small Boat in Spanish) to these folks as they pass thru this July. We also sent an e-mail to the N folks in Aus asking they send a NAR video and a couple Circumnavigator Magazines to these folks c/o a caravan park just up the road. They are so hot they are smoking!! What is interesting is one major pull was not just the boating life but the morbid fear of what I call the ever
tightening, suffocating routine of meritocracy as we age. We suggested they charter a N. with a captain in Alaska (to introduce them to a completely different part of the world than Oz) then take a second charter somewhere else on their own. If this is something they enjoy and can see as their future, THEN start selling 'stuff' to make it all happen. We told them if they didn't take these first steps it would be a mistake. (they were never boaters) We are excited for them!
We met a second couple who sought us out after they heard we were boaters. They too are recent retirees living in a box. We talked about a number of scenarios but what I think would work best after talking with them for a while is to buy a modest sailboat (35' is what they suggested) in the Med and use it as a powerboat during the summer cruising season. With a small sailboat and a shallow draft they could pull the rig and cruise the European canals during the summer as well.
It has been raining recently; very unusual for this time of year, and the short 4WD track we want to travel is closed. Actually, the main track is open but the short tracks into the two parks are closed. If we decide to stay for the park's word on Thursday (its Tuesday) they will probably be open. We'll see. In the meantime we'll hike to the local jetty and watch the tide race. A 35' rise in tide in a few hours should be something to watch.
Later. Walk to the jetty we did and the tide was racing in. There was an about 135'/42m landing craft with a ramp front bow. It was sitting in the mud taking 105,000 liters of diesel. We spoke to the security guard and he said it takes between 105,000 and 210,000 liters of fuel and delivers it to a nearby island with an iron ore mine. The open deck is their freight deck to haul freight to and from the island. Obviously tide is everything when timing their fuel deliveries and freight. We are near a full moon so the tides are particularly high.
There were a number of camper and local folks fishing off the jetty. Most had traps for catching mud crabs. They were baited with a chunk of fish and hauled every few minutes. This morning none seemed to be particularly successful.
We returned near sunset to get killer pictures. Welllllll, duuuh, I decided I needed to walk to a grassy point thru the mud flats hopping from rock to rock. It didn't work out. I barely escaped with my life with shoes in hand, tripod a muddy mess (because it became my walking stick) and clothes not so hot as well. In the end the best pictures were standing on the jetty itself and not getting everything in the frame. In any case, cleanup took a while back at the caravan park. If there was a highlight it was nobody saw my fiasco.
One of the parks will open tomorrow so we will leave Derby and head to a tiny spot called Halls Creek to stage for an early entrance into the park the next morning. There are two river crossings to get into the park but they are supposed to be less than half a meter. So we'll see. It is spectacular scenery with zillion year old rock formations. If you google 'bungle bungles' you will see just where we are going. Also for the first time ever if all works out we will take a 30 minute helicopter flight over the bungle bungles. It is strictly a photo secession so if we can't get a daybreak/sunset time we won't go. We'll see.
So there you have it. A few more days in the dirt dwelling life living in a car. Ciao.
May 21, 2010
Position: Palms Campground, Broome, Western Australia
G' day mis amigos. For weeks now we have been giving on coming drivers the finger. Shame on you for anything but pure thoughts. There is little local traffic in wide open Western Australia away from towns. During the day other than mining truck traffic and a bit of commercial traffic nearly all the vehicles are varieties of campers heading to their next destination. So, almost without exception (including a few motorcycle tourers) give a friendly wave or lift an index finger in recognition of the other. There are all varieties of camper traffic from McGlorius boxes, to camper vans, to 4WD tucks towing a variety of boxes, to 4WD trucks towing small off-road specialty trailers that unfold like a blooming flower, to tough 4WD trucks with fold out tents ON TOP with a latter down, to peons like the Egret crew sleeping in a van to the small Toyota beater vans of youth.
Looking at the big picture it is common for long term, long distance cruisers to take inland touring sabbaticals from boating. This takes a while because during your early cruising you are so smitten by the lifestyle and sights it consumes your thoughts. As your cruising matures you can see beyond just more waves. In our case this took 8 years. While in Ushuaia, Argentina we met an Israeli couple who left their boat in Cartegena, Columbia and were land touring South America. A Dutch couple we met in Nelson (NZ) spent nearly a year land touring Africa during their many year high latitude cruises. And so on. A year from this November or so we plan to return to Nelson, (NZ) from cold, short day N. Europe. While in NZ we will again land tour plus spending time in Nelson.
In addition to the Grey Nomads moving here and there are families on vacation and a contingent of young folks of university age doing what they can on the cheap. Mostly all of these free spirit young folks are Europeans with a smattering of Australians. We have met NO N. Americans. I guess it is not in our culture to have one last fling before entering the workforce. It is such a shame because these Young Folks are having the time of their lives and seeing parts of the world they might not see again for years, if ever. (We met this same crowd in NZ)
We are smitten by the go anywhere 4WD trucks and their camper attachments. With some after market additions including tires, suspension upgrades and additional fuel there is nearly no limit where these vehicles can go. There are thousands of kilometers of 4WD tracks around WA to explore or make your own trail. GPS makes this so much safer today than in the past. They even have GPS driven tracking for many of the mapped 4WD tracks.
So lets give you a little insight into the Egret's crew's mobile stuff. In addition to the MBE4 and its custom mattress we carry: sheets and pillows, 2 sleeping bags (zipped open and used as a blanket), 2 additional fuel jugs totaling 37 liters of diesel, a small fridge/freezer with a third dedicated battery, 1 large crate with canned goods that stays inside the van, 3 plastic inclosed bins for food stuffs, 2 folding chairs, a beach umbrella, a traditional cooler, a plastic tub for condiments, a soft sided pack for; (2 forks, 2 spoons, 2 butter knives, 2 steak knives, 2 plates, 2 bowls, 1 8" frying pan, 1 8" sauce pan, coffee pot, matches and a bread knife), a folding aluminum table, a 2 burner camp stove, a 5lb propane bottle, a 3 gallon pail and a 20 liter and 4 liter water jug. Also we have two cups. They are insulated and we use them for coffee, wine glasses, water and used when brushing out teeth in the bush. Mary's is a Winnie the Pooh cup. We carry our clothes in two small duffels, bathroom bags in soft bags, and the laptop. Mine has a cool 2 gallon zip lock bag for the small stuff. There is a small inverter run off the lighter socket for charging the laptop and camera batteries. For light we have a small AA power lantern and a larger rechargeable lantern. There is also about 15lbs of camera stuff. So that's our mobile life.
Campgrounds range from free to paid campgrounds from $14AU/night to $36 night. (the AU$ is nearly on par with the USP - U.S. Peso) It seems as you move further north into the more popular areas the prices go up. Fuel ranges from $1.31 - $1.62/ liter or $4.98 - $6.21/ U.S. gallon. We average about 18 statute miles per gallon in normal highway use. When off road the mileage drops dramatically. Because of the scattered small town populations and distances from supplies the cost of EVERYTHING is very high.
Now back to dirt dwelling. While in the town of Tom Price we 4WD'd to the top of the highest mountain in Western Australia. We put the MBE4 in 4WD low, low and never slowed down (of course we never went fast either). The view at sunset was special. That same evening the town had their monthly stock car race at the local dirt track. Mary and I volunteered as photographers and were given swell green safety jackets to wear and were given special insurance. We had a great time. The drivers loved Mary taking their pictures and posed alongside their mud caked cars. The races themselves were strictly small town affairs and fun to watch. There were a few drivers with real talent. Watching these guys enter the turns so fast it makes you think you're glad its not you. Once we get the pictures organized we'll mail back a CD to the race folks. Other than people shots the best pictures came from the intermission diversion of Burn Outs. It appears
the object is to burn the tires to meltdown and blowout. THEN they spin the steel rim until the second tire blows and THEN they spin both rear steel rims with the sparks flying!! After leaving Tom Price it was a day long hike north to Eighty Mile Beach. We planned to spend more time at EMB but a typhoon the year before stripped most of the campground trees and grass. So we left and had an easy drive to Broome farther up the coast. Broome is a spotless beach resort town of 15,000 and is not driven by the mining industry or a port facility. It appears at first glance to thrive on tourists judging by the number of galleries and other high end stores. We are in a spotless campground called the Palms that is within walking distance of the beach. On the way back from the beach is a bottle store that has ICE COLD beer (in case you wanted to know). So life is good AND we have power to run the laptop and that makes it even better. We can finally sort
the pictures and catch up for the next round. We paid for 8 days so we'll sit and relax for a while.
One of the iconic photos from Western Australia is the sunset pictures of camels hauling loads of tourists along the beach at sunset. We have a few of these shots coming up. Camels were brought to Australia in the early 1900's from Afghanistan to serve the mining industry. As rail and trucks replaced the camels they were turned loose. Now there are over a million feral camels wandering about. In places they are in near epidemic numbers. After these years the Australian camels are the purest breed in the world. Middle Easterners regularly buy and fly these camels back to sand land for racing. There is also a developing camel meat industry. It turns out any area with a large Somali population are the buyers as Somalis are voracious eaters of cameli de dia.
Broome had torrential rain last night but it was gone in the morning. There is a 4WD track just north of here called the Gibb River Road. Campers arriving this morning from the Gibb said it was a nightmare. Flooding has stranded a number of travelers until the water recedes. One sad fact we learned is the MBE4 isn't up to true 4WD travel. We don't have the fuel, ground clearance or tires. The MBE4 carries just 60 liters of fuel where the proper 4WD SUV's and trucks carry at least 180 liters standard plus jugged fuel. We do carry 37 liters of extra diesel in 2 containers. So we'll do what we can. There is a small off loop of the Gibb River Road that goes thru a national park so we'll give that a cautious go when we leave. If there are any problems at all we'll return on the paved road and continue up to Darwin.
To wrap things up and fire this VofE off before the weekend we'll say these past days have been spent relaxing, trying to stay dry, trying to stay cool, wandering the small town of Broome and snapping a few pictures of the camels. Ciao.
May 15, 2010
Location: inland western Australia
Position: Tom Price Western Australia
G' day mis amigos, the Egret crew has gone on vacation. We will be land touring Western Australia and perhaps 2 more states on the return to Fremantle. Our new home is a 4WD Mitsubishi Delica with the rear seats removed and a custom mattress in the back. The van is jacked up off the ground and has 'roo' bars on the front as well as a skid plate. Once all our stuff is put away in the front seat there is plenty of room to sleep. Our routine has been finding a caravan park well before dark and the near dusk critters (like kangaroos) are away from the road. Leaving Fremantle on May 5th just after noon we took the coastal road south to Busselton. On our way to Fremantle aboard Egret we passed Busselton's wooden jetty built during the 1800's timber and whaling era. The jetty is over a kilometer long and is the longest in Australia. We stopped at a nearby caravan park and photographed the jetty after sunset. Picture 1.
Continuing with the nostalgia trip we drove the next morning to Cape Naturaliste lighthouse on the tip of Geographe Bay. After waiting out rain we moved on to the Cape Leeuwin lighthouse. The drive south down Caves Road thru the Margaret River wine country was spectacular. In addition to many vineyards and wineries the trees along the road formed arches over the road for kilometers at a time. Cape Leeuwin is at the SW tip of mainland Australia and considered one of the five great southern ocean capes. We got lucky and a few second peek of sunset lighting thru the clouds gave us this lucky photograph. Picture 2.
Always ready for a mild challenge we took the MBE4 (Mitsubishi 4 wheel drive) van on a coastal 4WD track described in the Western Australia map book as one of the top 50 4WD drive tracks. The track has a 'yellow' rating meaning 4WD drive and high ground clearance. So we gave it a go. We were taking it easy driving on the red dirt 'corrugation' (what we would call washboard) when we were passed by 4, 4WD drive cars/trucks with 2 guys in each truck. So off they went in a cloud of red dust. Twenty minutes or so later we caught up with them bogged down in soft sand and they were all outside taking care of nature. Talk about tucking tings away!! So we passed them in the soft sand after putting the MBE4 into 4WD H/L. Along the way we took a side trail to the beach thru VERY heavy sand. We yuped it up with a couple fishermen on the rocks catching little herring for dinner. (We use fish like that for bait in So Fla!!) As we were leaving the tough guys showed up (and were proud of them selves making it to the beach) and were looking at each other when the rookies were waiting on them to get out of the way. So we left.
Then we decided to check out another beach. This sand was different. It was VERY soft and deep. We parked near the beach and walked the beach for a while then decided to leave. Yea, right. We got about a meter. Then reverse, another meter. And so on. In the end we figured out what the locals, or perhaps desperate folks like us, did. We backed down to the beach, then a long way down the beach in reverse. Then we hit the right hand, uphill sweeper at HIGH speed spinning all 4 wheels to the top. We just made it but all's well that ends well. Until later.
We hit a high hill with soft sand to the top. After three attempts at the hill the closest we got was about 10' from the top. Some local 4WD guys happened by and told us to lower the tire pressure in the tires, gave us a bit of lip in the meantime, so we did and all was well. They were right of course. So now we have a dual cylinder foot pump to inflate the tires along with a tire gauge. Now all we need is a tire patch kit and we will be more ready than before. The roads coming up soon are all paved but we will give a 4WD track in the Kimberly region a go later on.
So the next couple days were spent driving thru the Oz wheat belt. Lotsa wheat. Kilometers of wheat. Miles of wheat. You get the picture. The upside was running into the beautiful salmon gum trees along the road made it all worthwhile. The salmon gum trees have smooth bark and small tuffs of leaves at the top. The leaves reflect sunlight so in any wind at all they are twinkling.
The major attraction in that part of the world is Wave Rock. Wave Rock is a granite dome raised out of the surrounding sand. It's a long story but it is very different and interesting. The little speck surfing the nearly 50' wave is MS (my sweetie). Picture 3.
Leaving Wave Rock it was just a few miles to The Humps and an ancient Aboriginal cave. The cave contains the largest collection of aboriginal paintings in SW Australia. The drawings are more like hand prints. In some prints they color their hands then press them against the rock. In other prints they place their hands on the rock and blow dye from their mouths over their hands leaving a clean hand print. These prints were better preserved. We were able to photograph the prints in near dark using super long shutter speeds. The photo's look like daylight after we got the shutter timing correct.
So now we are sitting in a community room of a caravan park with more than the laptop's battery to keep VofE going. Western Australia has a lot to offer and we'll do our best to give you a little insight into this red rock part of the world. This is different than anything we have done since leaving South Florida over 8 years ago and we find it's a nice mix instead of waiting thru the winter at the dock in Fremantle. The MBE4 is on her way north (currently we are in Wongan Hills, well north of Perth).
We'll keep adding to this posting until we can find a camera memory card to usb reader and can enter the photo's into the laptop. None of the little towns along the way have anything but farm equipment, a grocery store and perhaps a café. Today was an interesting drive thru as much as nothing as you can get. We saw wild goats everywhere, a few emu's feeding near the road and enough road kill to feed an army. There is so much food available for bird scavengers they all get along. Today we saw a hawk the size of a bald eagle feeding alongside a crow. All we can say is kangaroos must churn out wee ones pretty regularly. The dead roos per kilometer was really sad. Roos come out at dusk to early dark and again near dawn. The trailer trains can't stop and just mow them down. I don't think many locals travel at night in small cars or trucks.
Tonight we are in the gold mining town of Cue. Most of the campers in the park are amateur gold prospectors. The folks next to us use a metal detector and find gold lying on the ground. They DON'T dig. He showed us plastic jars full of gold from this trip. He said this whole area is built on the gold industry. We saw a dirt airport on the way in and there was a large private jet taxing to a hanger. There is a tale to tell for sure.
Next day. After a very long day driving thru red sand and scrub (trying not to see all the road kill carnage including at least 10 feral cattle, a zillion or more kangaroos and a few emu's (an ostrich type bird). Kangaroos forage at night and you seldom see them during the day. Surprisingly there are no snakes in the mix. Australia has long distance road trains, semi's towing 3 or 4 trailers up to 171 feet long (53.5m). The road trains push quite a wall of air when going the other way. They run mostly at night so unfortunately anything in their way gets mowed down. The trucks and drivers are protected by an elaborate pipe frame grill on the front of the trucks. Some trucks even have an additional bar across the lower part of the windshield.
Tonight we are in Karijini National Park. We'll send a few days here exploring the canyons, waterfalls and pools. This particular campground is VERY basic. Hopefully we'll get a bit of breeze to send the aroma from the nearby long drop toilet somewhere else. Unfortunately there is no broadband coverage so it will be a bit before we can send this VofE off. Today we did manage to find a card reader in the small town of Newman so we may download pictures and include them with this VofE when we get broadband coverage.Next day. We bailed on the BASIC campground and its odors even though we paid for a second night. In the morning we hiked down into a canyon and was it spectacular or what? Mirror pool was at one end and Fortescue Falls was at the other. You could close your eyes and take a picture and it would suitable for framing. It was a great morning tramping around the stream at the bottom of the canyon from one end to another.
In the end we packed quickly and are now in an eco resort run in trust for the local Aboriginal community. Eco means no amenities to speak of but we do have non smelly heads and A shower.
Next day. After more canyon cruising were were off to the desert oasis town of Tom Price. Tom Price was the American geologist who told the Aussies they MUST dig here for iron ore. He died two months later of a heart attack. Tom Price today is one of the largest open pit mines in the world. Late this afternoon we will take the 4WD track to the top of a nearby mountain overlooking the mine.
We heard today from the N55 New Paige II crew. They shipped from near Auckland, NZ to Palma de Majorca in the Balearic Islands off the coast of Spain. They leave tomorrow for Calvi, Corsica. Exciting. Some other good news came from the NP II crew. They were on a wait list to get into Marina Port Vell in Barcelona. They now have a berth for the winter. They will LOVE Barcelona.
We follow the Sushi run thru a direct copy of the log of NAR buddies on Grey Pearl (Braun and Tina Jones). If you aren't following their blog it is well worth your time. Tina tells it like it is and their photography is excellent. Check out the picture of the geisha.
Mary and I were having our morning coffee this morning sitting outside the MBE4 in our little grass rental turf. I started laughing to myself and told Mary we have come a long way in the past few years. We went from two houses, two boats, three cars and lotsa stuff to living in a car. Hummmmm.
So what will tomorrow bring? Don't have a clue except it will be another great day. Isn't that exciting? Ciao.
May 4, 2010
Position: On the road somewhere in Western Australia.
G' day mis amigos, today it is time to invoke a thing called Writers Privilege. Rather than a general VofE readership posting, this first portion of VofE is directed to the Fremantle Sailing Club's* membership. To keep things light we called some folks names in jest, is not personal or purposely harsh, but simply calling attention to a problem we observed and was described in tortuous detail by FSC club members to ourselves. If I were not confident of my information I would have written nothing. We call it like we see it and address the hard issues without smoothing items with a veneer of opaque innuendos or niceties. *Picture 1.
Last VofE began with an unprecedented paragraph asking for help obtaining some form of yacht club membership. We appreciate all and any effort any of you put forth to help. In the end, at least for this sad tale, it was a lost cause trying to accommodate the whims of a Very Important Person.
FSC members who do not know, m/y Egret's cruising blog, Voyage of Egret is simply a tool we use to encourage readers to take up the boating life whether it be power or sail, coastal or long distance cruising. Voyage of Egret is a running commentary of the Egret crew's life so readers may see what it is like to live The Life (cruising life) day in and day out. This along with a little technical information we run across from time to time will hopefully help readers make a more informed decision if boating is something they wish to pursue. This information comes to you free and is given freely without venue or payment to ourselves. Anything we write is strictly our opinion, nothing more.
Along with a very high percentage of Good Things to share there are a few not so good things. This is one.
Now to the task at hand. Today Mary and I were given a letter asking we vacate the Fremantle Sailing Club docks. Not to novelize this issue with boring details we will distill the story to its very roots, Power and Control using the age old military strategy, Divide and Conquer, by the club administrator and a very few helpers among the members. This issue really didn't have anything to do with Egret or its crew personally but was simply a line drawn in the sand by a Very Important Administrator* and club members on the other side. (*to use a few member's adjectives that were not profane, we shall call him The Bully - not my words) Egret was the catalyst and the battleground.
Since arriving at FSC we have hosted a number of club members aboard Egret or spoke to them on the dock. To a person they appreciated Egret being there, hearing our story and having their questions answered. To a person, after the questions were answered or during the conversation it always came down to (I'll use my words here to consolidate their feelings) their disgust and dissatisfaction with the direction of the club and its administration. To a person the folks who stopped by couldn't be nicer. Shortly after arriving we were approached to give a talk to the Cruising Division of the club. We offered the cruisers a slide show option of the Mediterranean or Patagonia. They chose Patagonia. Next was the Power Division and they wanted a talk on life at sea aboard a powerboat. Things were all warm and fuzzy for a while waiting on an available slip, then it started with officious issues.
Pens (slips/berths) are at a premium in Western Australia because of the mining boom and much money floating around. This lead to an explosion of boat ownership outstripping available pens. This said, international visitors have in the past been given the courtesy (as it was when we arrived and including ourselves for a while) of dockage until they moved on. Fremantle/Perth gets very few international visitors during the year. A trickle arrive from the north, a few each year direct from South Africa or the Cape Horn area, and a few from the east as Egret. Most are trading oceans and move on fairly quickly. Others stay as Egret waiting on seasonal weather to cross their next ocean. So in all fairness, pens are difficult. We did however, have a handshake deal on a suitable pen from an FSC pen owner who wouldn't need it for himself until a month after Egret intends to leave. This arrangement was disallowed by the General Manager to suit his personal agenda.
Moving along quickly, a ground swell rose from numerous members who took up Egret's cause (being evicted) that evolved into a board meeting agenda under General Business item. The Rear Commodore Sail said she would present Egret's case and was also representing the Cruising Division. She in turn had other board members willing to give support that in the end was told this was the decision of the General Manager and not the position of the board members to challenge. The meeting was ended without any further discussion, not allowing any input to explain the position of Egret. In other words it was not the position of the board members to ask for an extension of stay, trying twice to get the message across to the board. The board was told the meeting was closed by the Commodore. We have been told he (The Commodore) has but two months to serve and has been worn out by the administrator and just wants to leave and live in peace. However, I don't think the commodore did his job as a responsible leader. It should have been his responsibility to hear the complaint and perhaps been visionary enough to have the Paid Employee of the club (The Bully) bend to the will of the members, not The Bully's own agenda. It seems to me a case of the tail wagging the dog.
So Egret left. We will always be happy no matter where we are and this doesn't deserve even this much of my time but we look on this observation as helping the membership so it is a Positive Thing.
So what is next for the members?
Business as usual as members slowly turn into peasants. Perhaps that is not all bad because peasants have always been happier than Important Folks since time immemorial. However, peasants since time immemorial have been the whipping boys of Important Folks, so instead of a happy home, or home away from home in this case, they live in fear and disgust. So, should the peasants rebel? I think so.
Next case is the outgoing commodore. Wouldn't it be nice if he took care of business (he knows what needs to be done) and insure his legacy as the commodore who gave the club back to the members?
Next case is the incoming commodore. If there is no change when it is His Turn shouldn't he prevail to the will of the members and not a paid employee? I think so. After all, he is elected by the members to represent the members, not the help.
If all else fails, should the peasants in waiting distribute a petition showing their feelings once and for all how they really feel instead of losing their hundred year plus heritage? I think so.
What's it going to be folks? By clearly defining the major issues and resolution suggestions (without getting bogged down in details), everyone, including the club officers, club membership and club employees can learn from this indifferent insight from an outsider. Hopefully all will take a deep Positive introspective look at the words and not dissolve into denial, defense, posturing or more spats. I hope the majority get their way and life at FSC becomes good once again. Good luck to the FSC members. (Actually you make your own luck) This missive is the final mention from VofE of anything to do with FSC. FSC is now part of Egret's past and we theirs. We will miss the members.
By the time you read this Mary and I will be exploring inland Western Australia. You (WA residents) are so lucky to live here. Today we learned from a techie on the dock we can buy prepaid cell phone internet dealies that plug into a USB port. We'll figure it out but in any case we will be able to send VofE's with pictures while traveling inland as long as we have cell phone service. This isn't wave bashing but we have so much of that coming up, Western Australia's red rocks and weird critters you will soon see will be be welcome relief in a few months.
A while ago Mary and I painted the long overdue radio antennas. Egret has 3 Shakespeare 23' commercial antennas; 2 - VHF and 1 SSB. Over the past years they have become quite ragged with the fiberglass shells deteriorating into shards of spun glass. After a quick start with sandpaper we found it was MUCH faster to use brown (very coarse) scotch brite pads and water with a bit of dish soap as a lubricant. In no time the damaged glass fell away to reasonably clean fiberglass that got a thick coat of 2 part urethane. All three look like new. In the old days with lead in the paint you couldn't get away with this but these days it is a no brainer. By the way, don't even THINK about handling old antennas without heavy rubber gloves. If you are a Tough Guy give it a go without gloves. Just don't whine to me.
Yesterday we rented a car and drove 3 1/2 hours north to Nambung National Park and the Pinnacles. Basically, the Pinnacles are stand alone pointed rocks sticking out of tan desert sand. Scientists believe they were formed 500,000 years ago, were exposed 6,000 years ago for a time and were re-exposed from shifting sand just a few hundred years ago. There are two schools of thought how they formed but the consensus is still undecided. We have never seen anything like it. There is a 3.5k (2.1m) sand loop road thru the pinnacles and pull offs every few hundred meters. We drove the loop twice, visited the Visitors Center and stayed until well after dark. As we toured around the loop we came on a park ranger talking to some guys and I went up to ask where was the better places to photograph. It turns out the two guys he was talking to were part of a Channel 7 TV crew who were going to do a weather forecast after dark. The weather forecast was tied into an appearance of an extreme taxi trip TV program where a group of folks drive everywhere in a taxi followed by a film crew. Of course we haven't seen the program but the decals on the film truck said extraordinarytaxiride.com.
Now here is where it gets interesting. The TV crew was going to film the weather forecaster after dark and had a 3kva generator to illuminate the pinnacles behind the forecaster. They gave us a spot out of the way to shoot before and after the short program. We met a nice Swiss couple with a camera like mine (except the newer model) who had just gotten it. Soooo, we gave him a few settings and got his pictures as good as ours. He was thrilled. He also let me try a lens we really NEED. Of course there is a difference between want and need but this is definitely a need. The film guys were great, the forecaster was a girl next door type and quite nice so it was a pleasant diversion and an opportunity we have never had to use professional lighting after dark. We answered boat questions for the TV threesome and the Swiss couple waiting for dark. We enjoyed the day so much we thought we would pass the experience along with 3 pictures from the Pinnacles. Mary took pictures 2-4. She took them in late afternoon, near sunset and after dark with lighting. There was smoke from a fire further south that turned the sunset colors into almost unnatural shades. It was beautiful.
Driving back at night thru the foggy smoke was NOT beautiful. We were down to 20 k's (12mph) at times with the flashers blinking trying to drive the white line. Fortunately the few other drivers on the highway were doing the same including the over the road trucks. Once further south on the main highway things cleared and we had a nice drive back to Freo.
The past couple weekends had a few events as well. First it was ANZAC day (Australia and New Zealand armed forces remembrance day) We saw this years edition here in Fremantle and last year delayed Egret's trip to Stewart Island for a day to attend the services in Nelson (NZ). Yes, I'm a veteran and appreciate what veterans everywhere endured. This past weekend was May Day festivities in the local park. It was directed at the kids but folks with venue's to discuss; green this and thats, Sea Shepard had a booth and we bought a couple T shirts to support the cause, even the Australia communist party had a booth with lotsa red banners but no one in the booth. In addition, there were a number of bagpipe bands in a pipe off or whatever you call a bagpipe band competition. It was nice to see a number of young folks in the bands taking up the tradition.
Today we loaded the Misterbeachie van (MBE) with our stuff and will head out tomorrow. The van looks like the Beverly Hillbilly's it is so loaded with 'stuff'. We'll fine tune things on the way south and on the way back thru will get set for the big part of the trip. We plan to go south first to Cape Leeuwin at the tip of the SW coast then head back this way and north. A friend from the sailing club gave us a route to follow as we get farther south so we'll give that a go. Where exactly we will visit is still up in the air but we have a rough general direction and major stops but like in cruising we are easily led. So we'll see.
So there you have it. More politics than any of us need, sharing Mary's great pictures of an interesting WA (Western Australia) day and 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.