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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.

May 25, 2011

Position: N39 52.65 E004 18.51 Mahon (Mao') harbor, Menorca, Balearic Islands, Spain

Today's pictures are a combination of a Mallorca wrap up, the trip from Soller to the Pollenca Bay anchorage then on to Mahon, Menorca. I will say with VofE spacing and what is happening coming so fast it is difficult to tell a complete story. However, we'll do our best. Of course these pictures and stories are all about what you could be doing. Let's not lose sight of that.

G' Day mis amigos, Egret is anchored in Mahon (Mao'), Menorca. Menorca is northernmost of the four Balearic Islands and is known as the "windy island". Menorca has history seeping from under every rock, however it has little of the rugged charm and beauty of Mallorca.

Egret departed Soller (Mallorca) early Friday morning and took a leisurely stroll along the sheer cliff coast of Mallorca, around the top and anchored in a small bay sheltered by a peninsula. On the peninsula is the remnants of an old castle that has been added to and turned into a giantus residence. The property covers acres, however it is well done and is beautifully landscaped with native flora. Nearby is the town of Pollenca. Pollenca also has a reenactment in August of the historical date in 1521 when the Christian king guy in steel clothes kicked Moor butt if you remember that from Soller.

The little bit of wind died overnight so we left at daybreak for the 58nm run to Mahon. The sky to the east was purple and the lighthouse was doing its deal so we snapped a quick pic on the way out. Ya know, its tough looking at stuff like this. It makes us yearn for returning to work. However, the Egret crew is tough so we'll turn a blind eye and soldier on. There had been a low churning east of the islands so the seas were a bit confused even though there was little wind. Mary's stainless got a salt water bath but there was little spray on the pilothouse glass. When the bouncing started we just turned up the Naiad knobs a couple numbers and that was the end of it.

Egret entered Mahon's harbor (Mao') late afternoon and decided to take a harbor tour steering from the flybridge before anchoring. Mahon is a narrow deep natural harbor, one of just a few really good all weather natural harbors in the Med. The other that comes to mind that is super safe is Malta. The harbor has high cliffs on the port side when entering and it is lower on the stbd. There are a few small islands inside the harbor. The second is Quarantine Island where many an unfortunate sailor had to sit out quarantine in days gone by. The inner harbor has changed quite a bit with extensive Med mooring dockage along the waterfront as well as a couple new marinas since we were here in 2004. The shoreline waterfront bistros and small businesses are still in place.

One bit of shopping we plan to do is buy a second VHF antenna for the AIS receiver. We aren't getting the range for some reason so we'll give that a try. One thing it could be, is the VHF antenna's lead was short for the installation so we spliced in a short section. Perhaps that is problem. In a double check with friends, they said their reception is WAY farther than Egret's.

When we were here last there was a lot of wind and the anchorage was stirred up. Today the anchorage is clear so in the morning we'll top up the water tank before heading into town. It is a long run into town from the harbor's only anchorage, however we have already spotted the fuel dock so dinghy fuel won't be a problem. There are two Brit sailboats in the anchorage and a French boat with the name Wild at Heart in English. Very un French like. Just in front of Egret is an old boathouse from ye ol tymes and just behind on shore is a typical spotting tower used to telegraph messages by smoke signals. Spotting towers are sprinkled heavily near the entrance to the harbor as well as battlements from over the years including WWII gun emplacements. A coconut couldn't float thru the harbor entrance unmolested since cannons came to be.

So tomorrow starts another mini adventure. What will tomorrow bring? Who knows? How long will we stay in Mahon? Until we leave. Where will we go? Probably Bonafacio at the southern tip of Corsica, but we may not. We may revisit a couple calas (coves) at the top of Menorca we marked in the guide last time here. But we may not. So why don't we know? Because we don't. You get the picture.

Later after anchoring we sent an e-mail to our buddy Wayne, formerly from N46 Envoy, now crewing with the N62 Grey Pearl folks in Malaysia. Wayne fired back a newsy e-mail saying how much he and Pat enjoyed Mahon. Then Tina from Pearl did the same. So we'll take the Envoy and Pearl crew on a trip down memory lane with the last three VofE pics. Of course now they are making their own history on the far side of the world. However, Pearl is headed this way.......slowly. I bet some day Pearl will be back in this same anchorage. Now if the new Envoy (N35 - great boat for the Med) will ship to Mallorca they can do the same.

Two days later. Mary and I spent these two days wandering the old town section of Mahon. We just can't get enough and will head out tomorrow morning for more. One thing we learned is on Wednesday the Red Arrows, the U.K. version of the U.S. Blue Angels will perform in Mahon harbor commemorating an event 150 years ago (The Tercentenary of the first British Naval Hospital in Menorca). The show is supposed to start at 1500 local. Mary and I already have our position staked out to snap a few pics.

Yesterday's long, windy run into Mahon's harbor from the anchorage was slow and a bit wet in the small dinghy and the 3hp Yamadog. When Egret was here last it was the only time in the Med we used the 12' catamaran dinghy*. So today down came the CIB (catamaran ice breaker dinghy) that hasn't run since Tonga after we borrow a small outboard from Kiwi friends for the inflatable dink. It took a few pulls but after a plug change it fired right up and ran like a train. So we rode into Mahon in style AND on plane. Then we filled that tank with about 3 more gallons (11.4ltr) and a second tank with 6 gallons (23 ltrs) This tiny bit of gas and a gallon of outboard oil was over $150 U.S.P. Shocking!! Oh well, it is what it is and if we want to be here that is the deal. If you look at the Big Picture it is a cheap price to pay. After all, we could be paying property tax, homeowners insurance premiums, auto insurance premiums, giantus income tax, and more tax, and more tax, and lots more............and even......and even (oh my gosh) Working......gasp!! It is difficult to even Type the W word.

All those evil memories flooding back calls for a beer. But first, I'll tell you a quick story then it will be beer thirty in the flybridge with MS as the sun sets. This morning while getting ready to leave for the day and emptying the catamaran dinghy of all its junk (the CIB is Egret's junk room catch all), the French boat (typical aluminum swing keel French design) anchored in front of Egret decided to row ashore with their bicycles. The cruising couple aren't kids and probably are accomplished sailors judging by their equipment. However this morning they looked like Larry, Curly and Moe each trying to paddle their side of the tiny dinghy from the overloaded bow with their bicycles in back (they couldn't row with the bicycles aboard). They needed to paddle about 100 meters to shore but their course probably covered a couple nautical miles. Then Paddle Guy's hat blew off. Then of course PG and the admiral paddled in circles trying to get back to the hat. Fortunately it was windy and the wind did the job for them. They know the Entire anchorage was watching this cluster. Oh well.

*Let's talk about dinghies once again......for what it's worth. A perfect dinghy doesn't exist unless you have a boat large enough, an N62 for example, to have a 16' 7" or 18' 9" Egret flats boat aboard and even then you need a smaller inflatable dinghy. N62 Moon River has a 16' 7" Egret aboard for example. About one third of Egret's production was for tenders so we know something about the business. (We are 11 years removed from Egret Boat Company and have zero financial interest - www.egretboats.com). Of course we are prejudiced but it is simply fact. So back to no perfect dinghy. It has been our experience that on the U.S. east coast and Bahamas, a large as possible hard or inflatable is the ticket. The reason is in these locations you do a lot of long distance dinghy exploring, the water is warm during the cruising season (both N and S) so a stern anchor and bow line or anchor isn't a problem. Virtually everywhere else in Egret's travels, a small 9' (2.8m) dinghy or slightly larger is the ticket. Smaller than 9' doesn't do well in a chop or have enough room for groceries, guests or whatever. The way most use a dinghy is to get ashore from the anchorage or to visit other boats. A small dinghy is easy to visit another boat and no harm will come to their boat from yours. The same with docking in foreign ports. A small dinghy can be tucked in unobtrusively almost anywhere. In the South Pacific or other sandy beach areas, or areas of high tides a small dinghy can be dragged up or down the beach depending on the tide. Bigger isn't better.

While in New Zealand we bought a 9' aluminum bottomed dinghy along with a 3hp and 8hp Yamadog 2 stroke. We mentioned earlier, while in the Med we plan to use just the 3hp. The dinghy we bought is a small 9' and doesn't have as good a planing surface as a 9' Aquapro or AB Inflatable. We couldn't buy a 9' Aquapro in NZ made of hyplon within our time frame so we bought the other. If we had to do it over again, I believe today we would buy either a 9' or 10' AB superlight series. Recently we saw the AB 10' at a boat show in Palma and they have added a centerline transom stiffener that adds a lot of strength. The 10' is still light enough to drag up and down a beach and is better for an occasional 3-4 folks than a 9'.

Let's get to the bottom line. If you have room, a hard dink or large inflatable and a second small dinghy is best for every world. If you want a single dink and have a smaller boat like Egret, a 9' or 10' dinghy (preferably aluminum bottom for weight) with an 8hp 2 stroke outboard is best all around and simple to store and launch.

Weight is everything in dinghies. A la di da inflatable looks good in a showroom with molded interiors, a large console and large storage areas, however, in real life usage in any kind of a chop launching or retrieving, a heavy dinghy becomes a Lethal Weapon. And with just a mom and pop there are days when it is best to leave a heavy dinghy up or down. The other downside to a heavy dinghy is the high weight. There is also a Big difference in most boats between brochure weight and actual weight. In the flats boat business, everyone except Egret of course, said their boats were lighter than actuality. In Egret Boat Company's case when a boat was sold as a tender and there was the slightest possibility of a boat/davit issue we rented a certified scale and had the captain or owner sign off on the scale weight. Dinghy manufacturers are the same and understate their build weight because it is cheaper to build a heavier dinghy than a strong light dinghy. Bottom line here is, be careful.

Here is Egret's dinghy usage prior to Egret and during the past 9+ years with Egret.

Prior to Egret we towed a 16' 7" Egret flats boat behind Proud Mary, a 32' Grand Banks. This included offshore trips to the Bahamas, Cay Sal Bank (SW Bahamas close to Cuba) and the Dry Tortugas. Prior to that we towed a 12' rib to the Bahamas behind a Blackfin sportfish. The boys used the rib for exploring while Mary and I fished nearby.

Egret - August, 2001 to May 2004. Large dinghy usage only. The small roll up dinghy was used only for guests. Egret's first large dinghy was a 14' Aquapro inflatable with a 40hp Yamadog 4 stroke. Today we would use a 40hp Evinrude 2 stroke for the same inflatable. Because we were going to Europe we wanted a simpler large dinghy and a 2 stroke engine so we bought a 12' extra wide and high Livingston dinghy and a 30hp Yamadog 2 stroke. (the 30hp came from Nassau in the Bahamas - today we would use a 25hp Evinrude 2 stroke).

July 2004 - late 2006 in the Med. Small dinghy usage only except in Mahon harbor for a week or so.

South America, then west to the Med (late 2006 until today). Except in the ice in Chile the entire dinghy usage was the small inflatable until we lost a new larger inflatable in Easter Island (we bought a 9' Zodiac roll up in Rome after backing over the original small dinghy and tearing a hole in it. We later got it repaired in Barcelona and sold it in NZ). We didn't have a second outboard for the repaired roll up inflatable so we used the catamaran until Tonga where we borrowed a small outboard for the inflatable. Since NZ, all dinghy usage has been the new (in NZ) 9' inflatable and will continue in the Med after we leave Mahon.

Egret's 9' dinghy is stored on the boat deck with the stern on a heavy rubber mat and the bow set on a small fender. We tie the dink to the boat deck rails at 3 points plus the bow line. The dinghy has never moved and we don't need chocks. Simple, it works well and keeps the boat deck clean from chocks for entertaining.

So there you have it. A couple more days in The Life, first look at Menorca and talking dinghy. Ciao.

 

 

 

May 19, 2011

Position: S39 47.57 E002 41.54 Soller harbor, Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain

What do you do all day? Mary's sister asked her this once and Mary wrote back and described a typical day. Today's pictures are a typical day in Egret's life. There was nothing special about the day except meeting British folks on a large sailboat. People are always special.

It was a 2 hour hike back to the dinghy dock from the lighthouse. Once back in town we stopped at a local supermarcado for fresh baguettes (they were still hot from the oven), eggs and a couple other goodies. Then it was back to Egret for nap chores, a dinghy ride to the American boats inviting them over this evening for a pot luck, bring your own meat for the grill, and a bit of socializing. We invited the Brit boat as well but they were leaving this morning so they invited Mary and I over for cocktails last night. So that was Egret's day.

These pictures are a small portion of what we took pictures of that was interesting to Mary and I and this was just one day. There is a small lesson here. By being interested in photography we see more because we are simply looking. If you want to prove it to yourself, take a camera and take 25 pictures no farther than 1/4 mile from your front door. You may start quickly but before long even the rankest novice will start paying attention to framing the shot, lighting and so on. Even if you have been living in the same home for 25 years, did you look but not see what you took pictures of? We find even the poorest of the poor Long Term no refrigeration sailboaters will pull out a Big camera*. It comes naturally to those who cruise long term and want to capture the beauty and the interesting from their travels. When the miles are done and we wash ashore, all any of us have are years of memories and pictures bring those to life.

*If you are interested in upgrading your camera equipment, this is our opinion. For the best value in a Very good camera and a single do everything lens, the new Nikon D7000 camera with a Nikon 18-200mm VRII lens would be my choice. If you want to spend less but with fairly good but somewhat lesser quality, buy the Nikon D5100 camera with the same lens, not the kit lens. Both are better than pro cameras of not many years ago. If you want to go to more trouble and have even better quality, buy the D7000 and a 16-35mm VRII lens and an 28-300mm VRII lens. This is what Mary and I use today (the lenses - the D7000 is better than both our cameras). However, understand the far majority of pictures you see on VofE were taken with the current or older cameras and the 18-200mm lens. What you see in the very low resolution internet picture and what we see on the 21" hi def monitor in full resolution is very different.

G' Day mis amigos, let's talk about Soller. Soller is the only weather anchorage on the NW coast of Mallorca. There are a number of calm weather or day anchorages like we showed in the previous VofE with the mega anchored off the hole in the rock formation. Soller is a keyhole anchorage like a skeleton key. The inner basin is circular with high entrance heads and lighthouses on each promontory. Along the waterfront is a relatively flat area with high hills behind and mountains behind that. On the north side of the harbor is a defunct naval base and most of old town. In ye ol' tymes the harbor was just for small fishing boats and the main town of Soller is about 6k's inland (3.6 miles) out of sight of Mediterranean pirates. These days Porto de Soller is a small village on its own with holiday homes sprinkled around but nothing like loved to death Andritx. The far, far majority of tourists and foreign property owners in Mallorca are Germans.

Inland Mallorca is knock your eyes out beautiful and rugged. Mary and I took a taxi inland into the village of Soller to the Correos (Post Office) to mail a package. We puttered around old town, stopped for a cafe' con leche' then walked back to the harbor along a trail to Puerto de Soller. Part of the trail was the original stone path from the harbor to the village inland. Another part was narrow roads, some paved, some not. Along these trails you could see original working farms with olives and citrus and even a few sheep. In some places on the trail we had to open and close cattle fences. It was obvious where wealthy folks bought original farms or parts of farms and built new homes but with original lines. We didn't see a single unattractive home until we got to the harbor. All were done in local stone and local style. Some kept the original homesteads and added to that. Our favorite had done just this and cleaned up the terracing down the slope and kept the olive trees and citrus in tact. What is so refreshing is when you pass citrus trees growing over the fence there isn't a single fruit picked. In our home town of Ft Lauderdale it would be stripped within arms reach and if the fence were easy to climb even more would be missing.

About half way along the trail we met a modern day pirata (pirate). There was an elderly couple sitting under a grape arbor in a knock your eyes out old original farm. The walkway (trail to Puerto Soller) passing their home was lined with flowering potted plants. Anyway, it was pretty. The old dude got up and invited us into an open garage. Inside was a motor scooter and a few baskets of citrus and a small table with hand squeezed orange juice in a pitcher. He invited us to try a small plastic cup. It was great. We thanked him profusely in Spanglish. When we went to leave he said QUATRO!! Quatro means 4 in Spanish. Four Euros = 6 U.S.P. Six U.S.P for a sample of orange juice. So we paid the pirata and split before the really old chick wanted another 4 Euros for taking pictures of her stupido flowers.

During the few days anchored in Soller we have seen a daily arrival and departure of charter weenies in smallish sailboats and catamarans. Anchored next to Egret this evening is a 43.3 Beneteau charter sailboat with six mid 20 something German guys aboard. They were having a great time catching small fish off the bow and hooting and hollering as 20 somethings do. Great fun and when you split a smallish sailboat like this 6 ways it is a reasonably priced vacation they will never forget. Next to them is another smaller catamaran with Swedes aboard. And there is a very small fiberglass French sailboat. And so on. The next anchorage with protection is up around the N coast, about 30nm away. I supposed in a week it would be a simple task to circumnavigate Mallorca in any type of charter boat.

Chartering is a great way to get started. Mary and I did it twice. The first was from what today is NW Explorations in the Pacific North West (Bellingham, Washington). We spent a memorable first week in August cruising the San Juan Islands. We followed their suggested itinerary of anchoring one night and staying in a marina the next. The 36' Grand Banks was spotless and everything worked. The next year during the same week we chartered a 32' Rent a Wreck (our words) from Calley Cruisers in Inverness, Scotland. It was not as new or new looking as the previous 36' Grand Banks but you know what? Everything worked and was spotless even if it did have the world's noisiest 4 cylinder Volvo diesel and an outdrive. It didn't matter. The speed limit is 5 knots. We had a hoot running up and down the Caledonian Canal. The CC is like a snake that ate a number of small animals. The canals connected with Lochs (lakes), like Loch Ness, and in the middle was Neptune's Staircase (5 locks). We loved that little town and were there twice. Lotsa stories but we'll let you make your own.

Next day. Today was a work day. We removed the storm windows for the first time except for cleaning since Sept, 2006 in Gibraltar when they were installed. They are snug in a custom cover in front of the pilothouse glass and out of the way. We bought the receivers from PAE and had the windows made ourselves. We knew PAE used 1/2" - 13mm plate so we ordered 1/2" lexan cut to fit. We asked for a large radius on the corners and a bullnose routed on the edges (rounded the edges). On the port side where they have to be installed from the dink we drilled a 1" hole in the top middle to lower them from the boat deck with a line and hold them in place to fasten. So we spent a ton on lexan which is super tough and later found out PAE uses 1/2" girlie plexiglass. If we had it to do over again we would use 3/8" lexan to save on cost and weight. Over time the lexan yellowed and even after buffing today it still remains tinted. The storm windows act as a type of double glazing keeping the interior cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. As far as keeping waves from crashing thru the salon glass, on just a few occasions over the years did we have waves break on the port side glass. We have Never had a wave break on the stbd side glass, even a little bit. The waves that did break would certainly have not caused any damage to the tough salon glass. When seas are big enough to even slightly be a problem to salon glass we have long since rounded up and are heading into the seas. Egret's bow, Portuguese bridge and pilothouse glass are bulletproof. With the pilothouse roof brow extending out over the pilothouse glass and in combination with the Portuguese bridge, a breaking wave simply can't get a purchase on the glass. As far as ultimate safety if you do get caught out, as long as the water stays outside the boat you will be just fine. Perhaps not comfortable but OK and nothing lasts forever. Most serious weather is fast moving at sea.

So lets get to the bottom line. If we had to do it all again knowing what we know now what would we do? We would add storm windows made from 3/8" lexan plate if we planned any more high latitude or cold weather cruising. If it were a simple mid latitude circumnavigation we wouldn't bother, EXCEPT these days you have to go around the Cape of Good Hope (South Africa) avoiding the Red Sea and its approaches because of pirate issue, and in South Africa there is a possibility of an incident so if you are going to circumnavigate you should have them. Otherwise, save you money for beer for your fellow cruisers.

We had the VHF tuned to channel 16 today waiting to hear when N55 New Paige Roger and his buddy John were arriving. We could hear obvious American voices on 16 but didn't have a clue where they were or were going. Later this afternoon 3 U.S. flagged boats arrived after a 2 day trip from Barcelona. Sailboats Lulu, Feisty and Matilda anchored in front of Egret. Lulu called Mary and I by name. We dinghyed over and it turns out they are many year Caribbean veterans and know friends you know as well. I'm sure you remember the folks with the glitter coat boat (46' Grand Banks) who paraded their glitter coat all over the Caribbean, Central and South America and are now in Florida still maintaining the glitter. I imagine from space their dock looks like a sun spot. The glitterai know all three boats and say they are great folks. Small world.

And to bring you even more up to date on the glitterai, in the last e-mail they mentioned the cost of fuel in the U.S........typing between sobs. I remember well their sending an e-mail from Puerto la Cruz, Venezuela where they spent a couple years off and on. Diesel was .05 U.S.P. per gallon. So they rubbed it in and when it to .075 U.S.P they sent another e-mail whining. They really whined in joyous gleefulness when fuel rocketed up to .10 per gallon and we were getting killed somewhere else. Well mis amigos, the worm has turned. The glitterai's turbo'd and aftercooled giantus twin V8 Caterpillar fuel slurping guzzling unquenchable thirst diesels trying to muscle their heavy semi displacement boat thru the water doesn't cost pennies per nm any more. Of course Egret's fuel sipping happy little Lugger and her highly efficientus full displacement bottom burns just a Tiny Fraction of the glitterai's deal. Oh well. Their tears are rotting our new Teva's. Oh well again. Teva's (sandals) are cheap compared to their fuel bills so we'll stand by our friends and listen with concern.

Yesterday evening we were invited aboard a large composite sailboat from the U.K. He is a lifelong racer who built his dreamboat in Italy and has been cruising the Med for the past 6 years in this boat and a number of years before in their previous boat. These days they mix cruising with trips home to Sussex. It was a late into the night get together. The admirals talked while he and I talked about his racing and other stuff. Reading between the lines we picked up on the fact they were tired of long hauls and the boat is big for them to handle in feisty weather. They said it will be going up for sale within a year or so. We mentioned buying a small powerboat in the U.S. and cruising the U.S. east coast, up to Nova Scotia and down to the Bahamas. We talked about that quite a bit and it made sense to them. They love the U.S., their son works there, and could enjoy easy, mild weather protected cruising during their time aboard.

We hosted the 3 American boats this evening along with a Dutch sailboat. As the glitterai said, they are a great group that have known each other for years and it was an interesting evening. It got too breezy for the flybridge so the group came down below. It was tight but we managed as always. During boat tours one asked about lee cloths* for our bed. I told him we don't need lee cloths and it is no problem. He couldn't get over that. It is very rare to have 4 American boats together in a Mediterranean anchorage. Typical of most potlucks, there was tons of food left over. I think everyone enjoyed themselves, I know we did. We also encouraged them to rent a car and drive inland for a few days. NP Roger did that on several occasions and loved it. We told them to put our name in the hat to perhaps sweeten the pot for getting a deal on a rental car. We would love 3 days driving the island.

*Lee cloths are typically secured under the mattress on sailboats, led up and tied to hold people from getting tossed from their bunks. Neither Mary or I have ever been elevated off the bed, much less been tossed out. However, I'm sure Dickiedoo got elevated on the Tasman crossing but never tossed out (D Doo had the forward stateroom). We got killerated on that deal.

Next day. It was a repeat of the day (same hike, same restaurante', same lighthouse, etc.) we mentioned along with the pictures except today we were joined by one of the American boats who enjoy photography as well. The day ended with dusty feet and a well deserved sangria in the flybridge.

Later. We changed our mind. Yes, again. We e-mailed pictures for this VofE from an internet cafe' a couple days ago and announced to Jenny (at PAE) we would be at sea when we sent the VofE text. That was before Mary read about the nearby little town of Deia. At the same time we received an e-mail from the Timster saying we should visit Deia as well. So we took the bus on a Very narrow road to Deia. There were 4 British ladies sitting in front jabbering the entire time and freaking on turns where the bus took both narrow lanes on Blind corners. The locals giggled at the freaking comments but we tried not to listen to the mindless chatter. Oh well, the ladies enjoyed themselves, particularly the one who endowed her plastic surgeon's kids university education. In any case, the trip took an interesting half hour and the views from the top looking down at the Mediterranean was special.

Deia is an old original stone village that is charming beyond charming. There was not a single chrome and glass building anywhere, nor any glass storefronts. The local clothing store had a single man's shirt hanging on one side of the stone doorway and a ladies blouse on the other. No neon, no giantus signs, just two shirts announcing they sold clothes. It was wonderful. Mary and I wandered the streets all afternoon and of course had to stop for lunch at a local restaurante's terrace overlooking all this. The meal was authentic good but the view was delicious. We didn't want to leave so after lunch we ordered a cafe' Americano and nursed that before asking for 'la quinta por favor' - the bill please (pour fah voor). So how much did we enjoy Deia? We are staying in Puerto de Soller another day or three and will revisit Deia again tomorrow afternoon and take pictures as the sun sets.

Later. How best to describe Deia in two words? Stone homes comes to mind. For the second day we wandered up and down the streets. Today we crossed the road and walked those streets as well. I would love to learn the real history of the folks who settled in Deia, why they settled and how did they earn a living. While waiting for good light AND the last bus at 9:00 we ate dinner on the terrace of one of those great restaurante's overlooking town. Dinner was VERY good to say the least. Mary had a roast pork center cut with curry sauce, fresh grilled veggies and scalloped potatoes. I had a ricotta and spinich filled ravaoli dish. After cafe' we snapped a few pics and caught the bus back.

We are very happy we changed Egret's announced itinerary of summering in Greenland and Iceland then on to Norway for the winter. It is not that we don't want to do that but just not now. Egret traveled a lot of miles in a relatively short time and now its time to take it easy for a while. We still plan to visit Norway, Iceland then Greenland but sometime in the future. So for now settle back and enjoy the Med. As you can see, we are. We are already considering a change to Egret's itinerary based on what the British sailboat folks told us. Med cruising is all about avoiding weather in the spring and fall and avoiding the summer crowds (July and August). In any case, stay tuned. It's all good.

If you remember from the pictures we wrote this sentence. Picture 7 is a single rose lit up by the afternoon sun. Let's climb up on The Box and talk about it. This afternoon the rose was not illuminated by the afternoon sun. However we did see it was one of perhaps 6 in a row and was the only one flowering. We missed the other non flowering rose bushes the day before because the rest were boring green like everything else nearby. No color, just pureed shades of green or mediocrity if you will. Boring usual. However, one did dare to stand up and shine. Could this simple flower be a metaphor for The Life (the cruising life)? Just one in a row daring to be different? To rise and shine and radiate beauty and health and independence and freedom? To live its life? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Perhaps it was just luck. However, don't we make our own luck?

So there you have it. A day in pictures, a few more days in The Life and a minor rant. Mahon in Menorca is next. Ciao.

 

 

May 11, 2011

Position: 39 47.57N 002 41.54E Soller harbor, Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain

G' Day mis amigos, let's talk about the practicalities of cruising in larger boats. Just now there are two very large sailboats anchored out of the harbor entrance to Anthrax rolling gently in the swell. Surely they are charter boats, so for clients to come to shore almost every large charter boat today, whether power or sail have giantus la di da dinghies for ferry service. When BD folks charter they don't expect practical, they expect smothering luxury to justify their 100k - 500k per week charter...plus expenses...plus tip. So the charter crews do a great job and provide luxury by the boatfull. However, the fact remains after their time ashore, the anchored in the distance charter folks are isolated from the view and harbor goings on of the peasant ship Egret. So what is more luxurious? Peasant ship Egret sits on a free mooring Inside the interesting harbor, and her expenses are two U.S. gallons of fuel a day for battery charging, plus boat insurance amortized per day and a few other odds and ends. Who is really the BD here? Egret does this every day of her life, not in one or two week bites.

So now we have established peasant ship Egret is indeed the Bigger Dog, let's carry this a bit further. Mary and I were approached once by a gentleman asking our advice. He had at the time a sub 100' luxurious custom build. However, it was a few years old and wanted to make a move. His two loves are the Pacific Northwest and the Mediterranean. Each are far away from one another. He wanted a bigger boat and had narrowed it down to a smaller (still well over 100') older boat with a great pedigree or a substantially larger boat, newer with known stigma issues and a lesser pedigree. So we talked about both scenarios. We don't have any first hand knowledge of the Pacific Northwest but do of the Med. Almost without exception in the Med, the "in" spots of the Italian and French Rivieras are small fishing harbors like Anthrax with little dockage. Certainly none for giantus mega's. So again, the giantus' have to dinghy in with The Blessed while peasant ships sit inside on anchor or at the seawall or dock. It has been our experience about 85' - 27m is the largest that can get into the harbors. Of course in open anchorages it doesn't matter. So we countered with two identical 76' N's with one full time crew and one harbor crew, rotating when the owner wants to change. The cost of the two 76's combined was well less than either single giantus used boat, with less yearly costs and less crew combined. One 76' could be sent anywhere in the world while the owner enjoyed the other. Now if you have a peasant ship budget like the Egret crew this may seem a bit over the top. However in my previous life thoughts like this made more sense than chartering a jet so The Blessed chartering during the Caribbean winter could have live Maine lobster flown in for a single meal. These events do happen.

If the truth were known, and we could have Anything, there would be a second small N named Egret or something like that headquartered in Puerto Montt at the top of the Chilean archipelago. We would flip hemispheres between both boats (by jet plane) and have an endless summer or endless adventure if you will. However, the sad truth is the Egret crew is among the peasantry of boating so it isn't to be but it would be nice.

Now let's look at the flip side. While still working (gasp), a buddy and I got invited to come down to the Miami Grand Prix with his 55' go fast boat and raft off a mega of about 110'/35m. Of course having the 55' go fast alongside was all for show and of course we got the mega's hospitality and a grand prix seat money couldn't buy. The owner owned 10 magazines. He flew the advertising folks from 3 manufacturers to West Palm Beach, overnighted in WPB, then drove the ad folks to the grand prix in limos. One of the three manufacturers' ad execs declined the invitation. The limos offloaded the folks near the track and la di da water taxi limos taxied them to the mega side tied 30' from the edge of the race track. By 1100 the group was trashed and by 1300 they reversed the route, well before the grand prix was over. Later the owner said it was the most profitable venture yet for the magazines. The days after the grand prix, full page ads came rolling in from all Three manufacturers wanting to return the following year. The previous year the magazine owner flew 100 folks to the Super Bowl. The boat did the deal in spades, the Super Bowl did not.

So that's my take on larger boats, for pleasure, for work, or both. For what it's worth.

It is another sunny but blustery day so so far we have been taking it easy. MS is updating her personal log and I changed the oil in the main. We used the wing this morning with its 110 amp alternator* to charge the batteries. Here's the deal. We start the wing and let it warm for a bit then shut it down. Just inside the engine room door on the right are the battery parallel switches. Parallel switches let you move electricity around for whatever your needs may be. If the generator/wing battery is low and either won't start, parallel that battery to the house batteries and the small engine leaps to life. Same with the main start battery. In this case we warmed the wing and shut it down. Then we paralleled the wing alternator to the house bank and restarted the wing, running it at 1100 rpm. This loads the wing and the giantus alternator pounds amps into the house bank. Here is where you must be careful. If you start the wing cold and paralleled, as it builds oil pressure and warms with the heavy load of the alternator it is hard on the engine. If you warm the engine and it is still running when you parallel the batteries, the single 1/2" - 13mm belt slips and loosens with the heavy load instantaneously coming on line. A giantus wing alternator is an inexpensive back-up to generator failure. All we did beside bolt it on using the same mounting footprint and bracket, was change the hot wire and ground to heavier wiring and replace the same width belt with a longer version. Of course we kept the original alternator as a spare. So anyhow, that is the wing deal. We got this great tip from N46 Kanaloa who doesn't have a generator and have used this wing/large alternator set up for a zillion plus miles. *Nissan Pathfinder.

Today was a good day. After battery charging and making water the Egret crew took the local bus and went cross island to Palma (de Mallorca). We got off at the cathedral. There is an interesting story here. After an 800 year Moorish rule some Christian king decided enough was enough and was going to take Mallorca back. So he showed up at night off an offshore island with 105 ships. The king guy went ashore when he saw a monetary at the top of the highest hill. So up he climbed in his steel clothes and met the Abbott. The Abbott didn't believe the purported king in steel clothes so the steel clothes guy took off his steel and showed the Abbott his king ring. The Abbott then believed the king, kissed the ring then gave him a leather scroll with all he needed to know about the Moors. So the king invaded and kicked butt and ever since the Balearic's have been under Christian rule, so to speak. The king made a deal with the Big Guy if he survived this deal he would build a giantus cathedral. So he started and 700 years later it was finished. It is huge and beautiful on the outside. Other cathedrals we visited in mainland Spain have been more ornate inside but most were smaller. It was Sunday and they were holding mass so we went inside. You could feel history seeping from the walls.

All around the cathedral were historic this and that buildings but the most interesting is the modern apartments built inside the old walls of the area. They were magnificent, so hidden and so subtle. The only remnants of the Moorish occupation is a singular Moorish bath we visited not far from the cathedral. Historians believe it was built in the 10th century. The Christians destroyed everything else from the Moor's 800 year reign. In mainland Spain at least the Christians of the time kept the Alhambra palace in tact. We visited the Alhambra with friends from N46 Envoy on a road trip from Gibraltar after the NAR.

Then it was off to our new favorite pizza place where the pizzas are light and not greasy. Imagine that. So after a pizza and at least a gallon (3.79 liters) of sangria we were off to N55 New Paige.

Today, Monday was a very, very special day. NP Roger and his buddy John picked Mary and me up early this morning for an inland car trip. They choose the NW coast for a tour. So off we went driving slowly enjoying the little villages. First it was a stop at an overlook for a cafe' con leche', then another overlook with a spotting tower. There are spotting towers (torre's) all along the Spanish coast and here on Mallorca. They are within sight of each other. When a bad guy fleet is spotted they light signal fires that are rapidly relayed along the coast to alert the locals. The NW coast of Mallorca is rugged mountains crashing into the sea. Egret's next stop in Soller is the only really good weather anchorage on the entire NW coast. Roger had been given a tip about a super hotel and restaurante' inland from the tourist village of Valldemossa. You can't believe the setting. Royalty have dined there. So did we. It was a two hour magnificent lunch starting with open ravioli and roast duck, rack of lamb, a special desert brownie with ice cream and coffee.

So after this great meal and conversation off we were off to Soller. Oh ho hum again. We happened on the yearly festival and pageant of Nuestra Senores de la Victoria held on the second Sunday of May in Soller commemorating victory over Moorish pirates in 1561. We came in by a back road and didn't know the spectators were parking up to 3k's away. We sorta made a spot. It was wild with all the folks in Moorish or Christian costumes. Many of the participants on both sides had Real shotguns and were shooting blanks. Others had Real blunderbusses and were loading them with tons of black power. The amount of powder equaled their state of altered mind. Some were Quite loud. The favorite blunderbuss trick was to snatch a straw hat from a gringo spectator, put it over the barrel and pull the trigger. Gringo hats flew in the air and of course the black power blew holes in the hat. Great fun and no problem. The gringo's would just put the hat back on with a giantus hole in the top. There were Christians from barely toddlers to old folks and everything in between. Mary got shoe polish wiped on her face by a participant and later on her leg. The Moors wore black shoe polish on their faces and chests and carried giantus cutlasses and clubs. Some clubs were ordained with animal skulls and most cutlasses had Christian blood painted on the blades. One guy was carrying a fresh leg off a cow or something as a club. Both sides had bands of sorts and flag bearers carrying Turkish flags and Christian flags (white with a red cross).

A group of young guys were staggering by and saw Mary taking pictures so grouped for a picture. It appeared they were drinking Red Bull and J&B scotch mixed. They wuz wasted. One kid was really trashed so his contribution to the group was dropping his shorts. Yes he had other stuff on. The nicest part of the whole deal was virtually everyone was happy and having a great time from the kids to the old folks and our timing was perfect. Apparently the Christians had just kicked Moor butt and the participants, both winners and losers were parading by. So we snapped a few pics. Of course the tempo of the group was quite high and it was lotsa fun.

After all the excitement we went over and had a gelato (ice cream) in a quiet spot by the water. Then we drove back to Egret. As we said, it was a very, very special day.

And today wasn't bad. We left Anthrax just after daylight running at 1230 rpm making 5.6 knots up the coast. There was barely a swell. With the sun coming over the mountains and shining rays of sunshine thru the low clouds it was perfect. Later it warmed and the sun came out. A couple miles before Soller were caves along the cliffs eroded by water from the sea And above. Some were quite deep and lotsa fun. We pulled up to one and could almost stick the bow inside. There was a giantus mega anchored off a promontory we read about in the guide (Isla Baleares - RCC guide by Robin Brandon). The large detached rock had a hole thru the rock near the top. So we drove inside the mega for a few pics then left. Just as we arrived they offloaded a couple of The Blessed for a hike ashore. It was a beautiful setting for those folks and something special. Of course we have to do this every day, right Tim*?

*Long suffering Tim has been a loyal VofE reader for years. The Timster used to whine in his Forum questions but these days he has gotten better and is just wishful. We really do wish The Timster the best of luck but we all know you make your own luck. The Timster knows this well and is struggling. We'll still be here for the Timsters of the world until they quit swimming against the tide, do the deal and end the pain.

Soller is a natural harbor, sorta like a skeleton keyhole. Egret dropped in 25' and has 135' of chain and snubber out. The anchorage is completely protected except from somewhat rare westerlies. We checked the anchor with the look bucket and TK is buried to the roll bar in white sand. There isn't an inch of drag marks in the sand after he hit the bottom. TK hit tip first and immediately started digging. Modern anchors are soooo much better than the old norms. After we took the dink to town and putzed. After yesterday's Greatest lunch of the past 5 years, today it was the BK Lounge. This is a once in 3 year event. It was predictable and we'll be back in another 3 years. Mickey D's does a bit better. MD's is on a once in 2 year cycle.

New Paige Roger will be in Palma a few more days so today we wrote and told him we are in Soller and if he and his buddy John* drove over we'll take Egret to the caves just south. *John and Roger met in Mexico and I believe later in the Pacific North West. John is a boater as well and has a 47' Sunfjord PNW trawler. John has been as far south as Ecuador, out to the Galapagos and up to Alaska. He hopes to get to Alaska this summer once again.

So there you have it. A few more days in The Life and larger boat observations. More on Soller in the next VofE. Ciao.

 

 

May 5, 2011
Position: 39 32.51N 002 22.95E Andratx, Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain

G' Day mis amigos, oh ho hum, Egret is back in Andratx (Anthrax) ....again. However, we must admit until we got well into the harbor we didn't recognize a thing. After all, it has been since July, 2004 and things have changed a bit and of course since Anthrax, Egret has visited a few more anchorages. Once into the harbor we did recognize the little original village off to stbd and the beautiful homes we saw the first time. These days the entire hillsides across the way are covered in holiday homes. At least they are colorful and not pretentious like what we are used to back in Ft Lauderdale's waterways. We like that about Europe. Even in Porto Cervo, Sardinia, a refuge for billionaires where 100 millionaire wannabe's carry coffee, the homes aren't large but tastefully done and beautifully landscaped.

Back to Anthrax. TK dropped in 16' - 5.3m, and we sent out 125' - 39m of chain and snubber. There was a sea breeze blowing at the time so we backed down and held the chain tight for a while. At first there didn't seem to be enough room in the tiny anchorage behind the new mooring field full of small local boats but we spotted a hole where we could drop and did. Just behind Egret is good looking newish sailboat with a South African couple aboard. Last night after dark we took pictures of their boat with a green entrance marker flashing on one side and lights of a commercial fishing boat anchored well behind on the other. So we have green and yellowish light's reflections framing their pretty blue boat. We'll make copies of the best and give it to them tonight around sundowner time. And so Egret's social life in the Med will begin.

We have yet to go ashore, breakfast is over and we are making water and charging batteries. The cafe' con leche' and ensamadas (pastries) will have to wait.
Before anything else let us describe an incident that happened in the early morning before arrival. Originally I wasn't going to write about this because it is so negative but I described the incident in detail to a good friend and he in turn described in detail two incidents they had and encouraged us to tell the tale so folks can learn. So we will and will describe our friend's incidents first. This verbatim copy and paste will add measurably to this VofE but this valuable lesson is so important we will include everything as written without paraphrasing.

XX incident 1. " We were on a night crossing from the Bahamas to Fort Lauderdale, and AIS picked up the brightly lighted cruise ship Disney Magic barreling up the Gulf Stream at 18 knots about 20 miles to our south (on my port side). The AIS showed a CPA of less and .5 NM. Even though the ship was about 15 miles away, we could see it well, and as the time passed the CPA remained very close--sometimes down to 100 yards and at others up to about .5 NM. At about 4 miles the ship was still boiling along, and I called on channel 16. I always try to use the proper radiotelephone procedure I learned in the Navy--mainly because it's clear and concise and I like to sound professional because I believe that makes the other guy understand that I am not some whacko. After establishing communications and shifting to a working channel, my words, as they usually are, were something like this: "We have been tracking for your the past 20 minutes, and our CPA is extremely close--about point three nautical miles at the moment. Since you are the burdened vessel, I request that you change course to starboard to give us a safe pass of two point zero nautical miles or greater. Over." He came back immediately, British accent, and said something like, "Captain, we have been watching you on AIS as well. Changing course is not necessary. We will pass safely astern of you. Have a good watch. Out." I was dumbfounded--it was the first time I'd ever had a burdened REFUSE to change course upon request. I went back with this: "Sir, XX is a small, low-powered vessel of XX feet and we do not have the speed to get out of your way. My AIS is now showing a CPA of 350 yards. That is far too close for comfort. I again request that you alter course to starboard to provide a safe pass of two point zero miles or more." He came back again and declined to do so, saying he was confident that there would be no problem if we maintained our course and speed. Not knowing what else to do, I rogered, said again "for the record" I was most uncomfortable with the closeness of the CPA, and firewalled my throttle zipping up to a whopping 8.5 knots. The ship looked huge, lighted like a giant Christmas tree bearing down on us. Its bow wave was so close when it passed astern of us that we could hear its swish. Even with my added speed, the pass was about .3 NM--about 600 yards! As I thought it through, I think my only other choice--technically illegal until an "in extremis" condition existed, as I read the rules of the road--would be to do a 180 and get out of his way, notifying him of my intentions as I did it."

XX incident 2. XX was approaching XX at the XX just after dawn. XX was outside the main shipping channel, well to port, and my crewmember X knocked on my door and said something like, "X, you'd better get up here RIGHT NOW." I jumped out of bed, hustled to the pilot house, and he pointed out a 65-foot wooden fishing vessel about 500 yards to starboard on a course which would pass directly ahead of us. No time to do anything but AVOID AVOID AVOID. Fortunately, the fishing boat was doing only 4-5 knots. I made a hard left turn and we came no closer than 200-300 yards. Of course, I had tried to drill into X's head that if it even appeared that any other vessel would pass us closer than two miles, I wanted to be called to the bridge in time to analyze the situation and take necessary action. Rather than berate him at this time, I waited until breakfast and asked him WHY he had waited until an extremis condition existed before awakening me. Well, he said, he had been talking to X and X on the other two boats, and they said it looked like there would be no problem. "X," I said, "X and X are not on this boat and they are not responsible for its safety. Moreover, from their positions they could not see the relationship between XX and the fishing boat. My night orders and the rules under which you were operating said very clearly that you were to alert the captain if you had reason to believe that any other vessel would approach within two miles, yet you waited until a collision was imminent before awakening me. By doing that, you put the boat and our lives in danger. I am extremely disappointed in your seamanship and your inability to follow orders." X acknowledged that he was clearly wrong in what he did and apologized. He was very hang-dog for the rest of the trip. Of course, what I said didn't endear me to X, but as far as I was (and still am) concerned, his willful failure to follow orders did indeed put our boat and our lives at risk".

Egret's incident was somewhat similar. Mary had been tracking a target for a while on 12nm radar. It was marching right down the EBL (electronic bearing line) without falling off which means a possible collision. She got me up at 5nm. The ship's steaming lights were as confusing to me as they were her. Ships have a tall white light in the stern and a lower white light at the bow plus the usual red (port) and green (starboard) running lights. With angle of the two white lights showing it is normally easy to figure their course. The ship appeared to be passing red to red - port to port, so I kept turning to stbd as Mary had already been doing. Finally at 3nm the AIS went off. At the time the CPA was .3nm. Obviously that is to close to chance so we kept turning to stbd and the CPA reduced to .06 then .00. Not good. I punched the standby button on the autopilot (to hand steer) and turned full lock to port and pegged the throttle. In our previous boats when you did this the boat moved immediately and quickly. On a heavy full displacement boat there is lotsa noise but not much action until inertia takes over and you start moving. Once hard to port and at full throttle there was nothing else I could do so I called on the VHF and the ship answered immediately and said they were turning and have a nice watch. They didn't turn a bit so I suspect the officer of the watch was just playing his tune to any recording devise the ship may have had. Obviously they missed us but by just 1-200 yards/meters and went charging into the night. We saw lettering on the side but just for a flash so we both think it was a ferry. The ship was traveling at 18 knots and we were something a bit over 6 knots. At 6 knots it takes 10 minutes to cover 1 nautical mile (6nm/hour). So our closing speed at 6nm would have been just 15 minutes., at 2nm, 5 minutes, at 1nm, 2.5 minutes. This is the same thing X ran into with Disney Magic in the Gulfstream. Scary.

So here is the lesson and the only reason I'm writing this. First of all, if you put in the miles, situations like this will eventually happen. Caution and seamanship will keep this from becoming a problem 99.999999% of the time. The rare instance, this is our first in all these years and X's first were both averted by the invaluable information from the AIS. In the second case for X, seamanship that failed initially got reconciled when a proper mariner took control. In normal circumstances the second incident for X would not have happened in the first place with X or ourselves. They would have moved early on and not taken a chance. The incident wouldn't even be mentioned to the next watch stander because it was a non event. One other thing we should mention. In neither boat during these three incidents was there panic nor indecision. We don't really need to say any more than that. You get the picture.

Back to Anthrax and something more pleasant. After battery charging this morning it was off to town in the dink for a day of exploring. Like so many old Mediterranean villages, original Anthrax is just 2 streets deep. Businesses have taken over many of the original homes but some are still scattered here and there. We stopped by a couple real estate agents to check out home prices. Most are apartments starting in the high 600EU range up to about 3-4m EU and the homes are more up to 8m EU. Add 50% to that to convert to U.S.P. At lunch time we started looking at restaurante's, first along the waterfront but we didn't want to pay $25 U.S.P for a hamburger so went a couple streets back and found where the locals eat. We ordered the menu de dia - menu of the day. There was a choice of starters; small sardines in garlic sauce or chicken wings and for the main entre' the choices were; roast pork or roast lamb. We chose wings and lamb. Beber (drink) was agua, cafe' o vino. (water, coffee or wine) We chose vino blanco - white wine. Of course they brought a bottle of chilled Spanish wine. Ho hum. And there was desert too. Ho hum again. 12EU/person. Our kinda deal. In addition to the workingman's giantus meal, one pleasure was watching a thumbnail edition of The Wedding. It was a breath of fresh air in the smog of world affairs. Then it was back to Egret for nap chores.

Later on he South African couple came over for a bit. They have lotsa miles, many ocean crossings, multiple knock downs and one roll over in various sailboats, etc. They couldn't believe we took this boat around the world, particularly the high latitude route. In the end they figured we actually did because we had to many details they knew as well. Their boat is an 75' all carbon racer/cruiser with a 135' carbon mast and an 18' - 5.62m draft. It is fast and being carbon, super stiff so pounding upwind is a real chore. They were really interesting and gave us some great weather tips on the Med. They have a charter for the Monaco Gran Prix so they will be off in a day or so.

Picture 2. is interesting. It is more than a picture of a lovely lady and beautiful Mediterranean villas. Let's take the picture apart and look at every detail. The thin red line on the deck behind MS is tying a inflatable crash fender in place for just in case when we left Gibraltar. The heavier blue line is one of eight securing the foredeck fuel bladder. The stiff, faded yellow hose is the salt water washdown hose. The anchor snubber is running over the bow roller next to the chain. Here you can see the fire hose for a chafe guard. The large black line is 1 1/4" specta attached to the bow towing eye for the parachute anchor. The parachute anchor that rode behind the Portguese bridge from Australia to Gibraltar is now stowed in the chain locker but this line remains in an emergency. The windlass bar is for free dropping the anchor. We had this longer, heavier duty custom stainless steel bar made in Turkey and it is cut to turn inside Egret's bulwarks. The plastic float slid on the bar is to keep it from sliding thru the scuppers in case it gets dropped and slides down the deck. Now let's look at MS. She is wearing her favorite sunglasses, yes the ones with the green Interlux bottom paint. Her shirt is from Pago Pago Yacht Club in American Samoa. The belt is an Argentine design she bought in Buenos Aires on a trip returning to Ushuaia, Arg. We stayed a couple days and walked around BA. The jeans are from Turkey and the Teva sandals, yes with bottom paint speckles, from the U.S. Her two wrist bracelets are special. They are from a tribe in Namibia that twists elephant tail hairs into a bracelet with two adjustment barrels. Now is that cool or what? So we have an internationally dressed sweetie with villas in the Anthrax background. Pretty cool, eh? Of course none of this is about MS, but a bit of incentive for your admiral to do the same. And not by jet plane or silly cruise ship like Disney Magic.

Before the South Africans left we gave them the N.com website, VofE written on back of an Egret boat card. The next morning they said they spent 3 hours looking at the website and thought we were special or something. They have many more miles, many times more trauma* but still think of us as special. You know, they are special, not the Egret crew. They have done the deal in spades, just have not circumnavigated. This is where it gets interesting. It really doesn't matter where you go; ALL that matters is that you are having fun being on the water, staying on the water and living your life in freedom. Details are unimportant. Now I will say the Egret crew's recent years is special to ourselves in another sense. Not because of where we have been but how we Lived our Lives free and made ourselves happy. It doesn't get any better than happy. No matter where you go or don't go. This simple paragraph and a similar paragraph about working together as a team (admiral and captain) are the two most important lessons you will ever learn reading VofE. The balance is just details and entertainment.

*Let's talk about trauma. I wrote the paragraph above last night and don't want to make any changes. Trauma isn't a badge to wear, just something to endure at the time. Almost all their trauma came somewhat close to their home country of South Africa during deliveries or long distance sailboat races. Both deliveries and sailboat races march to a Schedule and as you know a Schedule is the most dangerous thing on a boat. They were amazed, simply stunned at Egret's lack of trauma during her trip from Reunion, below Madagascar, around South Africa and up to Namibia. He cited case after case of disasters and personal hardship in the same areas time after time. So was Egret just lucky? Perhaps, however I believe you make your own luck. Egret has no schedule. In the case of leaving Reunion for South Africa we waited for a big high to move in then made the trip. Same leaving Richard's Bay, South Africa. Egret traveled a couple days south then waited in Mossel Bay (SA) overnight for predicted weather to blow thru then left at dawn at the beginning of a huge 5 day high. Same leaving Cape Town (SA) heading north to Namibia. I believe there is one big point the sailors didn't consider. Sailboats need wind to sail and to get the wind from the right direction for the number of days to make any reasonable mileage is rare in those parts. Long distance powerboaters look for the opposite which are big, multi day relatively windlass days (stationary highs) and drive right thru the calms. However, if you spend enough time at sea you will encounter weather and need to have the right boat and be personally prepared. Overall in long distance powerboat travels if you have patience, weather days are rare, particularly in mid latitudes.

This afternoon we went dinghy exploring along the waterfront. Mary ran the dinghy with the 3hp Yamadog 2 stroke we bought in New Zealand. Other than an hour's break in time in NZ, this is the first time we have used it. The 9' aluminum bottomed dink with the tiny 3hp engine is a featherweight. We flushed the 8hp Yamadog and put it away during Med time. In the Med all you do is travel a couple hundred meters to the dinghy dock and that is it. So we drove around and looked at the beautiful homes overlooking the water. The best were built years ago and had water level boat houses built into the basements. We snapped a few pics we may get to show some day.

Since arrival Egret has been on anchor. We dropped TK and backed him in hard and checked it later with the look bucket. He was buried to the roll bar so we weren't moving. This afternoon a local stopped by and said he is leaving until next Sunday and would we like his bulletproof mooring (in so many gesturing words and Spanglish). We thanked him and took him up on it because charter weenies are showing up and anchoring helter skelter not allowing for Egret's relatively large swing radius. We took two 3/4' - 19mm lines and looped them thru so are secure. We did however leave TK partially deployed so if in an emergency we can slip the mooring lines and anchor somewhere up wind. So Egret is a mooring weenie, and that is a very rare occurrence. Except for a couple days in Juan de Fernandez Islands and Easter Island, I believe the last time was in Maine at Hinkley's. Thinking more about it, prior to that was at Halifax Yacht Club* (Nova Scotia) and before that was in Nantucket**. Total mooring weenie time (TMWT).

*Halifax YC's dinghy engine broke so we loaned them Egret's catamaran dinghy to deliver members to and from their moorings while we land cruised with friends from Ft Lauderdale. In the end there was no mooring charge.

**We needed an address for a parts shipment. Once the parts arrived we shed the hyper expensive Nantucket mooring and anchored nearby. Now for the Small World department. We met N62 Grey Pearl the winter before in the Bahamas and here they were in Nantucket. Next, Pearl and Egret were on the NAR together and spent two Mediterranean winters together and occasional anchorages during those two years. Now Pearl is in the Philippines and will end up this summer's cruise in Phukett, Thailand. Obviously they are working their way west. Hopefully in a year or two we will be together once again in the Med. Small world.

Today is Monday. The barometer has dropped to 998 so the predicted NEly has begun. We will spend at least this morning aboard until weather stabilizes. "Bulletproof mooring" are only words until Egret spends some time in a blow without issues. We don't really expect any exceptional winds. However, it wouldn't be fun if the day charter catamaran on a mooring in front of Egret broke free. A crewman did come out this morning to check so with that kind of care all should be well. In the meantime we are doing laundry and making water on this grey blustery day.

If you wondered what we cruisers write back and forth, today's e-mail from a good friend and new N owner back in Florida is a classic and will still be a classic 100 years from now. It has been made Boat Kid rated but you can read between the lines. Our reply is after and is also BK rated.

Dear S&M

So we left Ft Lauderdale on Thursday afternoon after I got called in to do an emergency case. Good thing we weren't in the Bahamas. We got to Miami, Government Cut, and checked into Miami Beach Marina. The stern in, starboard side tie up was easy except for the 3/4 exposed bolt sticking out from where the 4x4 wooden dock bumper had broken off the day before. That made three nice gouges in the woodwork on the starboard side about amidships. I got a hack saw and cut the xxxxer off. At least I felt better and it was cool that I had a hacksaw on the boat. It was during that run that I just didn't think the stabilizers were working properly. So I called X and we started through the diagnosis process and I'm sure he just thought A* and E* were just wooses, cuz they got sick, yep my 14 month old puked on me. A didn't puk but she was a nice deep shade of green. Anyways, I just didn't see the level indicators on the stabilizer panel lighting up and although it was relatively calm, it just didn't seem right. So, I asked X if there was any way to pin the stabilizers and would there be any reason for them to be pinned now. Ah, Yea, there were pinned by X and his crew cuz they were moving in tight quarters and the entire electrical had been disconnected for new electronics install. Nice. So I unpinned them and the ride down to Long Key Bight was awesome. No one sick, very nice. *wife and daughter

The Rocna is a beast, We had a squall blow thru at 3am. I had about 100' of 3/8 Hitest with elongated links out, 40+knots and we didn't budge.

Next morning just as we are getting ready to leave the generator stops. Nothing. I thought it had overheated but when I flipped the warmup switch, nothing, the gauges had no power. At first I thought maybe the ground wire had come loose, no such luck. So we came to Key West and X and I started working from the battery to the starter to the control box in the generator and the battery switches, etc... But it had been a long run and E was fussy, which means her momma was fussy. And anyways I had other issues to deal with. After making the 10 hour run to key west we were thrilled to hookup to shorepower at Conch harbor marina. We all went down to check in at the marina office and before we got back to the boat she had lost all shorepower. So Out came the trusted Voltmeter and I first checked the voltage at our end of the 50 cable, check, working. I then followed the wiring to the breaker box, very inconveniently located deep inside the storage for food under the galley countertop. Not tripped. So I then got into the lazerette where all the fancy electrical boxes are located. The charles dealie that boosts inadequate power from shore had a green light on the side. From there the power goes to the isolation transformer, but low and behold, and I mean very low, there was another 40amp breaker that indeed was tripped. At this point I didn't give a xxxx it had tripped, even if the boat burned like Kishner's new 18*, we needed A xxxing C. And we got it. *18' fishing boat years ago thanks to Johnson Outboard Ficht engineering.

So I thought my problems had diminished to just a generator that was dead, no current to get it going. That was until A fell down the stairs, hurting her right ankle, she heard a snap, maybe even a few snaps. I finally got her calmed down, iced, elevated and I even have a splint and ace wraps. Actually, I could do an appendectomy with all the medical stuff I have on board. She had a lot of pain and once I got E to sleep, I found some old Vicodin and gave her one of those and two beers and three glasses of wine. She kept complained and I told her to stop whinning. That went over good. That was Saturday evening. Sunday we just sat around doing nothing. Cuz there was nothing to do.

Today, Monday, we went over to C's office were I see patients on one Friday a month down here and sure enough, her leg is broken. She went into a walking splint, I got her some crutches and back to the boat after a nice lunch at Louies Backyard. Of course they didn't have a high chair so E got to sit on my lap. Very funny cuz every time I took a bite, E got a facefull of whatever I was eating. She likes conch fritters and soft shell crab sandwich.

Back to the boat and I was gonna start figuring out the generator after I got E to sleep for her pm nap, but the two bloody marys put me out too. Finally after a cataclysmic nap and an epic dump, I finally took up the floor over the generator and got the sound shield off. Ok, so forget checking to see if the starter has power. no human could get back there. The battery cables were good and tight to the battery. So, I was suspicious of the ground, intact. I took off the top of the electrical control box and as you know there are two fuse/breaker dealies. One two amp, intact and one 15 amp, broken terminal. A 5 dollar fuse shut the entire thing down. Is that possible? Went over to Key west marine hardware and the cubanito said he didn't have the exact one, but he sold me a breaker and I picked up a 15 and a 25 amp thermal fuse, which is what was in there to begin with. Can I use a breaker or does it have to be a thermal fuse? Also, when I was trying to see if I could just push the broken terminal back in there, the fuse came loose from the bracket and I got a little sparking going on, hope I didn't fry something else. Anyways, any suggestions would be welcome.

I pretty much need help with the generator, I got the broken leg covered.

Tx, K

KA&E,

Holy shoot!! Snapped leg, pukeville, greenville, woodwork trashed, no juice, no nothing. Welcome to xxxx boating mi amigo. What did you think it was going to be? Cocktails in the flybridge while E coos in the background? Join the fray and thrashing in cool places. Now you're xxxed big time. So you just invested X large when all you had to do was walk barefoot thru sandspurs for the same pain. Go figure.

OK, now that you feel lower than whale stuff let's get you fixed. When the generator is running and you go to ships power (rotary switch in the panel) and there is no juice, it is the 2 amp circuit breaker on the side of the rectangular metal box on TOP of the generator's electrical end. We had one breaker fail so now carry 2 spares. When the generator doesn't turn over it is the fuse holder that looks flush on the outside of the white rectangular box but inside it has two wires. We had one of those spade terminals break off just as you did. So we carry 2 spares. If you hook anything (fuse holder - breaker) back up in line it will work until you can get the right holder from RPM Diesel. Be careful with the hot wire. If it sparks bad I don't know what will happen but sparks are not good. Under the lid of the electrical box are 5 square Bosch plug in relays lined up in a row. They are all the same and control different stuff and what that is I don't know. We were told by Lugger Bob before the NAR, if something is screwy just change all 5 relays and when you get time, replace them one by one until you figure out which one is broken. You can buy Bosch relays at NAPA cheap. Take one of yours as a sample (unless there are numbers or some identification on the top) and buy 7. That is what we carry. There is probably a NAPA in KW or Pep Boys or something where you can get the relays. Key West Marine Hardware on the waterfront should have the fuse holder. It will be round without the square face but it should fit. It is a Lewis figure number 3726, number HTB261. Make sure the fuse is the same amperage as what came out. Or call RPM Diesel for the exact Northern Lights fuse holder, 954 587-1620 Ask for Peter and have him UPS a couple to the marina.

As far as the custom electrical stuff in the lazarette, I don't have a clue. You are already farther ahead than I would be by finding the tripped breaker. In time there will be a series of things that come up just like this but you will Never forget the generator lesson, just as I didn't. Both of our instances happened back in the U.S. and I still haven't forgotten. A year or two from now you and A will look back on this first trip and laugh. It will become one of your best boating stories. Plus you will be so far ahead of where you are now you will be amazed. It just happens in time aboard. As far as E hurling on daddy you have better days to look forward to. We will never forget 3 year old Amy from Bump, a 32' no refrigeration Brit/Kiwi sailboat we met in the Bahamas, running around totally comfortable aboard. She was like a little monkey. Bump was the only home she had ever known. We took the couple and Amy to Little Farmers Key in the Bahamas (from Spanish Wells) for the First Friday in February Family Festival. Amy won the wet tee shirt contest. Her dad made a rack out of two plastic drinking cups and string to wear under her tee shirt. She had the best set among the scraggly cruiser lady's. Amy won a bottle of rum. Cool. (Amy's dad didn't win the men's best legs contest even though he had a prop).

It gets better. Best to A. S. & Maria

The couple paragraphs written by our good buddy is real life exactly as he perceived over these days. Obviously he is a doctor and a very specialized one at that. He was 36 before he made his first peso. These days it it different. So this means he does what he does for a living and lets others do what they do. And again this means he writes checks. But he is a Smart Guy and you have to hand it to him for digging in himself and not screaming on the phone for help to coome running. Once you throw off the lines, all the water levels we may perceive we are become straight as the horizon. This is what is so great about boating. It is a great equalizer and in time you use the same skills that made you successful to keep your little waterworld going. There is a Lot of personal satisfaction in this. I promise you K and A won't look at this as a negative experience, but a learning experience. They are both too smart to think their cup is half empty.

Back to the Med.

Here is another real life story we heard today from N55 New Paige2 Roger when he stopped by for a visit. NP was running from Crete toward the Straits of Messina between Sicily and Italy a few days ago. When approaching the Strait narrows the stbd engine quit (twin 55). They ran a few miles into a marina on the port engine and got a local mechanic to take a look. Roger knew more than the local and is a real deal hands on guy so Roger sent the mechanic packing and called Lugger Bob (Senter) from Northern Lights/Lugger. Lugger Bob is well known on the N Owners site as well as the Yahoo Groups, N Dreamers* site as being super helpful. Bob stayed in phone contact with Roger day and night until the problem was solved. In the end it was simply a bad connection on the black box. No parts were needed, just an unplug and replug. This is where it gets interesting and worth meniton. Roger said today "if he ever orders another new build it will have a Lugger engine/s and a Northern Lights generator/s just because of Lugger Bob". It is nice to know there are folks like Lugger Bob out there that have a large amount of expertise and CARE. A couple other guys Roger called dropped the ball and only one called back after a couple days asking what happened. The one tasked with the responsibility didn't call at all. Here is what so many service folks don't seem to grasp including long term service folks like these two. When a boater breaks down, their singluar lazer focus task is to get up and running. This is VERY important to them as it would be to you or ourselves. A lot of good will can be undone in a very short time in cases like this and superheated emotions. So when you find someone who DOES take care of you, you don't forget as well as remember those who didn't.

*Yahoo Groups Nordhavn Dreamers site is open to everyone regardless if they are N owners or not. However, a number of N owners participate including ourselves from time to time when we have internet access. Over time you will glean quite a lot of useful information thru the site. Like any information it needs sorting and sifting but overall it is very worthwhile. There is currently over 1000 members and averaging one new member joining per day.

Today was a trip with NP Roger back to Palma de Mallorca for the local boat show. As a show it wasn't much except we saw an inflatable dinghy we liked more than ours. It was an AB super light 10' dink which is 1' to long but better than ours. Of course it was EU pricing but it was nice. What was super impressive was the extraordinary wealth of boats in the harbor. N55 NP looked like a smallish tender. In all our travels including my former profession we have never seen anything like it. 'Med sleds' are there by the hundreds and hundreds (60-90' go fast swoop de doo deals) One giga yacht approaching 500' - 156m, was there from some oil pumpers. The working crews seemed busy getting ready for the summer charter and cruising season. When we got back to Egret, two mega's were anchored at the entrance to Anthrax. One was a powerboat about 160' - 50m just guessing and the other was an older sailboat with a flush deck about 125' - 39m. (picture 7.)

So there you have it. Actually there is a lot to think about in this VofE. Some of it is light, some not. Today it is off to Palma with NP Roger once again. 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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