"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.
November 20, 2010
Position: 28 47.41S 32 04.94E Berth E24, Zululand Yacht Club, Richard's Bay, South Africa (east coast)
G' Day mis amigos. STOP right here, don't eat the desert first. Please save the pictures until you read the Entire Deep South Text. Then go back and match each picture with its description -- After reading the description.
Back to the present. We tell it all, the good and the bad. There has been very little bad during our cruising but it is different here. Pirates are very real farther north along with safety ashore. A 40ish couple just returned from Tanzania. On the resort island of Zanzibar the woman was robbed at knife point by 4-5 guys during the day. They even told her to take off her clothes. They did her no harm, they just wanted the clothes. Another local yachtie just returned that was taken by Somalis on the south end of Tanzania (Somalia is above Tanzania). He refused to leave the boat so they let him go but his girlfriend and another were taken ashore. He hasn't heard what happened to them. And it goes on and on. I would have to say cruising for the international group is limited to Egret's route to Mauritius, Reunion and on to South Africa below Madagascar, not over the top of Madagascar as is the norm. Locals really have a problem because they usually cruise north and its too dangerous these days.
A local from Durban (South Africa - about 100nm south) who follows VofE drove up the other day with his wife and daughter looking for advise and perhaps some inspiration for his wife. I recommended buying on the U.S. East Coast and commuting back and forth for the few years remaining until their younger children enter university. Here they can cruise in comfort with no safety issues, learn cruising skills at their own pace (South Africa cruising is like getting thrown into the deep end of the pool for your first swim) and when it is Their Time they can go where they wish and have the skills. With the U.S.Peso where it is they can buy a boat at a deal and commute spending less money than just a few years ago for the boat alone. Its like getting paid to play.
I very rarely criticize our fellow cruisers. We live and let life. However, the other day we were sharing a ride to town with a not so young couple from a small sailboat that are super budget cruisers. There are a lot of these budget folks here and there doing their deal and seeing exactly what Mary and I see. At least they are out here and not grinding away ashore. Budget or not they are treated as equals among most long term cruisers. However, No One, budget or not shouldn't skimp when it comes to basic safety and very few do. These folks were asking me how we planned to cruise south, why you should head for shallow water if you get caught in a SWly and so on. So I explained how the continental shelf is where we get our best speed from the Agulhus Current to head south but when a SWly hits its REAL bad and causes occasional freak waves. If a SWly catches you out, head tight to the beach, and I mean tight (about 60' - 18m) of water where you are in a north bound counter current and run back north with the wind and current as slow as possible. Along the Wild Coast farther south there is no where to hide. (This information came from multiple locals with years of experience) So they just looked at me with this blank stare. They have NO way to receive weather while under way (no grib files thru the SSB like Sailmail or Win Link and of course no Iridium satellite phone and Ocens gribs, AND no way to receive e-mail sent by friends with the weather......no nothing). No radar. They do have a depthfinder that reads when in shallow water. There are VHF stations giving weather along the coast at regular intervals so I suggested they program their VHF to scan these channels and stay a little closer to shore than usual, perhaps the 100 meter line. Another blank stare. It wasn't explained but I bet they don't have the batteries to run a VHF full time or perhaps a non programmable VHF, or both. So I'm being critical here. It is not just their safety alone, but if they get caught out and call for help that puts those folks at risk as well. I'm sure no one reading these words falls into the super budget category but in these latitudes safety cannot be compromised.
There is a new yachtie website to follow keeping the fires lit, N64 Oso Blanco on the N.com website. OB1 just completed a run from Mexico, island hopping across the Pacific to Auckland, New Zealand. This crew is the Real Deal having owned 2 previous N's and put in many sea miles in the past. And they have a Boat Kid to boot who writes as well. (They remind me of N55 New Paige 2 - same story, same crossing) There was a N64 docked behind Egret in Opua, NZ. Egret was dwarfed by her big sister but away from the dock the 64 doesn't look so big. Everything is proportionate and just looks right. I can imagine blasting serious water and shaking major salt with her displacement. Yup, give her a little throttle, squat the stern just a bit to harden her up and lettereat like Oso Blanco did for 1400 or so nm from Fiji to Auckland, NZ. Mary and I traveled for a few weeks on a N62 once and loved the long foredeck and how she shouldered large waves aside. So we could say she had 'big shoulders'. I would have to say the N64 is a 'water blaster'. The descriptions aren't exactly feminine but at sea these tough ladys aren't exactly school girls in pigtails. Roller Derby comes to mind.
Mary is back in Ft Lauderdale buying boat goodies and picking up a few cruising guides. Hopefully the Rain X and polishing compound won't get bounced by the airport gestapo. If they snag the Starbucks French roast it will really be depressing. The best coffee we ever had was from the Coffee Store in Barcelona. It came from nearby Tanzania. The stores here only stock instant and a few very small designer bags of beans. Mary returns a week from today. Can't wait.
OK, time to wrap up the dream trip to the ice but lets back up a few years and tell you a story that pertains to Egret but to Yourselves as well.
So how did Egret come to make the voyage to the Deep South? It almost doesn't make sense. She had just finished the NAR making her first ocean crossing. Her cruising in the Mediterranean was in its infancy. What triggered this decision? What happened?
In The Very Beginning, information and inspiration happened. All we cruisers are following in other's footsteps these days. New frontiers are extremely rare and are for only the most seasoned veterans. This doesn't pertain to any of us. None of us wake up one day and start dreaming about traveling here and there aboard our own little white fiberglass ship. In our case it was a seed watered by information that grew very slowly at first. A second issue was in all our careers there comes a time when we have climbed all the mountains we are going to climb. Work becomes just a way to make money and the adventure and excitement is lost. So we settle into our money making routine but it is just that and nothing more. Just more money. That's all. So what's left? The clock is ticking and we start looking around for new mountains, exciting mountains and new challenges. In the meantime we have been reading magazine articles describing these far away places and some not so far. The seed starts growing even faster. We're gathering momentum. More magazines, more internet time, more this more that and soon we are racing to absorb all the information we can. Of course your wife of many years picks up on this. She's pretty smart. In fact, REAL smart. So the Smart Guys give them all the information they have and talk about it together and Become a Team. They Dream together. None of these deals work at 80-20 or 70-30. The Admiral to be needs to be completely filled in. So lets say you keep it a secret then announce one day what YOU (the two of you) are going to do, completely upsetting her now comfortable life. The reaction is predictable. So you start dancing with your sales routine, but she knows your sorry butt and doesn't buy in. Let's turn it around. So lets say SHE announces one day YOU (the two of you) are going to adopt 7 children from Nepal. And then She starts dancing with a sales pitch. Get the picture? OK boys, you can stop shaking now but do yourselves a favor and fess up and work on it together because if this deal flies all you have is each other. You just don't Want each other, you Need each other.
Lets back up to the beginning if you are not too traumatized. How did Egret come to make the Deep South trip? In Egret's case it was pretty simple. Our Time was before we used the internet much at all. The only exception was the Log of Ithaka, written by the former editor of Cruising World Magazine (a U.S. sailboat magazine) and her husband. They started from ground zero and found their way slowly and not so gracefully at first. However we followed their travels for 6 years, learned a lot and watched as outsiders as they matured in their cruising and outlook. In the meantime, Egret had started her cruising life. During this time, prior to and after the NAR, came the inspirational and informative Cruising World articles written by American Beth Leonard from s/v Hawk about the Deep South. Beth is my kinda writer. She writes about the nuts and bolts of cruising with little flowery stuff. Beth and her husband Evans spent quite a bit of time in Patagonia and described it in detail. Along with Beth's efforts, excellent articles were written by a Dutch couple from s/v Terra Nova and a Bermudian couple from s/v Morgan's Cloud. About the same time was a Passagemaker Magazine article about a very modest coastal cruiser that rounded Cape Horn. Now the wheels were turning faster and faster.
And now for the catalyst. All these thoughts were racing around in our minds but still hasn't gelled. We needed a catalyst. The catalyst came in the form of the Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego Nautical Guide by Mariolina Rolofo and Giorgio Ardrizzi. All Deep South cruisers refer to it affectionately as the Italian Guide as we will from here on. We bought the guide and started reading the cruising information, the history and the enthusiasm these two remarkable people have for Patagonia. Mariolina and Giorgio spent 8 years of their lives bringing this 719 page guide to fruition. It certainly was a labor of love and not an economic venture because the guide serves such a minuscule market. Now all the places and experiences Beth and others described started shaping up into a doable and now informed venture. I will honestly say, without the Italian Guide, Egret would not have made the trip.
So while in Barcelona for the winter we took the first step and ordered a paravane kit from PAE to be flown to Barcelona. The rest is history. However, the first bit of Egret's history began in Bimini, Bahamas when Mary and I took delivery of Egret. From that day in Bimini when Mary untied the docklines for the first time, we dropped anchor the first time, and woke the next day of the rest of our lives, Egret departed on her Personal Voyage of Discovery. And 9 years and 106 days later there are still lotsa mountains to climb.
OK, now the nuts and bolts of cruising guides, charts, relevant publications, people, places, clothing, communication, weather and weather routing and a short bit on ice and water.
Cruising Guides and Charts.
We'll start in Brazil with guides. The only guide we used is Havens and Anchorages, a companion to the RCC South Atlantic circuit for the South American coast. The guide covers Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. ISBN 0-9541900-4-1 This is an older publication published in 2002. There are some inaccuracies but if you follow Egret's travel recommendation in a previous Deep South VofE it will be accurate. From Argentina on we used the Italian Guide.
We used the Italian Guide starting in Argentina all the way around to Talcahuano, Chile, (north of the Chilean Channels) with the exception of Brazil, before heading across the Pacific. Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego Nautical Guide by Mariloina Rolfo and Giorgio Ardrizzi, ISBN 88-85986-34-X www.capehorn-pilot.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Whether you go or not it is well worth buying this guide. First to learn about this fascinating area of the world, look at the pictures to get things started, AND to support Mariolina and Giorgio's tremendous efforts bringing safety to the the few cruisers who make the yearly trek to the Deep South.
The third publication you will need to make the Deep South trip is the compilation of charts from the Chilean Hydrographic Office. The publication is Publication number 3042, Atlas Hidrografico de Chile from the Servicio Hidrografico de la Armada de Chile. This is a large book size publication of all Chilean charts. By using a magnifying dome or a magnifying glass (we used a 4" magnifying dome with a teak riser) you can readily use the charts. Understand chart plotting in many cases except well traveled areas like the Magellan Channel, plotting is world accuracy (large jagged lines with NO resolution). This is the first time Mary and I used paper charts. You learn REAL quick when the plotter turns to white. By using a combination of Chilean charts, the plotter, gps information to various anchorages and the overall routing in the Italian Guide we made it thru the Channels with zero problems. By googling the publication in Chile you can buy it for a nominal fee. If not, both guides and the Atlas Hidrografico de Chile are available at Blue Water Books and Charts, in Ft Lauderdale.
VofE postings starting September, 2006 thru March, 2008. These logs are accurate postings of day to day life in the Deep South including the Atlantic crossing from the Canary Islands to Brazil. There is a lot of information here and reading between the lines you will see Mary's and my love of this beautiful area. Also visit the Photo section of the VofE website to see in pictures what is being described.
Charts for Antarctica are the recommendation from Eef Willems of s/v Tooluka. Eef is probably the best professional small boat ice pilot in Antarctica. She was kind enough to share her charts with us. Eef captains adventure sailing charters in high latitudes. The last we heard from Eef, Tooluka was in Greenland. www.tooluka.nl
Hi Scott and Mary,
I haven't updated this lately, but I don't think much has changed. 446 has come instead of 3572 I think... These are all BA charts (ed note - British Admiralty), but you don't need them all!!
Good luck, Eef
Joinville Island to Cape Ducorps and Church Point
446 Anvers Island to Renaud Island
1740 Bond Pt to Brunow Bay
1774 Plans in the South Shetland Islands
1776 Livingston Island to King George Island
3202 Deception Island
3205 South Shetland islands and Bransfield Strait
3213 Plans of Graham Land
3560 Gerlache Strait Northern Part
3566 Gerlache Strait Southern Part
3570 Brabant Island to Adelaide Island
3571 Lavoisier Islands to Alexander Islands
3572 Anvers island to Pitt island
3573 Grandidier Channel
3575 Argentine island and Appr.
4214 Approaches to Graham Land
Antarctic Oasis - Under the Spell of South Georgia. Antarctic Oasis is a world class inspirational and informative table top book from Tim and Pauline Carr, former curators of the South Georgia Whaling Museum in Grytviken, SG. Tim and Pauline sailed to South Georgia aboard their 28' (8.75m), 100 year old engineless cutter rigged sloop Curlew, spending 10 wonderful years in this magical place. Lending credibility to their literary effort, H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh, K.G., K.T. Prince Phillip, wrote the foreword. The photography is world class, the text simply written recounting their personal adventures as inspiration for us all along with a sliced and diced history of the island. Like Beth Leonard's tales of the Deep South along with the Italian Guide, Antarctic Oasis became the catalyst of desire for Egret to visit as well. Antarctic Oasis along with the Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego Nautical Guide are must have's even if you don't plan, at least today, to make either trip. Antarctic Oasis, ISBN 0-393-04605-2, Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego Nautical Guide, ISBN 88-85986-34-X
Oceanites. Oceanites is a pro active environmental group that lists the penguin colony sites visitable on the Antarctic Peninsula. Each area is described in detail including where to land, where to go and what areas are off limits. Penguin colonies need to be protected from thoughtless intrusion so by giving all the information to visitors they hope penguins will be more protected. Oceanites by Ron Naveen, ISBN 10 0966101103, ISBN 13 9780966101102
While in Mar del Plata, Argentina (Yacht Club Argentino) if you are fortunate John Toranto will find you. John (Juan-Juane) is a local entrepreneur that owns two of the large red fishing vessels and a number of on-shore businesses. John befriended Egret and lets just say without John's help, Egret's stay and work completed in Mar del Plata would be very different. Egret being very different from the usual tough guy sailboats making the trip south made the difference and attracted John's attention.
A great contact while in Ushuaia is Roxanne Diaz Selby. Roxanne is an Argentine married to a Brit (Jonathan Selby) Jonathan is a computer guy so if you have any of those issues he can help along with some electronic repairs. Roxanne is a general agent for anything you need and she is a yachties friend. She arranged for Egret to get fuel when it was coming VERY difficult at the time to get fuel. She helped with other things as well. Also, I'm sure Roxanne can help with leasing one of Charlie Porter's moorings we mentioned before. email@example.com
And like always, your fellow international cruisers. We all help each other and the cumulative knowledge in an anchorage like Ushuaia is considerable.
I'll only mention one additional. We already talked about Ushuaia, Argentina as the hub of Deep South cruisers and nearby Puerto Williams, Chile, your entry port to Chile in the south. Each country issues a 90 day visa on entry so during your Deep South stay you will bounce between Argentina and Chile. More bouncing as you trek north up the Chilean Channels is described in detail in the Italian Guide. One place we didn't mention is Puerto Montt, Chile at the head of the Chilean Channels. PM is within the Channels and is the northern cruiser hub. Most cruisers stay at Marina Oxxean in PM. The floating docks are first class, there is a cruiser's lounge at the head of the visitors dock and has free internet terminals. Buses run every few minutes to town. There are two other marinas. One is the local yacht club just to the west of Oxxean and Marina del Sur to the east. All three marinas are well protected from wind. Puerto Montt is the last place to buy hardware goods, engine oil, etc at reasonable prices until New Zealand. There are large salmon farming business' (salmoneras) based in PM so many boating relating goods are available.
You must understand we are from South Florida, USA. That translates into Hot most of the time. The Deep South is NOT hot. For what its worth here is what we did. Also understand we experimented with a number of combinations you livers (is that a word?) in the frozen wastelands of the north know by heart and we learned by failure. During the coldest days we used Under Armor medium unders (Mary called them her seal skins). I rarely wore the tops and she usually wore hers. Leaving the dinghy dock and walking to town you wear your cool stuff suitable for that day. Incidentally, you can have warm sunshine, snow flurries, hail and rain in the same day, even during summer. Once in town you immediately start shedding. We always wore backpacks to store unused clothing. Jeans are ok at times in summer but when it gets cold you need reinforced nylon hiking pants (we bought in Ushuaia) for hiking. They don't get wet and cling like jeans when hiking. On cold days we wore foul weather jackets. We bought headgear by the kilo so you are on your own there. I will say, after the third pair of boots we settled on insulated boots from Solomon with a very stiff sole and toe and large cleats. These stiff boots were able to kick toe holds in snow while climbing and the first two pair didn't. Adjustable hiking sticks are a big help. Going uphill they are adjusted shorter than downhill. The trick is to keep off slippery roots along the trails and balance yourself with a gentle push of the stick. As we evolved to steeper climbing* we bought ice axes in addition to hiking sticks. Going up and down hills you will be shedding and re wearing gear as the day progresses. I will say, during our time we were never cold or really uncomfortable. *We did no technical climbing. I would call it strenuous hiking on the steeper slopes.
While on the Beagle or Chilean Channels, the Prefectura or Armada (Argentine or Chilean Coast Guards) will call you from their remote reporting stations. The conversation will be in Spanish so we had a list of information: vessel name...Egret.........echo - golf - romeo - echo - tango, registration number (7, 3......) siete, tres,.........., 2-3 (dos - tres) personas emboardo, last port, next port. Mary* rattled this list off in sequence so they couldn't get in a word. Sometimes we had to repeat the call in and did our best with little Spanish and their little English. In the end all went well. No problema. The Italian Guide gives you the VHF call in instructions for various harbors as well as the reporting sequence. (Spanish and English) *Mary's Spanish is much better than mine.
We didn't use the SSB at all. Egret's SSB has been a disappointment since installation. We finally got the installation problem fixed in New Zealand (undersized - blown, external diodes). However, the single time we wished it did work was in the Chilean Channels. There is a Patagonia Net every morning at 1200 UTC on 8.164 run by Wolfgang from the upper Channels area. This is a great safety devise and saved a French couple from grief the year before Egret arrived. They had a propane explosion and struggled ashore with little to keep them going. To make a long story short, Wolfgang got the Chilean Armada to investigate when he had not heard from the French in a couple days. The couple were saved. Also, during your time in Patagonia you will become close to your fellow cruisers and joining the net lets everyone know who is who and where they are. (This is a tough area of the world. Fellow cruisers have a mutual respect for each other, help each other and CARE about each other. Even years later when other Patagonia veterans find out you were there they treat you just a little differently, and you those folks). In any case, we missed the camaraderie of the Patagonia net.
Iridium satellite phone
Iridium is priceless. In addition to voice communication in an emergency (Iridium works every time, unlike SSB) we used Iridium for e-mail and weather. While in the Chilean Channels cruising with an Armada issued zarpe (cruising permit) you are required to contact the Armada each day. During the few times in the Channels we had VHF contact we used that, the balance of the time we sent an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org We also copied the Armada in Puerto Williams, Chile (who issued the zarpe) as well. This way they and you have a written record of your whereabouts. Note. Iridium worked even when surrounded by mountains. However, to get far better reception use an external antenna. Egret's Iridium phones*, external antenna and minutes came from Andy Cool at Explorer Satellite in Ft Lauderdale. email@example.com *Iridium is so indispensable we carry a spare phone and batteries stored in a waterproof Pelican case.
Weather and weather routing.
For the long hauls at sea and along the Argentine coast and again in the Pacific, Egret used professional weather forecasting. OMNI Bob, Bob Jones at Ocean Marine Navigation did a great job. Bob has the ability to look way ahead and predict weather far in advance. This is a big help in routing. OcMarNav@aol.com 866 505-6664. In addition Egret used grib files and wave reports from Ocens, along with Ocens' e-mail program. These worked well. www.ocens.com Once in the Channels all you can use is overall weather reports and professional forecasting isn't necessary. For short hops, just look outside. Anchorages are close together. Weather for the most part comes from the west but it gets twisted around from the high terrain. Usually, the worst weather comes from the north in Ushuaia and blows predominately from the north in the N/S Channels even if the weather originated from the west. As we mentioned before, weather usually comes from the west in the anchorages.
This is so important it gets its own paragraph. Williwaws or rachas are a fact of life in the Deep South. These are violent blasts of cold air lasting 8 or 10 seconds. A powerboat under way doesn't have much to fear besides a rock job but folks under sail in 10 knots with everything up that get hit instantly with 70 or more knots of wind can easily get their masts stuck in the water. If you are a Smart Guy and anchor where the Italian Guide says you will have no problems. If you anchor on your own in a swell place that appears protected but doesn't have any vegetation*, beware. Ask Joshua Slocum. He got killerated at times. *no vegetation usually means no dirt, that means nothing can grow to make dirt because of williwaws and you will get hammered........like when the waterfalls get blown UP and your little white fiberglass ship goes into compression. Got it?
I'll mention ice for those who have no ice experience as ourselves until after arriving. During the summer it gets dark around 10:00 in the evening and is light just a few hours later. There is no ice on either ocean's coast. Except for traveling in the Atlantic on the way south and Pacific when leaving, you really shouldn't run at night, particularly in the Channels. Why would you want to hurry in the first place? During the summer glaciers calve regularly and certain Caleta's (cove's) and Seno's (sounds) have ice under the glaciers. You can move thru this ice slowly bumping in and out of gear with nothing to fear if you miss the big pieces (this is no problem). During the winter on still cold nights fresh glacial water floating on top will freeze in some anchorages. At times during winter when entering an anchorage you will have to slowly munch your way thru sheet ice and at times during the night you will be frozen in. When the ice leaves on the tide or when the wind picks up it will sound like some giant is opening your little fiberglass ship with a grinder. No matter the screeching noise of retreating ice or munching your way thru sheet ice we found Egret didn't even loose any bottom paint, much less scratch the gel coat.
Water. This is a late addition under the Ice heading so lets call water, liquid ice. Many times in Channel anchorages you are sitting in glacial silt and can not run the watermaker. However, it is cool so you don't need much water for showers or clothes washing as near the tropics. When you do need water there is a Way Cool way of filling the tank. Waterfalls are everywhere. ONLY if they are snow melt or rainwater* you can slowly idle up to shore**, sit in the kelp to hold station and take a garden hose with a funnel attached and tie the funnel in a stream or under a waterfall and let the water flow into the tank. We did this a number of times because we could, not because we needed water before returning to Puerto Williams or Ushuaia. *if the waterfall or stream is from an upland lake it will surely be tainted with a bug called Guardia from the beaver dams. **most channels and caletas are glacier dug so are steep and deep next to shore.
So now its up to you. We can't do any more than try as we may to encourage you to make the trip IF you have done your homework and put in enough sea miles you are comfortable with weather and your ability to fix whatever. A trip to the Deep South will be the highlight of your entire cruising career no matter where else you may visit. Trading oceans within a few months doesn't do all your anticipation, preparation, hours at sea to and from justice. This area needs time. If you give it time your seamanship skills will ratchet up rapidly during the coming year. Much more so than just pounding out more sea miles. You will develop a deep sense of adventure no one can take away and perhaps you didn't realize you had. And as we mentioned before, spending time in Patagonia observing this wild place in the world from the deck of your own little white fiberglass ship is something You Did, not bought. Priceless. Very, very few people in the world have been so fortunate. Now, it is up to you mis amigos (my friends). Good luck to you*. Ciao.
*(actually, you make your own luck).
And now for the candy. This is what Egret did. What You Do is much more important.
Picture 1. Mary took this all time best picture in the world that defines Egret's Winter Cruise. We were burning garbage on the beach in Seno Pia, on the Glacier Loop, just 25 or so nm west of Ushuaia. Just in front of Egret is a glacier and to the left out of sight is a second. Seno Pia is a two pronged, glacier dug N/S sound into Chilean Tierra del Fuego. The other arm is where Egret posed for her PMM picture in the ice below a third glacier. There are 9 glaciers within 6nm along the Beagle Channel from here west (these 3 are not included, just glaciers along the Beagle). If you look closely you will see the water looks flat except for the trail made by the CIB (Catamaran Ice Breaker). The flat water is ice. Also, check the reflection of the mountain in the background reflecting in the dinghy trail.
Picture 2. Egret munching her way into Estero Coloani. Here we offset TK (Egret's anchor) to port, ran a third shoreline to a small islet off the stbd bow and with two lines ashore. To the right was a glacier low between two mountains. In front of Egret was the sheer wall of a mountain with 18 individual waterfalls, mountains to the east (left) and behind Egret (in a rare occurrence Egret was anchored stern to the north). When a westerly blasted thru, the wind would accelerate thru the venturi made by the low glacier bordered by high mountains, sweep around the bowl blowing waterfalls straight up, screaming around and lifting water straight up as the wind gusts closed on Egret. When the gusts hit she would get a rock job but with TK doing his deal no harm was done. It was Wild, Wild!!!!! During a calm Mary and I dinked to the shore to the right (west), walked over the low peninsula in front of the glacier to the glacier itself. We could see an ice cave so we pulled sticks from a beaver dam to use for support on a narrow ledge to get inside the ice cave. The cave had an open chimney to the top coloring the inside of the cave in the most beautiful blues and purples you can imagine. And we caught centolla (southern king crabs) and feasted on crab several nights.
Picture 3. Estero Pecasdores (Fisherman's Bay or Estuary) is across from Estero Coloani. We left Coloani in calm but got blasted by 55 knots on the beam as the weather whipped thru Cook Sound. Guess who was in the flybridge? Once in the wind shadow anchoring was no biggie. Here we hiked in the snow, had dolphins racing in front of the dink for a half hour as we both played and had for neighbors a family of rare otters living in a cave behind Egret. Like Coloani we stayed here for days, hiking high into the hills just lapping up the beauty and solitude. We did not hear another human voice* or see another person for 7 weeks during the Winter Cruise. *To be completely accurate, I remember once Mary calling the Armada on the VHF when within range.
Picture 4. Caleta Olla during the winter with Isla Diablo (Devil's Island) in the background. Egret is anchored stern to the west and two lines ashore. It is late afternoon and ice is starting to form just off the stbd bow. Devils Island got its name when the crew of HMS Beagle (Charles Darwin's ship) was camped on the island. The night watch looked up and saw two eyes glowing in the firelight. He freaked and blasted the eyes. In the morning they found a dead owl who's glowing eyes gave the island its name. Egret anchored in Caleta Olla a number of times. Inland a bit to the east is a high glacier calving into a fresh water lake with bergs driven ashore by the wind. During the winter the lake is usually frozen over in sheet ice. We were so high at times during hikes we could look down at condors flying below. To the west of Olla's anchorage is a secret double waterfall. The remembrances are flowing so fast I can't type fast enough. This is very difficult for me. I want to go back so bad I can't stand it. So here's the deal. After you get there (Ushuaia) and get settled, send Egret an e-mail and we'll fly down and be tour guides. Or you can be tour guides. Doesn't matter. You get the picture.
Picture 5. This is my second favorite picture of Mary in the mountains. She has just reached our first summit. Just east above Ushuaia is a ski lift. Early morning we would take a taxi up the hill to the lift and ride the lift up then climb to the top. The climb is not particularly difficult at first then gets quite steep. In fact so steep when returning we would slide on our butts part of the way down before we could walk again. At the top of the lift is a restaurante' that serves the world's best heavy duty superthick soup with giant hunks of fresh bread. Soup, bread and a bit of wine for a late lunch then we would walk downhill back to Egret. We did this a number of times during the winter and it was wonderful.
Picture 6. My favorite picture of Mary in the mountains. This is as far as we got on our second attempt to climb Cero Media. We ran out of nerve and boots. Once we had the right boots with stiff soles and toes we charged (well, perhaps not quite charged) to the summit, no problema. Can you imagine the view from the top of Ushuaia harbor in the foreground and Chilean snow capped mountains in the background across the Beagle? You can't. Cape Horn is just 80nm away to the south and a bit east. From the summit of Cero Media on a clear winter day you can see the islands leading to the Great Cape in the distance.
So there you have it. Like we said above, you make your own luck. Make it. Mediocrity is boring.
November 12, 2010
Position: 28 47.41S 32 04.94E Berth E24, Zululand Yacht Club, Richard's Bay, South Africa (east coast)
There are two issues to deal with from the previous VofE before we get started. The first is a simple spelling issue brought up by a reader who has been following VofE since 05 in Barcelona. We met Rod who was a crewman on N62 Rover berthed next to Egret in Marina Port Vell (Barcelona). He brought up the word "batching" when I said Dick and I were batching while Mary was gone. Rod went on to say he used to own a Bach in New Zealand and bach comes from the word bachelor. Its a fact of life it weren't for spel chek there wouldn't be a VofE. In any case I guess baching would be more appropriate.
The second issue is a friend who thought the attack on an unnamed, unknown employee of South Coast Marine in Taiwan should have been directed to Forespar Marine in the U.S. who built Egret's mast and boom and perhaps they, not South Coast Marine installed the bulb eating masthead light. Of course it was a fabricated fantasy describing many daughters of the South Coast employee running away with their tattoo artist biker boyfriends to get married, and later his sons in law getting out of prison working in a rehab career. The fantasy reminds me of the 6:00 news but that's another story. The message was to PAE, and in turn to the boat building companies, that it would be nice to have a service loop on light wiring. Buried in the same VofE was an obscure comment about a dinner plate size 4D radar on a steel ketch rigged motorsailor. All the facts were true except for the 4D part because I have never heard of 4D radar and it was another fantasy as well. This little barb was aimed at an internet discussion between folks talking about radars that could track over a thousand targets at the same time vs one that couldn't. Of course all of this is in jest and you must realize no one escapes the wrath of the Egret crew including ourselves when we describe one dumb attack after another we made. Its all good fun for us at the expense of ourselves and everyone else but the Real Message is always the same. The cruising life is the Real Deal and sooner is better than later.
And now something that isn't a fantasy and is sorta serious. Some time after Egret's Fremantle to Mauritius crossing we were asked by PAE about Egret's mileage of the trip comparing it to a usual circumnavigation. So we laid out the facts of a usual circumnavigations' longest legs. There are just two long legs in a usual mid latitudes circumnavigation. One from the U.S. west coast or Mexico to the Marquesas or the second from the Galapagos to the Marquesas. The first is something less than 3000nm and the second is almost exactly 3000nm. Later, the fact was brought up about N46 Kanaloa's voyage from Namibia (Africa's west coast) to Brazil that was within a few miles as long as Egret's trip. This is where I got upset and started jumping up and down and asked nothing be written* about Egret's trip and PARTICULARLY making a comparison between two boats. Most of we cruisers in nicer boats worked hard in other lives to make possible the time to retire early and have the financial ability to do as we wish. So we were competitive in whatever endeavor. We CAN NOT and MUST NOT transfer this competitiveness to our cruising lives. If we do then we have already lost. We will never feel accomplished or fulfilled. Accomplishment in cruising is nothing more than making ourselves happy no matter where we go or don't go. It doesn't get any better than happy. The Kanaloa crew are an inspiration to all cruisers whether power or sail. Their first circumnavigation was under sail and that alone is much more difficult than power. Secondly, they are on their third circumnavigation under power. Most folks reading can't even begin to comprehend this accomplishment without significant sea miles of their own. In spite of all of this these folks are the most unassuming and unpretentious couple you can imagine. They are at peace with what they are doing and I promise they are doing what makes them happy. Kanaloa's accomplishments are what gets our attention initially but the sentence before is where the Real Inspiration lies. Do you think they are unhappy because a Japanese sailor has completed 7 circumnavigations or an Australian sailor completed three non stop solo circumnavigations without coming ashore even once? Not at all. Egret will not complete a second or third circumnavigation with Mary and I aboard. Do Mary and I feel unaccomplished compared to Kanaloa? Absolutely not, we are happy and that is as good as it gets. Do you think the Kanaloa crew cares if Egret traveled a couple more hours at sea than they or made a couple more miles? Absolutely not.
This single paragraph may be the most significant paragraph ever written in VofE. I hope you get the picture.
* in the end something was written but it was well written and there wasn't any sense of competition between boats.
While we are on a roll lets bring up a couple more boats. A couple years ago there was a single line in an article about N46 Arcturus making a Tasman Sea crossing from Bluff, (bottom of) South Island, New Zealand to Hobart (bottom of), Tasmania. The single line mentioning crossing in the "Roaring Forties" and nothing more is the epitome of understatement. Egret traveled from the TOP of South Island to the TOP of Tasmania and it was her worse overall trip ever. During the Tasman crossing we kept looking at the weather to the south and west (direction of the wind and waves) and to have made this trip farther south is something we would not want to do and is a super difficult accomplishment bashing to windward as they must have. You want tough guys, don't look to Egret or Kanaloa.
And another tough guy story. A 55' custom built Canadian powerboat a few years ago traveled from South Africa's east coast directly to Fremantle, Australia. Not a lot was written about this trip but if you look at the weather ANY time of year at these latitudes between South Africa and Oz, you will see just how difficult this trip was. Incidentally, the trip was about 4,000nm and well beyond Kanaloa's and Egret's longest trips. Do you think Ben Gray (owner of the Canadian boat) cares about some kind of record? I doubt it. He knows what he and his crew did, his peer group of fellow cruisers knows what he did and goodonem.
Now back to the present. The rally boats are pouring in. The first boat to arrive was a large English built sloop with Irish owners. Within the same day a few more large boats showed, then a largish catamaran and within a couple days most of the rest arrived. Its been rainy today and gusting to over 30 knots here in the marina (offshore would be much worse) so I hope ALL the boats are in because with a SWly blowing like it is it would be tough outside. The rally started with 28 boats but now they are down to 17. The rest dropped out for various reasons but I suspect it was to linger in a place they just can't leave. After all, a 14 month dash around the world doesn't leave much time to see the sights. However, as you now know, if it makes them happy it doesn't get any better than happy.
Monday nights is braai (BBQ) nights at the YC. The restaurant is closed so the cruisers gather outside about 6:00pm for a social evening. Egret's table had a Kiwi (Dickiedoo), two Swedes, an Australian, one German, two Brits, two South Africans and two Americans. And there were the Germans, Danes, Dutch, Norwegians, French, more South Africans, Spaniards, Canadians, more Swedes, more Brits, more Irish and Americans and one Portuguese boat. All were speaking or trying to speak English (like Kiwi Dickiedoo trying to say day but instead says daie, but that's OK because he's a good guy and we sorta understand). So we cooked dinner, had a beer or so and enjoyed a great evening. Here's a great story for you yachties who understand what a Biobor fuel conditioner dispenser looks like. Essentially it is a 16 oz or so rectangular plastic container with a filler spout on one side and the other side has a second spout with a measured dispenser of 2 ounces with a one ounce dividing line. When you squeeze the container it fills the measuring dispenser from a tube inside the container. Our Afrikaner neighbor uses one to dispense his 700 proof Madagascan white rum into 2 oz shots to "pace himself". With a small glass, a cooler filled with ice cubes, a 2 liter bottle of coke and his Biobor bottle he passes the evening. He never appears tipsy but the waves to tend to get a bit bigger as the evening progresses and the stories flow like diner thru a seagull. He was also one of the prior owners of the steel research ketch with the 4D radar.
It was raining most of the day yesterday but we did finally get our Welcome to ZYC champagne and Zululand Yacht Club burgee from the YC manager during a dry time. Also, we sent Egret's bad boy main anchor TK out for re galvanizing. It should be ready next week. It wouldn't be right to show up in Ft Lauderdale with TK's tip all rusty as it was. About 20 years from now we'll sell Egret. We plan to keep TK and have a memorial built using TK as a remembrance of all the bottoms TK blasted into and didn't turn loose. From a practical standpoint we can hang our bed pans from the tip and shank. And even line up pill bottles along the bottom plate. Then we'll illuminate the memorial with the %$@@$&%^* bulb eating masthead light. Then we'll couple together all the %$@#@%*& split Whale tubing from under the master berth and sprinkle the small grass plot under the memorial. And then...........
OK, back to the ice. The weekend is here so you'll have time to read le no'vel length VofE. While I was typing the Deep South information I got carried away but its a good for you carried away and I'm sure you'll file it in your Perhaps Someday file. I intended to wrap up the N56 ELDEMY dream trip in this posting but there are so many additional details to complete we'll post it later. Same with the Cape Horn bow sprit guy. And we have more boat stories.
Enjoy the weekend, enjoy the dream trip to the Ice, the birds, the braai (BBQ) and if nothing else please remember; your working life was just that, your cruising life will be just that. Never the twain shall meet. Ciao.
OK, in your mind you are getting closer to making the Deep South decision, have done the sea miles for experience and want to know what extras you may need in addition to usual ocean crossing spares. We'll give you a good start but of course you will have lotsa research to do on you own.
The first thing to remember is you are totally responsible for your well being and ships well being. Once you leave Trinidad or the Canary Islands and head south there is very little help. Buying and flying spares are a near impossible thing. Poor transportation distribution and impossible customs are just that. If you MUST fly parts to South America, DO NOT use Fed Ex, use DHL. Fed Ex delivers to major terminals like Buenos Aires but hires locals to deliver goods. This is the weak link in transportation. A good example in Egret's case, while in Mar del Plata, Argentina we had to hire a CAR and DRIVER to deliver held for ransom goods from Buenos Aires to Mar del Plata Aduana (Customs). It took 10 days to get sorted and was expensive. Bottom line: buy every spare conceivable and lots of them. However, we find almost universally you or guests can bring items thru the airport nothing to declare line without any hassle. Be sure and have a copy of your boat papers with you and mark the goods Yacht in Transit. We did this in Barcelona and finally wore the Customs guy out with Yacht in Transit and insisting we didn't have to pay duty. Mary and I hauled 350lbs including an entire diesel heater thru the nothing to declare line in Istanbul with no issues. Same on flights back to Salvador, Brazil, Ushuaia, Argentina (thru Buenos Aires) and Puerto Montt, Chile (thru Santiago). No problema.
Lets get into what to buy beside spares because we boys like that. In addition to your now doubled spares you need:
An anchor big enough when your friends see it they giggle. Anchor weight is everything when anchoring in kelp along with keeping everything secure in lotsa, lotsa wind in open anchorages without shorelines. Fortunately, holding is excellent in Argentina, Chile and South Georgia. Not in Antarctica but that's another story.
A way to cut kelp off the chain. With a heavy anchor, anchoring in kelp is no biggie but retrieving the anchor IS a biggie. You will have huge balls of kelp at times clinging to the chain and wrapped around the anchor. We used an 8' (2.5m) heavy wood pole and an attached super sharp sickle for cutting away kelp. Britt friends used a small straight blade shovel super sharpened attached to a long pole and that worked well (chopping straight down). Lashing a carving knife to a boat hook is NOT the way to go. Its too slow. Speed is everything when exiting an anchorage because you have retrieved the shorelines and you need to beat feet before you drift into something hard or get tangled in kelp.
Shorelines and why. With a few exceptions in Argentina, most every anchorage in the Deep South require lines ashore. First of all there is lotsa wind and more wind than you would be comfortable leaving the boat for a day's hiking or a trip to shore without secondary securing. Second, most every anchorage in the Chilean Channels is glacier dug and quite deep. The exception is near shore where over time soil has washed into the water giving great holding but is steeply shelving to shore. You anchor literally up hill. If the shorelines were to turn loose you would drift away immediately and would probably be into something hard in no time. The good news is, every anchorage is described in detail in the Italian Guide* including where to anchor, depth, how many lines ashore and where to place them. *more on the Italian Guide later.
Primary shorelines must be polypropylene for two reasons. Polypro floats above the kelp and doesn't freeze. Nylon sinks and freezes. Shorelines don't need to be huge diameter but do need to be long. Egret carries three, 3/4" x 320' ( 19mm x 100m). All three have stainless thimbles spliced on each end so they may be doubled. We never did couple two together but it is still a good idea to put thimbles on both ends because if one end gets chafed, just reverse the line. On the shoreline end going ashore we had in order: ploypro line with a stainless thimble on both ends, a large stainless D shackle thru the thimble, already coupled to the D shackle is a 5/16" stainless thimble with 30' (9.4m) of 5/16th (10mm) stainless steel 7x19 wire cable* and a large snap shackle. There is a stainless thimble on the other end of the cable. The shorelines are flaked (don't even think about coiling the lines, they will tangle every time) into large sail type bags we had custom made from sumbrella with a heavy plastic mesh bottom for draining and a drawstring on top. *stainless steel wire cable doesn't chafe on rocks, is easier to retrieve and we noticed no chafing on trees from the cable.
Here's the shoreline deployment deal. This should be done as we suggest or you will learn as we did......the hard way. BEFORE entering an anchorage come to a stop, drift and launch the small dinghy quickly (large la di da dinghys are useless here). Tie the dink close to the transom so you don't back over the dinghy painter while backing in the anchor. Drop the anchor and back it in. You may drop in 60' (19m) at times and will be quite close to shore (usually anchorages are much shallower). When using shorelines the bottom most times will be steeply shelving toward shore so you are pulling uphill. Also, almost without exception you anchor with the stern to the west (direction of the wind). Have two shoreline bags open in the cockpit. After anchoring one person stays at the helm to hold position and the other rushes to flake perhaps 20' shoreline into the dink including the stainless wire. While the windward shoreline feeds out of the bag over the cap rail* as you are pulling it ashore as fast as possible it floats along behind the dink. After reaching shore wrap the wire around a tree or rock and snap the loose end thimble into the snap shackle attached to the shoreline. Now the person in the boat pulls the line tight and you are secure. Next, deploy the downwind line and fine tune both (the shorelines should be in a Y position) If need be, add a third line off the bow. Some folks use 4 or more lines in places but we never found we had to. If you anchor according to the Italian Guide's suggested anchorages you will NOT budge because you will be sitting in a wind shadow. There can be 70 knots overhead and you will have perhaps 10 on deck. Once secure you can feed the shoreline thru a hawse pipe and cleat it off. DO NOT try to pull the shoreline thru the hawse pipe with the dink. It will get stuck for sure. *sorry, girlie varnish on the cap rail guys, your sparkley glitter coat will get chafed.
Here's a little trick for the dink. Most every shoreline will be loaded with mussels.......dinghy shredding mussels. Carry a small FIXED (not folding) grapnel anchor with 2' of chain attached to the dinghy anchor line. Before landing, throw the anchor ashore and get out of the dink before landing. Wear wellies (high sea boots). Another little trick is I always hold the shoreline but take a turn on a 10" cleat mounted on the inside of the dinghy's transom. If I have a problem tilting the engine or with anything I can let go of the shoreline and it won't leave the dink. When just about to reach the shore you uncleat the shoreline and let it run free so you can get out quickly holding the stainless wire (that's why you put 20 or so feet of shoreline in the dink before leaving the boat). Also, the reason you use a snap shackle on the shoreline is because often you are able to release the shoreline quickly without going ashore getting you underway sooner. The slippery stainless cable threads easily around trees and some rocks. If there is an under hang under the rock the thimble on the end of the wire usually gets stuck. A lot of little details like this you will figure out quickly. If you tie your shoreline without using the cable and quick release you will have to go ashore and untie it. If there is no wind you can raise and secure the dink before leaving the anchorage. Other times in wind or a very small anchorage you retreat back into the channel and retrieve the dink while drifting. Again, if you anchored uphill, the anchor will not hold if there is even a little wind blowing you down wind over the top of the anchor.
I must add an alternative shoreline drill two time Patagonia cruisers we met in the Channels added to their deployment system. Instead of handling heavier polypro line initially, they used 10mm specta line that floats and tests about a bazillion lbs (kg's). Spectra is easier to handle. Once the spectra was attached on the windward side they could take their time with the other lines. We priced a spool and passed but its a great idea.
A necessary item is multiple anchor snubbers. Egret carries 5, 5/8" x 26' (17mm x 8m) anchor snubbers. Each snubber has 5' of fire hose as a chafe guard. During very windy times while on anchor only we kept 3 snubbers connected in slightly different length adjustments to give the chain a progressive pull. In addition to the windlass chain wheel being locked we kept a very short 'at sea' snubber attached just before the chain wheel. The snubbers were deployed on the same roller as the chain. We never had one break. When using shore lines we used a single snubber because there is no pressure on the anchor. Egret does not have a chain stopper and wished we did.
Egret added paravanes in addition to upgrading to Naiad Multi Sea II system from the standard Naiad gyro triggered system. The Multi Sea II is a world better and never failed. We also added custom hatch dams to keep breaking waves from getting under the foredeck hatch seals. In all her travels, Egret has never had a wave break on deck or any serious water. We added 4 heavy duty pad eyes to lash down the dock box but that was unnecessary as well. One precaution we did take was keep the custom made heavy duty stainless steel anchor windlass bar in the pilothouse. We left the original aluminum bar in the dock box. There is an interesting little dock box side note here. Off the coast of Brazil, Egret was in a 30knot blow with head seas. It was sloppy but we took no water on deck. Folks we met later were in the same blow at the same time in a 93' steel expedition boat and had the foredeck dock boxes washed off the deck. Hummmm.
Whether you go to Antarctica or not you will need some form of heat. Once leaving Mar del Plata, Argentina until arriving in Puerto Montt, Chile some months or more than a year later, there is no shore power to use reverse cycle heat. We installed a Dickinson Antarctic diesel heater ourselves while in Turkey. The installation is simple but its best to have a good stainless fabricator nearby to make a heat shield and in our case, a custom tray under the heater. We use an 11 gallon (42ltr) gravity feed tank mounted on the boat deck next to the stack.. Gravity never fails, EXCEPT when Argentine fuel gels from the cold. (This happened just one day during the winter. The temperature at daybreak was 18 degrees F) You must add kerosene (10-15% - available in Ushuaia) to keep fuel from gelling. Egret's main tanks never got even slightly cold enough to gel. The Beagle Channel and surrounds temper the water. Not even sitting in sheet ice during the winter did the main tanks get cold. There are a number of excellent heating options in addition to Dickinson heaters but they MUST be bulletproof AND have spares for what ever you install. Heat as you know doesn't travel down. Egret's diesel heater is in the salon and we were never uncomfortable sleeping down below. We did close the door to the forward stateroom and were quite comfortable. However, the forward stateroom was much cooler and would have been uncomfortable without forced air. In addition, we installed a Dickinson dual fan bus heater in the master stateroom. We used a simple 3 way ball valve arrangement feeding hot water to the bus heater off the engine hot water loop to the ship's hot water heater under the master berth. Unless she was moving, Egret's diesel heater was on for the most part, 24 hours a day for 10 months in the Deep South. The heater uses about 2 U.S. gallons (7.6 ltrs) per day on the low setting. If you move quickly trading oceans during the summer and don't go to Antarctica you may get by with no heat. However, once there it is hard to leave so I think it is best to add heat before leaving first world parts availability.
We added 1/2" (13mm) lexan storm windows on both sides of the salon. Until fairly recently we never had a wave break on the port side storm windows and have never had even close to a wave break on the stbd side with the walkway. If we were to do it over again we would use 3/8' (11mm) lexan to reduce weight and a bit of expensive. Understand, lexan is many times tougher than plexiglass (perspex) so you can get away with lesser thickness.
For more insulation we added two layers of 13mm (1/2") closed cell foam under the sumbrella hatch covers for the main foredeck hatch and two head hatches. This works VERY well for heat and cool in both directions.
Fenders. We have gone over this a number of times previously but you can never have to many fenders. Egret has all inflatable fenders at this point. One time she was pinned against the dock in Ushuaia in a jillion knots of wind and couldn't move. (At night of course, on a moon tide of course and it was REAL ugly) Among other fenders we had two ordinary hole thru the middle fenders that work most times and the force ripped the inners out of the fenders. The inflatables and two giant Poly Form fenders (F8's) saved the day. Also, most times on the dock in Ushuaia (we would dock occasionally in nice weather or to get water) and in Puerto Williams, Chile (28nm away on the Beagle and the port of entry after Ushuaia) you will have boats rafted off you, sometimes as many as 3 others. Being heavy you are NEVER on the outside. It is etiquette for the rafting boat to use their fenders and they do but many cruisers have toy fenders. We always deployed good fenders on the outboard side as well. One time we had a heavy steel ketch rigged research vessel stop alongside Egret docked at the MiCalvi (a sunken ship in Puerto Williams) with a single deflated fender draped over the gunwale about the size of a birth control item and asked to come alongside. Duhhhhh, we moved and let the turkey lips inside. Our revenge was leaving before daylight and making losta noise that would be lotsa loud underwater next to their little sleepy heads after a big night partying at the MiCalvi. Also, be aware that with boats rafted off the crews will be crossing your deck in sea boots or hiking boots. It's the Deep South deal so get over it real soon. And if you have girlie glitter coat, oh well again.
If we had the opportunity to re-oder Egret we would make very few changes. One thing we would add is double pane glass for condensation and heat/cold retention. We find by keeping the storm windows on full time we get a bit of both in the salon.
We mentioned anchors near the top of the list because they are so vital. We won't suggest what to buy but it would be a good idea to carry a reasonable spare along with a reasonable length of spare chain. Egret carries 4 large anchors. TK, her main anchor is a 50kg (110lb) anchor of a very good design. She has a 34kg (75lb) of the same design in the anchor locker. Also her original anchor is a 40kg (88lb) Delta mounted on the foredeck in a custom chock. In the lazarette we carry a large Fortress aluminum anchor that is assembled, not in a bag or box. The Fortress is good only in a straight pull in heavy mud or sand. It is not, in my opinion a good all around anchor because it doesn't turn well. The Fortress did a super job in Turkey when we were in a steady blow for 2 days and were anchored in heavy sand. We deployed a 10kg (22lb) stern anchor to keep Egret in line with the Fortress. The combination worked well. In addition to spare anchors we keep two 50' (16.6m) lengths of chain under the main engine. Fifty feet is all the 3/8" (11mm) chain I can carry. We keep two double stitched heavy canvas bags near the chain to move the chain to the foredeck. The main anchor chain is 3/8" x 300'. (11mm x 94m)
Also, while on anchors, anchoring in Antarctica is something we did not do. However, we learned bottom holding is nearly non existent except for Deception Island. We heard for the most part the bottom is rock scoured smooth by ice. This said, we don't know of a single cruiser who went to Antarctica that mentioned a problem anchoring and using shore lines. If we were to go to Antarctica we would add a 4th polypro shoreline. Summer in Antarctica is quite warm and usually has little wind south of 61 degrees south (the lows track farther north), so if you had to use a nylon dock line for the short line ashore it would be OK. Polypro is still important because it needs to keep above the ice. You do not want shore lines trapped under ice and pull you toward the ice. We bought heavy ice pins to drive into cracks in ice to tie to. I know some folks use small kedge anchors to hook into ice crevices but this is something you will need to research thoroughly because we are not qualified to give Antarctic anchoring advise.
Again, while on anchors we'll mention something that will be helpful if you decide to spend a full year on and near the Beagle Channel. Ushuaia harbor is where you will spend most of your time in civilization. Ushuaia is where you will buy fuel, groceries, wine to die for, eat fresh French bread from the French bakery and so on. Ushuaia harbor is also super polluted. You can not make water without constantly changing watermaker filters. Good water is available at the dock belonging to AFASyN Yacht Club at no charge. We got a temporary YC membership for $30/month that allowed Egret a free week on the dock during the month and water at will. This service may or may not have changed. Now, for the downside. Ushuaia's harbor stripped the galvanizing off Egret's anchor chain. After leaving Ushuaia we swapped the chain end for end then had it re-galvanized in New Zealand. Now for the upside. There is an alternative. There is an American living in Puerto Williams named Charlie Porter. Charlie keeps two charter research sailboats in PW. Charlie has two massive moorings in Ushuaia. Knowing what we know now if Egret were to go back we would lease a mooring for a year. The fee would be nominal and it would save the anchor chain. Charlie's mooring has ship's chain links so heavy Egret's windlass would sink the bow of the boat just to get the top link within sight under water. We left Egret on Charlie's mooring for 7 weeks while back in the States and had a French cruiser friend watch the boat. It didn't move. You can reach Charlie thru Roxanne Diaz Selby in Ushuaia. We'll give you Rox's details in the upcoming VofE.
OK, enough of the hard goods. Next VofE we will list cruising guides, charts, people, places, clothing, communication, weather and weather routing.
November 9, 2010
Position: 28 47.41S 32 04.94E Berth E24, Zululand Yacht Club, Richard's Bay,
South Africa (east coast)
G' Day mis amigos, the Admiral is gone and Dick and I are batchin. We have been
doing small boat chores like cleaning the bilge, changing a couple bulbs and
trying to fix once and for all the masthead light that eats bulbs. What makes
it so difficult is the nummer who wired the light must have wired the light then
pulled the wire tight from the bottom leaving NO extra wire to work with when
you remove the masthead light from the mast. May his children ALL be girls who
demand lavish weddings when its Their Time to marry their tattoo artist biker
boyfriends. AND may his wife become a tyrant who reduces him to a teeny tiny
little nub of a man after the girls finally leave and thinks he is going to live
in peace. And so on. It would have been so simple to leave a 6" service loop
on the wire. He didn't. He should suffer like the boat owners. You get the
So why so cruel? Well, its like this. A few minutes ago I checked e-mail then
decided to look at a nearly complete VofE log report for more fine tuning and polishing.
It was gone. It was gone along with the first few versions saved as V1, v2, v3,
etc. I don't have a clue what happened but it is gone. VofE's are sort of a
spontaneous thing based on daily happenings of the Egret crew's cruiser life and
take just a few minutes each day to record the thoughts. Much more time is
spent fine tuning and adding to those thoughts. So in the end when we send in a
VofE there is a lot of time and thought involved because these days more than a
couple folks follow VofE and we feel an obligation to produce something
worthwhile. And we lost it, so the nummer from Sun Coast Marine in Taiwan who
wired Egret's mast must suffer not only for the bulb eating light but for losing
VofE as well. It is a cruel world and that is how it works. Now we'll try to
reconstruct the missing VofE.
There are a number of interesting boats here at Zululand Yacht Club both in the
water and on the hard in the boat yard. On the dock opposite Egret is a upper
thirtish sportfish with FOUR 300hp Suzuki four stroke outboards. That is 1200
horsepower for a somewhat light weight sportfish. A 2 stroke and I believe a 4
stroke as well burns 10 U.S. gallons of gas per 100 horsepower per hour at wide
open throttle (wot). That is 120 gallons per hour at wot. Gas here is over $5
U.S.P per gallon. Amazing. (4 strokes get good mileage at mid range, not wot)
In the yard is a thin hull, full displacement 29' catamaran that got my
attention. It has two 60 hp outboards that will push it fast enough, is wide
and would be super stable as an offshore fishing platform. This would be a
great boat to produce for the U.S. SE coastal offshore fishing market to replace
the 25' - 32' twin outboard center console fishing boats of today. The high
horsepower center consoles were fine in days of el cheapo fuel but these days
things are different. Close by the catamaran is a sad story. There is a 40ish
foot stone ship (ferro cement) with a mushed stern quarter. Either it happened
in the yard or very close by. Home built ferro cement boats are popular here.
A little way away is a cruising catamaran with the name De Nada in big letters
on the hull. De Nada in Spanish means You're Welcome. Cool name. South
African built cruising catamarans are a big deal here. They are everywhere.
Across the way are two beautiful 40ish catamaran sportfishing boats. The yard
is also full of long term restoration projects for local and foreign owners
doing their own work.
With Mary gone we have lotsa time so let us get back into the dream trip aboard
the N56 Extreme Long Range Expedition Motor Yacht (ELREMY) from the Argentine
coast to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia Island, the Shetland Island Group,
Antarctica and returning to South America.
By now you have been cruising the short distance along the Antarctic continent
to the Ukraine Base, had your fill of Ukraine vodka and are now waiting in the
staging islands a little north and east of the Ukraine Base for a weather window
to cross the Drake Passage. The sights of the past months will have you on
sensory overload. Whales, ice, penguin colonies, big ice, seals, pristine
beauty that hurts your eyes, more ice, the anchorages, other cruisers, the
research stations and the everything else will have you blubbering to anyone
that will listen. When you start going thru your pictures you will see things
you saw but didn't see. The camera captures more than the eye. Then you have a
second shot of overload. The Drake Passage between Antarctica and South America
demands respect but during the summer there will be days of reasonable weather
stretching at times to 5-6 days. You need 4 days to cross the 650nm passage
aiming for the east side of Cape Horn then threading your way thru the islands
to the north and turning west once in the E/W Beagle Channel. If you received
permission to visit the Falklands from Argentina, head straight for Ushuaia,
(Arg) on the Beagle Channel. If not, on the south side of the Beagle 28nm east
of Ushuaia is the Chilean port of Puerto Williams. Check into Chile here, spend
some time exploring this area including Cero Bandera (Flag Mountain - the view
from the top is special). Then clear for Ushuaia, Argentina, the cruiser's hub
for the Deep South and the southernmost city in the world. Locals call Ushuaia
'Fin del Mundo' - End of the World.
Note. The E/W Beagle Channel is the N/S dividing line between Chile to the
south and Argentina to the north. The E/W border between Chile and Argentina
starts just a few miles west of Ushuaia. Ushuaia is on the southern border of
Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fires). TdelF is a large island separated from the
South American continent by the Magellan Strait to the north, Atlantic to the
east, Beagle to the south and Chilean Channels to the west. For you sports
fans, Chile is like a hockey stick with the tall thin mainland to the north, the
blade of the stick to the south and east, and Argentine TdelF is the puck.
The Falklands, South Georgia, Shetland Island Group and Antarctica are something
Egret did not visit but would love to. However, Egret did the rest of the trip
south to Ushuaia and so on. This trip is the meat of the voyage. The South
Georgia and Antarctic portion are desert. Both are special. An alternative is
to make the trip south to Ushuaia and spend a year in the Deep South. By now I
promise the desert portion won't seem so intimidating and you can do it in
reverse order starting with Antarctica.
Here you must make the second biggest decision of your cruising career. (The
first is making the trip in the first place) If you MUST leave soon, spend a
month or more locally cruising the glacial loop, then head north up the Chilean
Channels to Puerto Montt at the top of the Channels. You should be ready to
leave Puerto Montt late March or early April. From Puerto Montt the two choices
are: follow Egret's route across the South Pacific in a connect the dot trip
including the Juan de Fernandez islands off the coast of Chile, Easter Island,
Pitcairn Island, the Gambier Islands, north to Tahiti and on to New Zealand or
Australia for cyclone season. The second choice is to ride the mild southerlies
and Humboldt Current north past Chile, Peru and on to the Galapagos or Ecuador,
then where ever after. This is the route N57 Ice Dancer II took after their
Deep South adventure. Now here is what we suggest and what Egret did. Spend a
full year cruising on and near the Beagle Channel. You will love it. We
enjoyed the winter as much or perhaps more than summer. It is WONDERFUL!! The
following spring take your TIME and head north up the Chilean Channels. Spend
months on this 1400nm trip. It is challenging with extreme wind at times, no
waves because it is entirely protected, there are bombproof anchorages every few
miles, the scenery and hiking will blow you away and you have the special inner
knowledge that very, very few people have seen this from the deck of their own
boat. This knowledge is something you earned, not bought. Priceless.
So how special is it? Almost without exception, any boat that had made this
trip wants to go back including ourselves. We met a 40ish Dutch couple on the
dock yesterday that made the trip in 05. THEY want to go back. Everyone wants
to go back to spend more time, real time. I even tested the waters with the
Admiral a couple times suggesting when Egret reaches Brazil in a few months we
turn left instead of right. She wants to see Northern Europe sooner than later
so we'll turn right. Aussie friends on N43 Barquita are making post retirement
plans to take Barquita to Chile and cruise the upper Channels in a year long mix
with inland touring. We are SO jealous and SO happy for them. And so on.
In the next VofE we will lay out everything you need for a trip to the Deep
South in addition to the usual ocean crossing spares.
Now this is important. Even if today you think you will never make this trip,
take the time to print the past months Deep South information and put it in a
Maybe Someday file. You never know. Put that file next to the Egret Techno
file. A lot of what we write is opinion, sights, gentle nudging to go cruising,
sometimes not so gentle, but when we write about techno items they are accurate
and not opinion. Part of this information comes from vocation and part by
learning the difficult and expensive way. When we were the dry sponges we
soaked up every worthwhile item we could pertaining to cruising. We would have
killed for this information even years after we started as we learned. So
anyhow, it is worthwhile to keep this information if you do intend to cruise
someday. It will save you thousands of pesos but more importantly, days of
And now back to boats and things. A couple days ago a lady was standing
opposite Egret's berth looking at a largish catamaran. I came out to say hi and
then she started with a sad tale. The berth is hers and her husbands. They are
locals and as many South Africans they cruise the coast north to Kenya and
Madagascar. She said they are trapped in Kenya and can't come south because of
rampant pirate activity between Kenya and Richard's Bay. There are two pirate
factions working the area and it isn't the well known Somali's. NO ONE would be
stupid enough to travel north of Kenya near the Somali boarder. The first group
are simply armed thugs operating off the coast of Tanzania* in small craft
preying on small boats. The second group are small Tanzanian military vessels
operating (I assume) on their own and not with the wishes of the military. Both
groups are a shake down, strip the boat deals and not kidnapping. (We heard a
well known American mega yacht got shaken down at gunpoint, their passports
taken and paid a $20k ransom for their passports back and allowed to leave) The
groups operate near the northern offshore islands off Tanzania and the Dar Es
Salaam area. Bo from the Swedish boat Lorna showed me yesterday pirate attacks
highlighted on Insmat (sp) that confirmed what the woman said. She also said to
google NATO piracy and take a look. Frightening. Egret's route from Reunion
was safe but I think traditional South African sailing to the north are not.
(*From north to south: Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africa. Madagascar
is east of Mozambique, just south of the Tanzanian border and just north of the
South African border.)
The 78 steel ketch rigged motorsailor in picture 3 is an interesting story.
They just returned from 5 years of charter work in Madagascar. Most of the
charters' research was taking DNA from whales linking different groups of whales
and their movements. The procedure is a throwback to the old days when you
approach a whale in a small boat, a large inflatable in this case, and throw a
harpoon, a harpoon with a DNA plug cutter and not harmful in this case and
retrieve the core sample. Scary stuff but kinda cool. More recently they were
chartered to a German group of divers exploring the east coast of Madagascar for
unknown wrecks. The east coast is a windward coast and seldom traveled except
by locals close by the beach. They found lotsa wrecks. Then sadly one of the
two partners in the boat became quite ill and returned home to Argentina for
treatment so the boat returned to Richard's Bay. Here is where the story even
gets more interesting and the small world syndrome kicks in. Egret's next door
neighbor is a tough guy Afrikaner living aboard a gnarly steel ketch. He, and a
group of 4 others were the prior owners of the large motorsailor. They too
mainly did Indian Ocean research charters with the boat from late 1985 until
relatively recently. After 20 years this group passed it on. The ketch was
originally built by a German for the Cape Town to St Helena trade. After the
first voyage and back in Cape Town the owner backed into an open deck hatch,
fell and broke his back. Luckily he wasn't paralyzed but sold the boat.
Imagine operating 26 years with an inclosed dome, dinner plate sized 4D radar in
areas of heavy local shipping? I guess they were just lucky. (The last two
sentences were a bit naughty. Its an inside joke)
Picture 4 is an interesting story as well. This French sloop was towed in last
night just before dark by the local volunteer Richard's Bay Search and Rescue
motor launch. Just 50nm to the north of RB the Frenchman and his friend were
running in 40+ knots from the NE with the current, surfing GIANT seas (they
estimated 15-18 meters after the wind swung - 48 - 58 foot) when a SW'ly front
suddenly reversed the wind direction AGAINST the current. This was bad enough
but there were STILL giant seas from astern. As the new wind direction seas
built it was causing the wave spacing to shorten, the residual N. seas grow
taller and were starting to break. Ultimately two opposing seas collided and
the boat snap rolled 360 degrees. The owner was at the tiller (tiller steering)
and stayed aboard........the first time. Very soon after a second set caught
them and they rolled a second time and washed the owner overboard. He popped up
and literally swam for his life and was able to re board and get back on the
tiller. Obviously they made it. You can see from the picture this isn't a
production recreational day sailor. If it were, the outcome may have been very
different. This is a tough guy, go anywhere boat built with a lot of thought.
The capped off diesel heater chimney, very well thought out hard dodger and
general set up tell me this boat is the Real Deal, not a pretender.
So what happened? The anchor is gone and the bow pulpit is twisted. The anchor
pin was in place so I suppose the anchor was lashed to the mast to reduce end
weight as many long distance sailboaters do for a long passage. In any case,
there was no anchor in sight. The hard dodger had 10mm plexiglass windows and
the two side pieces are punched thru and the middle front is somewhere else.
The solar panels are gone but the frames are intact. The liferaft is gone from
its cradle. The outboard on the stern rail is twisted. Other smaller external
bits like the dorads are missing or ruined and the wind generator stripped of
blades. According to the guy inside, very little water entered below. A dive
tank secured in a cradle down below broke loose and was a missile flying
around. Of course everything inside was trashed, there were no electronics left
working and they had no power at all (don't know why at this point). The engine
is also out of operation for some reason.
Here is what is so inspiring it is almost tearful. After Search and Rescue left
to cheers and a standing ovation from all the cruisers on the dock, the yacht
club general manager came down and told the two guys to go take showers and get
something to eat at the restaurant (on the house). A Spanish cruiser who had
met the French boat previously came and took the still somewhat shell shocked
sailors under wing and shepherded them around all evening. I guarantee you
whatever help these guys need to get sorted and repairs under way there will be
a dozen pairs of international hands taking care of their own.
As we learn more about cruising this area from locals we'll pass the information
along. One thing we know for sure, we had NO idea just how tough the Mozambique
Channel and Agulhas Current is between Madagascar and the mainland and even
farther south along the mainland. Well known by locals, these areas have freak
waves where two come together and drive straight up. This is what happened to
the small Swedish sloop Quilla when he got knocked down. It was a single wave,
not building or extra large seas that sent him over. So you can bet Egret will
tiptoe down the coast like school girls when the weather is right. No tough
guys here, or ever has been for that matter.
Mary wrote. The new grandson is a happy little kid and Mary said Scott Jr and
Rachel are good parents. All is well there and now Mary is up north visiting
her mother. After her return to Ft Lauderdale she'll visit friends and go on a
secret 4 day vacation (Mary hasn't been told where or what) with Scott Jr and
family. So here Dickiedoo and I sit, eating more regularly at the Yacht Club
and even did laundry today. The social life here is great among the
international group. Two nights ago we invited a Spanish couple and their 10
month old son David over for Dolphin Islamorada. There is another story here
but you will have to wait. OK, a hint. While attempting to round Cape Horn his
bow sprit got ripped off in 70+ knots and the story goes on from there. Last
night was yachtie happy hour and dinner at the YC. Tomorrow night its a braai
(BBQ) surprise birthday party for the Spanish bow sprit guy. The wife said just
bring meat to cook. She is making a grande sangria. OK.
It has been 10 years now since the nummer from Sun Coast Marine in Taiwan rigged
Egret's bulb eating light so I guess I should cut him a little slack. By now
most of his tattoo artist biker sons in law are out of prison so I hope they
become successful in their rehab careers, AND his tryanical wife cuts him a
little slack as well. So there, a heart of gold. Ciao.
Ed. Note - The glossary of Egretism terms will be posted on the Captain's Log home page for easy reference.