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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 do cuments 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.

October 18, 2013
Position: Fish Camp, Big Pine Key, Florida Keys

<em>Egret</em>Valkomin mis amigos, our little white fiberglass ship is tucked away for the winter. The two days before we left for the U.S., we winterized the boat progressively to the point after the last showers we pumped pink slush (non-toxic antifreeze) thru the lines and used bottled water for the morning of departure. There are two heaters running full time: a small fan heater on a low setting in the forward stateroom blowing into the master and an oil heater on low setting in the engine room. A third source of minor heat is from the isolation transformer. We cracked the lit to it’s under settee location in the pilothouse allowing a bit of heat to percolate into the pilothouse. It is rare there is extended weather below freezing in Isafjordur, so even some locals said we didn’t have to winterize but we did and added the heaters. Why take a chance? Plus we have Maik coming by every 2-3 days to check on things as well as the harbormaster having a key as well in case of a problem. A worker for the harbormaster said they have extra lines in case a very rare big blow is expected from the east. In that case they run breast lines across the basin to hold boats off the dock. Bottom line: Egret is secure.

Maik drove Mary and I to Kevlavik, Iceland’s international airport early Friday morning. We left Isafjordur at 0500 to make double sure we wouldn’t miss the flight for what ever reason. It had been warm but you never know with rockslides and the like. Much of the trip along the upper east coast was new to us. We were dying to stop for a few snaps but we were on a mission and didn’t. <em>Egret</em>However, we’ll leave you with a few images of Iceland you haven’t seen. These were taken on an early morning driving trip near Isafjordur.

In the first photograph, Mary spotted an experimental amphibian, perhaps some <em>Egret</em>military deal. You can clearly see the radar reflector on the bow and a dinghy hanging off the stern. It has large floatation tiresand an aft pilothouse. Prettycool, eh? The next photograph is just another, ho hum, down the fjord shot. Scenes like this are like sea gulls, <em>Egret</em>they are everywhere in the West Fjords. And then sometimes we just shoot color like this early morning sky. It’s nice to have the time to ‘see’ nature like this. And the last image from Iceland is an early morning reflection of an <em>Egret</em>illuminated mountain top in the distance.

OK, so the Egret crew landed at MSP (Minneapolis – St Paul, Minnesota), picked up a little rat rental car with an engine the size of a small <em>Egret</em>pumpkin and off we went. The first stop was at Mary’s mother’s apartment. Shewas thrilled we stopped there first. Then it was off to Mary’s sister Nora and hubby Gary’s dirt dwelling. Nora and Gary are <em>Egret</em>NYCphiles who have decorated their home to the max with killer stuff from theiryears of travel to The City. Next it was off to visit Auntie Suzie who you remember well from her anticswith Dickiedoo in NewZealand. Auntie Suzie has a killer home on a <em>Egret</em>secluded lake in upper Wisconsin outside a town of 200 or so hardy folks. So we spent time with Suzie and her wonder dog, Ru, enjoying the fall colors. Mary grew up nearby in a small town but I had never seen fall colors like <em>Egret</em>this. So the early return to the U.S. could bedescribed as family visits and lotsa color between a Saturday Market in St Paul andthefallcolors.
<em>Egret</em>
If there was any doubt we were back inAmericana, we attended a Shriner’s Parade on Main Street in the small university town of River Falls, Wis. There were school bands, Shriners on their motorcycles, Shriners playing the organ on floats, Shriners marching with their cute hats and swell vests, <em>Egret</em>a parade of giant farm tractors from University of Wisconsin’s Agricultural School, and more floats with a queen of this n’ that. It was great, particularly this float with Nora’s granddaughter in the middle (the tall one).

When we left Iceland it was warm. Around 65-70 degrees F. The same on arrival in MSP. One night it dropped to coat the rat car windshield in ice but then it warmed.
The big shock was arriving in FLL (Ft Lauderdale). We still had on jeans and a couple shirts, warm socks and so on. Geesh, sweat city!!

<em>Egret</em>So now we are down at a friend’s Fish Camp in the Florida Keys for a couple days to pick up Rubi*. Heavy duty sweat city. We aren’t used to it. I’m sure within a few days we’ll be acclimated but now it’s easier to sit in AC and pound out drivel than join MS on a bike ride. Can you imagine the shock of the heat from the first photo to this?

*Rubi is what Mary wants to call the Jeep. I think of Rubi as a girl name and Rubi is anything but a girl, sorta like a boy name Sue…….How Do You Do? Rubi – for Rubicon - is a knuckle dragging, boy truck that keeps going when the other Jeeps quit. So anyhow, I guess we’ll call the Jeep, Rubi but don’t think it’s a girl car. You’ll get to see later in the year when Rubi begins rock climbing out west on another adventure.

So the Egret crew is back on dirt but we won’t be dirt dwelling. How boring would that be? Actually we’re living our life to the max until we can get back aboard and get under way. And besides, we’re already lining up a few cruising friends* on the West Coast to visit with the Bubba Truck before we return to the desert.

*Cruising friends are special. If you have been a long distance cruiser for any length of time, you are recognized by your peer group of cruisers as belonging to an exclusive club of adventurers. Personally, I don’t care for exclusive anything but it is what it is. Long distance isn’t always easy, we test ourselves, do without things dirties take for granted but nevertheless we live life like we never lived before. It is truly an adventure, something money can’t buy and our far flung group earns the miles. So when we get together with other long distance cruisers, power or sail, some of which we haven’t seen for years because they are doing their deal as we ours, its great fun. However, when we meet again it is like the day we left each other in an anchorage somewhere in the world. It really is special. Something you should try.

So what’s going to happen in the week plus before the Ft Lauderdale Boat Show, we don’t have a clue. We do know we will be at the Boat Show on Friday, Nov 1st. to meet a few friends and attend the N Owners party.

Ciao.

Egret is for sale. scottflndrs@yahoo.com for details.

 

October 3, 2013
Position: 66 04.21N 23 07.49W  Isafjordur, West Fjords, Iceland
 
Velkomin mis amigos, OK, so we are winding down our stay in Isafjordur getting ready to return to the U.S.  By using a marine travel agent we have a large weight allowance – 2 23kg – 50lb bags each plus carry on.  Because we plan to winter camp out west as well as visiting friends in British Columbia, we need cold weather clothes but then again we’ll spend some time in Florida so we need shorts and stuff for warm weather as well.  And then we left clothes in the Bubba Truck but we can’t remember what we left.  Oh well, it is what it is and its still better to be a touch disorganized than living by lists in some electronic gizmo that seems to control most folks’ lives these days.  One thing cruising allows is total freedom…………if you can stand it.  

Our routine these days is taking long walks around town after breakfast, snapping a few pics and generally enjoying the day.  The folks at the Isafjordur library know us well because we hang out there a bit some afternoons and read.   The days are flying by and most days we eat just two meals we’re so busy doing nothing but having fun.   

<em>Egret</em>There was an overnight snowfall the other night that dusted the mountains powder white down to the bases.  One local was complaining saying it was December weather.  Last VofE we showed a look at the harbor looking from shore back toward the dock.  This is a similar view but with a twist.  The sea gulls are standing as you can see.  There is a small fresh water stream that empties into the harbor and the surface water freezes when it is cold and still.  With the first bit of breeze the skim ice is history.  There was a little snow on the ground until later in the day and early in the morning ice on the walk near the marina was treacherous.  We wuz slipplin’ n’ slildin’ on the way to the commercial boat harbor on the other side of the peninsula to see if flocks of our little bird buddies were hanging around.  <em>Egret</em>These guys are a hoot.  They feed on the low tide shoreline hopping from rock to rock looking for goodies.  For no apparent reason, all at once they split big time on a zig zag course out over the water.  After a lap or two they return in unison and resume feeding.  Of course we’re trying to record all this.  <em>Egret</em>The other morning it was calm and Mary managed to catch the mob before they got out of range.  When they returned to feeding we nailed these characters lined up along the shore.   
 
When its cool outside we let the 50 cycle electric fan heater in the salon run 24/7 but the electric heater in the forward stateroom that blows aft into the master runs during the day only.  We like it cooler at night and don’t turn it on until before we get up in the morning.  Egret is very well insulated.  Even in Chile when we were sitting in ice occasionally during the winter with no heat down below it was OK.  We closed the door to the forward stateroom and within minutes of going to bed we were comfortable, even with cotton sheets early on.  Later when we got flannel sheets in Ushuaia it became warm enough to shed an extra blanket.  When Dick was with us this year, Mary gave Dick the flannel sheets because the forward stateroom is cooler so we have been using cotton all this time.  

<em>Egret</em>We snapped a few photographs of flowers before they disappear during walks thru town.  These purple and yellow flowers were bejeweled in ice diamonds.  <em>Egret</em>In contrast, these autumn shaded yellow bushes had red berries with a snow cap.  Not far away was a whale bone arch made from the jaws of some long gone giant whale.  We have seen them here and there in Egret’s travels but the first was in Estancia Harberton, a sheep and cattle ranch on the Beagle Channel in Argentina.  We asked someone to take an obligatory photograph of us standing under the arch and today it is added to the memories.    

<em>Egret</em>Later in a walk around old town we came across this colorful doorway. There is a lot of art on display in Isafjordur from sculptures to wall art.  This sculpture of two fishermen pulling a net is a bronze piece on the library grounds.  <em>Egret</em>   Across from the dock is a walled off area painted in colorful wall art as well as being a retaining wall for a tank farm inside.  The tank farm is an ugly sight at the very edge of town.  The other day a HUGE mobile crane removed the first tank and loaded it onto a HUGE truck to be moved to the commercial area next to the fish boat harbor.  I supposed they used a smaller tank as a first test then the other day they removed the largest tank and <em>Egret</em>took it around back as well.  They are going to refurbish the tanks and keep them in service in the commercial area, not down town.  There are still four smaller tanks to remove.
 
So now let’s talk about something besides boats.  It’s obvious that Mary and I have become interested in photography.  Neither of us has taken classes of any type but like most things any of us are interested in, we try to improve by doing as well as looking at as many photo books from real photographers as we can plus following a few internet VoE types for photography.  What’s ironic, one of my favorite sites is a well known long distance cruiser with professional photographic skills who mixes photographs with boat stuff.   

Now let’s look at what has real value.  So let’s say you have 3 minutes before your dirt dwelling is going to be swept away by a tornado, flood, forest fire or whatever.  What do you save to keep forever?  Is it as much Stuff you accumulated over the years as you can shove out the front door?  Baubles?  Expensive dresses or suits? By reading this far you already know what you would most likely remove.  I’ll bet it is nothing I mentioned.  I’ll bet it is your most precious memories, whatever they may be.  

Taking this a step farther, when we sold the weekend home and the former family home we kept nothing.  No nothing.  No paintings, no doo dads, knickknacks, things we thought were important at the time, no nada.  Zero except for our box of photographs, the family silver and china.  We miss nothing to this day.  And we haven’t had to store it except for a few boxes at a friend’s place.  Our boxes of photos and family obligations are all that remains.  The rest was just stuff.   

I’ll give you another real life example of memories.  In 2007, Michael, an Aussie singlehander departed a Caleta (Cove) on the Glacier Loop in Chile on a direct 75 day shot to Fremantle, Australia.  We were together with Pen Azen, a British sailboat and Michael from xxx for three days in the Channels.  The other two boats went their separate ways one morning while Mary and I stayed and hiked high into the hills.  As xxx passed we waved until Michael saw us and he did a 360 with the boat waving and showing off, then he left.  He never made it.  It’s a long story but he got caught in a terrible storm between Argentina and South Africa, then got downflooded and eventually when his rudder was carried away, Michael called a mayday.  He drifted for three days until he got picked up by a bulk carrier and dropped in Malaysia.  So what did Michael save when he abandoned xxx?  His laptop containing his photographs and his copy of Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego Nautical Guide, his two most valuable possessions.  I suppose it would be the same for us including keeping our copy of the same guide.  We keep our photographs stored on 3 separate external hard drives.  One is with our son in Florida so at least we have all but the most recent.
 
Photographs record what we see and do.  They are our memories.  Mary and I can pull up any year’s photographs, choose one, and almost without exception go back to that very day in Spain, Tasmania or Newfoundland and the rest and describe what we did.  This is why even the most budget world cruiser will pull out a ‘big’ camera to record what they see.  We are surrounded by beauty because we choose our destinations and we are surrounded by great folks who think alike.  We are no different than the rest of the cruisers who want to record their travels and experiences.  And photographs capture the moments.
 
Speaking of moments, just now our German powerboat buddy with All The Answers and Mary are having a go while I’m sitting in the pilothouse rambling about recording memories.  Mary is in the cockpit doing her stainless and H is on the dock.  Mary is standing her ground and giving H an informed earful when he has some off the wall boating theory.  I love it when she talks that way.  She’s great.   

(A few minutes later.)  Now he’s explaining why there is no global warming even though not that many years ago the West Fjords used to freeze solid and earlier in the year, Baddeck, Nova Scotia where they used to deliver mail by truck to homes across the ice, and so on.  Today, Bras d’ Or Lake is ice free.  That boy’s smoked up or something.  He must inhale.  

OK, so back to Isafjordur.  We have new statistics gleaned from an Isafjojrdur tourist brochure aimed at cruise ship tourists.  Isafjordur doesn’t have 3000 friendly folks as I wrote earlier, they have 2,624.  The surrounding towns in the West Fjords we mention from time to time have populations of:  894, 264, 262, 199, and 145.  By now we have visited them all and each has their own personality, however even today their main focus is fishing with a few seasonal tourist services.  Obviously Isafjordur is the hub for banking, shopping and most other services except for groceries and fuel.
 
One thing we learned is that Isafjordur goes dark from mid November until mid January because the sun doesn’t rise above the mountains to the south.  However, everyday life goes on including snow skiing under the lights.  

<em>Egret</em>This is a photograph of the mountain Ernir that hides the winter sun. If you look closely you’ll see the depression Naustahvilft in the mountain what the silly scientists believe was caused by glaciers but in fact, it wasn’t.  According to local tradition, Iceland is a land of superstition, elves and trolls.  It wasn’t that long ago that giant trolls walked around the mountains following the fjords’ shorelines tramping down relatively flat areas used today by farmers for grazing sheep and growing hay.  Even giant trolls get tired so they sit a spell.  So this particular seat was formed by a rather large lady troll who compressed the land on a mountain ridge you see here with her giant but-tocks.  We heard from a local that she in particular was fond of dunkendonutskol, round pastries Icelanders have been making since the first Vikings arrived years ago.  In any case, the usual sea breeze that time of year went calm and when she saw her reflection in the moonlit water of the fjord it scared her so witless that she leaped up and beat feet, never to return.  Just below her former seat is the site of the airport that capitalized on the poor dear’s beating feet to create the runway.  So now you know.
 
<em>Egret</em>And while we are at it.  Of course, trolls only come out at night.  If they are party animals and get caught out at daybreak they turn to stone.  Wayward trolls are the origin of all the rock columns you see around Iceland’s coastline.  It’s obvious the troll in this photograph was a punk teenager who didn’t listen to mom and dad.  So they got stoned and the expression lives to this day.  

<em>Egret</em>On a walk the other day we came across a couple of old herring seiners that have been restored and turned into dayboats.  Are these cool harbor cruisers, or what?  It would be interesting to collect different small boats in your travels.  There is so much local history everywhere.  During <em>Egret</em>our first year cruising, while in Beaufort, North Carolina we tried to buy a small replica sailboat that in its day was used to haul families and goods from the marshland to town.  It was a simple, flat bottom 12’ boat with a short rig.  We tried to buy one like on display for a raffle and even signed a contract to have one built and put in the museum across the street until we called for it some years later.  The curator took our money but then the contract stated (unlike our verbal understanding) the museum would build one when we called for it.  I don’t think so.  Those museum guys get changed like shirts.  Anyhow, that was our first experience then reality kicked in because we have no place to keep anything and besides, we don’t want to sail.  It was for the grandkids we didn’t have at the time.   

A couple years later there were different small fishing boats in the Mediterranean that caught our eye.  In the Balearic Islands off Spain they use a 16’ or so, single cylinder day boat for setting nets on the bottom.  They are beautiful and even within the Balearic Islands themselves there are subtle differences.  As you move east to Italy and Sicily the design changes a little and those fleets are distinctive.  The most beautiful small fishing boats were in Malta with highly decorative bow stems and flowing lines.  Moving farther east, the Aegean Greek island boats were changed from the Maltese boats to a simpler, more utilitarian design and the Turkish boats were a little different as well and even more simplistic than the Greek boats because Turkish wood is so poor.  One thing that seems universal is the small traditional Mediterranean fishing boats mostly use the same engine made in Italy.  You can still buy a new Italian single cylinder engine, gas or diesel.  Only the big dogs had an 18-20’ boat with a 2 cylinder engine.  The list of interesting small boats from different countries goes on and on.  

Speaking of boats, we got a great e-mail the other day.  N46 Starlet (flybridge/paravane)    was selected to be in the 2014 Nordhavn calendar.  Their reply to being selected reflects their bubbling enthusiasm for their travels so far.  We met Starlet in Newport a couple years ago.  Since then they returned to their home town of Jacksonville, Florida for last minute preparations then headed across the Atlantic via Bermuda and the Azores.  Starlet landed in Portugal and they have been on the move since.  Currently they are in Sicily enjoying the Mediterranean.  You can tell when people have The Fire and these folks do.  Goodonem.  

The 2014 Nordhavn Calendar will soon be available for purchase on the Nordhavn store. Watch nordhavn. com for announcements regarding the calendar’s availability. The calendar makes a great holiday gift for the Captain if the Admirals are wondering what to get the boathead.  Of course it makes a great gift for the Admiral as well so she can see where she wants to go when it’s Your Time.  

OK, we haven’t had a rant in a while, its evening and we have time for a small soapbox edition.  I don’t know what other boats are in the N. Calendar but let’s look at a few boating truths.  The boaters in the Calendar are Living The Dream, just like Starlet.  What any one of these folks did in a prior life doesn’t matter.  No other cruiser cares.  All that matters is they are having fun and enjoying their freedom and a bit of adventure.  Boating adventure isn’t like TV.  It’s personal.  The first time Mary and I crossed to the Bahamas, all 55nm of it, it was a Big Deal.  It was also ugly.  So ugly I won’t even tell you how ugly it was because GPS wasn’t invented and we actually had to navigate with a compass and dead reckoning.  But we learned and trust me, it was an adventure.  Just as you will learn as the other 11 Calendar boats did.  They aren’t any smarter or braver than you.  They just Did The Deal, that’s all.  Then they learned over time and they are still learning, just as we are.  The Ft Lauderdale International Boat Show is less than a month away.  Will you be a candidate for next year’s Calendar with your own precious?  Tick, tick, tick.       
 
There is a lot of information to cover as we recommend Iceland as a cruising destination when it’s Your Time.  I believe we will have Iceland flashbacks during our wanderings this winter in the Bubba Truck.  We don’t know just yet when we will return to Isafjordur next spring and return to the U.S. in a reverse course of this year’s trip.  We will stage Egret in Reykjavik during early July and as soon as the ice clears in Prince Christian Sound in SW Greenland, we’ll hop across to begin the trek south.
 
Ciao.
 
Egret is for sale. scottflndrs@yahoo.com for details.

Ed. Note - The glossary of Egretism terms will be posted on the Captain's Log home page for easy reference.

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