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"Egret" N4674 - Scott and Mary Flanders

Ed. note: On February 10, 2011, Scott and Mary Flanders, on board their Nordhavn 46, Egret, arrived in the Canary Islands. In doing so, Egret became the eighth Nordhavn to circumnavigate the globe. It had been four years, five months since the couple departed Gran Canaria, intent on seeing as much of the earth as possible, although not necessarily with an end goal to circle the globe. Voyage of Egret documents the Flanders’ entire trip, an endless adventure that has put them in touch with the most fabulous places and interesting people. Much route planning and forecasting was required in order to get to some of their ports of call. But the days of detailed planning are over…for now. “Egret” is now back in Fort Lauderdale, the place the couple called home for so many years, and, ironically, the starting point of their world wide cruising escapade that began with the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally in 2004. They currently travel hither and yon, sometimes by boat, sometimes not. Here, the latest update from the Flanders as they keep us continually apprised.  


September 27, 2007
Position: Ushuaia, Argentina harbor, on mooring

First, the latest news. On Sept 27th we received this amazing e-mail from Jenny Stern, PAE/Nordhavn. (Jenny is the one who had the foresight to bring VofE to life) Even at this time she was thinking about you and VofE. We all owe her a lot!!

Hi Scott,
Here is the latest forum question for you. It looks like today will be the day I have the baby since my water broke about an hour ago! If you could, please send your response (and future voe's) directly to Doug at dharlow@harlowmediaarts.com. I should be able to get back to looking at them beginning the 8th of Oct.
Thanks Scott!
J

Jenny now has a 9-lb. baby girl named Sadie. Congratulations Jenny!!

Well, mis amigos, the Egret crew is going on vacation. We leave Ushuaia, Tue, Oct 2nd for the States to visit family, friends, the Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show and make the rounds of doctors’ appointments. The day after the boat show we leave for Bangkok, Thailand to visit our youngest son, his wife and our first and only grandson (or grandchild). This flight is a LONG deal taking us from Miami, London for 8 hours (Heathrow), and on to Bangkok. Return is thru Miami, Buenos Aires and on to Ushuaia. Going and coming we spend the night in Buenos Aires to guarantee no flight issues with delays or missed flights.

Our suitcases are synonymous with EVERY long distance cruiser’s travel baggage. We leave with a minimum of clothes and two and a half EMPTY suitcases. Returning with boat tings are more important than extra clothes that no one besides yourself cares about. We are law abiding folks UNTIL it comes to smuggling our precious boat goodies back. All cruisers play the same game. Wife dressed to the 9's taking the expensive stuff, separate of course so you two aren't a couple. You lagging a few minutes behind with the big lumps that draw attention but aren't expensive. We are allowed to bring in $300 U.S. apiece into Argentina. Argentina doesn't abide by the international 'Boat in Transit' agreement allowing boat tings brought in because you are transient. This is our last opportunity for tings before leaving for New Zealand. So again, we run the gauntlet. We'll see. Our record was set in Istanbul, Turkey. We walked thru the 'Nothing To Declare' line with over 350lbs of stuff including our Dickinson diesel heater using the same tactics.

In Barcelona we got stopped with a pile. After much discussion between the agent and myself, neither understanding the other, we finally got thru by wearing him out and me pointing to our documents repeating Vessel in Transito, Barco (boat) in Transito. In the end he waved us thru to get some relief. It worked!!

On the local scene there is nothing to report. We have added a second group of shackles to the swivel to our mooring chain in the slight chance the first fails. (We have two separate 6', 10,000-lb. test, lines that go from our heavy bow eye just above the waterline to our huge anchor swivel we removed from the anchor. We shackle the swivel to the mooring chain.) The boat will be completely shut down except for the bilge pumps. The solar panels will furnish whatever sight power we need. The panels have regulators so they won't overcharge the batteries. We have our French buddy coming by every couple of days to monitor the Link 10 battery monitor and to check things in general and send us an e-mail report. We will leave a salon hatch open and a floorboard in the engine room up for him to check the bilge with a flashlight. Having watched the NAR boats in Barcelona and Marmaris, Turkey, we didn't find a single issue with any boat left for the winter. Occasionally a dock breaker would pop and we would reset it. Here, of course, we don't have any shore power so no problema.

With the Egret crew out of the boating scene for the next weeks there won't be any VofE's until we return mid November. Two days after arrival back in Ushuaia we leave on a two week Chilean glacier loop cruise with boating friends currently berthed in Malariaville (Panama). We will have LOTS to report on that trip. If any of you need a VofE fix, as we did following various boats when we were working and dreaming, take the time to read or re-read the Forum questions and answers, look at the pictures, and even perhaps go to the Captain’s Log, beginning in the Mediterranean, and slowly take yourself thru the Med, across the Atlantic and so forth. In all this you will find from the beginning a common theme; fun and adventure with a bit of 'how to' mixed in. Now, visualize yourselves aboard your own dream boat and think of how you will have your own adventures. What will you do differently? Where will you go? Anywhere you want mis amigos. It’s a big world. Ciao.

 

September 20, 2007
Position: Ushuaia, Argentina, on the dock

Sept 24

Well, mis amigos, a bit of new news. First is hopefully the end of Egret's #@^%$&*$* wing engine saga. We'll tell you what happened, why, how we got it repaired, the end result, lessons learned and what we will do in the future to prevent this happening again. There are lessons to be learned here on our nickel. If there is a little white fiberglass ship with a wing engine (or any small diesel) in your future it will pay to pay attention.

During a seminar we attended in Baltimore our first year cruising, a diesel mechanic and representative of a large Yanmar distributor gave a talk. What I took away was "if you don't start your Yanmar once a month and run it under load for two hours, you'll see me". Ever since then we have faithfully run the wing per his directions at least 2 hours a month (in conjunction with the main running at reduced rpm's or at the dock against the docklines). We continued this schedule ever since including during our Atlantic crossing, Oct 06.

After leaving Salvador, Brazil, Dec 06, for our destination of Ushuaia, Argentina we had five major storms, one in Brazil and four off the Argentine coast. After the second or third storm the wing wouldn't start. I didn't persist in trying to restart the wing other than bleeding the system. This was the first BIG mistake but I didn't know how other than making sure the injectors were bled (they were, with no air bubbling - solid fuel). The Yanmar 3GM30 is a very simple 3 cylinder, 28hp engine with compression releases. All a simple engine like this needs to run is clean fuel and compression. It had clean fuel.

The check valve in the vented loop stuck allowing sea water to siphon in thru the exhaust discharge thru hull to the muffler. From the muffler up to the engine exhaust manifold then to the combustion chambers thru whatever exhaust valves happened to be open. The good news was there was no water in the oil. I had checked the vented loop valve in Gibraltar and it was fine. The N46 is heavy on the port side normally, plus we had full fuel, larger than normal batteries (all port side), very heavy provisioning ( port side) and 8 - 20 liter (5 gal) pails of oil in the lazarette along with the normal stuff. Bottom line: we had sunk the wing exhaust (newer Nord designs don't have this problem). I tried off and on to restart the wing with no success.

Lets get to what I should have done, (not knowing at the time) and not belaboring what I didn't do. We had clean fuel, this we know. We did not have enough compression. The first, and simplest thing I should have done is remove the air cleaner and squirted engine oil directly into each cylinder thru the intake manifold. This would have sealed the rings and given the compression it needed. If this hadn't worked the next thing to do is remove the injectors, a very simple 20 minute process, and poured oil directly into each cylinder and let it sit overnight to seal the rings, then try to start the engine. (I did both after the fact but by then it was to late) This would have saved us about $3000 and a lot of trouble.

After getting the local Ushuaia boat agent, Roxanna (rox@xaxero.com), a local and boat person herself, to get us a mechanic and provide the technical interpreting we got started. After disassembly we found by letting the engine sit, salt water ATE the valves and valve seats in the head. Fortunately the balance of the engine was fine (rings, rods, rod bearings and so forth). We had new valves put in along with machining the head and installing new valve seats. We also replaced the rings, main and rod bearings even though the engine had only about 250-300 hours.

As I type this we have run the engine 3 1/2 hours yesterday against the dock lines varying the rpm's with no issues. After changing the oil and filter we ran it a bit more. (On inspection there was no metallic debris in the oil) This morning during breakfast I ran it again however the overheat alarm went off. After shutting it down I checked it with a flashlight and found what appears to simply be a loose hose on the front of the engine. We'll check it in the morning. (Mon AM - yes the leak was just a loose hose clamp)

What will we do in the future to keep this from happening again? We don't expect any heavy weather like we experienced off the Argentine coast in our future cruising but you never know. As a preventive measure when we visit the States in a couple of weeks we'll bring back a simple PVC ball valve and hose barbs to put in line between the wing exhaust discharge thru hull and the muffler. This will mean opening the valve before starting the wing but it will guarantee no back filling of sea water. I'll also check the vented loop valve more often.

So there you have it, more than you wanted to know about wing engines however its all part of the cruising deal and something its best to know. If some other bloke had written this and I got to read it it would have saved us 3G's and a lot of trouble. You get the picture.

Now for the fun news. Today, Sun, MS and I climbed our second mountain peak and highest yet, yawn. 5 1/2 hours. MS led the way again setting the pace. YT was the catchers mitt in case of a misstep. We made two previous attempts to climb Cerro Media. On both attempts we ran out of daylight and nerve but getting higher each time. This time we had the STUFF. Better shoes, two hiking sticks apiece and ice axes. Another plus, the snow was more granular giving us better traction. Pretty cool. We didn't dare look down. A slip would have meant a loooong slide before the big pieces being strained thru the trees at the bottom (after the rocks on the way down had their way). The local climbing store is still out of crampons. Crampons would have made the climb a no-brainer. The two pictures are from the top looking down on Ushuaia with Mary in the background, and from Egret looking up. Cerro Media is the rounded mountain in the left center of the picture. We climbed the slope to the right about midway then transversed the snow ridge to the summit. There was no technical climbing, just hard work. We don't DO technical climbing. The fun part is replacing my body fluids after the climb with cerveza (suds) giving me the energy and inspiration to pound out this drivel.

We have a stair stepper in the pilot house. We'll have to keep up the exercise when we leave the Deep South to keep in shape for the montanas (mountains) in New Zealand.

Today we received an e-mail from Milt and Judy Baker, N47 Bluewater. You'll remember the Bakers for leading Med Bound 2007. Bluewater is now in their winter port of Barcelona, Spain having cruised the Balearic Islands this summer. They have gotten their boat chores done and are now experiencing the joys of Barcelona. Below I have copied a paragraph of their e-mail gushing about their first BCN event. (there will be MANY more events)

"Last night was the fire parade just a few blocks from Port Vell. Hundreds (thousands?) of Barceloneans dressed in red with horns like devils, parading through the streets with firemaking apparatus. Dragons spouted fire, and devils with firemakers like giant sparklers danced to the beat of drums. You could see them coming from blocks away, and it went on and on and on. The Bomberos (firemen) were there to make sure that anything that caught on fire accidentally could be quickly extinguished, but in spite of all the fire nothing bad happened. Spectators lined the streets for miles. It was a great party. We got some good pictures (among a lot of bad ones!) and may even get them up on our website one of these days. Definitely a night to remember!"

Its just not about the Deep South mis amigos. Its a big world. Ciao.

 

September 20, 2007
Position: S54 56.10 W67 37.11
Puerto Williams, Chile, Rafted to Santa Maria Austrails at YC Micalvi

Sept 17

Well, mis amigos, back to Puerto Williams, Chile. We had a very different ride back vs going. Calm, sunny and hot. Just before we turned the corner at the entrance to the Beagle Channel Ma Nature decided to give us a blast to let us know who is in charge of the GRANDE picture. By the time we arrived in PW after dark it was calm again. We rafted to Santa Maria Australis at the Micalvi. We also promised to give you Santa Maria's e-mail address so you may check on your own adventure: santamaria@simltd.com

Our plan was to leave the next morning, HOWEVER, it turns out the next morning (Tue) is Chile's Independence Day (from Spain). So, in the beautiful weather we decided to stay and enjoy their national holiday. At 0600 we were woken with a VERY loud 21 gun salute from just up the hill. Geesh. Later, as we were walking to the tiny town square we had the privilege of a second 21 gun salute. BIG difference this time. We were on the road next to the water and the guns were just overhead on the next street up. We even felt the concussion from the charges. Wild. There was a poor rock shag (cormorant) in the shallow water below us freakin n' streakin. Each time a blast would go off it would look around wildly, then dive. After popping back to the surface it got another blast. Underwater it still got the concussion. Funny for watching but quite traumatic for the RS I'm sure. Wonder how long it's little mind will be twisted?

The parade was like any typical small town except with a military twist. Some slickster politic giving a speech, a brass band, mobs of kids in groups graduating from the little ones and up leading with different flags and banners. The very youngest were herded like cattle by moms. The next group with a bit of independence were held in place with ropes front to back and so forth. The goose stepping military group was of course, very serious as militaries are. My favorite was the radio man caring a WWII grande (large) antique radio on his back as if cell phones and iridium phones hadn't been invented. They were also caring WWII rifles or perhaps pre-WWII. Cannon fodder if it came to the real deal.

Next came the two bomberos (fire trucks) and their group of firemen. Next some local im por tan te' swells, then everyone's favorite, the gauchos. The group of Argentine gauchos who had come to support their Chilean brethren was the best part. Pretty cool considering in the early 80s they (Chile and Argentina) nearly went to war with each other over a couple of small islands. Kids. (The Pope intervened & got things straight after a lot of posturing on both sides). While this was going on they were doing some kind of national dance waving white handkerchiefs n' stomping their feet in the town square. After the festivities we met Umberto, you'll remember him from the fishing trip, and we went to have a brew and empanadas in the local gym put on by the Chilean gauchos. All in all a great day and another deposit into Egret's memory banks. Mary went wild taking over 200 pictures, YT took about 80. Now the tough decision which two to show you. OK, the gauchos win. Picture 1 are the Argentine gauchos in grey. Picture 2 are the Chilean gauchos looking like Marlboro cowboys. It was hard not tog choose pictures of the kids dressed in their gaucho outfits and the little girls in colorful native dresses.

Dinner tonight is fresh trout and centolla. Does it get any better??

In all of this, it isn't about what Egret is doing. What is important are YOUR ideas forming for when it is Your Time, not the bit of entertainment VofE may bring from time to time. What we write is just a little insight into what YOU can do if you let yourselves ease into The Life, keeping a positive, forward looking attitude. With two willing spouses YOU can do it as well. It isn't rocket science. If there is a single regret, it's that we didn't start sooner. Unfortunately, in our case we couldn't. So there you have it. Another great day in The Life for the Egret crew and hopefully a little message for yourselves.

After thinking for a couple of days about what I wrote in the above paragraph, its not fair. Please let me say I know very few of you can drop everything, buy an ocean capable trawler and race to the Deep South. It's hard for me - knowing what we know and get to see - to not get inspired from time to time and beat the long distance drum. We'll let the paragraph stand but please forgive my indulgence. It's for you, not us.

What will tomorrow bring? Who knows, but this afternoon we used our 4" grinder to prep Wolf's rib dinghy bottom for a little West System repair, so I suspect we'll be doing a little glass work tomorrow putting a heavy centerline rub strip (4" biaxial mat) over the repair from the rapids pounding the other day. Their rib also gets abusive use in Antarctica. After each landing it must be hauled out of the water to keep leopard seals from attacking the pontoons. Hauling ashore at landings scrape the centerline on rocks and ice.

We have had a flurry of Forum questions. TK, Dickinson heater and so forth if you are interested. More to follow.

Wed AM. Early morning while charging the batteries YT hauled a fiberglass repair kit over to SMA and added a heavy duty centerline skid pad and repaired the damaged areas. The procedure went like this: a heat gun dry, alcohol wipe, more heat gun, a thin saturating coat of West System epoxy (with fast hardener), a thickened epoxy paste mix (thickened with cabosil) to fill the small voids, a centerline 4" strip of biaxial fiberglass mat, two overlapping layers of fiberglass cloth. After the epoxy cures we'll final shape the bottom with a 4" grinder and 80 grit flap wheel. For you glass boat folks this kit along with throw away brushes, small (pt) plastic mixing pots, spreaders, acetone and so forth are handy for little projects like this. We don't use ours often but when we need it, we NEED it.

Wed PM. A long simple hike. Along the way we photographed a beautiful bird with a spike protruding from the 'elbow' of each wing facing forward. I couldn't find the bird in our bird book but it is a local bird returning for the summer according to locals. The bird is also a favorite of locals living 'out back'. They are so flighty and LOUD they are better than any watch dog.

Thurs AM. We are doing our generator burn and will have breakfast before checking out of Chile with the Armada (Coast Guard) and Aduana (customs). In this VERY unusual weather of 6 days in a row of sun and little or no wind, we'll have a pleasant ride up the Beagle to Ushuaia. I've mentioned before and will again, the seasons are fast changing. The jumping sea lions in the Beagle have been replaced with dolphins. The Antarctic birds are moving through heading south. The trees are budding, snow is mostly gone and spring is in full force. Icy streets and so on are over until next year. The Ushuaia shops are getting in their summer tings and preparing for the Antarctic cruise ship trade. The adventure charter boats all have their first charters coming in October. We have shed a layer of fleece and have switched to lightweight jackets. It's spring in the Deep South. Ciao.

 

September 17, 2007

Position: S55 11.22 W67 52.97 Up the creek, S end Isla Navarino, Chile

Sept 17

Well, mis amigos, WOW!!, what a day Fri. was. But first we need to pass on some happy news. VofE is brought to you by the foresight of Jenny Stern from PAE/Nordhavn. Jenny is expecting her second little bambino within the next 10 days. Jenny formats VofE and sends them to web guru Doug Harlow, Harlow Media Arts, for posting. Depending on bambino's timing, there may be a few days' lag in VofE lag postings while this remarkable young mother has her baby and is back to light (VofE) duty. So, you will have some catch-up reading to do as we will continue to fire this drivel into space. Mary and I, and I'm sure all of you wish Jenny and baby the best.

Friday more than made up for the nasty Thurs weather. Our buddies on Santa Maria Australis dinghied over, (very full with 6 people) and we were OFF, up the creek. We felt like Lewis and Clark but with a bit more modern equipment. First we putted the CIB up the creek towing our two inflatable canoes/kayaks. After reaching a place to safely leave the CIB, Umberto, the Chilean friend of SMA, pulled one canoe along the shore against the rapids and current and we pulled the second with the 11-year-old daughter of SMA. On the opposite side of the stream the SMA crew were muscling their small rib over the rocks and so forth. Looong pull.

In the interest of brevity let's just say we passed the first stream into the first lake then half way up the second stream toward the large lake at the head. After pulling the canoes ashore, having abandoned the rib on a particularly difficult section of rapids, we set off on foot. All the while we are in a almost unexplored mountain valley following this twisting stream that was perhaps 60-100' across with occasional wide spots and pools.

YT dropped off early to start fishing while the rest trekked upstream. It didn't take long before a rainbow trout snapped and was pulled ashore. In the U.S. this would be a fine catch (about 20") but here in the Deep South it is but a raton (rat). As the stream shallowed YT headed back to the just-set- up camp with the fish. Umberto had set up the forked sticks and a cross stick for the asado (cookout). In minutes he had circled the fire pit with stones, rounded up firewood and had cut the necessary pieces for holding the meat. Next, he skewered two huge chunks of beef on the cross stick and tied them in place with short pieces of wire them rubbed them with coarse salt. The spit was set downwind from the fire, not over it. I gutted the trout and gave it to Umberto. He took a long stick, shoved the fish head at the tip of the stick then whittled a short stick to spread the belly flaps. The fish was held in place with wire and set well away from the fire skin toward the fire.

While the meat was cooking Mary fixed snacko's of apples, oranges, cheese n crackers, chips and so on. The beer was put onto crushed ice from the river and we put cokes in the stream for their children. While the rest of us were snackoing, Wolf (boat owner) set off upstream with his monster spinning rod to give it a go. He returned when the meat was cooked with a bigger'nmine trout. You trout fishermen will appreciate this. Wolf used a heavy, ocean duty spinning rod with a HUGE snap swivel attached to a monster spinner deal. The who package had to be over 4" long. If he were to throw that monster lure in a Colorado trout stream the trout would soon be in Wyoming. (It's like dropping TK in a bath tub with you IN it) The fish still snapped & later he caught another. Amazing. (By this time I had lost my three worms (lures) to snags) You, and I, can't imagine how good the fishing will be in a couple of months when the ice has drifted downstream (it is 50' out from the edge in the big lake) and the winter hibernation is over and the fish are feeding heavily before the next winter. The Frenchman who has guided a few die hard fishermen to different lakes in the past said those fishermen told him fishing was better (more bigger fish) than Alaska or Siberia, the two normal hotspots.

Back at the asado, Umberto was cutting off strips of cooked meat and handing them out on sharpened sticks. The trout was laid out on a plastic bag for everyone to sample the pink meat. There were no napkins, plates, tableware or other niceties. We all ate too much and wiped our greasy hands on the grass. We wiped our greasy mouths on our shirtsleeves. Yup. Pretty basic hygiene. Pretty cool.

Did I mention the snow capped mountains reflecting in the stream? Or the floating ice cake that drifted into my boot scaring me witless? Thought I was ate. Or the sculptured ice piece balanced on top of the head without hands contest? Unberto fishing with a heavy monofilament line wrapped around a can with a lure similar to Wolf's? Unberto would whirl this anchor deal with hooks around in a circle then let it go to cross the stream. Because it was so shallow and the lure SO heavy it was a whirl of hands n' elbows to get it back before it sank n' snagged on the bottom.

The kids had a great adventure bringing back the kayaks with the current, through the rapids, etc. What a great day mis amigos.

Today, Sat., was dinghy exploring out of the stream into the surrounding islands and the south coast of Isla Navarino. We landed on a rocky beach with a small stream then climbed to the top of a small hill. Forty-five minute nap at the top. More dinghy exploring then back to the boat. Mary is now fixing a huge pot of spaghetti to feed their 6 and ourselves. We'll have dinner aboard Santa Maria Australis because Egret's is too small for everyone to sit. The 6 pack of local suds is tied by its plastic wrap floating behind Egret's swim platform getting chilled for tonight. (1 ltr bottles cost 20 cents more than the kids cokes, Egret's kind of deal) Ho hum. More to follow.

Sun am. Great night last night aboard SMA. Lots of spaghetti, a little beer, vino and even centolla (southern king crab) pizza.

This morning we were talking on the radio with SMA and found they ruined their rib dinghy on the trip back through the rapids. They bruised the fiberglass bottom to the point the bottom needs repair and tore a hole in the fabric. NO more dinghies up the rapids in the future. If they want to fish the large lake they can easily portage the lightweight canoes in the impossible spots. Hip waders would also make it much easier vs. tall sea boots. Soooo, we loaned them our little inflatable dinghy and two canoes. Wolf and Umberto joined Mary and I in a hastily organized walking fishing trip up the stream. We threw a few food tings in backpacks, loaded two light spinning rods for ourselves and set off up the creek. After securing the dink to a deep water edge to keep it from big time grounding on the falling tide off we went walking the shoreline & woods where necessary.

An hour or so later we reached a deep pool out of the influence and saltwater of the tide. YT stopped for a cast. First cast, first fish, a nice 22" or so rainbow. On a bonefish wiggle jig no less. Moons ago I had a pile of white and pink custom jigs tied with extra flashabou (sparkly hair). These are flat 1/4oz jigs that ride with the hook up. From then on it was a race to the pools at the ends of the rapids. Mary caught a bigger one, second largest of the trip, then Wolf caught his grande rainbow on his spinner/anchor lure. Casting along the way within a couple of hours we had caught seven. Pretty cool. Umberto even had some strikes with his line wrapped around a can tossing the lure by hand. By now it was getting late so we stopped for our lunch. Umberto built a fire then put a large flat rock on the fire (our frying pan). YT filleted the fish leaving the skin. We put the fillets on the roca (rock) skin side down and rubbed salt into the meat. Mary sliced oranges in thin slices and put them on top. A plastic box full of mixed nuts, a huge chocolate bar, as much fish as the four of us could eat (we cooked the three smallest), a bottle of water & that was lunch. Ho hum...again!! The rod laying next to the fish in the picture is to give you an idea of the size. The picture of MS with her biggest fish also tells the tale (no exaggerated fish stories here). (For you Sherlocks out there, one fish is already on the fire. That's why 6 in the picture.)

After returning to Egret for a bit of brew and fish tales we returned Umberto and Wolf to SAM. Ho hum, a crab boat had stopped by earlier and had given SMA at least 15 GALLONS of centolla legs (minus bodys). SMA in turn filled a three gallon pail of legs to overflowing for us. So now we have to eat LOTS of centolla before we leave Oct 2d for the States. I think we'll take care of the problem with a dock centolla party with rainbow trout appetizers. No problema.

Wolf was so impressed that he is thinking of leading fishing trips based out of Isla Bertrand (their island) later after the fishing season REALLY gets going. Fly fishing using waders would be ideal. A three day plus camping trip would be perfect, then of course throw in a Cape Horn rounding by sail, or a wildlife photography tour, or a Chilean Channels trip, etc. Tough life down here folks. It would be fun to get a gang together (6-8) and fly down here to enjoy the fishing and so on. We'll post Wolf's e-mail address when we get it.

Mon am. FOG!! YT's toes took a beating in the sea boots after putting in a footpad making them too small. Dumb attack. So instead of staying a few more days, and having NO wind for the fourth day straight (with wind coming for sure with the falling barometer) we retrieved the shorelines, raised TK and left with the radar doing its job. Our most valuable asset after the radar and depth finder was the Italian guide (better than the Chilean charts) helping us thru the intricate channel between numerous islets before entering Bahia Nassau. Its now three hours later and the visibility is still less than three hundred yards. Fortunately now the only targets are birds sitting on the calm, oily water. We are now running under autopilot to the waypoint at the extreme southern end of the far southward reaching kelp beds off Punta Gunaco we passed on the way to Isla Bertrand. From there, one more waypoint then the trek up the east coast of Isla Navarino to Puerto Toro, or if we feel like it, a night arrival in Puerto Williams.

So there you have it. A used to be fisherman returned to active duty. Great fun and I'm proud of my sweetie catching the second largest rainbow trout (and bigger than any rainbow I have ever caught AND to join the list of her fish one-upmanship; mahi mahi, bonefish, mutton snapper and yellowfin tuna) Ciao.

 

September 14, 2007

Position: S55 11.22 W67 52.97 Up the creek, S end of Isla Navarino, Chile pp574 (10.90) Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego Nautical Guide

Aug 24

Well, mis amigos, it's Tue evening & time to start our log of Egret's trip to Isla Bertrand, just south of Isla Navarino, Chile. We left you in the last VofE rafted to the Micalvi with Santa Maria Australis, our buddies, and entry to this previously restricted cruising area. The next morning we were joined by an even larger French charter sailboat, Valhere, making our little ship a sandwich. (Picture 1, Egret next to the Micalvi, Santa Maria Australis, Valhere, American sailboat Tamara in front, French sailboat (blue). Note their mast heights vs Egret's 35' paravane pole height.) Later the next afternoon, Sunday, SMA left to make a delivery to Puerto Toro on the west side of Isla Navarino. We decided to stay & try to make the full trip the next day. Later that evening a large, VERY commercial sail/powerboat decided to raft to Egret after SMA and Valhere had left. We are live & let live folks & if we get a scratch here & there its part of the deal and I can fix it. These guys (biologist studying kelp...thrilling) arrived with a SINGLE, partially inflated fender to raft alongside our shiny white home. (Our fenders were against the Micalvi. (It is expected the arriving boat furnish sufficient fenders.) Their usable fender was an 8" rusty steel pipe split in half and welded around the sheer. Yes, we moved in the rain and cold to let them lay next to the Micalvi and we rafted to them. Gheesh.

Mon. We left Puerto Williams just before daylight, of course waking their crew (giggle). We were running at 1600 rpm instead of our usual fuel saving 1350 rpm trying to make the entire trip in a day. For a number of reasons we turned back for Puerto Toro, a few minutes behind our turnaround spot. We are always cautious and today (Tue) we found it a WISE decision.

Tue. We departed Puerto Toro at daybreak for the trek south along the east coast of Isla Navarino then west. The trip south was windy and against the current. Turning the corner heading west we got drilled. Lots of wind and opposing current. Kelp was extending far out from each headland making for two major course corrections. 1700 rpm & just 4.8 knots at times. Sooo, we bounced, got lots of salt on the boat and occasionally shoveled a snoot full of seawater through the anchor chute. Yes, the foredeck was well washed. Yes, the galley sink was filled with stuff we haven't had to worry about for months. No, MS didn't fix a big lunch. Oh well, what do you expect when you are just 35 miles north of Cabo de Hornos (Cape Horn).

On arrival Egret slowly nosed her way past the east coast of Isla Bertrand islets using radar, depth finder, the Chilean charts and the wonderful Italian guide (written by Italians mentioned above - P&TdelFNG). (electronic charts were a fairy tale) We saw Santa Maria moored at the north end of the island with a bow line ashore to a tree and a stern line to an islet looped to a large rock. They had no anchor down. With a Cape Horn snorter coming Thursday we opted to head up a navigable fresh water creek flowing south from Isla Navarino, and snuggle into a notch in the rocks with two stern lines to trees. (Picture 2, Mary standing bow watch heading up the fresh water stream. Egret's anchorage is through the narrows, to the left.) The trees around are full height and not wind battered. (A comforting sign) We launched the CIB (catamaran ice breaker dinghy) to explore upstream and run to Isla Bertrand 2 miles back to see our buddies. Later we took a cocktail cruise up the stream as far as the rapids. Beautiful. More to follow.

Wed. Rain and gloom early on. During breakfast Mary spotted what looked to be something floating off a little islet. It wasn't floating debris, it was rocks being exposed by the spring low tide and not mentioned in the Italian guide. (We have now done a drawing showing the rocks and will give it to the Italians in Ushuaia when they return in December.) Initially we were going to anchor upstream a bit. However, we turned around VERY close to the now exposed rocks to anchor in the safer spot but without the view of the river anchorage. We were SO fortunate. In every other Deep South anchorage so far we can either see underwater rocks or they are marked by kelp, the norm. In this creek there is so much tannin the water is nearly black with less than a foot visibility, plus with the heavy flow of fresh water there is no kelp. To expand just a bit, in situations like this or in any low light condition we both wear polarized yellow sunglasses. It really makes a difference being able to see into the water in low light. But not here. It's like trying to look into root beer.

After breakfast it cleared a bit. We took the dink up the creek along with YT's fishing rod. It was dead low tide exposing rocks and ledges we had run over the night before on our cocktail cruise. Chilling. We found a place where the anchor line and grapnel would reach above high tide & set off. Early on it was easy, staying below the high tide mark walking the exposed beach. Later we had to bushwhack to the lake. The rain came. Now, rain and heavy, wet snow. Rain. Etc. Geesh. If my Florida fishing buddies could see me now casting a girl bait (a spinner with glow beads and single treble hook) on one of my favorite rods (custom, very light Loomis 7'2" rod & Shimano Calcutta 50 with 8lb line - a tiny baitcaster) in rain and fat snow. NO fish. Oh well, even in Fla there were no fish days. (The last bit is for my fishing buddy who just went thru a major operation. He'll know exactly which rod I'm talking about.)

There is hope, however. During the asado (cookout) the other night in Puerto Williams the Frenchman who has fished these lakes said they are shallow around the edges (true) but deep in the center (don't know). Not giving up, YT got out our two Sevylor inflatable canoes/kayaks (1 - 1 man, 1 - 2 man) we bought in Santa Margherita, a picturesque seashore village on the Italian Riviera. So, last evening MS and I huffed and puffed tromping on the foot pump inflating the pair. The plan is to tow them upstream behind the CIB, leave the CIB, and walk them as far as we can then paddle or pole the rest of the distance to the lake. (we'll see) The reason we're taking TWO: the one and only time we used these inspiration of want toys in the Med, MS and I nearly came to her going home to her mommy. Actually, murder was closer. We were like two cats in a black bag trying to paddle the two-man canoe. NEVER again!! You get the picture.

Thur. (early am) Our little ship shivered and shook when the high winds came during the night. Fortunately we had the foresight to cleat off the canoe painters. This morning one was on the other side of the deck right side up. At sunrise it was blowing horizontal snow from the south, not the predicted west. Then, it went to the SE, the direction from where it never blows ??????? Now it is light vertical snow with no wind. One predictable thing we have learned about the Deep South is unpredictably. We spoke to Santa Maria last night on the radio. Two of them were going to come by ocean kayak this morning for coffee. Yeah, right. They also talked about bringing SMA here to anchor to escape the winds. That is probably what will happen. I imagine they had an anxious night last night with just one line fore and aft and no anchor down. Perhaps they doubled their lines before dark. Wolf is a cautious captain so I imagine they did.

Thur. (PM) Nasty day today. We stayed aboard and made the most of the day with boat chores. We cleaned the hard growth off the sea strainer baskets for the air conditioners. A wire brush didn't do much but a small paring knife popped the scale off in no time. Changed the watermaker filters. We also transfered fuel to one tank inspecting the empty tank. We haven't checked the tanks since we cleaned them in Gibraltar prior to our trip to the Deep South (they were clean in Gib as well). Perfect. So, three more items checked off. SMA came by in two ocean kayaks later this afternoon. If the weather cooperates tomorrow they will bring the big boat and anchor here then we will all go exploring up the creek to the lake. Somehow we'll get their inflatable up the creek so their kids can join us.

Fri. (early AM) Beautiful sunny, no wind day. Gone fishin. Ciao.

 

 

September 9, 2007
Position: S54 56.10 W67 37.11 Rafted to YC Micalvi, Puerto Williams, Chile

Aug 24

Well, mis amigos, grande news. First, YT and MS climbed to their first summit. We were quite proud of ourselves. Yes, there were higher peaks but this is a start. You must understand in our previous life we lived 11 miles west of the ocean in Ft Lauderdale. West of our ex-home is the Fla Everglades. The Everglades drop one inch in elevation per mile as the 'river of grass' and its surface water moves south from the central part of the state to Florida Bay on the south end. Bottom line: not many hills. What we are saying in a few words is the first snow capped mountain we have climbed is a BIG deal to us. We took a taxi to the ski lift, then took the lift to the top. From there it was a walk through a valley then UP. Mary led most of the way and made it to the summit first. The summit was cold and a bit windy. After shedding layers on the trip up we quickly put them back on. After a few pictures we had to figure out how to get back down before coming colorful ice statues. The last 1/4 mile or so was 6" of snow over scree rock (rotten small bits of shale). It was VERY difficult to walk down sooooo we moved closer to the rocks in the deeper snow and SLID down using our heels as brakes when control became an issue until we could stand and walk.

Back at the restaurante at the top of the lift we had a big bowl of home made soup, a basket of fresh bread and vino caliente (hot wine). There are so many pictures to show we don't know where to start. Great fun and a great day. Picture 1 is Mary at what we thought was the summit. After I joined her we climbed the 150' to the actual summit. Picture 2 is the scene overlooking the valley below and out to the Beagle Channel south of Ushuaia. However, on to the next news.

We had planned to leave today (Fri) to return to the Estancia Harberton area for hikes and wildlife photography. Welllll, MS mentioned our plans to a charter sailboat owner on the dock while we were filling water yesterday. He said "why don't you come with us. We are going to OUR island". They have bought an island (Isla Bertrand) south of Isla Navarino, Chile (across from Ushuaia) and just 35 miles north of Cape Horn. It was last inhabited in the 1800's. So, as I type this we are rafted to the Yacht Club Micalvi (a sunken freighter) in Puerto Williams, Chile waiting for Santa Maria Australis to show. We'll stay a day here in PW then on to the island.

We had tried to get a zarpe (cruising permit) from the Capitania del Puerto (Port Captain) on another trip but were denied. Wolf (German) and his wife Jenette (Venezuelan) explained to the Port Captain their plans to develop the island in the future for adventure hiking, history buffs and so forth & got the Port Captain to allow boats to visit. Egret will be the first gringo boat to visit with permission.

A big plus for this ex-fisherman (only ex because there are no fish here) is years ago the stream exiting the south end of Isla Navarino and its upper lake were stocked with German brown trout and rainbows. They grow to gigantic proportions (over 15lbs). Until now the only way to access these monster fish was a two day hike in from Puerto Williams camping along the way and while fishing. The stream is navigable a little way in so we will tuck inside if a blow comes and give fishing a go. Isla Bertrand and its east anchorage is two miles south of Isla Navarino and protected but not good enough in a GRANDE blow. The stream requires an anchor down and four shorelines (2 forward, 2 aft). Remember this is VERY close to Cape Horn and its weather so I suspect we'll be up the creek a bit. Pretty cool.

Sunday 9-09 After last nights 'asado' (cookout) at the PW home of Wolf and Jenette we got even more information from a French couple living aboard their sailboat in PW for some time. Fishing tales REALLY got my attention. We will be fishing early in the season, Jan being the best, but we'll see. Another great gathering with the French couple and their two young children, the German family and the mate on their boat, a local Chilean who runs the only hotel in PW and another Chilean.

Wintering here in the Deep South and getting to know some of the locals has been one of the highlights of our cruising years. Cruisers passing through quickly are missing so much. They receive courtesy but superficial insight. Because this is the frontier with hardy, unpretentious folks makes it even more special.

Big weather today at Cape Horn so we are staying put until Monday before creeping along optimizing anchorages before crossing Bahia Nassau to Isla Bertrand. Great fun. Ciao.

 

September 4, 2007
Position: Ushuaia, Arg, on mooring

Aug 24

Well, mis amigos, our little ship is tethered to one of the two heaviest moorings in Ushuaia. They belong to an American from Boston who had both built for his research sailboats. Charlie is a scientist who has been monitoring glacier movement for years locally and up the Chilean Channels. For any of you planning to visit this wonderful slice of the world we highly recommend if you plan to stay a year to secure a mooring early in the season. The mooring field in Ushuaia is limited in size by bay dimensions, nearness to the commercial dock and the flight path for the local small plane airport (not the large airport). The mooring field is nearly full and is filling more each month. Currently there are two new moorings being built on the beach. A short stay on anchor is no problem, however the bay is foul, rapidly eating the galvanizing on your anchor chain. Charlie's mooring - CTPATAGON@hotmail.com

We had a tremendous 24-hour blow the other day. We saw the N-NW'lies coming on the grib files and moved off the dock and anchored away from the moored boats (26' with 200' of chain). Egret was sailing around on her chain as the wind constantly changed direction funneling through the mountain passes. You could see the biggest gusts coming across the bay in a cloud of white spray enveloping all in their path. TK buried VERY deep. We didn't move an inch. TK received the ultimate compliment from sailboat friends. They came over and took a pattern to try and get TK duplicated locally. We spent half the day yesterday on the dock giving Egret a soapy hot water bath getting rid of the salt and wind blown dirt from town.

Mary and I took the bus into Lapataia National Park the other day to finish the park's highest climb. We climbed just 1 hour up the trail earlier when we were on anchor in the park but the 2 1/2 hour icy walk (strenuous) to the beginning of the trail limited the day and our stamina. We made it to the end of the trail this time in 3 1/2 hours. The last hour or so was hard going in heavy snow up to our knees in places. We climbed further to a nearby hilltop for pictures but in the low light the pictures didn't show well. Of course, now we want to make it to the summit of the mountain above the trail end. Within the next few days we'll take a taxi to the park to buy a couple more hours vs the 9:30 bus. This climb was a test of our new backpacks. We bought 50 liter backpacks that have a waistband to help distribute the load. WHAT a difference. It's surprising what a couple bottles of water, a thermos of tea, cameras & tings feel like they weigh after a couple of hours climbing.

We plan one more trip to Estancia Harberton before we leave in a month for Ft Lauderdale and the Lauderdale Boat Show. It appears we'll have a mini-Nordhavn Atlantic Rally reunion (NAR) at the Nordhavn Owners cocktail party. It will be great to see the group again. All but two of the NAR boats have returned from the Med (N46 Satchmo and N57 Goleen). In recent e-mails from friends they all were reminiscing about their adventure and Med rim cruising.

Speaking of boat shows, the fall show season is getting ready to kick off with the Newport Boat Show, Sept 13-16th, Trawlerfest in Solomons, Md the end of Sept, the Annapolis Powerboat Show mid Oct, and the Ft Lauderdale Boat Show the end of October. Go to http://www.nordhavn.com/cal_events/calendar.php4 for the exact dates. Newport and Annapolis have a TrawlerPort event and everybody who is anybody displays at the grandaddy of all boat shows, the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show.

We visited the Newport show on Egret's way south from Nova Scotia in Sept 03. Newport is a REAL boat show with plenty of factory participation, engine manufactures and so forth in a neat package. We anchored off the NYYC mooring field. (The local moorings were full). The Newport Show is like a mini-Ft. Lauderdale sans crowds. Newport's TrawlerPort is a great place to take your time and look at the various trawler models.

We visited Trawlerfest in Solomons, Md two years in a row (02-03). Great fun with lots of quality lectures and new and used boats on display for 'trawler crawls'.

Bottom line: if it's near Your Time or even if it isn't a visit to one of these venues will keep the fires lit for when it IS Your Time. Ciao.

 

 

 

 

 

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