|"Egret" N4674 - Scott and Mary Flanders
Ed note: After a summer filled with cruising along the Mediterranean and conducting final preparations for their big voyage, Scott and Mary Flanders left September 16th, 2006 for the Canary Islands - the first stop in their great adventure taking them from Gibraltar to New Zealand by way of Cape Horn. After successfully traversing the Horn, the Flanders fell in love with the pristine cruising grounds of the "deep south" and decided to winter in Chile, thus postponing their arrival into New Zealand by a year, but they reached their goal destination in October 2008. Now plans call for exploring the lands of New Zealand and Australia. Here, the latest update from the Flanders as they keep us continually apprised of their journey with weekly log reports.
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!!
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 email@example.com. I should be able to get back to looking at them beginning the 8th of Oct.
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
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
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
After getting the local Ushuaia boat agent, Roxanna (firstname.lastname@example.org), 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
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
"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.
September 20, 2007
Position: S54 56.10 W67 37.11
Puerto Williams, Chile, Rafted to Santa Maria Austrails at YC Micalvi
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: email@example.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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.