"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 23, 2011
Hello mis amigos, Egret's social life has hit 10 tenths with so many interesting folks in Newport. In past years most of Egret's social life was with a variety of foreign cruisers and a few Americans. Of course it makes sense that now that is reversed. Since arriving in Newport we met a number of American cruisers and a few N owners. We were hoping to meet fellow NAR cruisers N40 Uno Mas and N46 Satchmo, but both have moved south.
First we met N46 Starlet with Mark and Jennifer, recent retirees with big plans coupled with enthusiasm to match. They too sold their Stuff and have left for the rest of their lives. They are divers and plan to winter somewhere in the northern Caribbean where diving is good. They are traveling with two aged dogs and until they pass to puppy heaven they can't go to the South Pacific. Of course I had to give Jennifer a shot and tell her; no problem, you can get big money for them in the Marquesas. They'll just pop them on the barbie. The reaction was predictable when she fell to her knees and rubbed both dogs heads (they were in the dinghy) and told them I didn't mean it or something to that effect. We encouraged them to head back north again next year to get more sea miles then perhaps head to the Mediterranean where they are dog friendly. They lit up at Med stories.
A special treat was spending two days with NAR participants Bob and Jan from N57 Emeritus. Bob and Jan are an inspiration to every cruiser. They are still cruising 6 months a year aboard Emeritus when others their age, north of 80, are doing something less. I only mention their age because they tell you right up front and refer to themselves as the Ancient Mariners. Orchestrating this get together was Milt and Judy from N47 Bluewater. M&J gets together several times a year either here or in Florida with the Emeritus crew. So we six talked boat stuff for a couple days, well OK, we boys talked boat stuff and the girls talked girl stuff.
One thing we should mention here is boat cosmetics and maintenance when it is Your Time. Except for the case of an extreme do it yourselfer, most of us buy a brokerage boat* because it is clean and we feel it has had good maintenance. Survey at the time of sale will uncover obvious issues that will have to be corrected anyway before the boat is sold. A quick fluff and puff cleanup and cosmetics is obvious and doesn't carry much weight. So it is sorta like this. If you are a boat owner, you can pay now or you can pay later. Paying later is costly because it is not only bringing the boat up to mechanical survey and having someone spend a lot of time making it cosmetically presentable, but if the boat is obviously run down it's value drops like a rock. There has been several fairly recent give away sales of N's because of condition. These needed both lots of money and time thrown at it to bring it up to a usable condition and particularly if the owners have any long distance plans.
What started this last train of thought was looking at both Emeritus and Bluewater, and we'll throw Egret into the mix. These three boats have crossed an ocean and all three have a fair number of nautical miles, main engine hours and generator hours. All three look great and have been well maintained. All three will bring a premium price when they sell because of their condition because the buyer can Trust their condition. So these three paid up front and won't pay on the back end.
*Mary's and my last boat before Egret was a 13 year old 32' Grand Banks (at the time of purchase). We paid full high retail at the time because it was so spotless and Everything worked. Understand I was in the boat business and knew The Deal and would never pay full retail. We paid $1,000 under the asking price, less than a .75% discount. We did because of condition. We sold the GB 2 1/2 years later prior to taking delivery of Egret and netted 11k more than we paid even after installing a new radar. She sparkled even more than when we bought her 2 1/2 years before even though we nearly doubled her engine hours. You can take this advise to the bank, just as we did.
We arrived in Newport before boat show weekend and went to the show opening day. We saw some vendors we knew from years ago and generally just checked things out. Our favorite boat was this little cat boat. She's Sweet. Sweet is 8 years old and has been a tender to a largish coastal cruiser and now resides on a hydraulic transom lift on a large sedan cruiser. Our only purchase was a giantus stainless steel anchor swivel we installed in line, in addition to the forged galvanized anchor swivel to try and keep chain twist to a minimum.
Back to the social. A super nice Brit/American couple we met on a largish sailboat are enroute to Port Washington, New York. PW is a favorite cruiser hangout we haven't heard about and will give a full accounting when we arrive. They plan some boat maintenance and she wants Mary to join her for an afternoon Broadway play. We need a bit of fuel and are waiting for windlass parts to arrive locally. When both are done we too will head south. (Bluewater just passed on their way to the Chesapeake. We'll probably meet up with them there as well.) When we take the windlass apart to install the parts we will do a step by step techno with pictures. More on the windlass to follow.
Here are two websites passed to us within the past week. Both are a great resource to U.S. East Coast boaters and both are free. www.waterwayguide.com is an E version from the Waterway Guide folks. One item we used already is clicking on fuel pricing. The website maintains current fuel prices along the U.S. East Coast. We found we will save about $.40 U.S.P/gallon vs our discounted price for cash here in Newport. Today we paid $3.90/U.S.G for 200 gallons of fuel (from the fuel barge that comes to your boat - 200 gallon minimum - 401 640-4380) to safely get Egret to the upper reaches of the Intracoastal Waterway and less expensive fuel. The second site is http://activecaptain.com This site is a cruiser participant site with information on nearly every location you can imagine up and down the U.S. East Coast. This includes maps, anchoring information, grocery stores and much more. This too is free and requires a simple, almost immediate membership.
One little tidbit we'll throw in here is marking the sight tubes for measuring fuel in the tanks. Sight tubes are, in my opinion, the Only way to truly accurately measure fuel. Gauges may claim this or that but gravity never fails. The secret under way is barrrrrely open the valve so the fuel level changes very slowly instead of climbing up and down. Egret came with stenciled fuel gauge marks within the sight tube covers. They were sorta close but when it Counts, Fairy Tale City. Pre NAR we nearly emptied the tanks, transfered the fuel from side to side thru a laborious process with a friendly fuel truck driver and alternated fuel from side to side. We even hung the dinghy from an extended boom to level the boat so it would be super accurate. We completely emptied the port tank the other day after cleaning and today put 100 gallons into the dry tank. It measured exactly 100 gallons just like the adjusted mark said.
After getting fuel this morning we intended to leave Newport but last night, friends we wintered with in Barcelona stopped by in their dinghy so we will stay another day. They stopped by this morning and will come by later for dinner. This couple left Barcelona and spent the next two years in the French canals, wintered in Paris, up to Holland, over to the UK for a bit then wintered in the NE of Spain. Arriving back in the U.S. via the Caribbean they finished their circumnavigation (Valiant 40) and have been puttering here and there since. We e-mailed them a couple times over the past years but they and we changed our e-mail address so didn't catch up. This is kinda how it goes and why we always say Egret's schedule is written in sand at low tide.
Ed and Julie came over for dinner, Mary fixed a great lamb stew and we talked well into the night. They too are heading south but at a more leisurely pace and will winter in Solomon's, Maryland. E&J have rediscovered skiing and have been spending a few months in Colorado during the past couple winters. Hopefully we'll see them again next year. Departing Newport this morning we called Homeland Security to check in. We only have to call on arrival so I told them we will run today and anchor off the beach somewhere in Connecticut then will move tomorrow morning on to Port Washington, N.Y. No problem. After leaving the harbor and entering the channel the cruise ship Queen Elizabeth was entering the harbor AND the CPA on the AIS was .02nm. Not good. However, we knew they had to slow and turn and they did passing at 1.1nm but still moving at 14.1 knots.
Yesterday it was windy and rainy while on anchor but today it is calm with hardly any wind so the trip into Long Island Sound will be a treat and No spray on the glass. Speaking of anchoring, when Egret anchored yesterday, TK dragged. It didn't make sense because the holding is good. When TK came up there was a metal can stuck on the tip. This is the third time since installing TK this has happened. Again, this is why even though you know holding is good and even if there is no wind it is imperative to back the anchor in and make sure it doesn't drag. More to follow.
We were up at the first hint of daylight and got under way soon after. MS didn't even get her coffee in bed. The light was changing fast, almost every few seconds when we snapped this photo of our friend's Valiant 40 in Newport's anchorage. The colors have not been doctored. A few seconds after this photo the light was completely different. As Egret was leaving Newport Harbor the Queen Mary was entering. The Coast Guard patrol boat just off the bow gives you a sense of scale. It was super calm as predicted and we chugged about 75nm to an anchorage off the beach on the eastern shore of Long Island. There was very little traffic and everyone behaved. One thing we did do was not use the obvious buoys as turning marks but stayed about 3/4nm outside. The few that did use the buoys as a turning mark had problems with traffic converging from both directions on the same mark. We learned that years ago running from Gun Cay in the Bahamas to NW Channel light. If you put a waypoint near the light, any radar target will march right down your course line. Before entering Long Island Sound we passed this coastal net boat that was culling the catch. Note the two radars and all the radio antennas. This boat doesn't take chances in a high traffic area working in fog a high percentage of the time. The trip into the sound was uneventful and not long before dark we turned inshore and anchored off the beach at high tide in 17' - 5.3m and dropped 125' - 39m of chain and snubber. Later after shutting down and popping a brewskie we called Homeland Security and told them we were anchored off the eastern shore of Long Island. No problem. Tomorrow we start calling the Homeland Security central 800 number - 800 973-2867 on arrival if Egret has moved.
We mentioned Egret anchored off the beach. Mary and I have done this a number of times here and there when under way making miles, not as a destination. It is just a common sense deal. Check the weather and sea conditions and get anchored before dark with enough wiggle room if the holding is poor you still have a chance to move and reset before dark. Yesterday the breeze was coming across the Eastern Shore putting the anchorage in a calm lee and there was no weather predicted. If the worst happened and the wind backed with a front pushing thru along with a lot of wind, you still have safe choices. If the holding is good you can ride it out where you are but will be bouncing. The wind will hold the bow into the waves and the boat will just bob up and down with no rolling. Another option in this case was to re anchor. Egret dropped on a relatively flat bottom in 17' at high tide (7' tide). Just a bit offshore was a 30' - 9.4m hole, which means if you re anchored there the anchor would have to pull severely uphill to drag any distance and that is unlikely unless you have a girl anchor. The other option is 'put to sea' where there is nothing to hit and you will be safe. We did that once before in Easter Island. The holding was marginal and weather was forecast so we left after just 6 days. We would prefer to have stayed but it was not prudent. When the wind did come we were very happy not to be on anchor.
One thing I thought about last night and got feeling a bit guilty was VofE itself. VofE is meant to be an inspirational and teaching tool, not a peek into Mary's and my life. We use ourselves as a real life example instead of a scripted fantasy, but VofE is not and has never been about ourselves. So if we mention we did this and we did that, it really isn't about we but giving you a look at what cruisers do so you can put yourselves mentally into that position and when it is Your Time, actually into that position. Because of putting ourselves into a fishbowl we were going to discontinue VofE upon Egret's return to the States and local cruising. However, looking at things starting in Nova Scotia and now here I believe folks could use a little inspiration in face of all the gloom and doom from the talking heads and print media. There is hope mis amigos and in Egret's case we could cruise and be happy or worry ourselves to death. We chose the former.
Today's trip to Port Washington was a slick calm affair with barely any wind ripples. Egret steamed by miles of giantus homes along the shore. There was very little boat traffic. One thing that was interesting
was a smallish tug side tied to an old fishing boat or old steel something. On top of the pilothouse was a pile of sticks, probably an osprey's nest. It appeared the old ship was being towed to old ship heaven. It would be best sunk in 80' or so for a dive reef or fishing spot. We did pass a few fellow cruisers, one under power and one under drift.The drifter kept working its way to the far end of its transport as we neared but didn't fly away as we passed. Not far from Port Washington was this ancient lighthousewith New Jersey in the background.
Port Washington goes out of its way to be yachtie friendly. They have 20 free moorings available for transients on a first come, first serve basis for two day'suse. We heard today the harbor patrol leaves folks alone for an extra day or so but fines folks on theweekends for overstaying. They have pump out service, a free dinghy dock, actually two and a day dock for taking on fresh water. Within a short distance is a large grocery store in a strip mall along with Radio Shack and others. Three quarters of a mile up Main Street is the terminal for the Long Island Rail Road into NYC. We plan to take that tomorrow (Fri) so will fire this VofE off before leaving. There are two boats we met up the road here as well so the social has already started and there is a pretty steel sloop from Auckland, New Zealand anchored next to Egret so we'll meet them as well.
So what will a trip to NYC bring? Mary has her agenda and I have mine. Mine is simple. A visit to Adorama, the camera super store. Ciao.
Position: 41 28.76N 71 19.65 On anchor Newport Harbor, Rhode Island, United States of America
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September 15, 2011
Hello my friends, today is a special day. Today is the 10 year anniversary of September 11th, 2001. This will be a short VofE and a tribute to Americana and who we are. In Mary's and my lifetime there were two defining memories of our era. The first was the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Nearly every American of that time can tell you where they were and what they were doing on that day, November 22, 1963. The same with September 11, 2001.
Newport, Rhode Island is very much in the historic forefront of every American. In early history, General George Washington met with General Count de Rochambeau, Commander of the French Allied Forces in Newport and together along with Major General Marquis de Lafayette struck a strategy to defeat British General Cornwallis. Because of this we are now Americans. They met at the White Horse Tavern in Newport, the oldest tavern in the United States and it still stands today. Holy Trinity Church still stands nearby the White Horse Tavern and the pew is intact where George Washington andhis local friends sat during service. The friend's pew Washington used is on the right side up front where the pew's make a jog for the pulpit. In later years Vanderbilt's pew was number 66, on the left opposite the chandelier in the foreground.
During the Gilded Age the early captains of industry built their summer cottages along the Newport shore and Newport became the place to be and be seen. The glamor is still here, some garish, some subtle. Newport Harbor is full of floating history from the beautifully restored elegant sailboats of another era,a few powerboats. and a fleet of restored and still daysailed former America's Cup 12 meter yachts.
Let's take a look at Americana and Newport in photographs. This is who we were and who we are. You will see a common theme running thru every photograph.
God bless America. Ciao.
Position: 41 29.20N 071 19.43W
On anchor in Newport Harbor waiting on Customs and Immigration to arrive at the Harbormaster's Office. At that time Egret will move over to clear.
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September 9, 2011
Well we changed our minds and put in waypoints for Gloucester. Then OMNI Bob wrote and said Katia is forecast to pass farther east but we still left the waypoints in for Gloucester. Then we switched to the turning mark off Cape Cod. What swung Egret that way was calling Homeland Security on the Iridium phone and asking first of all about Gloucester, then asked if the timing doesn't work to transit the Cape Cod Canal in daylight or if the tide is in the wrong direction, would it be OK to anchor and transit the next morning if we stay aboard and don't launch the dink. OK by them. So we will unless hurricane Katia turns more west than forecast now, and if so we will fall off to the west either to Gloucester, Massachusetts or Portland, Maine. Obviously by the time we send this VofE all this will be in the past and Egret will be back in the U.S. However, we leave everything we write as always so you can see the decision process or even simple mind changing. We told Lalize what Homeland Security said the last time we chatted on the VHF and now they have changed course from Portland to Cape Cod. His wife is off watch and doesn't know yet. No biggie, they have been Out a number of years and Changes R Every Cruiser.
We always run with the tide chart clicked on Max Sea overlaid on the C Map charts. Now we are in this part of the world the current arrows work as well so we clicked those and it is obvious where the past hour's 8.8 knots is coming from. Yes!!!!! Egret is averaging 4.2nm per U.S. Gallon, Egret's kinda deal. Years ago we had a crew cab dually (pickup truck) that pulled a big white box full of stuff. It got 4.2mpg in the foothills entering or leaving Florida. And those were statute miles per gallon (1nm = 1.2 statute miles or roughly 2 kilometers). And now our entire home is getting 4.2nm/USG. OK again. Another detail is we have been running both radars. The small radar is set at 3nm and the larger, 6nm. The fishing boats have been thick along the coast, particularly near the SE end of Nova Scotia. Brown's Bank off to port is illuminated by so many fishing boats it looks like a city. How fish can survive that pressure is a mystery. Actually, they can't. More to follow.
So much for strutting fuel mileage. Tide is an uncaring equalizer. So the little lady was rocketing along then in the distance I saw birds working. As we got closer there was a very obvious tide rip with weed and debris floating in a ragged line. Yup, tide swing. With 30+ tons of momentum we got a brief respite but quickly she was down to 6.8 knots, even with 15 knots of wind directly on her stern. So we snapped a few pictures of birds we haven't seen, one being a tiny fragile bird that looks like a shore bird with a long beak. They were working the tide line in small groups of nervous little guys.In the might makes right deal, I took a picture of a small sea bird being displaced off a floating goodie by a larger sea bird and it in turn being sent on its way by a small seagull. All three were in flight until the seagull circled back and landed until the next larger bird decided the goodie was for him. Not long after we came across a fisherman's float and tag float. Nightmare if you run over one of these deals.Fortunately we never have we know of, however we installed line cutters in Spain for the trip to the Deep South in case we ran over something like this or any other nastys.
Now its time to throw someone under the bus. Not a product but a person. This is rare if unprecedented in VofE but I (not we) have not said a word for over 6 years and its time. I ordered a set of Spurs line cutters a couple months before arriving in Barcelona on the way out of the Med heading for South America, to be shipped to Barcelona. In the short story version, the Spurs guy sent a different size than I specified because he called the Stuart, Florida office of PAE and they told them they install X size. This is what he sent without consulting me. What I ordered is what fits because Egret has a 2" shaft and a 3-1 gear and the newer small N's have a 2" shaft, a 4-1 gear and a larger diameter propeller and propeller hub. After paying Fed Ex and Customs fees, Mary sent the wrong ones back to Spurs and I re-ordered what I specified to start with. So now it was late and we had them sent to Gibraltar, paid Fed Ex a second time, Customs a second time and had to backtrack to Spain to be hauled and install the line cutters. Of course they sent the wrong mounting and that had to be cut and custom fabricated. Of course it was over a weekend and that took even longer. I installed them myself. There is nothing wrong with the product to my knowledge. However, there is something wrong with the Owner of Spurs who I was dealing with personally from the initial order forward. The returned set of line cutters according to this guy didn't arrive back in Fla. Then he got nasty. That was the worst part. So in the end we paid well over 3BU - Boat Units - for a simple set of $700 line cutters (there is more to the story but I'll spare you the pain of knowing exactly why it cost 3BU). Today there are lots of line cutter manufacturers. The one I personally would order today have serrated blades, not straight cut like what Egret has. As you know serrated kitchen knives cut better than straight blades, particularly if you need to saw thru something tough and not just cut something soft. So as a little protest for the Egret crew as well as getting what I think is a better product, just specify the serrated line cutters for a new build or an upgrade. OK then, now we are done with That Guy, he has to live with his decision. However in his case, he sold two sets of line cutters instead of one. Where's the problem?
Next morning, arrival at Cape Cod Canal day. Seas built during the late afternoon and early evening driven by 20 - 25 knots of wind. This photo is s/v Lalize running before the coming rain. Fortunately they were on the stern so even during tide swings Egret maintained a reasonable speed. All thru the later evening and until now the seas have laid down, the light winds have become variable (direction) and rain bands are sweeping thru. We love rain at sea. It gives the little lady a rinse as well as calming the sea. During the entire trip so far there has been no spray anywhere because of either light winds or wind on the stern. So Mary's stainless gets a break.
The next issue is the Cape Cod Canal. The CCC was Egret's first experience with serious, powerful current driven waves. In 2003 Egret was returning from Nova Scotia via Maine and on to Newport. The tide was falling and there were standing waves at the entrance but we have a Nordhavn and "it is what it is". Well mis amigos, we got mauled, killerated, shown who is boss and who was a dim bulb. The little lady was a toy in those current driven waves. First it was violent up and down so fast there was little time to react. Next we got turned 90 degrees and were aiming at a fisherman standing on a sand beach with Big Eyes. So we popped off autopilot, we were steering by turning the button like rookies (in those waves), and I turned hard to port and pinned the throttle. Egret weighs 30+ tons and when you pin the throttle the happy little Lugger is willing to oblige but nothing happens but noise until the wheel begins digging solid water and not aerated froth. So we swung and the rest of the trip up the canal outside the entrance breakers was a 2000 rpm deal steering by the slightest fingertip control and making perhaps .5 knots. MS Still talks about it. So what's I'm saying in a lot of words, we Are Not going to do that again. Learn from Mister Dim Bulb.
Egret has two tide programs, one a stand alone and the second showing the stage of tide and current flow. Both are good but there is a difference in places between high and low tide and current movement. The CCC is one example. It was high tide this morning at 0900 local but now it is 1310 and the tide is still going in the direction we want to go but it is nearly over before it becomes nightmare city and reverses. So Egret anchored inside the sand spit in Provencetown, Cape Cod, about three hours away from the entrance to the CCC. We plan to leave at 1600 for the 3 hour run to the canal and see what is whipping. Hopefully we can get thru tonight and depending on how we feel, fog and so on we may re-anchor for the night and arrive in Newport to clear in tomorrow (Fri) or may decide to arrive this evening. More to follow.
Mary was the first one to spot the U.S. of A. That was exciting! The lighthouse at Race Point, Cape Cod appeared out of the fog at 1016 this morning. Egret has not been in the U.S. since May 16th, 2004 when she left on the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally to Gibraltar. She has seen a bit since. So here again we aren't going to get emotional or philosophical because Egret's arrival back in the U.S. is just another stop along the way. Just guessing she will be back in the Bahamas next April for a couple, few months then back north somewhere. It is nice to be in the land of Everything, 60 cycle stuff and friendly people. I will say however, we found friendly people in all our travels.
Let's get up on The Box for just a moment. Mary and I are returning different people. I feel we have always been good people but our perspective of the rest of the world has changed. I don't believe you get this feeling as fly in folks spending a frantic few weeks here and there trying to see what you researched prior and missing so much. Sure, you will see those spots, but not really the people. People - local populations - are the real beauty of anywhere in addition to local history. People - fellow cruisers - is one of the other biggest reasons to go long distance along with your own sense of adventure and freedom. The quality of long term, long distance cruisers is high. The spots we all share out and about are super enhanced by these like minded folks. One reason we are so attracted to this group, is this group are the Only ones who understand what we are talking about and sharing our interests. Others imagine and suppose but there is a difference. We try thru VofE to give you as much perspective as we can with words and a few pictures. What we see out the pilothouse glass just now is very different than these words. You know where this is going. If you can, you should. Those are powerful words.
We should give a plug for the U.S.A., her immediate neighbors and make a statement of opinion based on Egret's travels. If you had to pick a Single Place in the world to Full Time cruise I believe the U.S. east coast, Bahamas and Nova Scotia offer the best all around cruising. The scenery is varied from the salt scrubbed Out Islands of the Bahamas, the Intracoastal Waterway - Chesapeake Bay - New England - Maine all offer diverse scenery and Nova Scotia guarantees empty anchorages and super friendly people. The navigation is simple, provisions and supplies of virtually every kind are quickly if not immediately available with the exception of the Bahamas and remote Nova Scotia. In those cases you are never far from basic provisions, fuel, etc. You can visit virtually every place in these areas with an affordable boat whether is is power or sail, however pure sailing except for offshore is sporadic. You don't Need a boat as capable as Egret for this cruising. However, your interests may change in time and then it makes sense to have a boat that can do it all. Obviously we are happy with our choice. Please note we said Full Time cruise. Obviously there are many, many exceptional seasonal cruising areas of the world and by traveling long distance you may pick and choose to your heart's content. This is what Egret did and we wouldn't trade those experiences for anything. Let's fantasize for a minute. Let's say we could have earned earned 20m U.S.P. by working these past 10 years. What would we do with this 20m? Go cruising 10 years later? Buy stuff? You have to be kidding.
While under way we phoned Homeland Security to tell them of Egret's progress and proposed plans for anchoring, etc. We told them no matter what we would not go ashore, etc. It seems all they were concerned about was giving two hours notice before arrival in Newport and they would schedule officers to meet Egret. The Homeland Security phone number for small craft in the New England states is 207 532-2131 Ext 255. This number and extension is manned 24/7/365. We made two calls to this number and both times the folks who answered were super friendly and not the slightest bit bureaucratic. The Brit/American couple on s/v Lalize said the same.
Early Saturday morning (9-10) Egret will head up to Portsmouth, (Rhode Island) to pick up our mail at the Nordhavn North East office. Egret will stay overnight and will leave in the morning.
Later. Egret left the anchorage in Provicetown early because fog was rolling in and the harbor is filled with fishing buoys. So we left while we could still see the floats. The plan is to anchor off the beach close by the CCC and wait for the tide to swing. More to follow.
It was a choppy run thru the bay to the entrance to the CCC, however there were lotsa whales and dolphins to watch along the way. There was a sailboat drifting waiting on the tide swing getting killerated rolling in the slop. Our initial plan was to anchor off the beach. With this much wind the bow would be facing the wind so the waves don't mean much. There is a long jetty protecting the north side of the CCC so we decided to anchor in the lee on the south side. Passing the entrance we saw the tide was still falling but it was flat calm. We gave it a go with the option of turning around. Once inside we were making 5.6 knots at 1600 rpm and that was acceptable. It was fast getting dark and we wanted to get thru. Near the end the speed picked up but the last bridge to clear is a railroad bridge that was down. A patrol boat called on the VHF and asked we hold station until the bridge was up. No problem. Thirty minutes or so later and now near dark we made our way out of the CCC into the west entrance channel. The channel has super shallow water on both sides so we kept going to the end where C-Map charts show large anchoring areas on both sides of the channel for boats to anchor waiting on the tide. Egret pulled well off the channel, TK dropped in 27' - 8.4m and out went 150' - 47m of chain and snubber, off went the running lights and on went the anchor light. A touch of rum in celebration, a quick dinner and it was crash city.
Friday, clear into the U.S. day. You can tell when MS is happy. She sings. She sang making breakfast this morning while under way for Newport. She is singing now while she does dishes. I mentioned before, the Cape Cod Canal left a lasting impression on MS. If you asked her what was the most frightening moment aboard Egret, it could well be the entrance to the CCC back in 2003*. And now the CCC is behind her and today is a big day. So she is happy. More to follow.
*At that point in time Egret had been full time cruising just a year and a half. So we were relative rookies. What constitutes a Big Deal in early cruising is very different than down the road. This is important to remember. As time and miles slide by Everyone naturally becomes more comfortable with cruising and it continually gets easier. We all start at roughly the same place and build on that. You would be no different than any cruiser, anywhere in the world. They just have a head start.
Egret arrived Newport Harbor an hour early for Customs. There are two giantus cruise ships on anchor in the harbor ferrying lotsa touristas back and forth to the Harbormaster's Office docks. When Customs arrives Egret will move from her temporary anchorage among the mooring field to the Harbormaster's Office. So Egret will soon be officially back in the U.S. Cool, eh? Ciao.
Position: 44 22.34N 064 18.49W
On anchor, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
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September 6, 2011
Hello mis amigos, here we sit.......waiting. By the time this VofE is sent Irene will be old news but today we feel for the folks in New England, particularly in Rhode Island who are supposed to get the worst. OMNI Bob has been sending multiple reports daily as the reports come in. Bob's prediction for Saturday in Halifax is: "The actual winds may be closer to the 35-50kt with occ higher gusts. Halifax should experience a lower amount of rainshowers and squally activity. Stronger SW-ly winds should develop later this afternoon." So that's a good thing from an Egret standpoint. We won't bother with multiple anchors and shorelines for winds like these. We did send out more chain and attached two more snubbers as a precaution. Egret anchored in 30' - 9.4m and now have 175' - 55m of chain and snubber out. In the direction of strongest winds, actually 3 of 4 sides is an uphill pull into shallower water so dragging isn't likely.
We can't say TK has Never drug because in Easter Island he did. We set deep - 55' - 17m and kept the chain straight backing down for a while as always. The wind backed during the night with gusts to 30 or so and TK turned loose and slid across the hard bottom. We did hook up on the single mooring in the anchorage thanks to MS's quick pick of the mooring's painter with the boat hook as Egret flew past. What made it more than a simple drag deal was the two flopperstoppers were over and to maneuver with those barn doors in the water would be difficult. TK must have originally set on a rock is all we can figure. Later we dropped in a kinder bottom and all was well.
The Resolution crew took MS and I on a quick downtown tour to give us the lay of the land. On the way back we did stop for important supplies like this great local beer we probably can't get in the U.S. So we have a few cases hiding in the lazarette. The next day it was off on a walking tour to the waterfront. We were gone all day. It was a beautiful sunny day. Two super large American megasail's are in, perhaps to ride out the storm. If I were them I would move off and anchor and they may, actually probably will. Docks are Not your friend in a blow. What is so impressive about boats like this is not their sheer size but attention to detail and how they are maintained. Every block is mirror polished stainless with no water spots. The winches are like new as well as all the other fittings, teak decks look as if they had never had water on them and so on.
Both had an impressive array of inflatable fenders. At least in the large recreational boat crowd, usual in the past fenders, even if they can be somewhat deflated are a thing of the past. The new fenders make so much sense and they are so light even someone as small as MS can handle the largest with no problem. Egret's previous giant R8 Polyform fenders did an excellent job but were hard to handle and a pain to stow. No more. I am thinking about getting a single giantus Aere inflatable fender when we get back. We don't really need it but for most docking you could throw this single fender over and dock on it then arrange the other fenders. Egret's Aere fenders are: 4 - 12" x 72" we string horizontally using 3 pad eyes along the side for Med mooring or any time another boat is rafting to Egret. Strung horizontally the fenders don't ride up when squeezed between boats like rope hung fenders. The fenders are attached horizontally with short pieces of line and snap shackles to easily one handed snap the pad eye while holding on with the other. The snap shackles have a short lanyard attached to the cotter ring so when unsnapping them it is a simple yank on the lanyard and off they come. Other times we hang them vertically, particularly in high tide areas and are super for that protecting both the hull and boat deck. Two - 18" x 38" Aere inflatable fenders and a single round traditional fender we use for this n' that. We don't have internet access here on anchor but I believe the size we will buy as a single large fender is 18" x something silly. When we are going to be on anchor only for a while the fenders get deflated, rolled up, tied and stored in the anchor locker. The old traditional 'blow up' fenders were filled thru a bicycle valve that was tedious and took forever. The new inflatable fenders use a large inflatable boat foot pump and inflate quickly. (This is not a commercial for Aere fenders. It happens to be what Egret has. Others make inflatable fenders as well and may be as good or better. We simply feel inflatable fenders are the way to go.)
Halifax city fathers are smart. In addition to a restored waterfront like most places in the world, they took it a step farther and installed floating docks along the esplanade. Day docking is free on a first come, first serve basis so the wandering locals or tourists can look at the boats. To stay overnight it is signed $1.50/foot/day but one local said they don't really enforce the charge. The boats we saw were mostly local with a couple U.S. flagged boats.
Hurricane Irene was a non event for the Egret crew. The locals didn't seem particularly concerned and we saw just a few taking any safety precautions. In fact, when the sea breeze started in the early afternoon the Armsdale Yacht Club racers took off for their Sunday afternoon race. It turns out, Egret was anchored near their start line so at the start she split the fleet with some slipping past the swim platform and others just off the bow. The fog rolled in for the returning race fleet. rene started in the late afternoon with gusts while we had an American couple over from a 46' Hallberg Rassy (sail). These guys have been everywhere during the past 12 years Out. Most recently they were on an OCC - Ocean Cruising Club rally in Newfoundland but had to return to Halifax because of a medical problem. So we had a nice chat while the puffs started. During that night and early morning the highest gust we saw was but 32.5 knots. No biggie for Egret but we feel for the folks back in the States who did get the wind and storm surge. The next morning was gusty with a blue sky and just a few puffy clouds. Later in the morning down went the dink and we went back into downtown Halifax for more sightseeing. Downtown Halifax is a mixture of old and new and the waterfront was filled with tourists. The convention center is knock your eyes out beautiful with a traditional red brick base and modernistic glass tower as is the garden park with the carefully arranged flower displays. We returned to Egret just before dark and lifted the dink.
Today (Tue) Egret was off at first light for the near 50nm run to Chester in Mahon Bay. The wind was puffing less than 5 knots and still is. We took the inside route and there were fair sized residual swells breaking over the offshore shoals and inshore shoals. C Map charting was spot on and it was an easy run even though we had a bit of fog. This is one of many lighthouses along the way. The radar was set at 1.5nm to pick up the smallish buoys. Currently Egret is on the long stretch (14nm) before turning into the run between the islands to Chester. More to follow.
Chester is much as we remembered from the last time in Nova Scotia with elegant vacation homes scattered on the hills above the waterfront, tons of small day boats on moorings and a downtown that has not grown a single building. The entire downtown is about a dozen commercial buildings with a few more along the waterfront on Front Bay near the ferry dock. Everyone's favorite is Jullian's which is a lunch place and bakery. Of course we had to have coffee and a naughty desert and bought Real Bread to take back to Egret. This is a typical Chester cottage Mary spotted on our self guided home tour around Chester. The next day we had visitors that are ex cruising friends of friends who washed ashore in Chester and are active in local around the buoys racing as well as a VofE enthusiast from north of Halifax. Later the British couple from s/v Five Flip Flops stopped by. We saw FFF in Baddeck but could never get together. They were involved day and night in Race Week. These guys have been Out 10 years living eight months a year aboard and four months elsewhere. They are super intrepid folks, mountain climbers, and Real adventurers.......Laos by motor scooter for months, etc. Five Flip Flops got their name from mountain climbing trips in Nepal. The guides are so poor many wear just flip flops, even in the snow. So with climbing friends met in Nepal they rated their different experiences in a one to five flip flop scale. Boating is the ultimate so it deserves the highest rating......Five Flip Flops.
Then it was off to the village of Mahon Bay, in Mahon Bay. FFF was already on anchor so we spent the afternoon aboard FFF listening to more tales. FFF left at daybreak this morning for the SE Nova Scotia staging port of Shelbourne to leave for the U.S. We have said in the past how friendly Nova Scotians are. This photo taken on a Mahon Bay side street says it all. As of now there is a system forming quickly near Bermuda sending swells to the coast beginning on Mon or Tue plus the new hurricane working its way west and predicted to steer north. Just 8nm from Mahon Bay by sea and about two by land is a series of islands and small bays with narrow passes leading inland. There is No Way swell can work its way into the farther bays so the plan today is to visit Mahon Bay then move tomorrow to Lunenburg, 18nm away and watch the storm track and visit a bit. Before the largest swells start we will move into the back bays if it appears the storm will head this way. Once in the back bays it is a short dinghy ride then a .3nm trek over the hill to Lunenburg so we aren't boat bound for the next week. Now you know what we know and we will see how this plays out. More to follow.
We changed our mind. We went past Lunenburg to the Lahave River and trekked miles to the top winding our way around markers until near the end. Fortunately where the river narrows was a municipal dock with an ex Canadian Navy ship of some kind kinda rotting along with a few sailboats. There was room for Egret on the wall so we docked and a nice German sailor took the lines. It was very low tide so we docked port side to in order to use the boat deck to get off the boat to the dock. We haven't seen it ourselves yet but the German cruiser told us the low forming off Bermuda is now a non event and the storm down south has not taken shape yet so we'll see.
The plan was to walk into town and buy an internet wifi booster antenna to get reception from shoreside wifi's. Apparently lotsa cruisers use them and we have been struggling with wifi. In the U.S. we will get an internet stick and buy time as we need it. We Might even get a sim card for the T Mobile phone. But we might not. Its funny, for years now almost without exception our communication has been by e-mail. I know we are crossing into the Sacred Zone here but phones are.........................I changed my mind and won't say anything. Its easier.
Apparently Bridgewater is the shopping hub for all the nearby towns like Mahon Bay, Chester, Lunenburg and so on. The parking lot was packed at the mall. We found the Canadian version of Radio Shack but they didn't have what we wanted. Tomorrow we'll give it another go then leave and backtrack a few miles to Lunenburg. More to follow.
Next morning. We walked a few miles up the road to a Staples and no go for the electronic gizzy. Then walked back into old town and to the library for internet and checked on the storm. The site we checked has it making landfall next Friday about where Egret is located. Obviously we'll wait and see. Then back to Egret and back down the LaHave River riding the ebb downstream. We wuz flying. Its really pretty, almost park like and the houses like models. There were motorcycles everywhere and has been the past few days. There is a giantus motorcycle get together in the town of Digby. They expect 25,000 bikes. I would love to see that. They have a special award called the Iron Butt. Yup, 1600 kilometers (960 statute miles) around a given course in 24 hours with unannounced checkpoints to keep honest butts honest.
One interesting statistics we picked up indirectly thru the Canadian Border Patrol Service is there are only 107 foreign boats cruising Nova Scotia this year. A significant percentage of those (25 boats) were taking part in the OCC - Ocean Cruising Club rally to Newfoundland. We met three of those participants along the way. In usual years the numbers are quit a bit more. It was probably a combination of early season rainy weather and the economy. The weather has only been good for the past 3 weeks.
Lunenburg is within sight. What will this visit bring? Who will we meet? Don't have clue. Isn't that great? One thing for sure. MS has announced dinner this evening will be at the Knot restaurant and bar. Two Canadian cruisers in the Azores from two different provinces both told us we had to eat at the Knot. One said we have to try the fish chowder and the other, mussel soup. OK then.
We were told the harbor is full of moorings, there are a number but not overwhelming and it is still easy to find a place to anchor. TK dropped in 17' - 5.3m at mid tide and we sent out 100' - 31m of chain. We knew Lunenburg was nice but it is much nicer than we remembered. Lunenburg is perhaps the most picturesque town in Egret's travels. Across from town is a golf course with rolling green hills set among the trees. Egret is anchored at the entrance end of the harbor's mooring field off the golf course. This photo is for Mary's sister and her husband, both golfers. The waterfront still has the red buildings and working sheds from it's heyday years as a major fishing port. The codfish industry is in total collapse but there are a few deep ocean trawlers at the piers or on the ways. The town's 1800ish homes and business buildings march up the hill behind the waterfront. The second street has the usual tourista watering holes that are a bit tacky but the charm is still here nearly 100%.
After anchoring and dropping the dink a beautiful American flagged sailboat picked up a mooring near Egret. On the way to shore we stopped by to ask if it was a modern reproduction or an original. The rig was modern so we didn't know. It turns out to be a 2009 version of a famous S&S design, Stormy Weather. The lines are the original classic spoon bow and long transom overhang but the rig and underbody are the latest. It was originally built to be a gentleman's day boat, coastal race boat or Bermuda racer. Cruising as we know it wasn't popular during that era so there isn't an anchor on the bow.
Then it was off to town and up the hill to seek out the Knot. With the help from a local we found it tucked away with little fanfare and a small sign overhead. The inside was like a comfortable old pub without the smoke. We both had the fish chowder (white base), Mary had steamed mussels and I had shrimp. Yes, it was as good as the Canadians in the Azores said it was. We told the waitress the story and she said that is common (not the Azores - she had never heard of them). Their only advertising is word of mouth and they are busy year around. Later a woman came and sat at the table like she knew us and told us she is a year around resident and Lunenburg is their little secret. She must have overheard what we told the waitress about the Knot. She said Lunenburg has a maritime, mild winter much more so than Maine or farther north in Nova Scotia because of the Gulf Stream passing just a couple miles offshore. The harbor is ice free. There is a yard at the east end of town with a 75 ton lift that would be perfect to leave a boat if you were going to cruise this area for 4-5 months a year. I imagine you would have to be as far south as the Chesapeake to find winter weather this mild.
Next day. There are clear skys this morning and the harbor is coming to life. The sun is slowly illuminating the village and as the light changes you know who has been snapping a few pics. The Wench is being spoiled with her second cuppa in bed as I work on this drivel. The golfers are already out on the course, two folks are walking their dog along the low tide beach and the anchored nearby neighbors just dingyed their black lab to town for its morning run while Egret's generator is putting back the amps from last night's draw. So begins the day. More to follow.
Later. It was off to town for the day. Wandering the streets looking at homes we couldn't get over the number for sale. We asked a couple locals and got mixed reasons from doomsday to simple profit taking. However, at the prices they were asking I didn't see much profit if it was a primary residence. After a dinghy exploring trip along the waterfront this morning and walking the waterfront later we can see the entire waterfront is like a maritime museum with just a few working fishing boats in the harbor. We came across this feisty out of character skiff painted in Jamaican colors moored along the wharf. If we have to be 'stuck' waiting for the latest storm to make up its mind where it wants to go and for the seas to lay down after, Lunenburg is the place to wait.
Wandering down near the waterfront we came across a real ol' tyme boat building shop building dorys, small sailing prams and other small boats. One dory was done in brightwork and was just about rough perfection. If they would build one with outboard well hidden under a lifting lid what a great canal cruiser that would make. Of course you would have to carry two pair of oars for show. Oh yes, it had a sail kit as well. Why would someone want to sail or row when they had a perfectly good outboard? I guess its kinda like having a wing engine. We all love to hate them (unless the boat is large enough to have hydraulic bow and stern thrusters and windlass - then you love to love your wing). Mary snapped this pic of traditional dorys tied to the wharf. They have dory's tourists can rent and row around the harbor. It is great entertainment for locals to watch two novice rowers trying to coordinate their strokes, fan air, etc. We remember from the last trip, reading in the Codfish Museum how when dory fishermen got separated from the mother ship in the fog, after a while out of desperation they would row for Ireland. Believe it or not some made it riding the prevailing winds and North Atlantic Current, the northern turn of the Gulfstream. Dory's all carried a large canteen of water per person stuffed along side the hull and they would eat raw codfish. If they were Real Stupid and wanted a drink they would 'drink the compass' all boats carried mounted on a seat. The compass was filled with alcohol.
I'm sure you remember our cruising friends with the glitter coat boat and serious friends of OPEC with TWO (2) giantus turbo'd and aftercooled Cats. In the small world department, this evening we had a Brit/American couple over from the large Hallberg Rassy, s/v Lalize for dinner. They too were on the OCC rally to Newfoundland. They spent time in Catagena, Columbia and are friends the gittercoat folks and even shared the same day workers. Small world, eh?
1400 Tues afternoon. OK, here's the deal. I was going to write more but jut now the happy little Lugger is warming, Mary is fixing a quick lunch and we be gone to beat the coming potential hurricane weather. Once clear of Nova Scotia early tomorrow morning we will make the call to keep going to Newport via the Cape Cod Canal for weather protection - from the shallow water outside Cape Cod - or may fall off to somewhere in southern Maine or Massachusetts. So we'll see. The next few days will be a work in progress. Egret cleared Lunenburg harbour at 1445 and is under way in fog with about 1/4nm visibility, rain and light winds. More to follow.
Rereading some of the above I realize we covered a lot of stops in just a few words. Hopefully what we did write gives you an idea of what coastal cruising is like here in Nova Scotia. I'm sure this isn't our last time here and it should be on your list for when it is Your Time. Ciao.
Ed. Note - The glossary of Egretism terms will be posted on the Captain's Log home page for easy reference.