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"Egret" N4674 - Scott and Mary Flanders

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

December 31, 2006

Goodbye to 2006

2006 will leave the Egret crew with a lifetime of memories. 2006 was a year of adventure spanning a number of countries, cultures, miles and oceans. It is hard for us to believe that five years, two hundred seventy six days ago Egret and crew left Ft. Lauderdale on their first day of retirement. Egret bounced off docks, got stuck in the mud so often we didn't have bottom paint consistently on the keel for nearly one and half years. The Egret crew were experienced small boaters but neophyte cruisers. The first half of that summer's (2002) cruising season in Chesapeake Bay Egret raced from spot to spot outlined by the cruising guides without catching her breath. In time we gradually learned to slow down and relax. We spent three weeks anchored in front of the town dock in Chestertown, Md. We met the locals. The doors were opening. Soon we were visiting homes, being driven around by the locals, attending a gospel session in a nearby church, listening to the Saturday night bluegrass concerts held in the tiny local town square, buying fresh bread goodies from the Mormons and fresh veggies from the local farmers during the town square Saturday morning market. After paying for a big bag of tomatoes they would open the bag and throw in a couple more. You get the picture. We visited Chestertown twice more during the next two years.

There are many, many similar stories that could fill volumes. There is a bottom line and message here. Our little ship has opened many doors. Waterfront and island communities are very aware of visiting boats. Once you have been there a while they know who you are and give you special treatment BECAUSE you have taken the time to enjoy their community. This is true in most every city, town, village and country Egret has visited. There is not a place Egret has visited people have not been welcoming and friendly. Even in poor villages people are able to distinguish between idiotic governments and just people.

The end of the 2002 season Egret wintered in the Bahamas. June 2003 saw Egret make her first long (1100nm) offshore passage, from Ft. Lauderdale to Nantucket. This was a five-and-a-half day journey that had Mary and I proud of our accomplishment. We were gaining confidence in ourselves and our little ship. This was followed by an offshore trip to Nova Scotia, then south to Maine, Rhode Island, Chesapeake and back to Florida. The Nordhavn Atlantic Rally had been announced. We signed up and spent the majority of 2003/2004 winter preparing for the NAR. May 2004 Egret joined 17 other long distance cruisers for the first ever powerboat rally across the Atlantic. With the NAR complete Egret spent the next two winters and three cruising seasons in the Mediterranean.

With this primer detailing Egret's total scope of experience let us forward to Spring 2006.

April 2006 Egret hauled at Marti Marine near our winter port of Marmaris, Turkey. With fresh bottom paint, zincs and a throughly cleaned and flushed keel cooler Egret departed on her last tour of the Med revisiting favorite spots and touring some new. We dragged our feet in the Aegean Greek islands we love so much then were off to Crete, Sicily, and southern Italy. In southern Italy Egret's skipper backed over her dinghy with the trauma and cure highlighted in an earlier Voyage of Egret's Med cruise. After a quick haul we were on our way again stopping by Rome to buy another small dinghy not knowing if ours could be repaired. From Rome Egret traveled north visiting the beautiful towns of the Italian Riviera. Next came San Remo on the west side of the Gulf du Genoa arriving after a weather mauling. Soon came Monaco and the French Riviera and a second mauling on the way to Barcelona.

There is no reason to get beat up by weather in the Med. Egret was on a schedule for a Sept. 1 meeting in Gibraltar. Lesson: DO NOT allow yourself to get compromised by a schedule. The reason for the delay is after careful time planning we were let down by two Stateside vendors. VERY let down.

Revisiting Barcelona was like putting on a favorite pair of shoes. She was comfortable and welcoming. After a two-week visit, dinghy repair and major provisioning Egret was underway to Gibraltar. Gibraltar bought more provisions then a return to Spain to haul and install our wayward line cutters. After returning to Gibraltar for fuel Egret departed on September 15th, 2006 for her eventual arrival in Ushuaia, Argentina, December 28th, 2006, 110 days and 7009.65 nautical miles later (8061.09 statute miles for landlubbers).

With two stops in the Canary Islands, four in Brazil, three in Argentina including Ushuaia, crossing two oceans and entering a third (North Atlantic, South Atlantic and Southern) Egret had fast tracked from North 36 degrees latitude to South 54 degrees latitude to the southern most city in the world. We have tried to give accurate details of Egret's voyage through the Med and south to Argentina. What is hard to express is our feeling of personal accomplishment and pride in our little ship that has taken care of her crew even when they have made mistakes. Being part of a transient community here in the bottom of the world who have tested themselves and equipment for the privilege of being here is more rewarding than any money derived bauble could ever be. You cannot buy this, you must pay the price. In the early morning quiet we took pictures of the incrediable purpose built sailboats who are anchored around Egret. Each one is framed with snow in the background. Wanderer II, the Hiscock's old boat, now crewed by a young pair of true sea gypsies wandering the world, is rafted to others at the dock. This tiny little sailboat is on her fourth or fifth circumnavigation. We will capture in pictures every sight we can possibly can. We don't want to ever have our memory dimmed by time of this fantastic place, her boats and crews.

Now, let us stop a moment and back up. Look at the BIG picture. Think about yourselves for a moment. You have witnessed above Egret crew's experience. There is nothing more. We are just plain folks, just like you. Just like all 300 or more Nordhavn owners and many previous owners. We have written many words of inspiration, recordings of sights and feelings trying to give you a sense of being on board Egret since April 2006. What these words are NOT about is Egret and her crew. It is about helping you, the new boaters and new boaters to be. Our single reason in spending our time to write Voyage of Egret is the gift of inspiration and education from us to you to join this life rewarding long distance lifestyle. We were inspired by others. It is our turn to give back. Set your goals, stay focused and follow your dream. Only YOU can make it come true. Sooner is better thank later.

Scott and Mary Flanders, M/Y Egret,
Ushuaia, Argentina, December 31st, 2006.

The Egret crew did not arrive in Argentina without help. We would like to thank those who have helped Egret by product or service.

PAE, (Nordhavn folks) and South Coast Marine in Taiwan for building our bullet proof little ship, M/Y Egret. She is a 2001, Nordhavn 46' flybridge full displacement trawler.

Lugger/Northern Lights who have brought to Egret an engine and generator that have NEVER missed a beat.

Numerous other equipment manufactures who have built dependable equipment to keep Egret safe and comfortable.

For the voyage from Gibraltar to Argentina there are six specific people to recognize:

Al Golden, IMIS Insurance who stepped up to the plate when other 'dependable' insurance companies failed. Al and IMIS Insurance are the 'real deal'. al@imiscorp.net 1-800-541-4647

'OMNI Bob's' weather forecasting. Bob Jones' help was a big safety plus for the Egret crew. ocmarnav@aol.com 1-866-505-6664

Master Angler Steve Lawrence, crewman. MA Steve joined Egret in Grand Canaria, Canary Islands, for the Atlantic crossing staying with Egret until arrival in Ushuaia. Steve will be with Egret until Tahiti. Steve is a great guy, easy to live with and has an iron stomach. What more could you ask?

Voyage of Egret on the nordhavn.com website is the vision of, and presented by these two young, capable people. Jennifer Stern, PAE Director of Marketing, and Doug Harlow, Harlow Media Arts. They have made it possible for the Egret crew to help spread the long distance motor cruising gospel. jenny@nordhavn.com dharlow@harlowmediaarts.com

The most important of all, my wife Mary. Thirty-eight years of love. She is the real deal.

December 29, 2006

Well, mi amigos, Egret has landed. 1730 GMT December 28th, 2006 Egret's big anchor dropped into Ushuaia, Argentina's small harbor. The wind was blowing 35 knots. The 110lb anchor dug in immediately through the kelp. Mary attached the snubber for the umpteenth time and all was well. While having our celebratory libation friends first met in Brazil, Tom and Nancy Zylder captaining Whale Song - a 93' custom expedition boat -came by to welcome Egret to Ushuaia and give us a lift to the Yacht Club AFSyN where the Perfectura Naval was checking in another boat. Within a short time Egret was checked in and MA Steve brought us back in the dink.

There are so many stories to tell, so much we have seen it is difficult at this moment to begin. Looking out over the small anchorage at the recently arrived sailboats, they too all have stories of their own. EVERYONE PAYS for the privilege of seeing this magnificent part of the world. Whale Song had her fore deck dock boxes ripped off in a 30 knot blow off Brazil. There is a sailboat on the hill in the small yard at the head of the bay with her rudder ripped nearly off. Egret nearly escaped with no trauma. She lost her yellow ribbon on the flag pennant during the 80 knot blow. Chuckle. HOWEVER, two miles from the anchorage the wind went quiet for a bit. Then a #*@^%&* bird flew into Egret's starboard 23' VHF antenna with a thunk and it broke at the joint. We hope that bird STILL has a major headache AND it's children have headache's as well.

Swinging on her mooring in front of Egret is the 40' Defever, Pelagic owned by Ken Murray. Pelagic's trip down the Argentine coast was chronicled in a well-done Passagemaker Magazine article some years ago. That article and many others is why Egret is here today. Inspiration from others. Knowing what we know now we can't even imagine the hardship Pelagic's trip south must have been. Egret's trip south in a heavy, purpose built little ship has to have been the most comfortable journey to this part of the world EVER by a small boat, power or sail. Ken's trip must have been hellish. Ken is currently on an Antarctic trip returning Jan 5th. We are looking forward to meeting Ken and hope to do some fly fishing with him in local streams.

Dinner ashore last night with our beat up Brit friends from Pen Azen was a new adventure. The local restaurants specialize in two dishes for the tourists who arrive for the small Antarctic cruise ships. King crab and lamb roasted over a wood fire. The lambs are butterflied and spread on racks facing the fire like tepees. We had all you can eat lamb last night with a fabulous salad bar and Beagle beer. Ten bucks. Tonight will be king crab. We're gonna like this place.

Egret will remain here until January 19th when a special guest is joining Egret for the trip to Puerto Williams to check into Chile. After, as weather permits, Egret will head for the Horn. That, will be another story.

Next on Voyage of Egret will a 2006 wrap up of Egret's adventures starting last April in Marmaris, Turkey culminating in her December 28th arrival in Ushuaia, Argentina. Take the time to read the article slowly. Read the lines, between the lines, listen to the message. Inspiring and helping others is the only reason we take the time to write Voyage of Egret. It could change your lives IF you allow it to.


Addendum to December 28, 2006 report

OMNI Bob hit the nail on the head with this report. Ushuaia is in sight. After washing Egret and ridding her of the salt cake we have 35 knots on the bow with spray everywhere. Rats!!. This will be the last OMNI Bob report until we ready for the Cape Horn rounding. It is time to relax and maybe have a beer or so. Adios.
Captain, thanks for your update 28th.
It appears the clouds you experienced later yesterday were part of a weak

weather front that has since moved to your east/south. Another front approaching from the west/south should work its way across the Ushuaia area during Fri/midday-aftn. After this front passes, high pressure off the Chilean coast should work its way eastward through Sat.
The ridge will be east of the area during Sat/eve-night. This will allow the next weather system to approach from the west and bring increasing winds during Sat/eve-night and continue on Sun. The next system will be a complex frontal system that will see a relatively weak area of low pressure move eastward with a secondary front moving east across the area through Sun/night. The low and front will tend to merge and deepen near Cape Horn during Mon/am. This deepening Gale low will allow the WSW-SW winds to freshen across the area through Mon/01st.
Outlooks indicate the low will deepen to a storm low and will tend to move very slowly eastward through Mon/night. A broad area of high pressure

extending south across 60S 97W through late Mon will tend to work its way toward Ushuaia during Tue/02nd.  

Expect in the Ushuaia area:
Thur/28 (Beagle Channel-Ushuaia area): Freshen NW-W 20-30kts,
gusty/35-40kts at times thru the day.  Variably to mostly cloudy with rain showers during the day.  Hi near 50F, Low near 43F  
Fri/29 (Ushuaia area): Westerly 25-30kts and gusty through Fri/am, become

WSW-SW 25-35kt, gusty during Fri/pm. Winds easing SW-W 15-22kts Fri/night-overnight. Early morning clouds and lingering showers give way to partly cloudy to clear skies by late morning and continue through Fri/night. Hi low 50's, Low near 43F
Sat/30 (Ushuaia area): WSW-WNW 08-18kts during the morning. Freshen NW-NNE 12-21kts, gusty/25kts during Sat/pm. Chance for NW-NNE 25-30kts during Sat/night-overnight. Clear to partly cloudy skies through the day. Increasing clouds during the night, some showers may develop
during the overnight. Hi low 50's. Low low 40's.
Sun/31: NNE-NW 20-30kts, gusty. Cloudy with rain showers during the day.  Becoming NW-Var to ESE 17-25kt, occ 30kt and gusty during Sun/pm. Hi low to mid 50's. Low low 40's.
Mon/01st: Freshen ESE-SSW 20-30kts, gusty 35kts early Mon/am. then SSW-SW

30-40kt, occ 45-50kts and gusty from late Mon/am through Mon/eve-night. Cloudy with rain showers during the day. Become variably to partly cloudy during Mon/pm.  Hi low 50's. Low near 40.
Watching, updating Fri/29th, unless otherwise advised.  

B/Rgds, Bob/OMNI


December 28, 2006

Position: S54 54.89 W67 14.16 Course: 274 degrees M, Speed: 6.5 knots, Seas: 1' chop, Wind: 15.7 knots, Temperature: 48 degrees F/8.8 degrees C, Distance traveled: 155.7nm, Distance traveled from Gibraltar: 6971.38 NM

1825 GMT 12-27 We can see the entrance to Canal Beagle ahead with Staten Island in the background. These are the two borders to the Straits of Le Maire, the last major hurtle to clear before the western run up the Canal Beagle to Ushuaia.

Estrecho de Le Maire (Le Maire Strait) was named in 1616 by a merchant captain for his ship's owner, Isaac Le Maire. Can you imagine being here in 1616 with no charts, unable to sail windward, no documention of the area being one of the first to explore it? The Argentine coast is inhospitable for hundreds of miles with no place to land for fresh water or any type of animals for provisions. There is nothing here but wind, waves and monster tides along the way.

We are still blessed by having the luck to be between two weather systems (knock on teak). The seas of last 24 hours including crossing the Magellan Straits could have been handled by our dinghy. Amazing!! Today we got some pictures of kissing albatrosses, penguins in the water, terns on large floating mats of kelp and a few Peale's dolphins. It was 47 degrees F outside this morning and has been cool all day. Pictures come at a price when you are in a tee shirt and barefoot. Our sailboat friends wouldn't comprehend. Its like having ice. German sailboaters we met in Mar del Plata were over for cocktails one evening. The wife asked if we had ice. We told her yes but it was a real nuisance because the ice tray overflowed every six hours and we had to throw it away. You should have seen the look on her face. It took a while for them to recognize American humor. Chuckle. They have a no refrigeration sailboat.

2030 GMT Egret has just entered the Beagle after a wild 11.4 knot ride thru some low breakers. Our speed is still in the 7 knot range. We are being swarmed by sea birds. Penguins are popping up in groups all around Egret. The whole Strait is moving with flying birds everywhere you look. This is wild!! The bad news is the tide program we have running on the nav computer says this can't be happening. The tide sets to the north. We are going south with an indicated 1/4 of the flood tide to go. We don't know what is going on but we'll take it and run (south that is). Perhaps we'll figure it out when we turn the corner and head west in 17 miles. More to follow...

2250 GMT The mystery is solved. The coastal ebb was running east meeting the north flowing flood from the Beagle. Egret is now finally picking up speed as the flood tops out. We then have a one hour slack before the race begins down the Begale with the ebb. Our anchorage tonight is Puerto Espanol in Bahia Aguirre. This is an easy to approach anchorage anchoring off the beach. It needs to be because we will be arriving in the twilight of the summer sun. Very early on the morning of the 28th (this morning) we will depart for the final push to Ushuaia.

0825 GMT 12-28 Whoops, change of plans. Clouds moved in blanketing the sunset and the half moon. We abandoned the anchoring plan and ran sloooowly all night thru the maize of channels. This morning is clear, sunny and 45 degrees F. After helping enter nine more waypoints Mary and MA Steve are off watch. An unexpected treat this morning a Mar Del Plata Belgian sailboat appeared. They left MdelP days ahead of Egret. Nice people. We'll meet tonight in Ushuaia along with our other MdelP buddies. This place is ruggedly beautiful. The relentless winds have kept vegetation to a minimum but even with that there are forests of wind bent trees. The mountains are green with patches of snow on the higher peaks. As of this moment we are 57.5nm from Cape Horn. The Cape will have to wait a couple of weeks. It is time to quit running, relax and enjoy the social life as cruisers do. MA Steve's two daughters and one boyfriend arrive Ushuaia on Jan. 3 for a visit with dad. They will spend time together hiking and enjoying the local scenery. We will plan a day cruise close by to let them see the water around the Beagle.

0935 GMT As we get further into the Beagle with protection on both sides we can see heavier foresting on the Chilean (port) side of the channel. This area is so pristine, so beautiful it is hard to describe. Everything is green with a few barren patches here and there. The higher mountains dead ahead are peaked and full of snow. Egret has not been to Alaska...yet, but we know how the many Alaska cruisers must feel and why they return year after year. Our home of South Florida has been overrun by people loving it to death. The Everglades are mostly ruined by development. In our thirteen years there we had a weekend home in Islamorada, (Fla Keys) and we could see the decline during that short time in Florida Bay water quality. Life giving grassy bottom was becoming barren mud flats supporting nothing but transient life. This area will never, ever be developed. Life is too harsh here. What few people do live here supporting a three month tourist trade do so at the great price of discomfort. The fact that there will never be a charter fleet here is a joy. Every single boat arriving in the Beagle has paid their price one way or another. THIS is why the intrepid sailors of the world are attracted to this 'undermost' area of the world in greater numbers.

We have actually given some thought of wintering in Ushuaia to fully explore the Chilean Canals. During the winter months the wind is more settled with the lows retreating south to Antarctic and the highs with clear cold air moving in. This, however, is a bit premature. We have yet to be caught in the inevitable snow flurries, hail and freezing rain even the summer season has to offer in the Canals. The best part about long distance cruising is we can do anything. Whatever makes us happy is our immediate goal. When that is not being met, or there is greater motivation with greener grass, we move on. Simple life and a joy to live.

Tomorrow we'll give you an insider view into Ushuaia, the other cruisers and our emotional feelings of arriving after so many miles, tens of months of planning culminating with Egret's arrival. 55.7 nm to go mi amigos.

A later Voyage of Egret will be a 2006 wrap up of her travels from Marmaris, Turkey last spring to Ushuaia, Argentina. Here we will give credit where credit is due to let you know who you can count on yourselves for your own personal voyages of discovery.


December 27 - weather forecast

Below is OMNI Bob's latest forecast. As you can see the weather is a constantly changing force this far south. Observations indicate that you are well south of the low that is near 50S 65W and moving slowly eastward. Winds of 20kts and higher are within 120nm or so of the low center, while beyond 120nm winds are ESE to SSE and below 20kts. As the low center moves eastward today, a weak ridge of high pressure will extend south along the Argentina coast to the Beagle Channel entrance. This should allow for the easier wind/seas to continue until your arrival later today. As the ridge moves to the east of the Beagle Channel entrance by later this evening, influence from the next low pressure system will develop. A strong 968mb low center is expected near 56S 82W with a warm front extending ENE toward Tierra del Fuego later this evening.
The low and front will move ESE-SE through Thur/28th, while trailing cold fronts/troughs work their way eastward across the Ushuaia area through Thur/night-Fri/am. After the passage of the last front/trough during Fri/morning, high pressure ridging off the coast of Chile on Fri/29th is expected to move east across southern Chile/Argentina through Sat/30th.
The ridge will be east of the area and across the Falkland islands through Sun/morning when a new low pressure pattern will begin to impact southern Chile area.

Outlooks indicate this frontal system will move across southern Chile/Argentina during Sun/pm. With the storm track further south (closer to 60S/lat), mostly WNW-WSW winds will prevail across the region on Mon/01st.

Along the direct route toward the Beagle Channel, but taking a closer coastal route as able and as safe nav permits, to help minimize seas, expect:

Wed/27-Beagle Channel area: SW-SE 08-15kts, confused seas 2-4ft thru the afternoon. Become WNW-NNW 08-15kts during Wed/eve-night. Fair skies. Winds tend to freshen NW-WNW 15-22kts, gusty during the overnight. Increasing clouds expected.

Thur/28 (Beagle Channel-Ushuaia area): Freshen NW-W 20-30kts, gusty/35-40kts at times thru the day. Variably to mostly cloudy with rain showers during the day. Hi near 52F, Low near 43F

Fri/29 (Ushuaia area): Westerly 25-30kts and gusty through Fri/am, become WSW-SW 25-35kt, gusty during Fri/pm. Winds easing SW-W 20-25kts Fri/night-overnight. Early morning clouds and lingering showers give way to partly cloudy to clear skies by late morning and continue through Fri/night. Hi low 50's, Low near 43F

Sat/30 (Ushuaia area): WSW-WNW 08-18kts during the morning. Freshen WNW-NNW 18-26kts, gusty/30kts during Sat/pm. Chance for NW-NNE 25-30kts during Sat/night-overnight. Clear to partly cloudy skies through the day. Increasing clouds during the night, some showers may develop during the overnight. Hi low 50's. Low low 40's.

Sun/31: NW-NNE 25-33kts, gusty/40kts. Cloudy with rain showers during the morning. Shifting NW-W 25-35kt, occ 40kt and gusty during Sun/pm. Hi low to mid 50's. Low low 40's.
Watching, updating Thu/28th. B/Rgds, Bob/OMNI


December 27, 2006

Position: S54 05.72 W66 40.14 Course: 111 Degrees M, Speed 7.2 knots, distance traveled past 24 hours 172.7 NM, Seas: gentle 3' swells, Wind: 8.4 knots, Distance traveled from Gibraltar: 6816.34 NM

Egret's speed is falling, currently 6.9 knots. We currently have 64.5 nm until our entrance point into the Canal Beagle. OMNI Bob's weather forecast will be sent as an addendum.

Well, mi amigos, we left you yesterday working our way back through heavy seas toward the Argentine coast to reduce the fetch. When it is safe we can turn south and continue our trek down the coast skirting the eastern coast of Tierra del Fuego before our turn into the Canal Beagle. At 1310 GMT we were able to make a 12 degree turn to the SW. Later, at 1420 GMT, we were able to resume speed (from 1630 RPM to 1700 RPM) and our heading toward our waypoint off the Straits of Magellan. At 1605 the wind is just 7.2 knots from the SE. We REALLY hope that continues until we cross the Straits. We'll see.

1915 GMT 12-26 The seas are still calm. The entrance to the Straits of Magellan with the lighthouse at the tip is off the starboard side. Can you imagine the history that has passed that point? Magellan, Cook, Darwin, Slocum, Shackleton and all the early discoverers. We are proud to be a tiny, tiny part of that history as well.

1945 GMT Egret is making 8.1 knots with just 1.8 knots of true wind from the SSE. How blessed we are. I'm sure over the years ships have sunk in this very spot from weather (as everywhere else around here).

2005 GMT 9.0 knots, YES!!! Egret has increased speed to 1800 RPMs trying to completely clear the Straits before the next train roars through. There are heavy fronts north and south of us. Now, if we can just stay in the middle... Our Brit friends on Pen Azen are moving on toward Ushuaia tomorrow from their hidey hole in Canal Beagle after recovering from their two-day weather mauling. One thing for sure about this area. NO ONE escapes unscathed. EVERYONE pays.

2345 GMT Speed 8.5 knots Dinner tonight after a morning's workout and a lazy afternoon was a giant Argentine steak, mushrooms and mashed potatoes. Mmmm. If football is wearing you out and you haven't done so let us invite you to review the Voyage of Egret, Warm Up Cruise. These are Egret's ramblings of her last months in the Mediterranean giving you insight into that wonderful cruising area. Also, if there are any questions you would like answered, send them under the Egret Forum. You will receive a personalized reply that will be posted on the Forum within a few days. Do not be bashful. Others may have the same questions as well so you may all share the answer.

0810 GMT 12-27 Wow! What a great night riding between two severe systems in relatively calm seas. Master Angler Steve will get a full night's (morning's) rest as well. This far south there is a hint of light nearly all night. The air is so clear MA Steve saw the lights of Ushuaia with planes taking off and landing ninety-four miles away directly across Tierra del Fuego. Egret is flying along with the tide at 8.7 knots with a 7.0 knot average running at 1800 RPM's. If, if, if the weather holds, and, and we keep up a reasonable speed average, and, the tide is cooperating, we will be able to turn the corner into the Beagle later this afternoon. Lotsa ifs and ands. We'll see. Also this morning we are being greeted by a group of six or so Peale's dolphins. They are smallish light gray and black little guys. They have been playing in the bow wave for a few miles.

1100 GMT In the overcast morning light the mountains of Tierra del Fuego are lighting up. We are now south of the South American continent. The inland higher peaks have snow that sparkles. There is not enough wind to support the majority of sea birds however the penguins and ducks have been keeping us busy. An occasional sea lion pops its head up to take a peek. We are so close we feel like we can reach out and touch it. TdelF is now showing on six-mile radar and will stay about five miles on the starboard side. This is a mileage compromise to safety giving Egret a bit of shelter from the westerlies if they arrive. Let us make a prediction. No, let us make a promise. No matter what seas Egret has to drive through, no matter what current rips, kelp or any other obstacles, Egret is going to make it safely to Ushuaia. We always knew that BUT there were a lot of unanswered questions. Those questions have been answered. With one last major obstacle to go (entering the Straits of LeMaire with its severe current rips), and perhaps some more large seas our goal for this worst leg of all reasonable cruising will have been reached. Ushuaia.



December 26, 2006

Position: S51 32.15 W68 23.94 Course 199 degrees M, Speed 5.0 knots, Average speed past 24 hours 6.1 knots, Seas: see below Wind: see below Distance traveled from Gibraltar: 6643.40 NM. Temp is 48 degrees.

Well mi amigos, STOP reading here. Please go back to the Sat 12-24 Voyage of Egret posting and read the sequential postings until this report. We have been giving play by play running postings of events as they occur in this area of very fast changing winds and seas. Egret is making her final push south down the Argentine Patagonian coast before turning into the Beagle Channel then on to Ushuaia, Argentina, an additional 100nm or so. OMNI Bob's latest weather report will be sent as an addendum to this posting.

1800 Christmas Day. Egret is bouncing along in tight current driven seas from the stern quarter making 4.5 knots @ 1700 RPM against the tide. The weather is overcast after this morning's brilliant sunrise. The albatrosses are back in force AND we are now making frequent penguin sightings. We believe them to be Magellanic Penguins. Tomorrow (Tue) by this time we should be crossing the Straits of Magellan if the weather is reasonable. The Straits separate mainland South America from the large island of Tierra Del Fuego (Land of Fires). This is hard to believe after all these miles and tests of one sort or another. After comes the final push down the east coast of Tierra Del Fuego before turning into Beagle Channel. Beagle Channel was named after Charles Darwin's ship Beagle.

Another Egret milestone. At exactly 1924 GMT Egret crossed the 50 degree south latitude line. We have entered the Southern Ocean and Furious Fifties. This is the third ocean since leaving Gibraltar on Sept 15, 2006, 6544.29 nautical miles ago. (North Atlantic, South Atlantic, Southern Ocean). As of this moment the winds aren't exactly furious at 21.2 knots but the barometer has dropped ten inches of mercury to 993 in the past twenty-four hours. We'll see.

2225 GMT 12-25. The current is finally releasing its grip so we are slooowly regaining our average speed. Currently 6.1 knots. The waves have subsided a bit, dinner is in the oven and all is well. Master Angler Steve is working on his third O'Brien novel on this leg from Brazil.

2330 GMT 12-25. Barometer 988. 7.9 knots Egret was surrounded by black and white dolphins playing and jumping. Try as we did the pictures don't appear to be keepers. Because of the calmish seas we have changed course to gain an additional fifteen miles by cutting out a coastal dog leg. We want to cross the Straits of Magellan tomorrow afternoon with as much daylight as possible. Question? Are we being led into a trap offshore with sniffs of good weather only for the hammer to fall? We'll see.

0600 GMT 12-26 Barometer 884. The wind picked up to 30+ knots so Steve reduced speed to 1600 RPM. Uncomfortable fresh chop but some sleep is possible.

0830 GMT Barometer 884. Party's over. Winds are sustained over thirty with gusts to 40 knots. The seas are like a wild teenager with all their new found power and are trying to do everything at once. We just had our first 45 degree roll. We are rolling to 30-35 degrees once or more a minute, 40 degrees once every 4-5 minutes. There is heavy spray blasting the pilothouse glass occasionally squirting around the door gaskets. The seas are maturing fast into small mountains. We are currently 55 miles north of the Straits of Magellan and 29 miles offshore. We are going to change course to put the seas on the starboard bow quarter and slowly angle toward shore to reduce the fetch. Second 45 degree roll. Adios for a bit.

0945 GMT Barometer 885. The situation deteriorated very quickly after the last paragraph. The seas started maturing with steep frothing crests. We are having to run into the wind with the wind no more than five degrees off the bow. Winds are now mid to upper 30s sustained with gusts over 40. Speed is between 3.2 and 4.1 knots toward a quick thrown in waypoint closer to shore to reduce fetch. Hopefully there we can turn more beam to the wind and continue south staying within 5 miles of shore allowing the autopilot to steer and factor set and drift in these strong tidal currents. I tried taking some movies but we really need a camera with a wider angle lens to take in all of the chaos in front of and beside Egret. I'm sure they will show a very jerky amateur attempt which of course it was. The most amazing thing of all is Master Angler Steve is sleeping in the forward bunk. We had an out of sequence wave pick Egret up and literally throw her into the wave next to her. I thought this would bring MA Steve up to the pilothouse. Nope. Mary is in our bunk as well.

When the out of sequence wave threw Egret her port side port lights were submerged along with the whole port side to the rub rail. Egret never complained or shuttered. As a former boat builder we know a twisting shot like that could easily pop the deck off a traditional shoe box hull to deck joint. Store that thought away for boat show time when some slickster tells you how much cheaper his boat is than the REAL DEAL. Wouldn't it be fun to cycle those guys through Egret's pilothouse now, at this moment? Do you think their new ads would read 'aggressive looking Intracoastal cruiser'?

1155 GMT Barometer 988 Winds have reduced to 25-32 knots sustained. As we near shore (20 miles) the seas are a little better but not much. We now are simply pitching without the odd wave blasting Egret from the side or where ever. We even had some rainbows in the spray. As we can we will turn more south toward the Straits of Magellan but no it would be not just uncomfortable but dangerous. We will keep this running commentary as events progress. Keep your seat belts on. Its a wild ride!!

Below is Omni Bob's most recent forecast.

A cold front is beginning to make its way across the southern coast of Argentina and should weaken off the coast today, but the northern part of the front across southern Argentina will weaken while merging with a developing low center off the coast of Chile. This low is expected to deepen as it moves ESE across southern Argentina tonight at/near 50S through midnight tonight, then becomes a Gale low near 51S 60W thru Wed/am-midday.

After this low moves off the coast, the storm track should also push southward through Thur/night-Fri/am. However, slightly weaker cold fronts move across the southern Chile/Argentina waters. Outlooks indicate after the passage of a cold front during Thur/pm, high pressure ridging should build off the coast of Chile through Fri/midday. This ridge should drift eastward across the southern S/America region during Fri/pm into Sat/am. As it does, light winds and clear to partly cloudy skies are expected to develop within the inside passage from the east and western Magellan straits entrances.

Outlooks indicate the high ridge will move east of the area during Sat/pm and we will be watching an approaching cold front that should reach the southern Chilean coast during late Sun/am. An area of low pressure may develop along this front as it moves across the Magellan straits region through Sun/night-early Mon/am.

Along the direct route toward the Beagle Channel, but taking a closer coastal route as able and as safe nav permits, to help minimize seas, expect:

Tue/26: NW-W 25-35kt, gusty 40kts through Tue/aftn. Winds become NW-N to variable 20-30kts nearing the Beagle Channel area through later this evening. Seas 6-8ft, slightly lower near the coast Tue/pm. A freshening SW-SE winds 25-35kt, gusty develops during Tue/night.

Wed/27-Beagle Channel area: SSW-WSW 30-35kts, gusty thru the am/aftn (along the coast seas would tend to build 5-10ft thru the morning and afternoon). Winds ease slightly, WSW-WNW 25-33kt, gusty/35kt during the afternoon and continue during the eve-night. Fair skies with increasing clouds late in the day.

Thur/28 (Beagle Channel-Ushuaia area): Range WSW-WNW 25-35kt, gusty. Variably to mostly cloudy with rain showers.

Fri/29 (protected waters within the Magellan straits): W-SW 20-30kt, gusty Fri/am, easing SW-W 20-10kts thru Fri/eve-night. Morning clouds give way to clear to partly cloudy skies by late morning and continue Fri/night.

Sat/30 (protected waters within the Magellan Straits): WSW-WNW 08-15kts, light and variable at times with clear skies during the morning into the afternoon. WNW-NNW 10-20kts during the late afternoon through night.

Watching, updating Wed/27th.
B/Rgds, Bob/OMNI


December 25, 2006

Position: S49 16.23 W67 15.42 Course: 189 degrees M, Speed 7.0 knots, Distance traveled: 167.8 nm, Seas: 3' NW, Wind: 12.9 knots NW (apparent), Distance traveled from Gibraltar: 6497.63 NM

Merry Christmas mi amigos, keeping with our new format until Ushuaia of 'you are there at the time' we will start this report on 12-24 finishing 1200GMT on the 25th.

2100 Sat, 24th. Speed 5.6 knots waiting for the tide to swing to the ebb giving Egret a boost south. The seas are well spaced large swells on the nose and very comfortable. The Naiad controls are turned WAY down. We encountered our first very strange and beautiful new species of dolphins. Commerson's Dolphins. They are small, about three feet long, appear as black and white bullets rocketing in and leaving as fast. Their head, back and tail are jet black and the rest is pure white. Beautiful. Large globs of floating kelp riped out by storms, groan, are floating everywhere causing us to dodge from time to time.

We received an e-mail a few minutes ago from Brit friends on Pen Azen, an Amel 53 sailboat, saying they are tucked in a cove on the north side of Canal Beagle (the E/W passage connecting east to west with Ushuaia half way on the north side) after "two hellish days". After they slept for twelve hours. We saw their weather on OMNI bob's forecast and knew they were going to get murdered. There is no place to hide. Once committed it is what it is. They will stay for four days then make Ushuaia for New Years.

It's Christmas Eve, so with Christmas carols playing the Egret crew broke their dry ship while underway tradition. We are enjoying a rum n' coke. Mary gave the boys a large specialty candy bar for Xmas. Rum n' chocolate...arrrrrg. A proper libation and sweets from my sweetie. Calm seas with an occasional albatross flying by. Life is good for the Egret crew.

Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas. Egret's BIG present was winds no higher than 18 knots for the night with comfortable seas. There is nothing to report other than another beautiful sunrise...again. We have mentioned before the air down here is so clean with no people or pollution the sunrise and sunset are blinding. The sun is intense without the smog filters. Patagonia may be the last place on earth in the years to come for peace and quiet with breathable air. With global warming who knows. Did we tell you Egret has some waterfront lots for sale in Patagonia?????? Buy now, breathe later.

0920GMT We have spotted one of the giant Wandering Albatrosses for the first time. Its wingspan reaches up to nearly 12' (350cm) for a mature bird. The one we saw this morning had a wingspan of perhaps 7'. They are distinguished by having a white head and back vs the white head and black back of the more common albatross we have been seeing.

It is getting cooler fast. The beat-up Brits reported snow on the mountains just 3 days south of Egret's current location. This morning Colorado Steve had on his fleece pullover during watch. In Turkey we installed a dual fan bus heater (Dickinson) using hot water of the hot water engine loop to the water heater. By removing a bottom drawer under the master berth the heater fits perfectly with enough space for an air intake. We made a simple manifold using a single three way valve. Handle up, lots of heat, down, none. While day dreaming the other day I thought "if we added a second three way valve (in stock) we could run the hot water in a continuous loop shutting off the engine water while at the dock. All we would need then is an in line pump to circulate hot water through the bus heater using the heating element in the hot water heater while on shore power." Hot idea, eh? Egret's Naiad cooling pump is a 12V Oberdorfer centrifugal pump in line with a 115V March air conditioning pump. We use the primary March pump with the 12V pump as a back up. The 115V pump has over 4800 hours without failure. We have a complete spare 115V March pump in spares along with a complete head without motor. After a quick e-mail to March the pump is liquid cooled so max water temperature is 130 degrees. Next we have to find out the temperature rating on the heating element. Soooo, another project. Cool. Actually, toasty.

OMNI bob's forecast follows below.

Mon/25: N-NW 15-21kts, gusty at times, N-NW 4-6ft Mon/am-aftn. Freshen NNW-WNW 17-27kts, occ 30-and gusty toward Mon/eve-night. Seas building 5-8ft across the more offshore waters, 3-5ft near the coast. Variably cloudy, a shower or two is possible.

Tue/26: NW-W 25-30kt, gusty thru early morning with 5-8ft. Shifting/easing NW-WSW 20-25kts Tue/aftn, then SW-SE 15-20kts Tue/eve-night. Seas 6-8ft Tue/am tend to ease 4-6ft during Tue/pm. Become cloudy with some showers. Clearing is expected by the eve-night hours. Seas will ease quickly once in the Beagle Channel area.

Wed/27-Beagle Channel area: SSW-WSW 30-35kts, gusty thru the am/aftn (along the coast seas would tend to build 5-10ft thru the morning and afternoon). Winds ease WSW-WNW 20-25kts, gusty/35 during the afternoon, then freshen WNW-NW 25-30kt, gusty during the eve-night. Fair skies with increasing clouds late in the day.

Thur/28 (Beagle Channel-Ushuaia area: Range WSW-WNW 25-35kt, gusty. Variably to mostly cloudy with rain showers.

Fri/29 (protected waters within the Magellan straits): W-SW 20-30kt, gusty Fri/am, easing SW-WNW 20-10kts thru Fri/eve-night. Morning clouds give way to clear to partly cloudy skies by late morning and continue Fri/night.



December 24, 2006

Position: S47 01.09 W65 20.38 Course: 167 degrees M, Speed: 6.2 knots, Distance traveled from Caleta Hornos: 119.2nm, Wind 13.8 knots, Seas: 6-10', Distance traveled from Gibraltar: 6329.66nm

The seas have turned nasty with little wind. The Gulf of San Jorge (St. George) is over 300 feet deep in places. When the tide swings to outgoing the flood is to the south bringing that huge volume of water from the over 120nm X 100nm deep gulf over banks with less than 100' of water. This is Egret's issue at the moment as we near the southern cape on the ebb. The seas are quite large but more importantly with huge power driven by the current. If by chance we had the same situation with 40 knot southwesterlies opposing the ebb this area would be nearly impassable. Even in this wind with tide situation, if things get worse we will run with the waves out to sea then make a shallow tack back to coastal waters to prepare for the next blow. The coffee carryometer is not doing well. We did manage to make a pot this morning with double kettle holding dealies on the stove.

Well mi amigos, we have decided to do something different because of the rapidly changing weather, wind and sea conditions. We will start a running log beginning with our departure from Caleta Hornos on Sat, 12-23-06. We will include our observations of events as they occur. Egret departed CH at 1645 GMT (5 hours ahead of EST). After dodging the near shore kelp beds and drifting kelp we were greeted by a passing orca. Soon after, Egret turned the corner where the local wind and current driven waves had their go at the new electronic Naiads. Naiads won. Winds were in the twenty - twenty five knot range. A large harbor type passenger day boat passed with three plywood windows up front, port side, where glass used to be. Whoops. Shouldda hadda Nord.

With the winds the French sailboat who left a half hour after Egret was slowly catching us. She is light, 16 meters, aluminum with a powerful rig, water ballast, fin keel, AND daggerboards. Within two hours the winds dropped to seven-eight knots and now are only 3.4 knots. The seas have laid down and developed into well spaced gentle swells. Egret's coffee carryometer is doing well. The sailboat who closed within a mile of Egret is now six miles behind, however as the wind swings to the NW later she will be back up. There is a line of dark clouds on the western horizon, Egret is traveling 167 degrees - SSW. The front seems to be out pacing our run to the south. On a 48-mile radar check we found no rain however. We have 98.39 miles to go before we are in the relative coastal lee from a severe NW blow if that is the case. (As of 2210 GMT - speed 6.9 knots @ 1750 RPM) We'll see.

2325 GMT. The wind has picked up with gusts to eighteen knots. The seas are slowly moving around behind the starboard beam becoming tighter waves instead of swells. As soon as the wind moves behind the beam as well we should pick up speed from our current 6.5 knots. The front has split into several rain cells but they do not show up on 48 mile radar. There is a ship 24 miles dead ahead with the sailboat 6.1 miles astern. Mary fixed another great dinner. Ho hum. All is well for the Egret crew.

Grrrr, Grrr, not much sleep. (Its 0525 local time - 0825 GMT) The winds for Mary's shift were 18-24 knots and for Master Angler Steve's shift were 24-28 knots with the wind about seventy degrees off the starboard bow for both shifts. (Ninety degrees would be a beam wind) However the seas were from the stern quarter WITH an occasional wave set from where ever making for a jerky ride. These are not big seas, just pain in the you know what seas...grrrrr. The speed has tanked with an opposing current to 5 knots. Grrr again. The good news is the sun is coming up to another clear day. Strangely, this gulf has few birds except for gulls. My usual good morning buddies the albatrosses aren't around. Now there is ANOTHER dilemma. Usually in the morning I wait for three hours of a four hour watch to make the Starbucks. Before too long after it is made I hear Mary rattling around down below. Sooo, with great pleasure every morning I deliver my sweetie a cuppa de hot juice. After she arrives in the pilothouse M.A. Steve follows his nose up as well and Egret's full day begins, breakfast following. Now the dilemma. Gotta have the juice NOW after no sleep. Oh well, we'll just make two pots. Whoops, the black and white dolphins just showed up to greet the shift. That's better.

1015 GMT 12-24-06. This time and date are a milestone in M/Y Egret's five plus year life. Egret's little Lugger had her 5000 engine hour anniversary at exactly this time and date. Where has she taken Egret? At a conservative six knot average she has pushed this little ship 30,000 nautical miles. The sights and people along those miles have been one of her crew's major life's milestones. Our little Lugger started life as a John Deere farm girl - tractor engine before being whisked away by the Lugger folks for a life at sea. She has NEVER, EVER missed a beat. She still sparkles. Every original fuel injector is running perfect temperatures with each other. Without total confidence in her ability to perform all day, every day, Egret would never be in the Roaring Forties (S46 52 W65 21), 211 miles from the Screaming Fifties and the Southern Ocean, and direct line 551 miles from Cape Horn. (All of this within the next six weeks) She is the daughter we all wish for. What will the next 5000 hours bring? We'll see.

Weather P.S.

Well mi amigos, what more can we say about OMNI Bob's dillegence in giving Egret the latest weather on this last difficult trek to Usuhuia, Argentina? Taking his time during Christmas is special. Many thanks to Bob from the Egret crew.

Egret has turned the corner exiting Gulf of San Jorge. We are now enjoing riding the flood south with relatively calm seas and 8.0 knots of speed. 'Bout time.

A weak ridge of high pressure extends southward across Argentina to the offshore waters. This ridge should move offshore through tonight into Mon/25th. As the ridge moves offshore, a warm front is expected to reach the southern Argentina coast through Mon/midday-aftn. A trailing cold front will tend to work its way across southern Argentina during Tue/morning-midday then offshore through Tue/eve-night.

Thereafter the low center we mentioned last evening may not form. If it does, it may be more a way rather than a low center. The next low is expected to move ESE and approach southern Chile near 55S through late Wed/eve-night with a trailing cold front moving across southern Argentina and Ushuaia area during Wed/night-overnight.

Along the direct route toward the Beagle Channel, but taking a closer coastal route as able and as safe nav permits, to help minimize seas, expect:

Sun/24: W-WSW 17-25kts, westerly 5-6ft during Sun/am, easing WSW-WNW 15-22kts, 3-5ft during Sun/pm. Seas closer to the coast 2-4ft. Partly cloudy to fair. Winds may become more WNW-NW 20-25kts with WNW-NW 4-6ft during Sun/night-overnight.

Mon/25: NW-WNW 20-25kts, gusty at times, westerly 4-6ft Mon/am-eve. Freshen WNW-NW 22-28kts, occ 30-33kts and gusty toward Mon/eve-night. Seas building 5-8ft across the more offshore waters, 3-5ft near the coast.

Tue/26: Freshen NW-W 25-35kt, gusty thru the morning with building 5-8ft seas close to the coast, upto 10-12ft further offshore. Range WNW-WSW 25-30kts, occ 35kts and gusty during Tue/eve-night, seas 6-8ft more offshore, 3-6ft closer to the coast. Variably cloudy with some showers. Locally higher gusts are possible in/near early showers.

Wed/27-Beagle Channel area: WSW-SW 30-35kts, gusty/40kts during the morning, easing WSW-WNW 22-30kts, gusty during the pm/hrs. Clouds with showers early, clearing during the pm/hrs.

Watching, updating Mon/25th. However, we will update later today if there is a significant change. Please keep us advised of your position reports, Many thanks and Merry Christmas. B/Rgds, Bob/OMNI


December 23, 2006

Well mi amigos, before getting on to business let us share yesterday's hike with you in the hills around Caleta Hornos. Once out of the red barren rocks surrounding the fjord and climbing through the gullies - eroded over a zillion years - you come to low hills crossed with gullies. In this windswept landscape all vegetation is and needs to be tough. There are NO flower pictures. What we did find and got great pictures of are the Guanaco, llama type animals. (We nicknamed them 'como se llama' or 'what is your name' in Spanish) The guanacos are brown and white and fairly large living in small communities of ten or so with a male watching over the herd. Mary and I surprised the herd feeding below the crest of the hill we had just crested. They all fled with the male squealing orders. They ran straight away over several hills. After a bit the male displayed himself at the crest of a hill and started trumpeting. As we watched we saw the balance of the herd back tracking in another direction. The male was drawing attention to himself allowing the others to escape. Nature at its best. We have some great pictures to pass along courtesy of Mr. Nikon and a motor drive. We also got a good picture of a fleeing jackrabbit that was quite large as well.

Last evening while editing the last two hundred or so pictures we have some great shots of albatrosses, Mar Del Plata, yes, more flowers, etc. The best of those will eventually find their way back to the States for posting on the Voyage of Egret website.

We had a good evening last night aboard the French couple's boat. Today they came over and took pictures and measurements of our Bugul type anchors to make one for themselves when they can. We shared weather with them as well. They will probably wait for 8 hours or so for the wind to swing to a more northerly direction before setting sail south. We hope to meet them again in Usuhuia.

Today's business will be a little less pleasurable. At OMNI Bob's suggestion we will leave at noon or so local time (1500GMT) to cross the Gulf de San Jorge. As you can see from the forecast we will pay now and save later. The good news is while the wind diminishes later today we will still be in daylight. We don't like to start a rough water crossing at night. Once we see the wave direction, size, etc and acclimate to the seas they become predictable if not pleasant.

Steve is releasing the shore lines. Mary is readying Egret for sea putting everything away preparing for a bounce. Sooo, gotta go. Will report again at 1200GMT tomorrow. Adios.

Observations across the Gulf of Jorge indicate winds are W-WSW 20-30kts. Winds are expected to ease through the day.

A Gale to storm low near 55S 61W is still expected to drift eastward across 50W through Sun/24th. As it does, a weak ridge of high pressure will attempt to extend southward along the Argentina coast through Sun/night into early Mon/am.

It will be this ridge that brings easier wind/seas along the Argentina coast, but these easier conditions will be short-lived.

During Mon/night through Tue/26th, the next weather system will be to impact the southern Argentina coast. A low center near 48S 80W Tue/morning will move steadily eastward across 50S 65W thru Tue/eve-night, then moves more ESE across 52S 59W thru Wed/morning. The associated front extending northward should cross the southern Argentina coast during Tue/night then offshore on Wed.

With the expectation of easier wind/seas developing to your south during the course of today, we would suggest leaving any time during today, keeping in mind that conditions will be fresh/gusty at the outset. During the course of the day, conditions will subside/improve. If you wish, you can leave on Sun/am, however, keep in mind the next front to cross the Argentina coast on Tue/26th will bring Gale force NW-SW winds the southern Argentina coast. By leaving today you will get a good two days of sailing and across the Gulf of Jorge. We suggest from departure Caleta Hornos a direct route toward the Beagle Channel, but taking a closer coastal route as able and as safe nav permits, to help minimize seas, expect

Sat/23: WSW-SW 25-30kts, gusty at the outset, WSW-SW 6-8ft offshore, 3-6ft closer to the coast (10-20nm) and 2-3ft and less within 10nm to the coast. Winds easing WSW-W 20-25kts, gusty during Sat/aftn-night with easing WSW-W 5-7ft across the Gulf of Jorge. W-WSW 17-25kts, WSW-W 5-7ft ease to 4-6ft thru Sat/night-overnight. Partly to variably cloudy.

Sun/24: W-WSW 17-25kts, westerly 5-6ft during Sun/am, easing WNW-NW 15-22kts, 3-5ft during Sun/pm. Seas closer to the coast 2-4ft. Partly cloudy to fair.

Mon/25: NW-WNW 20-25kts, gusty at times, westerly 4-6ft Mon/am-eve. Close to the coast, winds become NW-WSW 17-22kts Mon/night. WNW 5-8ft during Mon/eve-night, but closer to the coast seas remain 3-5ft.

Tue/26: Freshen WNW-NW 25-35kt, gusty thru the morning with building 4-8ft seas close to the coast, upto 10-12ft further offshore. Shifting NW-WSW 30-40kts, gusty 45kts during Tue/eve-night, seas 8-12ft more offshore, 4-8ft closer to the coast.

Please advise your intentions. We will continue to watch and update later today if there is a significant change to the above forecast or your intentions. Otherwise updating Sun/24th by 1400Z. B/Rgds, Bob/OMNI


December 22, 2006

Well mi amigos, today's Voyage of Egret is all about weather and a holiday message. Egret is still in Caleta Hornos waiting for an acceptable weather forecast to cross the Gulf of San Jorge, a deep half circle bay about 110 miles across. From there Egret will begin her trek down the southern Argentine coast to the northern entrance to the Straits of Magellan. As you will see from OMNI Bob's forecast we need to be cautious BUT with the understanding it is NEVER good, just bad or really bad. We knew this two years ago with our research so it is no surprise. The Egret crew's acclimation to wind and waves over the past five years is certainly a big help.

As a side note to those of you with your Nordhavns already, we would encourage you to step out from time to time to push your comfort zones with wind and waves to begin your own acclimation. When back at the dock you will realize 'that wasn't so bad' and slowly the understanding you are being well taken care of by your little ship when you do get caught 'out there' will sink in. You'll be prepared and comfortable with your safety.

Below is OMNI Bob's latest weather forecast.

Low pressure over southern Chile with a cold front extending north across Chile/Argentina will move eastward today. The low should move ESE toward the Falkland Islands through Sat/am, while the cold front moves north across the Argentine coast through this afternoon-eve.

Once the low/front pass, the storm track should push southward across the 55S-60S through Sat/night-Mon/am. This will allow for an easier WNW-WSW wind/sea gradient to develop across the Gulf of Jorge and the coast of southern Argentina.

The next significant low/front will a 968mb low moving ESE across 52S 82W thru Mon/eve-night, then across 57S 75W through Tue/midday-aftn. Thereafter the low should track more SE-S where it will become semi/stationary and begin to weaken. A trailing cold front extending north across the Chilean coast on Tue/26th will cross the Argentina coast during Tue/pm.

As this front approaches, WNW-NW winds are expected to increase to near/at Gale force during Mon/night-Tue/morning, then will shift W-SW with near/at Gale forces and gusts to strong Gale to Storm force expected with its passage. As this front moves seaward and weakens during Wed/27th, winds/seas should improve to more tenable levels.

Based on your departure Caleta Hornos Sat/am along a direct route toward the Beagle Channel, but taking a closer coastal route as able and as safe nav permits, expect

Sat/23: WSW-SW 20-25kts, gusty 30kts, WSW-SW 6-8ft offshore, 3-6ft closer to the coast (10-20nm) and 2-3ft and less within 10nm to the coast. Winds range WSW-WNW 20-25kts, occ 30kts and gusty during Sat/pm with westerly seas 6-9ft crossing the Gulf of Jorge. Partly cloudy, Fair.

Sun/24: WSW-WNW 20-25kts, westerly 6-9ft during Sun/am, easing WNW-NW 17-22kts with WNW-NW 5-7ft during Sun/pm. Seas closer to the coast 2-5ft. Partly cloudy to fair.

Mon/25: Shift NW-WSW 17-25kts, gusty at times, westerly 4-7ft Mon/am-aftn. Becoming WNW-NW 20-25kts, W-WNW 4-7ft during Mon/eve. Seas closer to the coast generally 2-5ft. Winds begin to freshen WNW-NW 25-30kt, gusty 35kts with building seas offshore during Mon/night-overnight.

Tue/26: WNW-NW 25-35kt, gusty 40kts with WNW-NW 7-12ft beyond 20nm from the coast, 4-7ft closer to the coast Tue/am-aftn. Shifting NW-WSW 30-40kts, gusty 45kts. during Tue/eve-night, tending to ease 28-33kts with easier seas during Tue/overnight.

Watching, updating Sat/23rd by 1200Z.
B/Rgds, Bob/Omni

As you can see this ain't no picnic. We need to decide whether to leave Saturday or wait until Sunday. It will take a full day longer to traverse the Gulf coast vs a straight shot across. The other issue is the serious low and storm force weather further south. It may be best to allow that system to pass through. We will consult with OMNI Bob again today to get his opinion. Unfortunately this will be Egret's last posted report until late Tuesday afternoon because of the holiday break. We will update every day while under way. We encourage you to start reading from the first posting after today until the most recent to observe the sequence of events as they unfold.

The Egret crew would like to thank you for taking the time to share our personal voyage of discovery. What started as a simple account of Egret's travels has morphed into what we feel is a responsibility to give readers as much information as possible to encourage joining our long distance cruising lifestyle. This is by letting you know what it is REALLY like out here and the great times we (cruisers) are all enjoying.

For Christmas Mary and I gave ourselves new dock lines from Mar Del Plata. There is nothing more we want or need (other than some Starbucks French roast - our supply is thin). The largest gift we have given ourselves took place on April 1st, 2002...early retirement. THIS is the gift that has changed our lives and keeps on giving.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to all. Peace on earth from the Egret crew.

December 21, 2006

Position: S45 02.19 W65 41.00 (inside Caleta Hornos) Distance traveled from Gibraltar: 6210.36

Well mi amigos, the wind is gusting to the mid-30s and Egret isn't rockin'. We are snuggled into our anchorage in Caleta Hornos after a midday arrival yesterday. TK, our 110lb anchor and three shore lines are holding us in place (1 bow - 2 stern). There is a French sailboat in front of us with the same arrangement. Offshore prior to Egret's arrival yesterday we heard a call on channel 16 for "Flanders" and some other words in French. Mary answered but they sounded confused as we were. It turns out they are waiting for a Belgium boat from Flanders. The Belgians left Mar Del Plata on the tide about six hours after Egret. Egret came within 5 hours of making Caleta Hornos two days ago causing us to jog offshore all night before landing. They now have had two days to make the anchorage and have yet to show. We hope they didn't get caught in the 80 knots of wind Egret did and suffer a knock down with damage.

We made the decision to jog offshore vs trying a night approach with no moon. There are 15 foot tides along this section of coast with scattered rocks on the approach. We don't have detailed charts of the Argentine coast so in the interest of safety we initially set up a N/S course 20 miles offshore. When the winds picked up, eventually gusting to 40 knots, we ran with the wind offshore for ten additional miles then turned around, reduced speed and slowly worked our way back. As we closed in on the shore seeing the scattered rocks and current rips we felt good about our decision for the safe approach. Cruising is a series of never-ending lessons. It is important to take heed to previous lessons learned incorporating them into your cruising mantra of safety, comfort and pleasure.

Forty knots of wind driving waves into hills is one thing but as you close in the coast tidal currents become an additional factor. Once every five minutes or so a 'fresh or new' wave would pop up rising to perhaps 15+++ feet but with a sharp pointed top third. These waves have NO backs. What happens is the boat rises on a sharp angle, the bow pointing into space. Eventually the wave no longer supports the boat weight so the boat FALLS down the back side with no water to cushion the fall except the wave trough beyond. The fall is soft but dramatic seen from the pilothouse. Water everywhere. The entire front third of Egret would sink to the heavy rub rail then rise to meet the next wave. Seldom would there be water on deck except from blown spray. Cool. On one of these mini adventures the GPS recorded MINUS three tenths of a knot towards our waypoint!!!! Master Angler Steve, sleeping off watch in the forward stateroom, was getting astronaut training in weightlessness. The large, foaming, scary looking waves charging down on Egret are toothless with a nice fat wave back to glide down. Much better. The last few miles Egret was greeted by a new species of dolphins, Commerson's dolphin, with its black and white color scheme. Penguins also popped up along the way with groups of diving ducks.

Caleta Hornos is a winding, narrow fjord cut into the low hills. The weathered red rocks cliffs on both sides look like a mars landscape. On high tide yesterday Mary and I dinghied two miles to the marshy origins. We saw a few sheep, a one-third size white flamingo, a small swan looking bird and a family of ducks. We got close to the ducks and their six little ones for pictures. Momma and Papa duck soon went into their 'wounded bird' routine and led us all the way back to Egret to protect their babies. Good parents. Later we went on a hike returning to the dink that was high and five feet dry. This was after taking the precaution of shoving it back away from shore and leaving slack in the bow anchor painter. Scooching the dink back to water is easy but woe be the boater who anchors too far up the fjord and have the water fall out from under their boat. Tilt city.

This morning a swan-type bird was paddling down one of the lines ashore that was floating on the surface. It couldn't figure out how to get across. Must have been a Frenchie. This snide remark is in the spirit of ALL other nationality boaters we have run into down south. Particularly the Brits. The French are great sailors AND are the majority boats down here, however they have their ways. The French boat in front of us has NO weather capability except for VHF. There is NO VHF weather down here until Chile. (We have offered them a current forecast when they want to leave.) Egret has OMNI Bob and Ocens grib files. Big difference.

Currently we are charging our batteries and refilling our water with the water maker. (A seal just dropped by.) We hope to leave tomorrow but we'll see. We need to get OMNI Bob's blessing. On leaving we have to cross a large gulf or follow the shoreline around. The straight shot is about three quarters of a day shorter. Tomorrow we believe there will be 25-30 knots from the west crossing the gulf making for a serious crossing however there seems to be a two-day good weather window further south where previously they were getting murdered by high wind. Once we leave Caleta Hornos, there are no safe harbors between here and the cliffs on the north side of the Straits of Magellan. Once under the cliffs we can wait on weather or push on if all is well. Two hundred miles further south along the eastern coast of Tierra del Fuego is the entrance to east-west Canal Beagle leading to Usuhuia, Argentina. The most difficult of that section is rounding the corner at Le Maire Straight (entrance to the Beagle). Once fifteen miles up the Beagle there are coves giving weather protection. Fasten your seat belts mi amigos. This is going to be a wild ride!!

December 19, 2006

Position: S43 58.74 W64 09.11 Course: 218 degrees M, Speed: 6.5 knots, Distance traveled past 25 hours: 164.3nm, Seas: 6-9' head seas - tight, Wind: 29.3 knots, Distance traveled from Gibraltar: 6075.39

Since typing the below paragraphs early this morning, things have been shakin'...mainly salt. Mary, the love of my life, relieved me early since I had stayed with her through her watch and part of Master Angler Steve's last night and very early this morning. After going below for a quick nap the winds rocketed to 45 knots with corresponding head seas. She reduced RPM's to 1430 to match the wave spacing. I never felt a thing!! Zonked. Our speed has dropped to a low of 3.6 knots to 4.4 knots. Perhaps we'll make a daylight landing after all after clawing our way south.

Well, mi amigos, busy night last night. At 0200 on Mary's watch the wind started puffin' to 35 knots from the stern quarter. As the waves built we were getting pushed sideways (corkscrewing) with Egret's oversize autopilot pump working hard to stay on course. After a while the autopilot brain said "I'm outta here" and triggered the rudder failure alarm. This has happened a few times in the past however in the bouncing seas it took a few minutes to sort it out. We turned into the seas hand steering and let the autopilot sort itself then did a slow turn back on course. We expected to get mauled on the turn around but the new electronic Naiads worked their magic so there was no trauma. This happened twice again but Mary punched standby, hand steered back on course then re-engaged the autopilot and all was well.

Our speed last night with following seas giving us a daylight entrance into Caleta Hornos is being quickly eaten up with a wind reversal blowing from dead ahead. There has to be some opposing current as well. Hopefully on the swing of the tide we will make some back. The tide range is picking up with 14' tides so a lot of water is moving up or down the coast. Caleta Hornos is a fjord like very narrow stream between high cliffs. Once inside we doubt we will have Iridium (satellite phone) reception to send further e-mails until we leave. The entrance GPS way point is S45 02.52 W65 40.95 for you Google Earth fans and Vessel Tracking from Nordhavn. The electronic charting has very poor detail for the area of approach but with few dangers we will enter VERY slowly with Master Angler Steve on the bow with a light and both radar's zoomed WAY down. Both cruising guides have good line drawings and descriptions of the important details. We can position ourselves with radar in the middle and take the required two lines ashore.

Holding on with one hand and typing with one finger is not very productive as we punch into head seas with Egret getting a salt water bath so we'll take a break.

The forecast calls for thirty knot winds from the west later today so if anything interesting pops up we will do an addendum to this Daily Position Report. Adios.

This e-mail was delivered via satellite phone using OCENS. Mail software. Please be kind and keep your replies short.

December 18, 2006

Position: S41 54.12 W61 51.50, Course: 219 degrees M, Speed: 6.7 knots @ 1700 RPM, Distance traveled past 24 hours 161.77 NM, Seas: 5-6' off stbd bow, Wind: 18.2 knots, Distance traveled from Gibraltar 5911.28 NM

Egret had a calm night with building seas since daybreak. Winds steady 22-26 knots until recently. We changed our slight dog leg waypoint off Peninsula Valdez to a straight line before our turn in point for Caleta Hornos (do not confuse this with Cape Horn...BIG difference) putting the seas further back off the bow and a more comfortable ride. We picked up a few miles as well as were trying very hard to make our anchorage in the most light possible. With the head seas, Egret's speed has been falling. Our current speed is 6.4 knots.

Well, mi amigos, it is Monday with three postings arriving at once. There are sequential events so it would be best to start with the Sat, Dec 16th posting. We will mention here we didn't give a destination for this particular leg. Egret has one planned stop between Mar Del Plata and Usuhuia, Argentina at the bottom of the SA peninsula. This stop is Caleta Hornos, about a day's run south of Peninsula Valdez. Caleta Hornos is a 'bombproof' anchorage as described in the Patagonia cruising guide. It is a very narrow fiord with high cliffs surrounding the anchorage. There is room for several boats to anchor by taking two lines ashore. We hope to meet two of our Mar Del Plata sailboat buddies who left the day before Egret.

We planned this stop to go hiking and picture taking. This will be our first chance to see penguins and sea otters. Another good reason to stop is there is a 974.1 MB low south of us. Yesterday Egret passed another milestone. We entered the 'roaring forties'. Other Nordhavns who have visited New Zealand have been in the forties as well. Fellow Nordhavn 46 Arcturus traveled in the forties from New Zealand to Tasmania, quite a feat.

Yesterday and today we have been cruising by large groups of young albatrosses being shepherded by their elders. At times small groups of four to six youths will be flying in formation with one or two parents cartwheeling among the waves. The large wingspan mature birds are in singles and pairs with no youths. The parents are probably wondering how their offspring will fare. Sound familiar? Watching the sea birds is part of our daily entertainment. Floating on the ocean they look like giant sea gulls. In flight they are beautiful birds not only in appearance but also in their freedom to go where they want, when they want. They have no predictable flight pattern. Long distance cruisers share some of those traits but are a bit less graceful.

NAR buddy Braun Jones on Grey Pearl receives a direct copy of Voyage of Egret. Braun is a hands on guy that likes details. He sent a list of questions about Egret's 81 knots of wind. More of you may have the same questions so I will include Braun's list of questions and Egret's reply below. There is a great picture of the Pearl taken during the NAR in the Oct issue of Passagemaker Magazine, page 170.

Q: How much did Egret heel and for how long?
A: We didn't heel much at all. It was on the nose. THAT is the whole key. If it hit us on the beam with our big top it would have knocked us to 40 degrees or so until we could round up.

Q: What are the details of the "huge difference" between 60-80 kts?
A: When the wind went to 60 knots it was bad. The pressure difference between 60 and 80 is huge. When the wind dropped to 60 from 80 it seemed not that bad. When it dropped to 40 I left the helm to finish the e-mail. In the rare occasions we are in 35 knots at sea it is usually in big seas and has been blowing for a while like your Egypt-Crete trip. Except for a few gusts now and then we have never had 40 knots sustained. I was told by the Mar Del Plata fisherman just the day before in very heavy wind gusts, not sustained, the waves are small the rest blown away by the wind. I had my doubts but now know he is right on.

Q: What was visibility? Water blowing everywhere? Blinding you?
A: When the front hit, the 6-8' waves were on the stern quarter. Until they got blown away there was heavy spray but no real loss of visibility. After the wind established direction the waves were very low. The water was opaque white from spray but it did not lift very high. Fortunately it hit in late afternoon and not at night.

Q: Did anything tear loose? Dingy cover?
A: We only lost what we reported, our yellow ribbon. The dinghy cover was protected somewhat by the flybridge and the venturi windshield. When in Rome we added 4 extra tie down grommets per side to the dinghy cover. It didn't budge. The fenders were lifted by vacuum from behind the Portuguese bridge and sailed down the stbd side walkway. Pearl would probably have lost or had damage to her exposed dinghy covers. No big deal. It makes a great case to have everything secured even though the forecast is for 25 knots or less for this three-day run.

Q: What was your ability to make way... direction of travel vs direction of wind?
A: We still made way but how much I don't know. We reduced RPM from 1700 to 1550. I was standing by the wheel to manually take control and didn't look at the gps. The autopilot held us on course. Again the whole key is the wind was directly from our course of travel. It was like a Lucky Jack Aubry 1800's sea battle. A lot happens in a short time with a lot of detail.

December 17, 2006 (part 2)

Position: S39 56.72 W59 24.53 Course: 226 degrees M, Speed 7.4 knots @1700 RPM, Distance traveled past 22.5 hours 147.8 NM, Seas: 5-6' swells NE, Wind: 10.8 knots NW, Distance traveled from Gibraltar 5750.02 NM

Well, mi amigos, let us revisit yesterday afternoon's 81 knots of wind and our observations. When the front blew through we were in heavy rain and lightning. The rain had pounded the following stern quarter seas into small mounds of water from their previous 6-8' waves. With the advancing front wind reversal, all previous seas were extinguished in a nano second and very low waves from the wind direction popped up. The ocean was opaque white from the horizontal spray. There is a HUGE difference between 60 and 80 knots of wind. At 40 knots of wind there was so much relief from the wind pressure we went back to close yesterday's log. The following two hours the ocean was a mess with confused fairly large seas. After, the wind and waves went back to their forecast direction (NE) diminishing through the night to gentle swells this morning. This was quite an experience and a positive one. You can't imagine how much confidence we have in our little ship to withstand about anything. We wouldn't even SLIGHTLY consider owning one of the wannabe other brands. Egret's only casualty was the yellow ribbon flying from the pennant staff we use for wind direction. Three large fenders were lifted from behind the Portuguese bridge and shuttled down the side deck. Total issues from that blast. Not bad.

While in Mar Del Plata we were helped immeasurably by two Argentinian good will angels. The first, Justo, is a fifth year architectural student and local sailing instructor. He/we made trip after trip to the Aduana (Customs) to work out our held-for- ransom stabilizer parts in Buenos Aires. This went on for over a week with Justo calling the Aduana and stopping by Egret twice a day until we received our parts. This is in addition to his studies and sailing instructor job. What an effort from this young man. He would not take anything in return but did manage to leave with a new Egret shirt forced on him in gratitude.

The second, Jaune (John) Taranto, an Italian by birth but raised in Mar Del Plata took care of the Egret crew like a brother. Juane helped us in every imaginable way from helping with parts, propane, arranging for fishing boat price for fuel (the cheapest since leaving the States) and taking us here and there for this and that. Juane owns two of the large steel fishing boats in the Mar Del Plata fleet. One is undergoing a refit and the second returned after an eight day trip with 100,000 lbs. of fish aboard. We toured the boats, very different from yachts, met some of the crews, etc. Wait until you see the pictures!!! We risked freezing and climbed through a deck hatch standing on boxes of fish and ice taking pictures of the fish hold being unloaded by model T type tiny cranes. He drove us around like touristas taking pictures of sea lions, lighthouses, fishing boats. He delivered the three of us to his two restaurants, introduced us to the manager and told us to order what we wanted. Another night we ate in one of his sons' restaurant with he and family members. We visited his home and met his wife and all four children. You get the picture. We meet friendly locals everywhere Egret travels. Our little ship opens doors but NEVER have we received the warmth and friendship of Juane. It was a very sad farewell when we hugged good by on the fuel dock. Even then Juane walked the mile and a half or so back to his car so Egret wouldn't have to enter the Yacht Club Argentino basin in high wind and low water. You will meet Juane in a picture taken aboard his ship while having coffee with Master Angler Steve and I.

We have owned Egret for five years, one hundred thirty-two days. It was time for a change. After this tease let us explain to you our 'new' Egret. In Mar Del Plata we upgraded to Naiad Multi Sea II electronic stabilizers using our existing fins and actuator assemblies. The difference is AMAZING!!!! We are just one day into the change but we have experienced high, tight head seas leaving Mar del Plata, beam seas, quartering head seas and the worst sea for any boat, following quartering seas. It is as if we bought a new boat. Let me say this trying not to be too commercial. If you have gyro triggered stabilizers seriously consider the upgrade. It is not cheap but a good value. It will change your boat as well. For new builds don't even think of anything but electronic controls. (The seas are now building from the WNW with the wind puffing a bit more. We just cranked the two Naiad control knobs up one number...no mo roll.)

There are more Mar Del Plata stories to come. Now it's time for a nap duties after a busy morning watching the albatrosses. Life is good for the Egret crew. Ciao.

December 17, 2006

Position: S38 36.39 W57 49.99, Course: 228 degrees M, Speed 7.9 knots @1700 RPM, Seas: Following 5-8, Wind: NE 28 knots

Well, mi amigos, Egret is under way again...finally. There are so many stories to tell since the last report we will have to take them one at a time. We left off last with sailing icon Eric Forsyth and Fiona crew visiting Egret for cocktails and conversation. What followed was a whirlwind, back and forth three days with Eric. He introduced us to the Fiona special libation, rum - apple juice - a slice of lemon...warm. Not bad, folks, but better with ice. Yes, we now keep apple juice on board. Eric has three home movies of Fiona in voyages to high latitude locations we enjoyed. There is footage of wave ripped sails being repaired below on their trusty sewing machine in every film. Not this kid.

This has inspired the Egret crew to get out the movie camera we bought for the NAR and take our own videos. Mary is the camera person and commentator. We started taking movies in Mar Del Plata and will continue for the balance of Egret's voyage. From time to time when we can we'll mail them to PAE to be edited. We are in the very early stages of working out the details but we will let you know of their availability. We don't promise professional footage but it will be a fun edition to Egret's still pictures on the website.

Quick weather report: Egret has been in good size following seas with an occasional BIG guy boiling underneath and marching along in a slurry of white foam. We have just driven into a hard rainstorm that is beating the waves into rounded little hills. That's the good news. The bad news is the lightning. New news. After typing the word lightning we got hit with a very fast moving front. Ten minutes of chaos with no visual warning. EIGHTY ONE knots of wind!!!!! Ninety three point five MPH!!! New record for the Egret crew. Fortunately the wind reversed to just off the port bow and we were running into it and not on the beam. If we were in a sailboat we would have been knocked flat in an explosion of foam. THIS is why this trip is so dangerous for our Mar Del Palata sailboat friends. Three left yesterday. We hope to goodness they missed the front.

We think we better tend to boat business. Tomorrow we'll discuss two local Argentinean good will angels AND the Egret crew's new boat. Ciao.


December 8, 2006

Well mi amigos, the Egret crew has good news and bad news but first let me announce that under the Pictures section on the VofEgret website new photographs showing Flowers of the Mediterranean have just been posted. What a fantastic job Jenny and Doug did on this section!!! The good news is we are in Mar Del Plata, Argentina. The bad news is we are STILL in Mar Del Plata. Because a very important address line was missed (Transito en Argentina/Yacht in Transit) in addressing Egret's Naiad parts shipment to Mar Del Plata, our parts are still in Buenos Aires being held by some white collar banditos until a driver can pick them up and deliver them to Mar Del Plata Aduana (Customs). Mar Del Plata Customs will then accompany the parts to Egret to make SURE they are for the boat. Fed Ex dropped the ball in Buenos Aires and washed their hands of the whole thing even though the package final destination was correct. We have found in South America and much of Europe that Fed Ex delivers to major terminals then hires sub deliveries from various companies. Not the service we are used to in the States. Soooo, about $400 poorer, plus dockage, with at least ten days lost we will eventually get our Naiad electronic upgrade. After sea trials we will leave immediately for Usuhuia, Argentina with just one planned stop. The far majority of the 'Southern Ocean Class of 06' will gather in Usuhuia for New Years then scatter to their own venues. We very much want to be part of that group for New Year's.

The only reason we mention the above at all is keeping with our efforts to give you an insight into what long distance cruising is REALLY all about. We always tell the good and the not so giggly. It is not always beautiful sunsets, jungle fruit and dolphins beside the bow. The affable Naiad tech and I have been working doing what we can with the parts we have in preparing for the majority of parts arrival. Everything has been disassembled, cleaned, greased, wires run, remote parts locations cleared and prepped with new panel holes cut for the larger control panel.

Early yesterday morning an American boat arrived in Yacht Club Argentino with her crew of four. She is the SV Fiona, Westsail 42, owned and captained by Eric Forsyth. History will show in years to come Eric will be regarded as one of the world's best sailors/adventurers during his sailing years. Eric is now over seventy but still sails each year from late winter to May to the most remote and challenging parts of the world. These days he is sailing with volunteer crew, the latest crew picked up in Uruguay. This year's sail includes south from Mar Del Plata to the Falkland Islands for Christmas then to Antarctica for New Years, S. Pacific to Panama returning to Long Island by May to prep for his Bentley rally (another long story). This is his umpteenth trip to Anarctica. These days it is very tedious to get permission to sail to Antarctica. Eric simply arrives unencumbered by paper details with a bottle of New Year's rum for the dry outpost 'Ice Men' and all is well.

Last night Egret hosted Eric and his crew for cocktails, munchies and conversation. So, how do you approach a sailing icon as neophyte long distance cruisers? Locally you can buy huge bottles of Heineken, almost a liter. After they were seated we offered drinks. When the first sailor crew asked for a beer we popped the cap off one of these Heinekens and offered it to him. He was bug-eyed. Just before we set it down we said, "oh, I forgot you are sailors...honey get some glasses". So it started. Eric poured forth story after fascinating story. He would ask if we had been to so and so. We hadn't and so more stories would flow. What a great evening. A few hours of conversation with this group and the frustrations of the past week evaporated.

The area of Mar Del Plata where Egret is berthed is a couple miles south of the main tourist area. The other day we took a taxi to the downtown shopping area. This is the Rodeo Drive, Worth Avenue, Las Olas, etc. of this southern tourist city. They have a mile of beautiful small stores all filled with goodies. Imported goods are expensive but any locally made items are a song. We spent a day poking around enjoying our off water shopping. For those of you still accumulating 'stuff' or buying for others Mar Del Plata is the very best we have visited in Egret's travels.

We'll leave you here. It is a beautiful , sunny day here in MdelP. Naiad Phil has arrived so the day begins. Adios.




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