Egret goes round the cape once more for good measure

Position: 55° 00.00S 67° 17.30W 
Cape Horn

Scott and Mary Flanders left Gibraltar on 16 September, and we’ll be following their journey every step of the way, thanks to this unique online “blog”. For the first instalment of their diary, click here .

So what is next after rounding the Horn east to west? This is normally the most difficult route against the prevailing westerlies and current. Sooo, next Egret rounded the Horn from west to east yesterday morning (Mon). Rounded the Horn? again. Ho hum. Actually we were trying hard to land the dink on Cabo de Hornos to visit the memorial, chapel and lighthouse keeper. There is a small, sloping rock free beach on the west side. We ran in close however there was a residual west surge rolling into the beach with heavy twisted scrub up the hill. Next Egret exaggerated the turn around the eastern ship eating rocks awash and others hidden with white breakers boiling over. By now the rare easterlies were puffing about 20 knots. Still, we ran in close to the usual landing beach on the east side but after scaring ourselves silly with an uncharted, AND unmarked by kelp, rock shelf leaving us with just six feet of water under the keel we bailed and headed north on our return route.

Egret retraced her Chilean Armada-dictated route through the Wollestan islands. Now, of course, we were receiving the tide on the nose that the day before let us fly south. Great. Again we were blasted by the accelerated wind sweeping down from Isla Deceit. Again no biggie. However Ms Ocean wasn’t going to let us smugly sail north without a spanking. Once in Bahia Nassau, the 25-mile stretch of open ocean until the next group of islands she had her say. 20 knots plus a bit at times against the continual eastbound current AND the southbound tide. Slop city. Water everywhere. We cranked the Naiad electronic controls up a bit and let her rip. In due time Egret dropped TK through the kelp, backed him in and all was well anchored in our previous southbound port of Puerto Toro (Port Bull).

Porto Toro is a thriving metropolis of two civilian fishing families and a few Chilean Armada families. They DO have street lights (when the generator is running) and a real gravel street, not a footpath. Unlike the business like VHF reporting of the Chilean Armada they welcome you to Puerto Toro in their best Spleengleesh wishing each ship a “welcome you Porto Toro? nice anchor”. There are three sailboats sharing the tiny anchorage. One is a beautiful American sailboat, a Morris 51, Home Free. Our favourite is a nice German couple, who over the past two years have made three attempts to round the Horn FINALLY making it yesterday. This morning over coffee they were giddy with relief and VERY happy. The Belgian sailboat rafted next to them made it as well. The Belgians are also an outgoing friendly couple certainly deserving of their rounding. Egret was berthed near them in Mar del Plata, Argentina. Their sailboat is a steel, low freeboard design. A slow boat, on the trip south they were continually mauled by weather, waves washing over the boat. The fact we four fellow cruisers did not have to take unnecessary risks to round the Horn because of modern weather forecasting does not take away from the accomplishment. Every boat paid their dues on the trip south where there is NO escape for over 1000 miles with no weather windows of any length.

Back to the present. Mary is fixing the boys a big breakfast. This is a three coffee pot lazy morning. We all slept in after being wound tight for the past two days. Hot showers, warm day (61 degrees), bacon frying, life is good for the Egret crew. Later we will move back into the Canal Beagle and sail west to an interim stop as far west as we can before tomorrow’s short run to Calla Olla.