A new year message from the Egret crew

Day 109: Hello from the bottom of the world
Position: 58° 48S 68° 18W
Ushuaia, Argentina

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.

Two thousand six will leave the Egret crew with a lifetime of memories. Two thousand six 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 slowly 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 very minority 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 the 2003/2004 winter preparing for the NAR. May 2004 Egret joined seventeen other long distance cruisers for the first ever powerboat rally across the Atlantic. 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 thoroughly cleaned and flushed keel cooler Egret departed on her last tour of the Med revisiting favourite 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 first 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 favourite 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. Returning to Gibraltar for fuel Egret departed Gibraltar on September 15th, 2006 for her eventual arrival in Ushuaia, Argentina, December 28th, 2006, one hundred ten 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 thru 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 incredible 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 gypsy’s 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 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 three hundred 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 than 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) 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 that have built dependable equipment to keep Egret safe and comfortable.