Mary and Scott appreciate the natural beauty, and the fact they don't have to rush back to work

Day 287: Island serenity
Position: Estero Coloane, Brazo Sudoeste, Chile

Scott and Mary Flanders left Gibraltar bound for New Zealand on 16 September 2006, and we’ll be following their journey every step of the way, thanks to this unique online “blog”. For a complete listing of their diary entries, click here.

This is an Egret update received on Friday 29 June

Well, mi amigos, slow week. We spent Monday AND Tuesday running the generator equalizing our lead acid batteries in an attempt to bring them back to life. (Still testing after today’s run – Thursday)

Wed 27th June. A beautiful day with NO rain. We hiked up and down the hills on Isla Chair. Mary worked to climb a tall peak where we took a ‘Titanic shot’. Isla Chair is a beautiful little island about a mile and half wide and five miles long with two additional appendages. During our time there we hiked most of it. The highlight of the day was sitting still for some time watching the wildlife. Off in the distance we could hear a waterfall and occasionally a glacier grumbling. Ducks wandered about, condors overhead, and every now and then we could hear a sea lion exhale. It’s so peaceful it is hard at times to realize, even after the years, that we are not on vacation and don’t have to leave paradise and rush back to work. Pretty cool. Picture 1 – Egret’s anchorage in Isla Chair.

Thur 28th June. After hiking the majority of Isla Chair the past days it was time to move IF the weather was fair. Our route for the day was through some twisting and relatively narrow channels with VERY poor charting. Zero electronic chart help. There was little wind and a misty fog early morning so we retrieved our three shorelines, raised TK and off we went dragging the CIB. If you could define the trip through the narrow passes between islands in just a few words they would be: beautiful with a zillion waterfalls wending their way down the steep mountains on both sides. Ho hum. We were traveling south through a shortcut but were perhaps being a bit naughty. The cruising guide says this particular path through the islands is off limits, HOWEVER, our liberal interpretation of the Chilean zarpe (cruising permit) shows a circle around Isla Gordon. In addition we had a modified zarpe to allow Isla Chair. Soo, you get the picture.

After cruising south through the islands we entered Brazo Sudoeste (SW arm of the Beagle) and headed east. For the first time ever Egret rolled to Pacific swells. The swells were rolling in from Bahia Cook. Think about it… Bahia Cook. Talk about history!! We suspect those won’t be the last Pacific swells we’ll see. Estero Coloane is on the south side of the channel in a bay leading into Isla Hoste. You have to wind your way in and around peninsulas, islets (including a large one not on the Chilean paper chart) then hooking your way into the NE corner. About half way we were munching our way through thick but soft ice. We did the bump and grind in thicker ice near the anchorage. At times the towed CIB was riding with one hull on top the ice. Tilt city. Rounding up in the ice with Mary ready on the foredeck she spun the windlass wheel dropping TK in 60′ then crunched our way backward. The CIB earned her title again taking two lines ashore to trees and a single line forward to a small islet. In thick ice her bow would rise over the ice, lurch ahead before the sharp hulls would crash through, rise n’ crash, rise n’ thrash, r n’ c, r n’ t… You get the picture. In the summer this anchorage is williwaw city. In the winter they are whimperwaws. We have already had a couple. So, the crab trap was set in water cleared by our little ship. Hopefully it is doing its deal. Picture 2 – Another great day in The Life.

Fri 29th June. We have two days of SW wind coming before a grande high settles in with cool but calm air. Thursday night and early this morning we were kept awake by ice grinding its way past. We sleep just above the waterline. Noise transfers WELL through the water and hull. During the night we had made up our minds to leave at first light. In the morning, with the wind starting to puff, the ice was mostly gone. Also gone with the ice was our crab trap float. Great. As you can see in the picture it wasn’t far from the boat. By using the picture we’ll take the dinghy grapnel and give it a go to see if we can get the cursed contraption back. That #@&%*$%! trap has caught but one crab whereas our borrowed trap in the summer kept us well supplied with tasty goodies. Oh well, one crab per trap is still cheaper than eating crab in a nice restaurant in the States, plus we get to toughen our hands in ice water. Its not all bad is it?!

We’ll hike today above the anchorage to take pictures of the anchorage and the glacier across the way. We did mention the huge blue and white snow covered glacier with high snow covered mountains on both sides didn’t we? Tain’t bad mi amigos. Ciao.