Day 301: Snow and high winds

Snow is higher than the bulwarks on the foredeck, and the winds are lashing

Day 301: Snow and high winds

Position: Puerto Williams, 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.

Fri 6th July

Well, mi amigos, Egret is now a flush deck cruiser. The snow is HIGHER than the bulwarks on the foredeck. Soon even the little mound on top of the windlass will be smothered. The heavy winds of morning are mostly gone however the snow has increased with the rise of the barometer. On returning to Ushuaia we will immediately shop for: FOOD, heavy rubber gloves, a plastic snow shovel, and double lens-vented ski glasses for eye protection hiking in the woods and in blowing snow. Also, we will get serious about getting the #@%$&*%)^ wing engine back in operation.

Sat 7th July Mucho, mucho snow. There are no longer any bumps on the foredeck from the hatches, the windlass is almost a memory, wild. Icicles have reached from the boat deck to the rail. Stalactites have become stalagmites or shall we say a solid bar of ice? The high winds have stopped with a mild breeze bringing a bit more snow. We hope to get out today for a hike before leaving in tomorrow’s calm. With the dwindling food supply now giving us a loose schedule we need to move.

Into the afternoon it turned into a beautiful day. A bit of wind and snow. Our hike was short in distance but long in exercise. At times we were breaking the snow trail with our knees. If we keep that up we’ll have the thighs of Seabiscuit. Time for snowshoes! Before we left to go hiking we saw a type of gull we didn’t recognise fussing around in the kelp. It finally flew up five feet or so then dove under water. It came up with a small centolla (southern king crab) then flew to shore. It ate as fast as it could with the crab doing its best to get back in the water. Next a large seagull came shooing away the first bird. Next a small hawk came and took over from the seagull. Interesting watching nature. Based on this we hoped to have a trap full of dinner. Not to be. Empty… again.

Sun 8th July Wind n’ rain last night, just wind today. The winds are sustained in the 20’s with higher gusts. The CIB is snow free but VERY full of icy water. Most of Egret’s snow is gone except for the foredeck. The expected high bringing calm weather won’t be here until very early Tue AM. Our next run is short to Isla Navarino so perhaps we can get out Mon noon or so. We’ll see. Also this morning my sweetie brought up the 90-day visa deal. By staying in Puerto Williams a week or so and leaving a little early for the Ft Lauderdale Boat Show in October we can just scooch under the 90-day visa. The alternative is we pay an additional USD100 apiece and get a 90-day extension. We’ll also have to check on the boat requirements. We’ll see.

Sunday afternoon – the wind has mostly quit but the rain has taken over. Yours truly finally quit procrastinating and took a look at the generator exhaust elbow. In this cold water we can’t bring the generator up to its normal 195-degree temperature unless we run the watermaker. Even with the watermaker pumps running when the hot water heating element reaches temp and shuts off, the generator engine temp drops a bit. On the days when we can’t run the watermaker and are just running the reverse cycle air conditioners to load the engine the gen temp is abut 150-155 degrees causing some sooting in the water. One concern was that with low heat the exhaust elbow would be clogging. Our original cast iron manifold lasted 1870 hours (over 5 years) and should have been changed at 1500 hours. The new replacement elbows are cast stainless steel. By removing the maintenance side, top and loosening the back side of the sound shield you sort of have access to remove the elbow. One trick is to remove the engine intake air box after removing the sound shield panels. Secondly have 1/4″ drive rachets and sockets with swivels, etc. You will also need a 13mm open end wrench and a large screwdriver for prying. Instead of a smaller screwdriver for loosening hose clamps we use the 1/4″ drive ratchet with 7 & 8 mm sockets. Another important item is to use a plastic garbage bag for a water shield when you start loosening hoses that contain water or anti freeze so no water/AF drops into the electrical end. AND you need a lot of patience. Bottom line: After 775 hours (less than 1 year) of mostly cool running the elbow is PERFECT. The new elbow also seems to be a straighter shot – better design. We won’t be in warm water until May of next year so we’ll have to live with what we have.

Mon 9th July Early this morning after a night of wind and rain Egret popped the shorelines and is under way. What a difference between a protected anchorage and the unprotected Beagle. When we popped free we had relative calms and a gusts in the 15-knot range. Out here in the Beagle it’s a bit different. The good news is the wind is behind us and we are cruising at 6.9 knots @ 1350 RPM. If YT weren’t so lazy he would drop the paravane poles only and pick up a bit more. The snow is all but completely gone from Egret including the foredeck. Bailing the ice water out of CIB this morning was a treat.

The first two pictures are of a playful sea lion and the second was taken by my sweetie of our last ‘notch in the rocks’ anchorage we left this morning. In full resolution her picture is beautiful with perfect framing and light shadowing. She is fast becoming a 50% contributor to Egret’s pictures along with a bit of help from Ms Nikon.

Mon 9th July Well, mi amigos, Egret and crew had a blustery ride east down the Beagle to Isla Navarino with sustained winds in the mid 30s and gusting near 50. No biggie. It was all from astern pushing our little home up to 7.5 knots turning just 1350 RPM’s giving us about 7.5 MPG. Jumping sea lions and diving penguins along the way. Ho hum… again. We arrived at Isla Navarino just about dark anchoring in front of the Alcamar’s house (Coastguard). My sweetie spun the windlass wheel, dropped TK in 37′, 130′ of chain plus snubber. Following a serious pull setting TK all was well. If that seems a bit short on scope it normally would be. We have restrictive swinging room but that is no excuse. The reason we are comfortable is this is about our 9th time anchoring here. We have been anchored previously for two consecutive days with serious winds and never budged an inch in the great holding. Tomorrow at daylight we’ll hoist the CIB then beat feet for Puerto Williams.

Tue 10th July Heavy frost this morning. We lifted the CIB, hoisted TK departing just after daylight. After early residual swells the Beagle is calm with an easterly breeze. 6.9 knots @ 1500 RPM. Jumping sea lions, penguins, gulls and a few albatrosses… yawn. Across the way Ushuaia is waking up with the city lights still shining on the water, saucer shaped clouds in pinks and blues over the white, slowly illuminating mountains. T’aint bad. Puerto Williams is next about 26 miles east.

Tuesday afternoon – Puerto Williams, Chile. Rafted to the Yacht Club Micalvi (a sunken WW II ammunition supply ship). Egret’s glacier loop vacation is over. Since arriving we have re-provisioned through Saturday when we will return to Ushuaia.

The third pic is an earlier shot of Egret rafted to the Micalvi. We are now four boats rafted to this side. A Canadian sailboat is rafted outside Egret. The last picture is some pudding cake we bought in Gibraltar and saved to share with friends who DIDN’T show here in the Deep South. The can expires this month. Out of bread the other day. Ciao.


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