Egret starts her winter cruise of Chile's fjords

Position: Puerto Williams , Chile

Scott and Mary Flanders left Gibraltar 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 .

Well, mi amigos, Egret has moved to Puerto Williams to begin her Chilean Channels winter tour. The ‘yacht club’ in Puerto Williams is a sunken WWII ammunition supply ship… the MiCalvi. Inside the wheelhouse and bridge of the MiCalvi is a bar catering to the local Chilean naval officers and cruisers from private boats and the adventure charter boats. The walls are covered with memorabilia from years past of all the famous boats of their era and others. There is a picture of Egret stapled to one of the walls as a reminder of her visit, first in January 07 and several times since. Picture 1.

When leaving Ushuaia we were approached by an East German backpacker for a ride to Puerto Williams in hopes of getting a berth on a northbound sailboat. We agreed to take him and also a couple we know who have two charter sailboats – we’re taking their big one to PW to pick up the smaller of the two and bring her back to Ushuaia for repairs. We invited them as well with their two children and another friend of theirs. Off we went in good weather for a pleasant ride to PW. On arrival we rafted off an American sailboat, Tamura, who in turn was rafted off the MiCalvi.

Again, still, the social whirl continued with cocktails aboard Egret with the American couple, dinner the next night with the German/Venezuelan couple at their home in PW. The day after arrival Mary was hiking around town and I went toward the mountains. Along the way I got picked up by the German couple and was driven to the entrance of the trail to the top of the mountain behind PW – Montana Banderas (Flag Mountain). By the time we got to the snow-covered top, blowing 50-60 knots est, yours truly had rubber legs (to tired to whimper). Picture 2.

After I recover in a day or so Mary and I will go back so she can see the spectacular view of Argentina to the north across the Beagle including Isla Gable and Estancia Harberton. To the south the islands around Cape Horn covered in mist.

This weekend is Navy Days between the Chileans and the Argentineans. Last weekend in Ushuaia a large Chilean gunship arrived with the aft deck covered with small day sailors for a mini regatta held in Ushuaia bay. The Chileans were met by an Argentinean brass band and honour guard. This weekend the Argies sent a menacing, all black gunship complete with two torpedo tubes aft and rocket launchers to PW. They sailed their tiny day boats down for yesterday’s regatta. The regatta yesterday morning was fun to watch with the close racing. We heard from a local the Chileans flew in a ringer to sail one of the small boats. I can tell you from experience in every racer’s heart there is a large dark spot looking for any advantage, fair or not. Five knots or 150 knots it doesn’t matter. The good news, again according to the German local, is in the past five years the Argies and Chileans have become more civil towards each other and relations are improving.

Today is a local holiday for Navy Days. Yesterday we took pictures of the local high school band practicing for today’s parade along with pictures of the regatta. Later today we’ll be there to join in the festivities. There are two more boats arriving from the Channels today we know so it may be a bit before we leave. It really doesn’t matter. Great fun mi amigos. Life is good for the Egret crew.