Scott & Mary Flanders. – This is my favorite shot of Mary and I. We were drinking champagne early in the morning after crossing the equator into the Northern Hemisphere after over 4 years in the Southern Hemisphere. The Canary Islands were next and the end of Egret’s circumnavigation.
So, Scott please tell us a little something about your cruising to date and where you have been so far?
The first summer after retirement we cruised from Florida to the Chesapeake and wintered in the Bahamas. The next year it was up to Nova Scotia and down to the Bahamas and Dominican Republic for the winter. Next was the Nordhavn Atlantic to Gibraltar via Bermuda and the Azores. After, we summered in the Balearic Islands then Barcelona for the winter. The next season it was Corsica, Sardinia, across to Rome, Southern Italy, Sicily, Malta, Ionian Greek Islands, Aegean Greek Islands then Marmaris,Turkey for the winter.
Mary caught this trout in a stream connecting two lakes in Isla Navarino, Chile, almost within sight of Cape Horn. She hooked the fish sitting on a tree trunk overhanging the water. She fell fighting the fish landing on her backpack and couldn’t get up. She never dropped the rod or quit fighting the fish eventually bringing it to shore with help from a friend getting her upright.
This young Frenchie was guarding a shipwreck at Fortress Louisbourg, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. After diverting his attention we managed to plunder the ship’s stores. Arrrrrg.
Next season: Aegean Greek Islands, Crete, northern Italy, Elba, France, Spain, Gibraltar, Canary Islands, Brazil, Argentina and spent the winter between southern Argentina (Tierra del Fuego), and Chile spending a total of 15 months in Patagonia. Then departed Chile and headed west to the Juan de Fernandez Islands off the coast of Chile, Easter Island, Pitcairn Island, Gambier Island Group, Tahiti, Moorea, Huahini, Bora Bora, Swarrow Atol, American Samoa, Kingdom of Tonga, New Zealand for 14 months – wintering in Stewart Island – cross the Tasman Sea to Tasmania for 2 months, crossed below mainland Australia spending most of the time in Fremantle, Western Australia (7 months). During our time in mainland Australia we hired a private van, slept in the back like hippies and drove 22,000k’s visiting every province.
Inland travel in Tasmania. Hurry isn’t an option. The farming section in Northern Tasmania and the area around Hobart in the southern part were our favorites.
Egret in front of the convict colony, Port Arthur, east coast of Tasmania. (Australia) England colonized Tasmania and later, mainland Australia as penal colonies. England emptied the jails and sent the prisoners to the far side of the world. It used to be that if you had convict blood as an Aussie you kept it a secret. Today it is the opposite.
Fremantle to Mauritius, 3365nm – 23.25 days across the Indian Ocean. The French island of Reunion, Richard’s Bay, South Africa for 2 ½ months, Cape Town, Walvis Bay, Namibia for a couple weeks and travelled inland by 4WD. St Helena Island, Ascension Island, Canary Islands, Gibraltar, Balearic Islands, Corsica, southern Italy, Gibraltar, Azores, Nova Scotia, down to Florida. Next year to Newfoundland back to Florida. Next year, Florida to Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Labrador, Greenland, and wintered in Isafjordur, Iceland. This year, Iceland, Greenland, etc back to Florida. Currently we are in the Florida Keys.
The harbor wall in Horta, Azores. If you look closely, in the bottom left third of the photograph is the Med Bound mural from Milt and Judy Baker’s group who crossed the Atlantic to Gibraltar in 2007. Next to that is the mural from the 2004 Nordhavn Atlantic Rally. Egret returned to Horta in 2011 on her way back across the Atlantic. We touched up both murals at the time and added another for Egret. The caption read: m/y Egret by the numbers: One World, 5 Capes, One Engine, 0 Sails. This was written around a drawing of the globe.
A view looking at the church and a portion of the Inuit village of Nanortalik, Greenland. Egret made landfall in Nanortalik in 2013 and departed Greenland from Nanortalik heading west in 2014. Nanortalik in Greenlandic means Home of the Polar Bear. Greenland’s towns aren’t connected by roads and very few have airports. Transportation is by ship during the ice-free months and by helicopter during the rest of the year. However, harbor towns of Nanortalik’s size of 1,200 have a few kilometers of roads and cars.
The view from our favorite restaurante’ in Ponza, 60nm south of Rome. Egret visited Ponza a few times during her first time in the Med and again in 2011. Ponza and the much larger Balearic Island of Mallorca were our two favorite islands in the Med. Well, Elba was pretty cool as well as Minorca. Should we include Corsica and Sardinia and Malta and the Ionian and Aegean Greek islands? OK, they’re all nice.
So how many nautical miles have you travelled?
A little north of 80,000nm’s.
That’s simply incredible! So why did you choose a Nordhavn?
Actually it was Mary that got things headed in the right direction. We owned a 32’ Grand Banks and intended to buy a brokerage 42 GB and keep our weekend home in the Florida Keys. The plan was to follow the sun north and south and winter in the Bahamas. We attended a TrawlerFest in Stuart, (Fla) and went aboard an early N57. The rest is history.
Mary in dink napping after lunch. Mary and I circumnavigated Ponza in our small dinghy with a 3hp Yamadog. Our goal was to follow each water cave to the end. We did. It was a looooong day. This was on Egret’s return to the Med in 2011.
What has been your cruising highlight so far?
If we could pick a single defining moment in all the nautical miles, it would be when ‘TK’, our bad boy anchor hit the bottom in Ushuaia’s (Argentina) harbor, December 28th, 2006. Cape Horn was next but it was a calm weather affair because we waited for calm. Along the Argentine coast there is no place to hide and it isn’t that calm at times.
The west coast of Iceland is windswept and rugged. The rock cliffs are basalt blocks and the beach is black volcanic sand. Along the entire Icelandic coast are rescue huts with heavy lines to help shipwrecked folks ashore, clothes, food, blankets and a phone for rescue. Typically they are stationed near a fresh water stream. The huts are built from block when they have road access and fiberglass units are dropped in by helicopter where there is no access.
Do you travel with an animal/s on board?
No, however, we rescued a young female dog from a remote Chilean island and kept her for three weeks as Egret moved north. Ultimately we had to give her up because in New Zealand later that season there is no chance to land with an animal. It broke our hearts to give up ‘Chonos’ but we found her a good home with a local on the island of Chiloe’ (Chile).
In your past life what did you and Mary do?
I was in the boat business and Mary was a paediatric physical therapist.
Scott, if there is one thing Mary does that irritates you while underway what would that be?
We have been married a long time and have adapted to each other’s quirks. We don’t have a problem with things and after all, time is too precious to spend it arguing or pouting. Honestly there is nothing!
Dinghy exploring in the Bahamas. This area around Norman’s Cay in the Exuma chain is one of our favorite spots. Egret wintered in the Bahamas during her first two years cruising and we have returned since.
And it’s only fair I ask Mary the same question, so Mary, if there was one thing Scott does that irritates you what would that be?
There really isn’t anything.
This ship ran aground in St Pierre, a French island just south of Newfoundland. It was to be the ship’s last voyage before the scrap yard. Hummm, insurance pay more than scrap?
Egret’s personal shipwreck on the Skeleton Coast of Namibia (west coast of Africa). The usual sailing directions are to give the coast of Namibia a lot of offing because of nasty weather and fog. Egret had perfect weather with no fog so we ran right along the coast during the day and laid off a few miles at night. This wreck appeared early one morning. We later found it was driven ashore in 1914 by a drunken captain trying to negotiate a sand spit just to the south. The ship was supplying the diamond mines along the coast. No crew was lost, only the captain and the ship had a problem.
Onto irritating things, have you ever run out of something while at sea that has caused problems?
We did have one funny incident. Leaving Ushuaia, Argentina for Puerto Montt, Chile, (at the top of the Chilean Channels), we loaded up on baguettes from the local French bakery. Mary wrapped them and put them in the forward shower. We bounced a bit, a bag of baguettes turned on the shower and we soaked the majority of our precious baguettes.
Would you describe yourselves as more hunters or more gathers?
More seekers and adventurers! We don’t hunt or gather.
Mary on ice watch in the fog. Egret was approaching the entrance to Prince Christian Sound, the glacier dug fjord passing thru the southern tip of Greenland. The problem isn’t the big ice you can see, it is the smaller – near impossible to see – black ice. Black ice is dense with no air trapped like the white ice. A large piece of black ice could ruin your day.
But what about all the spares you carry, that’s gathering isn’t it?
Emmmm, but only so that we can seek some more!
Why did you name your vessel Egret?
We co-founded Egret Boat Company (http://www.egretboats.com/), a small technical company building high end flats boats. We liked the name so it stuck.
This was Egret’s first time near a glacier so we had to lay her next to the face for a photo op. Later, glaciers like this in Chile became common but nevertheless, still a thrill.
What other names did you consider?
What’s the funniest thing that has ever happened to you while at sea?
Roughly 1,000nm’s off the coast of Australia the autopilot went berserk at night and off course. Mary’s two drawers under our berth are near the autopilot’s rate compass. So we emptied the drawers, put everything back, did this n’ that but nothing worked. The autopilot was out of control. Then Mary remembered she put her new shorts from Australia in the drawer. The pockets of these new shorts are held shut by magnets. &^%#@#%* Aussies!
This beach was one of the prettiest of Egret’s travels. It is in a national park, just east of Esperance, South Australia. Egret passed below the Great Australian Bight instead of the usual over the top of Australia.
What’s the biggest mistake you have ever made on the water?
Leaving Egret for a day hike in a marginal anchorage on Tasmania’s west coast and got caught by weather. Obviously the anchor held.
What have you underestimated during your time on the water?
We have always done our homework before heading out. My background was having an overage of inventory which in boating translates into spares and provisions. We don’t do anything marginally.
The UNESCO World Heritage waterfront of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. The waterfront buildings were painted red for the returning fishing boats to spot thru the fog from decades ago. We love Lunenburg and the townspeople. Egret has visited perhaps 6-7 times over the years.
We never push weather windows for a short hop or the optimum time of year for a long passage. Only twice have we been caught in real weather that was unexpected. The first was the Tasman Sea crossing. We checked weather with two sources and left South Island, New Zealand for Tasmania. We got killed for 7 of 9 days. The second time was this year off the east coast of Greenland. Both times Egret handled the seas safely. A lesser boat could have/probably would, have been in serious trouble.
Clothes and cod. This scene repeated itself a number of times on a barrier island off the south coast of Newfoundland. The cod is being dried for the upcoming winter.
Tell us a little something about MV Egret?
She is a 46’ Nordhavn Flybridge trawler, mid-ship stateroom with Naiad Multi Sea II hydraulic stabilizers with paravanes for back-up. She is a very, very good sea boat and quite economical considering her size and weight. We had a dinghy that got less nm’s per USG than Egret at ocean crossing speeds. She has been our only home for over 13 years.
Egret watering from glacier runoff, Prince Christian Sound, Greenland. This is the world’s best and cleanest water. We didn’t really need water, we did it because we could. To the right of the photograph you can see a garden hose with a funnel attached (out of sight). PCS is ground zero for glacier study. There are moraine fields on top of the mountains. One area in the sound is 1,500′ deep. How much ice did it take to scoop that trench out of solid rock? The fuel bladder on the foredeck is full of duty free Danish fuel from Greenland. It is roughly 1/3d the cost of fuel in Iceland, the next stop.
Egret towing the dinghy thru the ice, Estero Coliani, Chile. The ice was soft so we just plowed thru. On the way in the catamaran dinghy would ride one sponson on the ice at times. It was quite an anchorage. At times when the wind was blowing hard, the waterfalls, up to 18 at times with rain, across the way would be blown back up and over the top. Egret was snug with her take-no-prisoners anchor TK offset to port, a bow line to a small islet off the stbd bow and two stern lines ashore. To starboard was a glacier with an ice cave to explore. So we did. Lotsa memories.
So, as seasoned passagemakers (which is an understatement) tell me, what are the three things every passagemaker should know?
Theirs and the boat’s sea-keeping ability. How to handle weather and finally, have an understanding that the most dangerous thing on a boat is a schedule.
What are the three things all passage making vessels should carry?
Spares, spares and more spares. It is the little things that break. In Egret’s case we still have every major (expensive) spare in spares. The right attitude. Attitude is the difference between success and failure, pleasure or ordeal. Attitude must be 50/50, not 80/20 or 70/30.
The banana bearers race in Bora Bora, French Polynesia during the 2008 Bastille Day celebration. The photograph is of the winner carrying a bundle of bananas that must weigh at least 80lbs. The islanders were divided between participants in different venues and spectators. The celebrations were for the islanders themselves and not the tourists. It was a great day.
..and what are in your opinion, the three most important spares to carry?
Fresh water pump, alternator and in the case of a keel cooled Nordhavn, a circulation pump. We have gone thru quite a few small fresh water pumps but still run the original alternator and circulation pump. I must also add plenty of pipe fittings, electrical spares and water system tubing spares including spare hydraulic hose.
Spares deserve more than a few sentences. If you coastal cruise, having something break is a nuisance. If you are at sea or in a foreign country, things change. Some countries like Turkey, Brazil and the like it is near impossible to have anything flown in for any price. The U.S. is the land of everything and prices border on free compared to some places. It is best to load up on every small part you can think of before you head out. For foreign boats visiting the U.S., then it is the time to load up with ancillary items not already aboard. The far majority of Egret spares have been to help other boaters. They have always been small parts or bits of hose but priceless to the folks who need them.
Paul Revere statue in Boston. Egret has visited Boston several times staying at Winthrop Yacht Club. What a great city and WYC is the best.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone considering going to sea?
You can fool other people but you can’t fool yourself. You’ll know when you are ready. Don’t leave before you are comfortable. Don’t let pronouncements get you in trouble. We all start our boating careers in the same place, The Beginning. The learning curve isn’t a curve but vertical. However, with time and sea miles we all change. It is super important for both of you (if you cruise as a couple) are comfortable. If one or the other is uncomfortable, talk about it. Work on getting comfortable together. At sea you don’t just want each other, you need each other. Mary has stood exactly as many watches as I have. We each have our other on-board duties but there isn’t a single nautical mile we didn’t travel together. We have always been close, but after retiring and years into cruising I don’t believe we have ever been closer because the distractions of family and vocation are in the past.
Inland village in Reunion, a French Island in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar. Both Reunion and Mauritius before, we rented cars and drove the island. Often inland travel is more interesting in small islands than boat travel.
Egret hiding from the ice in Red Bay, Labrador. This was Egret’s first experience with ice of any size so we were very happy to be able to move around the corner away from the ice and the afternoon 25 knot sea breeze that would lay her against the dock. Anchoring in Red Bay is discouraged because of it’s being a World Heritage Site since 2012. A Basque whaler shipwreck from the 1500’s was found in the mud across the harbor. The wreck was raised in tact, reassembled, photographed and returned to the mud.
If there were only one place you could revisit where would that one place be and why?
Patagonia for another year! It is crazy wild magic.
Are you scared of spiders?
No. Well, except in Australia. They have BAD spiders.
What’s your favourite photo ever taken while at sea and why?
When you live in the Northern Hemisphere seeing your first albatross is a Big Deal. It isn’t particularly easy to get far enough south to see them at sea, especially on the Argentine coast. The last pair of the magnificent Wandering Albatrosses were working Egret’s wake on the west coast of Tasmania right at sunset. We snapped a series of shots from a bouncing boat hoping to get an image of a Wanderer against the sun. We got two that were great. That, and one Mary took in Chile are our two favourite photographs ever. It’s what they represent to us that is so special.
The last Wandering Albatross we saw was off the west coast of Tasmania. We didn’t think we would see another and we haven’t although we saw smaller albatrosses off the Cape of Good Hope. There are two things that meant so much to us in the Southern Hemisphere; the Southern Cross and the Wandering Albatross. The Southern Cross doesn’t take much effort to see, but the Wandering Albatross, particularly along Egret’s route, did take a lot of effort. This was one of a pair of Wanderer’s that was working Egret’s wake before sunset. We managed to capture a shot of this magnificent bird in it’s typical banked wing position. This is my all time favorite bird photograph, not for it’s technical aspect, because of what it represents – the wildness of the Southern Ocean.
What would you never leave behind (besides each other) when heading out to sea?
Each other is the obvious answer, but I would have to say that having every system working perfectly is the most important. Things don’t fix themselves. At sea is not the place to fix things if it can be easily avoided beforehand.
What did you like most about Australia when you visited?
The people and inland travel are both very special. We loved Australia and the Aussies. However, we did have the privilege of getting kicked out of the Fremantle Sailing Club. There was a power struggle between a much beloved dock master and a new, very important manager with Egret caught in the middle. Years later we cheered an Aussie sailboat racing team in Newport, Rhode Island. Mary yelled “we got kicked out of the Fremantle Sailing Club” and one participant shouted back “it’s a badge of honour”. We were in good company because a hundred years before, Joshua Slocum* got kicked out of a yacht club in Sydney.
*Joshua Slocum was an American and the first solo circumnavigator. Slocum’s book, Sailing Along Around the World is a classic must-read for every voyager.
Sand dunes of Sossusvlei, Namibia. Sossusvlei’s sand dunes are the most magnificent in the world. Egret spent two weeks in Namibia, and part of the time was inland exploring. Namibia is one of those very special places we would like to return by air.
..and what did you like least, other than the cost of fuel?
Australia at the time we were there was in a boom period driven by mining. Prices were thru the roof making it difficult to live as we did for example, in New Zealand the year before. Incidentally fuel costs, was never an issue as we had larger yearly expenses than fuel.
At the 10 year mark I did a rough analysis of Egret’s fuel costs per year. For math’s sake I calculated it on 6,000nm/year (it was actually more) and fuel at $5 per U.S. Gallon (it was actually less). The total came out to $10k per year not including generator burn. On low mile years like in the Med, the fuel costs were less but you then have wintering costs. On big pushes there is more fuel burn but little wintering costs so it averages out in the long run.
What we least liked during Egret’s travels outside Australia was the feeling of personal safety in Salvador, Brazil. In the smaller Brazilian towns we felt comfortable. If we were to repeat the stop in Salvador, it would be a gas and go. Check in and check out at the same time, fuel up and leave. There was nowhere else in Egret’s travels we felt threatened or unwelcome. We found people everywhere separate people from government.
Weaver bird in Richard’s Bay, South Africa. Egret spent 2 1/2 months at Zululand Yacht Club in Richard’s Bay. There were nests of weaver birds near the YC’s clubhouse. This is a male bird beginning a nest like in the photograph. If the female doesn’t like her new home, she reject’s it and he has to build another. The wench.
Mary, tell us something about yourselves that nobody knows?
Scott brings me coffee every morning in bed. At sea or not!
A common question we get asked is what does it cost to cruise? The simplest and most factual answer is you spend what you have. We control our cruising costs just as anyone reading this controls theirs. It is no different than living as dirt dweller commoners, during our working years.
Egret anchored in Abraham’s Bosom, Steward Island, New Zealand during her 2009 winter cruise (Stewart Island is south of South Island, NZ). Our favorite time of day was low tide when we explored what the tide brought in. A few hours after this photograph was taken water was flooding the driftwood.
So Scott, after all your miles and all your experience there must be some things that peeve you off?
In the big picture, where you go and how many miles you accumulate doesn’t matter so much as keeping the Happy Meter needle bouncing off 10. Go where you will for yourselves and not others. Just have fun. It’s easy and we can’t think of another venue (cruising) for happiness that comes with a life of freedom and adventure.
Egret poses for a photo op near this beautiful remnant of a much larger iceberg. Icebergs are one part above and nine parts below water so it was still a pretty large piece of ice grounded in the bay. Egret, a Swiss sailboat from where Mary took this photograph and a German sailboat took turns taking pictures of each other. The picture we took of the German boat ended up on the cover of a book he wrote about his Greenland adventure. Egret was the third boat to be photographed. We ran along the ice shelf just beyond the berg. THEN the berg began creaking and groaning like it was coming apart so we split big time.
And finally, where to next?
Egret is listed for sale with PAE so she has to stay in South Florida. We plan to cruise the Florida Keys for a month before heading to the Stuart (Florida) area in February then leaving her while we travel west in the Bubba Truck and do a little Jeeping.
Fisherman taking a snooze in Grand Canaria, Canary Islands (off the northwest Atlantic coast of Africa). What appeared to be an octopus in the water tub inside the boat was actually a pair of running shoes. Egret began and ended her circumnavigation not far from where this photograph was taken.
Thank you very much for your time and for sharing with us your unparalleled experience and sage advice.
Good luck with what the future holds!
Scott and Mary’s website can be found at: http://www.nordhavn.com, Voyage of Egret (“VofE”). The VofE site has postings from Turkey in 2006, around the world until this week. There are real time at-sea conditions, customs information for different countries and so on including photographs to document the words. VofE is a teaching blog along with a bit of inspiration and a few rants. If you plan to cruise in area’s of Egret’s travels it pays to read the destination and at-sea information.
Another site Egret recommends is www.noonsite.com, written by cruisers for cruisers. Noonsite has a list of most countries with customs and immigration information plus most ports within each country. The information on both sites is free and it is priceless.
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