Monthly Archives: Tuesday January 31st, 2012

In Bequia

The Blue Lagoon Marina in St. Vincent was a good place to repair our ship but we didn’t want to spend too much time here. So we filled up the tank and put to sea. (Last time we took Diesel was in Mindelo, approx. 3000 nautical miles ago.)

In the early afternoon we started our trip to Bequia with nice wind from behind and a current that was pushing us in the right direction. Yeah, that’s definately the right direction to sail to. A pity we’re going north tomorrow…

Having arrived in the Admiralty Bay we took a buoy and rode toards the Frangipani-Bar in our dinghy. But we didn’t want to go there and walked towards the ‘town’ instead.  We had to get money and buy a few things for the next days. Afterwards we enjoyed the sunset in a Bar at the beach.

Back at our dinghy we met the crew of the SY Ninita. We last saw each other in Mindelo, Cabo Verde. So we invited our friends on bord and had a few cold drinks and a lot to talk about.

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A day for the engine

Guenther arrives on a sunday. Big mistake ! By tradition the sunday is a workday on bord the Rancho Relaxo of the Seas. And on Guenther’s first trip with us it was Whitsunday when we disassembled our Yamaha outboard. And now, two and a half years later it still runs smooth and starts quick.

Yesterday the engine of the Rancho Relaxo was on the ToDo list. It’s an old Mercedes-Benz of type OM636. This engine was very universally used in cars, trucks, waterpumps and of course in yachts. And ours was in great need of new filters which we replaced and of course cleaned all parts. While doing that we flooded the bilge with diesel (by intention – I swear !) well, well….

After that we flooded the forepeak with a dilution of rust and saltwater. From the chainbox to midships everything was covered with that liquid. It’s something most of the steel boat owners forget: You have to flush the inside of your ship with saltwater from time to time. – To build up resistance !! Hehehehe. Since last time we did that was on the Isle of Wight, it was really time to repeat this exercise.

Heh, of course it was a design error in the water outtake of our anchor chain box. All the water we collecte on our trip to St. Vincent emptied itself to the inside of our ship. A colossal mess !! We had to empty the whole foreship and wash everything with freshwater. Arrrr ! This are the rare moments when I whish we had a fibreglass ship….. But now everything is clean and dry again and we still didn’t find much rust on the inside of our ship.

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45nm in 26 hours and a new crew member

(For the non-sailor: 1nm = 1 nautical mile = 1.852km)

What wouldn’t we do for our friends ? First we put Guenther on board our friends ship the SY Tamora because we couldn’t make it to Martinique in time and Guenther had to take a plane to St. Vincent. It also was very hard to leave our friends in Carriacou. And then there was the weather – or rather the wind. It came from NNE and that was exactly the direction we would have to sail !

We departed from Carriacou at sunset and already knew that this trip wouldn’t be exactly a nice one. Despite being very short – only 45nm it would take long – that was sure.

And it was exactly as we expected it: it took us 26 hours to do the 45 miles distance (sailed distance: 99 miles !!) And we had to fight for every single mile against a wind with 6 Beaufort and a nasty sea. And to make it not too easy, the current also was against us.

Sometime during the night a wave tore the Genoa and we had a nice hole at the foot. No wonder as we sailed with a heel of 35 to 40 degrees. Ouch !

But we’ve made it and it was worth it. Because now we’ve got Guenther on board. And he’s a really old friend of mine and the one who introduced me to sailing about 13 years ago !

Of course he came with bags full of presents including cookies from great-grandma and grandma, letters, spare parts for the ship. Everybody got something. Right now the capitana together with Viola will go to the immigration in Kingstown and Guenther, Bruno and me will replace the broken Genoa. Yay.

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A last night with the SY Kira

Yesterday we left Tyrell bay together with the SY Kira to anchor in lee of the Saline Island. We sailed for two hours through a maze of reefes and islands to reach a very well protected anchorage in between Saline and White island.

Two hours before sunset we went ashore and started to gather wood for our bonfire. We grilled nine lobsters, two fish and a few mussels and enjoyed a very last evening together with our friends. Later in the night it started raining. For an hour or so we thought we could stay but the wind increased and we put out the fire to leave for the ships.

The children went to bed and we had a beautiful night in the cockpit of the Rancho Relaxo. Drinking the last remaining rum of Barbados and having a lot of fun with our friends. The wind still increased and the whole night we had 6 Beaufort but very calm see. The bay is quite shallow and with 20m of anchorchain on 3m of water we were quite safe.

Next day we had a breakfast together and everyone was quite sad that we would have to go seperate ways. The SY Kira is heading south while we go up north. There is the slight chance that we could meet in the San Blas archipelago but the timing is difficult. So it might have been a farewell for a very long time.

That’s the difficult part – while sailing you meet many interesting people and sometimes we become friends. With Claus and Tim it was as if we would know each other for years despite having met them only three months before. Well. Maybe we will meet again… We sure hope so.

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Cleared out and a night in the wild

Right as we (Tim, me, Viola and Bruno) come back from clearing out, Claus and Gui arrive from their fishing trip. They got picked up by local fishermen in the morning and took the harpoons to catch two fish, mussels and 9 (in words: NINE) Lobsters !! Those we’ll have tonight for dinner.

This means we’ll soon leave the beach bar to sail towards Saline Island. From there we’ll take the dinghy to White Island where we’ll sleep at the beach and prepare our catch at a bonfire at night.

Tomorrow we’ll sail to the north to pick up Guenther in the Blue Lagoon on St. Vincent. So you’ll probably not hear from us until the 28th of jan…

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Slipway Restaurant, Carriacou

Just when we left our little island the other day, we called our friends from the SY Kira via VHF – and they just arrived !! So we made a reservation in the restaurant at the beach to have a really good evening together.

And it was one of our better evenings, ever. The Slipway Restaurant that was suggested to us by Maria was truly wonderful. The place was decorated and crafted with much love. All the details and the decorating woodworking machines make for a really wonderful ambiente. The restaurant is located near the small marina, directly at the beach with it’s own dinghy dock.

The food was great and the drink of the day a 100% hit with us. We stayed until closing hour and left to finish the evening on the Kira. It was a great evening that’ll stay in our memories.

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A day on White Island

Yesterday we climbed over the hill beside Tyrell Bay to catch a few of the neighbouring islands to the west. Amazing view – and once down there we had the great idea that I’d walk back to get the dinghy and then we ride out to the small uninhabited island.

Bad ideas are usually the best. That’s what I thought about when I was gliding out of the bay to pass the rough landscape of Carriacou. Alone in a small dinghy with an 30 year old 4hp engine. Hehehe. The ride was long and there were plenty of rocks and submerged reefes but 40 minutes later I saw my family waving on the beach.

We put everything into the dinghy and rode another 15 minutes towards White Island. One island and four people a great feeling to have a whole island for oneselves. We strolled along the beach for a few hours, swam in crystal clear water and just before sunset drove back to Carriacou. A wonderful day !

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On the next island

This must have been the slowest passage EVER ! We left St. Davids bay at 15h UTC and arrived 07h next day. That’s a 16 hours trip in which we sailed about 45 miles giving an average speed of a whopping 2.8knots !

The start was good, running before the wind along the south coast of Grenada. Rounding the SW-tip of the island we hoisted the main sail and had little wind. But that freshened up only half an hour later increasing to a stable 5 Beaufort. We made a leg out to NW and tacked back towards the coast 2 hours later. Just to find ourselves in front of the harbour of St. Georges. We’ve made three miles in nearly two hours !!

The current runs strong along the coast of Grenada and the next idea was to run under engine, just a few hundered meters off the coast. Here the current was slightly less and we made slow progress towards north. It was a little frustrating to run under engine the whole night but as the wind was coming from NNE and that was exactly our direction – we had no better option. We arrived in the dark, around 03h local time. While entering the harbour we nearly hit a large towing vessel that sat in the entrance of the bay without light. Funny – nearly all the amateur sailboats had their anchor light on but NONE of the four professionally operated vessels. Heh.

So we dropped the anchor in five meters of clear water and fell into the bunks minutes later. It’s always exciting to wake up and then have a first look at the island you just landed on. – And it looks nice ! The island is green, a few houses here and there, a sand beach, palm trees. Everything you’d expect of an island in the Caribbean.

We’ve found the internet in a cafe at the beach called ‘Lazy turtle’, have a cold pineapple juice while the kids explore the beach. Afterwards we’ll walk over to the other side of the island and then wait for our friends, the SY Kira to arrive !

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Towards Carriacou (2nd try)

Yesterday we said goodbye to our friends and sailed out of St. Davids Bay and to the east, to round the island of Grenada on the atlantic side.

Big mistake ! In the beginning we had 5Bft. that increased to a steady six after a while. The swell was quite enormeous and together with a current of two knots against us, it was too much. After two hours of tacking against, we turned back to have a few drinks with the friends we left in St. Davids bay.

So after a nice evening and a quiet night we’ll now give it another shot. This time, we take the west side of the island. Hehehe.

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Adrift on the reef at night

The children’s birthday was just over as Robert and someone else leave with the dinghy towards the anchorage. Where are they going ? We hear that supposedly a yacht’s anchor is slipping and the boat is drifting towards the reef with nobody on bord. !

A few minutes pass. We search the horizont for lights or shadows but can’t find anything. A employee of the marina is trying to get the owner of a (the ?) yacht on the mobile phone. But to no avail. Now Volker also leaves. He’s got Jonathan, the Canadian with him and they also disappear in the darkness. But they took a VHF with them and a few minutes later we get some details: Yes, a yawl drifted out towards the reef and is already hitting the ground with every wave. They try to pull and push her off the reef but need more dinghies.

So I we go out in our dinghy and stop on the way to get another boat for help. But as we’re still talking with the skipper of the danish yacht, Volker informs everybody that they managed to free the yacht that is now been driven back into the anchorage. It seems that the beautiful wooden yawl was moored to a buoy and the rope or chain broke in the night. Luckily our neighbor saw the shadow of the boat drifting by and alarmed the others. Without him (and the help of many) this beautiful, historic ship would’ve been lost.

The whole story of course get’s a differnt meaning if one knows the history of this amazing yacht. The Apollonia was in the news before, when during an atlantic crossing, two people were murdered. The book is available here (german only, sorry).

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Line and Jonne’s 5th birthday

As promised, I uploaded more pictures of that amazing birthday. Actually the birthday of the twins is still a few weeks ahead but as we will have to seperate soon, Volker and Stephi decided to have the party now and here in Grenada.

It was a wise decision as I cannot imagine a place more romantic and beautiful for that occasion. The sun was blasting and the kids were running, swimming, searching, climbing until all riddles and tasks were done. Just as the big treasure hunt was over and the sun was sinking, we started the grill and a bonfire. The kids had grilled chicken, while the big ones drank fresh cocos-nuts with a shot of rum and were waiting for the steaks to be ready. Late in the evening it was when the first dinghys drove back to the ship swhile there was something dramatic happening at the anchorage… But that’s stuff for another post.

More pictures can be found in the Gallery.

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The best birthday ever ! (sneak peek)

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Thoughts under the shower

Yesterday in the evening I took a shower.

That’s nor unusual – or is it ? I started wondering… When was the last time I took a proper shower. – I mean: to stand in a room where fresh, warm water comes from the ceiling or wall. Was it in Barbados ? No. Cabo Verde ? No. The Canaries ? Ah ! Yes. It was in Las Palmas and it was on the 26.11.2011. It wasn’t really warm but who needs that ? Ususally I swim around the boat in the morning and pour a little freshwater over my head. That’s the cruiser’s bath. Heh.

We’ve left Berlin seven months ago and sailed 6500 miles since that. One could say, we ‘arrived’ aboard, settled in. Yes. A washing machine is a unthinkable luxury, we use about eight liters of freshwater to shower the whole family. We bake fresh bread on a daily basis and the dinghy 100% replaced the bicicle. Our kids use the VHF to chate with their friends and make afternoon arrangements – everything completely normal.

What’s the best about our current lifestyle ? Dunno. Maybe it’s the starry nights. Or that nobody was sick in the last six months. Or living outdoors and with the nature ? Maybe it’s to encounter new countries and people. That’s probably it, yes.

Now I’m finished with breakfast and we’ll do a little work. I’ll disassemble the pressure cooker and afterwards we’ll sharpen our new machete. Yay !!

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For Wendy, our windsteering

A little boring for non-sailors. But we had to upload a video showing our most hardworking crewmember: Wendy, our Windpilot. She keeps the Rancho Relaxo of the Seas on course, while the laziest crew of the world is lying in the shadow. Well – that’s for you, Wendy:

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In the Djungle (without words)

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First impressions of Grenada

We didn’t see too much yet – the laziest crew of the world likes to sleep long… and the excellent internet connection at the anchorage is not exactly helping. But around noon we managed to leave the ship.

But first the anchorage: it’s amazing !!! We lie quiet and well protected, there is a dinghy-pontoon, a free (and warm !) shower and even a washing machine ! A ship yard with everything you would need for repairs is here but the best is the beach bar under palm trees.

So we started walking up the street to catch one of the passing minivans when Gui stopped a taxi. As he had already delivered his passenger and was on the way back to Georgetown he took us in and we rapidly were taken to the small city 10 miles ahead. It’s not exactly a city as we know it because everything is still green and trees are everywhere between the houses. We made a little tour but didn’t find much besides a new skirt for Viola and a salamander made from fabric for Bruno. So we had a little beer and headed back to the St. Davids bay.

Although friends already told us, we were surprised that you could fit 22 (TWENTY-TWO) people in a minivan the size of a VW-bus. And the way the driver took us through the mountainous roads was fascinating. The turns he took with screeching tires and the hills he used to take over other cars completely ignoring the opposing traffic. But everybody including us took it with a smile and only a few minutes later we landed seemingly safe in our bay.

The sun was already setting and while walking the last mile towards the anchorage we listened the sounds of the jungle and were taken in by the silhouette of the palm trees under a crystal clear night sky. Just underneath of which we found the beach bar ! We had an evening drink with friends we met in Barbados and the Dinghy took us back to the Rancho Relaxo. Tomorrow we’ll have a guided tour through the jungle. Yay !

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New pics from the atlantic meeting

Out on the ocean you rarely see any other ships. Sometimes a cargo will be visible on the horizont for a few minutes but we never came closer than a few miles. We never saw any other sailing vessel other than the SY Kira. And therefore the meeting really was something special. After days of thinking you’re the only ship out there it’s fantastic to see another sailing boat come closer and closer. We had a little chat, made a ton of pictures and that was it. – Both ships continued on their old course and would finally meet again in Barbados. (Which we did.)

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Arrived in Grenada, St. Davids Harbour

A few minutes ago we arrived on Grenada. It was a short and uneventful trip of about 130 miles. The island looks amazing !!! Here are a few pics before we go off to clear in:

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Last – very last pictures from Barbados

Yesterday everybody went to the deepwater harbour to clear out. This means: take the dingy to the fishing harbour, walk 15 minutes in the hot caribbean sun, show your ship’s papers and the passports at the entrance to get a visitors pass for the harbour. Then to the yellow building, pay 50US$, fill out two forms. Go to the customs, fill out two more forms and leave two crewlists. Now to immigration, another two forms and two more crewlists. DONE !

Now duty-free shopping for Mount Gay Rum and afterwards buy some ice cold beer to get rid of the last Barbados dollars.sgetraenk.

Afterwards we were at the local market to get fruits and vegetables. Through the city and we meet with Gui and the crew of the Hitch-Hike-Heidi in a bar. We wait for the live music but it starts too late. The kids are already asleep and we listen to a few songs but then get back to our ship. That was the last day in Barbados. Tomorrow we’re off to Grenada !!

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Only four left

Yesterday in the night, Wolfgang had to fly back to Berlin. We’ve had beautiful days in Cabo Verde, a wonderful crossing of an Ocean and a little Cribbean flair together. We’d like to thank Wolfgang for all the work he did on board, for the wonderful bread he so often baked, for babysitting, etc. etc. It really was good to have you on board !!

Our days in Barbados are getting to an end as we’ll stock up on food and probaly leave tomorrow towards Grenada. From there we’ll sail northwards through the Grenadines and pick up our next guest in Martinique. Guenther from Austria who inroduced me to sailing is gonna visit us for two weeks. Yay !

Well. Bruno’s at the SY Kira, Gui is asleep and Viola is ‘reading’. (Not yet.) I’ll finish this post and then head for the town to get our refreshments. Hehehe.

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