Author Archives: dafdaf

Berlin – Flensburg – Brisbane

Just a few days ago we were freezing our asses while sailing with friends in the Baltic Sea. Today I’m sweating in the tropics. What a trip ! What a chaotic life, what an adventure…

Frueh morgens geht's von Berlin losUnd einen Tag spaeter - frueh morgens - geht's mit der Marlin weiter...Eis am DinghyBereit zum Anlegen

I’ll start from the beginning: Last weekend it finally happened that two cruising families who know each other since ages via Email, Skype and Facebook get to meet each other in meatspace. I’m talking about the crew of the SY Ironlady or nowadays SY Marlin. Even before we began our own journey, I’ve been a keen reader of their blog and the first book they wrote about their own journey with kids: ‘Meer als ein Traum‘ was the trigger for us to go sailing. So finally we met in Flensburg to get to know each other and go on a little sailing trip with their amazing new yacht. The weekend was exhausting but totally beautiful and just as expected the kids immediately connected to each other and off they went blabbering in three different languages, running around with the dog, chasing sheep or producing chaos on bord. The big ones enjoyed the (chilly) breeze on their faces, the sea, the moving of the yacht – in one word: sailing. It was gorgeous. And hopefullly not the only meeting.

Die wunderschoene Marlin gedockt an der OchseninselGrosse Tafel, im Salion der Marlinund am Abend wieder zurueck nach FlensburgSchoene Stadt. Haetten wir evtl. auch gewaehlt, waeren wir mit dem Schiff zurueck gekommen...

Back in Berlin, I immediately prepare to leave again. This time the journey is a little longer. Destination: Brisbane, Australia. Our ship the Suvarov has been in Redcliffe for several months but the plan to sell her with the help of a broker didn’t really work out. That’s why I chose to fly around the globe to tidy her up and take it in our own hands. I’ve just got two weeks but it should be possible to find a new owner – or at least a cheaper place to leave the boat.

Morgens in Tegel bei RegenUnd Mittags in Abu DabiMit etwas kleinen AugenUm Mitternacht dann in Brisbane

After 1.5 days of air travel, Brisbane welcomes me with tropical-moist, warm air just after midnight. I take a cab to Redcliffe where our marina is located. Luckily everything worked out as planned and I find the deposited security token and our ship’s keys – I get onboard without having to climb fences or getting wet. Heh. On bord no surprises (good !!): everything is in it’s place, no bad stench, no little animals. Without searching, I find the lights in the dark. I sit down while my surroundings together with the ship’s smell remind me of past adventures and places. The soft hissing of the wind generator takes me away to lonely anchorages in the south seas… a torrent of emotions start to break down on me. Despite the exhausting journey I can’t sleep and start to search for a drink. Finally I find an old hip flask with some Whiskey in it. I grab it and sit down at the bow where I immediately catch sight of the constellation Scorpion….

am Strand in RedcliffeUnd zusammen mit unserem alten Zuhause, der Suvarov.

Eventually my eyes get tired and I fall asleep having crazy dreams. I wake up as a tropical shower pours down on deck and I run through the ship to close windows and hatches. When viewed in daylight I can see a few little specks of rust here and there but nothing essential. Actually a lot less than I imagined. One fender lost it’s air but otherwise I cannot find any defects. In the afternoon I walk through the little town to get some groceries and have a look at the nearby beach. Back on board I start the engine which comes to life on the first turn – just as if we’d been getting into harbour yesterday. I’m amazed how well the Suvarov has taken the six months without maintenance. Hopefully a potential buyer will also notice. Tomorrow – hopefully halfway recovered from the jetlag, I’ll start working…

Posted in Berlin, LosLocos, Pics, Sailing, Suvarov, Travel | Leave a comment

Life returns

Half a year has passed since the last entry on our blog. That’s not exactly as I planned it. Rather the opposite is the case: I wanted to document our re-entry into western ‘civilisation’ just as I did with our journey. Often I asked myself why other sailors’ blogs turn quiet pretty much the same instant they arrive ashore ? Now I know the answer and it’s rather simple: There is no time.  The life on land is a busy one and sometimes quite depressing and that’s not something I want to document on the internet.

Fruehlingserwachen unter den HainbuchenDer erste bunte Farbklecks im winterlichen Grau

The question we heard the most often during these last months is: ‘And ? Have you settled in ?’ This question is asked without much thoght and unsuspecting that the answer might be a long and complicated one. Just as for the typical ‘How are you ?’: people expect a simple ‘Good/well/whatever.’ and definately not a lecture on the positive and negative sides of different lifestyles. So right now I could just write ‘Good.’ And all of you would be satisfied, wouldn’t you ?

Or do you really want to know how we are and what’s been going on these last months ? I guessed so…

The initial arrival was quite nice. Hugging old friends, knowing the surroundings and the neighborhood, meeting family and friends of our kids… All very lovely. But we also knew from other sailors’ returns that the actual arrival hits you after a few weeks and it’s not a nice one. It was just the same with us. It’s not that suddenly you realise that the journey and the free and wild life is over. It’s more subtle. The changes get you slowly.

One thing I miss the most are the intense, deep conversations we had with our sailing friends. It seems that the people on land are just too busy or too fearful to really dig in deeper. So the conversations stay on the surface and the essential parts of life mostly are kept out of focus. This is a thing that really makes me sad and it is something that one starts to accept after a while – although it really hurts.

Our kids took it the best, I would say. They really integrated themselves rather easy and fast and Viola had no problems at all to find heaps of friends and find herself to be one of the top students in her class. For Bruno it wasn’t that easy as he was rather slow when it came to reading and writing. He had done school on board in spanish and german but his new school was all english so this was a big step. But after a few months he also had settled in and is now gaining on the midfield in his class. His teachers are optimistic and tell us that by the end of the year he would be above average. Well at least that is no reason for concern anymore. Before arriving in Berlin we were quite nervous about school but it all seems to develop very well. The kids have lots of friends and frequent sleepovers and playdates and both are quite happy.

IMGP3295Und die erste Biene macht sich ans Werk

And how are the grownups ? Well we didn’t have it that easy so far. During the first weeks we had a lot to organize (appartment, insurance, school, taxes, furniture, jobs, etc.) but that was all settled quite fast. More difficult for me was the fact that during our absence the development in politics, economics and society are still in the wrong direction and even picking up speed. So rather than getting more independet from the axis of evil (the five eyes) we embrace them with TTIP and CETA and at home ‘our’ institutions ECB, European Comission and IMF do everything to make the situation worse, to play everything into the hands of a few rich people while the big part of the population in Spain, Portugal and Greece is driven into poverty and unemployment. The news regarding the global surveillance through the NSA are not publicly discussed and the rather shy comission of enquiry that the german parliament put into work was dissolved during the first hearing when a double agent was discovered on the team. Business has to continue. Business as usual with full speed towards the abyss. These developments make me rather nervous (a huge understatement) and I’m quite sceptic when I look into the future. But here comes one of the most important learnings of our journey into the picture: Even when the future looks rather grim, we still know that a different life is possible. And we HAVE lived that life for some years. That gives hope. As does the awakening of Podemos in Spain or Tsipras in Greece. Maybe all is not lost yet.

Well now I’ve disgressed completely into the political arena. But well. Politics is important and the developements right now will have a huge impact on all our future. So. What have Gui and me done during these last months ? Gui was busy with her clothes label Coquito and travelled to Argentina in January to create the new collection. On the side she works three to four days a week in a little french restaurant here in Berlin. I started to work with my old company again. Back at the computer instead of painting the deck or working on the engine. It’s not exactly better work but it pays better and that is quite important for us right now. But still it’s not what I would want to do forever. That’s why I’m currently trying to establish a new company together with a friend. We’re still quite at the beginning but it will have to do with conserving and monitoring energy, focussing on small businesses now but going towards private households in the end. This is really fun and involves a bunch of skills that I really like to work with. Mostly electronics, electricity, programming embedded and web and also installing the equipment on site which gets me away from the computer at least one day a week. But the best is that doing this work, we’ll improve the human impact on our planet just a little and that’s great.

That all means that we both ususally work six days a week while our kids are in a full-time school. We meet only shortly in the evening then everybody is really tired. During the weekends we usually work one day each so there is no time to do anything together as a family. We were prepared that re-entering the ‘normal’ life wouldn’t be easy but we really didn’t expect it to be that hard. But still: spring is in it’s starting blocks and slowly one thing fits to the next and the outlook get’s better and better.

Many friends also asked me whether I would be writing a book of our journey ? Yes. I want to. Definately ! It’s just – right now I have no time to do that. And with two jobs and a lot of chaos around us it’s quite difficult to organize my thoughts and put them on paper (or rather on hard disk). But I have tons of content, a lot of good ideas and slowly the story is developing in my head – despite all the crazyness around me. So don’t give up yet and bear with me. It’ll be worth it. Promised !

But the best thing right now is that in two weeks we’ll be sailing ! YES !! It’s not gonna be the tropics but a little trip in Flensburg with friends will really be good for us. And actually – speaking of the tropics: I will be back soon. In three weeks I’ll have to fly to Australia visit the Suvarov. We’ll have to move her to a cheaper marina and also there might be two potential new owners having a look or a testsail. So please keep your fingers crossed that we’ll sell the Suvarov. That would definately cheer me up !

Posted in Berlin, Coquito, Kids, Learning for life, LosLocos, Pics, Suvarov, Work | 1 Comment

Final landfall

Sorry for the delay but there was just too much happening these last weeks leaving no time for blog updates or other forms of communication besides what was absolutely needed…

So here we are. Back in Berlin, the city we left with the Rancho Relaxo of the Seas just a little over three years ago. We relocated six (!) times during these last weeks, moving from appartment to appartment and back and forth in between Austria and Germany. And to intensify that experience, Gui flew to Colombia to have her very first Fashion Show with Coquito, then visited Paris to have a look at the children’s clothes fair ‘Playtime‘ where hopefully Coquito will be present next year.

The models getting prepared.Little beauties in gorgeous dresses...Fashion show in tropical climate. Nice.Gui and her models.

In the meantime I was working overtime to get back into ‘the machine’, getting registered as a citizen, getting insurance, enlisting and visiting the school of our children, organizing the transport of our few belongings that we left with my parents in Austria, meeting friends, finding a job, getting essential furniture and finding out why our stuff from the boat still didn’t arrive in Germany and and…. Believe me: the life in the south seas was a lot more relaxing.

In beautiful AustriaAnd back in BerlinStreet artFirst day of school !

But compared to my last visit of Berlin where I was quite shocked by the ‘western civilisation’ – coming just from French Polynesia, this time it’s different. It probably is mostly owed to the fact that we all were very looking forward to being in Europe again, having access, money, a smart phone, running water, a fridge and shops that are around the corner instead of a one hour dinghy ride away. Despite all the stress, we all enjoy ourselves, are quite relaxed and happy with the city life.

Leaving the house early in the morning, excited and happyMy beautiful girls on the way to schoolThe welcoming of the first graders takes place in the historic cinema 'Babylon'.Every single new scholar is greeted by his teacher

Still, when I hear the wind shake the leaves I immediately search the sky for signs of bad weather, we don’t really know what to do with all the space in our appartment and all my clothes still fit into a cabinet too small to even qualify as a bedside locker. We enjoy seeing so many old friends and connecting with new people. The kids started school last week and although it’s a little tough for Bruno starting school in 3rd grade and in english, he does very well. Viola’s classes will officially start on monday and she cannot wait to finally go to a ‘real’ school. Heh.

The class 1cIn school...Playtime !Brain jogging

So on monday we’ll all leave home early in the morning… dropping the kids off at school and then I’ll be starting work in the office again. Funnily enough I also got a VERY interesting offer to deliver a yacht from Turkey to France. But I had to decline since all the other stuff going on didn’t make it seem clever to leave my family with all the chaos. But – hey – maybe again in spring ? Offers welcome !

Posted in Berlin, Coquito, Kids, LosLocos, Pics, Travel | 5 Comments

Backup the wrong way around

After straying around for a few weeks, the LosLocos finally arrived at the final destination: Berlin. And the skipper – having nothing to repair on his boat – finally is able to take care of our website. But what’s happening ? Why is my backup running that fast ? What… “not found” ?  … deleted ? How ? But, but I actually wanted to…. Well. It seems I’ve done it.

All is gone. Everything we uploaded in these last three years: thousands of photos and many videos…. all gone. That’s something not everyone could do. And definately not as fast as me. To efficiently delete these amounts of data you need a proper internet connection and the right tools ! Heh.

Flaggenparade im GartenBauzaun Discount !! Jetzt !!!

But as I’m not really new in this arena I don’t get a stroke but keep quite calm and start searching through the backups of our blog. But not ! Funny enought it’s exactly that ONE folder that somehow is not included in the nightly backup routine. Heh. So the only option that is left: To restore everything manually. Up until mid 2012 this is an easy task as I did a complete backup of the whole site when we were in Moorea. The rest I have to extract from a PDF export I once did in Brisbane. And the final posts I restore manually.

Two days later our site and all our pictures are online again. And now I’m finally starting on a long overdue update. There was quite some things happening during these last weeks, believe me !

Posted in Berlin, It's funny ! Laugh !, Learning for life, LosLocos, Net, Pics, Work | Comments Off

Surprise party and boat porn on the Attersee

I love that… when everybody is conspiring and people giggle behiond my back and I don’t suspect a thing…. then I enter the garden of my brother without a hint of an idea what’s going on and….. PFREEEEEEP, TADAAAA !!! Everybody’s there ! Friends from far and from close home, alone or with the whole family. The storm of hugs and kisses catches me unprepared and without a reef in the sails I’m flying up the treehouse where I seek shelter for a minute and wipe away a tear or two.

Grosse Tafel mit vielen alten Freunden (und vielen neuen Kindern)Die LosLocos fluechten sich mal kurz in luftige HoehenBruno darf Wirt spielenLagerfeuer. Mal nicht mit getrockneten Kokosnuessen, sondern mit Buchenholz.

We party till late in the night and tell stories and I’m amazed how many kids there are around me and how big they all are. And more stories and more drinks… A dream !

Ouuh yeah ! Racing !Absoluter traum SegeltagMal nicht Skipper spielen. Auch schoen.7.7kn. Am Wind, bei 3 Bft. Ohne Anstrengung.

To prevent the skipper falling into a depression or getting sentimental, Guenther picks me up on Sunday to go sailing with a ‘proper’ ship. Ok. For living aboard, the Platu 25 would be a bit small but it’s a fantastic feeling to not be the slowest in the field. Actually pretty much all the other sailboats seem to stand still as we overtake one after the next. Only my friends Roland and Christine cheer as they zoom past in their Tornado, probably doing ten knots more than us.

Die Kulisse ist auch ganz gut.Viel Verkehr hier. Vorrangregeln habe ich in den letzten 3 Jahren vergessen..... Zum Glueck bin nicht ich am Steuer. ;-)DA ist der Wirtn !Kurzes Erfrischungsgetraenk zwischendurch...

Yeah, yeah. I agree. Sailing on a lake can also be fun. The weather is perfect, the water has a color that I’ve last seen in the lagoon of Huahine but here you can drink it. The deck isn’t encrusted in salt, we don’t have to shower after taking a bath and there even is a floating bar ! Heh. We pick up a few friends along the way and sail to the other side to have a ‘Summer Spritzer’ Mmmmh. Salzkammergut. Salzkammer VERY good !

Klassisch....und modernSportlich unterwegs...und Vollgas !

 

Posted in Austria, LosLocos, Pics, Sailing | 2 Comments

Arrived in dumpling-country

After 1.5 days in the airplane and endless airport-security fun we finally landed and were greeted by my parents who picked us up at Munich airport. We filled the car with our bags and drove to Austria where my sister already was waiting with a big meal including the famous austrian dumplings. Mmmmmh.

Arrived in Munich after 36 hours of flightThe family back togetherIn the car, on the way to Austriaand arriving at my parent's house

While the grown-ups were a big jet lagged, the kids had endless fun with their cousins and the brand new bikes they got. Today we’ll be at my grandmother’s place for a different kind of dumplings (with apricot inside). Hehehe. Later more…

First thing in the morning: getting fresh berries from the gardenAnd the kids get long awaited bicycles !Viola forgot how to ride a bike...but we're getting there.

 

Posted in Austria, Kids, Learning for life, LosLocos, Pics, Travel | 3 Comments

Check-in

We made it ! Left the boat clean, safe and sound in the marina, filled the taxi with ten huge bags and ourselves, drove to the airport and then we we got a bit stuck. Although we measured the weight of our luggage several times somehow we seem to have made some miscalculations and our check-in luggage was several kilos above the limit (30kg per person). So we re-distributed everything several times over and finally (with a few argentinian tricks) we could send six huge bags into the belly of the airport.

The Suvarov in her berth at the Scarborough marinaMoving outWhat an enormeous amount of luggage !Arriving at the airport

Now we’re left with four still quite big but legal pieces of hand luggage and wait for the plane…. Phew !! One step further… Although the whole last days still didn’t really sink in and everyone is running around with their feet in the air. It’s gonna take a few days for us to really comprehend what’s happening with us. But… all well. We’re on the way !! In ninety minutes we’ll hopefully be in the air above Brisbane and on our way to Bangkok.

Yeh. The LosLocos like it internationalA bit scary to arrive with that at the check-in counter.Queuing. Something new for us.Not our plane. But we like the name. (for Ma)

Posted in LosLocos, Pics, Suvarov, Travel | 1 Comment

The last trip

Oh, the day finally has come. Today in the morning John and Nia from the SY Zeitgeist cast off our mooring lines and we left the beautiful anchorage in Brisbane centre. The timing was important because we wanted to catch the outgoing tide to sail down the 12nm to the river mouth and also because we wanted to arrive in Redcliffe during daylight.

Chillin' in the parkThe botanical garden - our garden for three weeks.Bruno at the playgroundViola in action

So we left at 10:45 with the high tide being at 11:20h. We sailed down through Brisbane in a beautiful, sunny but slightly cold day, took some fuel at the Rivergate Marina on the way out to the bay and started sailing just after noon. The weather was perfect: sunny and a steady 25-30 knots from WSW. We just flew up the bay and when initially we thought we would barely make it in daylight we actually arrived at 3:40h in the afternoon. Most of the time doing 7 to 7.5 knots with double reefed jib. Heh. Cool last sailing trip !

An Iguana in the middle of the cityNot afraid at all (both Gui and the Iguana)Shopping crazyness at Woolworth'sKangaroo meat (nice !)

In the marina (the second we entered in two years) it wasn’t too easy. We got a berth that was at the very end and in a small corner and maneuvering the 15t Suvarov into place took a few helping hands and long mooring lines over winches. But we made it !

Going to town with my beautiful ladySkyscrapers in BrisbaneIn the public libraryLast day at the moorings in the city

Now the Suvarov has reached her final destination, we’re in Scarborough Marina on jetty E1 and here she will stay until her next owner will take her out for a ride. Hopefully soon. And the los locos are emotionally a bit shaken and tired from packing and organizing all our stuff. But everything is in bags and suitcases and ready to go. Tomorrow we’ll clean the boat one last time and on wednesday at 2pm we take the plane to Bankok, then to Istanbul, then Munich. Yay !

Fast sailing in the Moreton Bayleaving Brisbane behindReally nice, really fast sailingRedcliffe, the final destination of the Suvarov

Posted in Animals, Freedom, Kids, LosLocos, Pics, Sailing, Suvarov | 9 Comments

Brunos third birthday on sea – and we start to move out

More than three years ago when we startet our voyage Bruno was just four years old. His very first birthday at sea we celebrated in Glowe on the german island of Ruegen, together with his best friend Victor. Now, his eight birthday we party in Brisbane, in the winter – but still barefeet and having a nice BBQ in the park.

Birthday cake with lots of berriesIn the parkExcitement !The gang

Together with our neighbours and their kids we have a big feast and only when we hardly can move anymore we start to walk back towards the botanical garden. But we go past it and into the city where the kids get a bag full of tokens and have endless fun at the arcade games. One hour they shout, shoot, steer and are excited without end. Then it’s time for cinema. We watch ‘How to train your dragon 2′ in 3D and of course it’s a huge success. After the cinema it’s only thanks to the endless sugar in their bodies that the kids can still walk back to the boat. It was a wonderful day and everyone falls into a deep sleep only minutes after arriving back at the boat.

at the gamesAnd Pacman also still exists !Moving our householdFirst of three dinghy runs

The Suvarov slowly get’s emptier. We packed nine boxes and filled them with endless books, kitchen stuff and Gui’s enormeous collection of fabrics for coquito. What’s still on bord has to go into our bags and on the plane. But we got an allowance of 120kg and 32kg of cabing luggage on top of that so that should do.

Posted in Kids, LosLocos, Pics, Suvarov | 10 Comments

The first days in Brisbane

The first days were cold. Incredibly cold ! We packed away all our warm stuff after the crossing of the Bay of Biscay – that was in August 2011. Nearly three years later now we search the boat for warm clothes and find long trousers, T-shirts made from wool with long sleeves and funny and colorful pipes that you can put on your feet. The kids find all that new stuff hillarious while the skipper tries not to remember the times, we had to use all those items.

The warm clothes come out after three years...Prepared for the coldAfter shopping at the 'big W'A little green in the city centre

Packed into our winter gear we enter Brisbane in search for more of these amazing ‘clothes’ and most importantly: shoes for the kids. Once equipped, we’re able to handle the temperature of Brisbane and our strolls through the centre and through these beautiful parks are more enjoyable.

The Suvarov moored at the botanical gardenBruno and Viola having fun in the parkYeah, that's really an AC/DC pinball machine !Winter bloom

We like the city. – Not that we prefer it to a tropical island but life is easy here. One can get high quality food around the clock and at every corner. Prices are higher of course and after filling one garbage bag during the 9 days of our crossing we can easily fill one a day now. Yay to the consumer-life.

Ella's pink ladyOcean going rowing boatThe tiniest ocean going vessel - for the *really* crazy ones !A vewi upriver from the footbridge at the botanical garden

Other than that we’re organizing the transport of our stuff, getting the boat ready to be left for sale with our agent, enjoying the company of John and Nia fron the SY Zeitgeist and spending endless hours using the fastest internet connection we had in years. Heh.

Posted in Kids, LosLocos, Pics, Suvarov | Comments Off

Dates and numbers on the last trip

This is a post for the sailing nerds – so to say. I like to look at the numbers and as this was our fastest trip of the last three years it’s even more fun.

Crossing the Landsdowne BankApproaching Brisbane (the distance from the lighthouse to the river entrance is about 40nm)Tacking, tacking, tacking. Against 25knots. *rrr*And under engine up the river - at night.

Ok here comes: From Tanna, around NewCal towards Brisbane we travelled a total of 1238nm and it took us 219 hours to do that. This gives an awesome average speed of 5,70 knots ! Top speed (with a wave pushing from behind) was 9.9kn. The daily logs (24hours from noon to noon) were: 141, 144, 150, 126, 136, 142, 125, 130 and 123nm.

Lovely ripple cloudsA tanker passingInto the wind. Always into the wind...3rd reef

The wind on average came from SE with a force of 5. Minimum of S2 and maximum of S9 (measured: 42 knots). We never met more ships than on this trip. Out on the open ocean we met two fishing vessels, two tankers and one cruise ship. And during the approach to Brisbane we met another six ships. The drive up the river was a whole different story. We that we have stayed on tropical islands for these last years and never saw a real city… now suddenly we have to navigate a river with speed ferries zomming in and out, hundereds of ships anchored everywhere, buoys, moorings, jetties…. a lot of current. And everything is so bright ! And the eyes as well as the skipper who hasn’t slept the last 48 hours are a bit overwhelmed… But everything goes well, we find a nice spot to anchor and sleep the best sleep ever. The one of sailors who arrive in a safe harbour after a rough trip.

Oh. And I’ve got a little video too. It’s a bit boring but sailors might enjoy it anyways…

Posted in LosLocos, Pics, Sailing, Suvarov, Travel, Video | 3 Comments

From Vanuatu to Australia – the pictures

And here come the missing pictures… have fun !

We leave Tanna and wave good-bye to our friends on the SY Kira...past that beautiful beach we've been hanging out a few times...And around the corner where the wind picks upSailing on the wind for many days...

The first sunrise out on sea - and one of the last ones for us.And again: beating against the windUntil everything is encrusted in a layer of salt.The capitana on the wheel during a gust

The cirrus uncius clouds predict more wind !And the wind comes......with frequent squalls...But the kids still have a lot of fun. Heh.

Storm petrels are the other species out here having fun with 40knots of wind.I watch them for hours gliding 30cm above the waves.Finally we aproach the entrance to Brisbane.For the first time since the North Sea (!!) we're wearing the foul weather gear.

Right in the harbour entrance a big freighter wants to overtake.Wow ! A real harbour !...and a real city !!A lot of industry down at the river entrance

But we continue up the river towards the city.Entering Brisbane at nightfallIMPRESSIVE  - especially after two years spent only on tropical islands.A different view in the morning (from the kitchen window)

Posted in Animals, Freedom, LosLocos, Pics, Sailing, Suvarov, Travel | Comments Off

A few more pics from Tanna / Vanuatu

A few more pictures that I couldn’t upload when we still were in Tanna. One of my favorites is Viola with the parrot. Enjoy !

Unser Ankerplatz in Port Resolution - 250 Jahre nach James CookDer 'Yacht Club'Zwei Holz-Statuen am Eingang zum DorfEin Teil des kleinen Dorfes

Ein neues Haus wird gebaut...100% Naturmaterialien, 100% recycling-faehigKosten: 0$ (alles waechst in der Umgebung), Dauer bis Fertigstellung: ca. 1 WocheFussball am Fusse des Vulkans

Riesiger Bayan Tree - wer versteckt sich da ?Haensel und Gretel ?Die Dorfschule wurde beschenkt mit zwei grossen Tueten Material aus dem Bauch der SuvarovClaus, Bruno und eine Backpackerin - unterwegs Richtung Yasur

Ein Arbeiter kommt uns aus dem Wald entgegenUnd hat einen bunten, zahmen Papagei mit dabeiDer fluestert Viola irgendwas charmantes ins OhrDie kleine Piratenbraut macht ganz auf lieb

Posted in Animals, Kids, LosLocos, Pics, Plants, Sailing, Suvarov | Comments Off

Volcanic activity

Yesterday the time has finally come and at noon we started to walk towards the volcanoe. The ‘road’ leads through thick, lush jungle and a few villages and after about 2-3 hours, we arrived at the entrance to the volcano national park. Our lucky kids got a ride up the volcanoe while Gui and me walked up. All the time with loud rumbling noises and while the floor starts to shake. The earth underneath us is alive !

After two hours of fast walking, we arrive at the entrnce to the volcano national parkThe last few hundered meters up the volcano, the kids hitch a rideThe end of the 'road' - at the slope of Mt. Yasurbeautiful little houses at the slope

The volcano was at the lowers activity level (1) but still – the show was breathtaking ! The noise and the lava that was thrown through the air, the smell, the whole scenery. Quite awesome. ’nuff said, enjoy the pics:

On the rim of the craterA first look into the craterFascinatedThe crater of Mt. Yasur

Everyone getting ready as the sun is settingGui on the edgeAs it gets darker, the activity becomes more visibleA 'blob' of basalt on the ground

Lavaimpressive show after darkExplosions and lava flying through the airA highlight of our long journey

Posted in Kids, Learning for life, LosLocos, Pics, Sailing, Suvarov, Travel | Comments Off

Tanna ! Wow !!

Crazy, crazy. It seems like an island out of a dream. Unreal. Too beautiful, too exotic. I don’t know where to start… we’ve only been here for a little more than a day. I’m still overwhelmed. And we haven’t even seen the volcano yet ! So… what happened ?

Mont Yusur, while sailing past the coast of TannaClosing in on Port Resolution, Mont Yusur as seen from the eastThe SY Kira and the SY Suvarov meeting for the first time (Tanna, Port ResolutionTraditional outrigger canoe at the beach

Well, our friends from the SY Elhaz said hello and goodbye and left for Port Vila – which made us quite sad. But next morning the SY Kira arrived and we had a good, long breakfast together that continued into a mid-day feast, followed by a walk through the village and a swim on one of the most gorgeous beaches we’ve seen so far. When the sun started to set behind the volcanoe, we brought Gui and the kids to the boat. The men were invited to drink kava with the villagers. People in Tanna are strict followers of the ‘Kastom’ and thus: no women allowed.

Traditional outrigger canoe at the beachThe bay is popular and the villagers have established a restaurant. Heh.local housingHey, SY Thor: Is that really necessary ? ;-)

Der Strand auf der Sued-Ost SeiteWhat a beach ! What colors !!mit Claus am StrandThe ladies going for a walk

All the grown up males gather on a little place in the village and start to prepare the kava by chewing the roots, spitting it in banana leaves , rinsing it with water and finally pouring the brown/greyish liquid in a little coconut shell. The kava here is a lot stronger than in Fiji as it is made from fresh roots and the traditional way. We enjoyed the ritual and the quietness that falls over the village after the first round of cava bowls went around. The sounds are from the waves and the wind to our back and endless zykades in the front, the sound of small, red glowing fires all around and a lot of loud slurping and spitting. The sky is full of stars, no bright lights disturbing our vision. We are welcome in the village and together with our friend Claus with whom we started the voyage three years ago. What a dream !

And although we’re anchored in one of the most historic places (James Cook went ashore in this bay, approx. 230 years ago) we’ve found internet: connected via bluetooth and mobile phone. Slow but steady…

Posted in Freedom, Kids, LosLocos, Pics, Sailing, Suvarov, Travel | Comments Off

Off to the volcano !

After we’ve been waiting for one week not seems to be the time: For two days the wind will shift to the east and also go down a little in force. In an hour or so we’ll set out towards the south-east, towards Tanna. There we’ll meet the SY Kira, hopefully the SY Elhaz and definately the Mont Yasur: the active (!) volcano of the island.

Also this post marks the end of internet: in the next days and weeks on our final travel to Brisbane, Australia we will only be connected with shortwave radio. So no pictures in the upcoming days. – Sorry…

Posted in Amateur Radio, LosLocos, Sailing, Suvarov, Travel | Comments Off

Flowers at the market

The colors, the odors, the beauty. Come with me to the market of Port Vila:

Nelumbo nucifera: the wonderful lotus flowerThe lotus 'fruits'Different arrangementUnreal... but that's how they grow !

The flower lady and some customersBeauty in the shadowjust beautifulThese flowers we often found in the jungle

More flowersThe market... I love these woven basketsMy beautiful girlin the market

Bruno found his favourite petyellow eyesViola is also too happy......but the crying, because she can't keep the lizard.

…oooh yeah. And I miss my good Pentax camera ! The photos could be so much better with decent equipment. Well, well…

Posted in Kids, LosLocos, Pics, Plants, Sailing, Suvarov | 1 Comment

The Cabo Verde islands in the south pacific

We’ve only been here in Vanuatu for a few days and we have not seen anything beside Port Vila, the capital: for sure not the nicest part of the islands. BUT we’re absolutely amazed ! These islands are awesome ! We’re absolute fans of Vanuatu !! It’s soo much more relaxed than Fiji, it’s cheap, the weather is wonderful, the place is perfect. The people are cool, the men wear beards and hats and everybody tries to decorate himself with a touch of green/yellow/red for some rastafari look. It feels like being in Cabo Verde or Barbados. Really cool. I can’t wait to see more of this country…. It seems on saturday the wind will calm down a little and turn to the east, that should give us a good window to sail down to Tanna which is in the south-east, approx. 130nm from here.

Gui findet einen zahmen Iguana in Port VilaEin ganz zahmerViola beim Haarewaschenlittle punky princess

In the meantime Gui managed to get her visa for Australia – in record time ! I filled all necessary papers and sent them so we’re ready to leave – legally. And also we had first contacts with people – mostly from France – who are interested in buying the Suvarov. Everything seems to be going in a good direction.

The anchorage towards the northPort Vila - seen from the mastSoon, we'll be sitting in one of those again...Historische Motorboot-Schoenheit

Posted in Animals, Kids, LosLocos, Pics, Sailing, Suvarov | 1 Comment

From Fiji to Vanuatu

So that now was our second to last trip with the Suvarov, ey ? It was a nice one, I have to admit. For the first time in a year we had pleasant, nearly perfect wind on that journey. And although the swell made the ride a bit bumpy in the beginning, we did quite well. We logged 131, 126, 122 and 127 nautical miles daily and the whole trip of 545nm took us just a bit more than 100 hours.

Ein letzter Blick zurueck auf die Inseln von FijiWir suchen uns eine Oeffnung und verlassen die LaguneKraeftiger Schwell sorgt fuer Kreuzsee, aber auch fuer traumhafte Wellen im Surfer-Paradies Fiji.Bruno and Viola planen ihr zukuenftiges Zimmer in Berlin

We also were quite lucky: we arrived in Port Vila at night but with good weather. The next day it started to rain heavily (we topped up the water tank in less than one hour !) and we had wind quite above 30 knots. Good timing !

So it seems we’re stuck in Port Vila for a few days since our next trip to Tanna is against the wind and I don’t want to head out into rough seas…

Die Kinder verwandeln den Salon in einen Spielplatz......und machen riesen Chaos. - Als ob bei dem Seegang nicht schon genur in der Gegend rumfliegt !Die Windsteuerung hab ich auch mittlerweile gut im Griff und sie steuert nahezu perfekt.Und das neu lackierte Deck ist mir eine echte Freude !

But right now I’m still waiting for the quarantine officer to come on board. It seems he’s busy with the cruise ship that entered that morning and keeps us waiting. Gui and the kids are on land, visiting the immigration office and later the Australian Embassy fur Gui’s visa.

Posted in Kids, LosLocos, Pics, Sailing, Suvarov, Travel | 4 Comments

Landfall in Vanuatu

Just an hour after sunset we took the leading lights into Port Vila. Now we’re anchored close to the quarantine buoy, near the town centre and wait for the officials to clear us in. Of course they will not come before tomorrow morning so we enjoy a beer on deck and imagine what the waterfront will look like in daylight.

More tomorrow…

Posted in LosLocos, Sailing, Suvarov | 2 Comments