Category Archives: Animals

Viola’s 5th birthday

Yesterday Viola was celebrating her 5th birthday. Later I still have to sort through ~400 photos and find the good ones for you. But now we leave for Tahiti to do some work on the Rancho (again…). Here’s a little preview:

Yes, the Pentax K-5 still has some battery left. It arrived with ‘one bar’ of battery and after one month of use it still works – about 600 photographs later. That’s an amazing battery !

Posted in Animals, Kids, LosLocos, Pics, Suvarov | 5 Comments

Dolphins and Circus

At 06:20h in the morning the alarm goes off. Just as the sun jumps over the mountain ridge and bathes the bay in a beautiful golden light. We eat breakfast on deck because a big school of dolphins entered the bay and is playing in between the neighbor boats. When we paddle ashore a little later, we go riht through the middle of a group of 20-30 dolphins that are now going down the channel and back into the bay. At shore a local fisherman gives us a few fish and he follows us to our car. – Yeah, for the first time in two years we got a car ! A very friendly family who’s son goes to the kindergarden with Viola borrowed it to us. The catch is that it has a dead battery, so me and our fisher-friend push the car to start it.


The school is closed for easter holidays but Bruno and Viola go to the Circus-school. There they do acrobatics, play clown and generally have a lot of fun. As it’s the last day, we come early for the pick-up and the group does a presentation for us. Viola’s friend Manoa comes back with us to the Suvarov. There’s a little front approaching and the dinghy ride with five people is not as relaxing as it was during the morning. The three wild ones do a pirate fight across the deck and through the interior of our boat. When the rain starts drumming on the roof, Bruno and Viola get active collecting rainwater.


Uh, and I have some bad news: I was quite looking forward to the return of our DSLR but unfortunately the charger for our good camera stayed in South America. So I continued using the compact camera. And this rather poor replacement did a little dive in Viola’s rucksack. Although the skipper ignored the sore foot and immediately jumped overboard for a rescue mission, it still got a few drops of water. Not more than during a snapshot in the rain but enough for it to wreck the battery. So now we have two compact cameras and a Pentax K5 without charger. The last cameras still in operation are the GoPro and my trusty old mobile phone which from now on will be the primary source of pictures for this blog. Uaaah !

Posted in Animals, Kids, Learning for life, LosLocos, Pics, Suvarov | 2 Comments

Horses instead of kindergarden

It’s easter and that means, the school is closed. Instead of taking the tour towards the kindergarden with dinghy and bus – Viola and Gui hitch-hike up the valley towards the horse ranch. Viola is doing a four day horseriding holiday and you can’t imagine how happy she is. Every afternoon she returns all dirty and tired but still has enough energy to jump around in the water for an hour or two. Then all the horse smell is gone and she falls asleep while eating dinner. Heh.

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A little diving tour

Trying to catch up with my blog posts, I wanted to share a few pictures Lorenz took, when we were diving with the Rays a little further down to the NW-tip of Moorea. There’s not much to say, so I’ll stop writing and you can enjoy the pics:

Posted in Animals, Kids, LosLocos, Pics, Sailing, Travel | 2 Comments

Pizza, desalinator, horses

Wow – a week passed without a new blog entry ! That’s ususally a sign that either we’re really enjoying ourselves or we’re quite busy. This time I guess it was a mixture of both.

First we had new friends arrive: The SY Tamora went on a mooring right next to us. For a welcome we did some barbequeue (Carrefour for the win !) Next day, we started the pizza oven on board and it finally was time for the famous Rancho Relaxo all-you-can-eat pizza !

Sundays the girls did an excursion to the horse party in Papeete while the boys made a big mess in the ship and repaired the watermaker. Luckily the membrane is not cloaked. The problem was a high pressure valve that got stuck. But with the help of Mr. H2O (Hr. Braeuer) and the really excellent instruction manual, we got it working again. We also cleaned all the filters and now it’s working great again.

In the meantime Gui and Viola enjoyed the visitor’s day in the hippodrome of Papeete where Viola found horses of all sizes to cuddle with and ride on. Looks like they had a lot of fun there.

We also did a big walk through all of Papeete in the heat of the midday and visited tht chandleries and tool stores. Unfortunately we didn’t find what we were looking for. On the same day the long overdue SY Papillon arrived with her new and improved besan mast (pic will follow). And on tuesday/wednesday Zac and me did a big mountain tour up Mont Aorai which I will describe in another blog post.

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(Deutsch) Tiere auf Langfahrt, 3. Teil (fuer Fortgeschrittene)

In Tahiti geht’s um nichts. Nein, vielleicht um nicht viel. Es ist ja die allerallergroesste aller grossen Staedte, die es in franz. Polynesien gibt und somit auf jeden Fall schon mal ungaublich gross. Dann gibt es ein paar kleine Yachtausruester, die das Zentrum der hiesigen Seglerwelt bilden. Ansonsten wird viel an Moorings gelegen und im Internet gesurft, weil das ist ja so billig und schnell. Und natuerlich ist dann noch der Carrefour, Mekka des europaeischen Konsumkultes. Man kann auch wandern oder surfen.
Aber ich wollte eigentlich ueber Tiere schreiben. Tiere auf Langfahrt. Was kann das den sein ? Fragt sich der aufmerksame Leser. Man oder Fra denkt dabei an Wale, Delfine, Faultiere oder Pinguine. Aber gemeint ist natuerlich das Tier an Bord, womit ich nicht den Skipper meine, wenn er schwitzt wie eine Sau, kopfueber im Motorraum haengend und mit Benzinschlauch in der Hand und Oelfilter zwischen den Zaehnen. Nein, ich moechte heute ueber Haustiere schreiben !

Gerade wenn man Kinder hat, kommt immer frueher oder spaeter die Frage nach dem eigenen Aeffchen aber das ist dann immer so kompliziert mit den Quarantaenevorschriften, gerade wenn man die am Strand einsammelt. Auf der Rancho steht ein Gecko bei den Grossen hoch im Kurs waehrend es bei den Kindern ein Huhn waere, das die Eier fuer den Kaiserschmarrn liefert. Dies sind natuerlich alles praktische Ansaetze, man muss sich aber auch Gedanken ueber die artgerechte Haltung machen. Spaetestens hier scheiden die meisten Mehrzelliger aus, denn welchem hoeher entwickelten Lebewesen wollte man schon eine solche Seereise zumuten ?

Nahrungsbeschaffung ist fuer die segelnde Familie eine anstrengende und zeitraubende Angelegenheit, da will man sich nicht unbedingt Sorgen ueber die Lieblingsspeise der kleinen Salzwasserkrokodile machen muessen, welche die Kinder als Experiment in der Bilge zuechten moechten. Auch ist der durchschnittliche Fahrtensegler ein eher traeges Lebewesen, womit die Verpflegung des idealen Haustieres idealerweise kaum bis keine Zeit beanspruchen sollte. Um hier der Seglergemeinde mal helfend unter die Arme zu greifen mache ich hier eine kleine Liste mit ein paar gesammelten Erfahrungen. Aber keine Angst, viele der Tipps funktionieren genauso in einem Zuhause, das nicht schwimmt !

Wir haben oder hatten in den letzten Wochen mehr oder weniger gute Erfahrungen mit den folgenden Tierarten gemacht. Es sei mir verziehen, nicht die korrekten lateinischen Namen rausgesucht zu haben, das ueberlasse ich dem oben angesprochenen, aufmerksamen Leser:

  • Mehlbewohner: Wir haben sie zuallererst in der Getreidemuehle entdeckt, spaeter aber auch bei gekauftem Mehl. Ca. 0.5-1mm lang und roetlich bis hellbraun. Harmlos und geschmacksneutral, wird durch regelmaessige Benutzung der Getreidemuehle und besseres Verpacken von Mehl (in Flaschen) konstant auf maessiger Population gehalten.
  • Ruesselkaefer: Zuerst entdeckt in einer noch geschlossenen Nudelpackung aus Gran Canaria. 2-3mm lang, schwarz und sehen aus wie eine Art Baby-Hirschkaefer. Sie haben die Faehigkeit durch Plastikverpackungen zu bohren und lieben Nudeln ueber alles – am allerliebsten Spinat-Lasagne. Werden ausgesiebt oder auch mitgekocht und vom Nudelwasser abgeschoepft. Ebenfalls geschmacks, aber nicht konsistenz-neutral. Geht aber als Pfefferschrot bei den Gaesten durch. Wir probieren zur Zeit eine Uebernahme der Rancho Relaxo durch doppelt-Verpacken in starke Ziploc oder Umfuellen in Flaschen mit grossen Oeffnungen zu verhindern. Lorbeer hilft hier auch.
  • Kakerlaken. Wir versuchen seit Spanien welche an Bord anzusiedeln, doch bis auf ein paar Einzelgaenger, die wohl als Botschafter oder Erkunder bei uns an bord schon nach kurzer Zeit verendeten, haben wir bisher leider keine Erfolge aufzuweisen. Es mag an dieser gruenlichen Paste liegen, die wir in den Dunklen Ecken mittels Spritze ausgebracht haben. Es ist ein ausgezeichnetes Lockmittel fuer diese widerstandsfaehigen Alleskoenner (die *richtigen* Kakerlaken koennen fliegen !) allerdings hat es den Nachteil, dass es stark toxisch ist und wir somit einer Besiedelung schon von vorneweg schlechte Chancen gaben. Wir sehen es allerdings als eine Art Darwin-Test und sortieren einfach die nicht-resistenten aus. Wir wollen super-Kakerlaken zuechten, die auch mit diesem Gift zurechtkommen.
  • Ratten: Wir hatten einen kurzen Versuch in Galapagos gemacht. Man kann sie ganz leicht an Bord ansiedeln, in dem man einen Kartoffelsack mit Kokosnuessen am fruehen Abend fuer eine halbe Stunde an den Strand legt und dann mittels Dinghy an Bord bringt. Nun hat man im Normalfall eine kleine Population an Bord, welche sich ueblicherweise in den Zwischenwaneden und -decken eine Art Haus mit Tunnelsystem durch die Isolierung frisst und sich hauptsaechlich von gesundem Obst und ungesundem Dacron ernaehrt. Letzteres war dann auch der Grund, weshalb wir heute keine dieser Nager auf der Rancho Relaxo haben. Vermutlich vertragen es die Ratten einfach nicht.
  • Kopflaeuse: Haben den Vorteil, dass sie mobil sind und man so nicht nur an Bord von ihnen profitieren kann. Man kann sie ueberallhin mitnehmen und sich an ihrer Gesellschaft erfreuen. Die Capitana hatte nach einigen Tagen aber festgestellt, das dies doch nicht ‘ihre’ Tierart ist und sie mit einer Tinktur und Kamm entfernt. Scheinen einfach unbeliebt zu sein.
  • Termiten: Wenn man eine Yacht mit viel schoenem Holz hat, bietet sich diese Tierart an. Sie schicken ihre befluegelten Schwaerme am Abend aus und fallen ueber ihr neues Zuhause regelrecht her. Es ist kein Problem nach nur einem Abend eine dauerhafte Koexistenz mit diesen ueberaus interessanten Tieren zu etablieren. Sie finden in jeder Ritze ein neues Zuhause und umschwirren die stolzen Besitzer der Yacht fortan an diesen lauen Abenden in Polynesien. Wenn man (wie wir) nicht an diesen Tieren interessiert ist, zieht man am besten in einem Notmanoever den Anker aus dem Korallensand, waehrend man bereits mit Vollgas durch das Morringfeld ans Aussenriff fluechtet, wo die Tiere zwar dennoch, aber nicht in derartiger Anzahl anzutreffen sind. Eine endgueltige Entscheidung bezueglich der Aufnahme in unser Privatbiotop haben wir noch nicht gefaellt. Sie moegen Licht, aber keine offenen Flammen wie Bunsenbrenner oder Loetlampen.
  • Motten, Ameisen, Mosquitos, Spinnen, Tintenfische und fliegende Fische haben sich nicht bewaehrt bzw. gehalten und  Toelpel oder Sturmvoegel waren nett, aber nur kurz an Bord.
  • Entenmuscheln und Seepocken konnten wir in der letzten Zeit gut ansiedeln. Hier hilft es, wenn man sich Muehe gibt und versucht, in den ersten eineinhalb Jahren moeglichst 10000 oder 15000 Meilen zu segeln, damit das Antifouling runter ist. Dieses hemmt den natuerlichen Besuchs enorm und sollte am besten mit grobem Schleifpapier entfernt werden, wenn man zum Beispiel eine Moeglichkeit hat, das Schiff trockenfallen zu laessen. Wenn in genuegender Zahl vorhanden, stellt so eine Entenmuschelzucht einen nicht zu verachtende Menge Notproviant dar, waehrend die Seepocken eine Art Schutzschild um den Rumpf bilden.
  • Menschen: Haben wir gerne und in zahlreicher Anzahl an Bord. Es haben sich sowohl junge als auch aeltere Exemplare gut bewaehrt. Die beste Unterhaltung hat man, wenn man versucht moeglichst viele verschiedene Kulturen und Nationen im Cockpit oder am Vorschiff zu versammeln. Obwohl wir sehr gute Erfahrungen mit kurzen WG-artigen Experimenten gemacht haben, konnten wir bisher nur vier Menschen dauerhaft auf der Rancho Relaxo ansiedeln. dies wird wohl an der nicht artgerechten Haltung liegen. Wir arbeiten aber weiter daran !
Posted in Animals, It's funny ! Laugh !, Learning for life, LosLocos, Observations, Pics, Rancho Relaxo, Sailing | 3 Comments

Waiting for the port captain

Yesterday at 4pm we stood in front of his door for the first time but he was ‘in a meeting’. At around 6pm we gave it another try but again: meeting. Today we got up extra early to maybe find him free for us. After a boat-taxiride and a 15 minute walk into the village we again found him in a meeting. Well. So we spend our time travelling back and forth in between the village and our boat. Or we roam the beach and watch the iguanas and crabs.

The island is quite different from San Cristobal. The streets are unpaved and the houses much nicer, the nature is even more meager.  The Iguanas are much smaller and the nice and bright beach is interrupted by black lava rocks. Those are the same rocks that we found in the entrance to the anchorage. It’s quite interesting to navigate in between those obstacles and I guess at night it’s quite dangerous. The anchoring is not that nice here as there is quite some swell entering and the weather is mostly misty – bad for our energy input.

Continuation of the above entry at 7:30pm: Finally in the early afternoon the port captain found some time for us and we could present our case. He told us to get going as fast as possible and repeated everything all the other people of the office already told us. Thereafter we found ourselfes in a small office where another officer took about two hours to type the protocol, make a copy of our passports, ask stupid questions while we studied a copy of the ecuatorian maritime law that lie on a table. In the end we were back at the Rancho Relaxo around 3pm and I could finally fix the engine. (Replace the fuel filter again.) So it’s working now but noone knows for how long. But for sure long enough to exit the harbour.

Tonight we’ll have the crew of the SY Red Sky Night from Australia aboard our ship and we’ll have a drink or two. They will also start towards the Marquesas in a few days and as they got a faster ship than ours, we’ll probably arrive around the same time.  Tomorrow after the breakfast we’ll be going….

Oh ! And I nearly forgot: Today we also saw Penguins !! Unfortunately we didn’t have a camera with us.

Last thing: During the voyage our satphone wll be turned on every day at 18:00 UTC for one hour.

Posted in Animals, LosLocos, Pics, Plants, Rancho Relaxo, Sailing | 1 Comment

Coconuts and pets

Somehow there seems to be a relation between those two. After our last dinner together with Tamora, Papillon and Mares, the owner of the restaurant gave us a big bag of coconuts. Since then we sometimes heard a faint scratching or crawling behind the walls and in some of our lockers. Could it be possible ? Did we finally manage to establish cockroaches on board ? No. The trail of small, black excrements we found the next morning made it clear: a rodent of medium size found a new home on the Rancho Relaxo !
The kids immediately liked the idea of a new pet, named it ‘Elvis’ and wanted to build a small Lego house for the rat. But the capitana threatened to move out: “Either Elvis moves, or I do !” So it was that the skipper and the two short ones went into the village to search for a trap. It wasn’t too easy to find it, but we finally came back home with the classic model with an extra strong spring. That should work !
Back on bord, the situation got more complicated: The capitana got a terrible stomach ache and despite us having different causes in mind, in the end it was the disgust of the rat that caused her stomach cramps. In the evening we put a small piece of cheese in the trap and everyone went to bed quite excited.
Big disapointment on the next morning: The trap went off but was empty ! – No trace of Elvis. Or actually that’s not true as he ate the cheese and then feasted on a bunch of bananas that the careless crew forgot on the saloon table.

Sensitive people and rat lovers: Don’t klick the last picture !!

The day passes with a lot of music. As planned, the skipper started to learn Guitar when entering the Pacific. The kids accompany his first musical steps with melodica and E-piano. All that while in the aft, the capitana arches because of her stomache cramps.
But this night we have a different plan: As Elvis obviously enjoys a very healthy diet, we’ll put a piece of banana in the trap and place that on the saloon table. To help the crew get sleepy we finally do a movie night – it’s been a long time. At 22hrs everybody is in the bunks and fast asleep.

At around 03h in the morning, the always watchful skipper awakenes and has to pee… – As I weasel through the dark saloon I noticed the trap has moved slightly ! And in the faint moonlight I thought I could see something small and round beside the trap. Maybe Elvis isn’t all that clever and we… I turn on the light and see the rat run to the far side of the saloon table. He again managed to get the food out of the trap and he only lost ONE whisker (!) when the trap snapped ! But now he’s behaving like most Galapagos animals and shows no fear of humans. He just sits at the table and stares at me while I – without turning away my eyes, I reach behind my back to get the machete we used the evening bevore to open coconuts. I lift it above my head – one stoke ! And I put a 1cm deep cut into our saloon table – and Elvis does his last twitch. I throw our former crew member over bord and hear the capitana sigh in her sleep. Next day her stomach ache is gone.

What I find funny about this somehow morbid story: The Galapagos are some of the strictest islands when it comes to quarantine rules. It’s pretty impossible to enter these islands with an animal aboard. Even to bring fruit or vegetables is not always easy. But it is exactly here that we and the SY Mares managed to get a rat on our ships. Hmmm. Maybe we should reverse those quarantine rules to protect the sailors ?

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Galapagos – animals of the first week

A few animal pics we collected over the past week: A blue footed Booby, we found near the dinghy-dock in town. A deceased marine iguana, photographed at the Loberia, a beach near town. A small yellow warbler finch, various small lizards and three frigate birds fishing in the lagoon of the volcano. Of course there are also the Giant Turtles, we visited on the way to our camping site on the last weekend. The brown Pelican we saw at various beaches but only on the Puerto Chino we found them breeding with every couple of pelicans caring for two young fluffy white pelican children. The red stone crabs are found pretty everywhere as are the sea turtles. And the birds that look like vultures are actually frigate birds, watching over our tent at the beach.

I didn’t put any pics of Iguanas and Sea lions as we already had enough of them.

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First day at San Cristobal, Galapagos

Galapagos. Just the name of these mystic islands are connected to so many images and stories. Darwin, marine iguanas, sea lions, giant turtles… And all that (except for Darwin) we’ll see in the next days and weeks.

After our dramatic arrival in the anchorage (a blog post with pics of that will follow !) We soon were greeted by an agent and the authorities. Soon after we missed about 600USD but had clearance for staying 20 days at the island. As the whole archipelago is a national park, everything is quite restricted and one can not sail around with his own ship. On can’t even take the dingy to the beach ! But – well, there are boat taxis for 1USD per (grown up) person.

The first day we went to the beach, together with the crews of SY Tamora, SY Mares and another sailing vessel with two kids aboard. The beach was fantastic and we finally were snorkeling again – after more than two months without touching the ocean. Unfortunately on that day we had quite huge waves and thus the underwater sight was poor. No turtles for us. – Only a few sea lions in the water. And those were more interested in the fish…

But it was great anyway. Everywhere you look, you see beauty. The black, grey and red volcanic stones at the beach for example. Together with the bright green bushes it makes a fantastic background for any kind of picture. And the marine iguanas – well I could take hundreds of photos. Amazing creatures, scary looking but harmless and they are everywhere !

Just as the sea lions. They are everywhere. Everywhere in the town, on the benches, in the boats and dinghies, at the beach. Luckily our boat has no bathing platform and also a high freeboard, so the sea lions cannot enter. But all our friends already had them in the cockpit or on the foredeck. Hehehe. Today I took the sailing dinghy to town – hopefully no sealion sleeps inside, when I get back in a few minutes.

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Arrived in Galapagos

Today in the morning we arrived at San Cristobal, Galapagos. The engine died on us while we were navigating in between reefs at the entrance of the harbour but we managed to put anchor under sail. Everything ok.

As you can see, I also posted all the missing blog posts of the last week. Our f****** server again managed to screw with us. Really frustrating !!

Posted in Animals, LosLocos, Pics, Rancho Relaxo, Sailing | 1 Comment

Last night in Costa Rica ?

Actually we wanted to leave tomorrow with the outgoing tide. But just now we learned that the guys at the customs office will not be working tomorrow. We’ll still give it a try and maybe we can leave without the customs papers. Otherwise we’ll be here for another night and leave tuesday afternoon.

Today I posted a couple of not so nice photos – showing some of mine mosquito stings. (And these are NOT the worst I’ve got !) These nasty little creatures somehow don’t get along well with our european blood. The stings get infectious and red and we have little wounds that excrete water and stay for more than one week. Only Bruno, Viola and me have these – it seems Gui’s got antibodies. It also only started when we came to Costa Rica; we didn’t have problems in Panama. Another reason to get going quite soon. Because even with smoke coils, sprays and mosquito nets we still get bitten sometime.

Today I spent most of the time up the mast and pulled the radar cable out to reconnect it. But without success – the radar antenna still isn’t working. I checked and measured the connections of our ST40 gyro-compass that’s also mounted up the mast. But we’ve only got readings in between 0.5 and 1 Megaohm. The resistance should be: Red to Green: 4-10 ohm, Red to Yellow: 4-10 ohm, Green to Yellow: 8-10 ohm, Screen to Blue: 8-10 ohm, all other combinations OC.
So I take, the compass is also dead&gone. Which means 66% of our Raymarine gear stopped working after one year. Well, well. We’ll manage without…

When we pulled the radar cable up the mast we damaged the LAN-cable of our wireless antenna on the mast, so I had to re-solder that as well. While doing this, our soldering iron broke. Not exactly a successful work day, eh ?

Posted in Animals, LosLocos, Pics, Rancho Relaxo, Sailing, Work | 1 Comment

Like groundhogs.

I’m not sure if that’s a good development: The sleeping capazity of the laziest crew of this world always was impressive – but during the last weeks we managed to increase it dramatically !! Maybe it’s a reaction of our bodies to the long ocean passages that lie ahead ? The kids ususally sleep about ten hours in one go and when we’re at sea even more. Gui can stay horizontal for twelve hours+. But I – the always busy and dutiful skipper (hahahaha) usually never sleep more than eight hours. So what is the explanation that during the last weeks we go to bed at the same time as the children and don’t get up earlier than when the heat is already unbearable around nine in the morning ?!? Tssss.

To put an alarm to counter this natural requirement would feel wrong somehow. But it also makes me think: Maybe it’s the heat during the daytime that’s soaking up all our energy ?

Anyway. Soon we’ll be at sea again and then our watches will bring order to our sleeping habits. We’ll be at the lookout for other ships and trimming the sails while the other one will be dozing downstairs. That way it’s a maximum of six hours of solid sleep during the nighttime and the kids’s will take care that we don’t get too much rest during the day. ;-)

The mast-climbing action was delayed because today we don’t have cloud cover and I’d probably get burnt by our black anodized mast. But nonethless we managed to do something useful: We took the Rancho Relaxo to the neighbouring marina and got 205 Liters of the (allegedly) finest Diesel. As our fuel tank was nearly empty we now finally know it’s capazity: 125 Liters it is. And another 80 Liters we carry in jerrycans. That will enable us to motor for nearly three days straight. Not too much as we’ve got 720 miles to cover with the current and wind against us – but comforting nonethless.

Posted in Animals, LosLocos, Rancho Relaxo, Sailing | 1 Comment

First day with Bruno’s new camera

Just wanted to upload a few pics that Bruno (and Viola) made today. Nice, aren’t they ?

Obviously those two were taken by me:

Posted in Animals, Kids, LosLocos, Pics, Rancho Relaxo | 1 Comment

Enter the Pacific !

A quick one, because we all had not so much sleep last night: We had a perfect Canal passage, a good party in the Gatun lake with a nice freshwater bath in the morning. And now we’re in the Pacific ocean – thanks to the best linehandlers of the world: Tim, Claus und Bas !

Here some quick unsorted pics from the passage. Big thanks to Stephi for the screenshots of the Miraflores webcam !

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Dancing with Mosquitos

The mosquitos are buzzing behind the nets, the sweat is running down my forhead and onto the already wet cushion. The linen sticks to my back and I ask myself: Why, oh why didn’t we sail to Norway ?!?

I get up in the middle of the night and go to take a cold shower. Afterwards I grab the camera and try to make a few night shots. But the mosquitos impede any attempt to keep still for longer than a few seconds. After a few pictures I flee back on our ship and try to find sleep before the temperature starts to rise again.

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Back in civilisation (?)

After one complete month that we spent in Kuna Yala, we’re now back in the so called western civilisation. The contrast couldn’t be any bigger. The San Blas islands, little sand patches with palm trees and beautyful corals and now Colon, a stinky town with rotten buildings and lots of noise.

After seven months that we spent on islands we’ve now put our feet on a continent for the first time since leaving Portugal. Right now we lie in the Shelter Bay Marina where our kids spend the day in the pool and the djungle begins right after exiting through the marina door and one can hear howler monkeys and lots of birds all day. There are crocodiles (!!) in the harbour water and we meet many sailors that we ran into on other islands in the Caribbean. All discussions are about the channel, the date when to leave and what is still to be done at the ship. Really pleasent to be with many other sailors again.

And we’ve been very busy since arriving: We’ve done all paperwork for the passage, the ship is measured and fenders and panama-lines are rented. We also did our biggest shopping until now and got groceries for about 900 dollars on board. Enough to last until Tahiti we hope. Gui was at the doctors and got antibiotics for her otitis of the middle ear – so in the next weeks there’s medicine instead of snorkeling…

Tomorrow we’ll leave the marina and sail towards Portobello where we’d like to persuade the Kira to follow us into the Rio Chagres. And as soon as we know the date for the passage into the Pacific, we go back to Colon to get the Rancho Relaxo out of the water and do new antifouling and take care of a few little rust patches on the waterline. Mmmmh.

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This is the most beautiful town, I’ve ever seen !!

One of the main attractions of Kuna Yala is the snorkeling. And we go every day. Mostly just to watch all the beautiful, colorful creatures and sometimes with the harpoon to catch some fish or lobster for dinner.
Usually Bruno and Viola acompany us in the dinghy and are afraid of the dark things in the water that try to grab their feet from deep down. I remembered from my own childhood, that I loved swimming above sand but was afraid of everything dark, I suggested to come snorkeling with us.
At first both of them were completely against that idea but I told Bruno and Viola that they’ll see the most wonderul place down there, the colorful world of the coral and fish. And all the dark stuff, you see from above is actually shining in all colors and full of life. So we set out with Pinguin (Gui was already there, together with Tim, Claus, Ornella and Gabriel (from SY Amigo)). We put on the diving glasses and snorkel and slowly slided into the water, always with a hand for the kids. The first two minutes they had to get used to the breathing with the snorkel but both immediately lost their fear. We swam over corals in 2-4m of water, went along the slope where it drops down to 20m. Both were pointing with their fingers and when I lifted my head out of the water, I could hear them: ‘Aaaah !’, ‘Ooooh !’, ‘Look this, how cute…’ They both were completely absorbed and we only got out after about one hour when everybody was already a bit cold.
Back on the ship they sat down and began to paint what they’ve seen. And here it was, where Bruno told me that: ‘This was the most beautiful town, I’ve ever seen !!’ – The town of the fish.

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Bruno can swim !!!

Despite MANY good events in the recent days this has to be the headline. For a family living on a sailboat this is by far the most important thing and now it happened: Bruno learned to swim ! It’s difficult to tell who is more happy about that – the parents or the kid himself.

And for me it’s difficult to find a beginning. As always – many things happen at the same time. My family is back. And they brought along the grand parents with whom they spent a week in Miami. Now we’re enjoying a holiday in the midst of our holiday-like journey. Gui’s parents invited us to spend four days together in a wonderful hotel near Bayahibe.

The Rancho Relaxo is alone at anchor in front of the Marina de Guerra who promised to keep an eye on our floating home and our dinghy while we enjoy the all inclusive club and have Campari-Soda and Caipirinhas at the pool.

Today Gui started her PADI diving course and tomorrow we’ll go diving together somewhere out on the sea. I don’t know exactly where, but it’s gonna be fun and I’ll bring along the GoPro to make pics and videos ! That’s all for now. It’s been a long and eventful day and I’m the only one awake right now as all the others fell asleep right after sunset.

Posted in Animals, Kids, Learning for life, LosLocos, Pics, Rancho Relaxo | 3 Comments

Fitzcarraldo on Barbuda

I already announced it, so here are the photos of the eleven mile beach. Maybe they make the cold weather outside a little more bearable for you.

The beach doesn’t need a description, I guess. So I’ll tell a little of what we did on Barbuda. This island is the complete opposite of Antigua where there’s the high society of sailing. Here on Barbuda theres NOTHING ! There is a hotel on the beach but it’s far off and there’s no village. But we had a todo: We needed to clear out and thus we had to get to Cordington which is seperated by a lagoon.

So what to do ? We all saw the amazing movie Fitzcarraldo and had the splendid idea to take the dinghy and carry it over the beach and into the lagoon on the other side. This was quickly done and despite being a little exhausting it was fun. We should do that more often. Hehehe.

We drove the dinghy about 20 minutes towards Cordington. This village consists of maybe 200 houses and the offices of immigration, customs and the port office were spreaded across the whole ‘town’. So I ran through Cordington in midday’s heat and filled all needed forms. Afterwards we had a cold beer and soon after drove back to where we came from. Same game: 20 minutes ride, 10 minutes to carry the dinghy back to the beach. And then of course an exhaustive bath in the turquoise water.

And that was prettty much all we did on Barbuda. Spending time on the beach, searching for crabs and shells, swim… It would make a great place to have a beach party with friends. Unfortunately ours are all far away or sailing the south of the Caribbean…

Posted in Animals, Kids, LosLocos, Pics, Rancho Relaxo, Sailing | 1 Comment