Category Archives: Rancho Relaxo

A weekend in Moorea and … everything changes

To get some distance to what happened and because it’s Loana’s 12th birthday, we decided to take the ferry to the neighbor island of Moorea. Jean Claude, whom we helped evacuate his yacht two weeks earlier, invited us to spend a weekend with his family.

The trip with the speed ferry only takes a little more than half an hour and we get picked up by car. The ride along the coastline has some magnificent views and we soon enter cook bay and continue towards the center of the island. Here we pick up the birthday girl and her sister Heilani who spent the day at a horse ranch. The energy of the soon to be 12 year old seems to be endless as we first drop her off at the jazz dance class before we finally get to their beautiful little house. The garden is typical for the area and has mangos, papayas, bananas and of course cocos and underneath all that green we see chicken and rabbits enjoying themselves. The weekend on the ‘countryside’ is a perfect change for us as we finally stop thinking about the Rancho Relaxo but have endless talks or (try) to repair an old motorcycle.

The time passes rapidly and sunday in the evening we’re back in Tahiti. Monday morning we suddenly find ourselves surrounded by the amazing number of TWO austrian ships: The ‘Chi’ arrived from the Tuamotus and the ‘Optimist’ came back from Moorea to do some last minute repairs before finally leaving for Fiji.

We’ve talked to many people, asked for prices and looked at used masts but it seems to be a fact: The Rancho Relaxo can not be repaired by us. We have tried to be as objective as possible but in the end that’s really difficult. The Rancho Relaxo is not just an object but our home and we had many thrilling and beautiful moments together. Saying good bye will be incredibly hard but a repair would cost us more than we could expect to ever get back by later selling the boat. After all we try to see the positive side of this: The market for used boats is really bad right now and we’re what you could call at the end of the world. So it is right here that we have actually good chances to find a new yacht. This and the financing of this new boat is what we were focussing the last days. And in both areas there have been extremely positive developments !
It seems quite surreal but only two weeks ago we were on the reef and thought that we would loose everything. Now it seems as if we will continue our journey with a new boat in the next year. This is possible because we have the support of both our families and they not just approve of our lifestyle but encourage us to finish what we started. Many friends helped us and want us to continue our journey. And that is exactly what we will do, although it will not be with the Rancho Relaxo of the Seas – and it will mean more work for us in the future. But that should not take the fun out of it and we are extremely happy about these amazing developments of the last days !!

Posted in LosLocos, Pics, Rancho Relaxo, Sailing, Travel | 7 Comments

Up and down

Every day feels completely different. Sometimes we’re all down and frustrated, the next day it seems as if life embraces us with all force. Our thoughts are too confused to write down as we still cannot say anything concrete about how it will continue for the Rancho Relaxo and us. But I would like to thank all of you for your support !

It is absolutely amazing !!! We’re can’t believe how many friends reached into their pocket to support us. And even more surprising is the amount of (until now) anonymous blog readers that step into the light and support us financially or by writing a few nice lines to make us smile again. To all of you: Many, many thanks and a big hug from the whole family !!

As soon as we can think a little bit clearer, I’ll write more but right now I’d probably only spread confusion.

Posted in LosLocos, Pics, Rancho Relaxo, Sailing | 2 Comments

Support for the Rancho Relaxo of the Seas

Many friends and readers of our blog have asked us how to help and whether they could possibly support us financially. To be honest, in the beginning I was absolutely scared of that thought for a couple of reasons. First of all it’s a thing of pride, I guess. But most of that I lost on that reef in Tetiaroa and as for the rest – I’ll just have to ignore it. Second thought: It was our decision to set out and search for adventure and a simpler life – which we mostly found. My navigation as a skipper was not safe and it was ME who fell asleep during the watch so why should someone else pay for my mistake ? Third: Although some financial aid would ease our situation at the moment and possibly even pay for part of the repairs, how would we move on ? We have to earn some money ! We’re considering writing for sailing magazines, possibly start writing an (E-) book, I could do some IT-work, Gui is planning to create a web shop for her children’s clothes label ‘Coquito’… any tipps and ideas are welcome !

What changed our mind in the end is that we would have no problem at all to accept hands-on help to work on the boat. But as we’re stuck here in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, this is not an option. So why would we refuse donations ?
We have created that little Paypal donate button on the side and right there you will also be able to find the details for our german bank account. The decision to write this really wasn’t easy. We are thankful for every cent that will help us to move on ! Thank you all for your support (monetary or otherwise) !

Posted in Coquito, LosLocos, Pics, Rancho Relaxo, Sailing | 13 Comments

Trying to think forward

We’d like to thank you all who sent us so many warmhearted emails, comments or called us on the phone (mostly in the middle of the night :-) Without your support it would be impossible to go through this difficult time. Be assured, we read ALL your messages but right now we don’t have the time to answer them – we are really sorry for that.

We would also like to officially thank our austrian friends Hannes and Christine who took us in on their catamaran ‘Optimist’ while the Rancho was still on the reef.

We are discussing different options to repair the boat and today we will go to Port Phaeton to look at a used mast that supposedly should be the right size for our ship. In the evening we had long discussions as to whether we should try to continue immediately or if it would be better to fly to Europe, get a job and earn money for one year. Either way there’s a lot of things to do and even more stuff to think about.

On the positive side: Yesterday we built a little roof to protect ourselves from the sun and the kids love it. I also tested the engine and it has no damage, going forward & backward works, as does the steering. So we now consider ourselves the owners of a heavily damaged an incredibly slow motor boat. Heh.

Oh and as some comments and emails go in that direction: We are NOT insured ! We’ll have to pay the salvaging of the boat and the repairs ourselves. Luckily the heroic helicopter rescue is free.

Posted in LosLocos, Pics, Rancho Relaxo, Sailing | 8 Comments

Starting to clean up

To postpone the thinking a little more, today we concentrated on cleaning the deck. We got all the ropes in order and removed the radar and other small parts from the mast, I dismounted the rollerfurler and folded up the Genoa. The main sail was also removed from the two parts of the boom and the lower half of the mast. Boths sails are not in too bad condition and can be stiched up easily. We removed all spreaders and stays and repaired the handrail. All in the crazy hot south pacific summer and nonstop from breakfast ’til sunset.

Then we tried to get into the internet at the marina bar but because they have a party tonight, they turned off the hotspot. So we went back to the boat to eat and that was when I found out that I couldn’t stick my foot in between the saloon bench and the mast-support. We knew that because of the bent hull the saloon bench is 3cm higher but that couldn’t be it. No it was the mast support that is bent about 5cm !! This (nearly) let me loose my appetite. So it seems that the Rancho Relaxo has more damage than we thought ?

Tomorrow I will first try to build a sun protection above the cockpit. Then I will think about how and why the mast support was bent. Maybe I’ll also inspect the engine for any water damage (the exhaust was on the side where the waves kept running in). At least the propeller is turning and the rudder is working – which really amazes me.

Posted in LosLocos, Pics, Rancho Relaxo, Sailing, Work | 8 Comments

The big splash – she’s in the water again

As I personally couldn’t take part of the rescue operation, I concentrated on documenting this incredible undertaking. The outcome: 830 pictures and 13 HD videos. Because internet here is way too slow to upload a lot, here’s a small snippet of the big moment:

Posted in LosLocos, Rancho Relaxo, Sailing, Video | 10 Comments

The Rancho Relaxo getting towed off the reef

After having arrived at the french Navy base in the early morning, the only thing we could think of was our ship. We knew that today would be a calm day but tomorrow big swell would set in and then a rescue attempt would be impossible. The pilots of the helicopter spent hours on the phone trying to find someone who could help us. Gui went off to get two mobile phones so we could stay in contact. When we reached the marina Taina our rescuers were already there and packing the ‘Vaimiti 9′ with all gear needed. TEN minutes later we were underway towards Tetiaroa.

During the hours we spent on sea we made scetches and discussed possible ways to get the boat off the reef. When we finally arrived just before sunset we saw that she was actually nearly on dry land. The images I made just before we got into the helicopter showed a different picture. So there was absolutely no way we could pull her off the coral, we need to get a crane or a – excavator. And luckily Ti Ai Moana by coincidence also had a special excavator on exactly this island. And it can go through 2m of water ! After we got the permission (this island is private and owned by the son of Marlon Brando) next morning this big yellow beast made its way through the lagoon while Yann and Sebastian were tying ropes around the Rancho Relaxo.

With the help of the digger and the 1500HP of the Vaimiti 9 the 12-ton Rancho Relaxo finally started moving. And when her back was already touching the water and the excavator only needed to retreat – it happened. The arm touched the mast and it immediatly broke. Now we had a new challenge: To get the broken rigging of our ship on the deck before the waves again put her onto the reef. The wires and ropes were cut and the pieces of the mast and boom put on deck. And finally with extremely violent motion the Rancho hit the water – and stayed afloat.

On the inside the ship was a mess but nothing was broken. The rigging was gone, so was the boom, our handrails, the sprayhood and many other little things. But it had no hole – after spending two nights on the reef.

Right now we’re back in the Marina Taina in Tahiti. We try to get some order into the chaos on deck and calculate our options. It probably will take a few days for us to get to a decision as how to move on. Luckily nobody got hurt. And lucky us we have this amazing tank like ship that keeps us save.

Posted in Learning for life, LosLocos, Pics, Rancho Relaxo, Sailing | 5 Comments

Shipwreck at Tetiaroa

So. Now we’re back on the internet and sort through hundreds of emails and FB-messages while trying to understand what had happened during the last three days.

We were on our way from Moorea to the Tuamotus when we hit the southern reef of Tetiaroa at around 3am local time. It took only a few seconds and the ship was thrown onto the rocks. Everything went very quick. The kids got lifevests on, I used the VHF to send out a MAYDAY with our position and situation. As soon as we knew that help would come (in the form of a Navy helicopter) we started to gather our most important things and prepared to abandon ship, I got the sails down and closed all windows just to be sure.

One of the best moments of our life – seeing the searchlight of the helicopter appear in the middle of the night. Followed by one of the scariest things we ever did: Leaving our home, our ship, all our posessions behind and jump into the dark ocean to climb onto the reef with the kids on our arms.

The crew of the helicopter did a fantastic job and got us up in the air in no time, fatigue setting in when we saw our shipwreck from above and escaped into the night to be brought to Papeete….

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Beautiful story in the Himbeer magazine

There is a very nice article in the german kids/fashion magazine Himbeer. German only.

Click the image to get to the story.

Posted in Links, LosLocos, News, Pics, Rancho Relaxo, Sailing | 4 Comments

The firekings

We’re only 24 hours away from the city-island of Tahiti and we’re already feeling healthier, fresher, happier, etc.  Moorea truly is a treat after that crowded anchorage and the polluted air of the city. It’s a good thing that we like it as it could happen that we have to spend a few more days here. There is a big high pressure system passing south of us and the wind will not be right for the passage to the Tuamotus. So we’ll have to wait…

Yesterday Dan and me took the dinghy towards the reef where the wrecked yacht is bouncing in the surf. There were already a few sailors from the anchorage helping the owner get all stuff from the boat. We got all the sails down and into the dinghy to transport them towards the beach. The accident happened when going through the pass of the reef under engine where the propulsion suddenly stopped. Whether it was the gearbox or some failure with the propeller we don’t know. But it certanly was too late to get sails up and the yacht hit the reef only a minute later. The keel and rudder broke off instantly and the ship filled with water. What a sad story and how shocking to see how fast and easy something like that can happen !

In the afternoon we discovered that the small shop close to the beach is also selling burger meat ! We got the big pack and left it in the sun to defrost while we took the sailing dinghy for a ride through the lagoon.

Right before sunset we met back at the beach and Dan showed the kids how to start fire with a firestone and some dry coconuts. The short ones were fascinated !! We had a beautiful evening and everybody fell into the bunks like a stone. Good to be out in the nature again !

Posted in Kids, Learning for life, LosLocos, Pics, Rancho Relaxo, Sailing | 1 Comment

Towards Moorea and a new shipwreck at the reef

After one month in Tahiti we finally did it and left ! The ship is packed with paint, tools and groceries and after breakfast we left together with the SY Red Sky Night towards the neighbour island of Moorea.

The anchorage at Maeva beach is known to be very calm but still we were surprised to find ourselfes in a force six after just a few minutes running north. We had to wait for a landing airplane at the airport of Faaa before we were able to continue our journey. After passing the runway we set sail in papeete harbour and left the island with the small genoa. The passage was very fast and quite pleasent. It really was a good thing to be on the move again after such a long time at anchor. Our joy was a bit shortened bya a mayday call from a polynesian yacht that hit the reef in the Passe Tareu – that’s the entrance to the Baie d’ Opunohu which was our goal !
A few hours later we were already sailing along the reef of Moorea and passed the gorgeous Baie d’ Cook. Only two miles further west lies our entrance and we could already see the wrecked yacht. I don’t know yet how this shipwreck happened as the pass is a few hundered meters wide and pretty much without current but maybe we’ll find out tomorrow.

Right now we enjoy the silence of this little bay – no city, no airport and only a handful of boats here. And our kids are on the neighbor boat so we have the Rancho Relaxo all for ourselves ! Yay !

Posted in LosLocos, Pics, Rancho Relaxo, Sailing | 3 Comments

Round Tahiti

Here are pics of some time ago, when I went with the kids for a car ride while David was recovering from his hike.

We visited Tahiti Nui and Tahiti Iti with Zac, Sylvie and Dan from the SY Ustupu. They rented a car and Dan managed to drive us all around, and although I wouldn’t say he forgot how it works, I’m sure he did that a little smoother while living in Canada. Together we went looking for fruits near the streets and checked every surf spot of the island… They also started surfing in Galapagos and we where all keen to have a look at Teahopu, the legendary break. On that day the waves where not as impresive as during the Billabong Contest, but it was nice, there are very positive vibes on that whole area. I’m shure I’ll be back some day…. but it could take a little while…

The last time I  took my board I got such a mighty wave, that it made me think about my kamikaze nature. It went rrrreally fast and was a massive fun the first seconds ! I was enjoying the speed with all my body and soul, but at the moment I realised I should start getting up and try to get out of there, I saw the reef aproaching. Coming in … three… two… one… SHIT !! I crashed full force into the coral and the only thing I could do was to grab my board as tight as possible and hope for the best. Well, I’m not dead, and got only a few scatches, so I guess it did went for the best ! Yeah, that was a wild ride. So, let’s face the facts. My next surf is going to be at a SANDY beach, with little waves. No harm done.

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Summer is coming

Slowly the summer is coming. Most sailors are leaving and the anchorage in Faaa (one of my favorite city names) is getting empty. We’re in the south. The moon works the other way around, we don’t know most of the local star signs and the seasons are totally wrong. Wouldn’t it also make sense that the sailing season is actually in winter ?

It’s the same as in the caribbean sailing season there is during the northern winter. Most sailors try to escape the hurricane season when the summer comes. The taifun season in the Pacific officially starts in January and ends around beginning of May. The timing tough is not as strict as in the caribbean. The season is actually only the time when the occurrence somehow peaks. Also the islands in the east are usually quite safe whereas the central Pacific definitely gets some decent storms now and then. So it’s no surprise that most of our friends who will spend the summer in the south have already left and are now in Tonga or in the Cook islands. After having changed our plan for a couple of times we finally came up with something that sounds reasonable: We’ll sail to the Tuamotus and spend the next weeks there. Then we get back to Tahiti at the end of November and my family will leave with an airplane towards South America. I will sail back to the Marquesas solo and we will be united two months later. Sounds good to me.

So why did we spend such a long time in Tahiti where most of the surrounding islands are much more beautiful ? Well, first we had a lot of friends that we met here and as one never does know if and when we could meet again, we had a few farewell parties. We were hiking and explored the island by car, later I was out of order for one week because of my infected toe. The last week we spent mostly in town, searching for missing parts. It’s not as easy as we’re low on money and the shops are quite but not always expensive. A 20l jerry can is 46 USD here but anti fouling paint is actually cheaper than in Europe. The record must be a little 12V piezo beeper that I bought in Panama for 40 cents. Here I found one for 42 USD. (A stupid BEEPER !) But now we got our sails repaired, we got spare parts and new hoses to redo the salt water installation and the bilge pumps, we got paint for the whole ship, new rubber for the windows, screws, filters and hoses for the engine and a hundred more things. On monday a man will come and refill our compressor fridge. After that I will probably spray half of the fridge full of foam to increase the insulation and decrease it’s size. I hope that will help a little. On our next visit I will also buy wood to do some enhancements to the interior and redo the cockpit floor. There’s gonna be enough to do when I’m alone on the boat.
Well if everything works out, we’ll be gone by the mid of the next week. It’s time.

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Still in Tahiti, rain and a wordpress update

Some have been asking and – yes – we’re still in Tahiti. Somehow we seem to can’t get going. But as today we finally have a rainy day (first one since ages) I’ll hopefully find the time to do a few missing blog posts.

Right now I just wanted to announce that we’re still here and that I update our website slightly. I’m gonna write another blog post soon. Promised.

Posted in Kids, LosLocos, Rancho Relaxo, Sailing | 8 Comments

Piracy, new plans and a bloody toe

Somehow lately I’m not really motivated to write blog posts. It might have to do with the flakey internet connection or that we’re not doing too much lately. We’re still in Papeete, still in the same anchorage and we still did not yet get all the parts that we need for the boat repair.

But in the meantime we ran into a lot of our friends that we met along the way. The Papillon arrived, we last saw them at Galapagos. The Red Sky Night arrived which we last saw in Fatu Hiva. And just yesterday I discovered the ‘Armatura Borealis’ that we ran into in Gran Canaria – a year ago !

So we spend a lot of time hanging out with friends, doing BBQ, the kids playing together, hichhiking to the city to get boat parts, etc.

We will stay for a few more days to wait until my toe gets better. – After climbing the mountains barefoot for two days, I managed to hit my toe on the way from the Carrefour to the Marina. Needless to say, the toe immediately got infected and my leg swollen. So now I’m enjoying antibiotics for the first time since we left Berlin….

Thanks to my parents we took notice of some good development in Somalia. It seems the country is heading towards having a government and the piracy rate during the last year went way down. There’s still a lot of danger in those waters but we immediately started plotting a possible new course through the read sea. Oooo if that would be possible it would be really nice. I’d not think twice of skipping that long crossing of the Indian ocean and then the Atlantic crossing from south to north for a nice, short ride throught the med. Well, in one year’s time we’ll know what to do…

Posted in LosLocos, Pics, Rancho Relaxo, Sailing | 4 Comments

Climbing Mont Aorai

To avoid mental meltdown after staying on the boat for too long, Zac and me got out to climb a mountain. The Mont Aorai with its 2070m should be a very beautiful hike and it has two huts in convenient locations to spend a night there.

So we took the bus around midday and arrived at Pirae at 13h. We walked past the village and asked our way through towards the Belvedere, a small restaurant at 700m where the actual trail will start.

It took us quite some time to get there and the walk on the paved road was quite exhausting but once on the trail I removed the shoes and we finally walk through nature. One of the better things is to walk barefoot and feel the moist, stony, muddy ground. The beginning of the trail follows along the side of a valley until it reaches the ridge on which it stays for quite some while. Actually most part of the trail is right ON the ridge with both sides being quite steep and usually leading a few hundered meters down.

Just before nightfall we reached the first hut on 1400m and we had a nice dinner with Couscous, vegetables, soup and coffee. The night was chilly and windy and we were glad that the backpack Zac got from the SY Ustupu would fit perfectly into the empty windowframe. That way it was much more comfortable and after having fun with our headlamps and the long-exposure mode of the camera, we slept until eight in the morning.

On the second day we continued our way up through the clouds and a wild, dripping wet rainforest full of fern trees and with everything covered with moss and lichen (old man’s beard). The air is damp and completely saturated and the scene might change on the next corner after which we might find ourselves out of the clouds and surrounded with pine trees and walking on dry grass.

After a short stop at the hut on 1800m we leave our backpacks and continue towards the summit. The path gets slightly more difficult and we reach the peak shortly after midday. A little snack and a few photos later we’re already on our way down where we soon again find ourselves surrounded by the clouds. Unfortunately those are now over-saturated and it starts to rain around us. It will continue to be wet until we reach the end of the footpath.

That of course means that a big part of the hike downwards is quite slippery and gets very tricky as much of the ground is composed of red clay. But we reach the Belvedere just before sunset and are very lucky to get a ride down to the village. And as we already know the polynesian way, we’re not surprised as one of the guys who is riding with us in the back of the pickup truck offers to get us to the marina. He just has to get back home and get his own car. The local people are extremely friendly and helpful and are not shy to drive two dirty, sweaty aliens around the island.

All of the above photos were made by Zachary Shane Orion Lough. You can find more pictures on his website.

Posted in LosLocos, Pics, Plants, Rancho Relaxo, Travel | 3 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

Every day something to fix. Today: Outboard engine

Finally I get to post some more pictures that were made by the kids. I guess, I should do that more often.

Yesterday we had visitors from Germany who flew into Tahiti and will buy a boat here to sail it towards Australia during the next year. A very clever and interesting idea. So we had an endess talk and did a (quite late) bbq on the Rancho Relaxo. Also when taking them to the dinghy dock of the nearby marina – and then racing back through that enormous anchorage, two people shouted at me because our engine is really loud …and really broken.

There seem to be quieter days but revently it seems that at least once a day something really important breaks. Yesterday it was the membrane of our watermaker (we don’t have replacement and will have to order it from somewhere abroad) and today it was the outboard engine. It was our friend Guenther who fixed the outboard when we were in Bequia but now it finally broke completely.

We didn’t use the big dinghy or the outboard during the last months but now we need it as the dinghy dock is quite far away and there’s no wind to sail with Pinguin. So we needed to repair it. As the shaft cannot really be fixed I just bent two pieces of  threaded rod around it and mounted the engine onto the holding clamps. Now we cannot move it up anymore but – who cares ? We also change the gear oil and cleaned the evaporator. Now it’s going full speed again. Yay !

But during that work I really went nuts. When bending that brass rod around the engine I smashed my left thumb with the hammer after which I ran through the ship (towards the first aid box) shouting and kicking everything. So I broke both doors of the tools locker who happened to be in my way….

I’ll fix them tomorrow.

Posted in Learning for life, LosLocos, Pics, Rancho Relaxo, Sailing, Work | Comments Off

Towards Tahiti and first days in Papeete

The trip to Tahiti was quite short. And towards the end we put up big sails to maybe arrive with the last light of the day. But at the north side of the island the wind was to fresh and we had to put the Genoa – we arrived in darkness. A classic…

Initially we planned to sail directly to the Maeva beach to drop the anchor. But we didn’t get permission to sail past the airport so we had to moor up at the city pontoon in the centre of Papeete. Not bad. Water and electricity is something we didn’t have for a long time !

The next good thing: just beside us is the austrian yacht ‘Shambala’ and opposite is our friend Zac with the SY Panache. Also there’s a french catamaran with two kids and Bruno and Viola immediately made friends with them.

The next morning, Gui and the kids went to town and came back with baguettes, croissants, butter and fresh milk. We had a real french breakfast and after doing laundry and clening up the boat, the kids and Gui went to the cinema.  I used that opportunity to head out to the brewery together with the SY Anaconda und Zac to sample some local beer. Needless to say, the next day was quite unproductive.

Next day was internet day and we finally uploaded all pics fom the last islands. The only thing left to do was to go shopping. And Gui came back with a car full of groceries from Carrefour while the kids spent the time playing with the waterhose on the pontoon.

Yesterday we finally moved away from the city pontoon and sailed the five miles south to Maeva beach. Needless to say, we arrived in darkness.

So today the first look around was – well – slightly disapointing. No beach here. Just looooooots of yachts. The anchoring is difficult because of the depth and all good spots are taken by moorings that the nearby marina put there. I guess, we’ll stay for two or three more days and then we’re off to Moorea.

Posted in LosLocos, Pics, Rancho Relaxo, Sailing | 2 Comments