Happy people on a happy island

What is the best way to start this post? It's best to start with my new habits. After morning coffee, I usually go to the bus stop and ride a few laps with Soraida until she leaves for work. On each lap we pass the vaccination center in Santa Cruz and see the long lines of people waiting for their vaccinations. Passengers are almost always waiting at the nearest bus stop, who proudly tell as soon as they board that they have now received their vaccinations. What strikes me in particular is that these people all get on the bus with a smile under their mask, that they have a particularly happy conversation. Sometimes people just walk past the bus and proudly point to the plaster on their upper arm. Around 30 percent of the local population are now vaccinated.

Bus stop in Santa Cruz. The dog is not vaccinated.

Almost two weeks ago I was looking for a new V-belt and was able to order one from Napa. Although I had the promise that the delivery would take place by the end of next week, I also ordered one in Germany that Barbara will bring with me. I've been in Aruba too long to bet a euro on appointments here. It's Friday, and so it's the end of the week when I drive past Napa with Soraida. In front of the door there is actually a delivery truck with parts, I go in and ask. You still have to check the delivery and call me when my two V-belts come with you.

The delivery truck is at the door. Is the V-belt included?

I'm back on the road quickly and after a few minutes Soraida collects me again. The voltage increases. Will Germany or Aruba win? The delivery date for the V-belt from Germany is Monday, 5:30 p.m. when KLM lands from Amsterdam.

While I ride another lap in the bus, a forklift moves into position in the parking lot and unloads the van.

The delivery is being unloaded.

Soraida is closing time. I walk a little more down Main Street, then I stroll to the boat. As soon as I have told Jens the state of affairs, my Aruba phone rings. Napa is on the line. The two V-belts ordered were included in the delivery. After a moment's thought, I walk to the bus stop and let myself be driven to Napa. Now the things are there, now I can install one of them too.

The new V-belt. Made in Mexico.

I am now one of the happy people in Aruba too. I didn't get a vaccination, but I got an important spare part. I stand at the bus stop and stare a little at the sky. It feels unreal to me that after such a long time I will be leaving Aruba for quite a while. Everything here feels so familiar, meanwhile Frankfurt is very far from me. Sailing, spending a few weeks on the water, that too feels strange. Hopefully it won't be long before I get used to it again. How will it feel to have Aruba far away in the wake?

Caribbean-type power pole

In any case, the new V-belt is installed after a few minutes. After starting the engine it looks a lot better, it looks like it should. I noticed a small leak in the external cooling water circuit, so I retightened all hose clamps. Then this leak will also be eliminated and the engine is ready for the return journey.

Time is running faster and faster

Everything is relative in life. Just a few weeks ago I lamented that we were stuck with various defects in Aruba, that the entry regulations of other countries were preventing us from continuing our journey and that the time would be long. In less than a week, Barbara will be here and the crew is complete. We have a rental car for a week, we will show Barbara Aruba, do a bulk purchase and set sail. It's harder for me than ever.

A rare sight. One morning all the fishing boats are out. The entire jetty is empty. The weather promises a good catch.

Regular readers of this blog will have noticed that the number of posts has dropped dramatically. Only a small part of this is due to the fact that there is hardly any news here, and the greater part is due to the fact that the news is not suitable for the blog.

Children playing in the main street in Oranjestad

On the Tuesday after Easter I go to get a new V-belt. Soraida knows all the auto parts stores and drives me from one to the next. Unfortunately, that's not enough. I was very happy when I bought the Mercedes car engine when I bought Sissi. The model has been sold millions of times around the world. So I had the hope that I could get spare parts for this engine all over the world, after all, there are many more cars than boats on our planet.

Morgenster

The first stop is at Morgenster. The shop is named after its address, by the way, because the street on which it is located is also called Morgenster. I have the old V-belt with me, the clerk looks in his computer and then disappears into the warehouse. I am optimistic. After half an eternity, the young man comes back and says that he should actually have one, but couldn't find it. Okay, that's the way things are in Aruba. Off to the next store, just across the street.

Unlimited AutoPartsCenter

This business, like so many others, is run by the Chinese. There is no computer here. The boss calls his wife and shows her the fan belt. She knows immediately that she doesn't have this model. It takes less than two minutes. I'm waiting for Soraida, who picks me up again after a few minutes.

jR Autocenter

In the jR Autocenter, the employee does not use a computer. He notes the number on the V-belt and measures it again to be on the safe side. It starts off well, there is no regretful “no” right away. Nevertheless, the waiting time until the “no” is quite short. Soraida picks me up again and drops me off at the next store.

NAPA Auto & Truck Parts

I can at least order the V-belt from NAPA. He should come by the end of next week.

To be on the safe side, I ask Barbara to get another one in Germany. The good old Mercedes 190 did not make it to Aruba in such large numbers that there would now be a significant number on the island. Aruba is dominated by Japanese cars, with Europeans being the big exception. If the Netherlands had an automobile industry, it would be different, but the car transporters that regularly unload their goods here usually have the Japanese flag blowing in the wind. Incidentally, there is a large selection of V-belts for Volvo Penta or Yanmar engines at Budget Marine.

Goats in the middle of the expressway

So I've spent a lot of time on the bus in the last few days and weeks and was able to combine the pleasant with the useful. On the way there are sometimes strange sights, such as this group of goats that have crossed a roundabout and are now walking on the expressway.

Preparing a funeral procession

Or this funeral: This is where the members of the drag club gather and have brought their racing cars on trailers to pay their last respects to one of their club members. This does not happen without a certain amount of noise, because the motors of the drag racers are in operation and are revved up every now and then.

Flor de Oriente

A little ritual has become common with Jens and me. About once a week we go to the Flor de Oriente, a Dutch restaurant in Oranjestad. They cook very tasty from fresh ingredients and there is not only the usual fast food, which is otherwise very common in Aruba. The taste of the food here is more geared towards European tastes than American tastes.

Restaurant hangover in the Flor de Oriente

We can also stroke the cute little kittens in the pile from time to time. They are still very young, but they have super soft fur. If they're not frightened by a falling chair, you can even take them on your lap and stroke them. Sometimes there is also a special kind of encounter.

Scientologists from the Freewinds

The Freewinds has often been the topic of the blog. During our last visit to the Flor, these three figures suddenly come running down the street. Inwardly, I think that's really annoying me right now. When I usually see them doing their “work”, they mostly disinfect the tables in the restaurants, then they move on to the next restaurant. I don't want them to disinfect our table, I'm eating. But it doesn't get that far. The three of them position themselves with laser rangefinders and measure the restaurant's terrace. The owner is watching. She was not asked for permission, but neither did she stop the hustle and bustle. The distance between the tables is also measured. Technically, that's not a problem here, because the tables are even further apart than required by the rules. It feels weird though.

Dinner - freshly cooked and vacuumed

In order to be able to spend an undisturbed weekend together with Soraida, I was able to get an apartment through a donkey friend. I prepare dinner on board and package it so that it only needs to be warmed up in a water bath. I'll get us a magic hat because the bus is known on the island as a sore thumb.

Magic hat.

With this small, inconspicuous rental car, we can move around Aruba undetected. For Soraida, the passenger seat feels a bit strange. But the oncoming bus drivers do not react to their greetings, which they apparently send fully automatically. We are invisible.

It's going to be a wonderful weekend. It's great to spend a weekend with someone you love.

Sand runway at Spanish Lagoon

So I'm traveling for my pleasure. And what is Jens doing during this time? He is feeling well. And he makes sure that our cockpit gets a nice new coat of paint. Otherwise he rides the on-board bike all over the island or puts on his running shoes for evening physical exercise.

Four coats of paint and four coats of varnish should be enough for a long time. The last coat of paint only lasted two years and consisted of two coats of paint and two coats of varnish.

Freshly painted - the cockpit floor. Thanks Jens.

I didn't sleep well last night. A big American fishing boat filled thousands of liters of diesel in the afternoon and then parked next to us all night with the engine running. The air conditioning must be running. I do not like that.

Inconsiderate neighbors

Easter sailing

The weather forecast fits perfectly. On Easter Sunday, the wind should decrease by about five knots. In addition, Soraida has two days off, so we arrange a leisurely day trip. On Saturday Jens and I get Sissi ready to go sailing. It's a lot less work than we expected. We've been pretty tidy in the last few weeks, we've always dutifully put the tools and other stuff back where we took them from. So we still benefit from the order that we actually established for the crossing to Guadeloupe.

We get up early on Sunday. Jens takes care of the tarpaulin that provides shade for our cockpit. I just want to check the engine for a moment. Oil level, cooling water, V-belts - the usual check before we leave the port. The experienced reader of this blog knows that an accident will now happen which will prevent us from leaving the port.

Recently we had this little water damage. A fine jet of water sprayed merrily against the engine from the pressurized water pipes. How long it has been like that, I can't say. During the last engine check a month ago, when we removed the mast in Varadero, I didn't notice the problem. But it probably already existed before, I wasn't thorough enough. In any case, the rust is blooming on some of the pulleys.

Rust. You can't use it anywhere.

Shit. It has to be said that way, because the rust has left its marks on the V-belt. We have to put some work into this first. We need a new V-belt and the belt pulleys have to be derusted, otherwise it will be destroyed again immediately.

Damage. Not completely. There are more broken spots.

Fortunately, we have replacements on board, because the auto parts dealers are closed over the Easter holidays. I quickly write a message to Soraida that we will start an hour later. The manual is needed.

Engine repair manual

I haven't had to change the V-belt yet, so I don't have the necessary knowledge. The process itself is very, very simple and quick. Loosen a screw, carefully relieve the tensioner and then remove the old V-belt. By the way, we have the version with power steering. What normally drives the power steering moves our impeller.

Then I derust the pulleys with a toothbrush and rust remover until they are nice and smooth again and cannot destroy the next V-belt. Then the new belt takes the place of the old one, it is now put under tension with the tensioner and then Jens starts the engine. It will be exciting. Was the repair successful? Can we go out now? The engine starts immediately in the first attempt to start.

The short film gives the answer very clearly, we can't go. The V-belt is just too loose. It can be moved a hand's breadth when the engine is not running. This is too much.

Let's come to the dirty secret of Harald B. from Aurich, from whom I acquired Sissi. When he sold the boat, he also showed me the many spare parts that he still has on board. From air, oil and diesel filters to bilge pumps to the conscious V-belt. The secret is that many of the “new” spare parts are not new at all, but have already left their lives behind. Why he did that? Of course, I can't just blame Harald, I didn't look inside the manufacturer's packaging. My omission.

With regard to the used spare parts, there is no longer any risk, because we have all used them up to the present day. The “new” electric bilge pump immediately acknowledged service with a smoke signal after it was installed. Thanks to Charly von der Chapo, I was able to quickly get another pump last year, which is now doing its job reliably. The “new” air filter for the engine was already used, but looked better than the one that did its job from Holland to Aruba. Barbara will bring us another one from Germany, because so far I have been looking in vain in Aruba. The “new” V-belt goes straight to the bin. I am confident that I will be able to buy two copies in Aruba, Soraida knows all the auto parts dealers. Otherwise we have to wait for Barbara. The “new” anchor lantern caused a popping short circuit when it was first tried and was thrown in the garbage. The “new” impeller was porous and the blades were easy to break off.

Happy Easter!

I spend the day in the cockpit with Soraida. We enjoy the snacks she brought. In the course of time, my anger at myself disappears. Even if Easter is almost over in Germany - Happy Easter from the Caribbean!

Resigned government

We read the news from Germany about the resignations of more or less corrupt politicians in Aruba with interest. In this blog I would like to point out a message that did not make it into the news:

And every day it now flies across the street, the governor's flag

Somebody here in Aruba told me that when the governor's flag flutters in front of the parliament building it doesn't mean anything good. I've seen her every day since Tuesday. Last Tuesday is the Resigned government, New elections must now be scheduled within three months.

The public prosecutor's office has been investigating the ruling party POR for a few weeks. Community funds are said to have been embezzled. I am curious to see how this will develop. In any case, I'll keep following the news.

Parliament building

All of this is of course a topic of conversation. Topic at the bus stop, topic among the passengers, topic in bars - at least where there are not predominantly tourists. My contribution to such discussions usually comes from my German perspective. Many Arubans believe that their government has leased corruption for itself. But that's not true, unfortunately in my opinion this is a global business model.

I think I've seen the dark t-shirt from this souvenir shop on the street a lot in the last few days. The T-shirt is not a new edition. Could it be that it only recently came to the fore? Perhaps the dealer always has a box in the warehouse in the event of a new scandal.

Souvenir shop

Relaxation

We have a plan. At last. Nobody can close the Atlantic to us. That is why we are now planning the return trip to Europe from Aruba. Bermuda is currently open, we could make a stop there, just like in the Azores. As always, it all depends on the wind. In the middle to the end of April we get reinforcements from Frankfurt, Barbara will accompany us on the Atlantic crossing. This will enable Jens and me to sleep a few hours longer. Until then we will do a few more work on the boat, mostly painting work.

Painting work

It's nice to see how the boat becomes a little more beautiful almost every day. The only thing I don't dare to touch is the ceiling paneling of the salon, it's all too crooked and needs to be renewed in Europe. All in good time. In doing so, neither of us ruin each other. Sometimes Jens goes to the beach or I go to the donkeys, sometimes we work on the boat and sometimes we take care of our vacation. Yes, it now feels like vacation sometimes.

Swa gives a lesson in relaxation techniques

I see Soraida almost every day now. So much for that. It feels good, it feels right I look forward to the future. We want to go sailing on Easter Sunday. Jens tells me that his friends no longer believe that I will leave the island at some point. He would probably have to come home by plane. He doesn't have to.

I miss winter, the change of seasons. Aruba offers eternal summer. I've already missed two winters. Solutions can be devised for all other problems.

Socks' relaxation technique

So while not much is happening here, we have good news from our family. Our parents and sister all received their first vaccinations. In view of the current situation in Germany, that calms us down a lot.

But even here in Aruba, the numbers are rising rapidly. That was last after March 18, a national holiday (“Aruba Flag Day”). Now the Easter holidays are just around the corner and the government has tightened the measures. There is a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. for everyone. Restaurants and bars have to close at 9 p.m. After 7 p.m. you are no longer allowed to go to the beach. Only two people are allowed on the road and a maximum of four people are allowed in the boat. In particular, violations of the curfew are punishable by heavy fines. Whether because of the measures or because of the beautiful weather, the daily number of new infections has decreased somewhat in the past few days. At times there were over 100 new cases a day, and we've been under 50 again for a few days.

The governor is visiting parliament

This has nothing to do with Aruba Flag Day. Sometimes you see this flag in front of the parliament building, it's the governor's flag. It consists of the flag of the Netherlands and the Arubas. Anneke described it to me a while ago. She sees them often because she lives on the same street as the governor. When he's at home, it blows on his doorstep. It is always pulled up where the governor is.

Eagle Beach

On the way to the supermarket I pass Eagle Beach again. I haven't been there for a long time because Jens has always been shopping by bike for the past few weeks. I prefer to take the bus, then I don't have to drive against the wind on the way back. Actually, the island seems very crowded to me, but the beach shows that the island's infrastructure can withstand a lot more tourists. I can also see it in the fact that not everyone is still going back to work. Edward, for example, is still waiting for his employer to reassign him. Fortunately, there is still government money for such people.

Unobstructed lake view

This picture is rare. The two high-rise - uh - cruise ships are on their way. Of course they will come again, but for a day or two the view of the lake is unobstructed.

I sit down at the computer and order things online that we can't get in Aruba or that are too expensive here. They will all find their way in Barbara's luggage. Excess baggage is cheaper, faster and more reliable than transport by post. We have to switch back to the data flat rate for satellite telephones so that we don't become poor. Otherwise almost everything is dry. Time to relax.

Relax with a delicious dinner on Soraida's terrace. Fluffy rice with vegetables, great spices and perfectly marinated chicken parts.

You can only do it wrong

Have you recently wondered what the consequences of your actions will be in the future? Acted in good faith to do something right and you really kicked the shit? I had an aha moment yesterday.

Sissi is pretty much ready to go. We still have to fill up, child's play, after all, we are less than 10 meters from the gas station. We don't even have to move the boat to refuel, the hose is long enough. Nothing to hold us in Aruba.

Bus stop in Oranjestad. A hub for information.

The bus stop is not just a place to wait for the bus. It's also an excellent hub for information, gossip and good coffee. So I stand around and drink a coffee when I am approached by a bus driver. Would I have already registered for the vaccination? No, I say, we tourists don't get a vaccination. I took a close look at the vaccination schedule for Aruba. The vaccine is currently being given to people over the age of 60 or belonging to groups that are at risk from working in hospitals, for example. I am not one of them.

But the bus driver tells me what she heard on the radio. Namely that in Aruba everyone is vaccinated now, even those who are illegally in the country. You just have to register and you will receive an email with the vaccination date. Wow i think. We want to leave Aruba, but with a vaccination it would be much easier to travel. In the evening I'll discuss this with Jens. We agree that we would like to be vaccinated.

So I let Soraida drive me to the authority where you register for the vaccination. I catch the perfect moment, a quarter of an hour before lunch. There is no longer any queue in front of me, I can go straight to the counter. I explain my concern to the clerk (or whatever it's called in this country). She asks me for my passport and looks at the pretty stamps. Basically I can get a vaccination in Aruba, but ...

Soraida drives, but my regular seat in the front right is occupied.

... I was right in assuming that they don't vaccinate tourists. Now I come back to my opening sentence. If we hadn't gone to Cuba and if we hadn't legalized our status by leaving and re-entering Aruba, at least I would still be illegally in the country. Then I could have an appointment within a few days. I should come back at the end of June when my status changes back to "illegal". Then I could get the vaccination. But at the end of June I'll be on the other side of the Atlantic. In Aruba, everyone is vaccinated except those who are legally in the country as tourists.

In addition, I am trying to get permission from the responsible authorities to enter Guadeloupe. There are much better and cheaper ways to repair our mast there than there is in Aruba. They haven't replied to the email from the day before yesterday, but it was in English. I didn't think about it, Smurf. Today I sent another email afterwards. In French, I can do that. It's just a lot more exhausting, the vocabulary doesn't always come to my mind. I dig in the brain and the English word falls out.

As a little hamster, I have now collected almost all the parts for an engine inspection. The only thing missing is the air filter and a few liters of oil. The oil is a very common mineral 20W-50 oil, so far I have not been able to find it in Aruba. I travel from auto parts shop to auto parts shop. Soraida lets me out today at the shop where she always buys the parts for her bus. They even have my air filter in the computer, one is still in stock. But it was hiding somewhere, after a 15-minute search the seller came back to me empty-handed.

Again waiting for the bus.

In summary, I have to say that my willingness to leave has never been greater and the possibilities have never been less. You can also cross the Atlantic from Aruba. It's like last March. Little by little, the borders are closing.

Addendum: After only three hours, the cancellation came from Guadeloupe. If you use the right language, you will get an answer.

pirates of the Caribbean

The translation of the post title back into English by Google is funny.

We were on our way to the promised land, according to Atlantis and landed in Aruba, which is roughly in the same part of the world. We came at the end of January and only wanted to lick our wounds for a few weeks and also seal the leaking windows. The curse of the Caribbean weighs on this boat.

Sissi looks astonished. What is happening here on board?

Episode 1: The Propeller. We are confident. The Chapo is also still in Aruba and Charly is helping us with the treatment of our propeller by clearing his diving equipment and carrying out the dismantling and the due assembly the following day. We are happy because we have come a little closer to our goal of getting through as quickly as possible.

The supply of coffee urgently needs to be replenished. After a long search, I was able to find a brand that more or less lives up to our requirements.

Episode 2: The Skylights. You don't want to and don't want to get tight. Some of the screws are worn out. The old sealing tape is crumbling away. After days of trying, we finally manage to get the hatches tight. We are happy, we have been able to cross a big fat item off our to-do list. We announce our imminent departure. Together with friends, something like the last evening together comes up. We are optimistic that we can do the remaining work in a short time.

Anneke broke the ice out of the freezer. Some donkeys like to lick the chunks of ice. As long as I'm in Aruba, a weekly visit to the donkeys is almost a must.

Episode 3: Oil Spill. After a week and a half of treatment, we see the color of our carpet again. The floor no longer sticks. We enjoy the beautiful sight again.

Episode 4: The pulley at the top of the mast. When we sailed from Cuba to Aruba, we had some problems getting our mainsail down again. These problems were then lost in our memories, because afterwards we could only get to the clearing port without a drive under sail and with the help of a tug (see also episode 1).

Somewhat frustration builds up. Time begins to stretch. In order to get around the removal of the mast after all, we wait for the rigger and his opinion. Of course the mast has to be down. We are waiting. Waiting for an appointment.

Our teddy bear from Tobermory Lifeboats looks at what we're doing together with the port and starboard donkeys. Sometimes that is very, very little.

Epsiode 5: Lift the mast and let the credit card bleed. For a mere 800 US$, a truck-mounted crane comes to the Marina Varadero and is available to us for just under four hours. During this time we exude an endless zeal for work, after three hours the mast is back on the deck and is provisionally moored. The repair of the pulleys took less than ten minutes. The rigger should do the final trimming of the mast for us.

We are happy, because without the mainsail it would have been impossible to continue. We announce our imminent departure.

Rib with cabbage and mashed potatoes. Frankfurt national dish. We still have a few cans of cabbage on board. The Kassler is easy to get to in Aruba. When the soul suffers, it can be appeased a little through the stomach.

Episode 6: Toothache. Is there the absolute best time of the week to get a toothache? Is there! It's Friday afternoon when the dental practices are all closed. This guarantees a happy weekend and top motivation to do any work that may arise. Cooking isn't fun either. Especially not eating. After the diagnosis comes the wait. Waiting for a treatment appointment. The two hour treatment. Waiting for improvement. Another treatment. And waiting for improvement. This episode is still ongoing. I actually wanted to go to the practice again the day before yesterday, but the dentist made a bridging day.

A great joke. The day before yesterday was Friday and Thursday was a national holiday.

These tourists pose with the fish they have caught. Life can be sweet in the Caribbean. The weather is always nice, there are people everywhere who are spending a happy holiday.

Episode 7: The Foot. On the way back from a visit to Budget Marine, I do a pretty good job of walking. Today, two weeks after the incident, I can walk again without pain. But it's not completely over yet. I already twisted this foot on my way back from Cuba. In any case, every day of waiting before the possible departure is now gold for the foot. If I spare it for as long as possible, it will be better as soon as possible. I spare him pretty well.

The curse of the Caribbean, indolence, it is gaining more and more power over me. Or about us. Why should we prepare our departure? We no longer announce departure dates. How should we know when to continue? I can still feel my foot, but I have decided that it will not hinder our departure.

Inertia. With cats it is quite natural. In humans, the greater the number of frustrating experiences that have to be dealt with, the greater it is. At least for the people who live on board the Sissi.

Episode 8: The Fountain. Our engine is soaking wet. A trickle is running out of the engine compartment. What the fuck? Where does it come from. A first examination with the eyes and the flashlight does not shed any light on the darkness. I wipe everything dry and give it a day. The next day it is wet again. It's fresh water. Where did that come from? It is not from the cooling water circuit, all lines are dry and there is no dripping anywhere at the connection points. We find a T-piece that has a pin-sized hole in the side from which a lively fountain gushes. This episode has only been running for three hours now.

Jens wants to go to the hardware store to get a spare part or repair material. The hardware store closes at 2 p.m. on Sunday, which is roughly the time at which I write these words.

The curse of the Caribbean keeps us in the Caribbean Netherlands. I feel a little like the Flying Dutchman - just the other way around. My boat is not allowed to sail.

A minced meat sauce with fresh leek vegetables is just being born. There will be pasta with it. A simple dish, but it's always delicious. Pasta makes you happy. Especially with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. After all, the saying goes “love goes through the stomach”.

Every thing has its reason. Every action has its consequences. Failure to do so can also have an impact. We are still in Aruba due to a chain of unfortunate circumstances, delayed activities, indolence and a lot of bad luck. I like it a lot right now. Episode 9 also started recently. If episodes three to five hadn't happened, the ninth wouldn't have happened either.

Last night I had a really great, lovely woman on board and cooked dinner for her. Our second date. Then we were on the beach. Not anywhere, we drove to the California Lighthouse. It was stopped by the police, because we were not allowed to sit on a stone together because of the corona rules. I don't write any more, but Jens has already asked me whether my relationship would have any impact on our departure.

I am no longer making any statements about a possible departure. I'm not making a fool of myself. But it's fun to sit on the beach like two teenagers.

Yesterday our Eintracht won 5-2 against Union Berlin. The lady who was on board yesterday supports Bayern Munich.

Lionfish snack

A few weeks ago Klaus asked me in an email whether we were out of breath. I don't know Klaus personally, but we've been writing to each other for a year and a half. He is a much more experienced sailor than I am, but is currently stuck in Germany and his boat is in Holland. And I'm sitting on my boat, which is only moving a few centimeters at the moment, as far as the lines allow.

Yesterday I went to the dentist again. The tooth that she rebuilt last week is still causing me pain and lo and behold, she can use the drill to remove a few corners and edges of the filling where the tooth in the lower jaw and the one in the upper jaw rubbed against each other. She is confident that I will be pain free shortly. However, I can't chew on the side yet. Speaking of chewing. Last Saturday we went out to dinner for a good cause.

Lionfish as graffito in San Nicolas

Spear fishing is prohibited in Aruba, but there are exceptions. An exception is the hunt for lionfish, which came to the Caribbean from Asia as an invasive species and has no natural predators here. Much is being done to get these robbers down. This is because they eat other fish and have no natural predators in the Caribbean. That's why they tried to do that in Honduras Getting sharks used to the taste of lionfish. It wasn't really successful. Lionfish have another natural enemy in the Caribbean, humans. Volunteers swim with their spears to at least thin out the population in Aruba's waters. The prey is then sent to the Lionfish snack delivered, which opens every Saturday afternoon (we call it the lionfish, in English it's the lionfish).

Lionfish Snack Aruba

Dickie and Edward pick us up in the early afternoon. Neither of them know the takeaway, but it is in the immediate vicinity of Edward's apartment or his wife's place of work. As Edward rightly put it - you have to look around your own area and see if there are new shops or restaurants. Right!

Information poster

A large poster explains to the customer why it is good for nature to eat lionfish. I order a portion of kibbeling, which is fried fillet pieces wrapped in batter. Jens orders a mix of kibbeling and wings. They are made from the side fins and also look very good on the plate. However, they have bones, the Kibbeling pieces do not.

Mixture of kibbeling and wings

Since I left Holland almost two years ago, I haven't been able to find a proper kibbeling. The fish shop in the superfood here also sells kibbeling, but Jens found it very, very bad after a test. A frozen industrial product is being sold, and there is such good fish in Aruba. The food from the Lionfish Snack is homemade from top to bottom.

Jens and Dickie - someone is still waiting, someone has already had his meal

Two American tourists are waiting next to us for their food, so everything takes a while. The snack bar is not prepared for a large number of customers at the same time. And by the way, phone orders keep coming in, the snack seems to be popular. When my food finally finds its way to me, I understand why. The meat of the lionfish has a fine taste and a nice consistency, which makes the kibbeling just delicious.

Kibbeling, I ate first and then took the picture

After the meal we do what Arubans love to do in their free time. We just drive another lap around the island, visit Baby beach and relax to the reggae sounds from the car radio. After a fantastically kitsch sunset, we let the evening fade away on the jetty.

All of this doesn't get us any further, it doesn't bring us a meter closer to the next island. But it's good to break out of the daily routine, meet other people and just have fun. Right now, I find it very difficult to motivate myself. We just had a nice weather window to sail on to the Eastern Caribbean. This is now closed. In the coming week there will even be a two-day lull, my weather oracle tells me. Then we would burn diesel or stumble around in the Caribbean Sea.

Weather forecast

That means that I don't dare to predict a possible departure date anymore. When I talk about continuing my journey, I am now laughed at. The locals even make me offers for real estate, which I don't find funny anymore. The good thing for the bad is that my ankle has now returned to almost normal dimensions and I would no longer feel unsafe on the forecastle.

Bun dough

Aruba is sticky, but Aruba is not the end. We'll leave this island, that's for sure. When this will be the case has not yet been finally clarified. Everyone has ups and downs in their life, I am currently in a low. That's why I'm happy that Jens is trying to bake fresh bread today. I'm excited to see the result and see if I can chew it on the left side too.

One year in Aruba

A year ago today, we arrived in Aruba for the first time. We have been planning to leave Aruba for three weeks. It's bewitched.

Aruba in March 2020 before lockdown.

Jens brings the wind sensor to the top of the mast today. Everyone pretends to be dead when the instruments are tested. The fuse has blown. After the exchange, the data bus runs again (NMEA 2000), but only supplies power and no data. When I disconnect the anemometer everything is normal.

So either the sensor is defective or not connected properly. Or the cable in the mast was damaged when it was removed. We have to find out now.

We are on the move, we finally want to move on. But Aruba sticks.

Positive: The dentist repaired my tooth yesterday. For less than € 200 I got the examination, an X-ray and the repair. When I think of the prices in Germany ... I can go again. Slowly but painlessly.

What else needs to be done before departure? Not much. Repair wind sensor. Hitch the sails. Refill supplies. Depart.

The first point can be fatal. In the worst case, the mast has to go down again. Annoying, tedious and expensive.

Negative: There is a short circuit in the data cable. To replace the cable, the mast has to go down again. But we don't do that in Aruba anymore.

From now on we will determine the wind strength via the charging current of the wind generator.

Not in the right mood to write

is currently coming to me. I've had a toothache in a molar since Friday evening, and I'll finally have an appointment at the dentist in three hours. It's going to be a bigger thing, I'm just looking forward to a hole in my stomach. It always starts on a Friday evening.

We are so far through with the boat. We still have a lot of cosmetic repairs to do, but we're no longer doing them in Aruba. We have everything we need for the job on board. If we're in quarantine somewhere again, we'll finish it off. That's why we can take the weekend off as always. On Saturday our friend Dickie picks us up and wants to take us to the natural pool in the national park Conchi. He also has his day off on Saturday. We agree that the time is 2:30 p.m. The park entrance closes at 4 p.m., but we can stay in the park until 8 p.m. That's our plan, then we'll have the pool to ourselves. The normal tourists have long been back in their hotels.

meatballs

Jens grabs our board bike and cycles to the butcher's shop. There he gets the ingredients for a lot of meatballs, which I then fry in the course of the morning. I've only finished five minutes when my phone beeps to announce an incoming message. It's 1:30 p.m. Dickie informs me that our friend Edward is also with him and that they are about to go to pick us up. We are happy to pack the meatballs ready for travel.

Dickie's car

It's 2 p.m. Actually, the two should come right away if they left half an hour ago. But you do not come, instead I receive another message a short time later. They are currently looking for fuel money because the car's tank is practically empty. I offer to help out with fuel money. You want to drive off immediately. At 3 p.m. Dickie and Edward arrive at the boat. They ran out of gas on the way, so they had to beg for a few liters of fuel. The typical Aruban excuse for being late - problems with the car. We're going to refuel. We leave Oranjestad at 3:15 p.m. At 3:45 p.m. we arrive at the park entrance. It closes at 4 p.m., but tickets are only sold until 3:30 p.m. Damn. On the other hand ... at the entrance there is a large sign that the pool is closed due to weather conditions. We decide to go to the other pool.

The east coast of Aruba

Dickie chauffeurs us down an off-road track. It's a little harder than the slope that goes to Conchi. But there are great views of the landscape. We have a lot of fun.

Small break to take photos

When we arrive at the pool, we are initially afraid that the group of ATVs parked by the ladder has just arrived. Fortunately, the opposite is the case, you are just getting ready to go. We have the pool to ourselves for most of our stay. The surf outside the protective stones is enormous, no wonder Conchi was closed.

The sea is rough

Inside, as always, it's nice and relaxing. We drift through the water. Since the tide is low, we can look really far into a small cave and swim. That doesn't work during floods, then you hit your head. A group of three American women with a tour guide arrives, the women jump into the water for a moment, a photo is taken, and five minutes later they are gone again. We have a lot of fun with the screaming women.

When we lose our appetite for the pool, Dickie wants to go off-road a little more. So we continue north along the whole beach of the east coast of Aruba until we get to California Lighthouse drive back on paved roads. We chug further and further along the beautiful beaches towards Oranjestad. We see on Eagle Beach a wonderful sunset. Then we drive to Sissi's and end the day with a cool, hoppy soft drink. You have to explain exactly to Dickie and Edward about the one (!) Beer. Otherwise the two stay until the refrigerator is empty. It was a beautiful day.

Sunchi and Socks

On Sunday I go to the donkeys. I will continue this ritual as long as I am in Aruba. I am delighted to see that the two cats Swa and Socks have finally come down from their roof. It really paid off to transport Sweety to the Netherlands.

Tiger and Woods

Unfortunately there is sad news about the little tiger. She keeps falling and then cannot get up. It seems like she has a problem with her knees. That's too bad. She was with the old donkeys for weeks now and could run around, jump and play with the oldies. That is over, now she and her mother are locked in a small stable again. Anneke recommended a dentist to me.

Unfortunately, the dentist cannot help me immediately. I have to wait for another patient to cancel an appointment. So I drive to Budget Marine to see if they have suitable LED position lights there. You do not have. On the way back to the bus stop, I kink on the zebra crossing and fall right in front of a car. I drag myself to the side of the road. For the first time in days I can't feel the tooth, the ankle is clearly the loudest. The lady, whose car I was lying in front of, drives me straight to Sissi. Only after a 10 minute drive can I have some conversation, before the foot was too loud. I can't sail like that. Aruba is sticking badly right now.

Ouch!

Soraida is really big cinema with her bus. Because I couldn't and didn't want to hobble to the bus stop, she picked me up in the marina and dropped me off right in front of a boat supplier, picked me up again later and drove to Sissi's. I am infinitely grateful to her. I didn't get the position light, but I got a pot of red paint that we want to put on the outside wall. Now there are still two hours until the dentist's appointment.

Here comes Soraida