The wind is blowing with its usual strength and we are cruising through the Caribbean Sea. Cuban salsa music that we copied on site can be heard from the speakers. If you could dance salsa, you would be able to push any beautiful woman across the dance floor to these sounds. We have a mission. We are looking for a mysterious, forgotten island. This island is missing from all nautical charts. Why are we doing this
A few days ago we were sitting in a dark, dirty Cuban bar in Santiago that no tourist has ever strayed into before us. We drank rum because there was no beer. We didn't trust the water. The rum tasted good, it tasted sweet and reminded of the sea. Suddenly an old Cuban came to our table. He smiled at us, only a few black teeth could be seen between the gaps between the teeth. His skin was wrinkled and blotchy. In a large gap in his teeth he had placed one of the thickest cigars we have ever seen. He wanted to know where we came from.
When we said “Germany”, the old man was very happy. He is now 93 years old and in the time before the revolution he went to sea. He also came to Germany, to Stralsund and Warnemünde. The beer would have been good and cheap there. He wanted to know if that's still the case today. And he had to tell us immediately that he thinks the Bundesliga is great and that he is a big fan of Bayern Munich. I spit out my rum.
Jens explained to him that mentioning this association always made me feel sick and vomit. He orders a round of rum for the three of us. The old man was still interested in us. He didn't mind my nausea and asked when our plane was going back to Germany. We told him that we are here with the sailboat and that we want to continue for the next few days.
If we buy another glass or two of rum, said the old man, he would have something very special for us from the time he went to sea. That made us curious, I went to the landlord and ordered the next round.
The old man emptied his glass in one gulp and said goodbye briefly. He had to go to his apartment, but it was just around the corner. Before Jens and I could finish our rum, the old man was back. He unfolded a crumpled and worn nautical chart from 1904 on the little pub table and looked quizzically at the long row of rum bottles behind the counter. He drew on his cigar for a long time. At my hand signal, the host immediately brought the next round. It felt like there was more rum in the glasses with every round.
We recognized Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao as well as the coast of Venezuela on the map. Another island had been drawn northwest of Aruba with barely recognizable pencil marks. We will call it Atlantis. The old man said that in 1947 he was a sailor on a cargo sailing ship. The ship got caught in a heavy storm and all three masts were broken. After being driven across the Atlantic for two days, they hit land and stranded. The captain would not have known there was an island there.
The island was green and fertile, and the people were friendly and helpful. They helped the seafarers to get their freighter afloat again. Every sailor immediately made a girlfriend or two. The old man raved about lakes with crystal clear water, primeval forests with fruits that you only had to pick and with an animal world that was unparalleled. Whoever wanted to, caught a bird and grilled it. Tame wild boars grunted between the trees. It was paradise on earth.
The residents supported the castaways in setting the new masts. There was new provisions, delicious fruit and fresh vegetables, juicy beef steaks and crispy bread. It was very difficult for them to say goodbye, the old man told us at our table and looked into his empty glass. Not all sailors would have left the island at that time, some stayed forever. You never heard from them again.
The landlord no longer needed a sign, he was immediately at the table with the bottle. He also had three big cigars in his hands, a present from the house. The captain would have tried to enter the position of the island on the nautical chart. Because of the storm, the position was not so accurate. He would now give us this nautical chart. When we're in the area, we should be careful not to get shipwrecked. Jens and I said goodbye. We rushed to the harbor so as not to miss the last ferry of the day into the marina.
Jens and I have now been sailing a zigzag search grid in the area in question for a few days. We are excited to see this island, which is missing on our nautical charts and on Gugel maps. At the expected position, the satellite image unfortunately only shows a dense cloud cover. The radar is on, we can't miss it. We haven't seen a ship for days, we are off all shipping routes. The hangover from rum is long gone. The nautical chart is on the chart table, water slowly drips onto the old print. Atlantis, we are coming! Our Etmal is 89.2 miles. Another 85 miles as the crow flies to Atlantis.