Welcome on board, Barbara

Today is Friday, the day of German beer. That's why I want to buy a few cans of German beer in the superfood, but apparently they also celebrate this day in Aruba. Wherever there is German beer on the shelf, everything has been swept clean today. This is a pity.

One Happy Art Island

Since Monday we have a new crew member on board, Barbara. Barbara and I have known each other for decades. As a new SKS owner, she doesn't miss the chance to take on the night shift for us and make sure that we get enough sleep on our Atlantic crossing. When she arrived on board on Monday, she fell into a deep sleep after ten minutes. The journey from Frankfurt via Amsterdam to Aruba was exhausting.

Blooming Divi Divi tree

We start the tourist program on Tuesday. We drive all over the island with the rental car that we have for a week. We pass a flowering Divi Divi tree on the road to San Nicolas. You don't see them that often, the flowers look very nice.

The blossoms. The tree is almost dead

The sightseeing program will continue until Sunday. We tackle two or three items on the program every day. This also gives us the opportunity to repeat one or the other program point if something has gone wrong - for example with the photos. That's a very funny story ...

Barbara, Jörg and Jens - the new crew of Sissi

In Germany, many shops are currently closed, including the specialty shops where you can buy a camera. That's why Barbara flew to Aruba only equipped with her phone. We suggested she buy the camera here, after all, there is now a lot of space in her luggage. She had to carry a fair amount of spare parts to Aruba. After a short walk in Oranjestad, Barbara was able to purchase her new camera.

Barbara photographs street art

What better way to take your new camera for a test drive than photographing the beautiful pictures that have been painted on the walls of so many houses in San Nicolas. There are different lighting situations, sometimes the viewing angles are not so easy and finally the very mundane operation of the new device.

Also called "angel"

Now I know your new camera very well. Somehow it is possible to activate any camera functions while using the nose and to change important settings for exposure. At some point, Barbara realizes that many of the photos are overexposed. A few minutes later, the camera suddenly shoots a series of images that turn out to be series of exposures. A few minutes later I finally find out how to turn it off again. Funny. My ten-year-old Nikon looks pretty old at times. However, the lens can still keep up.

Barbara is walking at Mangle Halto Beach

We end the excursion to San Nicolas on the beach of Mangel Halto. This is a very beautiful beach, on which only a few tourists, but all the more locals. Fortunately, the camera stays in the car, because the current in Mangel Halto is so strong that it pulls Barbara's feet away. That ends with very wet clothes. Of course, this moment is not documented.

The sea rages by the natural pool

Of course, we also go into the water on purpose. One of my favorites is the natural pool at the gold mine ruins. As always, the sea outside the pool is rough. And as always, the pool is good to endure.

You can endure it here.

The other visitors disappear after a few minutes. Most of them simply don't have enough time because they are part of a guided tour or have to return the rental car straight away. This allows us to relax completely and spend a nice hour and a half. Because if sailors have one thing, it's time.

After a refreshing bath

The sailor has time and the sailor doesn't. My time together with Soraida is coming to an end for the time being. That makes Soraida sad and it doesn't make me happier either. On the one hand, the spirit of optimism grows, the joy of the sailing days and the fact that we will get a little closer to home every day. On the other hand, we both get sentimental when we think about the long separation ahead. It will be half a year before we can meet again.

Jens cut this little video from our visit to the pool.

Goodbye Christoph

He went with me when I took the first sailing trip of my life in Croatia. We crossed the North Sea together and sailed the Hebrides in Scotland. Together we could experience low points and high points of cruising sailing. We got to know each other at a motorcycle meeting.

In 2019, Christoph was last on board with us to tick an important bucket on his personal bucket list. He wanted to cross the Bay of Biscay on a sailing boat. We were able to fulfill his wish, Christoph accompanied us from Guernsey to Vigo in Spain, in the middle of the Bay of Biscay we were even able to observe two whales.

Christoph on the Île de Batz near Roscoff

Today we received the news that Christoph recently passed away. Our thoughts are with his loved ones.

Alone

We have been alone on board for the first time since December 15 last year. Jörg got on the plane yesterday and arrived safely in Frankfurt today. We had a good time together, visited three countries, were drenched in the rain and roasted by the sun. Hopefully he doesn't have to freeze too much in Germany.

In any case, he ended up in Frankfurt in the middle of the carnival season. Mardi Gras. It seems so unreal to me here.

Jörg gets on the bus

Jens and I are now alone on board again. Yesterday we used it and did almost nothing. We let the time pass, hardly talked and enjoyed the moment. We have traveled many thousands of miles since Tenerife, and the bow cabin was always occupied. Now it is empty.

Loud music from the Uferstrasse draws my attention to a carnival parade. I grab a camera and go check it out.

Carnival parade - er - children's carnival

All participants in the move come from different school classes. Every school or class has chosen a motto. I was touched by those who decorated themselves with flags from all over the world, even if I didn't see a German flag. Great Britain is still there.

The group is waiting for their music cart

A music cart drives in front of each group. The number of speakers is impressive, but that ensures a balanced sound throughout the place. I call Jens, who has holed up behind heavy metal and carries out the vacuum cleaner. In this case, the vacuum cleaner can wait. We go into town and look for the move.

The word “loudspeaker carriage” is being redefined

If it stops and the move stalls, you can simply dance on site. On the loudspeaker carriage is the DJ who provides the background music.

DJ pult

Of course I made a little video so that you can also listen to the great carnival music at home. This continues for a group that just had to pause.

And then there's the whole pack dancing on the quayside because the move simply doesn't go forward. Traffic jam is common in the carnival, while waiting there is jumping to music.

When the last car drove past us and we walked back down to the marina, we agreed without a word that the work for that day was over. We go for another kebab and warm up the leftovers from the lasagna in the evening.

Top view of the marina

Today we cleaned, defrosted the fridge (yes, we have an unwanted ice cube machine !!!), tightened the shrouds, tightened loose screws, cleaned up the sail load, rearranged the bunk to two-person operation, mounted the spare part on the wind vane control and then us again rested. Tomorrow we will continue with the work.

Martinique terminus

A few days ago we drove over to Martinique. Jens and I urgently needed a French supermarket. And for Burti this is the end of the line. She had only four weeks of vacation and has to fly home again. Jörg takes her to Fort de France by taxi to the airport.

Bye Burti! We had a good time.

The flight home gets a bit messy. The flight from Barbados to Frankfurt has been booked for a few months. Only the transport from Burti to Barbados had to be organized. Simply board in Martinique, change in Dominica and fly to Barbados. It's just stupid that the plane then flew to Guadeloupe. These lines emerge while Burti hopefully gets on the plane to Barbados.

We are in a rather unattractive marina in Le Marin. People are very nice, the showers are too warm and the walk to the shower is long. However, the ambience is not that great, but the local Carrefour supermarket offers a free shuttle service to the jetty. Class! We have Camembert and Orangina again!

Buoy field in front of the marina

In front of the marina is a gigantic buoy field. And the marina is huge, it has nine jetties. Sometimes the boats have been lying there for a very, very long time. I will write something about that in the future.

wreck

There is also one or the other coral reef in the middle of the buoy fields. They are marked with buoys, but at night you can get problems with the navigation. I am glad that we made the journey here in daylight.

Supply in Vigo

Admittedly, the shopping opportunities near the port are very limited. We only found a small savings market within walking distance. Nevertheless, I had to choose this title for the blog post, because that was also the case with U96 in the film “Das Boot”. Already in the film I was impressed by the nightly entry into the harbor, the fishermen who had to avoid the boat. We also entered the harbor at night, but did not have to dodge any mines. When viewed in light, we are in the lively port of a big city.

Vigo harbor with marina in the foreground

There was a reason that we drove straight to Vigo and did not first drive around the rias north of it. After three weeks, our co-sailing friend Christoph leaves us. He has to go back to work on September 2nd. We also work, but only on the boat and only for us.

¡Hasta otra!

While these lines are being written, Christoph is sitting on the plane home. Together we drove 672 nautical miles, had a crack in the mainsail, saw two whales and a lot of dolphins, visited three countries, had everything from wind force zero to eight and wave heights from zero to five meters. We made boat trips on Guernsey, in Roscoff on the Île de Batz and to Santiago de Compostela. It was a nice time.

Welcome on board, Christoph!

Since the day before yesterday we have a new crew member. This time it is neither a teddy bear nor a food processor, but a human being made of flesh and blood. Christoph came to us on Guernsey to cross Biscay with us.

Christoph - here with his smartphone

We have known each other for almost two decades, it all started with motorcycling and continued with sailing. A third man on board will be of great help, especially when driving at night, because then we can all sleep more.

Unfortunately, we're all still stuck on Guernsey together. There was a strong wind forecast for the past two days. Even most ferry connections have been canceled.

Wind forecast with over 30 knots of wind

If the ferries don't go, we'll stay in the harbor. We still have the option. Yesterday afternoon the harbor became full and full, many sailors sought shelter. The night became correspondingly uncomfortable. Sissi tugged on the lines that creaked and squeaked.

The weather was better today, but we still couldn't drive out. We will probably have to wait until Monday. The weather would be okay tomorrow and we can get out, but the petrol station closed on Sunday afternoon. We still lack 200 liters of diesel with which we want to drive over the Biscay. The diesel is so cheap here that it pays to pay another night in the marina.

family meeting

It was planned for a long time and for a long time it was uncertain whether this meeting would come. Our sister Christine is on vacation with her son Benedikt on Guernsey. Since it was not clear for a long time whether the watermaker would arrive in Wales in time, it was also far from certain for us that we could still meet them on Guernsey. We could.

Christine, Benedikt and the on-board cat Sissi

First there was a photo for the family album, then we took a short walk around the harbor and were explained how it works here on the island, where the best waffles are and what we should see. It depends on how long we are stuck here, then maybe we can even see it all.

Jens, Christine, Benedikt and I in front of Castle Cornet

For us she brought a lot of vacuum cleaner bags and a meat grinder from Frankfurt, a big thank you for that. The next day, we first bought meat from the butcher, turned it through our own wolf and turned it into a delicious lasagna. Now we have to vacuum, the salon is due again.

We still have a few days together. We will use them because then we can no longer see them for the next few years.

Departure day

The departure day we selected (Sunday, June 16) was almost reached. Nevertheless, we were still on the crane. The wind did not allow the mast to be put down and the problem solved on Wednesday and Thursday. Only on Friday there were no gusts of wind force 8, so the mast could then be easily put down. Of course, the real problem was resolved within 10 minutes. In winter we tried to pull a new antenna cable into the mast. But that went completely wrong. In the hustle and bustle of placing the mast after winter storage, we forgot the rest of the antenna cable in the mast. As a result, we could only move the Spifall with the greatest effort.

Blockage of the Spifall solved

In the night from Thursday to Friday we also received a visit from Burti, Jörg and Dirk - dear friends with whom we have spent a lot of time on sailing boats in the past. They came to say goodbye to us at the port exit.

Placing the mast

The mast was back on the deck, so we could drive back into our box cheerfully and chat a little about all the topics of the world the rest of the afternoon. For the next day, only the purchase was on the todo list. In Stavoren, the supermarket is surrounded on three sides by water, so you can simply park your sailing boat in front of the supermarket.

Before the coop

The petrol station is on the way to the Coop, where we filled up the diesel right up to the top of the tank. Then we parked in front of the supermarket and switched off the AIS transmitter. Just like that. After refueling, the ship smelled slightly of diesel. We weren't worried.

On the way back to the marina, the smell of diesel became more and more penetrating. That was when we started to worry. After landing in our own box, we opened the engine compartment and saw the disaster. Diesel runs out of one of the five cylinders.

The culprit

At the point where the injector is screwed into the engine, quite a bit of diesel leaks, even when the engine is switched off. We had to turn off the main diesel tap to stop the flow. After the machine cooled down, the smell of diesel also decreased.

A mechanic is of course not available on Saturday afternoon. That's why we're stuck at least until Monday. The workshop opens at 7:30 a.m. - I will be on time.

We have now switched on the AIS again and we have processed the frustration. On Saturday our crew added Christoph, Sissi was suddenly really full and the cockpit was almost too narrow. For the evening we had a table in the Cafe Max ordered.

Cafe Max

I like the Cafe Max. The dining room is quaint. The food there is delicious, the people friendly and the beer tastes good too. I can also recommend the non-smokers to visit the Rookkamer, there is an old map of the Zuiderzee hanging on the wall and showing what the IJsselmeer looked like before the dike was built. We celebrated as if it was really the last evening in Stavoren.

Today, Sunday, Jens and I accompanied the whole aisle to the parking lot and waved at the departure. That should have been the other way around. There is a little wistfulness.

Way back from Cafe Max to Sissi (picture stolen from Burti)