Break something

There are little things in life that remind me of my German origins over and over again. I hold the German virtue of punctuality very high. That makes me one of the few in Aruba. I can make an appointment with Anneke at a certain time. With her, I know for sure that she will be on time, most of the time she is even at the meeting point before the agreed time. So I stand in front of the Animal Shelter at eight o'clock in the morning and am once again the first.

One of the cats that live in front of the shelter

In addition to the cats that live in the shelter, there are also a few outside the door. A particularly beautiful lady is waiting with me for the key to the front door. Little by little the other helpers arrive, and at some point the lady with the key appears. So far so good. Then the cats can get their food and water in front of the door.


This is Elvis. He is five years old and has lived in the Animal Shelter his entire life. The beautiful tomcat is somewhat shy of people. That's probably why no one adopted him.

Wooden ceiling with water damage

I am continuing my renovation work on board. The wooden ceiling in the salon has to go down. It is no longer beautiful anyway. You can clearly see different places where it has suffered severe water damage. In addition, power cables that are routed under the ceiling must be replaced.

Break it - first part. It starts above the navigation corner.

Screw by screw, board by board. Gradually, the wooden ceiling moves into the cockpit. Little by little I find the construction sites for the coming weeks. I expected most of them.

Break it up - part two. Now all the boards are down.

Four years ago I messed around with the electrics in a few places. That fell on my feet after the water ingress. Instead of just reconnecting the existing cables, I would have better swapped them for tinned cables. Then I would have more than 7V voltage on the lamps on the port side. I'm doing it right this time.

The wooden ceiling is history

All you have to do is drive the boards to the dumpster, then another important step has been taken. My construction is going slowly but it is going on. I have some work to do on deck that I have to do before 9am in the morning - after that the sun is too hot. I can do the work below deck at any time of the day, I always work up a sweat.

Three new donkeys in the Donkey Sanctuary

Three new donkeys have arrived at the Donkey Sanctuary. They are very beautiful, not too fat and still a little shy of people. They like my carrots. When they are neutered, they can join the other donkeys in the large group.

Kerstin also arrived at the Donkey Sanctuary this week. This is important to me in that Kerstin is very nice, she was here once before last year. Because she's so kind, she put some things in my suitcase for me that I can't buy in Aruba. No, no cider, it would have been way too heavy. I now have a new phone.

Almost burst

The old phone has almost stripped its back and grown to double its thickness. I'm glad the battery didn't burn out while charging. So I'm sitting in the inhospitable salon and transferring the data from the old to the new device when it starts to rain heavily outside. Hurricane Elsa has moved on, we have wind again and the typical heavy rain events. It drips onto the coffee table. It's dripping where I would have last expected it to be.


I think the previous owner tried it before. Unfortunately, water comes through here and that already during a commercial Aruban heavy rain. A construction site that I did not expect. Of course, again in an extremely accessible place.

This is what it looks like from above. The water does not get into the boat through this hole, the leak is almost exactly below the tip of the green arrow. Inside the base for the fan.

One day later, my right elbow answers. It reminds me that the constant use of the computer mouse gave me a golfer's elbow years ago. Oh how fine, even lifting a full coffee cup causes me pain. Now I have to keep him calm too.

Life on the construction site

I notice again that I haven't published anything for a few days. It is not as if nothing would happen here. Except last Friday, because it was election day in Aruba. Thanks to a ban on selling and serving alcohol, the bars were closed. Alcohol consumption in public was also fined.

Closed on election day

Of course, that doesn't stop the Arubans from getting drunk anyway. The waiting time is long until the votes are all counted. At half past two in the night the result is clear and the MEP has won. This is the party that led the government before. The government that had to resign because of a corruption scandal.

However, there are also voices that claim that the competition (AVP) is quite happy about the election victory of the opponent. In the not too distant future, residents will have to accept cuts or pay higher taxes, as the state budget has got into serious difficulties due to Covid-19. If the name of your own party is linked to it, it will reduce the chances of electoral victories in the distant future.

Decorate for the parade

First of all, the winners are very happy. On Saturday I don't get that much of it, but on Sunday it becomes very clear. The supporters of the MEP everywhere decorate their properties in the colors of the party. Soraida's neighbors are also involved. Traditionally, there is always a parade on the Sunday after the election, a car parade of the winners across the island. Traffic jam on the streets one last time. The parade even comes through the really remote corner where Soraida's house is.

Waiting for the parade

I don't need to do that to myself. I flee to the donkeys, there Sunday is rather quiet due to the high volume of traffic, because the tourists do not know the secret routes. The locals don't come to visit either. One reason is certainly that the Netherlands are losing a football game. Another reason is probably that the MEP fans are waiting on the roadside for the parade.

Sunchi cleans the shrimp

I no longer have to worry about a sufficient number of cats around me. On Monday morning I am at the shelter and take care of the cats. When the work is done (feeding and cleaning) I can stroke the pointed ears as I like. They should get used to people. I'd love to do that. The only thing I don't know about the names is that luckily most of them wear collars with their name and a number.

Who would like to adopt me?

Dutch is spoken, the shelter is a Dutch place. In the meantime I've come to the point where I can certainly follow a conversation in this language, but I can't speak a word yet.

Calico cat

The cats don't care a lot, all they need is food and a few pats. In contrast to some other institutions of this type, there is no maximum length of time that the animals can wait for a placement. I couldn't - feed cats that will be euthanized next week for waiting too long. Elvis, for example, is five years old and will probably never be adopted.

Sleeping tiger

After eating, it's time to take a nap. After the nap comes a nap and then the cat would like to doze off a bit. I have a little video of the predator feeding. The cage must be cleared of cats so that it can be cleaned. For this you put the food in front of the door for the cats.

When I'm not having fun with cats or visiting donkeys, I have the work on board. It won't get boring and won't end anytime soon. In order to find the cause of the water dripping into the forward berth, I first clear the room. Only - what to do with all the things that usually romp around on the bunks and in the sail load. First in the salon. It's really cozy now.

The salon as a storage room

Then the ceiling panel comes down. I glue a strip of crepe to each individual piece of wood. Then the parts are numbered consecutively. Then I take a picture of it. That has to be enough to put it back together later.

The ceiling panel is down

After the ceiling cladding, a piece of the wall cladding still has to come down. I start where it always dripped first. It pays off, I'll get there quickly. The opening in the deck for one of the chucks is leaking. You can clearly see where the water has always run down.

This is where the water comes in

Of course, you can't see anything from above. Such damage does not happen overnight, the seal deteriorates over the years. I assume that I can reseal all six openings, after all they are all the same age.

Not very tight.

And once again I am faced with the question of how best to approach the repair. I have to consult and meet another sailor who gives me good tips. Of course, that is not the end of the work. I need an overcast day if I want to work on deck - unless I do it very early in the morning.

Heavy metal

A few days ago I wrote about the destruction of the closet and the removal of the fittings. I then took the broken fitting to a specialist and discussed what the replacement part should look like. Then a week went by, I haven't heard from the good man. This is unusual even for Aruba. So I call the following week and lo and behold, the part is promised to me for Thursday or Friday. On Friday morning I received the message that the hardware can now be picked up. Very nice.

Old and new side by side in comparison

However, Saturday is first dedicated to the game of the German team. Soraida and I are looking forward to the result. This time we benefit from the own goals and in the end it doesn't matter who scores them for us. I fondly remember a game of our Eintracht against Mainz, in which Eintracht didn't score a single goal in a 2-2 final score. Why not also at the EM?

On Sunday I noticed that I didn't have a reasonable sealant for the fittings, on Monday I went to the animal shelter and then bought the sealant, so it would take until Tuesday before I could start installing.

Morning visitor to Sissi

I get up with the sun. I want to finish the work on deck as early as possible. While I am still enjoying my morning coffee, I notice a four-legged visitor on board. How sweet! I'll give him some treats. Then I get to work and after just under an hour the fitting on the starboard side is in place. This is real heavy metal.

Starboard side

Now I can put the closet back together. Before doing this, the autopilot control is screwed on properly. Of course, the longest screws available on board are a few centimeters too short. That means - of course - a detour to the nearest hardware store. I also lay a power line, then I can finally let the lamp on my pillow shine again.

The giver it autopilot and the new light pipe

The cabinet puzzle does not return to its original state entirely correctly. A couple of boards, which I have freed from their glueing with too rough force, unfortunately refuse to work with me. Sooner or later, however, it is me and not the closet that will win. It almost looks like nothing happened again. If I want to get to those bolts again, I can get to them in five minutes. Maybe 10 minutes, because the autopilot transmitter has to be removed non-destructively beforehand.

Almost finished, all that's missing is a strip on the ceiling

It is printed on the tube of the sealant that it must be used within 24 hours of opening. Actually, I wanted to give myself a day to put the clothes back in the closet and dismantle the closet on the port side. Then I would have to buy a new tube of the stuff, it would have been another 30 florins away. I'd rather do my job and do everything in one day. I got up early, it's not even ten o'clock.

At 10:30 am my things are all back in their closets. Then I make a plan because if I fiddle with the closet for two days, the sealant dries up too. All I have to do is break a single board out of the cabinet structure and then I can reach the two bolts that I need to get to.

New fittings on the port side. Heavy metal.

First remove the old sealant from the area, clean the surface thoroughly and then apply the new sealant. The two bolts slide into place without grumbling. Then I can tighten the nuts from below. With a few drops of wood glue and a screw clamp, I bring the cabinet back into shape. What I would not have dared to believe is that I can replace the fittings on both sides within a day.

The port closet. I marked the board with a screw clamp and an arrow.

What is left? After the project is before the project. The backstay is back in place. For the fine tuning and the correct shroud tension, I'll have the rigger come again. He can then immediately check whether the rig survived the breakage of the fitting. The next project is the ingress of water in the forward cabin, which is particularly noticeable on the starboard bow. The cause needs to be found and remedied.

So I clear out the front cabin and put everything on Jens’s mattress. Genoa, mainsail, dozens of pillows and blankets. What you don't have lying around on your ship. Jens' bunk is full before I can even empty half the front. I can also accommodate the steel part of the cake stand here.

Sail and ceiling storage

The work goes into the next section. But I can't have fun on board all day, I want to do something with animals. Starting again with the donkeys is unfortunately an impossibility. Desiree will probably hate me all her life. So I check out one of the local animal shelters that Aruba Animal Shelter. The donkeys are pretty cute, but so are the cats. Not only little Jip will make it into the blog.

Oh yes, there is still a choice. Parliamentary elections will take place in Aruba on Friday. The election campaign is still very loud and is present on the streets. Today there was a report on the radio on the topic, because alcohol is not allowed to be sold on Thursday and Friday because of the elections on the island. Neither in supermarkets nor in the bars and restaurants that are frequented by the locals. Only the hotels are allowed to serve foreign tourists, because after all, their vacation should not be spoiled.

On the boat and on the road

The new corona rules have been in effect with us since today. The new rules mean that there are actually no more rules. For example, the obligation to wear masks has been lifted, the masks are only recommended. Soraida, for example, immediately said that with her no passengers could get on the bus without a mask. I would keep it that way if I were you. The number of active Covid-19 cases is 35 today, and there have only been two to three new infections per day in the last few days. The vaccination program pays off. Even the beaches can now be re-entered in the evening, you can sit at the bar and when artists perform, it can even be a full symphony orchestra again. Up to now, a maximum of one artist inside or three outside was allowed. So much for that, but now I have to get to work.

I'm still waiting for the new fitting for the backstay, but that doesn't mean I'll run out of work on board.

The lost screw

I have to climb. Not on the very big mast, only on the second highest mast. He carries the wind generator, which always blows our batteries so nicely on the way. Unfortunately on the last trip we lost the screws that hold the generator in place. That didn't harm the position or the output of the power plant, but it has to be done.

Before I can climb up there, all fenders have to be cleared out of the way. The lines of the wind vane are also in the way. I dismantle them before my way up. This is difficult at first, all the blocks are screwed very, very tight - we don't want to lose them. After a good hour I have stowed all the lines below deck, I don't have to grill them in the sun for a whole year. The way up is finally free.

Freed from all unnecessary lines

Has the mast always been that high? Did I really go up in the middle of the Atlantic to replace these screws? And why do we no longer have screws of the right length (M6 with 10mm length). The screws go on the shopping list.

I won't be using the watermaker for the next few months. So I have to winter him. No life should develop in the tubes.

The cleaning solution for the watermaker is mixed.

I have never done that. The company where I had the watermaker installed has integrated two hoses into the system that can be used to create a circuit. Exactly for this purpose. I read through the relevant section of the operating instructions again, then off we go. The device starts its work with a sonorous humming and after a few seconds the bucket with the cleaning solution is empty. I beg your pardon?

Hmmm. I forgot to close the valve on the outlet. Instead of circulating, the liquid found the path of least resistance. In the Atlantic. I mix up another portion of the solution, set the valves correctly and it's all over the place. After the end of the process, I take out the filters and then it's done. Now I don't have to worry about the device anymore, the last official act is to turn off the power.

Deep inside Sissi - the Watermaker is wintered.

Then I want to do a little something on the car - I don't like the tires. In addition, the car does not drive particularly well with the four different slippers. On the way to the hardware store, I pass the tire dealer. Not just at one tire dealer, I visit several. First, I'll go to Jay's. Edward recommended it to me, and Soraida also has Jay's adverts on her bus. A specialist in used tires. I am offered four tires for my car for 200 florins including assembly. Of course, the tires are in stock.

I am even allowed to look at the tires and even choose the ones myself that will be put on my car later. That was a misunderstanding on my part. My association with used tires was that they were retreaded tires. No, you thought wrong. These things are really used and have been sorted out by their previous owners. I can't find four identical tires. I wouldn't improve.

Get ready to change tires

At Jay's, they send me to Napa. There they would have the tires in new, but would not assemble them. I could come back with the Napa tires and have them fitted here. A quick detour to Napa makes me realize that I have to pay 62 florins for a new tire, but that there are currently no tires in stock. Good to know. No, you can't tell me when the next delivery is coming. It will come at some point.

Soraida thinks I'm stupid. I should ask her. For new tires you go to JR. There is an offer there, four new tires for 200 Florin including balancing and assembly. That's the price of four used Jay's tires.

Now the transformation of the car is taking place. From a junk truck to a good car.

At JR you have the tires in stock. The assembly will be done immediately, I am announced a waiting time of one hour. That’s okay. I keep an eye out for Soraida's bus, the route of which passes by JR. After just five minutes, an employee comes and tells me that the car can now be driven into the hall. That was fast. People get to work right away.

It's very convenient. I can take a good look at the brakes. When braking, I always had the impression that something was wrong with the brake discs. Or the brake pads. I can rule that out after a good visual inspection. At this point I haven't bought a construction site.

Installation of the new tires

Fantastic. I drive from the yard and realize that I just have a brand new car. The car now drives straight ahead without my intervention and stays in the lane even when braking. I think the vehicle's value has just doubled. So off to the hardware store. The first hardware store doesn't have metric screws. The next one not made of stainless steel. The third hardware store can offer me the M6 with a length of 10mm.

I think it is like the bolts for the wind vane control. I'll buy a whole dozen. Since we have had so many replacement bolts for the wind vane, none have been lost. And a new tube of screw glue, the old one has been open for two years. But it's too hot for me now for a new climbing tour. I do that the next cloudy day or early in the morning.

Night mood in Varadero

Destruction of the closet

In the last few days I have made the next step in Jens and me’s plan. I destroyed the closet in my bunk to get the hardware that kept us from traveling to the Azores. It wasn't that easy, because the furniture is solidly built and not particularly easy to repair. It feels more like a smartphone to me, the manufacturer of which is careful to ensure that no one can open it or even repair it.

Reason for the permanent stay in Aruba

A hundred miles after we left, that fog broke and made us turn back. Fortunately, the mast stayed up, so I couldn't imagine what would have happened if both sides had been torn off. I need new fittings. But in Aruba you can't buy it in stores, a specialist has to make it for me. To do this, however, I have to expand it first. If I look with my fingers, I can find the anchor in the GRP laminate. But I can't find any nuts that I could loosen. Did the manufacturer really build it that way?

This is what the closet should look like when I put it back together.

The first step is to establish the ability to work. This includes moving to the Marina Varadero as well as buying a car. I am mobile and can drive to the hardware store. Or to the dealer for boat supplies. And of course Soraida. The second step is also done, Jens flew home and left an empty bunk for me. So I can move everything from my side to his side. I am not wondering how much fits in these cabinets. What can be seen in the picture is just half of it. The other half is in the forward berth.

Cabinet content

Why are the books in the closet? I don't have a bookcase in my bunk, the books are all stored in the forward bunk. Except for the wedge books. On the way from Cuba to Aruba (or was it the other way around?) The electric autopilot setpoint device fell from its position on top of the closet. That didn't improve its functionality. Sissi behaved strangely, the troubleshooting has brought the setpoint generator to light. But it couldn't be screwed properly at sea, so I wedged it in place with books. With the wedge books. Now I'm going to screw it tight.

Setpoint adjuster of the autopilot

After clearing out the closet and distributing its contents across the boat, I get down to disassembling it. It's easy to do at first. It is clear which bar I have to dismantle in order to get to the next bar. Screw by screw work my way to the goal.

Emptied. The aim is to make the area behind the panel in the upper row of shelves accessible. To the right of the window.

The workflow comes to a standstill. I can no longer find a way to unscrew the boards. At this point I start ranting about the ease of repair. The individual parts are glued and dismantling is not intended. I have to use brute force. It is getting loud. With the hammer and a narrow wedge I can separate board by board. At some point I succeed with the last board, the lower end of the broken fitting is accessible.


This is the end of my first day at work. I need a shower and shower time ends at 5pm. Then the gate of the area of the marina where the boats are dry and where the shower is located will be locked.

Arrived at the goal

There is not much to do on the next working day. First of all, the backstay has to be detached from the fitting. I temporarily tie it to the tail cleat with a rope. The mast stands fine even without a backstay, as long as it doesn't have to carry sails. Then I can loosen the nuts.

This is what it looks like under the fitting.

The nuts are surprisingly easy to loosen. As if they weren't really tight. This is probably not necessary as long as the train is on the backstay. After assembling the spare part, however, I make it a little stronger. They will certainly loosen up again on their own. I think about the accessibility from the inside and plan to convert the closet.

He lost. The culprit.

I will order two of these fittings and also destroy the closet on Jens' side. I get a visitor in the evening. More precisely, I lure the visitor to my boat with a few treats. The sweet cat from Paul, the owner of the marina, runs his evening round on the jetty. I can't resist that. I've already fed it a couple of times, and now I can touch it too. But that's not why I'm unfaithful to Shrimp, Sunchi, Socks and Swa.

Sweet boat hangover

After work is done, dusk feels particularly good. An important item on my repair checklist is ticked off. Now there are only 99 more points. The open points are the ongoing flow of water in the forward berth, which no longer takes place through the windows, but is still too much. The likely location of the action is a leaky stanchion. The electric bilge pump with the gooseneck at the outlet. Or I'll put in a check valve if I can get one. I don't even want to think about what else needs to be done here. I have enough time.

evening atmosphere

Accept. Accept. To adjust.

So now I'm back in Aruba and expect another hurricane season. I can now accept that. The alternatives are manageable, I could put the boat on land and fly to Germany. But that doesn't make Sissi any better. So I accept the challenge and face the new situation. Of course, the new situation does not only have disadvantages. I can visit Soraida and she can visit me, we can do something together and cultivate the young plant of our relationship.

The garden of Soraida's neighbors is full of goats

There is one important point on my list that I can tick off pretty quickly. I am currently buying a used car. It costs about as much as a rental car for ten weeks and is very useful because I have completely different mobility needs this year than last year. With my own car I can move Sissi to the other marina, which is much cheaper a month. The marina in Varadero is at the back of the airport and is practically at the end of the world, I reserved the berth for June 1st.


What will I do in the coming months? In addition to replacing the electric bilge pump and repairing the back day, I also undertook other work on Sissi. In particular, the interior of the salon and there especially the wooden ceiling suffered from the large amount of salt water that ran into us on the way back from Cuba. I'll do this all over again.

Unfortunately it is no longer possible for me to work with the donkeys. There has been an ice age between Desiree and me since last autumn. I still go there on Sundays and have a nice afternoon with Anneke, the cats and the donkeys.

Swa is overseeing the donkeys

If I need more animal closeness, I can also help in the animal shelter - with the cats or the dogs. I would go to the cats.

When I work on the bilge pump, I will also take precautions right away so that water ingress like the one we did during our last attempt to cross the Atlantic cannot occur. The gooseneck at the top of the hose must be routed so that it is always above the waterline.

Only cats can relax

Last but not least, there is the time together with Soraida. I don't think I'll get bored in the months to come. I think the time will be very, very nice.

Shortly after I photographed the goats on the neighboring property, they left quickly but without any particular hurry. The neighbors' dogs discovered the goats and started their work. The dogs are also in no particular hurry to get to the goats. Much goes slower in the Caribbean.

March off, the dogs are coming

I also plan to learn a new language - Papiamento. Dutch would actually be more useful, you can do something with it in Holland too, but the colloquial language in Aruba is Papiamento. That will certainly do well later in letters of application, if I can come up with a language that the HR manager doesn't even know exists.

When Sissi is ready for me to do a test drive, I'll do a little tour to Bonaire. Or Curacao. Then I get another stamp in my passport when I re-enter Aruba. At some point I'll be the German with the most Aruba entry stamps. At the moment Jens is ahead of the game because he has left Aruba once more than me. But I won't do a test drive to another country until I've been vaccinated. If I'm in the country illegally, get me the shot. After that I will travel again.

The last sunset on the Atlantic before our third return to Aruba.

Jens will leave Aruba on May 26th and return for the Atlantic crossing next year.

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.

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!


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.

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.