Chapo left

Things change, other things stay the same. When we returned to Aruba, we found the Chapo in the port where it had been for the past ten months. Everything seems to be the same, but the Chapos are in a spirit of optimism. You want to go to the Dominican Republic, the only country in the area that is open, easily accessible and does not require a PCR test from those entering the country. Fortunately, there is still enough time for Charly to help us with the propeller.

Arrival of the Chapo in March 2020

It's been a long time since the Chapo arrived. That was in the troubled days of March 2020, when most countries had closed their borders and sailors on the open water had the problem that their long ago planned destinations could no longer be approached. At that time, the joy of the successful Atlantic crossing and the safe harbor was great. Last March, Jutta and Charly could not have imagined that they would still be in Oranjestad next January.

Now, after four days of crossing, you have arrived in the Dominican Republic. On their crossing they had to deal with winds of up to 56 kn. We didn't get that much on our hats on the way back from Cuba.

The Chapo departs

Now we pass the empty berth several times a day and ask ourselves when a boat will be there again. The Chapo will be back here by June at the latest, because Jutta and Charly want to spend the hurricane season in Aruba.

Empty berth

We are complete

In the Donkey Sanctuary there are several donkeys that are separated from the others in a kind of “old people's home” and are given special food. These donkeys are over 30 years old. Pressed straw cubes are mixed with water and then fed to these donkeys. Because there is also bird food at the donkey feed storage area, there is always an intrusive peacock hanging around.

Peacock from behind

He usually shows me his back when I want to take a picture of him. This time, however, I thwarted the calculation. Hoping that he won't fold his plumage back together, I'll shoo him through the enclosure and away from the food. The trick worked. As soon as I leave him alone, he turns and wants to run to the feed again. Very nice, this time I'm the winner.

Peacock from the front

As beautiful as these peacocks are, their shouting is annoying. You make a hell of a noise. Now I come to something completely different. Until yesterday there was still a free space for a sailboat in the marina. I had known for a few days who would get this place. That's why I was very happy when the Iguana told me that a sailboat was heading for the port entrance.

Iguana looks after a sailboat

Every sailor is happy about pictures of their own boat. You can hardly take such pictures yourself. So I grab the camera and fire a few shots at it Lady Charlyette from.

Ricarda

That will of course not do good to the increasing Babylon in my head. For a few days I have noticed that in my head the German words are being replaced by English, even my dreams are in English. Watching German TV on the side is no longer possible, I have to concentrate on it. With Ricarda and Stefan it can happen to me that it tilts back. I will notice.

Lady Charlyette arrives in Oranjestad

Marine boss Hans himself helps with the mooring maneuver, after which I can finally greet them. Now our small community is complete.

Finally, I have to announce a serious theft. Who says that only the Chinese copy our good German engineering skills? The Americans do it too. The CIA was probably out at night and spying on my boat. A bad copy of my doorbell is now on the aria.

American copy of my engineering skills

Hello, goodbye

Sometimes there is even news in Oranjestad. A few days ago I mentioned the arrival of three new sailing boats, now I want to introduce their residents.

The reason for this round of introductions is the farewell party for Vanita, which has the opportunity to fly home for a few months with the opening of the border to the USA on July 11th. She plans to return to Aruba in early September.

Left to right: Island Lady, Aria, Toes in the Water and Sissi

Vanita and her skipper Johnny are out on the Island Lady, Shelly, Brian and Moses (giant schnauzers) live on the Aria, Karen and Dennis live on the Toes in the Water. For reasons of space, the farewell party takes place on the catamaran. Wow! My first visit to a catamaran. An incredible amount of space.

All three boats came from the US Virgin Islands, where they spent the time of the border closings. Now they stay in Aruba for the hurricane season.

Shelly, Vanita and Johnny behind Moses

An Italian evening was the order of the day. Brian brought an incredible amount of pasta with him, there were various sauces from Dennis and real Parmesan in any amount, previously appetizer. I baked our bread on board. Moses does the classic begging dog look very well. But he has to be content with some ice water.

Karen, Brian and Johnny, including Moses

It was a great pleasure for me that most of the group visited the Donkey Sanctuary. There Johnny fell in love with a three-legged donkey. Johnny lost the usability of his right arm in a car accident, Kamino lost his right front leg in a car accident. Then Johnny Kamino adopted immediately. That should also be visible on the website in a few days.

Kamino

I digress. After dinner, the music comes to this group of sailors. Brian mostly plays banjo, vanita guitar and from time to time they are accompanied by Johnny on the harmonica.

Brian and Johnny

If you don't play an instrument, you still have your voice at your disposal. I also like to participate. At home I am an enthusiastic singer in the 51500 throats of the Frankfurt Waldstadion Choir. By the way, singing out loud is better than singing beautifully.

Vanita, Shelly and Dennis are sitting next to me

In the past few days we have been singing a few times. Most of the events ended early, these people tend to go to bed earlier and get up earlier. This time it takes longer, nobody wants to break up yet.

Vanita, Shelly and Dennis

It was the last appearance in this line-up until September, but I don't think it was the last appearance at all. It's too much fun for all of us. A real alternative evening arrangement. Of course, the throat can also be moistened well.

Brian said sometime in the evening that this is the smallest cruiser community he has ever seen in Aruba. I personally feel that the community is already very large, after all, in a short time the number of boats inhabited by long-distance sailors tripled from two to six. I also expect the Lady Charlyette we met in Martinique in the pre-Corona period.

Moses relaxes

We say goodbye to each other with multiple hugs. Vanita has a tear or two in her eyes. The main thing is that she doesn't lose her sense of humor. Have a safe trip home!

Vanita on the swing

For the sake of completeness, I would like to mention that two cruise ships have been off Oranjestad for a long time. The Freewinds just relocated, the Seven Seas Splendor arrived from Los Angeles. Without passengers, of course.

Freewinds and Seven Seas Splendor

I am extremely happy that new faces can be seen here, new stories can be heard and that we really get on well. We'll have a good time together.

Change of plan. Departure.

A few days ago, the honorary consul sent me the news that a special flight from Aruba to Amsterdam is scheduled. It is a flight from the Netherlands to Amsterdam, which also takes nationals of other EU member states. Jens and I discussed this extensively. As a result, we changed our plans somewhat.

Always looking at the sea is stupid.

In a few weeks there will be the opportunity to start towards Europe. The typical time window opens at the end of April. Our route includes Jamaica (closed), Cuba (closed), Bermuda (closed), the Azores (closed), Portugal (closed), Spain (closed), France (closed and sailing prohibited) and England (still open). No one knows today whether England will be open in two months. The time window closes sometime in late June with the start of the hurricane season, which usually lasts until the end of November.

The direct route non-stop to Germany is of course not blocked for us. We have a sailboat with unlimited range, we have provisions on board for months and we do not have to refuel. It is a mere 5500 nautical miles (10175 kilometers), which we can sail in about 55 days. There are also 14 days of self-quarantine before departure so that we can ensure that we don't already have the disease on board. So don't leave the boat for two months. Somehow we don't feel like it.

Jens flies back to Frankfurt, I stay on board and in Aruba. This is the decision. After the hurricane season Jens comes back and we drive the route I described above. At some point the countries will open their borders again. At some point we can move around the ocean as freely as we love it.

The departure is scheduled for April 3 at 4:30 p.m. On April 3, Jutta also has a birthday. We are invited to the Chapo. We explain to Jutta that if she wants to celebrate with us, she has to celebrate her birthday. For the evening of April 2nd, I'll get the ingredients for a fine farewell lasagna. We wear them to the Chapo. Then we celebrate the last evening. Then we celebrate Jutta's birthday. Then the beer is all over.

Sandals have had their day.

On the morning of the day of departure, the sandals that Jens had been wearing through Europe and now all over the world for at least a decade are buried with a slight hangover. At least for me there is no sentimentality. I didn't want to touch them anymore.

Today is the day of departure

We are getting sentimental. Jens has packed his things and is just under the weight limit. A last photo with Sissi. One last chat with the chapos. We are standing on the main street and waiting for Lel, an Aruban we met a few weeks ago. He had offered to drive us when we had a problem. The problem is obvious. We have to go to the airport, but there are no buses or taxis. Lel drives and offers me that he brings me back again. Thank you!

Spooky lonely - Oranjestad Airport

Nothing is going on at the airport. We are there much too early. Of course, all grill and snack stalls, coffee shops and mini markets are closed. The airport is closed. The whole country is closed. We were so stupid that we didn't think about it. Fortunately, we took enough water with us.

Wait for the terminal to open

The terminal opens two and a half hours before the scheduled departure time. At this point we had already heard from security people that the flight would be delayed an hour due to technical problems. Jens organizes a pizza at the delivery service through this security guard.

Only one flight will depart today

The terminal opens and it is easy to keep a safe distance from other people. There is only one flight today.

At the counter, Jens learns that he is not on the passenger list. He comes outside again. I send a message to the consul. She promises that she will take care of it immediately. A quarter of an hour later an employee of the airport appears with us. Jens was on the passenger list. He could check in now.

In line in front

Jens comes back with his luggage. He is on the passenger list, but currently only Dutch can be handled. The man who handles the two German passengers has not yet arrived. So waiting is the order of the day again. I'm hungry - Jens forgot to ask me if I want a pizza too - but I don't want to go back to Sissi before Jens checks in. I finally have the short line to the consul.

Stupid selfie in front of the airport

An employee of the airport comes to us again. Jens can now check in. The third attempt is successful. Well. I call Lel to pick me up. Then I say goodbye to Jens. Short. I hate train station farewells. Lel takes me back to Sissi.

I spend the afternoon on the phone with friends and family. Donald Trump sends warships to Venezuela. We can look over to Venezuela from Aruba. Military aircraft can be seen in the sky. I have another chat with the Chapos.

Jens Flieger's delay is getting bigger and bigger. He still hasn't started in Paramaribo. At some point Jens learns that the flight was postponed to the following day. After a long wait, a bus arrives and takes most of the disabled passengers to a hotel that has been reopened for this flight. Jens comes back to Sissi.

We celebrate the last evening in Aruba in a small group, only Jens and me. We hear on the radio that Germany is considering closing the border with Holland. That would be stupid for Jens, because he still has to come from Amsterdam to Frankfurt. The ICE certainly does not cross the closed border.

Jens gets regular updates on April 4th. A spare part for the plane was flown to Suriname. The plane is being repaired. There is a departure time. The departure time will be postponed. The flight is finally canceled and postponed to April 5. A replacement plane is coming. We celebrate again on the Chapo. We can now go to the Chapo, the quarantine period is over.

On the morning of April 5th, the previous evening was in my bones. The large number of “last evenings” drag on. I don't feel like the last evening anymore. On flightradar24 we watch the flight replacement machine on the way to Paramaribo. Everything looks good. The machine lands. Jens gets the message that his flight will be delayed. Delay is better than postponed.

Jens gets on the bus

The arrival of the buses at the marina is also delayed, not all passengers were found in the hotel. The hotel is said to have been very good. Hear. Then come, I'll say goodbye to Jens for a moment and that's it. For the next months.

The flight takes an exciting route to Aruba. As much distance from Venezuela as possible. Mr. Trump is having fun in Venezuela.

Just before arrival.

Meanwhile, Jens is in the terminal and is waiting for departure. We exchange messages. I am sad and happy at the same time. I am happy for Jens that he can spend the next few months in Frankfurt. I am curious to see how I will fare now. I am saddened by the direction the sailing trip took through no fault of our own.

Waiting.

While we are still exchanging messages, everything suddenly happens very quickly. The plane hovers over the harbor, I can see it from Sissi. I exchange two more short messages with Jens, then he has to switch off his phone. Again, it takes ages before I can watch the start of the plane on the Internet. We'll see you again in late autumn.

On the way home

Tightrope acrobatics in the harbor

Today we had the pleasure of watching a rare change. Charly wanted to put his WiFi antenna back in the mast tip where it belongs. That is why the mast ladder was installed first. We noticed it over the morning coffee and at first thought the show was over. After coffee, I walk over to Chapo and see Charly starting to climb. Ute and Jutta secure the bottom of the mast. Not much is happening in the harbor at the moment, which is why the neighbor from the motorboat is watching with interest.

Charly climbs up.

Charly was born in Bavaria and the Bavarians have high mountains, are used to climbing and working in a rope team. You notice that immediately. Bavaria is also not afraid of heights. I'm not on the mast, that's why I have Jens. He climbs in climbing halls and is almost as qualified as a Bavarian.

In a calm, relaxed and clear voice, Charly gives clear instructions to the security team, while on the way up he carries out the final steps to assemble the mast ladder. Holding straps are placed around the mast at regular intervals so that the ladder cannot slide away.

Tether straps

Jutta and Ute carry out the instructions from above quickly but without haste. Communication in the team is well established. Charly quickly gets to the top of the mast and brings the WLAN antenna into place within a few minutes. He works carefully because it would be exhausting to climb again in the heat. The time in and of itself is perfectly chosen, because it has been cloudy all morning, the sun is not roasting as usual.

At the summit cross. The longing of every mountain climber.

The assembly is completed after a few minutes. While I am still talking to Jutta and we are talking about the advantages of the new mast ladder, Charly gives the friendly instruction from above to slowly rappel him down again. I couldn't have mounted the antenna on the cockpit roof that quickly, let alone at such a high altitude. Chapeau.

Forget a little something.

After returning to Sissi, when I look at the photos, I notice that everything went really well. Charly goes upstairs, Charly goes downstairs, the antenna sits in its place and leads away. Only the mast ladder can no longer be taken down. Despite all care and prudence, the top strap remained on the mast.

I am very happy, I have the opportunity to attend a second high wire show. Charly doesn't want to have all the climbing fun for herself. That's why Jutta is allowed to go upstairs and Charly backs up with Ute.

Secure Charly and Ute

It only takes a few minutes, then Jutta reaches the top of the mast. She removes the last tether, then it goes down again.

It is nice when everyday life is not always the only thing.

Jutta on the way up.

It's all the same to the little green iguana. On my second way back to Sissi, he looks at me with his reptile eyes and begs for a photo. The sun has once again prevailed against the clouds.

Green iguana

Tortuga sets sail

We met Holger two weeks ago. At that time he was anchored with his Tortuga behind the airport runway. There he had no internet and so the Corona outbreak and the consequences for all sailors initially passed him by. Although he noticed that the traffic on the quayside had completely stopped at night, he didn't know why. Holger waited alone for his crew on board. The previous crew could still fly home regularly, but the new crew could no longer enter Aruba. A real problem.

Tortuga at the gas station

A friend of Holger is sitting on Martinique and would help him with the transfer to Germany. But he is also not allowed to go to Aruba. So Holger wants to go to Martinique. He has made himself smart, knows about the 14 days of quarantine that await him after entering the country. Nevertheless, he goes to Martinique.

The lines are loose, the fenders are still being stowed.

We wish Holger a safe journey, perfect wind and that he made the right decision. Making decisions is not easy these days because the general conditions change so quickly and sailing boats are so slow.

Tortuga leaves Oranjestad

When we're out sailing, decisions have to be made all the time. Most of the time, weather and weather forecast are the reason why these decisions are necessary. We can handle that.

Boarded up shop window

Even if we have everything we need in Oranjestad right now, I am concerned about certain signs. There is a large motor yacht in the harbor of an old Dutchman who moved to Aruba 15 years ago. Yesterday he had large quantities of food delivered to his boat from the supermarket. He thinks people are relaxed at the moment because they still have money. That would be different in a month or two. There is practically no shop in the city center that hasn't boarded up the shop windows.

Maybe we'll move Sissi to the second marina in Aruba. The mooring fee is cheaper there and it is pretty much apart from everything. Shopping would be more difficult, but we would be far away from any stain interesting for rioters or looters. Or maybe nothing happens. On what basis should we make such a decision?

Sunset, always beautiful.

Under no circumstances should you make decisions on an empty stomach. We bought ladders from the butcher and put them in a delicious jerk tomato marinade overnight. Our big pot is full, it's a serving for five hungry people. I then had these ladders braised on the smallest flame for three and a half hours. Jutta fried piles of French fries and provided vegetables. Jens stirred a chocolate nut pudding. Together there was a big gluttony. The meat was perfectly tender and easily detached from the bones. The security guard from the marina almost jumped into the pot with the ladder. Lizards also like chocolate nut pudding. The decision is postponed, the stomach is too full for it. She can also wait a few weeks. Then we'll know more.

We now know one thing for sure: Corona makes you fat and round.


Addendum: The Tortuga is back in Aruba. Holger had to turn around due to problems.

Sailors in the Caribbean

Jens and I live well on our little planet. Sissi is safe in the harbor, the supermarkets around us are open and the shelves are full. We are healthy. We have friends in the port, we can talk. A good butcher is within walking distance and we have the hotel beach to ourselves.

The butcher. Every customer is allowed to draw a number and then has to wait outside until the number is called. This avoids having too many people in the store at the same time.

We are not chased away on the hotel beach. We now know all security guards and the security guards know us. Even a nightly walk along the water is possible during the curfew, because the path is shielded from the views of possibly passing police officers by several floors of luxury concrete.

The holiday hotel goes on vacation. Especially in the dark when there is a curfew across the island. We have it well.

It looks different on other islands. We are in contact with sailors on different islands. The joint venture II is still on Martinique. There is a strict curfew, the sailors there can only leave their boats for an important reason. A walk is not part of it. The supermarkets are only open in the morning and there are gaps on the shelves. However, Martinique still seems attractive.

Attractive for sailors who are currently in Grenada, such as the Lucky Star. You can buy everyday items there, but there is not much else in the supermarket. To stock the boat for an Atlantic crossing on Grenada seems impossible. Therefore, they try to get permission to enter Martinique to supplement their supplies there.

So it's all about the entire Caribbean to Colombia and Panama. The individual sailors have found a more or less favorable place to survive the next few weeks. Most of them are stranded in their place by chance. A return trip to Europe is possible around mid-April. Until then, the boats have to be prepared.

Crew is often also missing. There are some boats whose crew members have flown home. New crew members should have flown in, but this is not known to be possible at the moment. There is often only the skipper on board and waiting for things. In front of the Aruba airport there is a German boat, the Tortuga. Their skipper is somewhat stuck without his crew, but he still has to plan his return trip.

The return trip could be more difficult than usual. Usually sailing boats crossing the Atlantic from west to east make a stopover in Bermuda, the Azores and sometimes Madeira. On the one hand you don't want to miss the beautiful landscapes, on the other hand it is good for the whole crew if you can really sleep in for a few nights.

To make a long story short: Bermuda has closed the borders. Madeira as well. Refueling and stockpiling is possible in the Azores with special permission. The boat must not be left in the process. It gets uncomfortable.

At worst, we all have to sail the 5500 miles to Germany without stopping. That would be about 50 days at sea. Unpleasant.

Within a few days, a WhatsApp group was formed among the stranded sailors. Over 100 participants are still able to hold a somewhat constructive discussion there at the moment. After all, it was possible to send some ship and crew data to German authorities. German foreign policy makers should ensure that the yachts can also enter Bermuda and Madeira on their way home. After all, there is a representative of the diplomatic corps in the group. So much for a reasonably usable action. Like me to the Online petition I don't know yet. Provisioning is necessary anyway, just in case - to Germany. You will certainly not reject a boat in distress.

Sailors in the press
Focus on the problem of stranded sailors
Float magazine: Pirates of the Caribbean
Spiegel: Caught in paradise
FAZ: Convoy from the Caribbean?

Our Sissi has enough supplies, we can sail the 5500 miles if necessary. This knowledge is very, very reassuring. So we can relax and sometimes visit one of the few attractions that are still open.

The flamingo is very trusting. It doesn't even have to be fed, but comes flown on its outstretched finger.

Attraction. The crossbar is hanging low. I would never have called a hotel resort an attraction before the epidemic. A few days ago there was more going on here. The hotel's island with many flamingos and pelicans was still open, if only for a dozen guests. Unfortunately, it is now closed. We had a lot of fun with the birds.

For a quarter dollar you get pellets on a kind of gumball machine, with which you can feed the birds. Of course, the birds know that too. As soon as you turn a quarter dollar in the machine, countless Antilles and pigeons pounce on the unsuspecting people. We bought fun for a three-quarter dollar and made a little video. Have lots of fun with it.

There is also an excellent shower on the island. She strikes the hotel's staff shower, which we share, by several flamingo neck lengths. We have to suffer a few inconveniences.

Stupid selfie with a penguin.

24 hours on adrenaline

It's March 21, 2020. It's early afternoon. We receive a message from the Chapo that it is almost on the approach to Aruba and will arrive sometime in the night. Great, I think to myself, on the night of Sunday entry will definitely not be easier. The sun is slowly setting.

Evening mood in Oranjestad

We expect an arrival sometime between midnight and three in the morning and turn on the radio. After a few hours we can hear the coast guard addressing an unknown sailboat. We can't hear an answer at first, but the unknown sailboat can only be the Chapo. The pulse goes up. Adrenaline is spreading.

My phone rings at 0:30 on March 22nd. Charly is on the other end of the line. They are in front of the entrance to Barcadera, the clearing port, but between them and the jetty is a border police boat. I immediately try to activate the contact to the honorary consul, who made sure that the Chapo can enter the country. Unfortunately, the night shift on the police boat knows nothing about it. While I'm still trying to make a phone call, the Chapo is being expelled from Aruban territorial waters. They should come back the next morning when customs and immigration have opened. I go back to bed, a good night's sleep is out of the question. Our friends have been on the Atlantic since February 27th, and now they have to go to a port.

I am woken up at half past eight in the morning. The honorary consul, Ms. Rodriguez, calls back. She apologizes for being already in bed. A blaring child can be heard in the background.

Ms. Rodriguez provides me with phone numbers that the Chapo can pass on to the border police. Over the next two hours, it is slowly clearing that this boat can cross the border and enter. We watch the coast guard watch a speedboat launch. It disappears at high speed towards the last and known position of the Chapo.

Ms. Rodriguez would like me to have the ID numbers of those arriving. Jutta sends it to me by SMS. But that's not enough, now photos of the ID cards should be added. The Chapos cannot deliver that, the data volume is not enough. German cell phone contracts are a horror. Somehow it has to be done without, Ms. Rodriguez understands and cares.

My phone rings again, on the other end of the line is Aruba's Secretary of Foreign Affairs. I can once again tell the whole story from the start in Cape Verde to the arrival in Aruba. Two Danish hitchhikers may have driven local diplomacy crazy about Copenhagen, but they couldn't do much. I am asked about the plans. The Danes booked a return flight to Amsterdam on March 22nd. The Germans want to spend the hurricane season in the harbor. So far, so clear.

It is 12:30 p.m. I am informed by the Chapo that they are now being escorted to the Barcadera clearing port by the Coast Guard. We are relieved. It can't be long now.

The procedure for clearing in is different from ours. This time, fever is still measured in the travelers. Otherwise it only takes a good hour, then we are informed that everything is OK and that they are now coming over to Oranjestad. The Danes are now traveling with the police taxi towards the airport.

Chapo in the entrance of Oranjestad

Jens and I go to the beach. We take the cameras with us and want to take pictures of the approach to Chapo. The sun is laughing at the water, which glows in all possible shades of blue. Everything is painted.

The Chapo enters the port of Oranjestad

We celebrate the entrance to the port at around 2 p.m. with shouting, waving, singing, hopping and dancing. The mood is exuberant. When parking, Charly first touches a wooden bollard that flies away in fragments. That's the way it is when you haven't tied to the dock for weeks. In the second attempt, we can then guide the Chapo to the petrol station and tie it down.

Exuberant mood - it's so wonderful!

Unfortunately, the three are not allowed to board, they are still in quarantine. We hope that it will be lifted soon. We are also not allowed on board.

So Jens and I sit on the jetty. We brought fresh beer from the Sissi fridge. We celebrate the arrival. Hopefully the quarantine will be lifted soon. After all, the three had been with each other since the end of February.

Jutta, Ute and Charly lose their tension with every beer. We hear loud music. There are always security guards who find the new sailboat suspicious in the harbor. We can sort it out. All is well. We put a large can of goulash on board so that they can finally have a freshly cooked meal.

High spirits

After dinner, the party is over quickly. All three chapos are tired. In any case, they have earned their sleep. We also go to bed early. The adrenaline is now used up. We are tired.

At this point, once again, many thanks to Mrs. Rodriguez. She really worked hard and did more for the Chapo than you might expect.

Introduce yourself…

… It is February 27th, 2020. You start with your sailboat in Cape Verde to cross the Atlantic. You are in good spirits, the boat is fit and you have two Danish hitchhikers with you to make the guards shorter. This virus, which has spread to the news programs, is far away and is causing mischief in China.

Imagine that the wind is weak, the crossing takes a few days longer than planned and you can only communicate via SMS on the way. Some weather data. You are on your floating island of the blessed. The Atlantic is blue, the boredom is big and you rock closer to the Caribbean islands every day.

As you travel, the globe spins faster, faster, and faster. Infected people fly around the world, sit on cruise ships or distribute the virus in ski huts. The news shows only know the topic "Hamster purchases of toilet paper". In the formerly limitless Europe, one boom after another folds down. Border fences are being drawn all over the world, entry is forbidden and the nations are hedging themselves in. You can see on the Internet how the virus spreads around the world.

You don't notice any of this. You sit on your sailboat and sail to the Caribbean. Outside is the Atlantic and the Atlantic is blue.

The world is spinning faster and faster. Some countries impose a curfew, cut air and ferry connections, and politics starts doing crazy things. The population is said to be "completely infected" or it is pointed to the alleged author. The devil is tried many times. The stock markets fly lower than military aircraft. Health systems are facing collapse in some places. Cruise ships stay in the ports. Hotels are closed. Schools, restaurants, cinemas and brothels as well.

You don't notice much. You are sitting on your sailboat and are almost in the Caribbean. The Atlantic is blue and your ship is sailing through seaweed. Sometimes you see a dolphin or two.

It's March 16th. You are almost there and find that nobody wants to take you. The borders are closed, entry requirements have been tightened, sharper than a Japanese knife made of steel folded three hundred times. That's what our friends are doing on Chapo.

German Honorary Consul in Aruba

I spent an hour with the German Honorary Consul in Aruba today. The consul is very nice, but doesn't speak a word of German. This is not necessary either. She knows the right phone numbers. I get a promise that Aruba will not reject the chapo. The joy on the Chapo is great.

Then I was at the port office. The harbor master is very happy that another boat will come into the harbor. The Chapo gets the space right next to us. Now the Chapos only have to make the last 500 miles. The two Danish hitchhikers are no longer on vacation, but they have to go through it now.

Everything will be fine.

The joy with us is also great. On the one hand we are looking forward to Jutta and Charly, on the other hand we are looking forward to the palette of cider that has been on board there since Lanzarote.

Crazy: Salty and Joint Venture II

The wind is back. It has been blowing over Sao Vicente since midday, providing refreshment and cooling in the streets of Mindelo during the hot hours at noon. Already yesterday there was a lot of activity on many sailing boats in the neighborhood. The boats were washed inside and out, tons of goods from the supermarkets were brought on board. Departure dates were discussed in rows at the jetty.

The wind is getting stronger and steadier hour by hour. He adheres to the weather forecast. Björn, Marieke and Merlin checked out from the marina and sent their last greetings via the WiFi in the floating bar.

The Salty crew has completed all the formalities and is on the way to the boat

We wish each other all the best for the crossing. Then we help to loosen the many lines of the Salty. Before that, of course, there must be a photo.

A certain tension can be seen on the faces before the crossing

But as seriously as the three of them look in the picture above, I didn't want to put it on the blog alone. How will we look?

It starts!

One of the leading lines was stubborn at first. Then we were able to solve them and Salty was free. We have a date in Martinique! We wish you a wonderfully beautiful crossing.

On the way to the Caribbean

Another German boat made its way to the Caribbean today, Joint Venture II. We met the crew in Santa Cruz and were happy to see you here again. They want to go to Barbados, just like we do, but they have to be there on January 16. A crew member has already booked the flight home.

Here, too, there is a big hello on the jetty, many sailors always come to such a farewell. Nobody will stand and wave with us, our new acquaintances and friends are all driving in front of us.

Departure of joint venture II

In the evening we see the joint venture lying on the jetty again. An important part of the wind vane control was broken, not to be repaired at sea. They had to turn three miles behind Mindelo. They were able to get the spare part today, and it will start again tomorrow morning.