Explosive

Aruba is now in a learning process. The number of Covid-19 cases is higher than it was ever during the first wave. In June the island had no cases. On July 10th there were four cases again, the first fresh tourists from the USA were able to enter.

At some point in the past few weeks, according to my information, a bartender has returned from vacation in the Netherlands. It was tested on arrival and was negative. So he went back to work. Unfortunately, he was positive anyway. A large part of the infections are said to be due to this bar.

On August 3rd we were still with 12 cases, the first five cases were known in which the people here on Aruba were infected. On August 4, the number rose to 17 and the government announced the first tightening. On August 5, 39 new cases were reported. On August 6, another 92 cases were added. Today then 133. The total number is 279 active cases. Unfortunately this is just exploding a bit here.

Bus driver with mask and window

The most far-reaching requirement is to wear a mask on public transport. I have no problem with that in and of itself. However, some bus drivers no longer stop at all if the passenger is waiting at the bus stop without a mask. That's annoying me, after all, nothing can happen outside. Then there is the matter of that garlic... You are pretty much at the mercy of your own breath of death.

For a few days now I've been anxiously waiting for a package from home. Jens brought it to the post office in the Netherlands almost two weeks ago.

Note the spelling of the “S” in FAST. That’s the program.

In the late morning I received a bunch of messages on Whatsapp, all of which came from an unknown number in Aruba.

"Ho"
"Hi"
"My name is luis from UPS"
"Can i hafe your name?"
"Are you the owner of Yacht Sissi?"

"My name is Jörg and I am the owner of Sissi."

"Hi sir"
"My name is Luis from UPD"
"Oops"
"Are you in Aruba?"

"Yes I am. I hope you have a parcel for me."

"Correct i have a transit shipment for you, but we connot delivered, customer must to picked up at Cargo Building due that the shipment is in transit."
"Our location is ..."
"You will not pay duties"
"But our handling is"
“48.86 USD”

The package is already behind Sissi on the jetty

I ask Charly to drive me to the airport. The UPS branch is located there. Later on I get a guilty conscience. I'm in the office with a face mask on and I'm allowed to wait ten minutes for Luis to finish a phone call with his girlfriend. There always has to be that much time.

But then he immediately goes to work for me. First he collects the fees. I'm paying with cash in the hope that I might speed up the process a little. The opposite is the case - Luis won't find 1.14 USD. A colleague in the back room can change. I'm allowed to sign a few papers, other pieces of paper are stamped loudly. Then Luis explains to me that these papers now have to go to customs.

He disappears for almost a quarter of an hour, then more pieces of paper have been added to the pile of paper. Then Luis explains to me that he is going to get the package. It'll be back in just 20 minutes. I now have to drive the papers and the package to customs in Oranjestad. Or. Charly has to drive me there, we've already been on our way for about an hour to pick up the package.

Äppler on board

The port in Oranjestad is largely deserted. Nevertheless, Charly cannot find a parking space, parking is not provided there. Since I don't know where the customs are, I leave the package in the car. It drives to the gas station with Charly. A cruise ship is lying at the pier, but only part of the crew is on board. I ask the porter where customs are. He points to the neighboring building. There is a kind of cage there that I go into and knock on a tiny window.

The window opens a crack and I am asked about my request. Now I should have presented the package. However, the customs officer is satisfied with the papers and says that he believes me, I would bring the package on board. Clear! Of course!

The most expensive cider of my life

Never in my life have I had a cider that costs six euros per glass. Every sip one euro. And it tastes really, really good. Thank you!

Cider in Aruba!

Today is a happy day. The Chapo came to Oranjestad yesterday and it was a happy day. Today is another happy day! And today the end of a long story happened.

The story begins in Frankfurt. Almost half a year ago, Stefan, a former work colleague, asked me if he could support us with a delivery from home. I was very happy about this and asked him to send a pallet of cider. At that point we were in Portugal and tried all kinds of drinks made from apples. None of them was comparable to a real, delicious apple wine.

Charly hands the cider to me

When we had a secure shipping address again, because we were waiting for our new sail, Stefan has the package with our Favorite parcel service sent on the way. Meanwhile in Stade the sail maker sat down on his sewing machine and sewed a fresh genoa for us. The genoa was packed and sent to our marina. At some point we could hold them in our hands. In the meantime, DHL only had to bring a pallet of cider to Lanzarote.

We were then ready to leave Lanzarote. Unfortunately, the cider was not there yet, according to tracking, it made itself comfortable in various beautiful warehouses in Spain during this time. Thankfully, Jutta and Charly of the Chapo have agreed to pick up the cider for us if it ever arrives at the marina and to sail across the Atlantic.

Twenty-four new friends!

Charly was able to pick up the bottle at the marina office the following day. As Mr. Murphy wanted it to be, the Appler arrived in Marina Rubicon the day after we left. The Appeler disappeared into the depths of the Chapo anchor box.

While we were having fun in the Caribbean, the Chapo was still in the Canaries. We had already written off the appler internally, because we drove from Barbados to St. Lucia, the Chapos from Las Palmas to Mindelo. They were thousands of miles behind us. Jens and I spent the carnival in Martinique. Our cider survived the Carnival in Mindelo. It may also be better to carry out transoceanic cider transports with the help of Bavaria or Franconia, as the cider will then survive the long crossing more easily.

The Chapo left Mindelo, we eventually Martinique. We strolled towards Bonaire, the island with the great corals under water. Our cider was in good hands.

Now cider is on board again!

Then the plague came. It became increasingly clear that the Chapo could not follow its original plan to let its hitchhikers out in Barbados and then meet with us in Jamaica. That was the subject of our appointment. We would very likely have missed our planned trip to Jamaica.

Borders have been closed and sailors had and still have big problems with it. Where to enter if the boat is to be in a port outside the hurricane zone. Which country still accepts sailing boats. I sensed the favor of the hour (say bad tongues) and with the help of Ms. Rodrigues (Honorary Consul) we were able to get the Chapo to enter the otherwise closed border. Of course, only apple cider was in the foreground of our help. It wasn't at all because we had developed a friendship within the last three quarters of a year.

No quarantine for the appler. Welcome on board!

Thank you Stefan for sending the cider on the long journey. Thank you Jutta and Charly for not drinking it on your odyssey. Thank you Ms. Rodriguez for allowing the Appeler to enter. Two cans are now in the fridge. We'll drink to all of you afterwards!

Sail bureaucracy paperwork

All's well that ends well. We bought a new genoa and it is on the ship with us. In this respect, everything could have ended worse. After all, we saved a lot of VAT. However, I wonder if we can ever take this genoa back to the EU. Maybe I shouldn't be writing about it?

It all started with the fact that we reefed our genoa too late during the crossing to the Canary Islands and therefore our lower leg was torn off. It actually started with the purchase of Sissi, because the genoa was no longer really fresh. The sailmaker in Stavoren has already told us that it will not last long. Therefore, it was already planned to have a new genoa made on the way. Blue-eyed and inexperienced as I am, I wanted to do that in the Canary Islands. There are many sailboats, where there are sailboats there are sailmakers and sailmakers make sails. I thought. And there is no VAT on the Canary Islands, so the sail must be cheaper there. I thought.

Genoa at the sailmaker

So we carried our genoa to Puerto Calero for the sail maker. He was supposed to sew on the lower leg and make a new genoa. He could offer the former. After that, the genoa was at least reusable. He couldn't and didn't want the latter.

“Here in the Canary Islands all people order their sails either in Germany or in England. The sails are finished there faster and cost less. ” So much for my plan. So I got on the phone and found a sail maker in Germany who wanted to quickly sew a genoa and send it to Lanzarote. Since we had planned a week in Frankfurt anyway, the wait wasn't so bad. With was explained exactly what we have to measure so that the new sail fits. The sail maker in Puerto Calero helped us with the measurements. So far so good.

Measure

Then I quickly went to the computer, transferred the down payment to Germany and clarified by phone how the delivery should be. I looked for the delivery address from the Internet (Marina Rubicon) and sent it. We have received so many deliveries in the meantime that it is becoming a habit to put the shipping name and my name in front of the delivery address. So far so good.

Monday November 25th
During our stay in Frankfurt, the sail maker called me and informed me that the genoa was ready for dispatch. He wants to know if I would rather have delivered it to Frankfurt so that I can take it with me. I would have done that even if our return flight had not been the next day. The sail is therefore entrusted to UPS. After all, we have not had any bad experiences with this parcel service.

Tuesday November 26th
Before our return flight, UPS sends an email saying that our Genoa should be delivered on Thursday. Wow, I thought. Only three days from Germany to Lanzarote. Other parcel services can cut a few slices.

Wednesday November 27th
UPS sends an email that our sail has arrived in Gran Canaria. Then there are further emails every three hours, all in Spanish by the way, which reported an exception for the delivery. With the help of Leo, we can find out that the genoa is stuck in customs and it's not up to UPS to stop it being transported. No matter. The genoa is very close.

Thursday November 28th
The day of the announced delivery. In my mailbox there are already several emails from UPS that continue to report customs clearance. Dear people in Germany, you don't even know how good we are with the European Customs Union. The genoa stays in customs, I can hardly keep up with deleting all UPS mails. They installed a real spam machine there.

Friday November 29th
An email is coming from UPS announcing the delivery of the package by Monday, December 2nd. Nice. That’s enough for us. So far so good.

Monday December 2nd
In the early afternoon I received an email from UPS that the package should have been delivered, but Marina refused to accept it. We find out that the issue was that 210 € customs duties were due and that the marina refused "the package" but "the paperwork". UPS sends an email that the package is now on the way back. UPS asks if the goods can be destroyed. Jens and I go crazy. The marina explained to us that the address “yacht in transit” is missing from the address. How do we get this addition to the address? Nobody reports to UPS anymore.

Tuesday 3rd December
We are trying to contact UPS in Gran Canaria. Hopeless. English is not spoken at UPS in Spain. We don't speak Spanish. We cannot call UPS in Germany from here because the 0180 number cannot be called from abroad. We try to get the address change through the sail maker. I call Marcos, my former boss, who knows Spanish as a mother tongue. He agrees to call UPS in Spain. He can also call UPS in Germany.
Jutta from the Chapo calls her son. He also speaks Spanish fluently. He manages to reach Alberto, the parcel driver. He still has the package in his car. Jens persuades the boss from the marina to accept the package. Fortunately, Alberto has not yet unloaded the heavy box out of the car. Alberto wants to come back the following day.

delivery trucks

Wednesday December 4th
We are eagerly awaiting Alberto. I camp with a snack near the marina office in the shade. Jens waits at the boat if Alberto drives the package directly to the dock. Meanwhile, he can continue to paint the deck. In the early afternoon the time has come. The delivery truck arrives.

Thumbs up!

Alberto delivers the sail to the marina office and collects the € 210 customs fees. 30 seconds later I get an invoice from the marina for € 270. They add a bunch of fees for accepting the package. No matter. I do not give a shit.

Alberto brings the sail to the jetty and is given a friendly tip by Jens. Perhaps he will also transport a sail for another sailor. In any case, he doesn't make an unhappy impression on me when he leaves the marina.

Package with the sail in it

Now it is there, our new genoa. We would like to pull them up, but that is currently not possible with the wind gusts. We unpacked the package, stowed the genoa in the forward berth and had a beer on it.

On the one hand, the fun cost a lot of customs and marina fees, on the other hand, we saved a lot of VAT by delivering to Lanzarote. That is the good thing about it. If we had had the sail delivered to Frankfurt, that would not have been the case.

sail

I don't know if we can bring the new Genoa back to Germany. Maybe we still have to pay tax on them. As a precaution, I keep the bill with the fees. It goes west, where German customs and tax law does not apply.

Thanks to everyone who helped us or wanted to help get the cloth out of customs. Thanks to Alberto, David, Jutta, Marcos, Stefan and Mrs. N. from the sailmaker. All is well.

DHL - The historical slowness

It's finally here! The last package we were waiting for here in Lagos. It's been 11 days from Frankfurt am Main since our parents gave it up. We almost gave up waiting, Susanne offered to send it to the Canary Islands.

Finally arrived!

The content will take us a few weeks further, it is full of delicious coffee from our favorite roastery. Many thanks to our parents for the delicious beans.

According to Google Maps, it is around 2500 kilometers from Frankfurt to Lagos, which can be covered by car in 24 hours. The truck from DHL is certainly a bit slower and such a package would also like to be sorted, scanned and left behind. With 10 days it pays off more comfortably. 2500 kilometers in 240 hours is a speed of five and a half knots. So the package was traveling through Europe at Sissi cruising speed.

Waiting in Wales

We have been in Milford Haven in Wales since the day before yesterday. Milford is a small, pretty harbor town with a huge marina. When you enter the marina, you register via radio and get a berth after a short time. Very nice, very well organized and the marina is well protected in an old fishing port.

Milford Marina with open lock gates - hidden object game: Where's Sissi?

This time we are not waiting for the right wind. We are waiting for two packages that we had sent here a while ago. In the marina office there are many packages for sailors who use the marina as a post office. That is the main reason why we directed Sissi to Milford. Since we use the waiting time properly, we have once again given Sissi all-round maintenance. While I was greasing the toilet and cleaning the interior, Jens was sitting on the deck and patched some cracks in the genoa.

The genoa must be sewn.

Then there is our watermaker. On the North Sea, we found that he pours salt water into the engine room. We were then able to get a replacement delivery from the dealer from whom we purchased the Watermaker. So far so good. The manufacturer in Italy had the spare part picked up by DHL in good time, so our plan was to have the spare part waiting for us here. We only made the invoice without the parcel service. The Englishman would say something like "I'm not fully satiesfied", the Scotsman or Irishman would do something with "fucking".

DHL “Express”

It is unclear to me how DHL in Italy could send a shipment to Athens in the UK. However, it is just as unclear to me why DHL in Athens did not simply send this delivery to the UK, but back to Bologna. This morning we were pleased to see that the spare part has now arrived in Bristol, just two and a half hours drive from Milford Haven. Maybe we will rent a car tomorrow and pick up the part ourselves ... So far, there is no announced delivery date.

In addition to repairs, we also do the things we enjoy doing. Eat! Two fine lobsters have been ordered from Fischer for tonight. Although they cost a little more than on Islay (15 pounds for the medium size), they are just as fresh for that. We are looking forward to it.

Tomorrow we want to buy fresh fish here from the local fishmonger. A jetty neighbor told us that it is incredibly difficult to buy fresh fish in the UK. 99% of the catch would be sent south and would come back as rectangular packages wrapped in plastic. The British housewives had forgotten how to cook whole fish. That is why we have not been able to get fresh fish since Scotland.

Dolphins accompany Sissi part of the way

The travel companions we had on the way to Milford also like fresh fish. Stupidly I was just sleeping, but Jens was able to make a video of the dolphins that accompanied us for over a quarter of an hour.