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.

Email from the federal police

I got the following email from the federal police. If you are stuck on your boat in the Caribbean and don't know anything about this email, which has been sent to many boats, I can put you in touch. I don't want to put the sender's email address on the website.

Support for German citizens abroad
Dear sailing friends,

We are employees of the Piracy Prevention Center (PPZ) of the Federal Police and are the central point of contact for German recreational shipping on their travels around the world.

We received your contact details through Wolfgang BEE. In a telephone conversation, Mr. BEE explained the current problems of closed ports in the Caribbean and the considerations of individuals to fly back to Germany if necessary.

We will send your data from our office to the Federal Foreign Office. For this we need further personal data (surname, first name, date of birth and address) of all persons on board. We also need your MMSI or some other distinguishing signal.

If you are considering the possibility of a return, we refer you to the official website of the Federal Foreign Office and the return campaign there.

We also recommend that you obtain information on site from Trans Ocean's German bases. The German-speaking contacts may have ways and means or contacts who can help you at short notice.

We have compiled a list of addresses and contacts for you below.
(The following is a list of consulates and honorary consuls for the local region.)

We definitely need feedback from you.

Directorate area
Federal Police Lake
Piracy Prevention Center
180702 PPZ
Neustadt, March 26th, 2020
Best regards
On behalf