A few days ago I mentioned big news and I guess now it’s time to let the cat out of the bag: We’re in the last weeks of our voyage. Soon – probably sometime in July we’ll return to Berlin. Back into the concrete jungle, yes. Well. Now it’s out.
Of course some of you will try to encourage us to stay and I really appreciate it but be assured: It was not an easy decision. And somehow we wished we could continue. But the time is not the right one. We’ve been sailing three years, crossed two oceans, lost one yacht, had many adventures, met wonderful people and were able to see and live in the amazing beauty of the South Pacific. It’s a good time to stop.
We also searched for ways to continue our travel or fast routes to sail back to Europe but nobody on board really wants to cross the Indian ocean and even less the Atlantic from south to north with very few and short landfalls in between. We all miss our family and friends a lot and – it has to be mentioned: Since our shipwreck we always have been very short on money which sometimes complicated things.
Soon we’ll try to go back in our previous lives but not quite yet: We still have some weeks left and want to visit Tikopia in the Solomon Islands and climb the volcanoes of Vanuatu. Later we probably will end up in Australia which seems to be the best place to sell a boat in the Pacific.
And just as we made up our mind, the South sea throws this unbelievable gorgeous island called Yanuca in our way. Together with the family from the SY Time Lord we’re the only souls around. The kids wander off and disappear for hours looking for crabs on the beach and investigating a lost resort hidden by the palm trees. We snorkel in the crystal clear water, see turtles and sharks. Dolphins swim and jump in the bay and in the evening we have a wonderful camp fire on the beach. And to top it all off, we experience a rare ‘blood moon’ as we return to our boats.
But still, today in the afternoon we’ll pull the anchor out of the coral sand and sail through the night towards the western islands. We try to reach Malolo Leilei (what a name !) in the morning and probably stay there for a week to celebrate easter and Violas 6th birthday.
There still seems to be a confusion about our situation right now. We’ve NOT stopped sailing. I’m in Europe for three weeks to get things organized and to visit my family and friends. End of May I’ll be back in the South Pacific and we’ll set sail towards Suvarov and Tonga.
I don’t want to write about Europe right now. I’ve started getting my thoughts on paper but it’s so crazy, the life here has so little to do with the life we live in Polynesia, it’s really hard to even find things to compare. But I’m 100% happy to be with my family again and it feels good to see all friends after two years. Speaking of: there’s someone weaiting for me, I’ve gotta go.
At 20:55h local time I arrived in Berlin. At the gate, I got picked up by Stephi, Gibor and Wolfgang who immediately shipped the ramaining me to the next bar where we had some beers and shared the first stories. At 01:30am I fell into a soft, not moving bed and passed out. The mobile phone woke me up twelve hours later and now I gotta go out into the cold city and try to get my bearings. Where’s the sea ??
Yeee, in only three days I’ll be back from where we started. Somehow crazy. We spent two years trying to get here to the other end of the world and on Monday I’ll hop into a plane and 46 hours later I am in Berlin. But the decision to go on really short notice also meant a little work. As we’re still not finished with the boat(s) we spent the week in Tahiti. The Suvarov moored to a buoy close to the Rancho Relaxo of the Seas, we exchanged anchors and chains. Now our trusty bow anchor is back with us and the slightly older chain with the ‘Brake’ anchor is on the Rancho. Both items we might sell next week. The old Liferaft is underway to Raiatea where it will be given to it’s new owner, the wind generator now powers a french boat that’s underway towards New Caledonia. The remains of our rig went on shore where Jerry will later transform it into an arch (?) for the Pukuri.
The evenings I spent on the internet looking for spare parts and stuff we need, organizing the trip and trying to get in touch with friends. Oh I hope, somehow I could manage to see them all. So anyway, my schedule is Berlin for the first days, then to my family in Austria. The third week of May I should be back in Berlin from where I leave on the 21st towards our home in French Polynesia.
Sunday we were celebrating Viola’s fifth birthday. There were all our friends from the anchorage/beach as well as Jean Claude and his daughters, friends from school and more.
The party started right in the morning with the setting up of the slack line, some weird rope game, putting baloons in the trees and while the kids were preparing these things, the skip sneaked out and buried a treasure deep under a coconut palm.
The gang had a lot of fun, searching the park for the hidden hints towards the treasure while the grown ups tried their balance on the slack line. But there was one thing that stole away the attention from the celebration: The puppies !
Somebody left seven little puppies under a tree in the park and they all found food and love with the kids that cuddled and carried them. When we left on monday all but two of the little dogs already had found a new home.
Next day we had to leave towards Tahiti. As usual, there’s not much wind and we were running under engine. Back in Tahiti, we dismounted and sold the windgenerator, the VHF and the fridge. Finally things get moving…
Oh ! And I nearly forgot to mention: I’m gonna fly to Europe !!!! Yessss !!! The Ackerman Foundation sponsored the flight to get Gui’s label Coquito started. So I’ll be in Berlin and Austria the first three weeks of may, starting a business and getting parts for the Suvarov. And of course visiting all my friends and my family – oh, I’m so happy. It’s been two years. I really am excited about that trip. Yay !!
In these last days all talk revolves around one thing: Garry. That’s the cyclone that developed in the vincinity of Samoa and is now on the way to pass us in the west. Right now it’s a category 3 and the forecast was not at all good. Locally we should have had 6.5m of swell and wind up to 40-50 knots. But right now it seems that the storm will not be that bad and it will pass with quite some distance.
But even then I still did some preparations: The main anchor is buried deep in the sand and we have 55m of chain out. That gives us a scope of 10:1 and should be quite safe. I also put a second anchor on the bow, ready to throw overboard. And we have another one on the stern – just in case. I also removed the big sunroof and removed all the loose stuff on deck. There’s enough food and water on board to last a few weeks so I’d say we’re prepared for bad weather.
Other than that I’ve been focussing on changing flags. I’ve sent emails to the insurance and to get an official measurement-paper for the boat. That is needed to apply for the austrian flag. It’s all complicated and being on the other side of the world doesn’t make it any easier. But I guess, we have that done in a few weeks.
What else has happened. Ah, yeah, there was the thing with my bank card. It arrived with my christmas parcel a week ago. The thing is: for it to work, the card first has to be activated at an ATM of the Berliner Volksbank. Pitty that those are 20000km away. Well, the bank will send another card that doesn’t need that activation. In the meantime I’ll just try to sell some unneeded equipment for cash. Heh.
As we’re stuck in Cuxhaven for the monent, we use the time and the expensive WLAN connection to upload all those pics from the Baltic sea. Everything from the trip through Berlin towards our farewell party to Ruegen, Flensburg and the channel is to be found in the pictures section (in the top menue). Have fun !!
So in the end it was worth it – spending a whole week inside the ship and doing nothing than to learn for the exam.
Today in the morning I successfully passed the exam ! YAY !!! Now I’m going for a beer. If you’re in Berlin, give me a call on my mobile or look for me in the EKA at Helmholtzplatz. I’ll be there from ~21h.
Huh. Only two more days left to learn for the Amateur Radio License !!! The exam will be on monday at 09:00h in Berlin. Which means that I’ll be travelling to our ex-home-city on sunday evening.
So if someone wants to meet up with me: Call me on my mobile, I’ll be free on monday afternoon ’til late night as I’ll stay until tuesday. – And it doesn’t matter how the exam turns out: I’ll have lots of beer. Hehehehe.
After so much time preparing and planning – today we finally cut the lines and left Berlin !!
After so much chaos in the last days we really had the most wonderful start into our adventure. With us is our friend Wolfgang who helped us soooo much in the last weeks that without him, we probably would still be in Berlin for another few weeks.
So we left the Marina Lanke at 06:35h in the morning and had breakfast somewhere between Spandau Lock and Lehnitz Lock.
The day was wonderful with the most beautiful weather and a fast travel without much waiting at the locks. Another sight was of course the ‘Schiffshebewerk Niederfinow’ which lifts ships travelling from Berlin to the Baltic sea about 36 meters !
We arrived in Marina Oderberg at 19:50h and finished our first day with argentinian steak and a Septima Malbec 2009. Perfect !!
If everything works out ok, tomorrow early in the morning we’ll be underway towards the Baltic sea.
You probably thought so, but the last days we were quite busy. I had to fix a couple of last minute problems with the ship and Gui is still in the city working on her next Coquito collection. But tomorrow morning we’ll leave. Keep an eye on the little map to the right as I *just* fixed the position reporting system !
As I still don’t have any pictures from our party, I’ll post some work-pics: Viola and Bruno while filling our cereals into water bottles. That’s it for today. Tomorrow, we’ll start when the sun rises. ;-)
Right now I’m sitting in the cockpit in front of the Radialsystem in the middle of Berlin. We had a wonderful weekend although of course it was very dreadful to see so many friends for the last time for many years.
And as we were busy talking to all those nice people the whole evening, we did somehow forget to shoot pictures. So PLEEEEASE, if you have some nice pictures of last night. – Please send them to us.Thank you.
And thank you all for coming and for the wonderful evening – for sure it will be unforgettable for us.
And how will it continue ? Well. First of all, we’ll sail back to the Marina Lanke and I will do some additional repairs. The start towards the Baltic sea will probably be on thursday. Yay !!!
We’ll be travelling with the Rancho Relaxo to the city center and hope to arrive at the Radialsystem at around 14h on Saturday afternoon. The PARTY will start around 15h in the YAAM !! But as there will be a concert in the evening, we’ll relocate around 19h to the RADIALSYSTEM where our ship is and we’ll stay there and drink lots of beers. I hope you’re all coming ! You can find a detailed map here !
So – al final – the apartment is empty and cleaned. I’m sitting in my ex-garden while writing this blog post. Once again the car is completely full with things that we found during the last days. But today *is* the day, we’re moving out.
I would post some pics of the moving but that’s boring and we’ve got more important things to do at the moment. – See the next posting…
I don’t have much time to post new stories and pic these days. But the ship is pretty much ready to move in. Everything is in it’s place, water and electicity works and I managd to store all the tools and parts, paint and whatelse…
Today we’re moving our remaining stuff. Which means a couple of boxes with kitchen stuff, books, clothes that go to Austria and all the leftovers will be subject to a little ‘garden sale’ that will start NOW.
I’ll move aboard on monday evening, the family will probably follow on wednesday – they can stay another few days with our neighbours. Pics will follow…
On popular demand: Yes, our party will be on the 28th of May ! If it’s the Yaam, we still don’t know – we don’t have time to manage our farewell right now – but there WILL be a party.
Huh ? What’s that nice and cosy feeling ? Ah it’s the worker’s day ! And I for one will NOT drive to the office tomorrow – and that’s a first after 22 years !! But instead of starting my day with a long and nice breakfast, I’ll drive to our ship and start doing the new cabeling. Ayayay ! Well but still better than doing taxes. – Which I also still haven’t finished. :-/ But there’s still four weeks left – so what’s the rush ?
And of course a few pics from my last day in the office. – The bounty invasion on my desk and lots of beer in the backyard. That was followed by even more beer in the Prater Garten and finished off with a few SG&Ts in the Klub der Republik. Mmmmh. What a beautiful last day at work…
Just 32 more days and still no idea, where and how we’ll say goodbye to our friends. But we’ll just use this easter monday to inspect some of the old wastelands along the river Spree. These locations have had us a lot of times – a few years back. Nowadays Kiki Blofeld, Bar25, etc. are mostly gone. Here they’re trying to build ‘lofts‘ and ‘premium class city appartments‘ for all those media companies that still thrive in Berlin Mitte.
So we mostly end up in front of barricades and wire fences but – hey ! There is one place still going: The Yaam ! And this locations seems nearly too perfect: wonderful relaxed atmosphere, african Music, playground for the kids, cocktails and drinks for the grown-ups, sandy ‘beach’ – and it’s located at the waterfront ! We ask one of the people working here and he sees no problem with our plans. Just sent an email to the one managing all the events and now we’re waiting and hoping. But the date is still set: 28th of May 2011. Mark it red in your calendar !
After an unusually cold Winter on the outside and having survived the catastrophic fire in the shipyard, today the Rancho Relaxo of the Seas got back into her element ! Yay !!
The process was quite unspectacular despite bringing the crane to its limits – our ship is actually a little too heavy for that 10t crane but it got into the water without problems. Also we replaced the old rusty anchor chain with a new, whopping 70 meters of 10mm chain. That thing actually weights 170 kilos ! On one pic you can see the nice antifoulding job we did, together with the new sacrificial anodes and the shiny prop. (After brushing it for approx. 1 hour.)
A (quite boring) video of the craning will follow…
Mmmmh. Every boat owner likes it ! Doing anti-fouling once a year. This saturday we spent scraping the old paint from last season off the hull. Niiiiiice work ! Here’s a stop motion video done with our new Go-Pro cam: (to be continued)