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Första Marinan sedan April

Blivande Tropiska Stormen / Orkanen “Matthew” närmar sig och även om dess troliga bana har förskjututs något åt norr beräknas den passera norr om Curacao på bara ett 50 tal sjömil. Efter att ha kollat upp den enda marinan som har ett fåtal gästplatser igår så tog vi beslutet att boka en vecka på Seru Boca Marina och runt lunchtid idag så ligger vi i ett relativt tryggt förvar i väntan på stormen. Senast vi låg i en marina var i Martinique för ca 5 månader sedan. Totalt har vi legat ca 14 dagar i marinor sedan nyår. Det kändes ovant att plocka fram fendrar, förtöjningslinor osv. Marinan är av kategorin lyxmarinor och kostar ungefär som i södra Spanien. Massor av personal, bra service. Enda nackdelen är att vi nu ligger i södra delen av Spanish Water, dvs en kort tur med båten från vår ankringsplats hit till marinan motsvarar ca 2o km med bil. Under morgondagen börjar vi vår rutin för stormförtöjning. 32 mm polyprop förtöjningslinor, nedplockning av segelsäck, delar av vindgeneratorn, ev demontering av solceller, surrning av jollen på däck får vänta till sista minuten eftersom vi behöver den för transporter. Vi håller tummarna för att lågtrycket trots allt viker av mot nordväst.

Nyttig vind, onyttig vind

Alpha++ hanne. Militant Vegan

Veckan som varit har kännetecknats av trasiga prylar. Riktigt sorgligt blev det i Måndags. Vaknade till vacker fågelsång. När jag (Peter) öppnade luckan till sittbrunnen skrämdejag fågeln (Troupial) så den flög in i vindgeneratorn. Fågeln dog tråkigt nog vilket även vindgeneratorn gjorde. Behövde ändå byta lager i den 5 år gamla Silentwind generatorn och vi hade bestämt att köpa en som reserv i Sverige. Kylen gav upp och det visade sig efter en massa felsökning vara ett relä som hade fått värmeslag. Nu fixat så vi har en fungerande kyl, dessutom med optimal fyllning av kylmedel. Vi har dock beställt en komplett kyl alt. frys anläggning utifall att vi får problem längre fram.

Blivande stormen/orkanen Matthew. Prognosticerad bana 5 dygn framåt.

Fokus sedan igår är dock på mer livsviktiga saker. Blivande Stormen/Orkanen “Matthew” har tyvärr siktat in sig på en sydlig bana som, om prognosen håller, passerar strax norr om ABC öarna på Torsdag. Fortfarande ca 1000 nm ost om Trinidad så mycket kan hända. Lågtrycket håller mycket hög fart (20-25 mph) vilket lär innebära att den “vertikala skorstenen”  blåser sönder och minskar risken för en riktigt kraftig orkan. I vilket fall så har vi börjat fundera på Plan B. Det finns en marina som troligen innebär bra skydd för de kraftiga västvindar som väntas. Vi tar bilen dit i morgon och inspekterar. Marinor kan innebära en falsk trygghet.  Dock är vi ödmjuka, vi har legat för ankar vid ca 40 knop medelvind, inte mer.

Upp på land, hemresa, framtida planer…

Vi har nu bott in oss i Spanish Water, Curacao, dit vi ankom för tre veckor sedan. Trevliga båtgrannar, majoriteten Holländare, sociala aktiviteter och smidig service med gratisbuss till matbutiker och skeppshandlare. I Bonaire låg vi på boj eftersom ankring var förbjuden runt hela ön och betalade för det USD 10 per dygn, här i Spanish Water ligger vi för ankar och betalar samma summa för tre månader. Acceptabelt pris!

Idag har vi hyrt en bil för en månad, vi behöver transportera segel för lagning, fylla gasolflaskor, dyktuber, fixa allehanda prylar till båten. Annars fungerar lokalbussen in till huvudorten Willemstadt utmärkt – ca trettio minuter med wifi och luftkonditionering, pris 1.7 NAF vilket motsvarar ca 7 SEK!  Den 14 Oktober har vi reserverat lyft av båten på Curacao marina. Vi räknar med begränsat jobb, några byten av genomföringar, högtryckstvätt av botten (vår Coppercoat fungerar utmärkt), polering och vaxning och byte av anoder.

Efter en vecka på land lämnar vi båten i marinan och flyger till Sverige för två veckor. Ska bli skönt att träffa familj och vänner samt fixa en del inköp som behöver göras inför vår nästa etapp.

The label reads “Kokomber Chiki”. In the age of Google you expect instant translation of any language. Well, not Papiamentu. Our guess these veggies belong to the Cucumber family

Vår vana trogen har vi nu radikalt ändrat våra planer (igen). Istället för att vänta till December för att undvika orkansäsongen och segling till Jamaica och Kuba siktar vi nu på att segla till Colombia i mitten av November. Säkerhetsläget i de områden vi besöker bedöms vara mycket stabilt och om allt går i lås har i Oktober en varaktig fredsplan avslutat ett 50 årigt inbördeskrig som skördat lika många liv som tragedin som ännu pågår i Syrien. I Colombia ligger vi troligen enbart i marinor; Santa Marta och Cartagena.  Vi hoppas göra några resor/hikes inåt landet, bla “The Lost City” (sp Ciudad Perdida), som är Colombias svar på Peru’s Machu Picchu.  I mitten av December seglar vi vidare till Panama för att tillbringa jul och nyår i San Blas arkipelagen med passage av Panama kanalen i Februari. Som vanligt, planer är till för att ändras, så vi får se var vi hamnar till slut.

Sailing Letter August 2016

August 6 was a very special day for us: we tried the water maker for the first time! Fantastic. The constant worrying for water, saving as much as possible when showering, washing clothes and dishes is now over. We do 110 l per hour at the same time as we are charging the batteries (2-3 times a week).

The last month on Bonaire was spent with fewer activities; we went in to some kind of “waiting mood”. 3 months in the same spot is long for us, we need to see new places, but anyway…. We did some small boat work, had a Boule/Petanque contest with Ellen & Martin (sy Acapella), met sailors at happy hour, read books and snorkeled/dived. Eva tried to take as many pictures of fishes as possible, since next stop (Curacao) will not have the same aquarium like conditions.

Some maintenance is always necessary: some leakages on deck were sealed and our clothes not used for a while had to be checked. There are two things that gets damaged by the weather conditions (humidity) and that is everything with leather (mildew) and zippers (oxide). Shoes and coats have not been used for 2 years now (!) but with some vinegar/ättika we solved that problem.

When reviewing our diving skills we promised each other to do some more diving before leaving Bonaire. We tested “The wall” with Ellen and Martin, and it was beautiful. A dive from 3 meter down to 22, full with beautiful corals and fishes. We were still rookies so the air did not last that long but 35 minutes was a good start. Peter and I later did a dive on our own right behind our boat. 4-24 meters slope with the same abundance of corals and fish. It is the easy access to perfect diving that is the “thing” with Bonaire.

The weather was a bit more unstable during August, which meant some rain showers, a bit cloudier and less wind, but still no way near as humid as in Eastern Caribbean.

Less wind also gave us a good sailing to Curacao, August 23. After 6 hours we anchored in Spanish Water, after having to take down the Genoa since the furling drum got stuck. So now we have checked in for 3 months (took a whole day with Customs, Immigration and Harbor authorities), and have started to check out the facilities in the area. The anchorage is huge and not really cramped with boats, there is still plenty of space left. Some people seem to leave their boats and fly “home” or live a life on land in Curacao, but we are still many sailor liveabords meeting up for happy hour, sailor’s dinner, bus ride to Supermarket etc. We still have all our Dutch friends around us, some of which we met as early as in Suriname. The city is approx. 11 km from Spanish Water and the supermarket and chandlers are half ways. There is a daily free shuttle form the anchorage to take us to the shopping area.

Curacao has approx.. 150.000 inhabitants with the capital Willemstad. Main language is Papamiento but all people also speak Dutch and most also English. The town looks like an old Dutch town, with nicely colored houses, narrow streets etc. Last Saturday we took the bus to check it out. We found a big market for vegetables on the water, The Venezuelan floating market, lots of small restaurants and shops, some tourists, but not overwhelmingly many, so we will for sure enjoy our stay here.

Until next time,

BR, Eva & Peter

Bye, Bye, Bonaire

When we arrived, end of May, we asked the Marina, who collected the mooring fee, to pay for a full week. Safety first. We knew nothing about this Island beside its reputation of world class diving. Arriving after 72 hours sailing usually means your focus is on a safe anchorage / mooring, any decision beyond a week is a very vague guess, usually avoided. Now, after x number of extensions of our mooring fees, we know better. We have been “Dushi” Bonaireans for 3 months. We have made friends with authorities (customs, immigration officials), locals (always expressing a bom dia, bom tardi), fishermen allowing our dinghy to use their pier, and all the Dutch sailors (and Swiss, German, Austrian, Finnish, US, Canadians, Portuguese, Brazilians, French and UK) moored in this Paradise. We have refreshed and used our ancient Diving certificates. We have got TinaP in great shape. General overhaul of the electrics + got a water maker working at a great capacity. Time to move on. Now it is time to check out Curacao.

We say – see you again Bonaire!

Sailing Letter, July 2016

Resebrev / Sailing Letter, July 2016, Bonaire

After 10 weeks at Bonaire, same mooring, we still enjoy our stay and have decided to stay here for the maximum 3 months that we are allowed without paying extra for extended visa. Since we have to stay out of the hurricane season for 6 months we will divide the time between Bonaire (3 months) and Curacao (3 months). The last month has been spent with a lot of snorkeling and we have also done a diving refreshment course at the closest diving club. We also did a dive together with a dive master, on the nearest reef close to our boat. It was lovely to be able to dive again and Peter seems to like it as much as I do. We will try to do a couple more before leaving Bonaire since we expect the water quality to be lower in the Spanish Water, where we will anchor at Curacao. The water surrounding Bonaire is pristine with very easy access! We will also buy a torch to be able to do night snorkeling before we move on. Hu! We now find our way to find a bar with a cold beer and have a nice dinner.

Except for the huge salt industry on the south side of Bonaire the island is very dependent on tourism with majority of visitors spending time and money on snorkeling and diving. Dive centers, tank filling stations everywhere!
As in many other Caribbean countries Chinese own and manage many supermarkets, retail stores and restaurants. A paradox is the apparent lack of fresh fish for sale. The waters around ABC are famous for plenty of fish like Tuna, Mahimahi, King Fish, Barracuda. Only place to get fresh fish is to buy it from a restaurant. On all other Caribbean islands fishing boats are eager to sell directly to yachties. Maybe there are some strict policies about B2C?

The last 2 weeks have been spent installing the water maker (see Peter’s facebook update). It was easy to get the parts sent to here, with no problems with customs and the installation was fairly easy, but not quick. Just to remove the old stuff took half a week. Now we have perfect water and are able to take more showers and use our washing machine without too rigid calculation of the water consumption. A major reason for time spent on installation is the temperature. With a day time temp of 33-34 C and night time of 29 it is almost impossible to work between 12-16 daytime. The temp in the boat during this time is at least 32 C and even minimal physical work mean dripping sweat and requires a daily intake of at least 4-5 liters of water (some can be replaced with beer).

On the social side we have met with our fellow sailors for a swimming contest to Klein Bonaire (1nM), Boule/Petanque game with Martin and Ellen, Sundowners and happy hour at some suitable bars. These meetings have given us valuable information for the next sailing season. The plans now are to go to Cuba via Jamaica late November and from there sail down to the Panama San Blas islands and pass the Panama Canal in March. It will be one year earlier than what we thought originally, but it also means that we do the Pacific crossing when we are still “young”. We will pass the Caribbean Islands on our way back eventually and will then be able to stay here again.
The rainy season has now started. For Bonaire, being a desert island, it means an hour of rain once a week compared to Trinidad and Martinique where it rains more or less daily. Even the humidity here is lower than average which is a bless.

The rainy season is also the mating season for the birds so we see more parakeets, parrots etc., flying around.  On the island there are 19.000 people, 1000 wild donkeys and another 500 in a sanctuary, 1.200 turtles whereof most are passersby thanks to the good food on the east coast, numerous Flamingos, Pelicans not to mention all the colorful fishes, Iguanas and Lizards.

A true paradise!

Until next time,

BR, Eva & Peter

Eget vatten…!

003-Edited

Färskvatten. Vilken lyx.

Äntligen! Tio dagars jobb á 4 timmar men då ingick demontering av den gamla watermakern. Nu har vi möjlighet att producera ca 100 liter vatten av god kvalitet per timme.  Vi är nu i “regnperioden” här i  Bonaire så behöver vi köra vårt elverk ett par timmar varannan dag då det är mer instabilt väder med en del moln, ibland en regnskur (faktiskt har vi längtat efter regn så ökendammet sköljs bort) och mindre vind. Perfekt, då vi kan passa på att fixa ett par hundra liter per tillfälle.

002-Edited

Förutom två fötter, storlek 45, så syns här en del av systemet, huvudsakligen diverse filter. I motorrummet installerade vi högtryckspumpen och under navbordet manöverpanel och elinstallationen.

Swim Party

Så var det då dags. “Swim Party” från Bonaire till Klein Bonaire. Ca 1 nm (1.8 km) med 15 deltagare. Vädret var som det brukar, dvs ca 30 grader i luften, något kallare i vattnet och 8-10 m/s vind. Som vanligt stod Martin och Ellen på Acapella för organisation med säkerhet i fokus. Vattnet mellan öarna är ganska besvärligt med ganska starka strömmar. Från TinaPrincess deltog Eva med Peter som jolle support i händelse av kramp eller annat. Eva som är en god simmerska tog täten tidigt och höll den hela vägen till mål. 15 glada simmare blev välkomnade av “shore team”, Hans och Liesbeth från båten Kulikuli.  Eva fick tiden 32 minuter vilket är en mycket bra tid även om hon var en av de simmande som använde simfenor. Att simma i öppet hav med ca 30-50 cm vågor är ganska jobbigt.  Som nummer 2 kom ytterligare en kvinnlig fen- och cyklopsimmare, därefter 2 crawlare. Starkt! Efter varsin coco-rum drink, gemensamma fotograferingar och lite allmänt stoj, drog vi oss tillbaka för att jobba vidare med installation av watermakern. Ganska jobbigt i värmen och fuktigheten.

Sailing Letter June 2016

We have now been at Bonaire for 5 weeks and will likely spend another couple of weeks here. We like it, it is easy to access supermarkets and restaurants, and the snorkeling and diving is magnificent. Peter is jogging regularly and we are also using the new semi long diving suites to do 45 minutes swimming training. We find new muscles every time J

Among the approx. 20 boats moored here we also have a number of social activities:

  • Burger / Happy hour evening every Wednesday
  • Sundowners with fellow sailors to exchange plans and information
  • We did a dinghy drift with 7 dinghies tied together the other day. Very interesting since we did not know where we should end up. After an hour of nice talks and drinks we were almost at Klein Bonaire (the small sand-island 1 Nm west of the anchorage) and had to turn back due to choppy waves. Fun activity.
  • Last week we spent half a day doing a refresh course in diving. Both of us haven’t dived since the 80´s so we felt we needed some reminders both in theory and practice.
  • We rented a car for 2 days and traveled south and north on almost all existing roads with pavement. We saw a lot of flamingos in the salt lakes to the south and also in a sanctuary lake to the north. Close to the salt lakes we inspected the old slave houses. They are really more like small huts. Terrible to imagine that families have lived there under such conditions.

Of course we are following the European football games. Starting with Sweden and then Iceland (Good old Vikings!). For the rest of the game we have to just enjoy good football, independent of who is playing.

Nature

We are starting to figure out the different types of lizards, iguanas and geckos that are crawling around here on Bonaire. Reading Wikipedia, we learned that they are mostly herbivores, eating vegetables and fruit, some you can even hand feed with a lettuce leaf. On Bonaire it is also supposed to live (including transit) approx. 250 different types of birds. A good site on the web, (what would you do without it), gives the names of the more frequent of them, parrot and parakeets, lot of different small yellow birds, humming birds and big brown pelicans. Under water the coral reefs are everywhere, with easy access from the sea shore. We snorkeled north of the harbor on a place called “1000 steps” and the site was magnificent, with vast areas of fresh corals of different types and forms.

We are truly enjoying ourselves!

Until next time,

BR, Eva & Peter

Many Moons ago -combining football and sailing

 

Football (Soccer) and Sailing is a great combination.  At least if you´re OK to watch the game rather than play yourself and if your sailing area covers television screens actually sending what you look for. Getting a bit nostalgic – we browsed through some old pictures from when we started sailing.


Since we started sailing 30 years ago, we have been fortunate to been able to see  European and World Championships games, at least from the quarter finals to the finals. Late eighties no one knew about streaming live video on a “smartphone”, in fact very few mobile phones were around and if so, they were heavy and not very smart. As we are now in a football friendly part of the world we are able to watch the games (of course focussing on Swedish games) at a restaurant/bar with a 60 inch screen, delivering the game in HD quality. As we have been here close to four weeks in the “Dutch Caribbean” we can almost understand the Dutch speaker, if nothing else he includes “Zlatan” in every other word. Enough about here and now. Tomorrow it is judgement day. Sweden has not a very impressive European Championship performance so far this year. But “Bollen är rund”, meaning everything can happen in football and hopefully we make it to the next round.

Highlights that we forever remember:

First year with our Becker 27 (1994) in Norway, we were at an island south from Kristiansand, and started to listen to the radio in the middle of the night, to follow the football, listening intensively to the games, forgetting to look around and understood afterwards that we anchored on an Island restricted as a military zone(!). Since Sweden were good this year, we followed up with a very late night in Mosterhamn (heavy morning the day after) and the quarter finals/semi-finals in Korsör together with a lot of other nationalities. As a matter of fact Sweden got a world championship bronze medal!!!!

Another fabulous memory is the football during 1998 when we were sailing in Scotland, around the Hebrides’. When the semi-finals were played, we were at a mooring in Loch Maddy. A gale was blowing and there was little to be seen in the proximity of the harbour. North Uist was at that time tea total during Sundays, children’s playground chained down, but the hotel owner opened up a “garage/snooker” room, put in a TV and all of us stranded sailors and gave us the possibility to buy canned beer. We gathered together to follow the game, Germans, Swedes and French. The final we saw together (!) in Harris, Stornoway. France won.

In Almerimar, we of course followed “El Classico” (Real Madrid vs. Barcelona) on a local bar. It is very important to check out who the locals support as to avoid embarrassment and angry looks.

So now we are anchored at Bonaire in the Dutch Caribbean Islands. Following the games on a local bar, checking that they really show the Swedish match against the Belgium tomorrow. The Italians are playing at the same time so it is a matter of which games has most people watching. Since we are only 2 Swedes around on the island, we have to beg for assistance and the bartender will start 2 TV Screens so we can see our game!  We are not real nerds…but close to…

Keep the fingers crossed for us tomorrow. Zlatan (the captain of the Swedish national team) will retire after these games so tomorrow could be a historic event.

By the way – tomorrow is a hectic day. Peter has a doctor’s appointment in the morning, the Match is at 3 pm and at 5 pm we are joining around 20 sailors for the famous happy hour hamburger and beer treat at the Harbour Village Restaurant. Hectic Days indeed….

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