A family's dream of freedom becomes true

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Sailing possibility

Recent events



January: it's still winter in Southern Germany, but work has not come to an end. Such a lot of things still to do. Therefore we continue while heating the interior of „Mimpi Manis“ and despite of ice and snow outside we reach 5°C inside. Finishing the electrical installation and mounting some devices are the main works. Painting is also possible although the paint needs more than one week to become dry. At this time I always have to remember that „Mimpi Manis“ will never again have to suffer from a coldness like this. During night-time the temperature falls to -20°C and during daytime it's still icy with -10°C. At such days work comes to a stop and I continue working at my company to reduce the amount of hours I did not work during summer, still a lot to do, too. Another company has asked me in autumn if I would help them a little bit. Not knowing how much work this would be I agreed and now, time is running and I have two companies to satisfy and my boat to finish. We can use the extra money but time is running definitely. Wood works are possible outside and bring them down to the cellar to do the painting and warm myself a little before going out into snow and ice again. To cover the cushions is no problem if you can stay inside the warm house. By mistake the anchor chain (100m) was delivered to Munich instead of the construction site of „Mimpi Manis“ which is 80km far away. So I only have to put 150kg of stainless steel chain into the car and drive them around.

February: still no warm front to be seen! Finally we found a couple to rent our flat in Munich. And it seems that they are interested in a long term rent, we like this idea as it can be a hazard to look for new tenants. Lots of our stuff we will not need anymore are sold via ebay. I never thought that people are willing to pay money for things I would have thrown away without a thought. But it's hard work too. Taking pictures of all items, writing a description, answering the questions via email, looking if the buyer has paid and than packing all these items into boxes and bringing them to the post office. Sometimes you only get 1€ for all this work. But we could earn some money and it gives you a much better feeling if the items are sold and used by someone else instead of throwing them into the dustbin. Also a lot of paperwork needs to be done, termination of insurances and some sport-clubs. And now all our friends seem to realize that we are leaving although we have told them almost one year in advance. They call us and ask when they can visit us. And everybody visiting us is rewarded with a load of items we even could not sell on ebay. This gives us a hard time. 2-3 days in the company, another 2-3 days at the other company, working on „Mimpi Manis“ when it's not too cold and still a lot of stuff in the flat to be either sold or thrown away and every evening somebody visiting us or we visit someone.

March: we were able to sell most of the building material we do not need anymore to one guy who has started to built his own boat just a couple of weeks ago. But the container we used as a work shop is still for sale despite some advertisements in newspapers and the Internet. And the weather is still frosty. A lot of painting on the outside has to be done and also the interior is not finished yet. The schedule I made in autumn intends to have finished all works by end of March, including the installation and stowing away of the equipment. There are some spare days in April and hopefully we will finish in time.

Now it's time to announce our moving out from the Munich flat and there are countless letters and faxes to be written and telephone calls to be made. By 24th of march work has come to an end at both companies but a last meeting with my doctorand and the professor is scheduled for this day. On the same day afternoon I picked up the truck to carry our stuff and on the next day we move out of our flat in Munich and put one load to my father-in-law and one load (including the stuff we want to take with us onto the „Mimpi Manis“) to my parents. On the 26th we clean our flat in Munich, do the restoration works and painting and thank god that grandmother and grandfather are helping us. Lena also needs her time and so always one of the four of us is busy in dealing with Lena.

On the 27th and the following days we start to erect the small rest (only the sleeping room) of our furniture we have not sold in the week-end flat of my brother-in-law at the house of my father-in-law and make it more comfortable there. On Wednesday we (Lena, Evi and I) drive to Munich to have our say-good-by at both companies I used to work for. In the evening we visit a friend of mine (my doctorand). So every second of this day was used completely! It was about these days that the BSH (German office to issue the official ship's documents) wanted some more papers including an affidavit in front of a notary. And luckily we were able to sell the last of our two cars, the two motorcycles were already sold last year! Altogether a month I do not like to be repeated again.

April: leaving the week-end flat of my brother-in-law we pack all our stuff into the car of my father-in-law and leave for my parents. Unfortunately „Mimpi Manis“ is not ready yet, but the weather has moved to spring and we are now able to finish works, although some things can not be tested. While grandmother is taking care of Lena, Evi is carrying one box after another into „Mimpi Manis“ and stowing away all the stuff (hundreds of books, clothes, games, stuffed animals -especially penguins-, ...). Grandfather and me are doing the last painting on the exterior, fitting in the last wood-works and stowing away the equipment like life raft, dinghy, self-steering device, washing machine, 3 anchors, 300m of moorings, tools, sails, outborder for the dinghy, spare parts, ... I didn't thought that „Mimpi Manis“ would be able to hold all this stuff, but apart from some penguins everything found it's place.

In those last days in Germany we also had to fill our stores with the food for the next months. Some weeks ago we have started to write a list and now we started to buy it. 150l of Orange juice, 50l of Apple juice, ... One employee at the supermarket asked us if he should deliver all the stuff. We were not worried about the space on board of „Mimpi Manis“ to hold all the food, but to find everything again would be a more awkward challenge. So we filled several pages with a detailed description of where to find what item. Indeed we found everything again, although we rearranged everything in June in a more suitable way.

2 days before we left (on Saturday 16th) the ship's documents finally arrived. But it took us several telephone calls to broach some misunderstandings. The reason for all this? The BSH has mixed up two files and could not find relevant documents as they were in the wrong file, ....
On Sunday my nephew had his holy communion and we only had thoughts for „Mimpi Manis“. Did we really have put all stuff onto her and not forgotten relevant things, does all work properly, does she even swim? All relatives wished as a good trip and a good return. To summarize, only two opinions seem to exist if we told anyone that we want to sail as far as we can get within the next 6 years. Either they agreed completely to our plans and congratulated Lena to have a childhood different to the one of most other children, or they stated us to be crazy to sail with such a small child. This discussion seems to be polarized and no opinion in the middle seems to exist.

18th of April, all food and equipment is stowed away, the tanks are filled with water and we did not sleep well in the night. All nervous we waited for the truck and the motor crane to carry away „Mimpi Manis“. The truck arrived in time but the auto crane took it's time and it took several calls to remind the girl in the office that there's still a sailing boat to be craned. After „Mimpi Manis“ has been transferred to the truck we entered the motorhome of grandfather and grandmother and started our journey to Slovenia. By the way, April weather was fine up to Sunday and on Monday it became cold and started to rain, so we were very happy that we could finish works on „Mimpi Manis“ in sunny and warm weather instead of rain and coldness. Buying some wine (220l) in Italy we finally reached the port of Coper in Slovenia right in time to crane „Mimpi Manis“ into the sea. After her first contact with water she behaved well and no seawater did get into her.

On the same day we erected the mast and turned on the engine to move us to the designed berth. All worked nicely! It took us two weeks to get everything ready: putting up sails, installation of the sheet windlasses, diving in the 10°C cold water as some sail-lats have fallen into while unpacking. Also some minor works had to be completed we were not able to do in Germany due to the long winter and the resulting lack of time. Only two problems needed more time. First the pump for the toilet did not work sufficiently. This was due to the fact that a switch did leak. It was intended that the same pump should pump both the toilet and the shower. But the leak prevented the pump to work sufficiently on the toilette. Therefore we had to organize a new pump and use this one for the shower and the existing one for the toilette. So we sent an order to a distributor in Germany, as the local shop told us that it needs two weeks to order such a pump and from Germany it only took 4 days. The second problem with the not working heating was due to a leak in the diesel-line through which air could get into the line and stop the heating. The engine was not affected by this leak as it need much more diesel and so the small amount of air was of no significance. We covered these two week while installing and repairing in the morning and using the modest wind in the afternoon to get used to sail „Mimpi Manis“.

May: on 1st of May we finally set sails for the first trip, leading us hopefully to Greece. Grandmother and grandfather were standing on the pier and we set sails and moved out of sight slowly. There was nothing special to the whole trip, as there was either no wind at all or from the wrong direction (headwinds), except the fact that for one day and one night I must tell you. It was the skipper's fault not to listen to any weather forecast. UHF and the short wave radio were not tested yet and the Adriatic sea was as calm as a mirror since we left Slovenia. So we made extensive use of our engine. Only for the last leg from Brindisi to Corfu I was happy as we had wind from NW and we could sail and the noise of the engine has stopped. Initially it was about 4-5 Bft, later 6 and soon 8 and more with water flying straight through the air and waves 4m high. As it became dark I had no other choice as to leave „Mimpi Manis“ without a sail drifting through the chaotic sea only having two lines in the sea at the stern to slow down the drift. After a „short sleep“ during the night I went back to the cockpit in the early morning to gain control again and during the morning we were able to set our storm foresail and aim to the island of Corfu which we reached in the early evening still during daylight. After 14 hours continuously at the tiller I suddenly felt thirsty and the need for a toilette. Lena did behave very well during this storm and wanted to play and eat, although the skipper and her mother did not want to eat anymore.

What did we learn from this situation? Listening to weather forecasts can make trips more relaxing and the second fact: „Mimpi Manis“ is strong built and can stand more than the crew. No water entered the ship through one of the hatches or dorade-ventilators, all doors opened without resistance or jamming, although only 3mm of space was provided between doors and floor. So our confidence in „Mimpi Manis“ rose soon after we have safely arrived in Greece.

Grandfather and grandmother had already arrived on Corfu some days in advance (the ferries are faster than a sailing boat) and after sending an SMS that we are on Corfu it only took them some hours to come to the small harbour we have chosen the day before. We were able to repair some minor damages and Lena had someone to play with. And we were able to do some sightseeing on Corfu.

After a few days we left Corfu and continued our journey south. We visited Paxoi with its beautiful bays and harbours until we continued to Poros on Lefkas were we intended to organize our say-good-bye party. It was mid of May and still early in season, so usually only a very few people were at this secluded bay on the south of Lefkas. Finding a tavern was not complicated and the proprietor was very happy while telling him that 40 people will arrive soon and that we want to invite them all into his tavern. Usually 2-4 people would have eaten on a normal evening and now 40, the deal of the month! Indeed he did well and starting at 7pm we finished at 4:30am as only a few friends have still been sitting upright but none was either hungry or sober.
On the following days all of our friends left, not everybody has such long holidays as we have. And most of them promised to come to the next party again despite were we will organize it. It was a sad time as we knew that it will probably take years to see them again. In these days we offered day-trips on the „Mimpi Manis“ for them or invited them for dinner on board, ... As almost all had left, we also left continuing south.

June: islands we passed: Kefalonia, Zakinthos, some villages on the Peloponnesus and in Koroni grandmother and grandfather met us again, after they had driven nearly all around the Peloponnesus. They are so happy to see Lena again everytime we meet. By the way Lena is a star in every harbour. Sitting with her in the cockpit while the stern is moored to the cay it will not take more than 5 minutes until someone will greet or take a picture or just start a small talk. In one restaurant Lena was carried around by the waitresses while we had time to enjoy our meal. We were sorry to leave Koroni one day earlier than planned, but there was a strong wind blowing directly into the harbour and „Mimpi Manis“ rolled badly in the incoming waves. So we sailed to the save bay of Porto Kagios having strong wind of 5-6 and sometimes 7Bft. Continuing our journey to the wide sand beach of Elafonisos and than to Nauplia on the eastern part of the Peloponnesus. In the port of Leonidon a strange story took place, I was just down in the salon cooking our dinner as somebody on the cay cried for someone of „Mimpi Manis“. I jumped up to the cockpit just to realize that nothing strange has happened like a collision with the cay or a torn mooring rope, but a Dutchman was standing on the cay and starting to talk in Indonesian to me. My Indonesian is not this good anymore so we soon switched back to English. He has lived several years in Indonesia and was this surprised to find a boat with an Indonesian name on it („Mimpi Manis“ is Indonesian and means „Sweet Dreams“). We were also surprised to meet someone in Greece able to speak Indonesian.
Finally we arrived in Nauplia and rented a car to take us to Mykene, Corinth, Tyrins and Epidauros. Having the possibility of a car we also did a bulk purchase at a branch of Lidl. Some food is more expensive in Greece than in Germany, like beer, yoghurt, cheese, salami. Lidl offers these food for reasonable prices even in Greece. E.g. 0.33l of canned Greek beer costs 0.60 to 0.65€, while the beer at Lidl costs 0.29€ for 0.5l. Instead of 1.80€ per litre only 0.60€.

We continued to the island of Hydra and onward to the Cycladic Islands. On Hydra a strange story happened. I will citrate Evi here:
„I want to tell you about another situation, which was for sure not dangerous, but as well unpleasant for me and maybe funny for everyone else: one night, while sleeping in the berth of the back part of the boat, I suddenly awoke from something strange at my head. Half asleep, I thought this must be a fish who jumped into the boat and managed the way down into the salon and into my berth. It took me some more seconds to know that this would be impossible for a fish, so I came to the conclusion that it must be a frog! Not knowing what has kissed my lips I started crying so loudly that Stephan came running from the front part of the boat where he slept, asking what the hell had happened to me! In the meantime this poor creature -totally frightened from my yelling- run away not without throwing down a metal box which was lying next to my head. Now, 100 % awake from the kiss and the loud noise of the falling metal box, I was no longer sure if a frog could make such a noise, so I thought to myself: maybe a dog? cat? burglar? As I told Stephan about the frog jumping onto my face, he switched on the light and he found hidden behind the little backpack which was laying on the ground next to the berth a big, awful rat!!! While I was sitting thunderstruck in my berth (about 10 cm away from the rat), hoping and praying that it would not flee into my direction, Stephan -armed with an iron bar- started to pursue the rat. It was a wild chase through the bookshelf, under the table until the rat finally found the way out to the cockpit. Several times he hit the beast, who -frightened to death- in the end managed to jump into the water and save its life....I was glad that this little stowaway had left our boat again. Anyway, it was strange that the rat had found the way to the boat as we were not in a harbour but anchoring in a small bay moored to the cliffs with a rope. Obviously the animal must have come along the rope to "visit" us. Maybe you can imagine that for the rest of the night I had a broken sleep misinterpreting every little noise as another rat. I was not keen to be kissed a second time!“

Leaving the Peloponnesus our next destination were the Cyclades: white houses with blue painted doors and windows built on a hill looking down to the deep blue sea. One of the most famous was Mykonos. We strolled around through the narrow lanes of Mykonos City where cosy tavernas invites you to have a seat. With the ferry we visited the nearby island of Delos, which is one of the most impressive historic site in this area and which ruins and temples with colourful mosaics are still well preserved. Continuing our way eastwards we stopped at the islands of Paros, Schinoussa, Amorgos and Levitha before finally arriving in Kos.

During these 8 weeks of sailing from island to island we spent a lot of wonderful peaceful days, enjoying the sun and our "swimming pool" around us. It is great to wake up in the morning in a lonely bay, have a swim before breakfast, spend a lazy day and in the late afternoon, as soon as the sun is weaker, to paddle to the beach, where Lena gets the opportunity to splash in the water. Little by little she gets used to the water and starts to love it. It was wonderful to see her first contact with sand, trying to eat it, purling it through her little fingers and being fascinated how sand feels and tastes. She is such a sweat little girl and we do everything to make her feel happy and comfortable. She is the boss on our sailing boat, she determines the pace and she is definitely the star in every harbour, which is no wonder as almost every Greek (or south European) seems to love children. This really makes travelling with children here so pleasant and so much easier than elsewhere.

Apart from these wonderful moments we as well experienced some quite difficult, frightening or unpleasant situations, such as the storm in the Adriatic Sea described above. While trying to leave the Island of Paros to continue our journey thought the Cycladic Islands we had another "bad day": while trying to leave the bay, the engine suddenly stopped working. We were still very close to the cliffs and had not yet set sails. The sea was very rough and the wind strongly blowing in direction to the land. Of course, we immediately tried to set sails, but it was impossible as we could not turn the boat into the wind without engine. We had not much time to loose, so we desperately tried to get the engine running while getting closer and closer to the cliffs. About 10 mtr. away from the cliffs the motor suddenly worked for about 1-2 minutes, long enough to turn around and get away a bit. We finally managed to set a sail and thanked God for this miracle! We were so close to disaster!!! My knees are still trembling and I still get a goose skin when thinking of it. The reason for the diesel to stop working? Some dirt in the diesel-line we were able to move onward to the filter.

On the same evening we made another attempt to leave as the weather forecast promised light wind from the back. But after 0.3 miles we were trapped in a fishing net and some meters of rope had been winded around the propeller. We managed to get free and sailed back to the same anchor place. It seems the bay did not want us to leave. Next morning 6am I dived to the propeller and cut it free from the rope. Winds were still not to strong and so we reached Shinoussa at noon. Strolling around on this tiny island and enjoying the warmth of the south. Next day we left for Amorgos and it started all well, fair wind of 5 Bft which soon became 7 and a strong headwind. So we skipped the plan to reach the bay we were reaching for and fled into the next bay possible. Some other sailors did the same idea and so this bay was soon filled and we had to put a mooring rope to the rocks to prevent us from collision with other boats. Next day we left this bay and motored some hours while rolling badly in the seas still left from the wind yesterday. As we wanted to start the anchoring manoeuvre in the bay we finally had reached, the motor stopped working again. As the wind was now starting to blow right into the bay we set sails and sailed on to the island of Levitha. We knew that at least some Swiss guys were also sailing there so we could ask them via UHF in case we needed assistance if the motor would not work. But we managed to get there and get to the mooring-buoy without any further problems.

July: next day we started works on the diesel-line to prevent us from any more stopping of the engine. It took us almost half a day to open the manhole, unmounting the diesel-line with the check valve, remount the diesel-line, check for any leakage and close the manhole again. The worst problem was the manhole as this was partly right below the settee in the salon. To unmount 40 screws with only centimetres of space needs some nimble fingers and much more to remount them. After the last of the 40 screws was in its place again, I had a deep gulp of beer. At that day the tank was still filled by ¾ so my arm got soaked with diesel while unmounting the diesel-line and the check valve. But it was worth the effort, as since than no more problems with the engine occurred. Next day we continued to the island of Kos where we stayed for a couple of days at the beach of Kefalos. Evi flew home on the 6th of and I'm writing on this website since than.

One week later grandfather is joining me and so we started our trip to the Balearic Islands right after he landed on Kos. 35 miles must be covered each day to keep to our schedule, not an easy task if you bear in mind that most of the winds may be from W or NW and we must go W to NW. Soon after leaving Kos the tiller broke, if grandfather has to much force? We were able to repair it during the next anchor stop a couple of days later. 6-7Bft from W-NW and dead calms were not able to stop us while sailing through the Aegean Sea.

For the Ionic sea we needed 5 days to reach Italian waters on the 24th. Initially we intended to stop in Zakinthos after two days to wait for better winds, but it was late in the night when we reached the bay and a strong wind was blowing. So we continued west to Italy as it was too risky to try to sneak into this tiny bay at night and with those strong winds. Messina strait and on to the Liparic Islands was our route through the Thyrrenian Sea. Anchoring just on the slope of the Stromboli and waiting for some activities of the volcano not to come. On the island of Volcano we waited for a couple of days for good winds to carry us on to Sardinia. Up to now we have covered half of our journey from Greece to Spain .

August: after hearing the weather forecast we planned to set sails to Sardinia on the 2nd as E-SE (2-3Bft) was promised for this day. Up to now they always forecasted 0-2Bft. But filling up our water tanks was not this easy as the guy in the harbour intended to be full and did not allow us to moor. For buying the food we used to dinghy to get ashore and to stock up water we sailed to the island of Salina early next day and there it was no problem to moor and fill up the tank. Soon after the tanks were full we left Salina and continued west.

During the night we encountered several thunderstorms although no weather forecast has told something of thunderstorms in the Thyrrenian Sea. As the E to SE wind did not exist anymore and only thunderstorms blowing from west, it took us 2 days and 1 night to cover 80 miles to the island of Ustica. Next day we left as the wind was shifting to NW which would allow us to sail nearly west to Sardinia and the wind should shift on to N. When reaching the southern tip of Sardinia after 3 more days there was a strong (8Bft) wind from west blowing, preventing us to pass the cape for two days. As the wind calmed down to 6Bft we managed to get around the cape and continue westward to the Balearic Islands. This trip will be well remembered, as the weather forecast was NW for one day than E-SE for two days and than SW for one day and all winds 3-5Bft. Winds we could use very well for our trip west. But its always the same, there are three kinds of weather, the one you have, the one you would like to have and the one from the weather forecast. The NW was stable and we made lots of miles to the west, also the next day there was a dead calm for a couple of hours as the NW has ceased and the E-SE has not risen up to now. But than starting at about noon the E-SE rose to the promised 3-4Bft and seemed to be stable. In the night the weather forecast still did not change, there were again several thunderstorms with winds from 0-7Bft changing within a couple of minutes and all winds from western direction. I did not count but I think up to 10 times I putted reefs into the sails and released them again. Also Fridolin had a hard time as you need to trim sails and readjust Fridolin everytime the wind changed its direction or you put in or released reefs. This lasted for one night and one day. When the sky cleared and the last thunderstorm was well behind us, the SW-wind rose. But only for some minutes than it changed to W and we still had to go west. So to reach the Balearic Islands we started the engine and started to roll badly, as still a lot of waves were under their way from all directions especially south. After a couple of hours the engine started to slow down and nearly stopped. Our first thought was that air gets into the diesel-line due to the rolling and the small rest of diesel in the tank. So in the middle of the night we set sails again and tried to sail as far west as possible. At about sunrise the wind ceased and we started the engine again and hoped that it will bring us to a bay without stopping. We only wanted to get some sleep.

Right in front of the bay we steered for, the engine stopped and there was no possibility to start it again. Luckily their was no wind and it was only 20m deep, so in case we would have drifted too close to the shore we could have anchored. „Mimpi Manis“ was still rolling, as there were waves from south. It seems that there had been a strong southern wind while we fought with the thunderstorms. Southern wind would have been much more pleasant to sail to the Balearic's Islands than those thunderstorms. So I started to look for the reason why the engine stopped and I found out that some dirt has blocked the inlet of the fuel filter. Cleaning the inlet and we were able to start the engine again. But at the second look the bay did not seem to be ideal, as the ships anchoring there were also rolling badly, so we motored back to a small harbour we had already passed, dropped the anchor and got some sleep.

And now, grandfather is leaving in a couple of days and Lena and Evi are coming back to join on our next trip around Mallorca and than down to Malaga, where we will meet grandfather and grandmother again for the trip to the Canary Islands.

Hurray, Lena and Evi are back on board of „Mimpi Manis“. Unfortunately we had rainfalls the day they arrived. Staying on the beach for a couple of days we later went to the island of Ibiza to move further south and closer to our next destination, close to Malaga in the south of Spain. Lena likes the water, especially when drifting in her baby-float.

September: On 4th Volker and Michaela, a couple we first met in Munich made their voyage to Ibiza and we met in a small bay on the northern site. They want to sail around the world and just started a couple of days ago in southern France, more than a month behind their schedule. As they have to be in southern Spain at least on 17th of September they are in a hurry as otherwise they won't make it till their own farewell-party. As we have to pick up grandfather and grandmother in Malaga on 16th of September we need to go there, too. So both of us got ready to cover the leg to southern Spain and we were just waiting for better weather conditions. Of course Volker and Michaela had invited us to their farewell-party and so there's another reason to be there in time. On 9th we left Ibiza and went straight to Cabo Palos, app. 55 miles away. The weather forecast was good and bad at the same time, as it predicted only winds of a strength of 4-5 Beaufort but directly ahead to the course we had to steer. But this was the first day no thunderstorms or strong wind was predicted. We were able to sail for some hours but then the wind changed and we decided to make use of our engine and motor the way to Cabo Palos. „La Gitana“ (Volker and Michaela) tried to sail and switched to the engine some hours later. We managed the leg in 30 hours, „La Gitana“ arrived later the day but still in daylight. Next day morning they left us as they had to be in „Torre del Mar“ one day earlier than we. We did some walking on the beach and in the town this day and just waited for the day to pass. The weather forecast told us something of good winds the later we go. And indeed we were able to sail the whole way with good winds from the back whereas Volker and Michaela had to fight with strong headwinds although they were just one day ahead. We arrived in „Torre der Mar“ one day earlier than scheduled due to the good winds. There we staid some days to pick up grandfather and grandmother from the airport in Malaga and to enjoy the farewell-party of Volker and Michaela. From here we started to Gibraltar and for sure we'll meet „La Gitana“ again as they plan to visit the same locations than we, at least for the next months.

On our way to Gibraltar I suddenly heard a strange cry from the front of „Mimpi Manis“. At that time we were sailing with back winds of app. 3-4 Beaufort and the clock showed 5:30 in the morning. So I went to the front to see Evi sitting in her bed next to Lena and telling me something of a fish. And indeed there was a fish lying on the floor and floundering around. It has jumped from the water through the hatch directly onto the bed and from there to the ground. I got my gloves and catched the fish to bring him out into the cockpit. As this was the only fish we catched during the night, we threw him back into the cold sea. Indeed the sea is getting cold down here. In Mallorca we had temperatures of 27°C and here the thermometer climbs only to 18°C., too cold to enjoy swimming. Later in the morning we saw whales (3m long) and also heard them squeaking. Unfortunately we were not able to make a photo as we had the camera not to hand and the whales disappeared faster than we were able to get the camera.

On 21st Lena had her first birthday and she enjoyed all the presents grandmother and grandfather brought her all the way from Germany.

We sailed on to La Linea, the Spanish town just on the border to Gibraltar. From here we took a look on Gibraltar. The next leg was through the Street of Gibraltar to Cadiz. We managed to get to Cap Trafalgar (that's were Nelson defeated the united Spanish and French fleet) in one day. We were indeed a bit nervous as we sailed through the Street of Gibraltar but nothing strange happened and all went well. There was no wind at all and so we had to motor all the way. At Cap Trafalgar we dropped our anchor close to „La Gitana“. Next day we staid there to allow Lena to play on the sandy beach. After arriving in Cadiz we rented a car to take a five day journey around Andalusia and visiting Ronda, Granada, Cordoba, Seville and Jerez. We were impressed by the wonderful landscape, these typical Andalusian cities, the bullrings and the amazing and filigree architecture. On the last day of our journey, we visited a sherry fabric in Jerez, of course we did not miss to taste some glasses of it. In the meantime we had skipped our original plan to go up the Guadalquivir river to Seville by boat. This was a good decision, as we learned later on from our friends Volker and Michaela, as millions of hungry and nasty bucks entered their boat like a big black cloud by dawn.

October: Back again in Cadiz from our Andalusia-tour we got „Mimpi Manis“ ready for sea and set sails in direction to Portugal. The next morning, we arrived Culatra, a small island close to Faro, where we dropped our anchor and got some sleep. It is a peaceful little island, quite remote with almost no infrastructure (there are no cars and no streets), but good enough for our needs: a wonderful white sandy beach for Lena to play, 2 playgrounds, 2 minimarkets and a couple of cosy bars and restaurants, where you can eat cheap and delicious fresh fish.

In these days we were lucky to catch an octopus, but how to get it from the line? How to kill it? How to gut it? Gladly we have our omniscient cookbook with us, so we followed its instructions while gutting and skinning the fish. This was not as easy as we thought, as the sucker of the dead animal still function a while and its tentacles stuck persistently to our fingers. Shortly after we finally had finished with our work, a fisherman came close to our boat, waving friendly and handing another octopus over to us. We tried to pay him, but the kindly fisherman denied and waved good bye! We were very astonished and pleased about the delicious present. Up to now we have never experienced things like that. Though, we continued our work, gutting and skinning the second octopus, this time yet more experienced. This should be enough for our dinner tonight: 1 kg of pure white octopus meat, which went directly into our Paella.

A couple of days later „La Gitana“ arrived and so we are united again. Having small talks every day, joining us for dinner, inviting each other for some wine, exchanging experiences and planing our further itinary......Unfortunately, the weather changed and urges us to stay longer as planned. During the night, an ex-hurrican passes directly over us bringing lots of rain and wind up to 7 bft. Gladly, we are quite sheltered in this bay, so no reason for worries.

The day before our departure to Lagos, we met a German sailor, named Joerg. Looking for a sailing pilot for the Canary Islands, he rowed up to us with his dinghy. Of course, we let him our book and he continued rowing to Olhao (1nm) against wind and waves to make a copy of it. He had built himself the dinghy (looking like a bathtub) and his steel boat (9m), none of them equipped with an engine! But having no engine also means that there's no electricity for light, refrigerator, washing machine, windlass ... devices we use every day and are making life very comfortable. He also told us that he needed 36 hours to cover the leg from Portimao to here Culatra (30nm). As comparison, we needed about 6 hours for the same distance. Having no engine disables him from visiting many ports and the Mediterranean sea. To anchor close to the port, rowing to shore with a rope and pulling his boat with the rope into the harbour is the usual way he gets into a port. Having listened to his stories Evi was very glad to live aboard „Mimpi Manis“ with all the luxury of a refrigerator, a washing machine, ... Although there was a wind of app. 5 bft blowing Joerg made the journey back to us and giving back our pilot just in time before sunset. I don't want to be called a lazy bone but rowing 2nm just to make a copy of a pilot would not be my favoured afternoon exercise. You have to bear in mind that app. 100m away a public transport boat is leaving for Olhao and costs would be 1.20€ each way.

Finally we continued our way westward to Lagos. Volker and Michaela from „La Gitana“ just arrived a couple of hours before. Together with them we made an excursion by car along the Portuguese coastline the following day. This time, Lena stayed with her grandparents who are more than happy to spend a whole day with her. We went by car to Cabo Sao Vicente, the most southwestern part of Europe. It was a calm day, the sea around the Cape was laying peacefully beneath us and we experienced the Atlantic Ocean from its harmless side. Still, we were impressed by the huge swell and tried to imagine how it might be here on a stormy day. Surprisingly, we discovered a typical German sausage booth, attracting their customers with the slogan :“last fried sausage before America“. Hmmmm....jammy! Our mouth watered and we could not resist to eat one, and another.......It was a really delicious meal for us, as we had no opportunity to enjoy a „Bratwurst“ for a long time! Who knows, maybe it will be in deed our last Bratwurst before America? After this culinary highlight we continued our way along the westcoast of Portugal, passing wonderful beaches and beautiful landscapes, before returning to Lagos.

Now, we are waiting here in the marina of Lagos for northerly winds for our 4 day passage to Morocco. Unfortunately, the weather is not as we would like it to be. A high over the Azores would be nice, but actually we are having one low after the other passing over us. Nights have become cold now, so we are closing all hatches. We make use of the time to do some minor repairs, are strolling with Lena through the beautiful downtown of Lagos and are learning her to walk. In the meantime she is pushing her buggy with pleasure and pride by herself. Another couple of weeks and she knows how to walk alone.....No time to be bored, there are lots of things to do, we get ready for the trip and are waiting patiently for favourable winds. About 400 nm have to be covered until we will reach Agadir. Morocco is waiting for us with it's beautiful ancient Arabian cities, the Atlas, Anti-Atlas and the Saharan dessert.

After waiting for one week we are getting ready to start, washing the laundry, filling the water tanks, stocking up food, taking a warm shower, ... The weatherforecast is not very good, but acceptable for our needs and will not become better as more depressions are awaited. We have app. 5 days to reach Agadir before a southwestern storm will hit the northwestern coast of Africa. Enough time to cover the 400miles. And off we go, waving a last goodbye to Volker and Michaela who will follow us soon. Just after leaving the port of Lagos a black cloud appears and we got rain and strong wind, so much wind that we must reef. But this squall does not last long and soon we were able to set full sails again. But the swell is too much for grandmother and Evi who both vomit. And Lena? She's happy and sleeping in her bed until at 3pm a loud cry from the cockpit awakes her. Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiish!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Grandfather has indeed managed to catch a fish, a Makrele with app. 3kg. This one would be enough to feed us all, but unfortunately 50% of the crew do not want to eat anything, so Stephan and grandfather were the only ones to taste the fish and left enough for the next day. The wind continued till next morning and then we started the engine to get us further south. In the late afternoon the wind came back and we were happy to stop the engine and set sails again. Evi was better at that time and joined the salad we had for lunch. Only grandmother still denied anything to eat. Her seasickness got only better after we treated her with some medicaments. The third day sailing conditions were excellent, 5 to 6 Bft from the back gave us a speed of up to 10 knots. This day we covered 141miles, the best etmal we ever had with Mimpi Manis. But unfortunately this wind did not last very long and so we had to start the engine again late morning on the forth day. But we managed to get to Agadir in time, also we had to alter the course very often as a lot of fishing buoys were swimming around the closer we got to Agadir. It seems there are more fishermen than fishes in Morocco. Although it was dark when we finally arrived in Agadir we were able to moor at the local yacht club with the help of a mariner. We had switched on our VHF and so we suddenly heard the voice of Volker, skipper of the La Gitana who arrived at the port of Agadir just a couple of minutes after us. 4 days of sailing and we arrive at nearly the same time after more than 400miles. So we had won the race and had to pay for the first beer in Morocco. Volker and Michaela told us that they had caught a 15kg Dorade (1.5m long!) while sailing down here to Agadir and it took them some time to kill the fish. They still had bloodstained parts in the cockpit. We had some small talk from one ship to the other and were glad that we had made it to Agadir in time before the southwestern storm started.

Entering Morocco was very easy, customs, immigration, police, harbour officials, ... were all coming to our boat, filling in the forms and flirting with Lena. We had to pay no fees and next day we made our first steps towards the centre of Agadir. But not before we had some sleep and filled our stomach. The following days we waited for a free berth at one of the well maintained jetties with water and electricity supply, but as long as the southwestern wind was blowing outside no one would leave and so we had to stay at the „waiting dock“ with no electricity, water. We used the time cleaning the boat, sitting in the internetcafe, doing some minor maintenance works and going to the famous beach of Agadir with Lena, ... There was Ramadan when we arrived in Morocco, so no Muslim was allowed to eat or drink during daytime. Shortly before sunset all folks were sitting in front of filled dishes and waiting for the muezzin to call for the evening prayer and the start of eating time. At that time no car was on the road and nobody was walking on the pavements, except some tourists.

There is a TOC-basis in Agadir and we were invited by its leaders wife for dinner the following day. She prepared tajine, a typical Moroccan dish with different vegetables and meat, served with bread and the Te a la Menthe. A nice and interesting evening, although we had some difficulties as Zehra did only speak Arabic and Berber, but with a mixture of French, Spanish, English, German and the use of hand and feet we were able to communicate with her. Next day we invited her for dinner into a restaurant in Agadir, were we tasted some more typical Moroccan dishes.

November: After we had settled for a couple of days we left for our trip through Morocco. Grandfather and grandmother did not want to join us so they waited on the boat till our return. We all had a much better feeling not to leave the boats unattended but in competent hands to deal with any difficulties. We packed a lot of stuff into the rented Fiat Uno and certainly Lena joined us, although we had some concerns when we saw her seat the first time. Real Moroccan style and not comfortable at all. As the Uno lacked any seatbelt in the rear we took one of our ropes to fix it. After leaving Agadir we directly went to Taroudannt, a small and beautiful town with an interesting souk. At that day nearly everybody was on the road, as the king of Morocco was going to visit both towns (Agadir and Taroudannt), hundreds of policemen were guarding the roads and thousands of Moroccans were waiting for their king to come. We were lucky to get through all the chaos without getting stuck. Just before sunset we reached the top of the pass of Tizi n'Test, high above the Atlas mountains on our way to Marrakesh. A small cosy auberge was situated on top of the pass at an altitude of 2200 m. As sunset already had begun we decided to stay there. Excellent views on the top of the Atlas next morning and a beautiful sunrise compensated for the icy night (thanks to our sleeping bags and the blankets we did managed it without frostbites.

Continuing our way to Marrakesh we stopped at the mosque of Tin Mal, not in use today and so accessible for non Muslims as the only mosque in Morocco. A really interesting architecture with its plainness. Late afternoon we arrive in Marrakesh, a very lively, colourful and magnificent town and former residence for the king of Morocco. At the place of Djemaa el Fna, once used to hang offenders, 1001 nights seems to be real: artists, musicians, snake-charmer, the smells of Arabic dishes and spices ....a really beautiful mixture of colours and music do their best to transfer you to the orient. Together with Volker and Michaela we enjoy a dinner with Moroccan salad, snails, olives, brochettes, ... Even Lena has tasted a snail, although her mother had some objections and she grimaced a bit.

Marrakesh has some touristic interesting points like: graves of the Saadiens, the Medersa Ben Youssef (a former religious school) and the labyrinth of small alleys named the souk. Even through the smallest alleys motorcycles tried to make their way beeping and leaving a strange smell of exhaust mixing with the smell of a Arabic souk. After one and a half day we leave Marrakesh and going further south to the part of Morocco called the route of the casbah's. Casbahs are former castles made of clay and there are lots of them on the south-eastern part of the Atlas mountains.

The route of the casbah's leads through green oases with thousands of date palms and hundreds of casbah's partly abandoned, partly nicely renovated and in the background the high mountains of the Atlas, partly covered with snow, this all arranges nicely for beautiful pictures. We leave the main road and make trips to the canyons of the Dades and Todra rivers. Here the edge of the valleys sometimes reaches hundreds of meters high and letting no sun down to the bottom of the canyons. An other highlight of our trip through Morocco is the visit to the small village of Merzouga at the edge of the Sahara dessert. Here sand dunes get as high as 190m and tourists can rent camels to explore the impressive landscape. Lena got her special ride on a camel, on the back of her father (see picture on the right) and we stroll around on the sand dunes. At sunset colours change rapidly from golden to pink, red and finally auburn.

Time is moving fast and we have to think of our way back to Agadir. We decided to go back on a road further south leading partly through the Sahara dessert and not used by tourists very often. We visit the valley of the river Draa and go as far as Zagora were a sign attracts the tourists saying that from here it takes 52 days to get to Timbuktu, when riding a camel. We certainly took a picture of this sign as we were in Timbuktu in 2002 and 2003, sitting on the southern edge of the Sahara dessert and looking north. And now we are sitting on the northern edge and looking south. But now the two weeks are over and we must return to Agadir. We have covered more than 2500km with the Fiat Uno and received an impression of the friendly people and the impressive landscape.

Back in the harbour of Agadir we learnt that the jetty we had moored the „Mimpi Manis“ to was in a severe state of a need of repair. The jetty was not in a good shape when we left but after a strong eastern wind the week before the status got worst now. Going across the jetty was nearly impossible and wings would have been a good equipment to safely reach out boat. Luckily grandfather and grandmother stayed on the „Mimpi Manis“ and were able to avoid damages to our boats (Mimpi Manis and La Gitana). No Marinero helped them strengthening the mooring when the strong wind blew, only a Swiss guy also moored to the same jetty. At that time it was end of Ramadan and there was a feast lasting 3 days.

A few days later grandfather and grandmother left us and returned to Germany where winter will start soon. But we will see them soon, as in 6 weeks we meet again on Lanzarote (Canary Islands) and celebrating X-mas together with Stephan's sister and her family.

We also are preparing to leave Agadir and Morocco. On one hand we are sad as we have a lot of friends here, especially for Lena it was very easy to make friend with an Moroccan, it seems that all Moroccans love children and sometimes it was a hard time for her when Moroccans came up and gave her a kiss. She received lots of gifts, like fruits, flowers, ... Once we were invited to have grilled sardines. One smile from her and all Moroccans came up to her and greeted or carried her around. At the voyeuristic sites we sometimes had some bad experience with guides but altogether Moroccans are very friendly and helpful and we enjoyed the time we spent in Morocco. Buying fruits and vegetables at the souks was very funny and incredible cheap. 3 Dirham (30 €cents) for 1kg of tomatoes or 1kg cucumber or 1kg of cauliflower, a pity that our cooler only can take up 250l.

It has become 3.5 weeks that we have been here and so we are preparing to leave for our next aim, Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. Weather will not become optimal soon so we will leave now and hopefully not to be hit by the next depression. We buy diesel for the rest of our Moroccan money (Dirham) and get “Mimpi Manis” ready to sail the next leg of 260 miles. Leaving the harbour of Agadir on 18th of November early in the morning we were able to set sail for 3 hours and than we had to motor most of the time as the Atlantic is as smooth as possible and no wind was till 20th in the morning. Lena is enjoying this leg as she could crawl around in the boat as never before while on sea. We saw lots of turtles and some dolphins. As the wind started again on Sunday 3am it cam form south-west instead of south as the weather forecast has promised. Also the strength was more than promised up to 20 miles/hour instead of 15 miles/hour. So the rest of this leg was as most of the time in the Mediterranean sea, strong headwinds and the boat is working hard. Being in the front part of the boat means to be lifted up and down like in an elevator. As the wind was coming from a more western direction the closer we got to the Canary Islands, we were not able to get during daylight to the harbour of Playa Blanca as we have planned. So we moored in Puerto Calero for one night and sailed to Playa Blanca next day. Here we will prepare “Mimpi Manis” for crossing the Atlantic (we have ordered some stuff to complete our equipment) and also lots of friends and relatives will visit us. Just after having moored others sailors we have met before came to greet us. And all of them are waiting for best conditions to cross the Atlantic and preparing their boats. A small family of sailors all aiming for the warmth of the tropics.

End of November the tropical storm Delta hit the Canary Islands. A few weeks earlier and it would have become a hurricane but now Delta is supposed to be the last tropical storm in the northern Atlantic this year. All weather forecasts told us that lots of wind are to be expected. Some predicted 25-30kn (app. 45 – 65 km/h). Therefore a lot of sailing boats looked for shelter and some of them were coming to Marina Rubicon. In the afternoon nearly all skippers were checking their ropes and fenders as the wind grew in strength. During the day the wind became stronger and stronger and the waves higher and higher. At sunset windspeed was up to 20 kn (35km/h). At about 8pm it became uncomfortable, the sough of the wind sometimes was louder than our CD-player and during gusts „Mimpi Manis“ was heeling as if we had set sails. Far from it, we had packed our sails to make lesser resistance for the wind. Even the glasses on the table were slipping away, luckily none broke. We heeled more than sometimes out on sea and sailing upwind. In the meantime Petrus had switched on the sandblasting machine i.e. sand, water and salt was flying horizontal through the air. Going outside without a tarpaulin was not advisable at that time. Volker and Michaela had to fix more lines to luff, there were 20m of free way for the wind to attack their „La Gitana“. We did not had this problem as some other boats were lying just in luff of us and so most of the wind did not reach us. Having fixed their ropes Volker and Michaela came up to us to offer their assistance.

Maximum of the storm was at 1-2am, at that time some boats measured windspeeds of up to 56 – 70 kn wind (90 – 130 km/h), much more than predicted by the weather forecast. More than 63 kn are defined as 12 Beaufort, a hurricane. Next morning we could see the damages, a racing trimaran had slipped into the harbour from his hard stand, some canopies were missing, leaves were scattered all around and some boat covers have been blown away. Some boats had damages like blown fenders or torn ropes. That was a real tropical storm with up to 12 Beaufort. We do not like to have this one repeated and especially not out on the sea. If this will happen again, we prefer the safeness of a harbour.

December: during daytime we have 22°C and in the night 14°, does anybody think on X-mas when having such temperatures? In Europe certainly none. We are missing the snow the smell of mulled wine, freshly baken cookies and gingerbread. But we are trying hard to get some feeling of X-mas time, we burn candles, decorate them with our penguins and we have the idea of getting some palmleaves instead of the usual fir branches. Thanks to some former colleagues we have “I wish you a merry X-mas” on our laptop (sung by a penguin and a snowman). Anything more you could wish? For sure we do not miss the run for X-mas-presents and all the hectic rush filling the cities at that time of the year.

Lena's other grandfather (dad of Evi) will join us for 2 weeks. Everybody is happy that he is coming, as he will bring us some of the desperately awaited additional layers for the napkins. Soon after he arrived we leave the marina Rubicon and start for La Graciosa, a small island north of Lanzarote. A warm and sunny day with really no winds at all so that we had to motor along the western coast of Lanzarote heading north to La Graciosa. At the beginning of the afternoon we saw another sailing-boat getting closer to us from behind. After another one or two hours we could identify the „La Gitana“ as the boat making up for us. When they had got next to us we called each other via VHF and agreed on an anchoring site close to the port of La Graciosa to meet there in a couple of hours. „La Gitana“ is just too fast under motor for our smaller „Mimpi Manis“. Just half an hour later we saw „La Gitana“ heaving up and stopping. Our first idea was that they have managed to catch a fish and now are trying to get the fish on board. But it took too long so we called them on the VHF again just to realize that they have a severe problem with their engine and could not make any use of it again. They must have tried to contact us for several minutes already but we could not her them as we had switched off our VHF. Volker was even ready to use his signal rockets to get our attraction. The engine was still running, but the propeller was making a very serious noise when engaging the gearbox and they were unable to manoeuvre. So we altered course and got as close to „La Gitana“ as possible to get the ropes fixed for pulling them to the agreed anchoring site. For some beer and the exclusive photo shooting of a 8t boat pulling a 16t boat our brave „Mimpi Manis“ went on to La Graciosa. We indeed have caught a big fish, a 16t wale ;-) After 2 more hours we reached the anchoring site at La Graciosa, dropped the anchors and moored us together to have both ships and their tools available just in case.

It was already getting dark, so we enjoyed our beer, discussed on the possible defects and postponed the dive for the next day. Early in the morning Stephan and Volker got into their diving suites, Stephan was already diving when Volker still forced himself into his diving suite. A huge fishing net has blocked the propeller of „La Gitana“, it was just a 5 minutes work to release the propeller again. No spareparts to be organised on this remote island, just some cuts with a knife and all worked nicely again. As Stephan was already diving he looked at our hull below the waterlevel and decided to clean it. It took him 4 hours of slave labour to get rid of all the animals and algae growing on our hull. Although the Atlantic only had about 20°C he was close to sweating due to his physical efforts. Anybody who already has some diving experience knows that diving in a shallow water is more difficult than in 10 m. The draught of „Mimpi Manis“ is only 1.3m, so it needs some experience on buoyancy to have both hands free for working. Now „Mimpi Manis“ is more than one knot faster than before the cleaning, this will help us to get faster to the Caribbean sea.

On the next day „La Gitana“ was leaving again as Michaela's parents got a bit seasick due to the rolling at the anchoring site. So they left for the Marina Rubicon at the southern tip of Lanzarote. We decided to stay some more days and move to the harbour of La Sociedad. We got everything ready to leave, particularly our diving gear which has dried over night was stowed away in the deep of our engine room. When we tried to pull up our stern-anchor we realized that the rope was cut through by a rock and so we had lost our 16kg Danforth-anchor with 10m of chain and app. 40m of rope. We made use of our stern-anchor to prevent the rolling from the swell in this bay. Stephan was „very keen“ on getting all the diving gear out of the engine room again, getting into his wetsuit and going for a dive. But after 15 minutes the anchor was found and grandfather helped us to get it into our dinghy and back onto our boat.

The island of La Graciosa is still very peaceful and remote. Only a few tourists find their way up to here either with their own boat or by the daily ferry from Lanzarote. So only a handful restaurants, 2 „super“markets, a bakery, a small harbour and lots of unspoilt sandy beaches. Time seems to pass by slower than elsewhere and so we felt in love with this place and settled for 3 days. During daytime we went onto the beaches with Lena to allow her to use all her toys she had for playing in the sand. In the evening we went to one of the restaurants to eat fresh fish. We would have loved to stay longer, but we had to move south again for the way back to Marina Rubicon as grandfather had to fly home again. We left for Arrecife as a stop over. As grandfather was very keen on getting a real sailing experience with waves and some movement of the ship we were able to fulfill his wishes. We started with 5Bft headwind using our engine for nearly one hour before we were able to set sails. The longer we went the more pale he got, he even refused his regular beer at 11am. As we offered him a bread with liversausage he vomited his breakfast. If he ever wants to have some motion of the sea again? After stopping in Arecife and Coralejo (on the northern tip of Fuerteventura) we gladly returned to Marina Rubicon. Sailing downwind from La Graciosa was very relaxing as our windsteering device worked nicely and we had up to 10 knots of speed. No sailor can wish more.

We spent the last few days with grandfather doing some sightseeing on the interior of Lanzarote. Despite some shopping centres, supermarkets and ship chandlers we had seen nothing else up to now. So we rented a car and went to the west coast, stopping at a former saltern of Janubo, the famous bay of El Golfo known well for his emerald green lagoon and black sand beaches. After that we drove through the national park of Timanfaya, also called the mountains of fire. From 1730 to 1736 a huge part of southern Lanzarote was covered with lava, ash and lapilli, creating this unique landscape during a long lasting volcanic activity. More than 100 new vulcan craters appeared during these 6 years of destruction. None of them is still active but there is still a magma chamber in 2000 to 4000m depth resulting in temperatures of 100-400°C just below the surface. Cesar Manrique built a restaurant inside the national park making use of the heat for grilling meat over air coming out of earth at a temperature of 300°C. A huge part of the national park is not accessible for public but a bustour is included in the entrance fee. Astonishing fews on former craters, rocks and lava streams are free of charge.

We drove on through La Geria, the wine-growing area of Lanzarote. Here vine is grown in small craters and solid stonewalls are used to protect it from wind. As it hardly rains on Lanzarote the dew is used for irrigation, resulting in very sweet grapes. On La Graciosa we tasted „Yaiza“ a white wine in a blue bottle. As this would make for a nice present we took the opportunity to look for it in La Geria, as we did not find this wine in any supermarket. For several hours we drove through the wine-growing area and asked at every bodega if they sell this wine or at least know who sells. But we did not succeed and in the end grandfather bought 2 bottles at a restaurant close to the Marina. And of course he did not get a discount. Just after he came back to Germany he called to tell us, that at the airport in Arecife the „Yaiza“ is sold as white, rose and red wine and cheaper as at the restaurant. Having known that earlier we would have had much more time for visiting the north instead of running around and searching for this particular wine.

We continued our journey into the north of Lanzarote and visited the Jameos del Agua, a part of a former lava cave. It's only a small part of a huge systems of caves. Some more can be explored at another entrance for a few kilometres. On the way back we had a delicious fish dinner at a small restaurant in Playa Quemada close to the beach. Lena was totally exhausted and tired from this long day of visiting. Grandfather left the next day and hopefully he will join us soon again. We invited him for the Caribbean.

But now it's time to say good bye, not only grandfather is leaving, also all the sailors from the small „German“ village in Marina Rubicon. They are leaving for other destination in the Canary Islands and all are preparing for the journey across the Atlantic Ocean. Some are heading for Brazil others for the Caribbean Sea. Volker and Michaela, crew of „La Gitana“ who up to now sailed the same route as we did were the first ones to leave. 3.5 months of sailing together made us all very familiar and so we were invited for a excellent dinner on board of „La Gitana“, we really enjoyed it. Thanks again for this evening! We made an appointment to meet again for 15th of February in English harbour, Antigua. Also Mathias and Doreen from the „Vela Bianca“ and Martin, Ines and Anna from the „Amigo“ are leaving. Those two are heading for Brazil and hopefully we'll meet again in the Caribbean Sea end of 2006. Alfred, Steffie, Kilian and Isabell from the „Verena III“ are leaving soon and heading for Tobago. There are few destinations nearly all sailors have to pass on their journey like Trinidad and Tobago, Panama, or for some the Cap Verde Islands. Email will make it easier to keep in contact and meet again.

Marina Rubicon is getting very quite the closer X-mas is coming. We are missing our friends who just passed by and having a beer or some small talk. On the other side we are now able to work without any disturbance at the improvement of „Mimpi Manis“. Our watermaker has arrived and is still inside his crate on the jetty but we are eager to get it installed and working soon. Also the mast for the wind generator must be fitted on our stern, moskitonets must be fitted to our berths, food must be stocked up, ... a lot to do!

Getting the watermaker to Lanzarote was indeed an adventure. After having arrived at the airport in Arecife it took us one week to find out that it had arrived. Although our phone number was printed in huge letters on the crate and on the paperworks nobody gave us a call. Finally we went to the airport and there the guy at the office told us that we have to go to the customs to clear paperworks. But at this day customs was already closed (office hours 9am to 2pm) so we had to rent the car for another day and try again. At the customs they told us that we need to involve an agent to clear paperworks. The one recommended by the customs had no interest to help us or earn some money. But he recommended us another agency. So we went there and after having told the whole story to the clerk in charge she said: „Oh my gosh, usually only drugs come from Trinidad!“ But this was not the end of story, as we had no invoice for the watermaker, although we asked the sender to enclose one with the paperworks. Maybe it's enclosed inside the crate but we were not allowed to open the crate without having cleared paperworks with customs. No invoice no crate, no crate no invoice, that's a vicious circle. So I called in Trinidad to send a copy via fax and email. And then things speeded up, the next day our watermaker was delivered to the Marina and now is just beside „Mimpi Manis“ on the jetty. It took us another 300€, some fees for customs, storing fees at the airport, the agency, transport to the Marina, ... A pitty! But in the end we are lucky that finally the crate has arrived. When we opened the crate and checked for completeness, we realized that the chemicals for cleaning and storage are missing. It seems that these have been removed by either the agent or the customs. They may have been regarded as “dangerous goods”. So we ask EcH2OTec for advise and a few days later a email arrives saying that the CEO will come to Lanzarote anyway and deliver the chemicals by himself. We are impressed by the service offered!

That's our interpretation of advents season hectic, we do not run for presents or baking gingerbread but run for a watermaker, food for the Atlantic crossing, some spareparts or whatever we need. Stocking up food means to look at the different supermarkets to compare prices, buying one or two to taste them, writing long lists of items to be bought and finally buy them, transport them to our boat and store them in our storage. But to find them again we also have to make lists of what items are stored where. Lena also needs lots of time, she is practising walking at the hands of her parents or wants to play in the sand on the beach. Sometimes she helps us with unpacking our carefully packed boxes as soon as we have finished them. But her favourite toys are the tools of papa and he has lots of them!

On x-mas Stephan's parents who already have joined us from Malaga to Agadir and his sister with husband and 3 kids will visit us. 7 guest are too much to be accommodated on the “Mimpi Manis”, so they will stay in a hotel. But they will bring us lots of additional tools and equipment. 140kg of free luggage must be used up. We ordered lots of stuff in Germany and now the family will bring it to us. We are looking forward to celebrate X-mas together with our family here in Lanzarote.

As soon as all hands have been shaken and all hugs exchanged with the 7 members of Stephan's family after they have arrived on „Mimpi Manis“ we get our X-mas presents. Tinned liversausage, marmalade of all kind of types (home-made by grandmother) a current newspaper, ... And of course all the technical stuff we have ordered in Germany and sent to them, knowing that they will have lots of allowance free for the flight from Germany to the Canary Island. Nevertheless they had to pay 100€ for additional luggage. They took a taxi to carry all the stuff with them to the Marina. So this evening we were stowing away the food and reading the newspaper. Grandfather is much of a help when it comes down to install all the technical stuff, like the windgenerator, the watermaker, ... Also it looked like a mess when we started works all went well. Evi left „Mimpi Manis“ for having longer walks with Lena not to see the mess there. But in the end she agreed that we did a good job and all systems are working properly. Our To-Do-List has nearly gone down to zero, even the moskitonets are prepared for all hatches, berths and the entrance. The air-compressor is working and filling up our air-tanks, the windgenerator is producing electricity (if the wind blows), the watermaker is making water, a net for storing fruits is hanging in the salon, all food is bought and stowed away, the engine and the gearbox got new oil and filters, huge piles of laundry are washed, hung out, dried and put back into the wardrobe and our heating is working nearly continuously as it becomes cold during the night and we are still used to the warmth of the summerly Mediterranean. Only the mast has to be climbed and all locking bolts and nuts have to be checked. Also the bottom of our ship needs an inspection as we did see some growth of algae.

A few days before the end of 2005 we are receiving visitors, Mr. Reinke is coming. As he is the designer our „Mimpi Manis“ he is also interested in seeing how his ideas are coming true for people he has never met before. His wife and his two children are joining him. So we tell them of our plans and ideas and the changes we made to his design to adapt it to our needs. After a couple of hours they leave again and we continue with our works on “Mimpi Manis” to prepare her for the Atlantic crossing.

Lena is walking by herself since a few days. She's this proud to be able to walk by herself, although it only takes a few meters till she falls on her bottom again. Still unstable while walking she's training hard and to walk into the right direction is not very easy, circles are her favourite at the moment. Her only words are „Mama“ and „Papa“ but she can make it very clear if she wants something or not. But when we are talking to her she understand quite a lot. Although she is used to live on a small and tiny sailing boat she is not shy and tries to communicate with everybody. Playing with other kids always make her happy. And she is getting sad when she has to leave new friends. Lena also has a new favourite toy a cow called Resi, we have no clue why she does not like penguins. And one of her most favourite playgrounds is the bassin in our bathroom. She likes using our toothbrushes. Having a child on board will make life anything else than boring and it is making us very confident when she is taking a new step in life.

2005 is coming to an end and we realize that most of our friends have already left Lanzarote and sailed to other of the 7 Canary Islands or already left for Brazil or the Caribbean Sea. So no big Sylvester party instead we are playing backgammon in the salon, drinking hot wine and meet our neighbours on the jetty at midnight. What adventures will happen to us in 2006, where will we be in one year? We have no idea. We only know that we will try to cross the Atlantic in January and stay in the Caribbean Sea till June and probably head to Trinidad while hurricane season is making sailing uncomfortable in the Antilles. In Trinidad we will probably take „Mimpi Manis“ out of the water, redo the antifouling and also some other works on the hull. After having done all this work? We have no clue what we are doing then.

On 10th of January Flo is coming to Lanzarote to join us for the long leg across the Atlantic ocean. We intend to stop in La Gomera and the Cap Verde Islands before we head for Antigua. And we have to be in Antigua latest 15th of February as we have an appointment with “La Gitana” in English harbour. Also Flo will leave us on 16th of February to go home to Germany.