A family's dream of freedom becomes true
January: We start into the New Year with a traditional Bavarian breakfast. White Sausages with freshly baked pretzel, Händlmeiersenf and a bottle of Franziskaner Weißbier. In the meantime we have managed to form the pretzel quite in time and they look more nicely every time we give ourselves a try. And in the meantime we really have made lots of experience in forming pretzels. Even Lena is helping at her best with kneading the dough and forming rolls. On the evening of January 2nd we lift our anchor to sail to the BVIs (British Virgin Islands), just a night sail away. As the BVIs are known as a very expensive part of the Caribbean Sea we have loaded up our fridge with lots of greenstuff in order to be independent for the next few weeks.
Shortly after having set sails Lena is falling asleep while seated in her chair and continues to sleep in her bed till we arrive next morning. As this leg of 80 miles was roly and not a nice sail at all, we thank god, that our daughter is sleeping so well while sailing in the night. Nevertheless Evi is changing her colour very rapidly and starts feeding the fishes during her shift! Although it's no nice sailing, we are fast and manage an average speed of 6knots. So we arrive in the morning after only 14 hours at Virgin Gorda and drop anchor in front of Spanish Town at 8am. Checking in with customs and immigration was an easy task. We paid 15$ and 0.30$ for the forms while checking in and 0.75$ for the forms for checking out. And we received an invoice for each! But be warned if you arrive with a Charterboat, this will cost you lot of money and easily reach an amount of more than 100$ as you pay for the time you want to spent and for each crew-member or passenger. Although some sailors warned us that the officers are rude and unfriendly we did not make such an experience and maybe it helped again that Lena was with Stephan when he checked in and out. We made this experience all over the Caribbean Sea, be joined by a small child and you will see friendly faces at the officials.
The British Virgin Islands consist of 16 inhabited and lots oaf uninhabited islands. Altogether app. 14,000 people live here and most of them in the capital Road Harbour on Tortola. The others mostly live on Virgin Gorda, Anegada and Jost van Dyke. The BVIs are a crown colony and the Queen is the formal head. A Governor is representing the Queen and he decides on foreign affairs, internal and external security and on the legislative. The most important business is tourism particularly Yacht-Chartering. This does not wonder as her everything a sailor needs is available, short distances between the bays and harbours, beautiful bays with sandy beaches, crystal-clear water with lots of dive-spots and lots of marinas capable to deal with all those boats and assist in repairs. So these are the reasons why the BVIs won the highest density of charter-companies and hundreds of boats are sailing in the protected waters of the Sir Francis Drake Channel.
After having passed immigration and customs we lift up our anchor and head for Peter Island on the southeastern side of the Sir Francis Drake Channel. After 2 hours of happy sailing with wind from the back we finally reach our destination and drop anchor in the Deadmans Bay. And now we have to fulfil the task to make a lovely home out of our sailing boat and set up the suncover and the hammock again. For the next days we only do relaxing and doing nothing at all except lying in the hammock, taking long walks on the sandy beaches and building sandcastles. In the meantime weather has become more dry and it seems that the rainy season has finally come to an end. A strong northeasterly wind is blowing and so we are able to enjoy lower temperatures. Since months we must get out the warm blankets again as otherwise we would get a cold! The ventilators are not in use any more! Daytime temperature is down to only 25°C - 28° C, nothing compared to the 36°C we had to suffer from in Venezuela.
After a few days at Peter Island we went to Norman Island from where Stephan took a 2nm dinghy trip to the rocks called “The Indians” for diving. With the air left in his tank he is cleaning the bottom of our ship to get rid of some algae and barnacles. But unfortunately the history tends to repeat. Next day morning he is waking up with severe pain in his ears and so he won't be able to dive for the next days. And that is a pity as close by at Salt Island an interesting wreck can be dived. 1867 a hurricane went over the BVis and the mailship “Rhone” was wrecked and sunk with 125 people on board. No wonder that hundreds of divers a day are found at this wreck in only 20m depth. As Lena is telling us more frequently that she needs to go to the toilet, we gift her a pair of fins and a mask to support her. She likes these gifts so much that she walks around with them the whole day and does not like to get out of the water again.
But soon after we lift our anchor again to explore new bays. We stay some days on the south side of Peter Island and then we head north to Savannah Bay on the western side of Virgin Gorda. But we only stay one night there as a strong northerly swell is coming up, making this anchorage uncomfortable within minutes. But entrance is hard to find and impossible to be passed during nighttime. So we had to wait till sunrise to leave. We went further north to the Virgin Gorda Sound, a secluded bay with lots of anchorages, marinas and resorts. We stayed at Leverick Bay, Bitter End Yacht Club, Drakes Anchorage and went back to Leverick Bay. Infrastructure at the Virgin Gorda Sound is exceptionel good compared to the other anchorages. We are able to use WiFi, the marinas have swimming pools and there are lots of small shops and restaurants. We do nothing but having long walks with Lena, relax at swimming pools, enjoying ice-cream and thinking of what to cook tonight. Our greenstuff is mostly gone and as the prices are not affordable for sailors we decide to save on the money but to feed on the long term storage. Since Venezuela we are stocked up with hundreds of tins and to get most of them eaten till our planned holiday in Germany in summer we only need to open 3-4 tins a day. It is Evis' task to get something eatable out of all those tins. Fried potatoes with olives, corn and beans, Paella with seafood, tuna and peas, noodles with tomato-tuna-peas-sauce, rice with black bans and coconut-milk, ...
Time is passing by very fast. After 2 ½ weeks we take a more serious look at the weather charts to find a suitable day for the leg back to St. Martin. We would love to sail with a wind of 10knots coming from 60 degrees and no waves at all. To hope for a westerly wind would take years of waiting! The last couple of days we had strong easterly winds of up to 20-25knots, but now it seems that we are lucky and and wind will calm down a bit and shift more to the north. Unfortunately a strong northerly swell will come up with waves as high as 3m. We intend to make use of this weather window as for next week stronger winds are expected. So we leave the Virgin Gorda Sound and return to Spanish Town to check out with customs and immigration nest day morning. While anchoring in front of Spanish Town we really got some feeling of the northerly swell and the boat was heavily rolling the whole night. We are glad to lift our anchor and head for St. Martin next day.
But before leaving we want to do some sightseeing and spent a couple of hours at one of the main attractions of the BVIs. There is a beautiful spot on the southwestern shore of Virgin Gorda called “The Baths” where hundreds of huge granite rocks lie around and forming a labyrinth of small caves, pools, ... where someone can have a bath or snorkel. As it is impossible to get ashore with the dinghy due to the huge swell and it is forbidden anyway we secure the dinghy at a dinghy-mooring and swim ashore after having secured our boat to one of the numerous moorings available. Lena is wearing her inflatable arm bands and an extra ring. She really likes swimming in these conditions with high waves coming in and tearing you from your feet on the beach. When we start to explore a marked track through the granite rocks to the “Devils Beach” she not only follows us but likes to climb over the rocks using the ladders and ropes provided. After having a swim there we also need to get back through the same labyrinth and now our daughter is showing signs of tiredness. After having a short lunch aboard we get the boat ready for the leg back to St. Martin, leave the mooring and off we are.
And really, Lena is having a long nap for 4 hours only to be awake for 2 hours to have something to eat and then she goes back into her bed again and sleeping till next day morning. While our daughter is sleeping we have to fight against wind and waves. For the first 6 hours we motor and see some heavy squalls. After that the promised ENE wind is coming up and so we set sails till next morning when we realize that we either need to tack or make use of the engine again. As we had to sail against the wind we were slow with an average of only 4knots and also lots of cruise ships were passing us in both directions, no night for sleeping. At 6 o'clock in the morning we take down the foresail and start the engine to motor the last 20 miles. As our watertanks are empty anyway we also start our watermaker. Finally at noon we reach the French side of St. Martin and drop our anchor in Marigot Bay. It took us 21 hours to get here and it only took us 14 hours to take us to the BVIs just 3 weeks ago.
We are very happy to see “Morgi” with Claudia and Edgar on board again. On the same evening we sit together in our cockpit and serve them onioncake with white wine. While sitting together we exchange stories on our adventures we had for the last 4 weeks. We have left just before X-mas on Dominica. A few days later we are invited by Edgar and Claudia for a BBQ onboard of “Morgi”. We stay till after midnight and have lots of smalltalks on sailing, plans for the future, ... Lena likes to be onboard of “Morgi” and playing with Edgar and Claudia. Just after dinner she falls asleep in the cockpit and sleeps till we leave for going home to “Mimpi Manis”.
It's 29th January and Stephans parents will land in San Maarten early afternoon. With a rented car we drive to the airport on the Dutch side and pick them up. Although Lena has not seen her grandparents since one year, she is not shy at all and runs towards them for giving a kiss! And after a few minutes she behaves totally normal and is chattering with grandmother and grandfather like being with them together since weeks. We are also happy to see them well again and hope they will enjoy their time on board of “Mimpi Manis”. After all bags are stowed away Lena is getting her second X-mas with all the presents waiting for her in Germany since her birthday. She is really happy about all the presents grandmother and grandfather carried in their bags across the whole Atlantic.
Also the next day we have to celebrate again: Claudia from “Morgi” is having her birthday. Early in the morning we sing “Happy Birthday” on VHF and she is having a birthdaycake for breakfast. In the afternoon we celebrate her birthday in the ruins of the Fort St. Louis high above Marigot and enjoying this secluded point with its spectacular view down to Simpson Lagoon and Marigot. Also Monika and Herman from “Gräfin“ are invited for this picnic. Everybody was asked to bring some salad and so we have 3 different salads, tuna-tapenade, broccoli-quiche and fresh baguette and also red wine. Lena also enjoys the party and is eating a lot and having fun while playing with everybody. She is climbing on old canons, strolling through the ruins and finally falling asleep while being in Claudias arms. When it was dark since a few hours we packed together all our items and got terrified by millions of ants crawling all over the leftovers of the food. The salad was black from ants and and so lots of the food was left with them and we had to clean our bags. Back on the boat we emptied all bags again and searched them for ants. Every item was hand checked before it was allowed to go below deck. The bags itself were sprayed with insecticide and hang outside! It was a really lovely evening we really did enjoy, despite the invasion of the ants. Thanks to Edgar and Claudia!
We do not like this idea but we will have to leave Claudia and Edgar and say farewell to “Morgi”. We are heading further south and they will continue west in a couple of days. And in May they will head for a crossing of the Atlantic Ocean back to the Mediterranean Sea. So we won't see them again in the Caribbean Sea and only maybe again in the Mediterranean Sea. We are really sad to leave them and not to see them again for quite some time. We have spent together lots of hours we all enjoyed. Especially Lena will miss them as “Morgi” was a good source for cookies and she liked playing with Edgar and Claudia. Also we will not see them soon, we want to stay in contact and we promised to see each other in autumn in Germany. We have changed our plans recently and now they are becoming clearer from day to day: in May “Mimpi Manis” will sail across the Atlantic Ocean back to the Mediterranean Sea but not on its own keel like “Morgi” but on the deck of a commercial freighter. This freighter will leave from the BVIs mid of May and reach La Spezia (Italy) app. 3 weeks later. We will take a flight to Germany as soon as “Mimpi Manis” is loaded and hopefully being in La Spezia in time to see our boat again. There are several reasons why we do not continue sailing. First it is not really funny to sail with two small children especially long distances and second we are simply running out of money. And just to spent two more years in the Caribbean Sea with no possibility to sail on to the Pacific can be really boring. And after the two years we would have left no money at all and so it is much better to stop this experiment now and save the money for a good start in Germany again. But for now we will have the opportunity to sail another 4 ½ months here in the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea.
February: After having waved good bye to Edgar and Claudia we lift our anchor and head for Saint Barthélemy, briefly called St. Barth. We had to sail close-hauled for 5 hours to cover the 20nm leg. We moor to one of the free moorings at the situated on the north-western tip of this tiny ( only 22 km² ) island. In the year 1496 Columbus discovered this island and named it after his brother. Today St. Barth is also called St. Tropez of the Caribbean Sea. Especially at X-mas all those wealthy and well known meet here. But when anchoring in a secluded bay you won´t be affected at all but have enough time to swim in crystal clear water and enjoy the long sandy beach while building sand castles with our daughter. We staid there for whole 5 days and did nothing else then relaxing. After that we explore Gustavia, the capital of Saint Barthélemy for a couple of hours before we continue to Antigua. We stroll through the streets with its numerous shops for jewellery, watches and fragrances and take a look at the mega-yachts moored in the tiny harbour. We learn a lot about history like that St. Barth is part of the French Departement of Guadeloupe and therefore part of Europe. At the end of the 18th century France gifted this island to Sweden in exchange of trade rights at Göteborg. The king of Sweden, Gustav III (therefore the capital was named Gustavia) was proud having an overseas colony. Hundred years later the island was given back to France and it does not wonder that still an influence from Swedish culture and architecture can be seen.
Back from exploring the harbour and the tiny town we prepare “Mimpi Manis” for the 90nm leg to Antigua. For the first 10 hours we can sail close hauled while having 10-15knots of wind. It is nice sailing as the waveheight is low but then wind drops at 1am and and we have to start our engine as sailing is not possible any more. So we take the opportunity and fill our water tank with our watermaker while motoring for the next 14 hours. Early in the morning our fishing line gets tight and we stop the engine to get the fish in. Unfortunately a Barracuda took the bait and we release him again as we fear of Ciguatera intoxication which is common with Barracudas. This fish would have fed all 5 of us and grandfather gets really sad when Stephan set the fish free again after having him released from the hook. Ciguatera is a toxin made by small algae and accumulates in the nutrition chain. And sometimes a human is the end of this chain after having eaten a Barracuda. The toxin can not be destroyed by cooking or be detected in the fish. Symptoms are paresis, cramps and vision disturbances as the toxin affects all kinds of muscles. In very seldom cases the symptoms can lead to respiratory paresis and resulting in death. An antidote is available but must be giving intravenously and within 24 hours after the first symptoms have occurred. After 24 hours we finally reach English Harbour on Antigua.
It's one year ago when we made our first landfall in the Caribbean Sea in English Harbour on 11th February 2006 after having sailed on the Atlantic for 3 ½ weeks. We were really happy at that time having firm soil under our feet again after sailing for such a long time. Out on the Atlantic. Therefore we went to a restaurant to celebrate this day and having safely sailed in the Caribbean Sea for one year. Lena gets really happy when we meet Rosie again at English Harbour. The two girls had some good time in Carriacou in July/August when we and “Ciao” anchored close by. And now it seems like they have never been separated and it only takes them a few minutes till they share they toys and play together on the beach.
As we only have a few days to spent on Antigua we have a tight program. We get on the bus to the capital St. John's for provisioning, stroll through Nelson's Dockyard with its beautiful restored buildings, take a look at the mega-yachts in Falmouth harbour and walk up to Shirley Heights enjoying picturesque views down to the bay of English Harbour. On clear days one can see as far as Guadeloupe and Montserrat. After a last beach day with Rosie we must say good bye to “Ciao” and hope to see them again in 3 months when we will sail north again. We are leaving for Montserrat as we are in a bit of a hurry to get to Martinique in time. Latest end of February we must be in Martinique and between Antigua and Martinique there are numerous bays in beautiful islands.
Next morning we set sails for Montserrat which is only 35miles south west of Antigua. We have a really beautiful sail with an average of 6knots, although for the first few miles we were rolling badly. We are the only yacht anchoring at Little Bay, the one and only harbour on the north-western tip of Montserrat Only 50 -60 yachts visit this island every year. Montserrat is off the beaten track for most sailing boats and the bay itself can be really rocky when swell is entering. It is only a couple of months ago when the raised the alarm level as high as 4 for the active volcano Soufriere. In 1995 Soufriere went into an active state while exhausting gases, rocks and ash over the southern part of this small island. In 1997 a huge eruption destroyed the capital “Plymouth” and left 2/3 of the island uninhabitable. 7.000 of the once 11.000 inhabitants fled for the northern part, other Caribbean islands, Great Britain or the US. Nowadays only 4.500 people live on Montserrat. The government has new buildings near Little Bay, a new airport has been built and it seems that the people get used to live on one of the most active volcanoes on earth. The former capital of Plymouth is covered under ash and pyroclastic eruptions have burnt large part of the southern part within seconds. It is only one month ago when the latest eruption hit the island leading to a huge evacuation of a part thought to be save.
We rent a taxi to get an impression of the “Safe Zone” in the northern part. And also to go as far south as possible and take the opportunity to have a look onto the destruction zone of an active volcano. Although there are only 4.500 people living here, all necessary infrastructure like kindergarten, schools, banks, hospital, government houses, social welfare, ... can be found on this British Crown Colony. It seems that no poverty is on this island, all houses look tidy and most of them are newly built. Especially in the “Daytime Entry Zone”, the zone only to be entered during daytime due to security reasons lots of beautiful houses are located. It seems that the owners have left only for a short holiday, but nobody knows if or when these parts will be safe again and can be used for safe living. At the end of our tour we stop at the volcanic observatory and have the opportunity to see the destructions on the southern part. There is a smoking volcano threatening the peaceful scenery. Just a few kilometres away parts of Plymouth can be seen buried with ash and rocks. Nobody can imagine what it means to leave his house because of the threat of a volcanic eruption.
Impressed by the views on the destroyed parts of the island we go back to Little Bay and leave same day for Iles des Saintes (Guadeloupe). We motor along the western shoreline of Montserrat and get more views on the destroyed southern part. Ash is blowing from Soufriere to our boat while passing by Plymouth. On the southern tip we set sails and sail close hauled with a NNE-wind with 15knots. When we reach the leeward side of Guadeloupe wind and waves decrease and we have to start our engine for some time. Leaving the southern tip of Guadeloupe behind us we head for Iles des Saintes and drop anchor after 16 hours just in front of Terre-de-Haut right after sunrise. It´s our 4th time on Iles des Saintes, last time on X-mas when we were heading for St. Martin. Although we know every path on this small islands we are always happy when coming back. Maren and Uwe from Heavy Metal are also here and so we meet one evening for dinner at a restaurant as there is much to discuss after our last meeting in Porlamar, Venezuela in November.
Grandfather and grandmother also like these tiny islands. We stroll through the crowded streets, walk up to Fort Napoleon high on a hill right above the main settlement with its cactus-garden, leguans and historic museum. One day we walk as far as the “Plage de Pompiere” and relax on the beach or snorkel through the coral gardens. Before heading on we stop at “Pain du Sucre” for two days and enjoy the calm waters where Lena plays on the beach for hours before getting tired. Now our daughter tries to find out how it feels like to drown. So she plays in the water without any swimming device and pushes her head below the surface just to jump up again and take a deep breath. It is really impressive how safe she feels in the water. Certainly mum or dad is always close by in case Lena gets beyond her limits.
After 5 days on Iles des Saintes we lift our anchor again and head further south. Next stop is Dominica, only 20 miles away. Unfortunately lots of squalls hit us bringing a shift in wind direction and force and some rain. Nevertheless we could sail most of the distance and because of the low waves it was quite a nice sail. In the early afternoon we reach Portsmouth on the north-western tip and drop anchor in Prince Ruppert Bay close by “Big Papa´s Restaurant”. We feel at home here and enjoy again the the breathtaking scenery of green tropical vegetation on the hill slopes and the palm fringed beaches surrounding the anchorage. Dominica is far on top of our private ranking list of Caribbean Islands especially as it is so green and original. Checking in and out at customs is very easy and straight forward and you can check in and out at the same time if leaving within two weeks, during night-time a local is patrolling through the anchorage to ensure security and since a few weeks yachts can get cheap water at a mooring. Also it is no problem to get a refill of your gas-container, theoretically. Just drop your container at “Big Papa” and get it filled next day. But we are unlucky as it is carnival and so nobody is working and even on Ash Wednesday streets look like on a public holiday. So Stephan is getting the gas-container himself to Rousseau for a refill on Thursday. It takes him 4 to get there and back and having it refilled. But as we wanted to leave on Friday it was worth the effort as now we have cooking-gas for another 4 months.
As it is our third time on Dominica and we have rented a car for sightseeing twice before, we do not really want to repeat this again. So we send grandmother and grandfather on a guided tour while we relax on the beach with Lena, digging holes, baking sandy cakes and splash in the shallow water. Next day grandmother, grandfather and Lena walk to Fort Shirley and when returning after 4 hours grandmother is bleeding severely on her right knee. She has slipped while walking down the path and hit a stone with her knee. Stephan taking a look at the wound is getting his tools ready to suture up the wound after cleaning. Lots of small stones and sand has got into the wound and he carefully cleans it before suturing up with 3 stitches. It´s the first time we had to make use of our extensive medical equipment and grandmother is not so unhappy that she will not be able to go into the water for a week.
But our time on Dominica has come to an end and we have to leave for our final destination for the next two months: Martinique. To cover the 55nm leg till St. Pierre, the northernmost anchorage on Martinique we have to motor along the lee-shore of Dominica for the first 4.5 hours till we have reached the southern tip of Dominica. Not before this point (Scots Head) wind is steady enough for sailing. When reaching the lee of Martinique wind is dropping again and so we have to start the engine again to cover the last few miles. Just before sunrise still in dark night we drop our anchor in front of St. Pierre the former capital of Martinique. St. Pierre was completely destroyed in 1902 when the Volcano Pelée erupted and killed 30.000 people within minutes. As it is not our first (in fact it´s our third time) we visit St. Pierre we only stay for one night before we sail (15nm) on to Anse Mitan. We decided to stay in this bay for the next 4 weeks till Evi will give birth to our new crew member in Fort de France. There is a white sandy beach, lots of shops and restaurants, a supermarket, car rental, WiFi at the anchorage, a ferry to Fort de France, ... so lots of reasons to stay here and not at the rocky bay at Fort De France.
Although it can get really crowded when 5 people are living on our tiny boat, we get along with it quite well. Grandfather and grandmother always have to convert the salon settee into their berth and so they can only go to bed when all others have left for theirs. Daily to do´s like washing up, hanging up the laundry, fill drinking water into the bottles, make the boat clear for sailing, going night shifts, ... are done by all 4 adults equally. So we have some more time left for relaxing (especially Evi with her steadily growing baby inside) and reading a book. And of course grandmother and grandfather are eager to play with Lena and walk on the shore with her for hours. So we have some time to work on the boat or just having an undisturbed nap. She likes walking with her grandparents and even leaving mama and daddy behind on the boat is OK for her. In the evening when Lena is finally asleep after an exhausting day we get out one game out of our huge game collection and play till midnight or even longer. On days when Evi can not sit due to her huge belly Stephan plays cards with his parents and drink some of our stored red wine.
March: the clock is moving on and it is only one more month till our second baby will be born. Evi is still well, although her belly looks like a huge balloon. She is not handicapped at all when climbing through some narrow parts of our boat and things are going much more easily compared to the first pregnancy just 2.5 years ago. Being pregnant on board of a sailing boat is no fun at all like a pregnancy never will be, but it is far less exhausting as we thought it to be. Having three different gynaecologists during a pregnancy is also not common. But having found one in Venezuela we left for Martinique and then for St. Martin and back to Martinique. Patients pampered by gynaecologists in Germany will get a hard time. They now have to organize much more as ultrasound and drawing blood and urine samples are at different locations. Then after a few days one has to collect all results and bring them to the gynaecologist for being inspected and documented in the patient file. And for the last two examinations we had to go to the hospital in Fort de France to see the midwife and the anaesthesist. We even had problems with our health insurance as ours did not cover birth and the necessary examinations. But we solved this problem as Evi still had a coverage of her prior German health insurance which will pay for all bills in Europa. And luckily Martinique and St. Martin are part of France and therefore Europe. But we have to pay for all bills in advance and get our money back when we are in Germany again. And when we entered the hospital our health insurance card was readily accepted, another sign that Europe is getting very close.
But aside of dates at the hospital, gynaecologist and medical laboratories we did find some time for sightseeing. A date at the gynaecologist in the morning in Le Marin leads all five of us directly to the rum distillery at Trois Rivières and we also find some time for a visit at the Musée de la Pagerie, where empress Josephine, who became the first wife of Napoleons I. At times of Josephine´s (1763-1814) sugar was produced here and nowadays everything was changed into a museum and ruins of the former sugar plant and the houses can be seen. The former kitchen was changed into a little museum.
Another trip by car leads us to the northern tip of this island which is much less populated. We leave Fort de France heading north on the Route de la Trace, a very scenery road winding through a green rainy forest. First stop is at “Sacre Coeur de Balata” which is built on the model of Sacre Coeur in Paris but much smaller. We continue till Morne Rouge, a small village on the southeastern site of the still active volcano Mont Pelée. We enjoy the view from its slope and think of all the dead people from its activities in the last century. Then we continue further north till we reach the coastline at Grand Rivière, situated at the northern tip of Martinique. The road is ending here and only a small path is leading to Le Precheur. It is a few hours walk and lots of people do it as it is a very easy hike. After a filling picnic and a constitutional we head back to Anse Mitan on the following the eastern coastline. A last side-trip leads us to the Plantation Leytritz, which is really worth visiting. A former sugar plantation which was reconstructed into a hotel while all old houses were renovated and the character of the whole site was preserved.
We wanted to make use of our time left till birth of our new crew member and sailed to Anse Noir, a small secluded bay not far from Anse Mitan. There are usually 50-70 boats anchoring at Anse Mitan while there is not more space than for maximum 10 boats at Anse Noir. Strong down gusts doesn't make it easy to drop your anchor at the right place as swinging at the anchor is more like a gambling than predicable. Looking from the boat ashore is breathtaking with the narrow bay, the steep black walls and the black sandy beach. But when looking closer the sandy beach is dotted with stones and a lot more stones are found in the water. So not an attractive place for small toddlers like our daughter. But nevertheless days pass by fast and Stephan is working on our toilet and the oven which both stopped working. Grandfather is trying to catch a fish but after several attempts from the boat and even a very early one from the dinghy he stopped frustrated as no fish was taking the bait. Lena finds two playmates: Paul (6 years) and Ida (4 years) from the German boat „Dicke Bank“. They are sailing now for one year with their parents Wolfgang and Barbara and apart from the rather high difference in age the three kids play together quite happily. But unfortunately after a few days “Dicke Bank” has to continue further north as they must be in St. Martin latest May to get fair weather for the crossing of the North Atlantic back to Europe.
In addition to our new friends we also meet sailors we have not seen for months. Wilma and Gerd from „SY Aquila“ have managed to visit us here in Anse Mitan. We first met them in Morocco in October 2005 and then on Grenada in June 2006. They bring us some (12 bottles) of Pusser`s Rum which we really like from the BVIs. It`s nice to have friends which only need an email to ask them to bring some Rum and weeks later they come up to you to deliver the ordered stuff. We also meet Anna, Ines and Martin from “Amigo” again we met last on Lanzarote in December 2005. They have sailed to Brazil spent one year there and are now on their way to St. Martin to look for a job opportunity. But also some sad needs reaches us. Ulli, skip of “Carpe Diem” has died of an heart attack off the coast of St. Kitts. Although they managed to get him to hospital alive he did not survive and died after a couple of hours. Ulli and Gerdi his wife started of the Mediterranean Sea in 2005 and wanted to sail further west till they finalize their circumnavigation in a couple of years. But unfortunately their journey has come to an sudden stop in an early stage. Now their boat is for sale. It`s hard for us to realize that we have lost another sailor friend. So we are happy that we are still well and do this journey while we are young.
Mid of March we moor our boat at the jetty of “Le Ponton”, which also operates a fuel station and a recommended restaurant. As mooring for one month is quite reasonable (only 10 Euros a day) we take this option and book for one month. Especially when our new crew member will try to flee form the belly of her mother we do not need to get into the dinghy first but can walk from board and grandfather and grandmother are happy too, as they easily can take Lena and do a walk ashore. The next days we do some laundry and repair some items like our blackwatertank (finally we remove it as it was clocked heavily). One of the main task we have to fulfil is to organize a transport to the hospital in Fort de France in case labour-pains start. Although Fort de France is only 40km away it can take up to 3 hours during rush hour. An alternative would be to take a public ferry or our boat to get to the harbour of Fort de France and get a taxi there. Both will need app. one hour. Having several phone numbers from taxi companies with 24hours service and a written copy of the ferry schedule we think we are well prepared. Evi likes to give birth on a Sunday and so she favours the 25th of March. But nothing happens on this day, although Fred and Marlies from “Lifedream II” donate a birthday cake in advance. Also on the next days nothing special happens and therefore we eat up the whole cake till it goes bad. Also on the 31st of March it looks like a totally normal day and after breakfast Evi and Stephan go to the hospital with a rented car. Although according to the Martiniquen way of calculating date of birth should be 2nd of April we have an appointment for an examination on the 31st of March. Nobody could tell us why the midwife chose the 31st for the examination. But Martiniquen midwives calculate different from German midwives. They calculate the latest day of the pregnancy (41st week) and in Germany usually the 40th week is the calculated date of birth. So we are able to drive by car to hospital without the hassle of rush hour as it is a Saturday and the intensively discussed way of transportation is finally solved.
At hospital we had to wait and the midwife in charge did not allow Evi to go home again as the orifice of uterus was already 3cm wide and she was convinced that labour-pains will start same day. So Evi walk the stairs at the hospital more than 20times up and down and the labour-pains indeed did start although they were weak ones. In the evening Stephan is sent home as the visiting hours stop at 8pm. The nurses promise to phone him immediately when Evi will be transferred to the labour room as he wants to be with Evi when his second child will be born. In the night of 1st April at 1:30am Evi rang for the nurse as strong labour-pains started. She managed to get to the labour-room just in time as at 2:17am Sophie has managed to get out of her mother. But unfortunately nobody had some time to phone Stephan that his wife is transferred to the labour-room. At 5am they phone him that he is father of a healthy daughter named Sophie weighting 3350g and measuring 50cm. But nevertheless we are very proud of our new crew member. Welcome little Sophie on board of our sailing boat “Mimpi Manis”.
April: First of April has come and our daughter is born. Sophie was born at the hospital „Maternité Redoute in Fort de France/Martinique. Same day early morning papa, Lena, grandmother and grandfather come to visit the new crewmember and the proudly mama. Also the next days papa and Lena regularly visit mama and Sophie and on the 4th day mama and Sophie are allowed to leave hospital and move onto our sailing boat. Stephan was busy in the meantime and he was able to organize an international birth certificate for his new daughter at the town hall in Fort de France despite his non-existing French. Sometimes things are going faster then predicted. So we are lucky to see the honorary consul just after leaving hospital. Taking all necessary paperwork with us like birth certificates of both parents, passports, certificate of marriage, ... we intend to have Sophie listed in Evi`s passport as this is the fastest way to get an travel document. And most countries accept those listings in the passport of the parents except some very few ones like the USA which insist on a passport with a recent photo for every person. But everybody knows how fast babies change and how similar they look. And even for transit flights you need a passport as US airports do not have a transit area. So we are locked from flying home to good old Europe via the US although this would have been a cheap way of travelling. So when being at the honorary consul we have to fill in several forms, sign a few times and leave a reasonable fee. The passport will be sent to Paris, Sophie will be added to the list of accompanying children and then returned to the honorary consul where we will hopefully get it in a not to distant future. But although we are at the office on Thursday the letter will not leave before Tuesday as it is Easter Weekend and on Friday and Monday there are holidays. We leave with a really nice bunch of flowers, congratulations for our new crewmember and a big promise that we will be called as soon as the passport is back. Back on our boat we get another hearty welcome by grandfather and grandmother who have put up a decoration on “Mimpi Manis”. We open a bottle of Champagne and cheer to Sophie who is still sleeping in her Maxicosi. Also our neighbours at the jetty pass by for congratulation and drop a bottle of Champagne, a toy and a bottle of red wine. A few days later Wilma and Gerd from the German sailing vessel Aquila also pass by to see Sophie. Thanks Gerd and Wilma for all the presents you brought. We spent the evening at the restaurant “Le Ponton” together with them.
The next days we have to deal with getting used to the new crewmember who is asking for her space when it comes down to sleeping and entertainment. Being 6 people on board of our tiny little boat is not easy all the times. But grandmother and grandfather help whenever it is possible for them. They play with Lena, take care of Sophie, do the washing up, ... And Lena also has to get used to the fact that there is a new family member consuming time from her parents. Although she really loves her small sister and wants to carry her around she can get very jealous from time to time giving her parents a hard time not to neglect her. Up to now she was our princess and now there is another one with the same right to be loved by her parents.
We were pretty close to miss Eastern as no signs at the supermarkets were seen. No Easter eggs, egg-paints, Easter bunny, ... To paint boiled eggs seems to be a German habit and so we say thanks to grandmother and grandfather who took some paint with them when visiting us. So Lena is running through the whole ship and looks for another hidden eggs and other gifts for nearly half an hour. It's her first Easter she realizes and takes an active part. Although she likes cake and chocolate Lena believes the chocolate cake to be sour, who cares?
Just after the holidays are over Stephan is allowed to work on his To-Do-list and get rid of some points listed there. He is sanding the foredeck and repaints it. He really has to drink a lot as he is sweating like being in a sauna. Also he is working on our heating as it stopped working a few months ago. No we do not need it now but when we return into the Mediterranean Sea we will probably need it again and to keep it in good condition the heating should work from time to time to get out the old fuel and moisture. Temperature is falling as low as 26°C during nightime after 30° and more at daytime. But unfortunately he is unable to repair it and so we will need to unmount it and send it back to the manufacturer for having it repaired. But nevertheless he can cross out most of the items on his long list while other crewmembers make extensive use of the hammock in the meantime.
Just before grandmother and grandfather must say good-bye, Marlies and Fred, a Swiss couple are visiting us on “Mimpi Manis”. As Stephan has helped them with some minor repairs we receive some pilots for the Mediterranean Sea and a fishing rod. They are selling there boat in the Caribbean Sea and so a buyer may not be interested in such items or not appreciate them. But we can make use of them and say thanks! We spent a long evening in our cockpit and more then two bottles of wine are empty afterwards.
Time has come to say good bye from our two guests. Grandfather and grandmother are flying home to Germany after 11 weeks in the warm Caribbean. Since end of January they have been with us from St. Martin to Martinique and patiently waited for their fifth grandchild to be born. We were glad that they have joined us as it made a lot of things easier for us. Thanks for all your help and the presents you brought with you. When we finally went to the airport everybody is sad. Especially Lena does not understand why grandfather and grandmother are leaving and she wants to join them. She starts crying and it gives us a very hard time to calm her down. Even on the following days she starts to look for grandfather and grandmother on the boat. It got much better when we told her that we will fly to Germany in a couple of weeks. So she takes our atlas (now called Germany book!) and starts to look for Germany and points to the place we intend to live for the next years. But telling her that we will fly to Munich ends in a hefty protest: “Not to Munich, I want to fly to Germany!” So we have some new items to build with her Duplo. An aircraft and furniture of her new room at our house. But when we think we are ready she wants to add a mast with a mainsail and an anchor. It seems that she got imprinted by the last two years we spent on our sailing boat.
Back on our boat we enjoy the to be a family of four. We really liked it with grandfather and grandmother but after 11 weeks we are glad to have a bit more space on our tiny boat. Being 6 people on board can be very tiny! We top up with water at the jetty and wash all clothes, towels, bed-linen, stow away the food we have bought and then we leave the jetty and get back to the anchorage at Anse Mitan where we are waiting for things to happen.
What a surprise! After only two weeks the clerk of the honorary consul is calling to tell us that Evis passport is back from Paris. One week earlier then expected! So we get there immediately and on our way back we go into a travel agency and book flights back home to Germany leaving from Antigua. Although we do not have a fixed date for shipping of our boat from the BVIs to Italy we do not want to wait longer. Every week they tell us that next week we will get a schedule but who knows if they keep to it! We know that loading in Tortola will take place somewhere in between 10th and 20th of May and it takes app. 14 days for the freighter to reach La Spezia. If we wait to long the cheap flights may be sold out. But now we have nothing else to to on Martinique and so we only wait for favourable winds to start our journey to the north. After two months in Martinique it is a must to sail again ...
Mai und Juni: Anfang Mai ist es dann soweit: Wir bereiten uns auf unseren letzten gemeinsamen Törn hier in der Karibik vor. In 3 Etappen wollen wir von Martinique aus bis nach Antigua segeln und dort erst mal auf unseren definitiven Verladetermin in den BVI´s warten. Unser erster geplanter Streckenabschnitt führt uns bis nach Portsmouth/Dominika. Nachdem wir alles verstaut haben und aus unserem schwimmenden Zuhause nach fast 2 Monaten Ankerliegen wieder ein Segelboot gemacht haben, sagen wir „Au revoir Martinique“ und gehen am frühen Abend Anker auf zu unser ersten großen Nachtfahrt zu 4. Wir sind gespannt, wie die 1 Monat alte Sophie mit dem Segeln zurecht kommt. Doch die Kleine meistert die neue Situation mit Bravour. Kein Geschrei, kein Gebrüll, im Gegenteil: sie ist ganz ruhig und lässt sich von den Schiffsbewegungen in den Schlaf schaukeln. Mamas Besorgnis war mal wieder völlig unbegründet. Eher Grund zur Sorge dagegen bereitet uns Fridolin, unsere Windsteueranlage. Die funktioniert heute nämlich nicht so, wie sie soll, so dass uns nichts anderes übrig bleibt, als von Hand zu steuern. Doch damit noch nicht genug: Als gegen 3 Uhr morgens der Wind aus bleibt, und wir den Motor anwerfen müssen, streikt dieser ebenfalls. Stephan kramt murrend seine Werkzeugkiste hervor und wechselt den völlig verdreckten Vorfilter. Leider hilft das nur wenig, denn der Motor stottert immer noch. Wahrscheinlich ist auch der Filter in der Dieselpumpe zu. Mit Hängen und Würgen schaffen wir jedoch ohne weitere Reparaturen die verbleibenden Seemeilen bis Portsmouth, wo wir in aller Frühe unseren Anker in der Prince Ruppert Bay werfen.
Erst mal ein wenig ausschlafen, danach geht’s an die Reparatur und die Fehlersuche. Noch bevor Stephan so richtig loslegen kann, schon die nächste Hiobsbotschaft: Salzwasser in der Bilge! Wo kommt das nun schon wieder her? Der Schwanenhals ist dicht, dafür scheint eine Membran des Wassermachers zu lecken. Ein Versuch, die Verschraubung im eingebauten Zustand abzudichten scheitert. Also Membranen ausbauen, dichten, Probelauf und wieder einbauen. So, das wäre geschafft. Als nächstes ist Fridolin an der Reihe, der von den Salzablagerungen befreit , und wieder gängig gemacht wird. Danach macht sich Stephan an das Motorenproblem und zerlegt die Dieselpumpe. Der Filter der Dieselpumpe ist ziemlich verdreckt, und müsste eigentlich erneuert werden, doch im Moment muss eine Reinigung des Filters genügen, da wir keinen Ersatzfilter haben und hier auf Dominika sicherlich auch keinen auf die Schnelle organisieren können. Immerhin, der Motor springt nun ohne Stottern und Murren wieder an. Na hoffentlich hält er bis St. Maarten durch! Kurz bevor Stephan fertig ist und alles aufräumen will, überrascht uns ein heftiger Regenguss. Es schüttet wie aus Kübeln: Werkzeuge, Maschinen und Buggy, alles wird patschnass. Das hat uns nach einem langen Reparaturtag gerade noch gefehlt. Die Stimmung des Kapitäns ist auf dem Nullpunkt angelangt.
Erst am nächsten Tag haben wir ein wenig Zeit, uns ein bisserl zu entspannen, ein letztes Mal vor unserer Heimkehr mit Jan, dem TO-Stützpunktleiter hier auf Dominika zu ratschen und uns auf die nächste anstehende Nachtfahrt vorzubereiten, die uns von Portsmouth/Dominika bis nach Deshaies im Nordwesten von Guadeloupe führen soll. Hoffentlich klappt es dieses Mal besser. Die erste „Probefahrt“ nach 2 Monaten Segelpause ist ja wohl mächtig daneben gegangen. Wassermacher, Motor, Windsteueranlage....was geht dieses Mal kaputt? Alles scheint bestens zu funktionieren, mit 6 Knoten Fahrt rauschen wir dahin. Erst gegen 3 Uhr morgens, als wir die Südspitze von Guadeloupe erreichen verlässt uns der Wind und wir werfen die Maschine an. Auch hier keine Probleme! Nach 10 Stunden Fahrt erreichen wir am nächsten Morgen Deshaies. Uns trifft fast der Schlag, als wir kurz nach der Ankunft abermals Salzwasser in der Motorraumbilge entdecken: der Wassermacher ist erneut undicht. Dieses Mal tropft es an der Endkappe der Membran heraus. Bei näherem Hinschauen stellen wir fest, dass die Ursache ein Haarriss am Deckel der Membran ist. Ein Anruf bei ECH2O-Tec in Trinidad und das Ersatzteil wird prompt auf den Weg nach Antigua geschickt, wo wir es in ein paar Tagen entgegennehmen wollen. Bis dahin müssen wir unseren Wassermacher mit Süßwasser spülen und für ein paar Tage stilllegen, um einen weiteren Wassereinbruch zu vermeiden.
Auch die 3. Etappe von Guadeloupe bis Antigua ein paar Tage später ist wunderschönes, gemütliches Halbwindsegeln durch die Nacht mit Vollmondbegleitung. So macht Segeln Spaß. Die knapp 50 sm legen wir in nur 8 Stunden zurück. Am frühen Morgen erreichen wir English Harbour, wo wir neben der „Ciao“ unseren Anker werfen. Nun haben wir das Endziel unserer gemeinsamen Reise erreicht. Von hier aus werden wir in gut 2 Wochen nach Deutschland zurückfliegen. Der Kreis scheint sich zu schließen, denn vor 1 ¼ Jahren sind wir von English Harbour aus zu unserer Reise durch die karibischen Inseln aufgebrochen. Antigua, der Anfang und das Ende unseres Karibikabenteuers.
Die Wiedersehensfreude mit Rosie (3 Jahre), Kirsti und Jason von der „Ciao“ ist groß. Zuletzt haben wir die 3 vor ¼ Jahr getroffen, als wir auf dem Weg von den BVIs nach Martinique einen kurzen Stopp in Antigua eingelegt hatten. Die beiden Mädels scheinen sich noch an ihr letztes Treffen zu erinnern und spielen schon nach kurzer Zeit ausgelassen zusammen am Strand bzw. auf dem Schiff. Nur schade, dass es in 2 Wochen schon wieder Abschied nehmen heißt. Kurz nach unserer Ankunft in Antigua erreicht uns auch das Ersatzteil für unseren Wassermacher aus Trinidad. Ohne die erwarteten und befürchteten Zollprobleme wird das Paket bei Jane's Yachtservices ausgeliefert. Nun darf Stephan zum 3. Mal innerhalb weniger Tage den Wassermacher zerlegen, den neuen Membrandeckel einbauen und alles wieder zusammenbasteln. Inzwischen geht ihm das Ganze schon viel fixer von der Hand als beim ersten Mal. Bleibt zu hoffen, dass nun endlich das Problem beseitigt ist. Ein erster Test verläuft positiv: der Wassermacher arbeitet, und kein Wasser in der Bilge.
9.Mai: Endlich Nachricht von der Firma „Sevenstars“. Der Verladetermin für unsere „Mimpi Manis“ verschiebt sich um ca. 14 Tage und findet voraussichtlich zwischen dem 31.5. - 4.6. statt. Das passt uns überhaupt nicht, denn unser Rückflug nach Deutschland ist bereits für den 21.5 gebucht!! Eine Umbuchung unserer Flüge ist nicht möglich, und verfallen wollen wir sie auf keinen Fall lassen. Das bedeutet, dass die Verladung unseres Bootes in den BVIs ohne uns stattfinden muss. Wir werden wohl keine andere Wahl haben, als das Schiff dort vor Ort in die Marina zu legen und jemanden von „Sevenstars“ zu beauftragen, es zum gegebenen Zeitpunkt zum Frachter zu bringen. Doch das kostet: pro Tag in der Marina 40 US$ plus schlappe 400 US$ für die Überführung von der Marina zum Frachter. Kein schlechter Stundenlohn für eine ½ Seemeile! Wir ärgern uns gewaltig, denn noch vor ein paar Wochen wurde uns von einem Mitarbeiter der Firma „Sevenstars“ schriftlich zugesichert, dass wir unseren Heimflug gefahrlos ab dem 21.5 buchen können. Vertraglich hat die Firma jedoch jeglichen Anspruch auf Kostenerstattung bei Verspätungen ausgeschlossen. Trotz der schlechten Nachricht versuchen wir das Beste aus dem Tag zu machen und Evi´s Geburtstag heute ein wenig im kleinen Kreise zu feiern.
Die letzten Tage bis zu unserer Heimkehr vergehen wie im Fluge. Es gibt noch einiges zu organisieren und zu erledigen: die Seitentanks reinigen, nochmal alles kräftig durchwaschen, unsere inzwischen gähnend leeren Vorrats-Stauräume säubern, das Boot putzen, und vor allem eine Unterkunft für Evi, Lena und Sophie in English Harbour suchen für die Zeit, in der Stephan alleine die „Mimpi Manis“ von Antigua nach Tortola überführen wird. Zu allem Übel werden wir alle 4 noch auf die letzten Tage krank: Fieber, Husten, Schnupfen,Halsweh, Nebenhöhlenentzündung, Durchfall, Erbrechen....ob das das Reisefieber ist?
Am 18.5. ist es schließlich soweit: Nachdem alles gepackt, verstaut und aufgeräumt ist, bringt Papa seine 3 Damen an Land, klariert aus und macht sich am späten Nachmittag auf seine letzte Fahrt in die BVI´s mit kurzem Zwischenstopp auf San Maarten. Die Nacht über gemütliches Segeln bei einem schönen 4er ESE, erst gegen Morgen lässt der Wind nach und wird zunehmend schwächer. Als Stephan 3 Seemeilen vor San Maarten schließlich den Motor anwerfen will, fängt dieser wieder einmal zu spucken und zu stottern an: der verdreckte Filter der Dieselpumpe meldet sich zu Wort! Mit letzter Kraft rettet er sich nach 22 ½ Stunden Fahrt in die Simpson Bay im Niederländischen Teil auf San Maarten. Doch keine Zeit auszuspannen: schnell mit dem Dinghi an Land und versuchen bei Island Waterworld oder einem Autoteilehändler den passenden Filter zu bekommen. Vergeblich! Unverrichteter Dinge kehrt er wieder zurück an Bord und schon kurz darauf geht es weiter: Anker, Anker auf in Richtung Tortola! Da der Wind weiter nachgelassen hat, heißt es Maschine an. Wie zu erwarten gibt der Motor schon nach einer halben Stunde den Geist auf! „Rien ne va plus“, nichts geht mehr! Jetzt hilft nur noch Filter aus der Pumpe ausbauen und ohne Filter weiterfahren. Und siehe da, es klappt. Der Motor funktioniert ohne Murren und läuft problemlos die ganze Nacht über bis am nächsten Morgen (20.5.) gegen 10 Uhr der Anker vor Road Town, der Hauptstadt von Tortola fällt.
Jetzt geht das Organisieren erst richtig los: anmelden in der Marina, einklarieren, Dinghi an Deck zerren und verstauen, Treckerbaum entlasten und auf das Deck laschen, KW-Antenne abbauen, Wassermacher konservieren, Achterstag und Dirk abmontieren die beim Kranen im Weg sind, wieder und wieder alle Stauräume kontrollieren, ob wir auch nichts wichtiges vergessen haben mitzunehmen, nochmals Pusser's kaufen, und nochmals zum Zoll, weil die versehentlich ihm falsche Ein und Ausreisetage reingestempelt haben, einen Bootsüberführer organisieren und dem kurz die Handhabung des Bootes zeigen, den großen schweren Rucksack packen und auf die Schultern hieven, noch ein letzter Blick zurück und rein ins Taxi zum Flughafen .... und das alles bei 35° C Hitze.
In der Zwischenzeit verbringt Evi zusammen mit den beiden Kindern die letzten 3 Tage bis zum Heimflug in einer Unterkunft in English Harbour/Antigua. Kirsti und Rosie schauen fast täglich vorbei, so dass die Zeit recht schnell vergeht. Lena hat sich inzwischen einigermaßen von ihrer fiebrigen Erkältung erholt und tobt fröhlich mit der kleinen Rosie herum. Nur Sophie ist immer noch krank: Durchfall, hohes Fieber, Husten und Schnupfen. Als am Tag vor dem Heimflug immer noch keine Besserung auftritt, beschließt Evi, eine Ärztin zu konsultieren. Nach Schilderung der Symptome rät diese, sofort eine Klinik aufzusuchen. Da Jason für Sunsail arbeitet, organisiert Kirsti kurzentschlossen von der Charterfirma einen Minibus und bringt Evi mit der kleinen Sophie ins Krankenhaus. Lena und Rosie sind mangels Babysitter natürlich mit von der Partie, und so geht es noch am Sonntag abend zu 5. im Bus nach St. Johns, der Hauptstadt Antiguas. In der Klinik angekommen gleich der nächste Schock: 350 US $ nur dafür, dass ein Kinderarzt Sophie untersucht, exklusive der notwendigen Blutuntersuchungen, versteht sich! Die kosten selbstverständlich extra! Das sind Hammerpreise, eine Abzocke für Touristen und Ausländer. Einheimische zahlen für die Untersuchung 350 EC, was 131,09 US $ entspricht. Die Ärztin scheint Evi´s verzweifelte und bittende Blicke zu verstehen und hat Mitleid. Zum Billig-Einheimischentarif wird die Kleine untersucht. Nach fast 2 Stunden Warten endlich das Ergebnis: Verdacht auf Lungenentzündung! Wir verlassen die Klinik mit dem Ratschlag dass, falls es am nächsten Tag schlimmer wird, wir auf keinen Fall nach Hause fliegen sollten! Mit dem Rezept in der Hand noch schnell in eine Apotheke um Antibiotika zu kaufen, dann den ganzen Weg zurück nach English Harbour. Es ist 23 Uhr, als wir endlich in der Unterkunft ankommen. Tausend Dank, dir liebe Kirsti für deine schnelle und unkomplizierte Hilfe!!!! Was hätten wir nur ohne dich gemacht??? Das werden wir dir nie vergessen. Jetzt hilft nur noch hoffen und beten, dass die Medizin möglichst schnell anschlägt und es Sophie bald besser geht.
Am nächsten Morgen immer noch keine wesentliche Besserung, doch immerhin auch keine Verschlechterung. Dank Paracetamol und Antibiotika geht im Laufe des Tages das Fieber ein wenig zurück. Nachdem alle Koffer und Taschen gepackt sind, verabschieden wir uns von Rosie, Kirsti und Jason. Lena ist todtraurig, ihre neugefundene Freundin schon wieder zu verlieren. Zum Abschied bekommt sie von Rosie sogar einen Weihnachtspinguin geschenkt. Auch Evi fällt der Abschied von den „Ciaos´s“ extrem schwer. So liebe Freunde haben wir nur ganz selten hier in der Karibik kennengelernt. Wer weiß, ob wir sie je wiedersehen werden?? Mit jeder Menge Gepäck geht’s dann am späten Nachmittag mit dem Taxi zum Flughafen. Dort treffen wir Papa wieder, der zur selben Zeit mit dem Flugzeug aus Tortola eintrifft. Wir sind froh, uns wieder zu haben. Die letzten 3 Tage waren für beide Seiten extrem anstrengend! Nun geht es gemeinsam zurück in die Heimat. Nach über 2 Jahren Segelabenteuer freuen wir uns darauf heimzukehren, Freunde und Familie wiederzusehen und unsere neuen Pläne zu verwirklichen: ein altes Haus umzubauen, uns ein neues, etwas größeres, gemütliches Zuhause mit schönem Garten zu schaffen und die nächsten Jahre als Urlaubssegler das Mittelmeer zu erkunden.
Am 22.5.07 um 17 Uhr landen wir ziemlich erschöpft,und froh in München. Unsere Familie und eine liebe Freundin bereiten uns einen herzlichen Empfang am Flughafen. Lena hat fast den ganzen Flug verschlafen, und auch Sophie scheint das Ganze ganz gut verkraftet zu haben und langsam auf dem Weg der Besserung zu sein.
Nach wiederholter Verzögerung wird schließlich unsere „Mimpi Manis“ mit 1 Monat Verspätung am 14. Juni verladen. Zur Erinnerung, der ursprünglicher Verladetermin war zwischen dem 10. und 20. Mai geplant. Damit belaufen sich unsere zusätzlichen Kosten für Marina und Überführung auf knapp 1.500 US$. 14 Tage später, am 28. Juni erreicht der Frachter La Spezia/Italien. Stephan fährt zusammen mit seinem Vater dorthin, um das Segelboot am nächsten Tag in Empfang zu nehmen, es in eine nahegelegenen Marina bei..... zu bringen, an Land zu kranen und die nötigsten Dinge einzupacken und auszuräumen. Dort steht sie nun, unsere „MIMPI MANIS“ und wartet darauf, in einem Jahr für ein paar Wochen wieder ins Wasser zu dürfen und zusammen mit uns durch das westliche Mittelmeer zu segeln.
Doch eines ist sicher. Der nächste kalte Winter kommt bestimmt, und spätestens dann werden wir mit Wehmut an die schöne und aufregende Zeit auf unserer Mimpi Manis zurückdenken und träumen....süße Träume.....