Learning the Greek Alphabet – Part 1: Gamma

A beautiful scene. The boat is heeling in the evening breeze. The mainsail is hauled tight. And all this in front of a romantic sunset.  But something is wrong.  No spray is flying, no bow is cutting through the waves, no whooshing, no splashes – no movement at all. No sound. A still. Surreal. I…

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At Captain’s Command

A kiss. A hug. I hate goodbyes! Without a further word I turn around and walk back to the beach that now lonely lays in the dark. Playa Tortugas, turtle beach, here in Cancun, during daytime full of families and fun, is surrounded by a net, intended to protect its guests from sharks and other…

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Just in Time for Sally

Patience is the most important quality of a captain. A lack of patience sinks ships. But even more important it is to be just in time.

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Episode 3: Ronja in the Everlasting Summer

Finally I am on the airplane. On the airplane that will bring me to Suriname. To my dad! Into the jungle! Yesterday was tough! My mom and I took the train to my grandma, five hours, and then my grandparents drove with me to Amsterdam, another six hours. These were eleven hours and now, another…

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Mexican Standoff – Part 2: Retaliation

Please make sure you have read Mexican Standoff – Part 1: Humiliation before you continue. So I lost my dinghy, I got bruised and hurt, I spent the night in the dirt, I got ripped-off and robbed. Humiliated. How deep can you fall and still not hit bottom? Once again I remember Rocky’s words: “It’s…

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Mexican Standoff – Part 1: Humiliation

I am wet. I am cold. My bruises hurt. My scrapes burn. My head aches. Breaded in sand like a schnitzel I feel hunger coming up. I take a deep drag. The sweet smoke befogs my mind and my sight but I still make out Seefalke’s anchor light in the distance. So she is still…

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Tale of Tears and Treasure – Part 2 (The Treasure)

Please make sure you read part 1 first: Part 2 (The Treasure) If you would need to hide something really well, where would that be? Something valuable or dangerous maybe. Or compromising. When you would need to make sure the wrong people will never find it.  Your obsolete bio-weapon CoVid lab equipment maybe. Or the…

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Episode 2: Where Is Suriname?

Ronja’s Learning Adventures tell the story of a little girl who is fed up with school. At one point she runs away from home and joins her father who lives on a sailboat. While sailing the world with him she will now experience all that she only read in text books before. With the time…

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A Tale of Tears and Treasure – Part 1 (The Tears)

I shake Tommaso’s, Michele’s and Renato’s hands. Screw social distancing for a moment! “Fair winds! Stay safe! See you later in this or in next life!” A smile. A hug. A nod. I see tears glitter in their eyes. I climb down the rope ladder into my bright red dinghy. I crank my little Mercury outboard…

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Episode 1: Ronja and the Time Difference

Ronja’s Learning Adventures tell the story of a little girl who is fed up with school. At one point she runs away from home and joins her father who lives on a sailboat. While sailing the world with him she will now experience all that she only read in text books before. With the time…

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Rise and Fall of Supermoon

I got up early this morning. I had my “good” camera charged over night and I had researched that moonset at my position here at Isla Mujeres, Mexico would be at 07:07 UTC-5 or CDT. Not too bad. But sunrise would already be at 06:33, so I knew I had to get up a good…

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Hailing Channel 13

“Good morning, this is Isla Mujeres Cruisers Net. It is our purpose to stay connected, exchange information and build the community of cruisers. Your participation is encouraged.,” at exactly 08:00 the familiar voice greets all sailors currently anchored or docked at Isla Mujeres, Mexico. The voice belongs to Lisa, who is our net controller today. She…

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Life Under the Yellow Flag

“Open – Rain or Shine” the neon sign over the entrance to Skull’s Landing invites its guests. It is one of those signs that normally can be switched from “open” to “closed” just this one doesn’t have a “closed” option. A great marketing move. Skull’s Landing is the local cruisers’ hangout with Happy Hour from…

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Last Order

This photo was taken on March 27, 2020 at the anchorage at Isla Mujeres, Mexico after the government of the state Quintana Roo had ordered to close all bars and restaurants from 23:00 until further notice due to the Corona pandemic. We are from Canada, from Argentina, from the Netherlands, from Sweden, from the USA,…

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Call of Duty – Black Ops

It is dark. Pitch black. Impervious. Only scattered low declination stars hint at the existence of more boats at this anchorage. I know there are dozens. Most of them have their anchor lights on, but not all of them. During the day I spent some time memorizing a path through this maze of boats and…

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Light At the End of the Tunnel

This photo was taken on March 18, 2020 at the anchorage at Isla Mujeres, Mexico. That day marked a small step for mankind, one giant leap for me: I could finally clear in to Mexico. What sounds like the most ordinary thing in the world, in times of pandemic masterplans it becomes an extraordinary achievement.…

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Passage Briefing: Havana – Isla Mujeres

Port of Departure: Marina Hemingway, Havana, CubaPort of Call: Isla Mujeres, MexicoDistance: 268 nm (308 mi, 496 km)Estimated Duration: 67 hrs (2 d 19 hrs)ETD: Thursday, Mar 12 13:00 UTC-4ETA: Sunday, Mar 15 07:00 UTC-5 Weather The moderate high (1024 HPa) sitting south of the Florida Panhandle is most influential for the current weather situation…

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You only Live Twice

“2000 Pesos,” the boy claims with great self-confidence. He has a neon-yellow colored Iroquois hair style and his skin color is evidence of his creole heritage. He wears colorful shorts, flip-flops and a muscle shirt that dramatically reveals his tattoo, showing a – let’s say – slightly underdressed girl with an impressive bust size. The…

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Cuban Hunting Grounds

This photo was taken on March, 06, 2020 at the Palco Mall Supermarket in Jaimanitas, a small town in the outskirts of Havana, Cuba. What have the products on these three photos in common? These are products that require quite some efforts to get here in Cuba. I have been living here for more than…

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The Beauty of the Beast

This photo was taken on March 03, 2020 in the Gulf of Mexico, approximately ten nautical miles north of Santa Cruz del Norte, Cuba. We were on our way from Varadero, Cuba to Havana, Cuba, a short 90 nautical miles over-night passage. After a rocky night the winds and the seas had calmed down and…

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Passage Briefing Varadero – Havana

Weather The high that was sitting west of Florida over the last days and brought cold and strong northerly winds to the north of Cuba moved east. Accordingly the winds are currently shifting from northwest over north to east and further to southeast and decrease as the center of the high moves northeast. At first…

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Sunshine, Salsa and Socialism

“Hey Maik!” somebody is shouting my name and abruptly I turn around.  I see a pink Chevrolet ‘55 convertible taxi, and I see a woman, wearing an elegant long dress and a hat that makes every sombrero look tiny. Huge sunglasses cover what is left to see on her face. The sun is burning relentlessly.…

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The Birth of a Solo Sailor

So now it is definite. It is early morning of October 31, 2019 as I motor down the muddy waters of Suriname River from Domburg, through the heavy jungle heat. I follow the tide past plantations and mansions towards Paramaribo, Suriname’s lively capital, and I know: It is definite. Earth and water, just like air…

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Deprived of the Sunset

This photo was taken on November 08, 2019 just a few nautical miles west of Dominica. I headed north making use of the trade winds on my way from Martinique to Guadeloupe. I remember this was a stop-and-go passage.  The wind in these latitudes is constantly, strongly coming from the northeast. When you are in…

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A Song of the Sunrise

By an Unknown Author The night breaks. The light shakesDown from the sky. The darkness trembles: shivers, dissembles:Unwilling to die. And facile and fleet, on dusky feet,Out of the dripping sunlight tripping,Shadows pass by,All sprinkled and spatteredWith golden rain, All shivered, all shattered, like dream-ghosts scatteredBy the waking brain. The light dawns. The night mournsAnd…

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