Monday, November 25, 2013

“… It is actually very simple…..”


Dear Friends,

This above expression I got used to, when, years ago, I was working for Loek`s company back in Holland. As it so happens, we caught up with them here in Aruba and had some great meetings!

I have witnessed on several occasions, during what seemed to be a totally complicated (final) business meeting (make it or break it) negotiating a large contract and both parties seemingly miles appart, that suddenly Loek would speak up and always startled all present at the table to start of with this exact frase… It is actually very simple…and in a few broad strokes reduced the what seemed to be hughe issues in some minor almost futile details.

By actually hearing the words that it was simple, people snapped out of their spiderweb of negative thoughts just complicating things, and by doing so most of the time all involved returned to the same wavelength and business was concluded.

This got me thinking the last couple of days… How do we like to complicate things, and its all in our minds….Examples:

* Sailing from A to B. Distance 450 nautical miles. My goodness… that is say 4 days of sailing, and how about the wind, the waves, breakdowns? Well, it is actually very simple: be prepared, check the weather forecast, relax and enjoy.

* Sailing from C to D. Distance 2000 nautical miles. OMG… that is say 20 days of sailing, and how about the wind, the waves etc etc.. Well, it is actually very simple: be prepared, check the weather forecast, relax and enjoy.

* Not happy with: Job, relation, health, wealth? Well, it is actually very simple: analyse, prioritize, get up and do something about it. In our minds we create the biggest hurdles and the highest mountains, so we already prepared an excuse, no, an explanation for our (sad) circumstance.

Living onboard a sailboat, and being all the time involved, and at mercy of the elements it actually shows you the same: The sea, the wind and waves are very simple…. and honest. It either is or isn’t, no (secure) perceived compromise….

To all, have SIMPLY a great week….


Complicated or simple -

* Pics from:


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Sailing to Jamaica and Cuba… Your chance


Dear friends,

So, yes, here is a great oportunity… Join us in our voyage from Aruba to Jamaica (Estimated time of departure from Aruba 18/12/13). It will be a 2 day (and night) voyage, we pretend to spend some time mainly on the northern shores of Jamaica (Port Antonio, Ocho Rios and MontegoBay amongst others). Should have plenty of time to pick up the vibes (rum, music, food etc etc..). Then after say 8-10 days, on our way for an overnight sail to Cuba (Cienfuegos). Christmass in Jamaica, and/or New Year in Cuba… Does that sound like a plan?… Anyway, think about it.. You either stay put in the cold and the grey, or…. Contact us to discuss details.


CubaCienfuegos Cuba

Note: as we have not been to these wonderfull places, I have used some pics free of the net and the sources are marked on the images, so I hope the owner(s) agree.

Looking forward to hear from you soon!

Ho Ho Ho…


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

US Visa Application: Freedom meets Frustration

Dear friends,
You know me by now, I am not the person to complain or cry about things. Circumstances happen, you check, verify, take a decision and hope for the best (much like when they forecast a strong storm and you happen to become in the middel of that…).
Before I get all my US friends upset, in this post, I am not bashing the USA, nor the American Lifestyle ( some people we meet are outspoken and rather anti american, not me).
So, when Frits and Reinhilde mentioned to us back in Curacao, that if and when we are planning of passing by Puerto Rico (and the USVI),  we were going to need a US Visa.
For a moment I thought I just could get a so called ESTA visa thingy (having a Dutch passport), but… that is not going to happen… Since we are not arriving in the US (yes, Puerto Rico does make part of it) by approved and certified carrier (ie, airline or cruise ship), we both have to apply for the visa.

Now, for those of you who don’t know about this red tape, I suggest you look up a site of the US gov for visa aplications (there are a few) and just for laughs and giggles, try to fill out the online form… Unreal, the questions asked… (Are you member of a terrorist group?… Or how about this one: Have you ever tortured a person?…) Seriously… the nerve to ask this.. I mean I haven’t but am almost certain “they” can’t say the same… Anyhow, I will bite my tongue, count to 10 and get the application form out, but….It realy made me thinking about this issue.. I even had a good exchange of posts on the cruisersforum about this toppic. (
And I know why it makes me upset… Freedom…. One of the great features of living aboard a sailboat is that you take your own decision, where to go, what to do, how to it etc. and handle the consequences of your choice. In practically all countries we have been to  so far, not one single time this visa/passport/custom red tape was an issue. Sometimes you meet crancky Custom and Immigration staff, or you have to wait a long time, yes, but never was i asked if I had tortured person. You fill out the paper work, in some occasions pay whatever landing fee, and you are on your way..Easy going.
So, why is it that the US makes such a fuzz about all of this. ? I can’t get my head wrapped around this. What is it that they fear?
(Yeah, I hear you all saying abt 9/11 and all that, but let us not go there right now, that is a whole other story..if you ask me..)Why cant it be just like in say Martinique (=France) or Bonaire (=Holland)… The vast majority of visitors come in peace, eager to learn about a new country, pick up some local culture, and spend some money and of they go again. Nobody talks about terrorists, tortures and so on and soforth.
You are a criminal, terrorist and potentially dangerous untill proven otherwise… I guess that is how it is looked upon. Well, we most likely need to anchor out in some ports and bays in Puerto Rico, but even then, we still need to go through all these hoops, and I dont like it, but have to do it.. (oh, and yes, did you know that you will have to pay $$$ money for all of this, and eventually have an interview, during which the interviewer may and will decide if you are qualified or not to get the visa. They will tell you on the spot, if you continue to be classified as a potential danger, you will not get the visa. Period. You will never know why, they wont tell you, oh and ofcourse no refund of the money either). It is not of this world. So, yes I am frustrated by this: It goes against my sense of liberty, justice and freedom.

Some people tell me, that you need play along and all will be alright and you get your visa, however, this is one of the few toppics that gets me upset, because IT IS NOT NORMAL nor LOGICAL. This is not how it should work (check out most other countries in the free world), So, I cannot be compliant with something that is just not right/normal, and just because it comes from the USA, it doesnt make it right. We are not even intending to actualy go on land in Puerto Rico (as it is all such a difficult task) so why can’t we just anchor out in some bays, rest a little, wait for some good breeze and of we go…
So, there you have it… Dora will have to travel to Sao Paulo, in Brazil for her interview.. I will have to travel to Curacao (as in Aruba they dont deal with this kind of thing). We will first wait and see if Dora gets hers (if she does, I will be on my way to Curacao… and if she doesn’t, well then I don’t need to go anyway..).
We are interested to learn your opinion on this.
In the meantime, chilling out in Aruba…
Stay cool

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

And now …. Aruba…Bon Bini


Dear Friends,

It was 3 am when we left Spanish Water in Curacao and mind you, to find our way back to open sea when it is still pitch dark was kind of a challenge…. Common sense, a good flash light, Dora`s indications, and the GPS (i believe it was in this order) brought us safely back in open waters, and ofcourse, hardly any wind. At dawn got the Genaker out and that made a diference (again), this untill around noon when the wind died out almost completely. So we burned up some more diesel untill three o clock.. a nice breeze came back and the last 20 miles we could sail again. A rather un eventfull 60 mile voyage, not even a fish on the hook.


The waypoint in the free cruising guide for the ABC by Frank Virgintino was spot on with regards the entrance point to get behind the reef for clearing in and imigration etc (Baracadero Port 12Deg 28.84N 070Deg 00.62W). I called in over the radio, and i was summoned to do all the clearing even it was already 17 hrs. I was asked to tie up on the dock (you know the good old concrete ledge with those nice old hughe black airplane tyers etc). We gave that a miss, and just anchored nearby.


I dingied over, and half an hour later had done all the paper work… well not all the paper work… 5 days after clearing in, you have to ask and pay for an extension (more paperwork). It was almost dark when all this stuff was completed and so we just anchored out nearby (shallow water, a kind of dead end sea arm). The next day we actualy sailed all the way to the northern tip of the island, and after Oranje stad, it is all big Beach front Hotels. 


Anchored at what is called SurfSide Beach, ok it is just north of the airport landing strip, but it is not disturbing. Wifi signal is adequate, and there is a private dinghy dock of the Diving shop, but allowed to use it so that is great. Diesel and water wise, is a little bit more tricky… You either go south to the Varadero Yacht Club (call in advance if you want to take in diesel, and they have water). Or, as we did, go inside the Renaissance Marina basin, for diesel, well they also have water, but we didnt need that..) The only mistery is: where is gasoline? What i learned is that one actually has to haul that by jerrycan walking from the Renaissance Hotel, to the nearest gasstation (not reachable by dinghy…).. hmm remembers Buzios actually..


A former director of mine and his wife, live on Aruba and as it was her birthday, they decided to charter the Onda Boa for a Birthday Charter. We had a great day, coffee, cake, snacks, buffet and cold drinks on board, and clean water outside, plus some wind… just perfect. Herewith we want to thank Loek and Nel for this great oportunity and also for their hospitality and showing us around.

Yes, Aruba receives a good number of cruise ships, and Oranjestad has the perfect shopping malls both in the centre as well as in the High Rise Hotel Strip…Aruba is friendly, nice climate so it is ok to stay here for a month, as Dora had to back to Brazil to take care of some pending business issues. In the meantime, I will do boatstuff, web site stuff,  some dentist and medical maintenance as well, try to get a US visa (i guess will post about this seperately)  and check out this friendly island.


Be good and all the best,


Monday, November 04, 2013

Positive chain in Curaçao…


Dear Friends,

We cant believe it either, but we are already over a week in Curaçao, anchored in Spanish Water, where most cruisers drop the hook (mind you, in designated areas, properly organized, the dutch way, only 4 regions inside the bay…)… But, we cant realy say we have seen the island… Reasons? Various… firstly two projects to complete( first thought i needed to change my 4 house batteries, but reading carefully true Nigel Calders Bible on Boat electronics,  remembered that it was indeed a long time since i had hooked them up to shore power, and so maybe  should do that first).. So, we learned that the Curaçao Yacht Club (near by) had a pier available and so spent there a couple of days…. filled up the fresh water tank (as we cant make water in the bay..very doubtful quality), and had for almost 48 hrs the battery charger doing its work. And .. we downloaded an almost obscene number of tv series and movies via their wifi connection….



So, at the moment  we are good for maybe another 6 months or so, battery wise. Then, the genoa had a rather nasty rip that needed fixing. And talking with Frits and Reinhilde on Bella Ciao (, they offered to help out, as they are the proud owners of a real sail sowing machine.

We had to postpone this project a couple of days , due to adverse weather conditions. Believe it or not, but this last week, we experienced near wind less days, and torrential rains… We are not overly impressed with Curacao (yet?)… the issue is that to get things done needs planning and organizing…. dinghy ride on time to dinghy dock, to catch a ride with the courtesy van to the major supermarket (that is great by the way), but if you need to go somewhere else, need to go by public transport bus (or maxi taxi type van set up). The bus has only an hourly service back to down town… Laundry, equaly time consuming task (dinghy, bus, walking etc).  Spanish Water is just ways a way from practical land things….

Despite this, we didnt fail to explore some snorkel sites just outside the entrance channel of Spanish Water..


We are ofcourse kind of spoiled by Bonaire, but also doing some scuba dives seems all just so much more complicated and kind of cumbersome..

Anyway, back to the title of this post…. This morning (monday) I went over with the genoa sail to Bella Ciao, and in no time, Frits got the genoa profesionaly fixed.


And so I asked him, how i could settle the time and effort with him… He looked at me and told me something that i hadnt heard for a long time….No, dont worry, somebody will help me out when I need assistance, it may be you, may be not, but that doesnt matter, somebody will …

And so it is my friends, think about  it as a positive chain reaction: you help somebody, and that positive energy comes back to you when you need help. It goes without saying, that I offer help or assistance when needed, without a problem, kind of setteling my “bill” with Frits.

A good week to all of you…