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January 2001 diary

31th of January 2001 Time passes to quickly this month and not a fraction of to-do's has been finished. This feels quite frustrating. Half of the time I spent with severe sinusitis laying in bed, which hits me now almost every January. I always thought my allergies would cure well, when I spent a lot of time near the sea, with fresh salty air, but it works not for me. The first hay fever of the year ends almost every time in a sinusitis.
Nina and me discuss a lot about the sense and nonsense of our lifestyle. As "dreamlike" as the sailing life sounds to the reader of the website, it is not always a dream and in fact Nina thinks a lot about giving up. We have spent a lot of time in the Mediterranean Sea and the plan to cross the Atlantic was postponed twice. Now we have 2 more years until Nastasja needs to go to school. This would make a circumnavigation almost impossible. We don't like to hurry around the globe. We like to sea each country at a time. The problem are not Nastasja's teaching needs. There are many ways to teach children. It is more the problem for age. With 6-7 years, children don't like to change home. They want to socialize with other kids. Some would say, if Nastasja does not know better she we should not worry. But these kind of arguments arise on a monthly basis between me an Nina. And of course there are a lot of arguments from the outside. People we talk with, our family, relatives and so on. Subconsciously we are influences by many ways. It's like sailing. If I would constantly think about the dangers at sea, I would start to worry, add more security gear to the boat and later on not leave the harbor anymore.
In this respect I am interested how the weblog appears in the minds of our readers. I don't like to give the impression that "We live a dream...". We want to make clear that boating live is not as dreamlike as it sounds. Of course I can count a lot of dreamlike reasons why we do this and for what. But the price for the trip is, in my opinion high, and sometimes we forget all the good things about sailing, the nature, the freedom, the sunsets and so on and think only about the fears. Not the fears about going to sea, but to miss other opportunities. About how to return to a stable live, getting a job, a house and a decent lifestyle. How will it feel to stay a place and will we handle it.
What kind of fears can one have, who dares to go to sea? I tell you:
I have never met so many alcoholics in my live since I met sailors. I have never met so many crazy or broken minds, but in marinas. The number of old couples who sit trash in a boat and drink their lives to hell is uncounted. The number of blue water sailors who have sailed around the globe and all they have left to do when they are old is to get pissed and feel sorry for the changed world they find at home seems to big for me. And the number of sailors without a wife or girl friend looks like a price to pay to me. And sometimes I begin to wonder, if that late life style I see is all what I was looking for? Is this the end of a sailors dream?
All this makes me think from time to time, if I should pack in and start a "real" life.
We start to envy people who have a house and neighbors, which they know for many years. They have their little tradition, their little problems, but it looks like their life is stable.
But than again I don't just want to give up, because of fearing the future. Now we can have experiences, which we could never experience again and as well for the kids, when does one have a chance as a whole family like this again?
I think it is always this way, What you don't have one envy's. When we were in Germany and we listen to all the daily problems of the job, the house, the bills, the new laws etc we were almost laughing about it. What kind of nonsense was it to talk about this as a worry. On the other hand nobody listen to us, when we were talking about our problems, like getting a mooring for the boat, being safe sheltered and protected from the weather, all the work that needs to be done on the boat, getting a kinder garden place for Nastasja and trying to find winter job etc... They were just looking at our sun tanned faces and said " You live in a dream" and "Your so lucky" " I would like to have such a long holiday etc.. It was like two worlds met each other.
And quite often we feel, especially from older sailors, by telling their life story, that we are just a little to young to take this freedom. The older ones had worked so hard for this life style and here comes a young couple and they do it as well, probably because the have rich relatives or some other kind of support. Who wants to hear that we do this on our own? And that we struggle every winter to get the money together for the next sailing season. And who want to listen to our fears in the future? Even when I do not listen do the warning and "advises" of some stubborn person, I subconsciously have it in my mind. And now and then it brakes free and I worry, if I do the right thing. Is it eight to be so egoistic and travel for the sake of it? What about later...and again there we have the future subject...
But I don't want to put all of them in the same shoe box. We made ton's of good friends while sailing and we hope to meet more. I think sailors are a people by its own. I am usually a shy person and it takes a long time for me to get in contact with a stranger. But as a cruiser, on is a big family and as soon as a boat pulls into the harbor, you can be sure to have at least a chat with the boat owner. Sooner or later one can make good friend with the ones who are special to us. Helpfulness between cruisers is a tradition.
The amount of help I have received from boaters is uncounted and I could not learn in a university this amount of practical knowledge I have absorbed since we are afloat.
Nina, by herself and as a mother has different fears and so goes our discussion on and on and we doubt if we find a solution in the near future.
But back to the boating life on Amberella.: Nastasja goes to a new kinder garden again and she is mighty proud to wear her new apron, which I made.
Just imagine, yesterday I was learning to sew. For the first time I was sitting in front a sewing machine, because Nina kept telling me, this thing we borrowed from our neighbors does not work. It was an old Pfaff, and it was changing the stitch by itself while Nina tried to finish a curtain. She went crazy of course and kept shouting about. When I managed to calm her down I was listening to her instructions and carefully tried to learn the features of the sewing machine. After I managed to sew a straight line I started to make the apron with pockets and ribbons, while Nina cut the cloth. Man I am proud. It does not professionally but it looks cool anyway.
Than I stared to sand off the varnish of Amberellas tow rail. It was stupid to varnish the teak anyway, but now I hate to sand it all down. Later we only like to oil the wood. No more varnish. We are just not the type of people who can spent twice a year with varnishing. I wished I had little work to do and only look after the appearance of the boat. But with all the unfinished must do's we cut the varnishing part for the time being.
Selina has now her first tooth. She keps waking us up in the middle of the night and start to chatter uncontrolled.

15th of January 2001We are quite happy with Roquetas at the moment. We managed to get the cheapest price for the winter ever paid. We pay about 75$ per month including power and water. This leaves us with budget for Nastasja to send her to a private pre-school. The harbor belongs to the community and the fishing vessels and the tarifs are for the Spanish only. It is actually better than the marina, because we can sand, grind, weld and laminate as we please without any rules from the yacht club. Is it only luck? I guess.
On the other hand I sometime start to believe in higher reasons. Imagine this: When we were in Greece our bathing ladder broke to bits, because a fat french sailor ...well I guess the ladder was weak plastics anyway.
So we kept thinking about a cheap replacement, because we just did not like buying one new in a yacht magazine for 150$. I searched every house building market for an aluminium ladder which I can somehow modify. But I kept hesitating. Well and the other day, when the water was clear and I looked at the bottom under Amberella keel. Guess what. An aluminium-plastic boat ladder, covered with shells and barnacles was shining to the surface. This was a sign. We hooked the ladder to the surface and cleaned it. Lookes like new.
Now I keep looking into the water. I need a main sail, diesel tanks, a new motor,... :)
We are back at the boating projects in Spain and full of new ideas. Nastasja goes to a new kinder garden and Selina is finally teething. She start to chatter at 300h in the morning and makes herself quite unpopular this way.
I had a sailor on board who was 35 years a machinist on boats and he looked at my gearbox problem and listened to all the advises I had heard last summer. And he says the leaking of that gearbox is caused only because the engine is badly in line. He wants to come in two weeks and show me how to align an engine properly.
Nina and me have arguments about the sailing matter, but we work on a compromise. She does not want the kids on long passages on board, because she feels not comfortable with the idea, having them entertained for 3 weeks with only the water around. Its not so much a fear of the dangers, but mainly because she knows that she is the one who has to take care of them if they are bored, or if we are in strong winds she has to make sure they are under deck and that there are restrictions not to have toys laying around all over the place, and of course no other kids for ages in sight. etc etc... So now: We plan to cross the Atlantic this year and we will probably take crew on board, while Nina and the kids will take the air plane.
We have not so much arguments about the sailing itself, but about the way we do things on the boat or about how messy I am. Especially my notorious disorder is a reason to trouble on a weekly basis . Nina just said, while she reads this; she wants her own boat, where she can organize herself. We could sail together but each one on their own:)
Well I guess I have to get a second boat:)
Nastasja is know getting much more aware of the kind of life we live. The other day she told us she is really looking forward to Africa, because she wants to see Camels and than she showed us a kangaroo in her book and ask where they live. When we said ;in Australia, she said, that is a place to visit too. Shortly afterward she came with a picture of a penguin and guess what:)
Selina can now shake her head in order to say "no", but when he want to nod for a "yes" she moves the whole body like a rap dancer. She can show how to be really angry now. If someone takes her toys away, like Nastasja often does, she can scream like hell and it sounds like a train stopping with rusted wheels.

6th of January 2000 Amberella's website is back alive. After almost 4 month of technical problems with my PowerBook I can finally post the entries on the web. It was burning out, corroding and just crashing and is now repaired again.

All who kept writing and reading our story during the last years we would like to thank for your encouragement. The ones who received our news letter and position reports have had a foretaste of a few adventures during the journey. Storm at the coast of Sardinia, waterhoses before the camera and floodlike rainfalls with cars passing Amberella's bowl.

It took me som e time to reconstruct the past month. But now I have can finally show up wiith the writin of the August, September, October, November and December pages.

More entries in December2000, check thearchive or go back to top