A schedule for a summer

Even a sailor has a few appointments. And while my calendar fills up quickly this spring, it‘s time to get some antifouling on the bottom of my boat and put her back into the water. Major objective now is to depart within the next two weeks from the US.

I wonder if any of the Loopers I met last year will be around somewhere in southern Bahamas for a reunion on the way. But my guess is that most of them are already making their way back into the Abacos and further north for a cooler summer in Georgian Bay.

Heading though the Caribbean will be an adventure of its own. The route however is unfortunately again aigainst winds and currents.
Heading though the Caribbean will be an adventure of its own. The route however is unfortunately again aigainst winds and currents.

If so, I will be following the quickest route: Straight down to Cuba and southeast along the Coast for about 1600 Miles to the Dominican Republic. Three to four weeks is my estimate for this. But if there is one to meet a gathering will put me closer to what is called the classic „Thorny Path“ (red dotted line), adding another week or two.

Good things first: This way is the way to go for the greatest variety of cultural and sailing attractions. And said that we talk about the „thorns“: Prevailing easterly Winds will slow down the sail an all the routes I plan on. The mor Northeastern my route will be the more the wind will be. And as always there is an appointment to hang on to: Kinga will join me for a vacation in May.

After that I have to make my next appointment in Grenada for some Lobster and a beer on Misty. South enough to be out of the hurrican belt (red solid line). The boat will be hauled out again for a some maintenance and in fall I will quickly head west, following the general route to Panama and jump into the Pacific Ocean.

That by the way is a little new thing I have planned over the winter in Switzerland. I will head along the South American Coast to Patagonia on the pacific. This way I have less current to fight. but going aorund than will bring me back to the atlantic. So I changed the whole plan for turning east from here and head to Australia from the other side. (Updated map)  But that‘s the next adventure.

Oh, and meanwhile: In case anyone has a good working heater for a boat I guess I could need one after leaving the caribbean …

Caribbean pilot chart for april (c) NOAA
Caribbean pilot chart for april (PDF)

For those interested in meteorological details: NOAA provides a set of pilot charts for common winds and currents on the Atlantic Ocean. These charts can be downloaded as PDF-files and give at least a good estimate on what weather and currents are to be expected along a trip: March, April, May, Jun, July, August, September, October, November, December

On a boat that smells like a swimming pool

Atlantic Ocean from above. in an american Airlines Plane.
Halfway across an ocean

Just put all those gloves, scarf and snowsuit away and returned to Mobile, Alabama. Not quite back on the trip. The boat is still on the hard, but that‘s just a matter of time. Comming this way opens a new perspective everytime I cross the atlantic by plane: Between the Departure at 9am in Switzerland and my arrival, the same day at 10pm, in Alabama lay almost 20 hours in planes and at airports. – I wonder if I might extend my lifetime by a few days always travelling westward, and never to the east.

Returning to the boat involved the surprise of meeting friends from last years trip through US heartland. „Welcome to Alabama“, Bill said, easily leaned against a support in the nightly empty airport. Bill and Bonnie welcomed me after my odyssey around the globe.


Ready to go

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It‘s been a while and some have already asked me: „What did you do?“ – I simply decided to not post a home story while I am back in Europe for the winter. This blog is supposed to be a „travel on a boat“-blog. But since some asked me how life across the ocean from America is, sitting in Switzerland and watching the spring arrive here, it‘s time to give a short review over the past three month in snow, mountains and with lots of Fondue.

[gdl_gallery title=“Switzerland 2013″ width=“190″ ]

(Find more switzerland pictures my photography-blog)

Hiking in a Swiss winterwonderland
Hiking in a Swiss winterwonderland

The latter seems to be kind of Switzerland‘s national food. Not that it is known to be somewhat low fat, or a a good source of anything. But that does not count in a country where walking to your neighbor normally includes a height difference of a few hundred feet every couple of yards. This year my first „Fondue moitié-moitié“, a combination of two aromatic cheeses melted in a clay pot and spiced with a hard liquor, took place in a remote alpine hut near Klosters. At daylight you can walk there from town in a few hours and it‘s quite a scenic walk. But this time we choose a one hour horse sledge ride through the falling night.

Covered under heavy layers of fur blankets, beyond city lights, we drove through the woods illuminated only by reflections of a pale moon from a snow covered surface. Once the eyes get used to it, it spends enough light to read a book. The horses lope along their well known track and the bells on their neck rang in the rhythm of their motion. Between it silence, some a creek purls along the path and the scene took us magically into an ancient life. Deer watched us drive by while we watched them raising their antlers high into the black sky. – The days around Christmas probably can‘t be spent anywhere else more intense than in place like this.

Tulln Boat Show in Austria
Tulln Boat Show in Austria

But after that business kicks in to my Switzerland vacation as I was not only here to enjoy the country. Germanys biggest boat show called for various presentations of my „Route 66 for sailors“ – I found this name to be adequate to give an idea to europeans about what to expect from an adventure through North-Americas Great Lakes, Mid West and South by boat.

It was followed by a short series of longer presentations to sailing clubs and finally finished by attending Austria’s boat show in Tulln last week. Now I am getting ready to head out at sea again. But before that I have to grab my things and return to my boat tomorrow. From there I think to leave mid april towards South America. – Plans have changed a little while watching my route from a distance. But that will be published here after some final research is done.

So… consider me to be back on my boat, back on my trip and rushing out to the many places left on my bucket-list! – And since I have seen a few notices from fellow Loopers who spend the winter upstream in Demopolis or Columbus, now waiting for the river to drop below flood stage, I hope to see some of these friends I made along the way again pretty soon.