We are sitting here in the “Far South” at our boat with 5 weeks quarantine. Thank Goodness things are managed here quite strictly. We can go to the next super market, Pharmacia and with a confirmation on the cellphone to a doctor. That’s it! No outside dog walking, no sports outside the marina area, no public gatherings, no alcohol to buy. Work allowed only in essential sectors like food provision, security or medical personnel.

Money in families gets scarce or is spent, in small informal settlements kids are nearly starving. We provide twice a week sandwiches to help a little bit. Nearly all homeless people have been collected and brought to big tents with up to 500 people each.

What a catastrophe!!!

Man, Female, Kids, Pregnants, Drug Addicts all close to each other.
Not enough to eat, violence, rapes, thefts and insufficient medical care.
We are close to winter and they have to sleep with a thin blanket on an ice-cold ground.

The reaction of our government to impose a total lockdown is unquestioningly great and provides South Africa with precious time for preparation. But nobody knows how the situation especially in the townships will evolve and many fear of coming horror news.

Richard stays as much as possible on board. He is a risk person due to his asthma. I’m several times a day with our dog Lucky at the marina lawn, playing or doing our agility repetitions and Lucky can swim in the sea.

https://youtu.be/hohwP8VDRko

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once a week I go for shopping but otherwise I try to get in contact with as less people as possible and keep the recommended “social distance”.

Since start of the year we had only trouble. The club commodore and committee try to get rid of all “Live-Aboards”. Despite a valid verbal contract at our membership interview in 2013, to stay without any time restrictions, we have been graciously granted another 3 years until we have to leave or abandon our floating home. First we did fight, but the complete poisoned atmosphere here with the commodore and some of his drunkards is all but enjoyable or encouraging.

21st of April we are here for happy 7 years. We built us up a new life and a new social network which we don’t want to miss anymore. So after 3 month with discussions, tears and despair we did a decision:
We don’t get younger. Maybe all had to be this way to give us a wakeup call in time to think about our remaining years ahead of us. We agreed that we won’t do any long distance sailings any more, at least not without a third person who we 100% trust, like our boys or as it has been with Steven. But our boys don’t have the time to join us on such travels and Steven watches us now from a higher and peaceful sphere.

We decided to sell our big boat – our so loved home – and have a look for a new property.

It has been one of our hardest decisions we ever made. It will take probably a long time until our just completely maintained and overhauled old lady will have a new owner. But present times with all this worldwide problems aren’t a favorable market for selling a boat. We then still have our small boat for sailing which is even equipped for long cruise sailing and ocean crossings.

We already have cast an eye to a suitable object. But the Corona virus stopped time statically and we have to wait and see.

We are praying that we, you, our families and all our friends stay safe and sound and that we can start after this crisis in a new life adventure on solid ground.

 

At Friday, 27th of December 2019 my husband and I decided to drive to Somerset West to Heldersberg Farm.

It was a lovely warm summer day and together with our son, who visited us from Germany and our dog Lucky we enjoyed the Two Oceans 4×4 drive in the vine farm to the top with an amazing view to both oceans.

My husband Richard was the driver of our brand new Land Cruiser, our son was sitting in the passenger seat and my place was behind the driver.

Lucky, a 2 years old Border Collie and Australian Cattle dog mix has had his place behind the passenger seat.

On the way down for a second my husband lost control over the car and the car jumped sideways over the edge of the dirt road. It was hanging in a steep angle with the left front wheel on a bush not attached to the road or something else anymore. The hill went 150 to 200 metres down.

Holding on at the handles inside the car and pushing with the legs to keep us upright, the car immediately reacted with sliding movements downhill.

The biggest danger inside for us was our big dog. All three of us have been aware, that if he started to panic and to move the car would roll over.

Lucky was standing on his front legs facing downhill to the left backdoor. His complete body and back legs have been laying upright across a cooling box.

More than 30 minutes I was talking to him in the calmest voice I could find in this life threatening situation: Stay, don’t move, well done boy, stay, good boy…..

And Lucky listened and didn’t move. We are absolutely sure that he sensed the immense danger. After half an hour he started carefully and with softest movements to shake his tired and sore front legs.

Two years Obedience Training paid off in this half an hour!

The three guys in the first car, which arrived on scene, tried to anchor our car to the side of the road to get us out. I decided that Lucky had to leave the car first: I told him to come up with his front legs onto the back seat and carefully to turn and to face me. Then I opened with my right hand the back door and from outside they pulled the door, that there was a small gap.

I gave my next commands from agility and Lucky jumped onto the save road crossing the deep downhill sloop without hesitation.

Agility Training paid off to bring him safely back ashore!

I told the helpers from inside the car to immediately catch Lucky and to lock him that he couldn’t start to come back to our car.

We nearly don’t remember how we made it out of the car afterwards.

During the afternoon rescue mission Lucky was shaking himself several times, drank some water and the rest of the day he was busy to search for sticks and get us to play with him.

We are sure we really have the best well trained dog in this world. Thank you so much for saving our 3 lives and the car.

We have been very lucky because of LUCKY!

22.12.2019

What happened 2019

Early 2019

Long loooong it has been since our last blog entry. So much happened that not even in my dreams I found time to tell our stories.

Therefore now basically a summary of different events or incidents to focus again at the big picture.

And of course all starts again with Lucky. He is meanwhile a 2 years old and 26 kg heavy big and strong boy. We invested very much time in his training to educate him as good as possible and make him obedient. He is well excepted in our Yacht Club and at the Sea Rescue and gets his regular hugs from all people he knows by throwing himself at the back, so all will deal with him. This is one side of the coin – a big teddy bear.

Richard still attends every Saturday morning the dog school to train with Lucky under instruction of trainer Jan, who is meanwhile over 80 years old. Lucky passed his “Canine Good Citizen” test in Bronze and Silver and just shortly at November 16th even Gold with flying colours.

Regularly once a week I go with him to Agility training how I already did with Benny. Lucky loves to jump over obstacles and runs through tunnels and is very teachable.

Only difficulty is that he is so focussed on me that he won’t leave my side and I nearly cannot send him away from me to an obstacle.

The other side of the coin is that Lucky became a fantastic watch dog and checks out all what’s happening around him. The slightest change is reason for him to alarm us. If someone approaches us from behind who he doesn’t know, he growls to inform us that someone is approaching. Seals, cormorants or sea gulls around our yacht are chased away immediately. He developed a specific “language” to tell us that a whale is approaching. We only have to be able to read his information to know exactly what’s going on around us. We lay him down behind us at an ATM and could be sure that nobody will come close. If somebody seems weird or suspecious to him it can happen that we hardly can calm him and keep him with his leash.

He is nearly permanently with us. I take him with everywhere, can “down – stay” him in shops and leave him. In the morning he often runs with Richard 12 km and warns him in the dark if a person approaches from any side.

In the car he likes to lay at the passenger side at my feet as we trained with him as a puppy, although he is meanwhile a real big boy.

A positive influence from Benny upon Lucky, that is in its small urn present at our boat, is in our opion clearly tangible. We have the best dog you can wish.

Those two “dog years” have also been very meaningful for me. Several times I had to struggle with serious injuries I got from other dogs playing with Lucky. I’ve ben run over and had problems with spine, arm muscles and knies.

Now for me life gets again more normal and with less injuries.

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Botswana

Early April 2019 we started to our next big trip to Botswana. Our car has been equipped with mosquito nets and we have been armed with all kind of malaria prophylaxis, homeopathic and natural substances up to “Chemical Maze”.

Our main weapon was citrus oil which we applied regularly from head to toe. After short time my nickname was “Miss Citronella”.

Two cars with all together 4 people started gen North.

Unfortunately the start to our holidays has been strained after two days at the last gas station in South Africa just before the border post to Botswana.

My rucksack has been stolen out of the car and with it credit cards, one cell phone, both of our wallets, as well as Richard’s SA ID and SA driving license – all gone.

 

Sitting in the car I could inform with my mobile our banks and block our cards.

 

 

At the local police station a case of mugging was opened and we could see from a surveillance camera as the thief approached the car, opened the driver’s door and disappeared with our belongings.

 

 

I was about to quit all and return to Simon’s Town.

But there was no thought about it.

We still got one credit card left, our German passports, certified copies of all stolen papers as well as our cash money. So we made our way to Botswana.

 

 

 

 

Already shortly after the border a new street sign made us wonder: Beware of elephants!

 

We zigzaged between massive potholes at a Botswana „highway“, allowing a speed between 80 and 100 km/h. It is close suicide to drive at night times as you have to reckon with elephants, goats, sheep as well as donkeys and cows and of course people in the middle of the road.

Police is as corrupt as also in other African countries and with road blocks and lots of false accusations they wanted to get 1000 Botswanean Pulas from us, otherwise jail.

If you haven’t experienced this by yourself you hardly can believe those stories.

We crossed most parks in Botswana and visited Guma lagoon where we spoiled us with a helicopter flight.

 

We slept overnight in open bush camps with all kind of wild animals around us, heard animal voices in the night and saw next day spoors of elephants, hippos and other animals directly next to our camp.

It was the time when they got their puppies and we saw lots of animal families with their new borns. Impressions have been stunning and can’t be described in words.

Our way back crossed the Central Kalahari – endless solitude and mainly deep sand tracks through which we had to steer our cars.

In this area you have to be completely self independent including your own diesel, water and provision.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After four weeks „time out“ we had to drive back home. A car break down with a broken drive shaft brought a special high light: On the back of a tow truck we travelled 400 km until Beaufort-West.

Thanks to unbelievable help from a good girl friend from Simon’s Town, her daughter and partner who works at the main management of Toyota Jo’burg, made the impossible possible!!!

1st of May, 22:00 the doors of Toyota Beaufort-West opened and our car was safely parked for the night.

Two days later after the spare parts arrived our car was fixed – no costs, to Toyota’s expenses.

Thank you so much for this great help and assistance.

 

And a very special Thank You to our guides Andrew and Kevin who gave us such incredible and unforgettable holidays.

 

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Boat News

Coming back home a very unpleasant awakening waited for us regarding our yacht MARIAH.

Our carpenter Hans who didn’t manage albeit all our asks and requests to bring our yacht in the last year to a safe and sea worthy status didn’t again manage to have any progress in his works. After a serious talk he reacted upset and threw the towel.

What first looked as a catastrophe turned out to be plainly luck.

Our stainless steel worker with two of his guys closed the gap and now half a year later MARIAH is ready to sail. And first time also a confortable accomodation in winds and waves for my brother and his wife who came to a short visit.

Our boat has now also a SA SAMSA registration which would allow us to leave South African waters and visit other countries.

Now we only must start sailing again!

Starting with the basics getting safe off and into our berth.

 

Our big boat is still waiting that the new sling lift will be finalized to be brought on the hard to get the underwater hull maintained also as some other necessary works.

But the meantime isn’t boring at all.

As our old generator refused to function any more we had to order a new one, which of course has bigger dimensions and didn’t fit through the opening of the engine room and also not to the spot of the old generator.

Long story short: All beside our big Mercedes engine had to be dismantled including the steel basis for diving compressor and generator. All pipes and filters had to be replaced, new electric wires connected and machines new positioned. Our old watermaker was taken out and is now at our small boat, a new 30 l/h watermaker is being installed at CAMAHETO.

We still are amidst of renovation works and often it is quite confined and unpleasant in our cockpit. One side steel wall has been cut out to enlarge the engine room entrance and will be refitted with hinges as a foldable side wall. The new generator and inverteer have to be connected with our CAMAHETO inverter, and, and, and …

But now we see again light at the end of the tunnel and looking full of hope to the near future.

We then have two fully functionable boats and also more room for ourselves. When our big boat is on the hard we now do have an alternate accomodation.

And a new start for us and Lucky with the sailing community of our club.

Boat life ahoi!

 

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