Tired of checking the Barbarella website just to learn that there has been no update? Send an email to email@example.com with the subject “subscribe” and we will send an email to you whenever there is new content on this site.
Do not sail back to Aruba II
Do not sail back to Aruba II
“Do not sail back to Aruba” is what our friend Greg and many others sailors that know the area told us. However, French Polynesia was closed to most sailors during the majority in 2021. And sailing in the Caribbean had also several constraints due to Covid. And for sure we did not want get caught by surprise and spend another 94 days (or maybe even more) somewhere at anchor without being allowed to leave the boat.
Spending another hurricane season in Cartagena for sure would be possible, but wouldn`t it be nice to checkout another – hurricane safe – place? So we decided to give it a try and sail “straight” to Aruba. Actually we tried twice. The first attempt only lasted 4 hours. Then a strange wave hit us and our main sheet traveler car broke. The working load limit of 1.8 tons for the traveler car was too low for that wave.
Leon De Baviera
Leon de Baviera is an excellent German bar and restaurant in Cartagena. While we were not allowed to go on shore and had to stay on Barbarella from March to June 2020 the two lovely owners of the Leon de Baviera – Victoria and Stefan – would see Barbarella almost every day when they were having breakfast on their balcony. Unfortunately, we did not have their phone number and did not know they had observed us almost every day. If we had had their number, we would have ordered daily boat delivery of their great German food and German beer. What a pity! During January 2021 to May 2021 we made up for that by visiting them many times in their bar and restaurant. For our Pacific crossing planned for 2022 (fingers crossed!), we have already requested 15 cases of Paulaner Oktoberfest and many of their homemade sausages and Käsespätzle will certainly find their way into our freezer …
“I don’t believe in the existence of angels, but looking at Luz Elena I wonder if that is true”. (Lyrics stolen with pride from Nick Cave).
We had the privilege to meet Luz Elena and visit the school she is running in Cartagena, many smiling children, teachers, cooks and a facility manager. The school Luz Elena runs caters for 100 children, all coming from one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Cartagena. Before Covid the school property could school up to 50 children in the morning and again 50 in the afternoon. From March 2020 to August 2020 the school had to be closed because of the strict Covid lockdown. When Luz Elena had the chance to see her children again in August, she realised that many of them had been underfed. Unfortunately, the Covid rules mean that she could not yet reopen the school for all of children as before the Covid. Hence, Luz Elena came up with a new scheme that allowed her to partially re-open the school. Now she runs six time 1.5-hour slots every day for 5 days a week, with fewer kids per slot. So each child gets 1.5 hours of classroom education every day – but most importantly, each child gets a full meal at the school every day. For many of the kids that is the only meal they get that day. Despite all this great work the school does not get a single peso from the Government in Columbia or the City of Cartagena
The visit has been extremely emotional for us and we are grateful that we could contribute to the work of Luz Elena. If you want to do the same PLEASE support Luz Elena via the foundation of my friend Stefan Schumacher here: https://www.schuhmuckl-ev.de https://www.schuhmuckl-ev.deone of the poorest neighbourhoods
Message in a bottle
During our Atlantic crossing in November and December 2019 we sent a message in a bottle. In the middle of the Atlantic, right between Cape Verde and Barbados we “mailed” them. Guess where one bottle was found?
March to June 2020 - quarantine in Cartagena
We left Bonaire on March 12th 2020. When we arrived in Cartagena on March 16th the authorities claimed that the borders were closed until June 1st 2020 and that we were not allowed to enter Columbia. We had to anchor Barbarella in the quarantine area downtown Cartagena, guarded by the Armada Nacional. We could not move the boat elsewhere, nor could we go on shore.
Thanks to some truly great Columbian friends we were provisioned with fresh food regularly. We had loads of dry food. Since we had originally planned to sail across the Pacific we stocked up plentiful in Martinique and Bonaire. E.g. our strategic toilet paper stock would have lasted > 6 month :-).
After 49 days on board we were allowed to go to the marina by dinghy. We were still not allowed to move the boat or enter the country, we could only go to the marina. However, this made a huge difference, because in the marina we could easily replenish water, take showers, do our laundry, have WIFI and even get a take away lunch from the marina restaurant. And, as a bonus, we could meet other fellow sailors and made new friends. That was a wonderful improvement.
At the end of May, the Columbian government decided to keep the borders closed until September 1st. That would mean, we had to stay at least another 100 days at anchor on board, with all the Columbian summer heat, humidity, thunder storms, “culo the pollos” (20 minutes local weather phenomena meaning strong squalls, rain and wind of up to 50 – 60 kts), etc. and with no guarantee that the boarders would open September 1st. Hence, Nora and I decided that we would not wait another 100 days. We really needed to get into Columbia or to try to get Barbarella stored on the hard so that we could leave Columbia by plane. If that did not work out, we would have to try to sail back to Bonaire, Aruba or Curacao – against strong winds, waves and serious currents.
Europe we are coming
Since trying to sail back to Aruba was only the option of last resort, we intensified our hard
work to get into Columbia (or at least to get into Columbia just to leave Colombia). Together with: our immigration lawyer, the Consul of Turkey, the Consul of the Check Republic, the Honorary Consul of Sweden, the Czech and German Embassy and most importantly the president of the Marina Club de Pesca, as well as many other friends we finally managed to get our passports stamped, get Barbarella on the hard, get a taxi organized for the 1100km ride from Cartagena to Bogota through all the road blocks due to strict curfews in order to catch a humanitarian flight back to Europe, etc.
THANKS AGAIN to everyone involved for your GREAT support in getting us those “bloody Colombian
stamps” in our passports
"DO NOT SAIL BACK TO ARUBA"...
is what Greg Dorland, a friend of ours and one of the best and most experienced sailors we know texted us unprompted and in capital letters when he learned in May that we are seriously considering to sail from Cartagena to Aruba. He continued ” I heard from around the world racers that is the most miserable upwind, up current slog you can make. I believe it is only better in October”.
Still, we thought to ourselves, whatever we will do, we will NOT stay in Cartagena another 100 days (in the end, it would have actually been another 130 days until Columbia opened its borders for regular flights to Europe). In the video you see what wind, currents and weather considerations we took in assessing if it was possible to sail to Aruba. In the end if you want to escape prison then do not expect to be able to just walk out the front door.,
Marina we are coming
After 49 days on board we were allowed to go to the marina: Club de Pesca by dinghy. We were still not allowed to go on shore other than of the marina. But it, regarless, felt GREAT to replenish water, take showers, do our laundry, have WIFI, meet other sailors and make new friends. We could even bring our bicycle and do circles on the parking lot
On Barbarella we have around 200 DVDs. These are all the great movies we collected over the years and planned to watch “once we have time”. Now was the perfect opportunity to do so. Unfortunately our DVD player broke down after the first movie 🙁
So we had to enjoy nature’s night entertainment instead
Approaching Cartagena downtown
On March 20th we were finally allowed to seek shelter in downtown Cartagena
They allow us in...
… at least that is what we thought
March 2020 - Cartagena
On March 16th we arrived in Cartagena. Read our translation of the article of our arrival of the Czech Reflex Magazine from April 2020:
Last night on our way to Cartagena we were accompanied by two stowaway birds. What is they want to tell us about our passage to Cartagena?
Fire and ice on our way to Cartagena de Indias
After we checked with our agent (yes, that is needed if you want to get into Columbia by boat) that there is no problem regarding Corona we left Bonaire in the evening of March 12th. On March 15th we saw Columbia for the first time. What a sight…
Nora parting the sea 😉
On Cayo de Aqua, Los Roques, Nora used her superpower to part the sea and she obviously enjoyed the walk-run between the two islands separated by the Caribbean waters
At the beginning, we were sceptical how safe it is to go to
Los Roques, Venezuela. Media reports are full of how bad the situation in Venezuela is. Since Los Roques is around 70nm away from the Venezuelan main land we took the risk and decided to go there. I previously visited Los Roques
in 2005 and expected everything now being dilapidated and poor. WHAT A SURPRISE! After the landfall, Gran Roque was more beautiful than ever. Locals had been painting their houses and everything was clean and well maintained. We met great people, discussed the situation in Venezuela in general and discussed their personal situation in particular. We learned how they try to cope with the difficult economic and political situation. Local people do not have a lot resources and opportunities, but they are working hard on making the best out of it. On one of the islands, in Los Roques, the Venezuelan government even still runs a sanctuary for sea turtles.
Everyone was extremely friendly, helpful and appreciative
that we visited their country. During one occasion we asked local fishermen, if the kind of restaurant they seemed to have run was open. They said: “Unfortunately we were closed today, because our wives are in Gran Roque today”. Two hours later the fishermen came to us with 3 pieces of fish they caught, filleted for us. They wanted to give it to us for free so that we could have something for dinner. These people do not have a lot but the little they have, they even want to share…
Guntmar enjoyed flying his drone in Tobago Cays, Union Island and Mopion…
Windsurfing in Mopion
Our friend Guntmar brought his drone. A perfect chance to get great aerials from a little ride in front of the beautiful island Mopion…
There are plenty of turtles. This one “flies” with grace next to Barbarella…
January 2020 - Tobago Cays
We spent New Year`s celebrations in Union Island, Tobago Cays and Bequia. In Tobago Cays we took a chance to swim with a “dalmatine” ray…
During our Atlantic crossing we saw Dolphins several times. These, we were able to record under water…
We had an excellent 5-day passage from Cadiz to Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, together with Uli and Felipe. The first day was a bit too chaotic, with short and unpleasant waves. Afterwards, we had a relatively smooth ride, needing just 6 hours of motoring towards the end of the passage. We also had our Parasailor up continuously for about 40 hours. This gave us a smooth and relaxing downwind sail, day and night. However, not all went well. During a gust, the sheet of our Gennaker broke and we lost the entire sail. On one of the enclosed pictures, you will see the broken sheet and the leftover of one line: the only thing remained from our sail ….
August - October 2019
We had a great time both in Sardinia and in Elba. We also attended a fantastic wedding in Mallorca. We met many of you along the way. Stay tuned – we shall update our website with pictures and videos for you. In the meantime, enjoy yet another dolphin video, we shot around Corsica ….
Window repaired finally - and birthday visit
Our broken side window could not be repaired in Port Ginesta so we had to sail to Mallorca where we got EXCELLENT support from Clipper Marine. They did the window, with Barbarella out of the water. The work was finished just in time for the surprise 50th birthday visit of Kevin`s brother and his lovely family. Immediately afterwards we sailed off to Sardinia
July 2019 - wedding visit in beautiful England
On July 13th we had the honour to attend the wedding of our friends Adela and Paul in Bristol on the SS Great Britain. The SS Great Britain was build in 1843 by Isambard Kingdom Brunel – the Elon Musk of that time. After the wedding we spent another week in England visiting our many friends there
Kevin jumps for joy because we finally made it to the right bodega – after we spent two hours in the bushes because Google maps thought there was a road where there was none
We spend several weeks in Port Ginesta & Castelldefels fitting enhancements on Barbarella and undertaking some warranty repairs, road trips and a trip to England to attend a wedding
…unless you can be batman.
Then always be batman”
was the motto of the month. No wonder, we frequently visited the chiringuito Rat Penat. Of course, we brought our visitors Freddy, Kevin and Jürgen there
Many catamarans – at least those without daggerboards – do not sail upwind very well. Barbarella is no exception. To get to Port Ginesta / Castelldefels we sailed all night, that is from 20:00 to 08:00, with winds between 12 and 20 knots, just to get 31 nautical miles upwind.
Yes, you calculated it correctly. This is a staggering velocity made good of 2.5 knot
Window getting loose
In Formentera we realized that a side window was getting loose. We had to jury rig it with duct tape so that we get safely to Barcelona where Nautitech sent us to have it professionally repaired, Little did we know that it will take two month to have it repaired – finally in Mallorca
Nora is enjoying the dolphins...
…while we are speeding with 12 knots
June 14th 2019 we are speeding from Gibraltar to Cartagena
On June 14th 2019 we left Gibraltar for Cartagena using good winds and waves to speed along at 10.8 knots average and 19.9 knots top speed
Dolphin Dreaming in May 2019
In May 2019 we took Barbarella for a chilled afternoon sail across the Strait of Gibraltar
Barbarella & Parasailor wedding present 2014 - 2018
19 minutes Video how we searched for Barbarella starting 2014, how we “found” Barbarella in 2016 and how we got our Parasailor wedding present in 2017 and where we sailed in 2018
Install Watt & Sea Pod in June 2018
Falling dry in La Rochelle to install our watt & sea pod
First test in La Rochelle in March 2018
First part of sea trials with our surveyor