How to Inflate West Marine Mini Dinghy
We want to live life to the fullest and experience the boundless beauty that nature has to offer. Our goal is to live in harmony with the elements and to allow ourselves to be transported by the whims of the wind and the water.
Each LIV destination will be a new starting point in our search for beautiful bays, gorgeous beaches, sick waves, the most delicious food, the best spots for surfing, the most picturesque places, and the nicest people.
We don’t want to keep this amazing experience to ourselves; we want to share it with you! Get inspired by our Foodadventures, surfing and sailing exploits, travel guidance and our insights into local lifestyles ... everything!
Life is a beautiful adventure. # 1 SEASICK - The Project
# 14 FINAL CHAPTER SEASON 1
Bahamas to Guatemala
# 13 VIVA LA REVOLUCION
# 11 ISLAND HOPPING
Dominica to the BVI
# 10 GREEN GRENADA
St. Vincent to Grenada
# 9 HAKUNA MATATA
Martinique to St. Lucia
# 8 27 DAYS LATER
# 7 SLOWLY DRIFTIN '
# 6 GLAMOROUS NATURE
sardinia to malaga
# 5 GONE SAILING
croatia to sardinia
# 4 CROATIA CRUISIN '
wind water and wine
# 3 WORK HARD
tasks of yacht owners
SAILING YACHT LIV
It was love at first sight. # 2 MILV - A classy lady
LOA: 12.0 m - BEAM: 3.3 m - DRAUGHT: 1.8 m - WEIGHT: 10 t
CONSTRUCTION: Steel MODEL: Natascha 40, 1968
MANUFACTURER: Staack-Werft Lübeck, Germany
We three boys from Nuremberg have known each other for many years now, since we started regatta sailing in Nuremberg's sailing club, YCN, when we were kids. The joy of sailing as well as many common interests like boardsports are the reasons for our good friendship. The enthusiasm for sailing and surfing but also wanderlust itself has already taken us to many beautiful places. However, our biggest adventure is yet to come! During this tour, it will be important for everybody to introduce their personal strenghts and interests because we want to organize everything on board perfectly and ensure that the blog will be interesting and diversified. Stay tuned - We have big plans with you guys!
# 14 FINAL CHAPTER SEASON 1
Bahamas to Guatemala
Dear Mr. President
without Yacht-Club Noris we wouldn't be in the Caribbean. We probably wouldn't even know each other, and we probably wouldn't have become sailors without the club. No one would have lent us money either. It all started with the yacht club at the Dutzendteich in Nuremberg. And now we're sitting on a yacht in the Caribbean.
Soon it'll be back again, across the pond. Where we sailed with you for the first time on the sea. The Baltic Sea is calling! You were our skipper and you got us through sunny and stormy weather. Always clear in mind, always relaxed, always ready for a solution. Good sailing, good snacks, good music, good times. You left your mark on us. And now we're sitting on a yacht in the Caribbean.
When we sailed together we were able to run around, trim the sails, pull up the spinnaker and take the rudder in our hands. You went through everything. You showed us how to get from one place to another by sailboat. From one country to next. And now we're sitting on a yacht in the Caribbean with you. And the circle closes.
We wouldn't be in the Caribbean without the Noris Yacht Club. We probably wouldn't even know each other and we wouldn't have become sailors without a yacht club either. Nobody would have lent us any money either. It all began with the yacht club at Dutzendteich in Nuremberg. And now we are sitting on a yacht in the Caribbean. Soon it will be back again, across the pond.
To where we sailed with you for the first time on the sea. The Baltic Sea is calling! You were our skipper and brought us through sun and storm. Always clear in your head, always relaxed, always something up your sleeve. Good sailing, good sandwiches, good music, good times. You have shaped us a lot. And now we are sitting on a yacht in the Caribbean.
With you we could romp around, trim sails, pull up the spinnaker, take the rudder in hand. You went through everything. You showed us how to get from one place to another by sailing ship. From one country to the next. And now we're sitting with you on a yacht in the Caribbean - and the circle is full.
Poor pigs in paradise
The famous Bahama pigs can't speak, but they are thirsty. Every day at nine o 'clock in the morning, a few motorboats full of people arrive to feed the pigs with apples and carrots. "Let's do some" Selfies "with them! But not on the beach. I want those pigs in the water." Haha how funny. The poor pigs grab the apples that swim in the salty water. Everytime they eat they automatically drink a little sea water. Therefore the pigs get even more thirsty, but everybody keeps throwing their fruit and vegetables into the sand or salt water. When we cook pasta, we use a maximum of one third of sea water.
Otherwise the pasta is too salty. After one hour the tourists are gone and all the apples are eaten. Whoever booked the Bahamas Pig Tour goes back with lots of piggy sweet pictures. "What a beautiful day!" We enjoy the unusual silence on the beach as we realize a pig climbing in our dinghi. It bites wildly into the water bottle. The bottle stays closed. We return to LIV and continue sailing. A few weeks later we come back here. This time with Roland. He sees a pig peeing and immediately there arrives a second pig, which drinks its urine.
Disgusted by this sight and the contact with the pigs, he fetches all drinking water from the dinghy and pours it into the empty trough. The pigs freak out completely, squeal like wild animals and drink all the water. You've never seen them so happy and alive before. Give some water to the pigs, otherwise they'll drown in their piss! Apart from the poor pigs, the Bahamas are a wonderful sailing area with a lot of calm, sand, sun and fish.
The famous Bahamas pigs cannot speak, but they are thirsty because every day at nine a couple of motorboats full of people arrive to feed the pigs with apples and carrots. "Let`s take a selfi with them! But not on the beach, the pigs should be in the water. ”Haha how funny. The poor pigs snap at the apples that swim in the salt water and drink the water. The pigs get even more thirsty and they all throw their fruit and vegetables in the sand or in salt water. When we cook pasta, we use a maximum of a third of sea water.
Otherwise the pasta is too salty. After an hour, the apples are gone and those who have booked the Bahamas pig tour drive back with lots of pig-sweet pictures. What a beautiful day. Our dinghy is lying on the beach and a pig is climbing in. It bites like mad on the water bottle. She stays closed. We drive back to LIV and continue sailing. We'll be back here a few weeks later. This time with Roland. He sees a pig go to pee and a second pig immediately arrives, which drinks its urine.
Disgusted by the sight and the handling of the pigs, he gets all the drinking water out of the dinghy and pours it into the empty trough. The pigs completely freak out, squeak like mad and run to the water. Until then, she has never been seen so happy and alive. Give the pigs water or they will drown in their piss! Except for the poor pigs, the Bahamas is a wonderful sailing area with lots of peace, sand, sun and fishing.
Germany is calling
That's enough. Good old Germany is calling. The water here has reached its 26 degrees. Maybe the worst hurricanes the Caribbean has ever seen will pass through soon. Let's get out of here. But first we'll take LIV to a nice, quiet place. We'll sail to the Rio Dulce in Guatemala. 900 nautical miles from here. We're sailing through the Bahamas in south-east direction and sail on until we drop the anchor in Santiago de Cuba. For a few days Morten and Marius, two journeymen from Germany have been waiting here for us with an almost expired visa. Two Months before we met them in Varadero, Cuba and since then they worked and traveled through Cuba. Now they want to leave and continue their adventure in Central America. They do not fly, have no mobile phone, no money and work for board and lodging. They packed their seven things together in cloths and tied them on a wooden frame, which they built themselves. Their traditionnal costume is ticket, work clothes and sleeping bag in one. Marius, aka the Rasta, has been on the road for four years now. After three years he would be allowed to return home according to the tradition. His mother would be happy. But now he's sailing with us to Jamaica. And then to our final destination in Guatemala. Rio Dulce is a hurricane save spot between the mountains in Guatemala a Norwegian sailor recommended us.
With proper flour in his luggage, Morten makes us one yeast braid after the other. He can not only grind, but also bake, draw, build sloped roofs and sell products. He convinced us of "Le Tonkinois". It consists of linseed oil and Chinese nut oil, has absolutely no chemical components and shines like varnish. It allows the teak wood to breathe and is not toxic to the environment. We are quickly convinced. While we‘ll enjoy the summer in Germany, the two carpenters live on LIV in Guatemala and spoil the old lady with oil. She absolutely deserves that. But now we‘re still in Cuba and have a nice weekend with Che. Not Che Guevara, but a Jamaican fisherman called Che. He sais he'd have some dudes in Jamaica growing ganja. For their foreign business, we could move cargo between Jamaica and Cuba. It's probably well paid here because the supply in Cuba is scarce. The way is short. Ganja is severely punished in Cuba. We didn't have to think long. What should we do with $ 100,000? We sail with our friends on a yacht through the Caribbean. That's quite nice. We could pay off debts or go to Cuban prison as an alternative. It would be sad years. It's probably dark, stinks, has no fun and there's only rice with beans every day. (This should do nice someone else. A depressed one-handed sailor or maybe an autonomous sailing ship ?!)
Three days later we arrive in Montego Bay, Jamaica. We're not loading ganja, instead, we watch the first hurricane of the season. The other sailors in the harbor are relaxed. One of them is SVZingaro with a Berlin lady who fights her way from one ship span to the next. The other is a Swiss father who built his catamaran himself, with which he crossed the Atlantic in fantastic twelve days. Top speed: 40 knots. Apparently there's a lagoon right next to Montego Bay that's hurricane-proof. So we make ourselves comfortable and wait and see. After four days we get green lights from Nicolas, our weather expert from Kiel. The road is clear. The Devil takes the hindmost! as Morten likes to say. So let's sail to Central America before it gets uncomfortable here! In front of us there are 700 nautical miles of the most beautiful Parasailor sailing waiting for us. Parasailor? Para-para, paranoid. This perfect sail haunts us ever since we left the Canary Islands. We use it as often as we can. Every third nautical mile is sailed with our big blue bubble. And these miles were the nicest ones! Holá Guatemala! Goodbye, Jamaica. And then home to Mommy. The summer is already shining in its most beautiful splendor.
It's enough. Home is calling. The water has reached its 26.5 degrees. Perhaps the worst hurricanes the Caribbean has ever seen will soon pass through here. We'll get out of the field first. Before that, we will bring the LIV to a nice, quiet place. It goes to the Rio Dulce to Guatemala. 900 nautical miles. The three of us cross the Bahamas in a south-easterly direction and cross over to Santiago de Cuba. Before Guantanamo we stand in the doldrums for a day. The two journeymen Morten and Marius have been waiting there for a few days with their visas almost expired. After two months you are through - with Cuba - and would like to continue to Central America. Usually they do not fly, have no cell phones, no money, are unavailable and work for board and lodging. They tied their seven things in cloths and tied them on a wooden frame that they built themselves. Your outfit is a ticket, work clothes and sleeping bag in one. Marius, aka the Rasta, has been on the road for four years. According to tradition, he should go home after three years. His mom will be happy. But now we're sailing with the two of them to Jamaica, going shopping there and bringing the LIV to a hurricane-safe location. A Norwegian recommended the Rio Dulce between the mountains of Guatemala. With lots of flour in his luggage, Morten conjures up one braid after the other.
He can not only grind, but also bake, draw, build crooked roofs and sell products. He convinced us of “Le Tonkinois”. It consists of linseed oil and Chinese nut oil, has absolutely no chemical components and shines like paint. It lets the teak breathe and is not toxic to the environment. We are quickly convinced. While we let the sun shine on our stomachs in Germany, the two carpenters live at LIV in Guatemala and pamper the old lady with oil. She deserves it. But we're still in Cuba and have a nice weekend with Che. Not the Guevara, but a Jamaican fisherman. He'd have some dudes at home who grow ganja. For their overseas business, we could sail freight back and forth between Jamaica and Cuba. That is probably well paid for here because the supply in Cuba is scarce. The way is short. The Americans wouldn't care. But ganja is severely punished in Cuba. They just drink there. Even during the week and at work. But they don't knock their heads in either. “That's the way it is” - quote from my late grandmother. We don't have to think twice. Because: What do we do with $ 100,000? We sail through the Caribbean on a yacht with our friends. That's nice. We could pay off debts or, as an alternative, go to Cuban jail. That would be dreary years.
It will be dark there and no fun, it stinks and every day there is only rice with beans. Somebody else should do that. A depressed single-handed sailor or maybe an autonomous sailing ship ?! Three days later we are in Montego Bay, Jamaica. We are not loading ganja, but rather watching the first hurricane of the season. The other sailors in the harbor are relaxed. One is SVZingaro with his Berlin lady, who beat their way from one ship breakdown to the next. The other is a Swiss family man who built a catamaran with which he shot across the Atlantic in twelve days. Top speed: 40 knots. There is a lagoon right next door that is hurricane-proof. So let's make ourselves comfortable and wait. After four days we get the green light from Nici, our weather expert from Kiel. The way is free. The dogs will eat the last one! - as Morten's life motto is so beautifully called. So off to Central America before it gets uncomfortable here. 700 nautical miles of the most beautiful parasailor sailing lie ahead of us. Why Parasailor? Para-para-paranoid. The sail has followed us since we started in the Canary Islands. Every third nautical mile it pushes us. Holá Guatemala! Goodbye Jamaica. And then home to mom. Summer is already shining in its most beautiful splendor.
# 13 VIVA LA REVOLUCION
Aboard beautiful LIV we usually cook with a gas stove. So we have to fill up our bottles from time to time. As happened during our time in Cuba. Normally there is a filling station or an exchange service in most of the marinas. But, as you can imagine, this was not the case in the newly built one in Varadero. With its new hotel complex and 1000+ yacht berths you could drive with a golf cart for free through the whole marina, but there is no service for gas bottles. Typically Cuban! We heard that some Cubans who don’t have an electric stove use a gas powered one. They get their full bottles in exchange for an empty one from the government. Hopefully someone could tap us a few kilos from their bottle - that was our plan so far. In the shade of two trees there are three Cubans sitting on a low wall, chatting and sipping rum. It's Friday afternoon and it seems as if they've had a hard working week. They only speak Spanish, while I only speak English. Nevertheless they quickly understand my problem and pass me a glass of rum - and another one - and another one. While drinking, it seems they are trying to figure out how to solve the gas misery. After a long discussion they write down an address for me.
The conversation feels more like playing activity with all that guessing and the pantomime. Later I understand that I should hop on a scooter. With one of them driving and me and two gas bottles on the lap, we drive to a house a few blocks away. My new friend and driver enters the house without saying anything and due to the lack of possibilities I fallow him inside. Under a tin roof which connects the garage to the house, we find heaps of electrical appliances, refrigerators, washing machines, rice cookers and tons of stuff like that. In the garage stands a pale blue sixty year old chevy and all the walls around it are full of tools. We search an adapter for my bottle in an old electric meter box which is full of nuts and hoses. My friend doesn't have the exact right ones, but after the second try the connection is tight and my bottles get filled. Normally we pay around 15 bucks for a freshly filled bottle so I pay the same here.The 30 dollars I give my new friend are almsot the average monthly salary in Cuba. The wealthy Cubans earn $ 60 a month. They could afford a new iron or a mixer for European prices at the Panamericana shops but these are real luxary items for Cubans.
But Fruits, vegetables, bread, meat, eggs, soap and rice they get with food tickets or they pay with peso, the local currency. Stuff like mangos (9 cents) and pineapple (25 cents) are pretty cheap. On my way home I buy a bottle of rum and some chips and walk past the spot where I met the three men. There is only one of them left, but a Canadian and his Cuban friend who lives in Canada, have joined him. Somehow, everyone here is related. The Canadian Cuban tells me that the three Cubans would have liked to lead me to the gas, but they were afraid that the police would see them with tourists. This could have easily become a problem for them. As soon as the police suspects them to have any illegal business with tourists, they get in trouble. And the police always knows due to the monitoring system. An analogous monitoring system where neighbors control their neighbors. What? That’s evil! We learn a lot about Cuba in our first days, the people are lovely but the government and its rules a weird, complicated and sometimes really stupid.
At LIV we cook with gas and so we have to have our gas bottles filled up from time to time. Most marinas have filling systems or an exchange service. Not so in the newly built marina with over 1000 berths with all-inclusive hotel complex in Varadero. You can use golf cars to drive you from one end of the marina to the other, but there is no service for gas bottles. Cubans who do not cook with electricity cook with gas and get a full bottle from the government in exchange for an empty one. Maybe someone can transfer us a few kilos from his bottle - that's the plan. In the shade under two trees, three Cubans sit on a low wall, talking and sipping rum. They only speak Spanish, I only English. It's Friday afternoon and it looks like you've had an exhausting week at work. You quickly check what my problem is and hand me a glass. And then another and another. It seems like they aren't entirely haphazard. They talk and think and finally write down an address. The activity game goes on for a while, until someone mimes me that I should get on the scooter behind me now, it will take me to the gas man. With two gas bottles on your lap, we continue a few blocks.
Without saying a word, he waves me in and I follow him behind his house into the workshop. There are tons of old electrical appliances under a tin roof that connects the garage with the house. Refrigerators, washing machines, rice cookers and much more. In the garage, which strangely does not open onto the street but into the garden, is a matte blue 60 year old Chevi. The walls are full of tools and things that you might be able to use again. Everything has its place. We are looking for suitable connectors in an old electricity meter box full of nuts and hoses. There wasn't the right one, but after the second attempt the connection was tight and my bottles were already filled. Since we usually pay $ 15 per bottle for a filling, that's what we do here. I'll give the good guy $ 30. That is roughly the monthly salary of a bank employee. The wealthy few Cubans make $ 60 a month. They can then buy a new iron or mixer for European prices in the Panamericana store. You can get fruit, vegetables, bread, meat, eggs, soap and rice in exchange for tokens or you can pay with peso, the local currency.
The mangoes (9 cents) and pineapples (25 cents) are also really cheap. On the way home I get a bottle of rum and a few chips and walk past the three men again. There is only one of them left, but a Canadian and his Cuban friend who lives in Canada and is on home vacation for a week. Everyone here is somehow related. The Canadian-Cuban tells me that the three Cubans would have liked to take me to the Gasman, but they were afraid that the police would see them with tourists and they might think that someone is making a living by the state - so better not to go there. Word of what happens in the street gets around quickly anyway, because there are also people sitting there who tell others what is going on in the street. This analog surveillance state is pretty crazy. The Canadian tells me how he and his daughter cooked vegetable stew for 60 people in a solar oven made of cardboard and bags of chips in Africa. He gives me instructions - it's very easy. It's good that we have gas again for the next few weeks, now it can rain.
Our first day on Cuba passes without anything breathtaking going on. We spend most of the day chilling on the yacht, waiting for a hundred different people from different offices who want to check us and our boat. While waiting we clear up the boat which is always a little messy after a passage like the last one from Jamaica. In the evening we enjoy some glasses of rum but everybody is a little tired due to the complicated approach through the reefs the night before.
On the next day we leave the Marina with its hotel as fast as we can. Those tourist places aren't what we're looking for. After a 15 minutes sail we drop the anchor next to a lonely sandy island. We put our swimming gear and kite surfing stuff in the tender and spend the rest of this beautiful day relaxing, swimming and surfing around the island. Somebody has the idea to have a bonfire, so we decide to cook a potato curry in the flames and spend the evening at the beach.
It's really good - the food, the fire, the whole moment! We stay there for a few hours, chatting and discussing the plans for the next days and then we start our very first Spanish lesson hold by Dani. That's the moment we really arrive in Cuba and now everybody's looking forward to see more of this beautiful country!
Like most of the first days, we spend the first day in Cuba in a new country. We hang out on the yacht and wait until the countless people from countless offices have checked us and our boat. We are in Cayo Largo, an island with a holiday complex and Cubans who live here for weeks to work. The charm is limited. What is unique here is the water and the untouched island world around Cayo Largo.
That is why we will soon leave the holiday complex and get away from one of the many small sand islands off Cayo Blanco. We throw kite and swimwear into the dinghy and go ashore. The girls relax on the beach, the boys go kiting. When the sun is already quite low, someone has the idea to make a campfire and cook on it. Fits perfectly, because we are hungry and Smutje already has a food idea in mind.
In a large pot over the embers, he conjures up a very fine potato curry. The atmosphere by the fire, the starry sky, the red wine, the simply homemade things add a big crown to this special dinner. We sing and we are happy. A moment that unites us, spanned by the prospect of an excellent time in Cuba.
Havana is just great! We like it that much we went there twice. It's full of live, colors and noise and really fucked up. The Cubans have not that much and you cannot find advertisement for things you don`t really need. Their lifestyle is more built on social connections instead of consumption. To see how the socialism in Cuba works is a really special thing on our journey.
We like that a lot because it shows how less you need for a good life. The old part, Havana Vieja is really beautiful (the restored corners as well as the fucked up ones) but there you have to deal with lots of tourists. But still, you'll find some cool places to grab food or drinks and hang out with nice people. Our best idea was to enter one of the houses in the center and walked up the staircase.
The view from the rooftop into the world of Havana is really a thing! From Havana Vieja you can follow the Malecon and get to Vedado, the more urban part of the city. There's always something going on there. You'll find many bars, clubs and restaurants around here. Just start a chat with the local guys. They are really nice and laid-back.
We like Havana so much that we often end up here. The city is awesome! Insanely lively, colorful, loud and very fucked up. They don't care much about trash cans and that plastic doesn't rot, they probably don't know yet. On the other hand, they don't need much to live on and what they need is often recycled, or without packaging.
Habana Vieja is very beautiful (and unfortunately full of tourists) and there are casual spots here and there to hang out and quench your thirst for rum. The best idea is to just go into one of the many houses and then through the stairwell to the top. The (one) view of Havana from the roof terrace is impressive!
From the old town it goes along the Malecon towards Vedado, where you can spend your evenings and nights well, because there is always something going on here! It's best to just chat with a few Cubans. Basically they are all very nice, casual and also want to chat, dance and party with you.
Surfing in Cuba is a little different. It's not common at all because the tourism management focus on all-inclusive travel deals instead of individual ones. The only offer is a kite rental service in upper-class hotels on cuban islands or a kite school in Varadero - the huge hotel city for rich people from around the world. But to go kite surfing on secret spots, Cuba is lit!
There's just the land and the sea as it's been since ever! We heard that sometimes the waves in the north-east coastline are quite good, but during our time, there was no swell at all. You'll have to get along by your own. Especially when you do have your own boat with you, there are hundreds of lonely islands just waiting to surf and explore.
That's how we like it! Back to the roots! "Go and shit in the woods!" Just some miles next to Varadero there are hundreds of islands. We surf at lonesome beaches, abandoned houses or in the mangroves. It's a little anarchic and so special. It's just us, the wind, the water and pure nature.
Very few Cubans go sailing, surfing or kiting. This is surprising because the coast, the islands, the reefs and sandbanks offer a huge playground for them. For fear that Cubans will leave the island by water, it is heavily regulated who can get on a larger fishing boat or a sailing yacht. Only very small boats, pedal boats, swimming rings or air mattresses are allowed, with which it is impossible to get to Jamaica or Central America.
There should be phases in which good swell arrives on the northeast coast. The infrastructure doesn't make it easy to get to surfable spots over land. The coastline is rather sparsely populated and there are no roads. You can get a lot further here with a ship. Preferably with a catamaran, because the water is no more than 2-3 meters deep in many places. There are tons of small islands and reefs that are completely untouched and offer fantastic shallow water kite spots.
This is how we imagined it to combine sailing and kiting! In the island world east of Varadero we kite on deserted beaches, in front of crumbling jetties or between mangrove forests. Everything seems a little anarchic and deserted, what kindles the seafaring spirit of discovery in us. What we experience here is pure surfing. In deserted places, on tiny islands. Just us, the wind and the sea. Perfect
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