Still 500 days to go.
The 1st of July of the next year is slowly but steady approaching but we still have to survive one winter. The winter gray is a pain in my neck and therefore a few warm days under the sun of Thailand were luring. Actually, we wanted to learn kite surfing, but the wind is so calm that the surf schools do not even unpack the boards. The sun is wonderful, the country inspiring and people are unbelievable friendly.
The Rivercafe crew isn’t complete yet
With the long lead of our 500-day launch, this is probably the best-planned cruise of all time, including Columbus. Shortly before leaving for Asia, I wrote the first briefing for the maiden voyage. We plan to sail with four/five of us. With JanaBo, we will have a wonderful crew mates and friend on our trip from Cape Town to the Caribbean. JanaBo ever wanted to cross the Atlantic, but it did not work out – a tragic-beautiful story. She was already aboard a yacht in Cape Verde and had to sign off the day before the start because sweet Alva had announced. Barbados was Zika country and nothing for expectant mothers. Today, Alva is old enough to let Mama out on the Atlantic. Basti, the permanent father of the year, will manage it all – until we meet again in the Caribbean.
We all know what it feels like to sail long distances. It’s good that everyone is experienced enough and knows that a Code Delta is not an intelligence command. I would not have taken beginners, despite my patient nature ☺. Only a sadist would take a beginner on a long journey. And a masochist. Sail beginners are like business economists, just stand around and mess. (Author’s note: may I say that, I’m one myself). For beginners, I mean sailors who have never taken a night watch offshore and spent or few days and nights traveling at one go. A Baltic Trip is not a convincing reference. A long journey is different than daysailing. Then there are also Scylla and Charybdis, psyche and ego with it. And they can be a real challenging if you have to deal with yourself for weeks. Not to mention the crewmates. During the first trip of the Rivercafe we will have about 35 sailing days with 5,700 nm (10,500 km) ahead of us. The next person is on the ISS 200 nm away and out of reach for a beer together. Day and night 3,700 m of deep water slosh under your feet. You’re completely alone on the night watch, just the black of the night for you. Sometimes stars or the moon. Flying fish pop on the ship, you see spooky colors (bioluminescent algae) and every now and then a squall scares you up and demands a maneuver. Meanwhile, you wake up over your sleeping crew and are alone with you. These lessons are magical, but can also be “character building”.
All this needs a crew who loves to be at sea and who is at peace with itself. There is no room for ego trips or games. With respect it becomes a pleasure. Our crew is cool and I’m looking forward to the time together. We also have the luxury that everyone will have their own cabin, and the Rivercafe has plenty of room for privacy. This adventure should be a joy for all of us. With experienced sailors, the daily board routing is organized quickly, distributed the tasks and the guards divided. We will provide supplies together, go fishing and have fun. We have a list of some jobs, each of which will take over a “head-of”, eg. for entertainment, sports or cooking. Our route has a lot of remote places to offer. Places that are normally difficult or extremely expensive to reach. The antipodes of tourist destinations. The first stop in Namibia might be an exception as there is still tourism. St. Helena is something different and there was a reason why Napoleon was abandoned there. No way out. Ascension Island is pretty much in the middle of the Atlantic, officially nowhere. Resorts or vacation hotels do not have to offer either. In both places we will anchor and discover the islands. On our way forward we will meet Fernando de Noronha, 200 nm east of the Brazilian coast. This is supposed to be one of the most unknown paradises in the world, a nature reserve. Called the Galapagos Islands of Brazil. The few people who visited the island rave about in the highest tones. So we can visit three islands on our trip, which are usually extremely difficult – or extremely expensive to reach. Oh my god, there are still 500 days and I can’t wait to go…/HB