Canada (Sep-Nov 2021)



We had a beautiful sail to Fortune. Everything worked out perfectly. We showed our PCR covid tests from Saint Pierre and got cleared in easily. Annika and Thomas from ASTA arrived at the same time. Just behind the marina there was a small trail and we found a few blueberries, raspberries and black berries… what a treat!

As hurricaine Larry was on his way, we had to leave Fortune early the following day to go West and make it to Grey River. It was a beautiful sunny morning with some foggy spots during the day. The landscape on the South coast of Newfoundland is stunning. We made it into the fjord of Grey River perfectly on time to check our anchorage options for the upcoming stormy days. ASTA and us found both a good spot with plenty of swinging room. We checked again, if everything was well attached or stowed away and were ready for Larry to come.

Everything was fine, it was very windy but we had perfect protection from waves and swell. After two days the wind calmed down and after admiring the mirrorlike water around us we made our way out of the fjord again. On the way out we wanted to stop in Grey River at the ferry dock to do a hike. We were allowed to stay until around 3 p.m. when the next ferry comes. Grey River is one of a couple of outpost villages on the South coast that are only reachable by boat. There is no road connection.

We had a chat with some locals at the dock. One of them was Clive, a very friendly guy. Luckily he repeated most sentences about three times, so we could understand about half of it. He had a very strong dialect which we found quite difficult to understand. We asked about how they make their living in such a remote place. Especially the winter season must be very tough. Clive told us that hunting karibous and moose is a very essential part of their daily life here. As there are no moose in Switzerland we asked if moose tastes similar to deer. “I will bring you some moose!” , he said and after five minutes he came back with a frozen 1.5 kg block of moose in a vacum sealed bag! We luckily had some Lindor chocolate in the galley to offer him in return. What a generous gift! We were looking forward to put that moose on the barbeque! “Wear the rubbers for the hike!”, he told us before he left. That was a good advice as the trail was partially wet and muddy from the rain that Larry had brought the previous days.

Annika and Thomas joined us for the hike. Once we had passed the woods we reached the glacier polished hilltops covered with blueberry bushes. From the top there was a beautiful view. We enjoyed a small picnic and picked blueberries for dessert. We arrived back at the ferry dock just on time to leave before the ferry arrived. Our next anchorage was a recommendation from our friends from Little Cloud, Aviron Bay. You anchor in a pool, surrounded by mountains and a stunning waterfall. I think one of the most beautiful anchorages we ever had. The only downside was that the high mountains seemed to accelerate the wind resulting in heavy gusts and a lot of swinging around. But we decided to stay for one night, as the scenery was simply breathtaking. Annika and Thomas preferred to continue to François (our next stop). It was a magical anchorage and we enjoyed the total remoteness and the views especially at sunrise next morning.

Next morning we continued to François. The small floating pontoon was already occupied by ASTA and another boat but we were allowed to go alongside a local fishing boat. The setting of this small village with 64 inhabitants is simply spectacular. Like in Grey River there is no road connection. The village is surrounded by towering mountain cliffs and only accessible by water.

We packed a picnic and got ready for a hike. Annika and Thomas joined us. We wanted to walk the Friar Trail but as a loop. A local guy, showed us the way. We followed first a small trail alongside the bay and then climbed up a steep path following a dry waterfall. When we reached about 200m above sealevel we were in blueberry heaven…. we have never seen as many blueberries before! The landscape up there was spectacular: glacier polished rocks, small blue ponds and green blueberry bushes as far as you can see. After a nice picnic and lots of blueberries we followed the path westward passing some scenic viewpoints where you can look down to the fjord of François. We ended down at the big pond above the village (and picked some more blueberries) and then took the boardwalk down to our boat. We declared this one of the best hikes we have ever done! We rounded off that fantastic day with delicious moose on the barbeque… Newfoundland we love you!

While ASTA decided to move on we wanted to stay a little bit longer in this paradise.  We moved MIRABELLA to the floating pontoon, made a lovely picnic at the pond and hiked up to Charlie’s Lookout and…. of course picked blueberries again… another day in paradise.

Our next destination was Ramea, a small island off the South Coast with about 450 inhabitants. We were allowed to stay at the town pier just behind a fishing boat. There is a beautiful boardwalk leading almost around the whole island. Everyone was very friendly and we enjoyed our time there. We loved the boardwalk and Jaël and Amina had great fun in flying the kites.

On September 22nd we headed back to Halifax as Karin spontaneously decided to visit us there. We moored on one of the floating pontoons at the Waterfront. Jaël, Amina and me walked to the bus station to welcome her and afterwards we had a nice lunch and stroll around the waterfront together. Sunday was very stormy and rainy. We walked in our complete foul weather gear to the Halifax Seaport Farmer’s market. The market was a bit disappointing. People told us that on Saturday it is much better and it had not yet regained its popularity after Covid. Karsten followed a little later with Luca and Lucia. They were back in Canada and it was great to see them again. Due to the lack of the expected food stalls we left the market hungry and stepped in a lovely pizzeria as it just started to rain again. When we arrived back at the boat it was horrible to watch how the boat was jumping at the floating pontoon. A line was just about to be chaved through and we tried our best to avoid any damage. Being all excited about our visitor we did not focus enough on the weather forecast… but luckily it calmed down in the evening.

We did some beautiful hikes with Karin during her stay. One from Lake Micmac to Shubie Park and back, another one on MacNabs Island and the best of the three around Ash lake and Fox lake with stunning scenic views. Time passed much too fast and it was already time to say goodbye again.


After Karin’s departure, we decided to sail to Bras d’or Lake on Cape Breton Island together with ARIA. It was a good sail up there and the timing through the locks at St. Peter’s worked out perfectly. We anchored in St. Peter’s and had a stroll around the village. You could easily spend the whole summer in the area of Bras d’or lake and around Cape Breton island as there are many nice anchorages and small villages to discover but with the late opening of the borders we were already late in the season and focused on Baddeck. It is a beautiful little town nestled along the shore of Bras d’or lake. It marks the beginning and the end of the famous Cabot trail (if you are travelling on land, an absolute must). Baddeck is also known for one of it’s most famous summer residants, Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone.

We arrived late afternoon and had a delicious dinner at the Freight Shed, a lovely restaurant just by the public dock. The next day we visited the Bell museum together with Karsten, Luca and Lucia  and learned all about Alexander Graham Bell and his inventions. Later in the afternoon we checked out the local library. On Saturday morning there was a great Farmers market in town. We had a chat with a Swiss guy selling beautiful wooden chopping boards and he told us where to buy the best Maple sirup. Next to the stall with the chopping boards was a Bavarian guy, who sold handcrafted soaps. Jaël and Amina got curd cheese as a gift on the cheese stall and while we where chatting with the cheesemaker about Gruyère and other Swiss cheese a local guy who knew the cheesemaker joined and started talking about skiing in Switzerland with us. His name was Brock and before saying goodbye he told us we should come to the Lakeside Restaurant this afternoon for some live music. Funny enough that would have been our plan anyway as the nice lady at the tourist office had already recommended this place before. Brock was playing there with his band “the Celtic Cowboys”. When we arrived there later in the afternoon, the place was already full and we had to wait outside until we got a free table. The music was great and after they had finished playing we had a chat with Brock and his wife Nina. He generously offered to give us all (MIRABELLA and ARIA) a lift to get to the Uisge Bàn Falls the next day and in return we invited Nina and him for breakfast on ARIA in the morning.

Next morning (my birthday) we picked up Brock and Nina at the dinghy dock, showed them our boat and then went on ARIA to have breakfast all together. Afterwards, Brock drove us all to the Uisge Ban Falls parking and joined us for the beautiful walk through the colourful woods to the waterfall. We shared a great picnic with homemade focaccia, salami and brownies made by Jaël and André. It was a great afternoon. Later on ARIA Lucia offered me a homemade unbelievably delicious chocolate cake… what a treat!

On the way back to Halifax we stayed in St. Peters for another two nights. We met Xiaolei for dinner and I went for a nice walk with her the following day. In the evening we cooked dinner together in her Air B&B.

Back in Halifax we anchored near the Armdale Yacht Club. There was a nice sailors community in the marina and as we parked our dinghy there we got to know a bunch of really nice people. Some local couples and families enjoyed their last weekends on the boat before hauling out for the winter or moving to the bubbly dock, where it does not freeze. So on the weekends Jaël and Amina always found other kids to play with and André and me got invited to sundowners and lovely get togethers. Nicolas from SELKIE, a boat we had met during our stay in Antigua, sent André the contacts of the pre-owners of their boat, who lived now in Halifax. The sailing world is very small… you always meet people, who have connections to the places you go. Angela and Eric had sold SELKIE to Maggie & Nicolas and lived now with their kids Eliana, Dorian and Anneka within walking distance to the public dinghy dock just behind our anchorage. They invited us for dinner and to our kid’s great delight they foster kittens until they are old enough to get adopted. So cute! Jaël and Amina would have loved to take one on the boat!!! Eliana was about the same age as Jaël so they got along pretty well.  It was a wonderful evening and we enjoyed the company. We felt very much at home in Halifax surrounded by all these friendly people.

Together with Xiaolei and Karsten we had a great day in Peggy’s Cove. The coastline there is of exceptional beauty and reminded me of Newfoundland. We walked from the SR 111 memorial to the lighthouse and back. On another day Xiaolei, André, Lucia, Luca and our kids made the Bluff Wilderness hiking trail. It was an overcast day but still very beautiful with the colorful leaves. Autumn was one of the things I missed during our travel. To explore Canada in this beautiful season made me extremely happy and filled me with joy and gratitude.

The days were still beautiful and sunny but towards end of October the nights were getting chilly though. We still wanted to visit our friends in Portland and Cape Cod on the way South but the US borders did not open yet. So it was getting really late. Sometimes we thought that maybe we should just take the next weather window and pull through to Bermuda. But Jaël and Amina of course insisted and said that visiting their friends in Cape Cod was not negotiable … and of course we wanted to visit them too but the good season to sail South of course was slowly but surely over.

While waiting  for the US borders to open we enjoyed Halifax. Amina and Jaël got all excited about the crazy Halloween decorations and Jaël was looking forward to celebrate her birthday for the first time in a country where Halloween is really something that almost everyone celebrates. After a long period of beautiful weather there was    a storm and torrential rain forecasted for the 31st of October…. so we decided to go bowling with Karsten, Xiaolei (who was back in Halifax in an Air B&B), Lucia and Luca. Xiaolei picked us up with her car and drove us all to the bowling center. It was good fun and we probably made the best out of this really rainy day. After the bowling we drove to Xiaolei’s Air B&B and cooked dinner all together. The weather calmed down right on time for the trick or treat tour in the neighbourhood of our dinghy dock. Jaël and Amina came back all happy and excited about the spooky decorations, their bags filled with sweets. What a fabulous birthday that was!

Finally it looked like the US borders would open on Monday, the 8th of November! To renew our US Visa we had to cross the border on land first (without the boat). Then we would have to go back to Canada (entering Canada requires a PCR Covid Test not older than 72hours) and sail with MIRABELLA to the US.  Campobello Island in the Bay of Fundy seemed like the perfect place for our endeavor. It belongs to Canada and is connected to Lubeck, Maine by a bridge. The Canadian and US anchorage are just a few miles apart. The only problem is, where to get a PCR Test… certainly not in Campobello island as it is a very small place with about 870 inhabitants. After long discussions Captain’s masterplan was the following: Karsten and André will get a PCR test in Halifax, when André gets back from the test we will leave, arrival in Campobello Island will be Sunday, Monday early morning we will cross the border and get our visas. André and Karsten will cross the border back to Canada with their PCR tests (by that time not older than 72 hours) and move the boats to the Lubeck anchorage. We will wait in Lubeck until the captain has cleared in in Lubeck with MIRABELLA and then can go back to the boat.  Quite tricky to get not only the weather window right but also to coordinate it with the PCR test. But yes, it looked like it could all work out if we leave on Friday, the 5th of November. So it was time to say goodbye…. Thank you Rob and Bettyann, Karen & Dylan, Angela & Eric, Sam & Fabian for your great hospitality! You made Halifax very special! Hopefully we will return someday!


It all went very well. We left Halifax after André had done the PCR Test and arrived in Campobello island on Sunday morning. There was no dinghy dock close to the border so we had to park the dinghy at Welshpool Landing. It would be about a 50 min. walk to the bridge. But we were curious to see the bridge, where we wanted to cross the border the following morning. It was a beautiful, sunny day – perfect for a walk. After about 500m we crossed a lady and greeted her. She greeted us back and asked us if we had arrived with that blue sailing boat, that is anchored in the bay. We answered yes and she explained, that she can see our boat from her kitchen window, that is why she noticed us.  Her name was Mary. As there are not a lot of boats that time of the year, she was very curious where we came from and where we were planning to go. We explained her why we were here and she generously offered us a lift to the border at 8 o’clock the following morning. She asked us to stop at her house on the way back to exchange phone numbers and confirm the time again.

We headed of towards the border on a beautiful walk through the woods and stopped at Mary’s house on our way back later in the afternoon. She had her sister in law over and both of them where very excited, to hear about our travel. We spontaneously invited them for an afternoon coffee on our boat. They enjoyed the dinghy ride and Jaël and Amina gave them a boat tour.

Monday 8’clock in the morning we parked our dinghy at Welshpool Landing and Mary was already waiting for us. She drove us to the border and we walked over the bridge. About half an hour later we got our visas in our passport… hurray!!! Jaël, Amina and me had a look around  in town if there was somewhere a coffeeshop. The  only coffee I had googled was unfortunately closed a couple of days for renovation works but luckily we found a souvenir shop that had a  beautiful terrasse on the river and served coffee and hot chocolate. In the meantime André walked back over the bridge and passed the Canadian border again to go and get MIRABELLA. After anchoring in Lubec, André cleared the boat in at the customs. Done! We were back in the US. Thank you Canada for these unforgettable two months.


A pinch of Halifax and beautiful Saint Pierre et Miquelon (Aug/Sep 2021)


We arrived in Halifax late afternoon after a pleasant passage. To our relief we encountered no lobster pots after passing the Canadian border. We decided to have some dinner first and anchored near Mc Nabs Island. A few hours later ARIA arrived too.

We were not sure if we should contact the border control yet or wait until morning but at some point André decided to call them. First they seemed very relaxed and wanted us to come over to the waterfront the next morning but as soon as they realized that we were not US residents they wanted us to come over right away. We told them that we will be there at the waterfront in one hour.

It was about 10 pm when we moored at one of the floating pontoons at the Halifax waterfront. No one showed up… we could watch the people at the waterfront enjoying the night and taking selfies. After endless hours of waiting two officers showed up. They were friendly but determined and explained us that the borders are open for US residents only but of course they would allow us to provision and to wait for a good weather window to move on.

So we prepared for plan B which was sailing to the two small French islands Saint Pierre et Miquelon, southwest of Newfoundland. Like Reunion Island in the previous year the French will save us once again… After the first day, no one checked on us again and we split the provisioning in several tours so that everyone could have a stroll. Karsten had also moved over to the waterfront and as he had a flight ticket to Switzerland they allowed him to stay on the boat and wait for the flight. Lucia had to do a school exam back home. We would meet them again in Halifax in September when hopefully Canada will open his border to Europeans as well.

We left for SPM on Thursday. The wind was perfect but there was a lot of fog. Thick fog was something we had not experienced yet in that way. We were sailing for two days in fog and did not see anything at all. Thanks good we have a radar, otherwise this would have been very scary. Just before St. Pierre the fog lifted and the sun came out. It was a beautiful arriving.

The harbourmaster advised us where to go and took our lines. Right after that he asked us about our Covid tests… because boats with no test would get a 700 Euro fine per person. We still had our pcr tests from the US and as the Canadians did not let us in, we officially came from the US with a short stop (but no entry) in Halifax. Luckily the French do not ask tests for kids younger than 12. So there we were. We could stay at the dock for free and the sailing school was just a few steps away. The harbourmaster explained us that maybe the local television would come the next days as they were always curious about new boats in the harbour. That sounded familiar to us… we all remembered the Réunion news channel very well.

It was Saturday afternoon and we got ready to have a first look around in the village. As we walked past the townhall we heard some noise… people clapping hands… it sounded like some party or festival. We followed the noise and came to a big orange red wall ” le fronton” they call it. There were two teams of two players playing against each other ” la pelote”. It is a game that the Basque people brought to the island. The first settlers were Basque, Norman and Breton fishermen in times when cod fishing was a big industry on this archipel. The flags of the Basque, Britanny and Normandy are still represented in the local SPM flag.

The festival “La fête des basques” had started the beginning of the week and would end on Sunday. These were now the last two days with the finals in the pelote turnament and Basquue folk dances and games. Perfect timing for us to see that part of the local culture. We ate some delicious risotto and basque sweets at a food stall. Of course we would came again on Sunday afternoon to see the games of “force des basques” and the final of the pelote turnament. It was great fun! Several teams played against each other to proof their skills in sawing a tree stump, throwing hay stacks over a high line or carrying heavy jerrycans as long as possible and so on. The whole village seemed to be there to cheer the teams. What a great event and fun beginning of our stay in St. Pierre.

On Monday morning the television team came to ask for an interview and it was broadcasted the same day in the evening journal. Two days later we had a friendly visit of Emilie. She had seen us on television and was curious to see the boat. Her daughter Lilia was 5 years old and went to the sailing course for the small kids. Emiliee’s husband Guillaume worked for the French marine. He had already worked in a lot of different places, like the Caribbean, French Polynesia and before coming to St. Pierre they had lived in La Réunion for three years because of his job. With our love for this beautiful island in common we connected very quickly and arranged to do a picnic together on the weekend.

Amina would have loved to join the same sailing course as Lilia but it was unfortunately fully booked. Where as Jaël was able to join the optimist course Thursday and Friday and the whole following week. But first she had to proof that she can swim… on Wednesday afternoon they took her to the étang where the sail school had their sup and windsurf classes . The water temperature there was a bit warmer than in the sea. The instructor quickly saw that she could swim, so she was welcome to start sail class the following day.

Jaël loved the sailing course. It was the perfect setting anyway. She could jump off our boat and just walk over to the sailing school. The team there was extremly friendly, motivated, well organized and great with the kids. Amina always accompanied Jaël in the morning in order to play with the other kids before the class and towards the end of the class she would hang around there, hoping she would also get a chance to climb up the mast and ring the bell. And she did! They let her climb up too and she was so happy!

After one week, Annika and Thomas from ASTA arrived. We had not met them in Maine as they where always a bit ahead of us but we had been in touch with them on whats app. They had also tried their luck in Halifax but were not let into Canada either. So Saint Pierre et Miquelon was also their Plan B. It was great to see them again.

Our days were filled with boat schooling and exploring the island on beautiful hikes. Blueberry season had already started…. hmmmm… delicious! Some afternoons Jaël and Amina went to the scooter park by themselves and they enjoyed their independence. They even walked to Emelie’s house to play with Lilia one afternoon. Saint Pierre is a very safe place. There is hardly any crime and people don’t even lock their houses.

We felt very at home and had also found our favourite restaurant ” le petit gravier”. It does not look very special from the outside, you can barely notice the restaurant sign, but what a surprise when you made it through the ” tambour”. You will find yourself in a beautiful restaurant with a very nice interieur. They serve French cuisine with a local touch… we can highly recommend!

These “tambours d’entrée”are a typical feature of the houses in St. Pierre. It is a small enclosed porch projecting out into the street. This has the practical effect of allowing everyone to get their wet gear off before going inside. The town of St. Pierre is packed closely around the main harbour in small colourful houses. Most houses date from the first part of the 20th century, after a series of fires destroyed the old 19th century town. St. Pierre had a burst of prosperity in the 1920s, when it was the base for smuggling liquor to the east coast of the US during prohibition. There are even a few houses built from the discarded whisky cases. Since the collapse of the cod fishery SPM largely depends on subsidies from Metropolitan France.

The signs of the ancient cod fishing industry are still very present though. On Île aux Marins, the small island close to the main harbour, there is a beautiful museum built in several historical buildings, where you can learn more about the life on the archipel these times. There is also a group of people “les Zigotos” who would like to preserve the heritage of the traditional fisherboats called “les doris”. Jean-Marc and his friends are happy to welcome people in their small museum and sometimes they have live music and small events at their boatshed. We were invited to go rowing in one of these doris on a afternoon…. not so easy… they could stack these boats on a bigger boat and deployed them at the fishing grounds… that must have been tough work for these brave fishermen to be out there in these small boats in rough weather.

As Miquelon has not many protected anchorages you have to pick a good weather window to go there. We missed that oportunity because of Jaël’s sailing classes. But so we enjoyed St. Pierre even more. On Sunday the 5th September there was a charity childrens play day on the football ground near the scooter park. Jaël and Amina were all excited about it and could not wait.
Lilia and Emilie joined us and it was a great event with a lot of fun games for the children and even pony riding to Amina and Jaël’s delight. Later in the afternoon we met another family from la Réunion. Nicolas, the father had a 3 month job as emergency doctor in the hospital in St. Pierre. After that, in December they were planning to travel from Canada to Central America. They had four kids: the oldest Lola, a bit older than Jaël, then Timothey, who had been in the same sailclass as Jaël, another boy called Mahé, a bit younger than Amina and baby Zoë, the cutest little person you can imagine. Nicolas and Méli invited us for dinner the next evening, which unfortunately also was our last evening in St. Pierre before leaving. We spent a wonderful evening together with and the kids had a great time. Of course everyone was sad to leave our friends in St. Pierre.

We left St. Pierre on Tuesday, 7th of September. Finally the Canadian borders will now open for Europeans. Unfortunately the weather forecast also showed hurricaine Larry making his way up North to Saint Pierre and Newfoundland… The plan was to sail to Fortune, which was only a 20 nm trip, clear into Canada their and then sail West to the South coast of Newfoundland. We were planning to hide deep into a river fjord. There we should at least be protected from waves and swell.

Thank you to all the friendly people we met in Saint Pierre, especially Emilie, Guillaume and Lilia. We enjoyed our time on this beautiful and very special place on earth and will keep wonderful memories.



Caribbean to Azores in March/April (2022) – how to do it

March/April is very early in the season to sail from the Caribbean to the Azores. We knew that well before we started and yet we had all intention of going this early.
We sold our yacht whilst we were in the Caribbean and had agreed to hand it over to the new owner at the end of June in Italy. We wanted to be in the Mediterranean at the end of April to have as much time as possible in the Med before we finaly say goodbye to our beloved Mirabella.

So we drew up a plan of how to do it early in the season. We would leave the Caribbean in late March and aim more or less directly at Horta. Once we reach the designated ‘waiting’ area we would evaluate the weather forecast and only continue into the ‘High Wind Zone’ if we have a favourable weather forecast. If the forecast is not good enough, we would sail slow or stop.

Key points of our plan to sail across the North Atlantic
Real time screen shot from a friend: Perfectly positioned at the edge of the low. Winds 30kts, gusting 40kts for us. 50-60kts near the Azores.

Why is it more difficult in March/April?

The ideal time to cross from the Caribbean to Europe is in May/June. By then the lows and winterstorms in the North Atlantic are fewer and they don’t go too far south anymore. The Azores high is well estabilshed and keeps the lows up north. Later then June is not ideal cause the Hurrican risk starts to increase.

We split our voyage into three different stages.
1) Leaving the tradewind belt
2) Crossing the center of the high
3) Sailing east north of 30N

Tradewind belt

The first part was no problem but maybe a bit uncomfortable. To leave the trade wind belt we had to sail close hauled against the trade winds and a substantial swell. We found a window where it only took us 36 hours to get out of the tradewinds. It was managable.

Crossing the high

This wasn’t a real big deal either. Luckily Mirabella doesn’t need much wind to move. Once we left the tradewind belt the winds got lighter and we unreefed the sails and switched to the code zero. We managed to sail most of it but for two periods of about 24hours we needed the engine to continue.

Amina, 6, goes for a swim in calm seas


We play Monopoly whilst motoring through the center of the high


Sailing east north of 30N

Here it started to get interesting. There is a real risk of strong lows tracking across the Atlantic north of 30N. In Winter and well into spring this risk is significantly higher then later in summer.
When one starts in the caribbean, this sailing area is 1000nm and more away. This means there is no real forecast for this area when you leave the caribbean.
Our strategy was to cross the tradewind belt and the center of the high and then decide based on the latest forecast if we shall continue. Before we left I defined that we only cross 32N/40W when we have a acceptable forecast all the way to Horta.

The front arrives, with rain as always

How did it work out?

When we were about 1500nm away from Horta the first forecasts started to indicate that a very powerfull low was about to cross our path. We kept sailing for another two days until we got further clarity about this low. Once it was reasonably certain that the low will come with very strong winds (50kts wind, gusts more then 65kts) we slowed down and ultimately stopped for 3 days. It was very awkward to heave-to in the middle of the Atlanic, 1000nm from anywhere. We did not want to cross 32N 41W before the center of the low had passed.

The kids are hiding below whilst it is blowing hard outside

This strategy worked out perfectly. We kept enough south to avoid the very strong winds and started sailing as soon as the front was near. We experienced 30kts wind with gusts just below 40kts. Strong winds for sure, but nothing dangerous. Without stopping we would have seen 50+kts.

Thanks to todays satellite communication and weather forecasting we have great possibilties of planning and executing save ocean crossings even early in the season. The key is to understand the weather pattern before departure and draw up an action plan for the different possible forecasts.

Hiking in the Azore. Beautiful!

New York to Maine (June-August 2021)

We arrived in Manhasset Bay in the afternoon. It was a beautiful evening and we wanted to meet on land for dinner together with ARIA and LITTLE CLOUD. Andrew and Michelle were already waiting for a table and after a while we got the most beautiful table on the pontoon…. of course the prizes were outstanding too but it is not very often that we go to fancy restaurants and this setting was simply perfect.

The following day we did some provisioning and Little Cloud left already. We were planning to meet them again on Block Island. And we did. Block Island is a place we can highly recommend. It is a peaceful small island with about a 1000 inhabitants, accessible by ferry or private boat. Very close to the dinghy dock there is a bicycle rental place where we could rent a tag along for Amina and a bicycles for André, Jaël and me. We cycled first to the North Lighthouse where we caught up with Little Cloud then had pizza for lunch ) a nice garden restaurant. After lunch we cycled all the way South to see the impressive Mohegan Bluffs. What a great day we had! We all loved it! The following day we wanted to check out the local library with Jaël and Amina. Luca and Lucia joined. As soon as we had arrived in the library, Amina was completely over the moon… the library had an incredible play corner for kids of her age including a diner with a lot of accesories. It was very difficult to get Amina out of the library again. The bar was set high from then on. We visited a couple of libraries since then but the one on Block Island remained Amina’s favourite.

After Block Island the three boats had different plans. LITTLE CLOUD was heading to Boston to visit Michelles family, ARIA wanted to see Newport and we planned to go through the Cape Cod canal and then visit Provincetown. We promised to meet again in Portland.

Provincetown once was known for it’s fishing and whaling industry but now is a colourful holiday destination of the gay and lesbian scene. In the 80ies it was one of the first communities where AIDS patients were treated with humanity and respect. Today you find rainbow flags everywhere and people of every kind living together in peace.

There is a beautiful causeway to walk over to the Wood End Lighthouse and there is a great library very close to the dinghy dock too. It looks like a church from the outside and as soon as you are inside you understand why the building is constructed this way. There is a half-scale replica of the “Rose Dorothea” schooner on the first floor. In August 1907 a cup was offered by Sir Thomas Lipton for a Fisherman’s Race in Massachusetts Bay. Two of the competing schooners were from Provincetown. Despite loosing her fore-topmast in the final leg of the race, the Rose Dorothea won the race and brought the cup to Provincetown. In 1977, as a tribute to the great fishing schooner, construction began in the Heritage Museum, now the Provincetown Public Library.

We enjoyed our days in Provincetown and headed towards Portland as soon as the wind was in our favour. We wanted to pick up our new Lithium batteries. André had ordered them when we were in New York. Our old batteries did not perform very well anymore and it was time to make the move to Lithium. Coming closer to Portland we slowly understood what everyone was saying about Maine and lobster pots… there were already some around Cape Cod but there were definitely more and more towards Portland.

We anchored behind the buoys of Handy Boat and the Portland Yacht Club in Falmouth. Later in the afternoon it was getting very busy around us…. We were in the first row for the Thursday race. The starting point was set very close to our boat. It was great to watch the yachts trying to get the best starting position. There was a blue x-yacht named PHOENIX that of course caught our eyes. 

André picked up the batteries and got rid of the old heavy ones with Karsten’s help. I left the boat on Saturday, 19th of June to meet my 18 year old “godchild” Leyla. After 3 months in Hawaii she was on her way home to Switzerland and we arranged to meet in New York. Meanwhile André was going to install the new batteries. Unfortunately there was some sort of stomach flu going around, which was bad timing… Karsten had got it first and then passed it to his kids. While André was installing the batteries Amina and Jaël had been playing with Luca and Lucia on ARIA so Amina got it Saturday! A day later Jaël got it as well.
Luckily André did not join the flu party this time. There was not a lot I could do for them as I was already in New York when it all started. But I felt very sorry for André for having to deal with two sick girls in addition to the installation of the new batteries. 

It was great to be back in New York. Another two and a half days to explore this incredible city. Saturday afternoon Xiaolei picked me up at the airport. After a city stroll through Central Park and 5th avenue we went for dinner and I could stay in her Air B&B. On Sunday I met Leyla for breakfast in Bryant Park. So fantastic to see her here and explore New York together. After breakfast we left the luggage at the U Hotel 5th Avenue, just two blocks away from the Empire State building. We grabbed a citibike and started our incredible city duathlon. We cycled all the way to Brooklyn, explored the Dumbo area and then cycled and walked all the way back up to the Lincoln Center, had dinner in the Hell’s Kitchen area and walked back to the hotel with a short stopover at Times Square. What a day! Don’t know how many kilometers we had made but it was a lot… we were very tired but very happy! Our flights were both on Monday evening, so we still had most of the day. After a delicious breakfast at the Hudson river we cycled all the way up to 79th Street boat basin and then headed to Central Park. It was a very hot day so we took it a bit slower. After an ice cream stop at Rockefeller Center we walked back to the hotel to get our luggage. We finished our city adventure at Bryant Park, where we had started the day before and then took the metro to Jamaica. These were unforgettable days and I was very glad that I took the opportunity.

When I got back to the Portland Yacht Club it was already about 11pm and the kids were asleep. André picked me up with the dinghy. He had done an incredible job! The batteries were installed and working! Amina had already recovered from the flu but Jaël was still very weak.

On Thursday I went ashore to do some laundry. When André came to pick me up we saw the X-Yacht PHOENIX at the dock. They were picking up crew for the Thursday race again. We walked over and started chatting with them. A very friendly couple, Sean and Kim owned the boat and they invited us to race with them on PHOENIX next Thursday. Doing regattas with Mirabella in Tonga had been a lot of fun but of course you are not pushing the limits when you are racing with your floating home. It is like racing with the breaks on, so we were looking forward to the next Thursday race.
But before, we moved to Yarmouth which was where Andrew’s brother Stephen lived. He had invited us for a real Maine lobster bake and we were all excited about that. Stephen had already prepared the fire at the beach. On top of it he placed an eternit plate and a thick bed of seaweed. On that he put a cheesecloth. On top of that cloth followed first potatoes then lobsters, onions, wet corn cobs, a whole package of eggs, clams and even sausages in a net. He covered all that with a second cheesecloth and covered everything with seaweed again and aluminium foil. So basically the lobster and all the other ingredients get steamed in this package.

When everything was cooked long enough Stephen carefully opened the package and put everything in a wheelbarrow to bring it up to his garden. Before we had quickly built up a party tent with the help of everyone as it had begun to rain. It was a delicious meal in wonderful company. We felt very blessed to be so welcomed by Andrew’s family.

The Thursday race of the following week was moved to Wednesday but then cancelled because of thunderstorms. They rescheduled it for Thursday and André and me were all excited to race with Sean and Kim on PHOENIX with their racing crew but unfortunately there was no wind at all and the race got finally cancelled again. Kim spoiled us with heavenly delicious charcuterie and cheese and we spent a nice evening together with them and their friends. Jaël and Amina were on ARIA in the meantime.

Stephen invited us for the 4th of July parade in his neighbourhood. The color code for the parade was red and blue of course, and after a little brainstorming for ideas together with ARIA we decided to do paint some special T-Shirts. Kim (from PHOENIX) was so kind to drive me to Walmart and some other stores, where I found everything that we needed. We had great fun on ARIA to create our T-Shirts and the result of our efforts was amazing. It was a rainy morning in Yarmouth on the 4th of July, but we made the best of it and were by far the most colorful group. Even our foul weather clothing matched the colour code. Stephen and David had organized coffee with spirit, hot chocolate and donuts. It was a beautiful get together. A neighbour invited us to a live music concert in his barn in the afternoon and we promised to come. Back at Stephen’s place we had a delicious potluck (means: a meal or party to which each of the guests contributes a dish) in his garage. Stephen and David grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, Betsy (Andrew and Stephen’ s sister) brought a delicious salad and garlic bread, we brought focaccia, guacamole, rillette de thon and a chocolate cake it was simply a delicious lunch in great company. In the afternoon we walked over to the neighbour’s barn and enjoyed the live music. It felt so good to dance again and listen to live music after all this lock down period. What a great 4th of July!

We moved over to Falmouth again to invite Kim and Sean for dinner on Mirabella before leaving. They gave us a lot of useful informations and tips where to find the best anchorages and nicest places. We promised to visit them again on our way back South in autumn. Uups… yes I think I forgot to mention that…. we had changed our plan again when we were in New York! Plans of sailors are written in the sand… we had proofed that saying multiple times… As the plan of returning to Europe over Greenland and Norway had become more concrete we realized that coming home in October might not be the best timing for a new start… so we decided to do a Northern loop in summer, then sail back to the Caribbean in autumn and then do an early crossing to Europe end of March beginning of April. So we would be back May/ June.

On the 10th of July we left all these nice people in the Portland area with a firm promise to visit them on our way back South again. With all these islands and bays you have to plan your routing well, as you do not make as much progress. After a ?? mile passage which took us almost the whole day we arrived in “The basin” a beautifully remote anchorage with 360° protection as the entrance is very narrow and with a 90° turn. We went on a beautiful hike there, the Mika trail. The forecast for the next days was not brilliant so we decided to sail to Boothbay, a beautiful coastal town with a nice historic walk to do. That would also be fun when the weather is not so sunny. Stephen and David came up to Boothbay to join LITTLE CLOUD for a short weekend trip and we enjoyed pizza together in a small restaurant in town.

We headed on to Camden, another beautiful town situated in Penobscot Bay, the sailing mekka of Maine. The scenery of Penobscot Bay is stunning indeed and Camden has a fantastic library (to the great delight of the kids) and a few nice coffees, restaurants and breweries. We did a great hike on Mount Megunticook and Xiaolei, Michelle and me did a beautiful hike in the Beech Hill Preserve with lots of blueberries!!! One afternoon we went on land and decided to do a small apero in the public park. Jaël and Amina started playing with two other kids about their age. They were playing so well together that it would have been a shame to stop them. We walked over to their parents and asked if they would be ok with pizza for dinner in the park. It was the beginning of another beautiful friendship. Ned and Kristin told us that they seriously thought about buying a boat and go sailing with their kids like we do. What a funny coincidence that we met them here in this small public park. They came to Camden every summer for camping holidays. Their daughter Sophia was the same age as Jaël and their son was the same age as Amina. They normally lived in Cape Cod. We spent a wonderful evening together and invited them to Mirabella for lasagne and tiramisu on Sunday before they had to head back to Cape Cod. The kids got along perfectly well and we promised to visit them in Cape Cod on our way back South.

We moved on to Rockland  which was just a few miles South of Camden. We were a bit disappointed by the village itself as it appeared a bit run down. Maybe some businesses also had to shot down because of covid 19. There was a nice causeway to the lighthouse though which we explored together with Michelle and Cortland. 

The Fox Island Thoroughfare was a passage that everyone in Portland had highly recommended to us and it truly was one of the most beautiful sailing days we ever had on Mirabella. The sailing in this breathtaking scenery was simply magic and I will want to go back there probably for the rest of my life.  After the beautiful passage we sailed on and passed Stonington. There we realized that the impossible is possible which means you can even put more lobster traps than we thought are possible. We could hardly pass with our boat without touching one and of course did not want to put the engine on. Many of our friends had already had lobster pots around their propeller and we were not keen on making the same experience. The last few miles to the anchorage was a real challenge as we had to pass narrow passages (with lobster pots and changing winds). But we finally made it and anchored in a spectacular beautiful scenery just off a small inhabited island called “Hells half acre”. We dinghyed over to Stonington, a beautiful small town with (another) fantastic library. They had an art program going on where kids could paint a square canvas tile to decorate the walls of the library. What a great idea! This was an excellent Saturday morning program! On an other day we planned a beach BBQ and Jaël and Amina collected wood.

Will, a good friend of Andrew was there with his boat as well and they invited LITTLE CLOUD and us for dinner on their beautiful boat. Andrew and Michelle moved to Deer Isle the next day as Andrew’s sister Betsy was there on holiday. We would have loved to see Betsy again but also wanted to enjoy this beautiful anchorage as it was exactly what we imagined of picture postcard Maine. We still would see Betsy on our way South in autumn.

On Saturday we dinghyed over to Stonington, a beautiful small town with (another) fantastic library. They had an art program going on where kids could paint a square canvas tile to decorate the walls of the library. What a great thing to do! This was an excellent Saturday morning program. In the afternoon we were planning to do a beach BBQ on the small uninhabited island. We brought Jaël and Amina over a little earlier to collect wood while André and me wanted to paddle around the island with the kayak. We invited ARIA too. It became the best BBQ ever! Karsten had brought potatoes but had no aluminium foil. We were just thinking what to do, when Luca suddenly found a thin stone plate. Perfect! We cut the potatoes in thin slices and put them on the stone plate with garlic butter! Delicious! As Luca found another stone plate we decided to grill also the pork tenderloin on the stone plate! It was simply delicious!!! We really loved this anchorage and this definitely was hard to top….

But Maine has many beautiful places to offer. Our next stop, Mount Desert Island, was clearly another highlight of our sailing adventure. We first anchored outside Northeast Harbour. Not the best anchorage as it can be a bit rolly but Northeast Harbour is a charming little town that should not be missed. It is also a very good starting point to get to the carriage roads.

John D. Rockefeller wanted to travel on motorfree byways via horse and carriage into the heart of Mount Desert Island. His construction efforts from 1913 to 1940 resulted in roads that preserve the line of hillsides and save trees, align with the contours of the lands, and take advantage of scenic views. Today , carriage roads have multiple-user groups as they did in the past. Pedestrians, bicyclists and horse-drawn carriages share the beauty of these auto-free roads across the park.

We rented bicycles and made a tour up to the beautiful Jordan Pond, where we had picnic. It was like paradise… the scenery reminded me a lot of the Engadin area in Switzerland. The smell of the pine trees is divine and we loved the blueberries that we found everywhere. I even found a few chanterelles and made a sauce with them later. At some point we bumped into LITTLE CLOUD and ARIA. We had left Northeast Harbour at different times and we had great fun to cycle back all together to Northeast Harbour. It was such a great day, we loved it!! Another afternoon we did a great hike through the woods and ended up in the beautiful Thuya Garden. The woods in Mount Desert are magic. Like out of a fairy tale with lots of green moss, all kind of mushrooms and this heavenly smell of the pine trees. A little bit down the path from the Thuya Garden there was a perfect spot that Andrew and Michelle suggested for a small apero with snacks. All the “three down east musketeers” joined, which means ARIA, LITTLE CLOUD and MIRABELLA. 

Northeast Harbour is beautiful,  but as I already said the anchorage is not the best. Anyway we wanted to explore also the area of Southwest Harbour and especially Somes Sound. Somes Sound is a huge fjord. It is so long that it almost splits the whole island of Mount Desert apart. The anchorage Valley cove looked perfect. A very picturesque spot indeed. From the small beach you could even access the hiking trail. We did a great hike  there getting on the top of Acadia Mountain and then descending down to lake Echo on the other side. Blueberries everywhere on the hike and a refreshing swim in lake Echo made it a perfect day. Being in Maine with its beautiful forests felt so much like home. It made me realize how much I missed hiking in a cooler clima. The tropics are beautiful but for hiking the North is much better. This clima was simply perfect.

We stayed a while in the valley cove anchorage and visited the town Southwest Harbour with the dinghy. We were just about to move to Bar Harbour when a new boat anchored next to us. It was a family from Cape Cod with one girl and two boys. The girl was a little bit older and the boys seemed to be about the age of Jael and Amina. They were on their summer holiday with their sailing boat. The children got along very well and played for hours at the small little beach. They were building two huts and wanted to have dinner there by themselves. They even wanted to sleep there but unfortunately there was rain forecasted so they had to come back to the boat at some point. A fox came out in the dawn and watched the kids playing from a secure distance… Children connect so quickly with each other and nature is their best playground. It offers so many tools and leaves so much room for imagination and creativity. They fell into their beds tired and very happy full of excitement about their adventurous day with their new friends. Ed and Alison wanted to start their way back towards Cape Cod while we wanted to move to Bar Harbour to meet LITTLE CLOUD and ARIA again. We promised to visit them in Cape Cod on our way back South…

Our three months US visa was expiring beginning of August. Canada was opening its border for US citizens and as we had spent the last three months in the US we felt more US citizen like than anything else so we wanted to try our luck if they would let us in. But first of all we had to get a Covid PCR Test and that was not possible on Mount Desert Island. From Bar Harbor there was a public bus to Ellsworth where we could get a test. That plan worked out very nicely. After being told the price of one test (160$ per person) we decided that we do not get the kids tested… that would cost a fortune to get the four of us tested! Back in Bar Harbour we had to say goodbye to Andrew, Michelle and Cortland. They of course had no urgent need to leave the US and had way better cards to get into Canada as they were real US citizens. So we did not really know if and when we would see each other again. But somehow we hoped to see each other either in Canada or back in Portland, when we sail South again. It had been so much fun to cruise together with them.

We had enjoyed Maine and we would have loved to spend more time there. We can highly recommend it as a cruising area. It offers so many beautiful anchorages and great sailing ( just mind the lobster pots) But most of all we met some of the most welcoming and most friendly people there and we will keep so many beautiful memories in our hearts.














New York (May/June 2021)

It was a good crossing but not very pleasant. There were a lot of lightnings around us when we crossed the gulf stream… lucky enough the kids were asleep, so they did not notice the tense atmosphere. On Amina’s birthday on the 16th of May we were still on passage, but had luckily passed the worst. We were not yet in the mood for celebrating with cake and candles but I managed to bake some quick cinnamon rolls and many dolphins were swimming with Mirabella as if they came to cheer Amina. We promised her a nice birthday lemon cake after our arrival in New York.

On the 17th of May afternoon we could see the Verrazzano Bridge and Manhattan Skyline in a distance. We were all very excited. The one and only time I had been in New York was a long time ago. I remember that we did a boat cruise around Manhattan on my 16th birthday. I took so many pictures of the skyline with the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and now, more than three decades later, I was here again with my own family on our own boat. Tragically, as we all know the Twin Towers are not there anymore… but the skyline is still as breathtaking as I had it in my memory.  By the time we had passed under the bridge and arrived in front of Manhattan Island it was already early evening. We anchored next to the Statue of Liberty and enjoyed the moment of the arrival in such a unique place.  It is permitted to anchor there but of course it is not a very quiet anchorage because of all the traffic around there… ferrys, daysailors, sightseeing boats, commercial boats, helicopters and so on… a very busy area of course. But for one night I think it is a must if you sail to New York. Just to have the excitement of waking up with the skyline view to one side and the Statue of Liberty to the other. We thoroughly enjoyed this arrival. Another epic moment on our journey we will never forget.

We continued our way up the Hudson river the next morning. There is a small marina called 79th Street Boat Basin. They have buoys only for smaller boats, but after the buoy zone you can anchor.  You pay a daily charge for using the dinghy dock of the marina but still this is the best and cheapest option you have when you want to explore the city.  There are also showers, a washing machine and a dryer you can use. So perfect for cruisers like us. We arrived exactly on the right time in New York. It was middle of May, covid restrictions got lifted, businesses started to open again and the weather was just perfect to visit the city and thanks to covid-19 almost no tourists around.

Not many boat anchored in the Hudson river. At the beginning it was just us, then ARIA and one or two days later there was a blue boat called ASTA. I met Annika and Thomas, a nice Swedish couple, when I was doing laundry. Funny enough we found out that we had some friends in common. They had cruised together with VILJA in 2020, a Norwegian family boat we had met in New Zealand 2019. VILJA had inspired us to take the Northern route to Europe. They had returned this way back home to Norway in the previous year. The sailing world is really small…. After a nice chat we exchanged contacts to stay in touch. Their plan was to sail up the American East coast and wait for Canada’s borders to open.

We really enjoyed exploring the city. New York offers so much – impossible to get bored.  Jaël and Amina loved  strolling around in Central Park. We rented some bicycles one day and Jaël and André did the big loop in Central park while I walked with Amina doing a few of the shorter loops. She improved with every round and at the end I had to run to keep up with her. Together with Karsten, Lucia and Luca we explored the High Line, an elevated linear park, greenway and rail trail created on a former New York Central Railroad spur on the west side of Manhattan. It leads from the Meatpacking District through Chelsea to Hudson Yards with it’s extraordinary centerpiece “The vessel”. It had 154 interconnected staircases totaling around 2500 steps but it was not yet open to the public. We rounded off this beautiful day of with a delicious meal in a good Italian restaurant.

A few days later a catamaran with American flag arrived. A family from Park City, Utah with a 12 year old boy arrived. They had just started their sailing season and planned to cruise up to Maine. Andrew, the captain, grew up in Portland and Michelle was originally from Boston. They were planning to visit their families in Boston and Portland. Jaël and Amina hit it off with their son Cortland straight away. So with ARIA and LITTLE CLOUD we were already three boats heading towards Maine. ASTA had already left by that time.

We were not yet ready to leave this fascinating city. In addition we also wanted to get a second shot covid-19 vaccination. Jaël and Amina could stay with Cortland on their boat and André and me tried our luck in the vaccination center in the Museum of Natural history which was in easy walking distance.  We had our vaccination cards from Antigua with us, proof of our Astra Zeneca first shot. But we were not lucky… they refused to mix the vaccine from different manufacturers. So they would neither give us a Pfizer 2nd shot nor a Johnson & Johnson single shot vaccine. We left the center and changed our plan… we walked to the vaccination center on Times Square and said we have no vaccine yet. We asked for the Johnson & Johnson single shot vaccine to be fully vaccinated afterwards and everything worked out perfectly fine. We were happy to be fully vaccinated now. This will make our ongoing travels much easier.

On a rainy day we explored the Vessel together with LITTLE CLOUD. It was open now and they gave away a certain amount of free tickets on the internet. We were very lucky to get some of them. It was a lot of fun to explore that unique building. We continued on the High Line towards the “Little Island” at Pier 55. This is an artificial island park in the Hudson river. We had passed it on our way to our anchorage and were wondering how it looked like from land. It has several stages for theater or music performances.  I am sure it will be very popular in summer time.


On June 6th we left our anchorage towards the Statue of Liberty again. We stopped on the fuel dock of Liberty Landing Marina and anchored next to the Statue of Liberty again. The plan was to wait there for the current to turn in East River. Our plan was to anchor in Manhasset Bay for the night. It was a great sightseeing tour around Manhattan Island up the East river. We passed the iconic Brooklyn Bridge and felt very lucky to have our very own private Sightseeing Tour on Mirabella. Bye bye New York, city that never sleeps… we will come again one day!




Bermuda April 2021


Our arrival in Bermuda went very smooth, although we arrived at night. They are very well organized and talk to you on VHF so loud and clear and in perfectly spoken English that you exactly know what to do and where to go. On most places you have to deal with bad VHF quality and broken English or dialects that are difficult to understand in a place you are not familiar with. In Bermuda there is someone on duty 24 hours. The port authorities checked our documents, the Travel Authorization. They let us stay at the customs dock for the rest of the night and next morning we had to move over and tie up alongside the harbour wall. We just had to wait until health authorities were in the harbour to do our Covid test.

We got our test and a red wristband and were advised that we will be tested again on day 4, day 8 and day 14, if we do not leave until then. Whatever… for us Bermuda was more a functional stop as we wanted to get an appointment at the US embassy to get our US visas. Bad luck though as Bermuda just went into a lock down, shortly after we had left Antigua. So the embassy was closed and it was not clear yet when they would open again… Earliest appointments would be more likely end of May, beginning ofJune….

ARIA had arrived too and we discussed what we should do. André did a lot of research and found a solution, we could apply the ESTA visa. He described the process in detail in a seperate post you can read. It seemed to be our best option so Karsten decided to fly to New York with a one night stay to get the visas and we booked a flight to Atlanta with a two nights stay. We were there to watch ARIA while they were away and when they got back they watched MIRABELLA while we where in Atlanta.

Of course there was also time to explore Bermuda before our flights to the US. It is a beautiful island with some of the most pristine beaches we have ever seen. If you are more into hiking, there is also the Bermuda Railway Trail National Park. Spanning the island from end to end, the railway trail follows  an abandoned railbed that winds through tranquil landscapes and along stunning rocky coastlines. This combination and also the very pleasant clima makes Bermuda a great holiday destination. The only downside is the high prize level which is not very cruiser friendly. Even basic groceries are expensive as everything is flown in. There is no agriculture on the island. If you are aware of that, it is really a great destination.

Everything went well with Karstens flight to New York and we were just about to get ready to fly to Atlanta. We had chosen a good anchorage with a lot of room around and we had stayed there already a night to be sure that everything is gonna be fine, as there was quite some wind forecasted for the next day. André just wanted to quickly ask something at the harbour master office about the checking out procedures (when we are back from Atlanta). When they realized we are going to leave the island, they told him that we can not leave the boat unattended at the anchorage. Sometimes it is not good to wake a sleeping dog… if we would have not told them, nobody ever would have noticed that we are not there. But anyway, André came back quite angry and said they want us to move to the harbour wall…. that was just about two hours before we had to leave for the airport… and it was blowing. Not really an easy thing to do…

We lifted the anchor and moved towards the small harbour. The guy from the marina showed us where he wanted us to go. I asked him if he is sure that it is deep enough there…. he said “Yes,  I think so!”  by that time we already felt that Mirabella was touching the ground….this was just no good! I was getting really angry…we just hit the ground a second time. André reversed and the guy from the marina told us to grab the last buoy…the one really close to that shipwreck which lay there grounded. Honestly we trust our anchor more than some buoys, where we do not know how well they are maintained… We grabbed the buoy and I managed to get one eye over the starboard cleet. Before André could help me to get the second eye over the port cleet it snatched! The line of the buoy was torn apart! André ran back to the helm as the wind was blowing us right into that shipwreck. He managed to pull forward just on time and moved to the anchoring area to anchor in a good spot. That was just a lot of unnecessary stress! Not really what we needed before flying out to Atlanta. But except that hustle before leaving everything worked out perfectly. We got our visas, managed to get a PCR Test on time for our flight back to Bermuda and had a great day in the Aquarium of Atlanta.

After our return to Bermuda we got ourselves ready to leave for New York. It will not be an easy passage as we will have to cross the gulf stream. But the reward will be priceless… this will be another ultimate highlight of our trip. Arriving in New York will be just as unforgettable as arriving in Sydney Harbour. We were really looking forward to that, so let’s go!


Circumnavigation as a family completed! – Back in the Carribean, Mar/Apr 2021

It was a very special feeling to be back in the Caribbean. Here we were again after three years…we made it, we circumnavigated the globe as a family…. what a great achievement. It makes you feel proud, thankful and also a bit melancholic. In your head you see again and again the pictures of all these  beautiful places we have been able to visit in the past three years. This is something we will always keep in our hearts. It had never been my goal to circumnavigate and Andre would have never managed to convince me to commit for more than two maybe three years. I committed for two years thinking it might would end up in three years and then we would be back. But at some point, I think it was when we were in Australia, I started thinking it would be nice to bring the boat back to Europe. When we met these other kids boats in Port Moresby all heading to the Mediterranean through the Red Sea I was completely in. As you know our plans changed again afterwards… especially in sailing, plans are very often there to be changed… I am very happy that we did it that way.

Antigua is a beautiful island. Especially Pigeon Point Beach and English harbour are stunning. We wanted to stay one night at the dock at the Antigua Yacht Club to wash down all the salt from the passage but unfortunately there was no running water on the dock. The repairs did not progress as planned so we moved to the anchorage in front of Pigeon Point Beach. There were a lot of turtles and spotted rays around and the snorkelling was beautiful. On the beach there were some nice woodden huts where you could have a picnic. The girls were of course happy when they saw our South African friends of FREEDOM arrive. We had some beautiful days together. Did a wonderful hike up to the Shirley Heights Lookout together and Deirdre and me hiked from Pigeon Point Beach to Nelsons Dockyard one afternoon and afterwards we met Andre, Michael and the three girls for dinner at Flatties Flame Grill. There was still a curfew at 8 pm but for a early dinner it was just fine.

Karsten & family were in Antigua as well. After their sailing week in Thailand they had bought a Lagoon catamaran and named it ARIA. Karsten and Xiaolei were separated now but crossed the Atlantic with the ARC rally in November. Xiaolei was following them since on land. She invited us over for lunch in her Air B&B at Hodges Bay. There was a lot to catch up with and we spent a beautiful day together.

A few days later Karsten, Lucia and Lucia arrived on ARIA as well. It was great to see each other again after a bit more than a year. After Mallorca and Thailand it was the third time we met on our journey but now, for the first time, they were cruising on their own boat. They had made a beautiful Mirabella with crew chocolate cake creation for our circumnavigation and we celebrated on their beautiful spacious boat. With ARIA there was also another kids boat SELKIE. André had been in contact with Nick on social media before and it was great to finally meet them. The curfew was lifted and we had a nice sushi dinner at the Yacht Club with FREEDOM, ARIA, SELKIE and a few other boats from the ARC fleet.

We moved to Green island, a great anchorage on the eastern side of Antigua, very popular for kite surfing. There were not many boats there on our arrival and we managed to get a well protected spot close to the small beach. ARIA was there with us and more and more boats of the ARC fleet followed. It is a perfect spot for a beach fire and many of the cruisers joined. It was a beautiful evening with snake bread and a lot of grilled marshmellows.


André arranged a haul out at North Sound Marina to fix a leaking seacock and in addition we wanted to redo our antifouling. Unfortunately the product we had put on in Reunion was not that good. Already in South Africa where we had a diver cleaning the hull we had a lot more barnacles than you could expect after such a short period. So, we moved to North Sound Marina and hauled out. André was taking care of the leaking seacock, which turned out to be more complicated than we thought and therefore I was in charge of the antifouling. It was a lot of work but also fun. It is good to see the progress of your work and have a beautiful boat at the end. We had completely forgotten that Easter holiday was ahead of us, so we just did not make it on time to splash back into the water before. We did not want to rush and give it enough time to dry. André had rented a car so we could see a bit of the surroundings. We drove to S