Saturday, March 31, 2012

Sailing to Grenada.

A friend of mine said a friend of her said….never ask a sailor the next two things at the same time!  A time and a location….we can only do one at a time! We were on our way to Grenada, and we planned to leave about five in the afternoon, with our South-African friend Margaretha joining us. The to do list kept us busy and all the good byes  took some time….and eventually we departed  just before eleven that night. We missed the Friday with an hour, thank goodness, otherwise me and my superstition of never starting a journey on a Friday was in jeopardy!

Catlyn was behaving like a jealous women!  Somewhere she heard about us sailing away with Andando to New-Zealand, leaving her on the hard.  With the wind up to 22 knots and the swells on the beam, she sailed us with female pride to speed up to 10 plus knots!  She was loaded with 1 000 liters of water, 840 liters of Diesel and I am sure another ton of food and good stuff… .but even with the main in a first reef, she couldn`t resist flirting with us.

Poor Margaretha suffered a bit and came out the next morning slightly pale, but luckily Grenada was on the horizon. 

When she heard the commotion of Joe battling the big Wahoo aboard she peeked out of her cabin.

The beautiful island was awaiting us. We dropped anchor in Prickley Bay, and after a cold drink took the dinghy to Customs and Immigration. It went smoothly with the friendly people on the other side of the table.

We slept so well with the gentle rocking of Catlyn and no noises or black soot like in Trinidad.  The boys enjoyed the warm water, and Marco bundled  us all into the dinghy after we sailed to Grand Anse, south of St Georges.

We were lazy after the margaritas with Margaretha, but it was good to walk the white beach and swam in the clear blue water.  Too soon it was time for Margaretha to fly back to Trinidad, but she will always be a part of us!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Maverick 400 gets out of the dry!

Since I`ve  entered the world of the Big Blue, so much have changed. I always tried to think that the changes were outside of me, but I only found them again inside...

We started our last morning on the hard at Peakes, with an unusual calm, and worked through the to do list step by step. During the last hour we rinsed Catlyn down with her last fresh water for a long time, getting rid of the naughty spots the birds are dropping on us, and I gave the teak a last layer of linseed oil and even they were glowing! We worked through the list of preparations, and everything was ready. Catlyn stood proudly waiting for the monstrous travelift to fetch her. Joe was keeping a careful eye on the last touch of anti- fouling for her tummy, and she was airborne!

Why is it that every time this happens, your breath just gets stuck in your throat? Ian and Lesley and the two girls(Jingles) were anxiously watching them trolleying Catlyn to the water.

I was so excited to set her free in the water where she belongs after six and a half months, but my emotions got the most of me, because I knew that soon the time will come to say good bye to this beloved boat of ours. How is it possible to love a boat so much? It is just a boat! But she`s so much more. Last night when I crawled into my cabin, nestling in her uterus, cradled by her love and falling asleep by her gentle rocking....I decided to make every moment mine for ever, to last me for the days when I will miss her so...

After a lovely dinner with Jingles crew at Zanzibar, we went home, to Catlyn!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Anti-fouling at Peakes!

I am sorry for neglecting you and the blog, but I had a very demanding lady on my case, and she demanded all our attention. We are almost ready to put her back into the water where she belongs, on Tuesday!  The big decision which anti-fouling to choose were done, and we used the Jotun range and decided to keep her elegantly black. The previous anti-fouling was still in quite a good condition, so she is defnitely going to last longer fighting off the barnacles and slime.

Yanmar stood by their product and the saildrive was replaced fully under guarentee. It is going to be awesome with two engines1

That was the two big things on the list, but all the little nigglies kept us busy the rest of the time. I painted all the lockers and cuboards and every hole begging for a clean strip of paint! Some silicone needed to be replaced, and we had time to wash all our lines. They are smelling so good after being in Stasoft for a whole day.

But me made time for fun! Marco, our party planner made sure of that! He enjoyed the company of the two girls on Jingles, the Knysna. Even Joe thrived on female company. Nauti-cat, whom we waved good bye in Saldanha, SA, sailed in here a week ago, and we loved sharing stories with John, Denise and little Natasha.  Martin, one of the leftover crew from Andando,  also popped in for South-African hospitality and good food.

Margaretha entertained us on an evening with the locals 'doubles' a folded dough with ghanna and pepper and a spicy filling, and drove us to the Punch stall with quick energy boosters. peanut punch in a huge polysterene cup mixed with condensed milk and more, and a delicious beetroot and carrot and paw paw punch disguised in more condensed milk! This is going to last me for tomorrows` work on Catlyn!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Catlyn is starting to look like our boat again. There is a shimmer of hope and hopefully soon a shimmer on her deck as well.  It is almost a week that we are busy cleaning and trying to get her livable again. It is amazing how dust and mouldy spores crept into everything. I am so thankful for vinegar. Before we locked her up almost five months ago, I rinsed her down from top to bottom with pure white vinegar, not diluted a bit! And now I wonder, was it the vinegar that stopped the mould from getting their roots into my stuff? Was that why all that was left was their black dead spores leaving a dust all over?

We had to get some food, and went to the West Fall Mall, and the Hi Lo close by.  It was when we were standing at the cash register,  the voice of the girl on the celphone, got my full attention. Afrikaans! My language! I politely waited for her to finish her call, before I left Johan at the till with the shopping, making a new friend. To my utmost surprise she came from my very small birth town! And she was the daughter of my fathers` doctor in this small town! To me she was only the little smiling girl on the doctors` desk in his office! We exchanged phone numbers and promised to get together.

With our heavy shopping bags on our way to the side of the street to get lucky to get a taxi, a car stopped. It was Margaretha, our new friend and she offered to take us to Peakes. Again she left, but this time she invited us to come along to a trip with a group of young people, to the Bat Caves!  The Tamana Caves sounded so exciting, and we couldn`t resist. Sunday morning we will join her on this adventure!

Johan decided to stay with Catlyn keeping an eye on Chris who was doing an excellent job on polishing Catlyn. But maybe bats were not his thing, or maybe he took the opportunity to be all by himself for a change... Nothing could dampen our spirits, not even the rain and thick black clouds gathering.

After quite a long drive with Margaretha, we reached our destination, way up the mountains. By now it was pouring down steadily. I grabbed a long stick for extra support, and I could see all the young people looking at me sideways..".Old lady needs a walking stick already!"   It wasn`t high up the mountain, slipping through the mud with the rain not helping at all, that I saw the young people gathering their own walking sticks! Hmmm, wisdom...!

When we reached the top of the mountain after about an hour and a half, the beautiful view was obscured by some more rain, drenching us, and we knew that what goes up must come down, and down is going to be in the dark!  We slipped and fell and the boys 'mud board' down, until we reached the caves.  It was creepy crawling down this black unknown, and luckily Margaretha remembered to bring some gloves for all of us, not to touch the sides of the caves and get sick. Our small torches were the only light in the darkness, and when your beam hit the roof of the cave, the bats were hanging right above us. There are from five hundred thousand up to three million bats in these caves, and they were all around us! But they were not too bad, at least they were up above and only now and then flying down low, touching my arm softly. I was really hoping that their radar were spot on. The worst was the floor. It was thick and black and moving! Cockroaches, three inches big, and smaller ones and some other crawling things were all over. Our guide, Courtney Rooks, from Paria Tours, very politely told us to rather stay on the ground and not in the water, because he saw a snake the other day in the water. 'Oh no, I'll go for the odd snake in the water, but those big cockroaches all over my feet,' I thought when my feet got soaked.

We crawled through tiny places, with the water running down your neck, over your spine, and I knew the water was mixed with the bat crap! At last we left the clammy darkness and headed down the mountain to the entrance of the caves, watching these nocturnal creatures flying out into the night! Slowly and slippery we made our way down the mountain, with the rain still washing down. By now we were all covered in mud, no dignity left. Every single one of us had a chance to land in the mud. We were thrilled with exhaustion of a wonderful experience. We ended the day in a little stream trying to wash down most of the mud from our clothes and shoes and bodies! Thriller? Thrilling!

Saturday, March 17, 2012


By now you know that Marco is doing boat schooling! I use the program from South-Africa, Brainline. What a sheer pleasure! If I look at my French friends battling to get all the books and work via the old mail system, waiting for packages to arrive in foreign countries, I am so grateful! Although the French education is for free, it is always an issue to get all the paperwork together for the kids to get started.

Because we were travelling around so much this year, it was difficult to give Brainline a fixed address to mail my CD. Marco always receives a CD with all the work for the whole year on it. Exams are done via intenet, and only the Mathematics is a printed paper, that he has to complete and scan and email. What a delight!
I communicated my problem to Brainline, who immediately recognised my problem, and emailed me all the lessons for the term, so he could start with schoolwork straight away.

Every subject is divided into lessons, and it makes it so easy for me and him to do the work. Marco is in gr6 now, and it is wonderful to see him being able to make all his summaries this year.

He will be starting with his exams on the 9th of March, so at this stage, he is studying every morning for about two hours. I am pleased to see the growth in my child, the self discipline and the pride.

If ever you consider homeschooling, please contact me or Brainline!  If you are curious about them and the CD, they will send you a demo CD for your child free of charge!

Still...Marco`s best school, is  still learning from whatever the Universe is bestowing on him! Thank you, thank you, thank you...

Saturday, March 10, 2012

To say or not to say...

I really thought long and hard...and then I decided to write this blog. Half way through California, stopping at fueling stations and restaurants asking people for 'toilets', we met a women in Kingman! After sharing a bottle of wine and laughter and a salmon and some more laughter, the word 'toilet' was mentioned! Oh no! Not that word! Disgusting! How can we even think about using that word? Restroom! Now that is approriate! We realised that the word we are used to is totally taboo, and we understood some of the sideway glances we received.

This women visited South-Africa some time ago, and was stunned to see the big hole our 'restrooms' had. She was hanging on for dear life every time, scared to be swirled down by the huge mouth monster. In California, the restroom has a small mouth, swirling and twirling. And I got frightened when one of the 'restrooms' was sucking with airplane force the moment you stand up. You really have to plan your standing up and sitting down carefully for this motion detector to see or not to see!
I ended up giggling a bit, when I went to the 'restroom' at the Grand Canyon, staring down at a big black hole! I still wonder if there is a place for the long the fancy 'restroom'?

 Ps. And then I met a girl from Indonesia...they call these monsters...CR`s for Comfort Room! I comfortably rest my case!

Renna Matthews mentioned in a comment.

Renna wrote: "Marlene - Timing is right on... as I head back east again, so many things I love about the travel but I packed a scarf to hold over my nose so I can attempt to hold my breath in the "restrooms"  (if you can even call them that there)... no rest there!! Just survival in the Asian "squatters" Terrible!!"

Monday, March 5, 2012

Maverick 400 News

Maverick Yachts, the manufacturer of our beautiful Catamaran Catlyn posted some positive news on their website. Congratulations Rudi and Deslynn !!!. The Maverick 400 Catamaran has won in 2009 and 2010 the Award : Best Sailing Craft (all sizes).

3 Mavericks in Cape Town

Maverick Yachts secures deal with Dutch Investment partner
Wednesday, 29th February 2012

Maverick secures deal with Dutch Investment partner
29 February 2012

Maverick Catamarans have successfully completed an equity deal with a Dutch investment partner. The deal consists of two aspects; investment capital and broadening of the management team. The initial capital injection opens the strategic partnership between Maverick and the Dutch private equity partner, with further capital investments to be made.

Maverick's Founder, Rudi Pretorius

"This strategic partnership opens an exciting new chapter for Maverick Catamarans. After launching the Maverick 400 in 2009, we won the ‘South African Boat of the Year Award' two years in a row yet we have had limited exposure outside of South Africa. Now it is time to showcase our blue water cruising catamaran internationally. Our partner brings fresh capital into the business and also knowledge & experience to enable us to further access global markets and provide a higher level of service internationally.

The Dutch have an amazing maritime history from the days of early exploring and today they remain one of the top boat building nations in the world. We are proud to be working with our Dutch partner and see great benefits in bringing our local manufacturing capabilities to global markets together."

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Maverick 400, our Catlyn!

We are home! After landing in Trinidad, we were shocked when we were told at 'Immigritation' (Johan wanted to rectify my spelling mistake with this new spelling, and I thought it is exactly what it is...Immigri...iritation!!) that we needed new visas again! But we were stubborn, and saw a supervisor and another...and they just pulled up their shoulders. Eventually they realised that we are not prepared to pay the 280US$, and they gave us two days to get to the Immigration at Chaguaramas, to plead our case.

We couldn`t find a taxi big enough to handle all our luggage, but we just gave a guy a big smile and started bundling into his taxi, with the bags on our laps, behind us, under our feet, but everything was in and we were on our way to Catlyn, our Maverick 400 Catamaran that is at Peak Yacht Services.

She stood their high and dry, and oh my word, so dirty! To leave a boat closed up for five months without fresh air, without love and care is not a good thing! We did install an aircon, after friends of ours, Andre and Alison from Yacht Ratcatcher (see their blog)  went over to open her up, but still the mold, the dust the stuffyness was all over her! Our garden survived! Marco was so happy to see the little basil, now a tall stalky one, the avo with its thick trunk and the beautiful palm tree!

It was a scramble just to get our cabins and beds ready and clean for a good night`s rest before the hard work to start the next morning.

Where is room service if you need them?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

South-Beach, Miami.

We had one weekend to make memories to last us for a long time again! We drove to South-Beach, Miami for the day with the three boys bundled into the back of the car, and poor Chai, Jaco`s friend, in a tight corner. It was wonderful to hear the familiar voices, jokes and laughter...three muskateers pulling Chai`s leg all the time. It was windy and grey, and after searching for an hour to find a parking spot, we found one for 20US$ for the day! We enjoyed the energy of all the beach goers, despite the weather on the streets and in the shops, and Joe enjoyed the pretty girls in high heels.

It was the 25th of February and Janlie, our daughter`s born day twenty years ago! It felt a little bit better having one more member of our family with us, while missing her so dearly.

We ended the day, starving, in a Chinese Restaurant with a buffet. Just the right place for four hungry youngsters...oysters, crab, sweet and sour everything and pizza for Marco. And to fill the last bit, ice cream in all the flavors! It was the best Chinese buffet ever. Only the salmon was not as good as Nicks`!

Again the boys slept over in Jaco`s room, and this time Marco didn`t mind sleeping on the clean carpet!

The next day we just lazied around the hotelroom. Very close together on the two king size beds each one was busy with their own thoughts and stuff, already dreading the goodbye.We were impressed with the Best Western, Florida. The complimentary breakfast was good, especially the waffles freshly baked.

'Goodbye Jaco, be happy!'

The rented Ford Taurus was packed, and nearing Miami Airport my stomach was in a knot again. How to get everything on the plane without being noticed? The four heavy bags were checked in at excactly 50lb each! Going through the scanners we tried to look as busy and happy as can be, hoping no one will notice Marco`s shoulders are cut by the weight of his bag. 'Take off your shoes, unpack almost everything in your hand luggage...and we ended up with a train of trays filled with our stuff!'  And on the other side, we had to keep cool and clear to get everything back into our carry on bags again. So far so good! But it had to happen somewhere. Since we left New-Zealand a month ago we succeeded sneaking everything in, but right after handing over our boarding passes, just before a very relieved sigh escaped our lungs, a gentleman, took us aside! 'Too many hand luggage pieces!' But politely he told us, that we can keep everything if we can show him only two pieces per person! He ain`t seen nothing yet! Within seconds four people bend down, huffed and puffed and squeezed.....and two pieces each was presented, although they were bursting and poor Marco battled to keep a straight face, under the weight! Even my favorite bag, my friend Andria bought in Italy, slowly gave way under the weight!

It was with great relieve that we landed in Trinidad, about three hours later...flying over the beautiful ocean, excitement slowly seeping into our bodies...we are going home!