JOE

My New Website (posted 23 Feb '13)

 
My travels have taken me so very far, so far. And the time came for me to say goodbye to my family, for now. For now, I was going on a different adventure, in a different direction. I am going to travel South America and I'm going to do it the Rockstar Pilgrim way! What is this? Well the name of my website is: www.rockstarpilgrim.com and it is all about my spiritual development as well as my travels now and then. You are very welcome to have a look. I would be very plesed if it sparked a match of inspiration in you. After all, it's only a spark that's ever needed.
 
Blessings to all.
 
Love(posted 13 Dec '12)

The beauty of God speaks my name.
The sun comforts me in the womb,
holds me when I cry,
and dances around me when I laugh.

A wave of love washes over me,
relieving me of my box of ideas, rigid and weak.
A voice calls me near, the ghost within, my dear.

In this sea of love I wish to stay.
To see the world with eyes of truth.
To see the tree and the bird for what it is.
And to swim like a salmon with that knowing,
that I shall easily find my way back up the stream to my home.
To build my bird's nest, but know I can always build another.
To fly the world and sing to my sister and brother.

A voice of love can be heard from within,
Is it you, me or is it the wind?

We are a family of light and there is no reason to fight. Let down your hand and let us walk the rainbow of sight.



You Are The Wind(posted 3 Dec '12)

What do you mean, I am the wind? We ask.

Close your eyes dear one, feel the spirit within you. You are a child of the waves and the wind. The leaves and the rock. The air you breathe is not your own, it is the air your earth family breathes. Not only your fellow brothers and sisters in flesh but your brothers and sister of the earth. Of trees, plants, animals and soil. Oh dear one, there is so much you do not yet see. We dance around you, celebrating your every victory and your every defeat. You are the child of the stars, you are the stars. Open your eyes, dear one. We are here.

If I could speak with God, what would he say to me? I ask.

Oh but you can, my dear one, you can each and every moment. You do not need to sit in a cave for a month, you need not meditate for 24 hours. You need only be still and intend to do so. My loving one, I am here. I am listening, laughing, dancing and cheering. My dear one, you are so dear to me, If I could only get one message across to you, just one, it would be this: "You are not alone" Oh you do not even comprehend the totality of my short message. You do not, because you still believe you are separated in some way form the technological device you have before you, from everything you do to everything you see. Your thoughts, your dreams, you're alone it seems. But we jump and we shout all around you. "You are not alone." Even the earth you live on shares this same message with you. It feeds you, shelters you, it keeps you safe and warm. Is this not your true mother? Does your earthly mother not do the same? You are not alone. You are a beaming light that yearns to grow brighter. I tell you, look inside and see me. See you. See us. "Blessed is the man who is not afraid of the love of God." I hold you in my arms even when you think you're alone, my dear one.

Another message I must speak is this: There is no evil. There is no Devil. No Demon. Nothing to fear. There is ONLY you and God. There is ONLY you and me. You are a light on the earth that needs to remember this. Shine your light, radiate into the lands that you know who you are. You are a sun that is here on earth to help others who too have forgotten my voice. Dear one, you are not here on Earth by accident, you chose to be here. You chose it so, and equally so, you have the power to choose to leave. Do you really think death is real? Come now, be still and hear my voice. Death is not real. You are both death and life. Death is but a falling leaf to the ground. It is embraced, welcomed, it is rejoiced as a new beginning. Just like your ancestors rejoiced the beginning of each new season, of each setting of the red and purple sunset. Remember who you are, wake up and breathe for the first time. Feel for the first time, see for the first time. Listen for the very first time. When you eat your breakfast, taste for the first time. And know that each time is the first time. Oh dear one, you think you only have five senses. We love you. We love you. We love you.

Blessed be you in this moment on Earth. You are NOT alone.

And so it is.


Back again I am! (posted 18 Nov '12)

Hello everyone!

As you may have read, the journey upon ocean has washed away, transforming into the rugged and rigid journey upon land.

I woke up one morning, realising I had been sleeping for too long. It was a brief moment in time that has forever changed my life. And with thousands of pixelated black dots forming recognizable patterns on a digitized screen, what we know as words, I shall paint you a picture. A picture of the very moment that forever changed who I was, am and forever shall strive to be.

I hereby share with you a very special journey indeed. And hope that you too, see the lake.

I lay in bed, contemplating what my future had planned for me. Every tick of the clock pulled closer the reality I was soon to face. Yacht Caltyn was officially sold. This was wonderful, but I had absolutely no 'burning light bulb' of an idea of what I was going to do. "I couldn't possibly go back to South Africa. Not yet. I haven't even seen the World yet, even though I've been sailing it for almost 3 years now." My mind was truly rumbling on the 20th day of June. "I must know what I'm going to do with myself. I can't just sit here! I want adventure, and I want to visit my brother, Jaco."

I closed my eyes slowly and watched the very familiar walls of my cabin disappear into an abyss. My mind was peaceful and my body was tired. Not of movement but of stress. "Where will I go? What will I do?" These questions and others roamed my mind perpetually. I observed my questions, seeing them float across my mind was a curious thing to see. These questions were a part of me, but at the same time apart from me. I calmed down and rested in a state of deep relaxation. Some call it meditation, Japa, intention, reflection or awareness. But this was different, even though it began as such.

"Who sees behind these eyes?" My awareness sank deep down and I felt a familiar place unfold around me. I felt it before I saw it, for here, feeling was more dominant than seeing. But nonetheless, colors started to appear. Greens, yellows, reds and a myriad of colors my vocabulary does not even account for. And soon shapes appeared and the colors embraced them, merged with them and I recognised a lake before me. A moving lake, not as you might think, but a movement I have never before witnessed. Or maybe that's just it, maybe I finally remembered it. The water was energy, peaceful in all it's criss crossing. And was able to talk, not that it did but I just knew that it could, should it wish to do so. My knowing was not at all confined to a body. I knew the trees around me and as more features of nature appeared I embraced them in knowing. Knowing that I have missed them so.

And then another beautiful appearance occurred. One so magical that even a river would weep at it's presence. It was a figure as tall as I, a body that was familiar in energy not in form. For I identified the being before me, not by bodily features but in an energetic way. It was Jesus. And it was beautiful. It looked at me and I at it. My very expectations of what Jesus should look like, made it change form so that my eyes would be satisfied. The figure now had long brown hair and a strong, yet purely sensitive face. Strong cheek bones, yet soft eyes. 'It' became a 'he.'

I looked out, over the expanding lake, for it too was transforming shape with every moment. The biggest lake I`ve ever seen, for it extended out into the distance where my eyes could no longer behold. I looked back at Jesus, even though my eyes did not move. With a sea of warm, melting wind, Jesus spoke to me and said; "Pick up a rock and throw it as far as you can." Even though his lips did not move, I heard him with utmost clarity. I bent down and picked up a perfectly shaped pebble. I knew I was pretty good at skipping rocks and was confident the Jesus beside me was going to be impressed. I pulled back my arm, and with a wooosh, I sent the pebble flying over the immediate lake before us. It was to my sad disappointment, that the rock simply sank after two or three sloppy skips. I looked at Jesus, not knowing what to expect. He graciously picked up a pebble beside his feet and I saw him throw the pebble across the entire lake. I watched the pebble disappear not because it was swallowed by the lake, but because the horizon would not allow me to continue to witness this feat. He looked back at me with such loving eyes. "Try again." He said, and I picked up another. Not knowing how I could possibly come close to matching his demonstration. As I picked it up and readied myself, he said, "This time, tell it what you want it to do and allow it to happen." These were magical words, words that weaved it's arms around me and my body. I understood exactly what was said, looked down at the grey pebble and told it I wanted it to skip across the entire lake. "And allow it to happen." The words swam like eager fish through my mind and then my body, all the way down to the hand holding the pebble. I closed my eyes and felt a surge of energy emanate from the very pebble itself. The pebble sent my arm flying and I allowed it to do so, the pebble opened my hand and as I told it, didn't stop skipping. As before, I watched it until I no longer could.

I was embraced by joy, knowing that I did it. I looked into his eyes once more my gaze travelled to his and my heart went with it. I did not need to say it, for he already knew. He knew it before I even thought it. "I love you."

I woke up from a different kind of sleep and was able to recall the entire scene in the richest of detail. Only, I had no idea what all of it meant. My mind could not figure out what Jesus was trying to tell me.

The next morning, I lay in the comfortable hammock outside on the deck of Yacht Catlyn, still puzzled by what happened. And soon I found myself surrounded by the anxiety of the unknown around me. "What was I to do? Where was I to go?" And  thankfully, to my rescue, that was when the voice in my head replied: "Follow your excitement." And I thought, "But what excited me?" "GIRLS! Girls excite me." And that was it. I watched the many yachts around us, swaying side by side with the moving Caribbean blue water, listening to the gentle bashing of rhythmic waves against the shore. When to my utmost surprise a girl came zooming by in a little dinghy, tied it onto the yacht right next to Catlyn and disappeared beneath the deck. "I haven't seen her before." I thought to myself, and almost fell off the hammock when I realised that I had just said that girls excited me and BAM! I hopped into our dinghy and made my way, very excited indeed, to their yacht. I knocked three times onto it's side and heard an answer from within, literally this time. :)

"Come onboard." She said. And so began a fun conversation about many different topics. I had been talking and listening for quite some time, drinking a couple of beers, when two words made their way to my ears and brain that will set me onto a path I would never have imagined. "Appalachian Trail."
My heart skipped a beat at the very mention of it and I excitedly inquired for more detail. She told me it is a lifelong dream of hers to one day hike the Appalachian Trail. She told me it's on the Eastern side of the United States and is more than 2000 miles long. It crosses 14 states and at that moment I could no longer hold my excitement. I greeted and thanked her and hurried back to Catlyn. That night, I was fixated to the computer screen, doing as much research as I possibly could. It looked amazing! Extraordinary! Brilliant! It looked like an adventure like no other! "I shall do it!" I told myself confidently. At that moment I still had no clue how much miles 2000 miles were, let alone how many kilometers even one mile was. I haven't hiked more than 10 miles before and never camped out by myself. Forget camping... Never been by myself! Yet I was going to do it!

The next day I asked my dad how many miles one could walk in a day. "About 25 miles" He said. With no idea how far 25 miles was, I began to work out how long it would take me to cross this distance that was becoming as infinitely bigger possibility in my head. I looked on Google Maps and with profound joy, saw that Jaco wasn't far at all from the Appalachian Trail. I was going to visit my brother! The excitement was flooding me from the inside out. And I loved it!

Training. One website I came across said something about training. I could go jogging! Kayaking! I could... yeah, maybe we should try those two first. A few days passed and I made it to a 'Hash' event on the island of Grenada. It has no association to intoxication, at least not the kind you would imagine at first. Instead, it involves jogging in a large group after a trail of white flour. It was filled with breathless fun. It was only 4 miles long though. But I gave no notice to this. Little did I link the difference between 4 and 25 miles. But it might have been best that way! Here's a bit more on 'hashing:' http://grenadahash.com/index.php

After the very moment of hearing those two magical words, two weeks later, I was on a plane towards change itself. With tears in my eyes and the recently fresh memory of my mom, dad and little Marco fading away into the distance. Much like that pebble. Waving and crying was my last image of them, but I looked ahead, and tried my best imagining what lay ahead. An adventure was what I asked for and it was certainly what I had been given.

The journey unfolds even further, but that is the exciting part. Let me maintain that eagerness by saying, I soon got on that trail, 13:30 on the 9th of July. With many miles before me and moments more to come. It was the Appalachian Trail that changed my life, it shaped me into something more familiar and natural. It was in the middle of the lush and glorious green wilderness that I discovered the true meaning of the message given to me by Jesus. Life itself was given to me, a gift we all need.

Blessings!






The prologue from Richard Bach’s brilliant little book, Illusions:(posted 8 June '12)

Once there lived a village of creatures along the bottom of a great crystal river. The current of the river swept silently over them all–young and old, rich and poor, good and evil, the current going its own way, knowing only its own crystal self.

Each creature in its own manner clung tightly to the twigs and rocks of the river bottom, for clinging was their way of life, and resisting the current what each had learned from birth. But one creature said at last, “I am tired of clinging. Though I cannot see it with my eyes, I trust that the current knows where it is going. I shall let go, and let it take me where it will. Clinging, I shall die of boredom.”

The other creatures laughed and said, “Fool! Let go, and that current you worship will throw you tumbled and smashed across the rocks and you will die quicker than boredom!” But the one heeded them not, and taking a breath did let go, and at once was tumbled and smashed by the current across the rocks.

Yet in time, as the creature refused to cling again, the current lifted him free from the bottom, and he was bruised and hurt no more. And the creatures downstream, to whom he was a stranger, cried, “See a miracle! A creature like ourselves, yet he flies! See the Messiah, come to save us all!” And the one carried in the current said, “I am no more Messiah than you. The river delights to lift us free, if only we dare let go. Our true work is this voyage, this adventure.” But they cried the more, “Savior!” all the while clinging to the rocks, and when they looked again he was gone, and they were left alone making legends of a Savior.


For Fun!(posted 5 June '12)

Stumbled onto this and decided to publish it. Wrote it sometime in 2011 in Atlantic crossing. It was intended to be a song, back then I could play a few chords but my life felt like a dream. Now my entire life turned into a play and I seem to have forgotten the guitar.  Anyway, here it is:

There's a goldfish in my fishbowl.
There's a monkey in my cage.
There's a tiger in my bedroom, and he feels like getting laid. (haha can't believe I wrote that! lol maybe Marco did it :)

There's a giraffe in my chimney.
There's a spider on my roof.
There's a tuna in my bathtub, and he needs a damn good rub.

There's a buffel... oh uhm, in my kitchen.
There's a zebra on the floor.
There's a penguin in my freezer, and he shouts "I wanna please her!" (lol)

There's a snake in my closet.
There's a cow under my rug.
There's a whale in the sea, it was too big for my pool!

When life gets you dull... Think of something funny! Writing it down is even better cause then when you come across it again way later... You can laugh some more.



Colours of the New Rainbow -

a Short Story(posted 25 May '12)

With my eyes closed and heart now racing, I find myself in a familiar place.
From within me comes the urge to start pacing. A wave of nausea stirs deep in my belly. I feel its effect strongly as it pushes from the heart of my being: energy dormant in past but alive in present. This mutating force climbs up my spine, bringing with it a sense of purpose. Flashing images of my creation appear before me as I extend my sight. “What do you want this time?” Asks the voice. I ponder on clouds of endless possibility for a long time, comprehending the implications of my answer. “You know I love you right? But I desire that which exceeds your grasp. Beyond your mountains, I wish to build my house.” “My child, you do realize that…” “I’m not done yet! I want to experience a reality where sun and moon aren’t one, where blood and water don’t mix. A world where rules restrict my inhaling breath and laws bind me to the flesh. I want to have no knowing of you, for I want to be free.”

“Is this what you truly want?”

“It is.”
Are you sure?”

“I am.”
“Then it is so.” And without a warning or a sign, I left the presence of divine. I became a small voice and nothing more, “It worked!” I thought to myself. “It’s amazing, it worked!” I continued excitedly. Standing on the edge of a star, looking out into the distant space where time is still afar.
“You are not yet there.” Said a voice from behind. The voice then pushed me effortlessly over the edge of my comfort, I would not be feeling again anytime soon. And as I fell, the voice started counting, introducing me to the rhythms of time.
“Ten!”

"Nine!” And with that strange word, I felt a terrible force separating myself from myself.
“Eight!”
“Seven!” As I kept falling, the part of myself now above me screamed with longing but not with pain.
“Six!”
“Five!” I could no longer see above me and could no longer hear the part of myself higher than me… My Higher Self.
“Four!”
“Three!” Falling faster now, I didn’t know where was up and where was down. Lost in the vastness of this new self of mine.

“Two!”
“One… Ready or not here I come!” I yell with all my might, but my ears testify only to hearing sounds of weeping and crying.

I have been a butterfly once before and it is this I seem to ignore. Biting hard on the green leaves of life, my many legs confirm me as a caterpillar. All day long, I eat… “I can now choose to do as I please, I am free!” I thought to myself. “I can go eat that leaf or that one over there. And if I get tired of that, I can always go taste that brownish one down there.”  

As time passed and the days grew shorter, I started getting tired of eating these leaves. “Is there not something else out there for me to eat?” I asked the distant rainbow, but received no reply. And not a day later when my mouth was still stuffed, I bumped into another caterpillar, one with many colors, covered in light. He was not eating and his mouth was not full, it made me wonder. “What an odd caterpillar indeed.” And as I took another bite, he interrupted the echoing sounds of my crunching and chewing. “Hey you! Spit out that green and lend me your ears.” I chewed once more but could not stop. I looked at him with bewilderment. “Did you not ask the rainbow for help?” I nodded but could not speak for my mouth, was busy. “Very well, I am a caterpillar from that rainbow and am here to help you. I can speak because one mouthful of rainbow colors has provided me with more than you can imagine. There’s no longer a need for me to eat.” I listened carefully over the continuous sounds of my chomping. “How can I trust you?” I thought. And not a moment later, a glorious light surrounded the strange caterpillar before me. Chewing slower now, I watched the light move, changing into beautiful shapes. In an instant, two large objects soared into the sky, they were moving back and forth in a magnificent way. The light subsided, revealing a creature I have never before seen.  And with tears in my eyes I hear the strange caterpillar say, “I am now a butterfly and these are my wings. Behold beloved one, for you are just like me and can become like I am. Together I can show you the corners of this tree and so much more. If you do as I say, you shall become like me and we will fly towards your rainbow where you will eat for the last time. Your actions now, will determine the fate of all, so hear me carefully. Stop eating the tree, for you are killing it! Change your ways and spit out that green. Become now what you have longed for since your birth.” “Ok,” I thought, “but I need your help.” “That is why I’m here.” Said the butterfly with a smile. I chewed slower now, but still could not stop. I closed my eyes and began counting. Wishing… Hoping….
“One!”
“Two!” “You can do it!” With my eyes still closed, I could still see the butterfly, watching me.
“Three!”
“Four!
“Five!” The leaves inside my mouth started to turn into liquid as I continued to chew.
“Six!”
“Seven!” Almost all the leaves were now dissolved as I swallowed the liquid eagerly.

"Eight!”
“Nine!” And with the last little bit of liquid left in my mouth, I swallowed it with pride.
“Ten!” And I shouted, “Ready or not, here I am!” Opening my eyes for the first time, to the world around me. The leaves I was standing on seemed to glow, the sky seemed to dance and the butterfly started to laugh with joy. “You did it! Now one last thing remains for you to do. Spin a web around your body and do not stop until you sleep.” Somehow, I knew exactly what to do and started immediately. Time stood still and after a while so did I. My cocoon was complete and my eyes fell closed. With my body asleep, my mind started racing. I was beaming through galaxies and universes, no longer bound to a tree. Lights were all around me, smiling and laughing, dancing and singing. I came to a violet star as big as my tree, it was shining in all directions especially towards me. “Hello my friend how was your trip?” Asked the star with a humorous smirk. And without notice it sucked me into it. Joy filled my being and love filled my soul. I embraced the presence of the once lost divine. Simultaneously I emerged from my cocoon and shot into the open air. The very familiar butterfly hovered before me and said, “Well done my brother, let us now truly be free.” And with that an overwhelming feeling of peace accompanied us on our journey towards the rainbow.

Colours of The New Rainbow - I'll add some colour someday!


Journey to the Source(posted 8 May '12)

It started with meditation and spiraled in-to-formation.

Rising into love and spirit, I’m now dancing around Mother Gaia of a beautiful tree.
Holding hands with my kindred spirits as we rejoice life, sing and laugh around Her Earth.
Moving to another part of my mind, I’m walking in a bright green forest.
Lying on Giant tree’s trunk, feeling its energy, sharing its heartbeat and its love.
Intending to remember my connection to God… As all limitation falls away.
Light as a feather, I soar into the sky. Searing upward, through the wind.

As fast as a falcon, I fly toward the heavens, clouds covering the sun. Bursting through the clouds of air, I suddenly halt in exaggerated bliss. I’m entranced by the sun’s voice. It sings with color and shines with song. I face God, “I love you.”
Earth grabs me by the feet as I realize falsely I am lost, even though God is before me.
I fall.
I drop down to emptiness, with no energy to smile.
Here follows my final whisper: “Save me!” “Please save me!” “I have two hands to grab your arm, but have no energy to move!” “Please help me!”
Somewhere within but not without, I feel a remembering without a doubt. “This is a game we always play… You and I. And oh, how I love the part that is to come!”
‘Swoosh!’ As the giant brown eagle picks me up from falling air, catching me with its talons. Puts me on its back. “Hold on.” It says calmly.
I grab its neck, one of comforting softness.
Its feathers cast a spell on my mind. “Thank you. I love you.” “And I, you.” Says the eagle.
And even though our lips don’t move, our minds entangle.Harmonious treasures spill from the touch.
“Are you ready?” I ask. “Yes!” I reply.
Swiftly, we soar down with our wings flat, close to our symphony of beating hearts.

My vision is blurred by a force of fate. A transparent barrier, flat like a plate.
Knowing what is to come. Passing through, I hear the beating drum. With each phase of separation, these windows prevent the self to enter.
My elf moves through, each time lighter, clutching firmly onto my eagle.
These walls of invisible structure come faster and stronger as I get lighter and further, each one holding back a part of me apart from me.
“Last one.” We said in unison. We approached in darkness and left with light as I left myself behind forever.
Exploding with light, we were now bright.
I now did not know where I began, or where I ended.
Not knowing where or what I was, simply remembering that I am.
Flapping my brown wings, I gaze into the son.
Before its yellow brightness, hovered the wings of her glowing dove. 
One of purity and one of love.

I knew its message, I knew it well.
“Follow your heart and do not dwell.”
I blinked one instance and all was gone.
Feeling my-elf once more, re-enter.
I know myS-elf is still out there, chasing its tail within a tale.




























And so I pray for all who read: May you all succeed!


a poem (25 April '12)

                                           I have faith in God - in the Universe - and faith in me

Oh God, thy drums beat within me.
Cascading sounds of resonating silence.
To hear is not to hear, for I hear no drums,
and see no hands beating them.
But with every rhythmic pulsation of my heart, I know it is You.






and another (25 April '12)

Every breath of my soul,
is breathed through God and made whole.

With only a trickle of my dust,
I am here, I am filled with lust.
I am ashamed as I stand before you,
for my company brings no trust.
I pray you help me shake off that which is desire,
to crumble it up and throw in a fire.
And we shall watch it burn not with fear,
but eternal satisfaction, knowing You are here.


Fun in the sun!(29 Jan '12)

I looked down into the bright white light, it seemed to cut my eyes with it’s glittering quality. Bending down, I shovel a large heap of snow into my hands, shaping it into a cannonball. This lump of delight had a purpose, it had a destination, it was flying in the air, it was soaring, exploring, until SMACK! It fulfilled it’s purpose. Marco now had a wet, red and painful face, for I managed to accurately aim for his forehead. This is what life’s about. No life is complete without a snow fight!


What followed was to be even greater. Marco and I had four hours of snowboarding lessons ahead. I was nervous! Not only were we on snow for the first time, we were going to participate in a sport where people break necks, legs, arms, hips,(probably only old people) and toes.(from frost bite, Ouch!) Soon we were strapped in and ready, Marco headed to the kiddie side and I was in heaven… it was either the bright white light or the many, many pretty ladies, because I loved it! Not only were they gorgeous, but they were going to fall… many times! And I was going to be there to… laugh at them! (I bet you thought I was going to say pick them up) Well that’s no fun… Instead they ended up ‘picking me up.’ Now that was fun! Anyway, so in between the falling angels in heaven and the snowboarding lesson, I managed to instantly become a pro. Even the good-looking instructress started eyeing me, and so did I until… BAM! Down goes ‘Pro Joe.’™ Four hours later and we had a total blast! Marco too was doing very well.

I can’t wait for the next time!



Luxury of Living(17 Jan 2012)

2012 is here! And fast becoming the norm...

For half my family and I, (being Marco, mom, dad and I) 2012 has been a time of complete change from the very start. On 30 Dec, we finally arrived in the lovely New Zealand.
On 31 Dec, we celebrated the upcoming New Year that is 2012.
On the first day of 2012, we looked back on a mighty journey of many miles! We could sense that the time has come for something fresh and exciting. We were now ready to embrace life once again on land. Feeling mother earth beneath my large feet. (size 10 and 11 in crocs, now I don't mean to brag but WOW! You know what they say... The grass is always greener on the other side... No, that's not the one... An apple a day... Not that one either... It's not about the outside, it's the inside that... OK, now I'm just depressing myself!... O'yeah, something about foot size... ;) Our daily lives have transformed from constant movement to a complete standstill, from sleeping 6 hours a night to sleeping 11, from eating fish to eating steak, form having to sit while peeing to... you guessed it... Standing victoriously above my victim. No longer will the toilet mock me! From gazing at the breathtaking stars to staring at breathtaking women, from one adventure to another.

I have to mention as my mom states it: the two angels in our lives... Jennifer and Richard. The first time I met them, they already knew my name, they seemed to know me better than I thought! As we talked I found out we were in for a big surprise, and big surprise it was! We were going to stay in what feels like a MANSION. A gift from above this was. I write to you, while rocking back and forth on a black leather lazygirl. TV, hot tub, giant swimming pool, never-ending water supply in the showers, giant kitchen, large green gardens, I;m in heaven on earth! And what do the two lovely angels ask in return? That we enjoy!

I thank them immensely for this wonderful gift and as a small token of our gratitude, I'm designing a website dedicated to their home.(As they intend to sell it) I shall also film a promotional video for the site. The address of Cotlands Lodge: http://www.cotlandslodge.com/ I am however still working on it and will be done within 3 days. Awesome!

PS: 2012 here I come! This is going to be the best year of my life! How 'bout yours?


Expectations(4 Jan 2012)

Hi…

I noticed my last post was in October. By this, I’d assume that I’d need to introduce myself again. I am crew on Catlyn and even Andando at the moment. As of 5 Sept ’11, I am one year older than last year. I like good food, good music and good wine… I’m also a dog person and enjoy long walks on the beach and staring into the sunset… I’m attracted to all women. (Disclaimer: 2 legs, 2 arms, 2 eyes, 2 ears, and 2 boobs are mandatory) Oh hang on! I typed this stuff in the wrong place, it’s actually for my online dating profile at openseadating.com where meeting ‘boatloads’ of women are guaranteed. Oh well…


By the time you read this, we would have finished our ‘little’ sailing expedition from Trinidad to a place called New Zealand… ever heard of it? It’s a small piece of land close to Australia. This is the type of joke we play on Peter, who is under the impression that the All Blacks are somehow better than the Springboks at rugby. This is clearly a reoccurring error taking place in Peter’s brain. Peter by the way is the boat owner of lady Andando, which makes him my boss, so I tread lightly when I say he’s delusional. Sports aside though, he’s a fantastic chap who made a 1034nm leg totally amazing.
As I write this on paper, we are soaring at a speedy 8kts with the wind at 20-25knts. It’s 12:45 in the morning and my turn to do a 3 hour nightshift, and thinking back on our whole sailing journey, there’s a couple of expectations that were either satisfied or horribly unfulfilled. I’d like to mention:


1. I was just telling Peter earlier of my great disappointment of there being hardly, if any, beautiful women in Brazil… Where they were I don’t know, but they were brilliant at hiding.


2. Yes, sipping on a refreshing cocktail on an exotic island with your feet buried in the warm sand and your skin reflecting a hard-earned ‘islander-brown’ tan. Every minute or so a senorita bends down to tenderly feed you the juiciest grapes imaginable and another beauty massaging away at all your stresses from back home… oh and don’t forget about ‘your description of beauty’ stretching slowly in a ‘hard to try yourself’ yoga position a few steps away. All this is fantastic, the problem is actually finding this island and once you do, making sure you contact me on my dating profile! But don’t let me bliss your fire, because I’ve actually experienced this very long description of an expectation… just not at the same time.


3. Coconuts and palm trees are phenomenal!
As I stated previously, the moments where you’re in the most scenic location in the world covered with lush palm trees, drinking coconut juice is amazing. But I gotta tell ya… there’s two sides to that coin if you choose to do it through sailing which is probably eminent in everything you choose to make it a lifestyle. You’d be having the best day imaginable on one of the heavenly places on earth one moment, but guess what… bad things happen there too! One moment you’re relaxing in a hammock and the next you’re in the engine room trying to clear a blocked water inlet pipe… damn little fishies! But once again, it’s the not so great times that make you enjoy the great times… otherwise, within a couple of months, you’d be sick of palm trees, islands, white beaches, coconuts and pretty ladies… ok that last one doesn’t qualify.
So my advice: If you choose to do the whole ‘sailing the world’ thing, be prepared for both sides of that golden coin and ENJOY them both!

Enjoying a cold beer, knowing that it'll pour with rain in minutes
4. And this is big! You’ll be shocked to actually know about the limited supply of fresh and succulent fruit and vegetables on most of the islands. And most of the time, if available, it’s quite expensive. The movies out there really ruin it for everybody! But from now on I won’t be having ANY more expectations.


I wonder what New Zealand’s like? Alright you got me…
PS: Merry Christmas and a happy, happy new year!






Chinese fun!

What is it that makes a nation great? I discovered the answer to this question in a totally unexpected way.


I have always tried to be as time efficient as possible. Seriously! Growing up in a family of five children, everything had an abnormally premature expiration date. Let’s pretend for a second… only a second, that it was possible to relive past experiences. I close my eyes… Everything still feels the same… I slowly open one eye, not knowing what to expect, like a child watching a horror movie. Ahh man… Through one eye, I can still see the very familiar room around me; my guitar, books, dvd’s, laptop, camera and other goodies to keep me busy. Once again I close my eyes. If only there where a big red button to push which will take me into the past. I say to myself before opening my eyes. Wow! Right in front of me, I could see a giant red button, drifting in the air. I lean closer towards it… What’s that on the bottom part? It’s some sort of label. I’m now 10cm away from the tiny writing. Haha… It says ‘Made in China’! That’s ridiculous! They even make floating buttons now? “Well now I have to find out what the hovering button does,” and as I pressed it, a strong force pulled me out of my room. I was flying back in time, but why was I flying backwards? I want to see where I’m going, or better yet, when I’m going. I could see familiar events and situations flashing passed me , from recent times to forgotten times. I couldn’t stop and had no control over my movement.


I increased in speed, struggling to make out what was in my surroundings. I shut my eyes, as I felt the sucking force grow significantly in strength. I want to stop! As I thought this, I halted. Only to feel myself trip and do multiple front-flips, like a giant handsome catapult swinging towards its enemies and then suddenly freezing in motion, sending an object of fury into the air. This was how I felt, a giant handsome catapult. ™ My head was throbbing and my heart pounding, but my eyes where still shut. Where am I? I felt younger and had an anxiousness growing within. I can’t be younger. I lifted my hand towards my face as to feel whether I was at least the same person. Still too frightened to open my eyes, I run my hand over my head. Hair! And lots of it… That’s a good start. Eyebrows, eyes… Bingo! A reasonably sized nose shaped nose with the masculinity of a rhino. That’s me. I felt a wave of relief blow over me. And with that, I opened my eyes… and my mouth fell open.

What have I done? Starring at a familiar room, I recognized all my surroundings. Only, this room wasn’t on Catlyn, it was in South Africa in George. For five years I lived in this house. A wooden home on an enchanting farm called Jura Lands. In that house, I learnt to be time efficient.

We’re five children in the family which means that all items in the fridge, closet, bathroom, living room… and the list goes on… had to be shared with four other children. Our house was like an orphanage with an abnormally large amount of residents. Abnormal indeed… A 2L Coke isn’t made, no isn’t designed to be shared by five children. A TV remote isn’t manufactured to endure the manhandling experienced by five little monsters. A packet of chips cannot withstand the impatient force of ten greedy hands.

This is where I learnt to be time efficient, in a chaotic but amazingly fun home, with everything being shared. If it hadn’t been for my newly learnt skill, I wouldn’t be able to sit in front of the television, watching something uninteresting while sipping on an overfull glass of soda and in between; stuffing my mouth with practically anything I could find in the fridge. I wasn’t thirsty, or hungry, nor was I in the mood for brainless entertainment. But I knew at any moment everything could change. I always thought we had a magical fridge where things would keep vanishing, but soon learnt the culprit wasn’t chanting any Abracadabra’s.


After reliving this fantastic experience, I closed my eyes, gulped down on some soda and opened my eyes. Thank goodness I was back. I was back in the present moment where I had a blog to write. But here was a way of being time efficient that I wasn’t aware of. I now agree with people stating that someday Chinese will rule. I have proof to this hypothesis and the accurate but hilarious reason is;
They have extra special toilet paper.

While normal people use bathrooms to do their business and get out like their lives depended on it, the Chinese use this time to enrich their minds. Sudoku toilet paper is the reason why they will rule the world. No wonder their eyes are soo squinted… They are forced to concentrate and complete the Sudoku while being surrounded by… deadly gases!


So watch out for those crafty eyes. For they will rule the world… Mooohahahaa



Naughty train smash!(posted 17 Sep '11)

Oh no! What’s wrong? Why aren’t we moving?

I shoot upright in my bed, (half of my body beat me to it though) with a worried look on my face. I couldn’t see it of course, but I knew it was there… my face and the worried look. Why is Catlyn so still? I ask myself. In a state of panic, I look outside through my porthole. This has become a reflex reaction whenever I’m worried about Catlyn at night. What!? I’m shocked at what my eyes are telling my brain. My brain must be lying to me. After staring out the window for a couple of seconds, I feel something move under the sheets… I take a peek at my baseball bat, wait a minute, I don’t have a baseball bat. No? Then it must be a hockey stick! No you idiot, last time I checked, dolphins don’t play hockey. Besides, why would I have a hockey stick on Catlyn? Maybe it’s my leg… “Aaaah,” I sigh, stretching my legs and arms in opposite directions. Softly and slowly, I rest my head on my perfect pillow. Within seconds, like a train smashing into me, I came to a realization with my surroundings. The first train was the fact that we were actually on land. No more wet dreams for Catlyn. It was time for her to socialize with the hundreds of other yachts around her.


The other train was more like a cricket bat, hitting my head as I realized I needed the bathroom and that I could no longer walk two sleepy steps from my bedroom, towards the bathroom and be a part of Catlyn’s digestive system. Nope, I now had to exit my 40ft home, slide down a ladder. (007 style) Suddenly I felt the earthly Trinidad soil under my hands, elbows and knees. No, this isn’t a new Karma Sutra move designed by yours truly. Although I know you started getting excited. (Sick people of today!) There I was, in a rather uncomfortable position, I’m never trying that again! I said to myself after failing miserably at the James Bond attempt of sliding down a ladder like a pole dancer. I had fallen off the ladder and was now wide awake. Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, so now I had to walk at least 200m on solid ground, towards the bathroom. Catlyn’s going to miss my early internal noises in the mornings. I maneuver between a couple of yachts, hoping no one looks in my direction. My hair must have looked wicked! I turned the corner and as I did, I accidentally bumped into one of the workers here at Peakes. She stared at me in shock. “Morning,” I said in a high pitched, polite voice, “my hair is messy isn’t it.” I continued. She nodded, but looked worried and as I followed her gaze down the rest of my body, I felt the third train hit. “Oh shit!” I said in a much deeper, regretful tone.


I forgot to put on pants. Come on! I shout on the inside. Oh well, I’m 10 feet away from the green bathroom door, so I might as well go ahead anyway. As I placed my palm over the door handle, I gave it a turn. Only, it didn’t budge. Oh come on! Is it a Monday morning or what? I forgot the keys in Catlyn.

                                                          View from my porthole... Dirt!


Chicken… or Monkey?(posted 4 September-1 day before my birthday)
Suriname… Our 5th country up to date and tied with St. Helena Island, as my favorite destination so far. It might have something to do with their great Parbo beer.

Racing through the Amazon Rainforest at a speedy 20km/h is nothing short of a hilariously boring experience. This was my first opinion, sitting in the back seat of our newly rented, 8- seater Toyota 4x4. “I think I need a kidney belt for all the ups and downs.” I said while floating in slow motion, 5cm in the air. Looking down through the window, I realized the road had as many gaps as all the world’s political systems put together. This was going to be a long day, I recall myself thinking. My mind zooms back into reality. Marco and I are standing on the back seat with our heads through the sun-roof, hair dangling in the wind, tongues hanging out just like in the movies… or was that for dogs?
video

What could we possibly do today that could match the excitement of yesterday?” I asked myself. I wonder what this day will bring us, a group of 8 people, from 3 yachts, tightly squeezed into one vehicle.

Yesterday was truly amazing… We had driven one and a half hours up the Brownsberg Mountain. At the top, we hiked another 2 hours to the numerous waterfalls and when we were all sweaty, tired and hungry we sat down at the mountain’s very own restaurant and had the best meal up to date in Suriname. Yesterday was truly amazing.

Today was a new day however and I was staring at the nature all around us. With my eyes watering up every now and again, it’s difficult keeping a focused view on the fast moving rain forest to my left and right. Wiping my eyes with a sweaty t-shirt did the trick and as I had done this, in a way my shirt revealed beauty. I was now waving at 4 little black children - ethnic group unknown, maybe Creoles, Javanese, or Maroons, who knows… They waved back from under their small hut in the village alongside the road. This village was one of many we zoomed passed and I wondered what it would be like visiting one and meeting the tribe, including the chief. Would they be dressed like the Native Americans from the old days? I’d love to find out… The green forests on my left, as well as my right, aren’t fueling my excitement. I stare deeply, almost in a trance, at the fast moving shades of green.

I try to remember every step of our trail through Brownsberg Nature Park’s Rain Forest in detail. With each foot passing over the wet earthly soil beneath me, I remember the sound of crackling dry leaves under my cheap hiking shoes. (But great quality) If there’s a bargain, we’ll find it… this should be our family’s motto. My feet carry me through a narrow path with every shape of tree imaginable. I’m walking 100 steps behind the others, their voices of endless chatting is almost completely drowned out by the chanting of the forest. Very few birds and animals were seen. But I know they’re there, for I can hear them communicate in code. If only I could understand. “Great, this is the perfect spot for my video.” I tell the tree behind me. With my Canon camera in one hand, I start filming.
video

We pass another village of roughly 12 huts, I quickly look to check if anybody’s visible… Nope, my camera is up and recording. What a pretty sight. As we drive by, a guy only in pants comes running towards us, shouting at the very top of his lungs. (Something in Sranan Tongo) Woops. Clearly they dislike cameras. I wonder if they believe the camera captures their soul. One down, seven to go and then I’ll have nine lives. “We’re lost!” Is something I heard too often while exploring Suriname’s interior. “Either the map is upside down or we’re completely lost.” says John, (from yacht Out of Africa) while staring at the map. “Luckily there is only one tar road in the area, sooner or later we’ll reach Atjoni.” I said in a calm voice, feeling impatient on the inside. “I hope we’re heading the right way.” They continue. I sigh, realizing it’s no use, while sticking my head back through the sunroof. Ah ha! Atjoni is up ahead.

The road shrunk in size, turning into a gravel road with odd little houses and one or two tiny shops alongside the road. Antjoni is a tiny town with an informal ferry port where many wooden longboats gather, waiting for the chance to transport the villagers back up the Suriname river to their tribes.

“Now what?” asks Marco. “Where’s the bathroom?” He continues after climbing out of our rented 4x4, which no longer had left or right indicator lights. (Stolen this morning)

“Unbelievable!” Was my first reaction when we made our way to the now, eyeless Toyota.



As my brother and I exit the bathrooms, we hear a shaky voice growl at us. “Ja wat?” I ask in Afrikaans. “Betalen, betalen.” Says an old lady, sitting in an old plastic chair, clearly not in a good mood. “Hoeveel?” I ask, knowing how the same situation had turned out last time. It was night in Paramaribo. (The city of smiles) Yacht Tika and Out of Africa’s crew, along with my mum and dad were busy eating at the Waterkant, while Marco and I were taking a ‘wiz’ in a dirty bathroom.
On our way out, an angry voice yelled from behind, “Ey, ey!” Turning around, we saw the black man hurrying towards us. “Jy moet betalen vir my!” He shouted. So I explained in Afrikaans that he didn’t tell us he was going to charge us before we entered the restroom. If I had known, I would’ve found myself a tree instead. Threatened by a lack of authority, he called a security guard who also kept telling me to pay. I had no money on me and asked how much this unexpected payment had to be. “Two Suriname dollar.” He replied. “Then I’ll have to go get money from my father.” After extensive protesting, they agreed… I think. But I had no intentions of returning…


This time however, I was too lazy and paid the lady straight away. “Look, there’s Wilson.” Said mom with a smile. We had met Mr. Wilson earlier that day at Stone Island, on our way to Antjoni. He was giving two Hollanders a tour around Suriname. At Stone Island he said, “After Stone Island, I’m taking them to…” and he told us something very exciting.
This man has an extremely energetic energy around him, with everything he does being exaggerated. As our sailing family of eight approached Wilson, his first words were, “Right man at the right place.”

I’m in a longboat as long as Catlyn in the Suriname River, in the Amazon. What did I do to deserve this? I asked myself. Right man at the right place – I heard Wilson’s loud voice in my head. We agreed on the great deal he offered us. A great deal indeed. “What’s your price?” asked my father. Immediately Wilson’s mouth shot open, I blocked my ears and opened my eyes… Please don’t ask for a high price. I was staring at what looked like a black man singing the opera, with a swag in his hips. I slightly lifted my fingers from my ears to hear what I was seeing. “What’s your price for one day and then you return us in the morning?” My father continued. Finally he said, “600 Suriname Dollar (SRD).” (+- €120) Everyone agreed and after never ending handshakes, we were unpacking our backpacks, hammocks and more from the rented car. I’m ecstatic! “What an adventure you’ve given us so far.” I say to our trusty steed on wheels, a bit too loud. I realized I was the only one still standing around the car and it probably looked weird. Luckily no one saw me idiotically speaking to a car. I told myself, this time only in my head. Turning around with my bags at hand, I saw a small girl looking straight at me with two large eyes. She looked like a moth dipped in oil… a pretty moth. I’m glad I didn’t stick around, because she might’ve described me as something even worse.
We were now in a small shop, run by Creoles. “What are we going to buy for him?” I asked my father while walking through one of two isles. “Aha! Red Label.” Says dad excitedly. 55 SRD later, he popped the whiskey into our backpack. Wilson was also inside, buying supplies, including: water, cool drink, peanut butter, bread, chocolate spread and cigarettes. Supplies, obviously not only for us. “Right man, right place.” He said again.

We hopped into the longboat named Gadja, all eight of us, along with the two Hollanders and eleven others. Camera at the ready, I didn’t know what to expect. “Only one hour.” shouted Wilson in our direction. One hour up the Suriname River, that’s fantastic. A few minutes later, we were soaring over the brown water. The river had many rocks sticking out from under the water. One moment we’d be on the left side of the river and the next moment, on the right. Left and right, left and right.

I’m reminded of the same movement the previous day in our 4x4. The narrow dirt road was very bumpy. Our driver was Rolf from Yacht Tika, who did his best maneuvering around each pothole. Then left, then right… One of our front tires had already burst and while switching it, the three ladies; Jo-Anne, Claudia and my mom, and Marco decided instead to walk down and meet us at the bottom. After a few more minutes of struggle, we were back on Brownsberg’s nasty road. Fifteen minutes after removing the punctured front-left tire, replacing it with a spare and driving down the mountain again, Rolf misjudged a corner and hit a large hill on our left. We hit the oversized bump and went flying in the air. My only thought, as my life flashed before my eyes was; where’s a camera when you need it most! And of course; Oh shit! Our landing wasn’t as smooth as I had hoped and as we hit the ground, our spare tire burst like a balloon. Rolf cursed in English and I wondered how that would sound in German. Now we only have three wheels. This is going to be a long day… and most probably an even longer night. We agreed that the youngest, me, must jog down to inform the girls of our situation, while they get the car out of the road.
The first puncture, after this no one was in the mood for taking photos.

Suddenly I’m pulled back into reality as the entire longboat banked to the right, missing a giant wet rock barely surfacing on our left. The driver seemed very relaxed about the situation… too relaxed. The water started rushing past us even faster now, with more and more rocks making an appearance. How safe is this trip? With my hand running over the water, I feel peacefulness from within. Does this water have any effect on my energy levels? As soon as this question set in, my mind shocked me once again; Oh shit! I almost forgot about the piranhas. It was fun while it lasted though. The river started forming rapids now and it started getting stressful onboard. The driver however, somehow looked at the river with different eyes. He saw exactly which way to go… an invisible maze forming behind us. He’s clearly done this many times before. Looking over the heads of those in front of me, I could see this was only the beginning. He released the throttle, instantly slowing down the boat. I could feel even the longboat was preparing for the worst. But we don’t have any lifejackets and what about our luggage? Before I could start panicking, we were in between hundreds of rocks, varying in shapes and sizes. Luckily I soon realized that it wasn’t too hard spotting the rocks submerged under the water… The current gave them away. Where rapids started to form, was where the rocks were. But before I could completely calm myself with this realization, I heard a strong knock from under my buttocks and then we jolted with the longboat in the air. There was shouting and the driver quickly lifted the engine out of the water. We all felt the rock scrape underneath the boat as we jolted over it. I wonder how many little longboat shipwrecks are peacefully resting below us on the bottom. But we were still in the middle of a series of rapids and I now knew even the slightest mistake could end in disaster. It felt like climbing a mountain… a moving mountain. The driver sent us through the water at full speed now, and I couldn’t even count the number of rocks we barely missed. Luckily as we made a sharp left turn, we seemed to have reached the top of the mountain, the water was quiet now. Everyone applauded the driver… We’re alive!
video

The river was moving peacefully not;; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 115%; mso-ansi-language: EN-ook!” yelled Marco, pointing at a rock island on my left. Little black children were playing and bathing on the rock, splashing the water up at each other… butt naked. So natural…



Once again, I remembered last night, which was equally natural, only more exciting. Our second tire had burst, the women and Marco were probably all the way down the mountain by now with no idea what had happened. With the 4x4 on three and a half wheels, I helped the men move the vehicle out of the road. I was then sent to alert the girls and Marco about our new situation and bring them back to the car. We might have to spend the night in the car. “I shotgun the backseat!” I yelled, as soon as I reached them after a 5km downhill jog, quickly realizing this wasn’t going to work out. “What are you talking about?” They asked simultaneously. I told them of what had happened and that we might have to sleep here somewhere.


“Oh yeah!” I shouted, pointing at the series of rocks, rapids and tree trunks up ahead. Here we go again! As we enter the rapid flowing section, the driver starts pouring gasoline into the gas tank from a large blue drum. Please Lord, don’t let the engine seize. Thankfully it helped, because we kept going until once again the river finished exhaling deeply and started to inhale. Two minutes ago, it was rough and rolly and now I could relax. Nope… think again, we’re here. “Ek neem julle na Botopasie, waar my pa die chief is.” Explained Wilson back at Atjoni in Dutch… which meant, I’ll take you to Botopasi where my father is the chief.

Earlier in the car, I had wondered what it’ll be like meeting the chief of a tribe. Today I might actually have my chance. This morning I woke up in Catlyn, wondering what today would turn out to be like, now the longboat had stopped in front of a little hill with elongated steps. Two and a half hours later. So much for a one hour boat ride… It suited me though! “Welcome,” says Wilson, while unloading our bags, “to Botopasi.” Amazing. Next to the wooden boat was a girl washing pots in the river. She wore normal clothing … Maybe she’ll change into her traditional clothes later. Wilson led us to a blue painted house and directed us inside. But I want to sleep in a hammock. We brought two hammocks along and tonight I was determined to use one. “I’ll even sleep outside if I have to.” I told my mother, as we stepped inside the house. Wilson sped off, telling us to make ourselves at home. Seriously? How’re we supposed to do that, there isn’t any furniture. Our tour guide left us in the middle of an unknown village with nothing to do. Time to explore. Great… This room is prepared for hammocks. Now I’m happy. Two steps outside the door, I noticed simplistic patterns on the many small wooden houses surrounding us. I went back to the steps we had climbed onto, when we arrived. The girl washing the dishes was gone, but I was now watching a boy catching small fish with a thin stick. Soon the rest of our crew joined me and we talked about the amazing trip up the river.  In the middle of the conversation my dad said, “They shot a monkey…” while looking over my shoulder. It was so unexpected that no one took him seriously and hardly paid attention to what he said. After a while, we heard loud footsteps from behind us, coming from the forest. I turned around and was shocked… A man with a gun walked passed us towards the village. He had a lifeless Squirrel monkey dangling from side to side in his left hand… I forced a smile as he looked at us while passing. Now what?

Now what, is the same question I asked myself as I reached the ladies and Marco after a quick 5km jog down the Brownsberg mountain. I’m exhausted. Seconds after I reached them, a comforting sound roared from inside the forest, approaching us. It’s another 4x4, luckily this one has four wheels. “Your father told me to tell you, you have to run back up the mountain while I take the girls to try get some tires.” said the driver, Peter. The Rav 4x4 already had four people inside and miraculously the three women squeezed in too. Marco decided to join the men and jog with me, back up Brownsberg. “Sure bra, it’s not that far,” I lied, “about ten minutes and we’re there.” Forty-five minutes and many sweat droplets later, we saw our three wheeled rental. “Oh no.” said Marco.

Finally Wilson came running towards us, “Let me introduce my father, the chief.” he said. We followed him through the village and arrived at a house resembling the one we were staying in. My expectations are too high. An old man sat in a plastic chair, he had grey hair and had normal clothes on. No matter, at least I’ve still got the gigantic bonfire and dancing around it, drinking heavenly… or was that heavily… to look forward to. We talked for a while. Actually Wilson did most of the talking. Not that his father couldn’t communicate with us… he got a word in here and there… it’s just, he hardly got a chance. As we walked back to our house, I asked my father, “When are we going to give the Red Label to the chief? “Let’s see later.” He replied, not too impressed. Wilson had told us he’d take care of us and most importantly, that he’d feed us. What he didn’t understand was that we’re always hungry. The last thing I ate was a giant Pomelo for breakfast on Catlyn. Luckily we brought a watermelon with us and it quickly became lunch.

                                            
After shaking the chief of Botopasi’s hand and short introductions, I was disappointed at what I heard. “Hello, my naam,” I said while shaking the chief’s hand, “is Johan.” “Ek’s Edward.” He replied in a deep voice. I felt like dropping down on my knees with sorrow. The chief of a tribe in the Amazonian forest has a westernized name. What has happened to the world?

Wilson made a quick appearance, telling us that the food was being prepared. His breath strongly smelt like whiskey and he seemed much more jumpy than before. “We’ll eat at eight o’clock.” said a happy Wilson. If it hadn’t been for the watermelon, which I devoured, I know I’d be dead by then.

The last time Marco had seen the car was when we were exchanging the popped tire for the spare. Now it was slightly leaning to one side, with the back left rim resting on the airless spare tire. Moments later, Peter from the Rav 4x4 returned. Informing us to give him the two ‘out of shape’ tires and that the ladies were waiting at a garage for the tires. Good news! We might not have to sleep out here after all. We told Rolf and John to join Peter so that the three of us; dad, Marco and I could have a bit of ‘father and son’ time. After the Rav left, we were drowned in silence. “Hey look.” Said my dad, pointing at something in the dark. “What is it?” Asked Marco, slowly moving closer towards us. “Relax, it’s a firefly.” He assured Marco in a calm voice. There’s another one… And now we wait.


Which is exactly what we were now doing on the porch of our five bedroom house in Botopasi… waiting. Thankfully, time flies when you’re having fun, because Rolf was telling us a story of their sailing adventure in Southern Spain. And before we knew it, it was 7:45 and time to get ready for an amazing experience. The 600SRD we paid Wilson included the one hour boat ride which turned out to be two and a half - Score! It also included food, accommodation and a return trip in the morning. It didn’t however; include beverages, which was why we were in a small shop looking for Parbo beer. We were told earlier to gather under a tree with a wooden table mounted on it. But I thought we were going to sit around the biggest, brightest bonfire ever created and after a couple of alcoholic beverages, we’d dance around the flames in a trance like state. At least the tree above us had colorful Christmas lights. So our new family of eight, sat around chatting about our adventure in the wonderful Suriname.

Finally I once again heard the now familiar roar of the Rav, coming up the mountain. Let’s hope for good news. The 4x4 stopped four steps away from us and John from yacht Out of Africa, jumped out the backseat holding a plastic bag with cool drinks inside. “Your mom sent this to tell you, they’ll see you in the morning.” Said John, very seriously. Just before I turned around with disappointment, John laughed out loud and said the tires were as good as new in a cheerful voice. We changed the tires with wide smiles on our faces, ready to go home. We fetched our three wonderful women at the gas station, exchanged phone numbers with our savior-Peter, who lives in Suriname. Hilariously, he told us that today’s trip had been his first into the interior. After one hour’s drive, we arrived at Domburg. There’s Catlyn. With a sigh of relief, we all realized our boats were peacefully waiting for us. Walking towards the dinghy, mom picked up the perfect bucket, which immediately replaced the previously perfect bucket, Marco lost at sea after his very first beer. Liquid confidence is confidently to blame. “What’s the time?” I asked as we slowly stepped onto Catlyn. “One o’clock.” What a day!

Wilson rushed towards us, telling us dinner was almost ready. After shaking each of our hands for what felt like the 500th time, he sped off into darkness. Is it me or does he smell like dagga? “What’s the time?” I asked, still sitting on rather hard elongated wooden planks for chairs. 8:15 - Damn I’m hungry. We ordered a couple of beers, which didn’t help at all for the growling in my stomach. Loud music was playing from within the house nearby. Thirty minutes later, Wilson brought a couple of pots with steam lurking from within. Oh boy! He placed the three pots on the circular table. “We’ve got…” said Wilson with a pause, looking sheepishly at the Christmas lights and back again at the pots, “rice,” he opened the pot containing white steamed rice. He looked at us with half closed eyelids, opened another pot and continued, “Barbeque…” but he stopped short and went on to the next pot, “and this is a very bitter vegetable that will chase all the mosquitoes away.” Everyone was starving and quickly had their plates filled. Clearly no one seemed suspicious… Although Wilson did mention earlier that we were going to have barbeque CHICKEN tonight, the image of the lifeless monkey hanging from the hunter’s hand seemed to haunt me for a second. He wouldn’t lie to us, would he? But another second later, I was too distracted by the hunger pangs in my stomach. I took one bite of the veggies and felt my hair shoot upright. This is nasty! My mom, who is popular with the worldwide population of mosquitos, even helped herself to a second plate of the terrible veggies. I hope it was worth it. I suspiciously examined the weirdly shaped ‘meat on a bone’ in my plate. Oh well… And I just went for it. My mom didn’t want anything to do with it, she gave her ‘meat on a bone’ to Marco and I. “The barbeque is almost finished, then I’ll bring the chicken.” I heard Wilson say, while I was still chewing on a piece of meat… slower and slower, until… Then what was that I just ate? The question shot in my mind, piercing through the little confidence I had that I was still eating barbeque chicken. I told nobody though and only laughed on the inside. We came all this way to help ourselves to a dish of Squirrel monkey… which was rather good if I might add.

I was wrong, today is filled with just as much adventure as yesterday! After we ate the real barbeque chicken and had a couple of more beverages, we realized nothing more was going to come from tonight and we started saying goodnight. Not even the chief showed up, to see his guests from all over the world, enjoy a probably traditional meal. Unacceptable. Before I said goodnight, Wilson’s nephew invited me to go with them down the river to another tribe for some dancing with the ladies. Wow… That sounds tempting, but when you say ladies, do you mean tribal ladies? I thought. But all I could come round to asking him was, “Hoe lank gaan dit vat om daar tekom?” Translation – How long will it take to get there? “30 minutes” Wow… This sounds too dodgy. “Goodnight” I said shaking his hand. I looked into his eyes to see his pupils were gigantic. You’re just as stoned as Wilson… haha. “Goodnight!” I said again.

That night, I slept in a hammock for the first time. Not as comfortable as you’d think. Luckily we had mosquito nets with us. In the morning Wilson brought us some bread, peanut butter, chocolate spread, eggs and coffee for breakfast. He didn’t look as happy as last night though. We were hurried into an awaiting longboat and sped off back down the river. Into the car we climbed, which was parked in front of the police station. And to this day, we’re still not too sure about that ‘chicken… or monkey.





Hello fellow followers(posted somewhere in August)




Here is my newest video of what its like in Cabedelo, Jacare
Interesting place!
Follow my finger pointing towards the video link, now click and enjoy.
http://www.tripfilms.com/Travel_Video-v78900-Joao_Pessoa-A_Top_Tourist_Attraction_in_Brazil-Video.html



Bummers! (posted 2 July '11)


If you don't know by now, (then keep up will you) I'm the guy with a handheld video camera in one hand and most probably food in the other! I'm that guy, until recently. I was canoeing in one of Recife's large channels minding everything but my own business.

Recife is an interesting place and in the short stay we had there, I immediately decided I liked it more than Salvador. Hence, Salvador bad, Recife goood... Filled with contrasts - for example, I canoed under this one bridge and before I went under it I saw all the traffic on the one side... BORING... Still minding my own business, I slowly paddled under the bridge and was blinded by the light of the sun for a moment. Birds churping in the distant... very romantic... Not a moment later, a huge mass of fish net landed 2 metres away from me with a HUGE splash!!! I almost fell in the water with shock. But I remained calm and collected, so as I looked up I saw my attacker and yelled... Oi... Give me a bells. No seriously, I yelled... Oi... and with superb portuguese asked with finger language if I could film my attacker, who was standing on the edge of the bridge catching fish with his weapon. He shook his head! Can you believe that? He shook his head at me for not being able to take video of him after he nearly killed me. And this really irritates me in Brazil... No-one wants to be photographed at all. It's like they're shy or something.

Anyway so I just turn around and paddle off in sorrow. Then he yelled at me and pointed to his net in the water. I yelled back, "Yeah, I know, you're a fisherman and that's your net. Good for you!" But then I noticed it was stuck in the water and the old man couldn't get it out.
HAHA!
Now it's time for 'payback'! So I paddled over to the net with an evil smile on my face. Mumbling to myself, "Oh, now you need me. Ha" I grabbed a hold of his net and wished I had a knife there with me, beacause it would have made things much easier... So I grabbed, and I started chewing my way through the old fart's net like an animal.. HAHA
At least this was how I imagined 'payback,' but I'm the good guy, REMEMBER! So with a struggle I loosened his net. He yelled "Obrigado!" And I yelled, "Nada!" Which doesn't mean forget about it, it means you're welcome. And with his gratitude by my side, he finally allowed me to film him. Making him the first Brazilian I could persuade to be captured on film! HOORAY
I'm a HERO!

Here's my NEWEST video-CHECK IT OUT: http://www.tripfilms.com/Travel_Video-v78557-Salvador_de_Bahia-Extending_visas_in_Brazil-Video.html

YouTube Videos(posted 11 June '11)

Day 4 of sailing river Rio Paraguacu is up and running. I'm almost finished with Day5... can't wait!
Click on Videos and photos blog tab in the top left hand corner to see our cool videos.
Or you could see our youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/yachtcatlyn?feature=mhee 
ENJOY

My Girlfriend Cheated On Me(posted on 28 May '11)

As sad as the title sounds… it is!

She and I have known each other for two and a half years and we really have a smooth relationship. It gets a little bumpy at times but we always stick together, even if a storm draws near, we just sail around the issue. I drew a picture of us sailing under the sun, with the wind in her hair and… something funny! The times we have together are magical. It does get windy at times, but she trims her sails, covers her nose and I apologize. She makes me feel like a free man, makes me want to hoist my sails and move on, but how can I, when she’s the one blowing the wind. Once I mentioned her weight, I politely told her she was fat, in those precise words. She stopped in her tracks, threw me overboard and forgave me, the only problem was that I was still in the water. “I think we should start seeing other people!” she shouted. “Are you crazy? The only new people I’ll be meeting is a group of friendly sharks wanting to “meat”  my acquaintance!  At least throw me a rope!” I yelled in a high pitched, please don’t leave me here kind of way. Eventually she realized without me, she’d also be stranded in the blue dessert. “I forgot you have to pull the ropes.” she said with an unimpressed look on her face. “What would you do without me, my darling Cat?” I asked a bit too cocky.

Luckily with the wind in her hair and her belly in the water, somehow she remained in a good mood. Sailing is her cure. I order her to bask in the sun, recharge her batteries and soak up some vitamin D.

We sail towards an island called Itaparica. She noticed me, noticing her notice other men, Brazilian men. This is a bad thing, what if she goes off and sails with someone else? I’d be free, but do I want to be? She got sick, my girl got sick… so we beached on a sandbank to check her out. It was an engine problem… but there was another problem! Her eyes weren’t on me anymore. It turns out while I was out looking for a mechanic… dramatic pause… she cheated on me. She cheated on me! She cheated on me with a sandbank! A sandbank! Isn’t that ridiculous?! She won’t admit it though, but I saw her all over him.

Unfortunately I can’t stay mad at her… My Cat… My darling Catlyn… I love you


Catching up

Have you seen my newest video (Day3) of my series- Sailing Rio Paraguacu river in Bahia? Head over to our Slides & Vids page and have a look! Or you can view all Catlyn's youtube videos here - http://www.youtube.com/user/yachtcatlyn?feature=mhum - On our youtube channel.
Now that it's rainy nearly every day, I spend a lot of time producing videos of our travels. I can't wait to head South, towards Morro de Sao Poalo for a change in scenery! Be on the lookout for NEW VIDEOS!


Greek Fisherman vs. Harvard


Maybe you heard about this story, I found it on the net a while back – It’s quite well known. I love it and gives me a smile when I read it.

A boat docked in a tiny Greek village. An American tourist complimented the Greek fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them.
“Not very long,” answered the Greek.
“But then, why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?” asked the American.
The Greek explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.
The American asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”
“I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a siesta with my wife. In the evenings I go into the village to see my friends, dance a little, drink a bit, and sing a few songs. I have a full life.”

The American interrupted, “I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you. You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the revenue, you can buy a bigger boat.
With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middleman, you can negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant.
You can then leave this little village and move to Athens, London or even New York City! From there you can direct your huge enterprise.”

“How long would that take?” asked the Greek.

“Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years,” replied the American.

“And, after that? Afterwards?”

“That’s when it gets really interesting,” answered the American, laughing. “When your business gets really big, you can start selling stocks and make millions!”

“Millions? Really? And after that?”

“After that you’ll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your grandchildren, catch a few fish, take a siesta with your wife, and spend your evenings singing, dancing, playing and drinking with your friends…”



Where the 6 letter word began (for me)(posted 3 May)


I am reminded of my childhood back in Pretoria, SA. (Back when Power Rangers was still cool) “Today we go camping.” I said. “Where shall we go?” asked my father. “To the lions,” I said with a roar. (This probably sounded more like a ‘meow’) “Why don’t we start in the backyard.” said Father Lion. Fifteen minutes later, Dad fetched, what looked like crinkly pink laundry and handed me a hammer. I banged my head with it a couple of times, before realizing it’s for the tent pins. “Where’s the tent?” I asked. “Here it is.” he said proudly, lifting up the mass of pinkness. I was still dizzy from all the knock-knock jokes on my head. “Knock-knock.” Who’s there?” “Bang!” “Bang who?” “Bang you!” (Funny isn’t it. Back in the day, all I had to entertain myself with was knock-knock jokes and my two hammers. (Not at the same time though, that could be dangerous!) Next thing I remembered was staring at this huge pink tent, leaning crookedly to one side. “This is ridiculous!” I yelled in disbelief. “What have I done to deserve this?” I asked while staring at my hammer. “Oh come on, it’s going to be fun,” said Dad, pointing at the thing we use to bash in tent pins. “Now secure the tent.” It’s more like a ‘tentress,’ I thought while nailing a couple of nails. The tent was secure enough to withstand gale force winds, believe me I tested. I went inside the princess palace and let rip a proud fart. “Someone needed to add a bit of ‘machoness!” I said proudly. I hastily stepped outside, seeing that the tent had no ventilation yet. “My job here is done!” I said with a sturdy voice and a cough. We headed back into the house for supplies, chuckling about the ‘manly certified’ pink tent. On the check list we had, marshmallows, matches, sleeping bags, pillows and... marshmallows. “Maybe we should just take a mattress instead.” said Father in a convincing way. “This is my first camping trip Dad, we have to do it right! The sleeping bags are cool! I’m not going to camp in a pink tent with a mattress, that’s just wrong!” I say with one breath. Dad left it at that and we made our way through the darkness, towards the tent. We didn’t need a torch, 'cause somehow the tent was illuminating with pinkness. That night was great, we ended up ‘braaing’ smores over a lighter, watching the moon, (a giant lamp post) and after a long ‘non-versation’ between father and son, we called it a night on a comfortable blow-up mattress. What? I turned out to have a sensitive back.

And that’s where the six letter word all began. (for me)
It’s TRAVEL for the slow people out there.


Living in rain, bathing in vain(posted 19 April)

For three years I have been sailing. For two years I have been living on a boat. For one month I have been travelling. For one month… I’ve been alive!

What do we have in our blood? A bit of white cells? A bit of red cells? Blue cells? We have a travel cell in our blood, this I can tell you. Some acknowledge it, some listen to it, some follow it and some ignore it. I chose to follow mine, to let it spread throughout my body like a cancer. For once you start, I mean really start… it changes you. From the time of being a little dude, I can remember dreaming about palm trees. The kind you see on too good to be true movies. The kind that represents freedom, vacation, a pina colada and exotic beauty on the beach, under the sun. I am now surrounded by palm trees; by their beauty and their meaning. And it’s spectacular.
Being rainy season here in Brazil, it pours constantly over the land and sea. I wondered one morning whether I’m becoming a hill-billy. I couldn’t remember when last I took a shower, a genuine shower. It’s like George, SA on steroids here on Catlyn. They have water restrictions and we hardly have water. “We do swim a lot.” I argue with myself. “Yeah, you and I aren’t that dirty.” says Marco. When is someone classified as unhygienic? When they smell bad? When their underarm hair is long? Cause I smell okay-ish, but my underarm hair tickles my stomach. Should I be worried? Nah! I’m awesome! Anyway, so it’s raining and we’re on a mission to create the ultimate water catcher. Using plastic bottles, pipes and a whole lot of duct tape. (Works wonders) In all honesty, I would’ve won the wacky water catcher prize, (a chocolate) if it would just go to the person with the wonkiest idea and not the most effective. But Marco won and it was a sad day on Catlyn… for me at least. My water catcher looked like the creation of a deformed plastic bottle making machine from hell, trying to take over the world. But I
was proud of it! Marco’s on the other hand, caught liters and liters of rain water for Catlyn’s 1000lt belly. Never before have I enjoyed rain so extensively. To know that every drop of water we catch will be used for the family’s future use. This was way cooler than buying your water from a shop or having it lazily pumped all the way to your house. And this is how we roll on Catlyn! You gotta work for your water here! Beer is free though… 15 minutes later, it was raining harder than ever. Standing outside, it felt like standing under a gigantic shower with no water restrictions. And that’s how I bathe from now on. Butt naked in the rain.
Freedom! Bathing under the rain is definitely something to be experienced. Gets you closer to nature… Or at least clean.

Socially Skype (Posted 11 April 2011)
To sit in front of the laptop 15m from an island is cool, to jump in the clear blue sea when you start getting hot is radical and to be able to receive a phone call all the way from South Africa when you return to the computer is; how do you say "Fokken Lekker" in Afrikaans? But it wasn’t an ordinary phone call, with a program called Skype; we were able to see each other’s faces while chatting. (Awesome !) If you haven’t heard about it yet, you probably don’t have electricity or you live in the middle of the Amazon. (This must be the best!)

My sister, Janlie called all the way from Stellenbosch. Within 15 seconds and a funny drum solo sound, a bonito senorita took my breath away. (Wow! I have the prettiest sister ever). Janlie you should know… And this is straight from the heart! I think if he’s not your ‘Brad Pitt,’ then you leave his ass right there and then, cause you’re the one of a kind ‘goldfish in the sea.’™. You’re the girl I compare my ladies with. Anyway, don’t get too full of yourself though. For 2 hours straight we got to hear all about my favorite sister’s life as a student; her joys, her troubles, her happy stories, her sad stories and all the fun. For a moment, I wished I could reach into the laptop and give her a wet soppy kiss. I love you sissy.

Technology sure has made the world flat and being able to chat with someone 6415.15km (give or take) away for 2 hours long and it’s for free, proves my point. Cool… I should write more about technology, it makes me feel like a genius. Which is cool, cause someone has to be the smart one in the family.
‘Virtual travel’ is a headline that caught my attention when reading the CNN traveller magazine. “Universities in the UK are devising a helmet that recreates the sights, smells, sounds and tastes of far-flung destinations. By 2020, travel providers will offer virtual reality services that enable people to experience airports, hotels and cruise ships before they arrive.” For more info see cnntraveller.com. Soon people might be sitting in a chair day after day, not having to move. And be able to experience life virtually. This sounds far-fetched, but who knows. To me, nothing feels impossible. When I was a kid, watching bananas in pajamas, the thought of 3D movies was almost scary… unthinkable… so who knows.

But one thing I know for sure is that Skype rocks!!


Piece of my mind(posted 1 April 2011)

What a great way of meeting new people.
Being anchored, (Wow, that sounds like taking drunk to a new level) being anchored is like living in an upper class, overpopulated squatter camp… Oh, you probably wanna know why… In my head, I can imagine that people living in these poor conditions are very social. It’ll be hard not to be. After all, they’re practically living on top of each other. Take Soweto, SA, for example. If I was a little black dude living in the Soweto neighborhood, I’d be living in as many houses as possible. Everyone would know !Ohan. (This would be my kick-ass black name)(The ‘!’, is a clicking sound)

Imagine the day you prepare that big, juicy, BBQ spiced, tenderly marinated, genetically modified, corn eating… brainless, (cause it ended up in Soweto and not in KFC) chicken. (Is your mouth watering as much as mine? Probably not, cause you know you can jump in the car right away, to go get you some Kentucky Fried Chicken.) (I’d give my left ball sack for some KFC right now. A streetwise two with 15 fries and for dessert, a Choc caramel Avalanche) Imagine you put it in the window sill to bask in the sun and maybe even get a tan like !Ohan. (If you’re lucky) By the time it’s defrosted, you look out the window, only to see sets of white teeth floating in mid-air with only one rhetorical question; “Kykie, hu lykit my bra? Spare me a stukkie van jou chicken my bru… Is ja!” Damnit! Don’t worry, you learnt your lesson! Next time… You’ll be the one showing your teeth for chicken. It’ll be the best time of your life, chicken here, chicken there, chicken everywhere.

With all these yachts surrounding us, (plus, minus 15 yachts) this is the most we’ve had around up to date. And they’re all walking distance away. (Well, swimming distance) So there I go, swimming to a yacht for the first time ever. I figured, the chances of being invited onboard would be more if I swam, than if I motored over with the dinghy. My target was a small monohull, and spying from Catlyn, I could see 4 guys chilling at the back, chatting. They looked about my age. And I decided, they would be the first yachties I reach out to. It wasn’t a big deal or anything, but it felt like I was Neil Armstrong landing on the moon and reaching out to space for the first time in humanity. Wow… Chills… So, swimming breaststroke, about halfway I realized how unfit I was. And my mind started messing around with me, once again. “You’re going to make it, !Ohan!” “You can make it.” “Almost there!” “Oh Shit, what if I reach the yacht and they refuse to let me onboard!” “Ah man, what if they don’t understand English!” “Then I’m as well off as a dead man!” “Shut up, be positive!” As I swim towards them, focusing my attention on the boat, I see them staring at me. I quickly look away, as if I’m just having a jolly time in the middle of nowhere. As if I’ll just accidentally wind up right by their yacht and request a helping hand. (Hopefully in English) I did this, and surprisingly, it worked. I’m awesome!
As I approached, I asked for English. One guy stood up and through charades, communicated; so-so. This was great news and within no time, I hopped on and started babbling. They immediately knew we were from SA, not because of the flag, but because of our danbouy. (Only S. Africans must have one) It was great fun listening to them and trying to make sense of their half Portuguese words. For a moment I got so caught up in their company, I felt like one of them. While I was chilling, with a unwashed glass of Coca-Cola in hand, I saw a tornado. I was in shock and didn’t know what to do. Immediately, I pointed at it, but they didn’t seem too bothered about it. I was almost half way in the water, (ready to evacuate) when they called me back and explained it’s only a little water spout. With relief, I sat back and watched how it disappeared. What a moment! Here's an example of what it looked like, I woud have liked to photograph it, but swimming with a camera can't be easy!



I bid them farewell, as they were headed for Salvador and watched them go while swimming back to Catlyn. Hope to see them again. I now have a new way of visiting yachts and shall practice more frequently in the future, first have to catch my breath though.
PS, see the dumboy(I mean danbouy) to the left.
Awesome
 

My Mermaid

Just in case you didn't believe me when I shared my thoughts on this beautiful creature, I had to draw her for you. Oh and btw, they don't really have long hair! (wink) This is a family blog and for PG purposes, her hair has to be in the way. This, and she told me she doesn't want to reveal her identity and the fact that mermaids exist. So I told her I'll cover her up so that no one will notice. Consider yourself priveledged to be able to see this piece of top secret information.






A Sunday of my life (Posted 28 March 2011)

I woke up at 2H00 in the early morning, as it started to shower with rain. I woke, not from the sound of pitter patter on the deck, but from the feeling, as rain water poured onto my face.

Here in humid Itaparica, it’s impossible to keep your windows closed, unless you’re from the south. As I jumped up with a jolt of adrenaline, I knew it’s too late. My bed  and pillow was soaked on the one side, but it’ll have to wait. 7H35, I woke up with half the side of my face wet. I sleepily carry the blue matress & white feather pillow to the saloon, to hang up for drying by the Sun Goddess. The sunrise was bright leranje (orange), my face still wet. There’s a light breeze blowing, which put a wide smile on my face.

Since anchored at Itaparica, Marco was nagging about how he and his hunting knife need a third pic (partner in crime). “See those palm trees, over there by that beach?” he nags, pointing to one of the 56 islands here in Baio De Todas Os Santos (Bay of the Saints). “Johann, we must go find us a coconut.” says Marco in a sly, assasin kind of way. But up until Sunday, I didn’t have enough energy to go climbing stupid trees, cause I get a bad case of what feels like jet lag, everytime we either start or stop sailing, for about 2-3 days. But alas came Sunday, and I was ready to explore. Marco and I got the 2 Fluid canoes ready, packed it with water, old (past the crispy stage) Simba chips ( still from SA), rope and what looks like a crocodile Dundee hunting knife, which you can strap to your ankles. The island’s white beach was about 2,5km away, and with the binoculars you could almost see a couple of coconuts dangling in the air.

Off we went, I personally didn’t think Marco would make it, but to my surprise, only about 100m away, he started moaning and groaning. (Laziness I tell you) We arrived, pulled the bright leranje canoes ashore, took out the H20 and chips, and sped off in the direction of the coconuts... To our disappointment, the closer we got, the taller the trees got. And Marco quickly realised how small he was, when trying to jump up to reach for the coconuts, hoping his arms would stretch out like one of the Fantastic 4 characters. We then realised we left the canoes all alone and coming from Jo-burg, where theft is around every corner, the two of us ran for it, picturing two gorillas trying to steal our bananas. With relief, the canoes were safe, untouched. Feeling like idiots, clearly not used to trusting the people of Brazil yet. “We’ll get used to it” I told Marco. But already being there, and too lazy to search for these high coconuts any longer, we made our way back to the “catamaran”.
The wind was a bit stronger and when we got back to Catlyn, immediately I had the auto pilot on, to see that the wind was 11knots. “Today is windsurfing day!” I shouted, while going to check the wind again. 12knots and rising fast. I made some breakfast and by the time I finished frying fresh bacon and eggs from St. Helena, which I stuffed in a warm bun from Itaparica Island, Mar Grande, it was 14,5knots, which is almost the max amount of wind my sails can handle. This was when I started praying to the naughty Wind Goddess, to calm down the wind and to stay stable at 14knots. (All this on a Sunday, good for me) After an hour, the wind was still the same and within minutes, I was running around the deck, getting my equipment ready. Loading everything into the dinghy, Marco motored us to the nearest beach, where we set up my windsurf board, sail, mast and all the other neccessary things.

Now, I haven’t windsurfed in at least 45 days and this is a sport you need to keep practising. I’m not too good, but I’m not too bad either, but I’m good enough to sail closer to the beach, to show off infront of all the senoritas. (Ladies, one at a time, por favor) After 30min, I’m in the water and attempting to do a beach start. Grabbing the mast, back to the wind, one foot on the board... second foot on the board... Splash... the wind blew me off balance. “Try again” Says the wind. 2nd attempt; first foot, second foot, kapow... there I go, soaring through the wind, cutting through the waves. Looking back, to check if my balls aren’t dragging behind me in the water. After all, one fin is enough.

“I’m the king of the world!” I shouted. This is what life’s all about I thought. But within seconds, I’m back in the water involuntarily, thanks to a gust. Which is the wind reminding me who’s boss. Taking it easy in the beginning, I didn’t go too fast, but later on, I was cruising. Clipping myself onto the mast, through the means of a harness, my brother Jaco gave me. A harness is awesome, taking all the weight off your arms and allowing you to lean back and enjoy. That Sunday was the best session I’ve ever had. I even tried tacking against the wind, and succeeded. I gybed for the first time ever and it wasn’t that hard, apart from the fact, it feels like you're balancing on a tiny pretzel. (Gybing is when changing direction while the wind blows from behind) In the middle of the session, I was caught in a gust and was knocked over my board, head first into the water, on top of my sails. When getting up, I realised the little rubber thingy allowing the mast to move around and more importantly, holding it attached to the board, had completely broken off.

So here I was, in the middle of what felt like deserted waters, about 2,5km from Catlyn, clinging onto my board with one hand while holding onto the sails with the other. “What now?” I asked myself. “I don’t know.” “It’s a rhetorical question you idiot!” “This isn’t too good for my image!” “At least I’ve got a cool view.” “Today is the day I die.” “Shut up, I won’t die without a fight.” Were some of the thoughts running through my head, apart from the pretty lady I saw on the beach earlier. So I started kicking myself towards the cat, while hanging onto my equipment. I wasn’t going anywhere, the current was too strong. I then tied the sail to the board, got up and started waving in distress, like a drunk reaching for a coconut high in a tree. Finally Marco saw me and came hurriedly with the dinghy. “Go fetch my spares.” I told him. And there goes Marco. I’m still holding onto my floating board and am reminded of the dramatic scene in Titanic, where Jack and Rose hang onto the piece of driftwood for dear life. “Oh Rose.” “Don’t leave me Jack.” “Glug glug glug.”

Marco returns with my spares and within no time, I’m ready once again. Windsurfing is tough on the body and after another hour, I’m tired and heading back to the yacht. To be continued…


PART 2
We were told about a restaurant close to the Itaparica Marina. I was excited when I heard the place was owned by South Africans, which led to two things making me happy; English and Afrikaans was going to be spoken there, and French Fries were going to be served. Amigos BBQ turned out to be a great place. Warm atmosphere (Literally), amazing food; Mom and dad ordered a steak with chips to share, Marco ordered a pork chop with chips, and I, a ½ chicken (Frango) with chips. By the time the plates arrived, my mouth was watering with all the fantastic smells. The portions were gigantic. At home, ordering a meal with chips, meant you were probably only going to get, like 15 small fries. (believe me, I’ve counted) But not here, they brought the chips in a separate plate. (which made 3 full plates of chips) Brazil, being the main producers of chicken worldwide, (yes, the Brazilians eat more chicken than the chicken chowing South Africans, which is hard to believe, I know) The chubby waiter brought to me, what I thought was a turkey, it was huge. (no wonder I haven’t seen a skinny Brazillian yet) Marco’s pork chop was the size of two and looked equally juicy. We said a greatful prayer and dove in right away. It was delicious, we shared each others food, (just like the eastern cultures) which I love to do. It makes eating, which can be boring at times, extremely fun and social. Drinks were lifesavers. With the heavenly climate, (actually it probably relates more to hell, but anyway) I had a shot of white rum, called Ypioca, which is made from Brazillian sugar cane which I mixed with a local fruit juice called Caju, made from cashew nuts. (really good) Dad had a Skol, it’s a mouthful one litre local beer. Marco had a coco-cola and mom had a Capariniha, (very popular in Brazil) which is made of lots of lime chunks, sugar and Cachachu. We enjoyed ourselves tremendously, the owners told us a lot about the island; the food, the people, the culture and how not to look like a Gringo(tourist); Don’t have spiky hair,(apparently all Brazilians think this is totally lame. Damn, there goes my image) don’t have a big backpack and if you do, only carry it on one shoulder. And only to open our mouths when absolutely needed, seeing that this is a dead give-away, Portuguese is a difficult language. Mom made sure we didn’t miss any of the info, by writing it all down. After the information download and feast, my stomach and head were fuller than full. I couldn’t even sit up straight. Marco and I decided to walk off the meal and look for a ‘bicycle to hire’ shop at the same time. But multi-tasking is only good for messing up more than one thing at the same time. And we didn’t accomplish anything, and ended up sitting 15 steps from Amigos BBQ. (across the street, with our feet in the water, watching the sun go down)
To end off the day, we sat on the deck, watching the stars with a Soco and Lime, going on about what a leke day we had. Muchos excellente!





Night Shift with many brackets

18 days ago, was the last time we saw land. (St. Helena Island)

It’s half past 3 in the morning as I write. With only 116nm from Salvador, we will finally be reaching land tomorrow; I can already imagine myself kneeling down to kiss the ground. (In a very slow motion, romantic kind of way)

Night shifts, this is what makes sailing very challenging, apart from the obvious fatigue, It’s difficult to stay awake during these late hours. During my night shifts, I’m often accompanied by rave music (or anything to keep my head banging and my eyes open), a glass of homemade sea water, without the sea of course (Which tastes great btw), taste of sugar (chips, chocolates or really anything to keep, taste buds entertained),stylish sunglasses (Got to do it with class… And so that if I rest my eyes, no one can catch me out) If the stars are out, I’ll have my star book out. (Philip’s Guide to stars and planets by Patrick Moore) Counting stars is amazing-ly boring, and once I counted myself to sleep. Luckily the wind blew hard against the sails and with a bang I was back on the job. (With a moan) If the sea and wind are calm, I’ll be watching a movie or series (Gary unmarried or 2 and a half men) on my dad’s Blackberry.

If I’m really desperate to kill time, I’ll be reading the slow passing minutes away.

My lady Jasmine never disappoints when I need company at night, just me and my girl. With my left hand pressing the notes and my right hand pulling the strings, we make a gnarly team. I written a couple of songs; someday soon I’ll post them online;

The dead man shift (12-3am) is the worst, which makes the late night schoolboy (9-12pm) the best. I like the early morning shift (3-6am) too, cause it gives me a chance to take pictures of the many sunrises. Every now and again and again, I suffer from DHSB; (Dangerously High SB) my cool uncle from Delmas, Mpumalanga will know what I’m talking about. And a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.

From the beginning of my time, I believed in mermaids… And the older I got, the sexier they got.

Why do I believe in these mind-blowing species? Well, partially because I thought, the only reason why I haven’t spotted my partially nude friends to date, was cause I haven’t been in the right spot at the right time. Right? And the other reason why, (and this one’s obvious) is cause they’re hot, wet and nude at the same time. Any man who doesn’t like the sound of that needs to go… sailing! That’ll straighten him out for sure. So during our oceanic trip, I said a prayer each day, wished upon all the shooting stars I saw and, wait for it… I stacked a bunch of beach towels in my room. (Cause you know WET…hot and nude) Sailing in the deepest of water, I figured if something, anything was waiting to be discovered, it would make an attempt to approach in such perfect conditions. Anyway after the 18th day, I stopped hoping for my beautiful girls to splash onboard, in danger of a giant shark or something. And only I could save them, by diving in to do what I do. But I guess 4.7km is a bit too deep for them, so who knows… Anyway, what’s life without a dream?


14 ton monster

As we set sails for Salvador, we made sure the freezer was stuffed with food, mostly fresh fish, including; Skipjack and Bluefin Tuna, Dorado, (maye maye) a couple of pan-sized Kolsterte and some local fish. Eating like royalty, my dad made sure starving to death wasn’t an option. He even got me making a couple of meals; Potato Rosoti, Red bean chili with rice and Sweet corn Macaroni. But back to the fish; after 17 days sailing westward, the only fish left for devouring were in the blue oversized fishbowl. “We ate all the fish! But it was enough to fill a local fish market!” I yelled with disbelieve. 222nm from Brazil and the only fish we caught was a Skipjack, a little Dorado and a 2m Marlin. (Which my CRAZY father hauled onto the stern of the boat without even a heads up) We’re trying to get him to write his take of the monster on the blog, so hang in there, cause it was hectic! But apart from these catches, (We obviously let the Marlin go, photo and release) the freezer was empty… I could hear it moaning with hunger pains…

That very afternoon, was the day our freezer’s destiny was once again, fulfilled. As Marco spotted the bungee stretching tightly, he shouts. “FISH, FISH, FISH.” And when this happens, no matter what your busy with, within 10 seconds, all 4 of us are rushing outside to witness this blessing. Marco tried to pull in the fish, but couldn’t manage and I had the honor of catching what felt like a whale. Steadily approaching, It’s body glitters in the sun, bright green. “Dorado!” Shouts dad with joy. Dorado is a very tasty fish, my 4th favorite. Bluefin Tuna being 1rst, Kolstert 2nd and Snoek 3rd. Mom captures the moment on film, as I pull in a beautiful 14kg Dorado, a God given moment. I say thanks to the universe as I wash the blood off the deck, and feel my heart still beating fast. It’s dad’s turn to gut the slippery fellow. And I help him cut huge portions/ fillets for the freezer, which now has a purpose.



What is it about the ocean?

Is it the continuous movement, the never ending rolling energy of the deep blue that reminds me of life? As I write, I wonder… Am I becoming a wise- ass who thinks he knows a bit about life, or am I just bored?

As I sit in the helm man’s chair, in front of all the navigational equipment at 2 o’clock in the morning, I wonder… Am I sailing in the right direction? After 23 days of sailing from Walvis Bay, SA. I know to have the sunrise in line with Catlyn’s streamline backside, and the sunset in front.

As I listen to the sound of the rhythmic waves, I wonder… When I reach land, will I still hear this magnificent background music in my head?

As I make a 360 degree turn to see darkness, except for the almost full moon right above our heading (San Salvador), I hope…That my path will be infinitely lit, FOREVER.


Moving on - 27 Feb 2011







Just woke up from a great night sleep, knowing it won’t be that uninterrupted for the next couple of weeks. Since we’re setting sails today or tomorrow, San Salvador here we come. Overall, Saint Helena Island was pretty cool; beautiful scenery, great fishing, friendly people, spectacular snorkeling. But with the fairy taxi man charging 10pound for his expertise after 7o’clock, this made experiencing night life on the island hard. Another big hairy but lurking around the corner, would be the lack of Beach Babes, lacking in both B’s. But after 16 days I had a good time exploring the remotest island in the world.


To leave a piece of Catlyn and I behind on the Island, I drew a landscape piece of St. Helena from above. And was happy to know the owners of the famous Ann’s place were honored to hang my brilliant art work on their shrine of memories. (A wall where each passing vessel could leave something behind) Some choose flags, others pieces of their torn apart sails, others chose pictures of their boats, others wrote down greetings and messages, but the shrine needed an artist’s creation.

With itchy feet I’m ready to leave St. Helena behind and travel westwards towards civilization


Joe jnr the fisherman - 21 Feb 2011

I was invited at lunch yesterday to join Richard and the fishermen on the boat for an early morning fishing trip. At 4h00 with the darkness still around me, I woke up to get ready for a day with the men from the sea. Not knowing what to expect I got aboard with an apple and a lucozade and my dad’s crocs. The handshake from the Captain was accompanied with a green used oilskin. We left for the deeper waters around the island and soon they were chucking chunky pieces in blood water to entice the small mackerel. They only kept the smaller fish. I saw them squashing out one of the eyes of the bigger mackerel with their thumbs, and realized that I have to do the same! Awesome! This caused them to be totally disorientated, swimming donuts in the water and flapping and splashing about, attracting the bigger fish! Immediately a huge school of bottle nose dolphins came and chased the bigger fish away. The boat motored away trying to avoid the unwelcomed dolphins. The one guy sat on top of the not so sturdy rooftop, watching out for the schools of tuna.


And then I heard the yell. He spotted tuna! Quickly the motors were silenced and every one scurried for a bamboo with a 3m line and lure attached to it. I watched perturbed at the other guys, because I didn’t have a clue what to do with this stick. Very soon I realized that no one is going to teach me anything, so I grabbed the stick and started copying them. I splashed the water like they did. Many tuna came towards this noise racing to get my lure first. My first tuna was dangling from my stick! With a fly fishing action of about two very short seconds, the tuna was hauled over my shoulder to land somewhere among all the other squirming bodies on the boat. After what felt like only a couple of tuna flying over my own shoulder, I looked back only to see the whole deck of the boat full of silver slithery bodies of tuna. We kept going until the fish started getting less. I was commandeered to throw the tuna from the deck into the container. I grabbed them by the tail, like Simson, two in each hand and felt the beastly nature of mankind stirring deep in me.

We moved to a new spot, and as soon as the guy spotted a new school, which to me looked more like an University of Fish by now, the whole process was started all over again. In between the one guy caught a couple of really big tuna, with mackerel life bait.

Thrilled and with adrenaline pumping the containers were filled and a happy Captain took his fishermen home to a mother awaiting me with a warm shower and a Dad with a juicy hamburger. My captain asked me how many tuna I would like, and I gladly accepted one beautiful skip jack as my wage for a 7 hour job!


Photo's taken by me @ KOLMANSKOP,  NAMIBIA