Alone Like a Rolling Stone

Cruising in Corona times

The sun leans towards the horizon and dazzles us enormously. Not only is it impossible to foresee what will happen when the sun will be shining in, but also in corona times new measures are constantly being taken in the individual countries to make the population feel more secure, but also to create more and more planning uncertainty. Acting with foresight is virtually impossible. Because one thing is clear, even in Germany, which has been praised time and again by itself "Here it is not yet as bad as elsewhere and we still have everything largely under control", it seems as if the government has so slowly lost control.

The lack of creativity of the Corona measures amazes the skipper

On the Canary Islands, since November 23rd of this year, a PCR test is required which must not be older than 72 hours, under the threat of a horrendous penalty of 6000€ if it is not presented. We sail into the night with a somewhat queasy feeling, the uncertainty is great, what will expect us at our destination? The routing, which I always carry out before a longer trip, indicates 66 hours for the 260 nautical miles, in the weather conditions prevailing now. If there were 6 hours left to do a PCR test in Madeira and have the result translated into Spanish or English, we would have been able to do the test in Madeira. During the week it would have been sporty to impossible and on weekends not at all. The last test we will refer to was done in Porto Santo three weeks ago. The result took 18 hours, which we found super fast. At the beginning we bumped past Deserta Grande at two to three knots and the lack of wind threw us back several hours in our schedule at the very beginning of our crossing. At midnight of the first day we are already 10 miles behind. Finally, a south-easterly wind with 15 to 20 knots sets in and lets us pick up speed. 

Marina Quinta de Lorde, Madeira

I would have liked to have written, "We're gliding along at 6 knots", but unfortunately a three meter high wave from the southeast built up against a 1.5 meter high wave from the north, which led to terribly loud clapping between the two hulls against the freeboard. So I imagined that next time the water fountain would shoot through the saloon and the roof up to the top of the mast. But the boat can take a lot. For us as a crew it was extremely exhausting, the next 48 hours our bodies were busy compensating for the rough ship movements. I felt as if I had been transported back to my youth when my best friend told me that in order to get to the women's side, we absolutely had to take a dance class. I reluctantly agreed at the time and found myself at the one, two, cha cha cha cha of the dance teacher, which roughly corresponds to the body movements in such a swell, with the difference that the dance course lasted two hours once a week.

Before things really get down to business, dullness!

With Gaby the hunger in such conditions is gone anyway, but with me it looks completely different. However, even on a catamaran it is not easy to keep the lid on the pot under such conditions. We drive into the second night and in the darkness it is not to be recognized whether what crashes so terribly against the hull is a wave or a container. Well, obviously it was just waves, because in the course of the night the weather calmed down and the sea became more and more calm. At least now we have a good three hours lead over our schedule. The idea of sailing to Lanzarote, which we favored, we had to give up early, because the course was unfavorable with the prevailing wind conditions. Gran Canaria would have gone, but would have made us incredibly slow. So we decided to go to Tenerife. Since I couldn't reach a Trans Ocean base before our departure, I try again after the first network signal. We are 30 nautical miles north of Tenerife and lo and behold, the connection works. However, what we get to hear exceeds our expectations by far. Still with the queasy feeling in the stomach, we were told that on Tenerife, due to the high corona case numbers, a 14 day quarantine has been ordered for crews from abroad, as it is assumed that the presentation of the PCR test for sailing crews cannot be kept anyway. No, please do not quarantine again, we are sailing to La Palma. In Tazacorte we also have a Trans Ocean base, let's try it there. Despite the nice weather, the island only emerges from the haze 10 nautical miles ahead of us. 

Stowaway off La Palma, Canary Islands

I try again to reach our base and if it runs then it runs. Also this time the call was received, but again we didn't want to hear what we were told. The port of Tazacorte is full to the brim, no rubber dinghy fits in there anymore, let alone a catamaran. Attempts to reach the marina itself fail. A decision must be made. We turn sharp left and head for Punta Cumplida. Since it is already quite late, we will reach the Marina La Palma in Santa Cruz de La Palma only at night. If necessary we can anchor in the bay Puerto Espindola for one night. That would be plan "F", but we still hope for plan "E". The marina will answer our call and say no problem, let us know when you are there on VHF 9 and we will open the gate. If it runs then it runs. At 19:00 o'clock we reach Santa Cruz, the Thor Heyerdahl, a three-mast topsail schooner under German flag, is moored at the pier. On deck of the sailing classroom with about 30 participants I think that this would not be compatible with the new corona measures in Germany and I wonder if German law does not apply on such a ship. But the thought quickly evaporates if we are still not quite sure about our own situation. The reception is very friendly and the Marineros are very helpful. After the ship's papers were checked at the reception dock, we transfer to our assigned box. The marina is max. 30% occupied and we are looking forward to a warm shower. The next day we go to the Marina office for registration, which was closed the day before. Here we were also received in a friendly manner and we were told that the measures laid down apply only to airports and ferry ports. Sailors from the European area are still excluded. It is hoped that despite the difficult times and the measures that are certainly not always easy to take, there are still people who can rationally assess the situation and on this basis make sensible decisions adapted to the situation.

Santa Cruz de La Palma, Canary Islands

How we like it here and what we experience on La Palma, the small green island of the Canary Islands, we will tell you in our next blog. Until then, as always fair winds and keep a stiff upper lip.