Alone Like a Rolling Stone

Review of the year

The year 2022 is slowly coming to an end. We are now in the fourth year of our sailing adventure and celebrating the second turn of the year abroad. With the Christmas season just behind us and the New Year ahead, it's the time when we think about family more than usual. Certainly not easy when you are so far away from home. So that we do not become all too sad, we look back on an eventful year 2022.

Arrived in the Caribbean

Coming from French Guiana, we spend New Year's Eve at the Paradise Beach Club on Carriacou. Somewhat surprised when the boss, at 22.30Uhr the last round proclaimed. Well the last round was then, arm in arm with the boss, at 4.30Uhr, finished the next day, after the rum stocks were significantly reduced. In Carriacou we remained until the end of March. The Atlantic had left its mark and we had to have the boat repainted. Unfortunately, our painter was not only unreliable but, as it turned out later, incompetent. The paint was blistering and threatening to peel off again, after less than a year. Anyway, by the end of March, the work was completed and we set out to explore the Antillean Arc. On Sandy Island, an offshore island off Carriacou, we meet the crew of the Blue Horizon and the Jambo. During the three months of our stay, we made many friends that we now have to leave behind. 

With friends on Sandy Island

We sail to Union Island and have an agent clear us in. Union Island belongs to the Grenadines, which also includes the island of St. Vincent. We sail the archipelago until April 19. From Union Island we first sail to the Tobago Cays. The small islands give us a real Caribbean feeling. White beaches, lobster and rum. In some places you feel like you are in the middle of a pirate's nest. We dive with turtles and enjoy our new freedom. Also the Blue Horizon finds itself again. In Salt Whistle Bay, a beautiful bay on Mayreau Island, we get to feel the charter business reviving after Corona. The morning after our arrival, ten charter catamarans enter the bay and overcrowd it. We move to the much quieter Saline Bay and spend a few beautiful days on this tranquil island. 

Mayreau, The Ranch

From Mayreau we head for Canouan. Fighting hard against the wind, we try to reach the island, in the northeast. Gaby announces protest, because once again the ambition has seized me and we crossed against the wind. In the late afternoon we reach the bay, in front of Charlestown, where we meet two Styrians. Canouan also has an ATM, which after two hours of maintenance, provided us with some cash again. Our cash reserves had decreased significantly due to lobster consumption. Except for a nice beach bar, the island does not offer much, unless you are into expensive shopping in exotic places. 

Canouan, doing our favorite activity.

We sail on to Port Elizabeth. The trip is rough and rowdy. The wave hits the boat from the northeast and the wind increases up to 25 knots. Also on this day we sail again hard on the wind. But this time at least we are spared the tacking. In Admiralty Bay the anchor slips again for a long time. However, we get it fixed at the second attempt and lie at Princess Margaret Beach until April 18. We like the island of Bequia very much. We do some hiking and get to know the island. Friendship Bay in the south of the island or the Old Fort in the north of Admiralty Bay are just a few examples. Port Elizabeth with its numerous pubs has pleased us very much. 

Admiralty Bay, Bequia

In the Walliabou Bay on St. Vincent we clear out. In the bay scenes for the movie Pirates of the Caribbian were shot and partly the old film set is still standing. We visit a small freshwater pool and go swimming. We also get to know the nutmeg tree, which impresses us greatly. From St. Vincent we set course for St. Lucia. At the North Cape of St. Vincent we get into the notorious wave, which is driven by a wind up to 45 knots. Only after about 10 nautical miles the wave calms down again and in the lee of St. Lucia the conditions of the Lake of Constance prevail again. Only late, it is already dark, we arrive in Rodney Bay, at the very top in the north of St. Lucia. We are anchored with a yellow flag, because we want to continue to Martinique the next morning. 

Refreshing swim in freshwater pool, St. Vincent

We are looking forward to the island, as we have heard that it should be a shopper's paradise as far as food is concerned. And indeed it was not exaggerated. On the French islands you can get everything your heart desires. In Le Marin you can also find almost everything you need for the boat. We stock up on ropes and all kinds of accessories. Hydraulic oil was the most difficult thing to get. From April 21 to May 2 we fill up our supplies. Then we continue via Grand Anse d'Arlet to Anse Mitan and on to St. Pierre. In Anse Mitan we rent a car and explore the island. We visit Chateau Dubuc, in the very east of the island, as well as the botanical garden Jardin de Balata or the highest mountain of Martinique, Mont Peleé. In St. Pierre we clear out and sail to Dominica. 

Sunset, Anse Mitan, Martinique

In Roseau we moor at a buoy. Due to hurricane Marie, many jetties are still broken, so it is not easy to get ashore to clear in. We land in a small fishing harbor and pull the dinghy up the slippery ramp. Not far away is the ship terminal, where the official sits who clears us in and issues the permit to sail the waters. We take a look at the south of the island on a day trip and are thrilled. On the way north, we moor at a buoy in Sunset Bay. In the shady tree in front of the restaurant, an iguana is cavorting in stately size. Finally we reach Prince Rupert Bay the next day. We moor at a buoy in the north of the bay and visit the island on several days. A boat trip across the Indian River, may not be missing, as well as a jungle hike, the Red Rocks or the chocolate factory in the northeast of the island. We visit the Cold Soufriere, cold gases escaping from a volcano, and Fort Shirley, which is very well preserved. After one of the infamous barbeques in Prince Rupert Bay, I lose my balance while climbing the dinghy and end up in the water. Fortunately, it is dark and the mishap goes unnoticed by most. 

Iguana as table neighbor, Dominica

We continue our journey and sail to the Iles des Saintes, a small group of islands offshore Guadeloupe. Off Terre de Haut we occupy a buoy and take a hike to Fort Napoléon des Saintes. Quite exhausting in the heat and all the more annoying because the fort is closed for renovation. At least you have a great view from up here and in the haze, we can recognize Guadeloupe. We stay only two days, because the place is too rolly for us. Arrived in Guadeloupe, we sail up the west coast to Deshaies. The Ilets Pigeon are an underwater nature park where you can observe numerous fish and turtles. We snorkel here for a few days and can't get enough of the colorful wildlife. In Deshaies we rent a car again to explore the island. We drive to the east coast and learn that traffic jams can occur even on an island. All the more beautiful is a hike through the jungle. Numerous exotic plants, huge green foliage and impressive waterfalls, characterize this nature. 

Guadeloupe waterfall

In mid-May, the corona season will also be over on Guadeloupe. At least the test stations were dismantled except for a few. For us a little too early, because we wanted to go to Montserrat and here a test is still necessary. However, another test must be made when entering the island. We try it, but are rejected in Montserrat. So the next day we go to Little Bay, anchor up again and sail to St. Kitts and Nevis. In Charlestown on Nevis an anti gene test is also required, but we can do it in the hospital there. After that, clearing in is no longer a problem. The season is coming to an end and we have the beach almost to ourselves. In a beach bar we meet a local who complains about his misfortune. The last season was completely cancelled because of Corona and the bookings for the next one are rather miserable. He hopes to survive somehow. In fact, there seem to be more monkeys than tourists on St. Kitts and Nevis and the only marina here makes a rather desolate impression. Only in Basseterre is by the cruise business something more going on. 

Monkeys on St. Kitts & Nevis

Since the hurricane season starts on June 1 in the Caribbean, we break off our trip to the north here, and sail across the Caribbean Sea to Aruba. For us, this year the longest beat. 530 nautical miles are once again a lot of fun. After initial weak wind, we have before Aruba then over 30 knots and arrive of course in the night to come then still somehow by the outer reef to the anchorage. We manage that too, and Gaby is on the plane a few days later to fly to Germany. I stay on Aruba for three months and take care of the boat. This gives me the opportunity to get to know the island very well. Walle, Gaby's brother, also benefits from this during his visit, because I can show him the most beautiful beaches of Aruba. And even though Aruba is way too expensive and doesn't have much else to offer, the beaches are a dream. In the meantime Gaby is also back and during a visit to the old gold mine it happens. She bends her left foot and breaks a small bone below the ankle. The photos for this cost a whopping 650 US$ but, thank God, are paid for by the health insurance. Much worse is that she drops out as a crew member and I have to do almost everything alone. 

Aruba, you have to look for the shade here

On September 2, we will continue to Colombia. We were not quite sure about the security situation, but then decided on Santa Marta. A decision we have not regretted. Visiting Lost City. The cup went past Gaby, because she would not have survived the arduous path, through the rainforest, with her foot. In the end, it took me a whole week to recover from the exertions of the tour. The friends we met and made in Santa Marta cursed me for not telling them what was in store for them on this trek. I did, but once again they didn't listen to me. Yes it was exhausting, but it was worth it. We plan a round trip through Colombia and travel by plane to Bogota. From here we continue to Leticia. Only after our return do I realize that we have flown over the equator to see the Amazon in the southern hemisphere. With Medellin and Jardin, we then got to know the diversity that this country has to offer. Two weeks later, together with the crew of the Flip Flop and the Ariel, we got on the bus and headed to Cartagena. The city must not be missed when visiting Colombia. We first wanted to go there by boat, but decided otherwise because of the entry procedure. When leaving a province in Colombia, and that would have been the case here, you have to clear out and clear in again, which again generates some costs. The old town of Caratagena is worth seeing and we did a lot in the three days. 

Spanish guitar recital in Santa Marta, Colombia

After almost 2.5 months in Colombia, we then leave for Panama. In Puerto Obaldia in the very east, at the Colombian border, you can clear in in a small village that serves as a military base. Here you will find customs, immigration and harbor master's office. One gets his stamp in the passport and receives the Zarpe for the waters of Panama. From here we sail to the San Blas Islands. The eastern San Blas are still pristine, while it gets more crowded towards the west. Unfortunately there is a lot of plastic garbage floating around in the waters of Panama. That is a pity. Nevertheless, we find a few beautiful islands. In the meantime we arrived in Linton Bay and had our headsail fixed. 

In the San Blas, Panama

We will spend Christmas and New Year here before heading to Shelter Bay and tackling the Panama Canal adventure. This we create but only next year and is therefore another story. We have sailed this year only about 1700 nautical miles but have experienced a lot. From the end of March to the beginning of September we were exclusively at anchor or at a buoy. In Colombia we were then in a marina. We wish you all the best for the next year, stay healthy and calm. We hope to be able to tell you about our adventures again next year and are looking forward to your interest.

Thank you the crew of SV Katinka