~ Hitchhiking across the Atlantic Part 2 ~

01.01.2021, 20:53pm – Off to Cape Verde Part 2

It’s a new year new luck! I am writing to you from somewhere on the Atlantic Ocean on the way to Cape Verde, as crew on a new sailing ship – yes I found one – Ema. It has been some quite eventful days full of important decisions and growth since my last blog entry.

Back in the old year I got invited to spend the Christmas days with a rainbow family tribe living in Caves along the Southern Tenerifian Coastline. I had the pleasure to be hosted by one of the beloved members of the tribe that goes by the name The Pirate or Zen, because he always wears a tricorn and is full of friendly advice.

From my first arrival I felt very warmly welcomed. This has been my first encounter with rainbow family members, an association that is run and build solely by volunteers, people like you and me who arrange camping get-togethers in nature to connect through the heart. Some have mottoes, like healing weekends. They can be drug-positive and usually vegan or vegetarian (environmentally-friendly) food consumption and dumpster diving is involved.

Everyone was genuinely friendly, ready to share their presence and knowledge, a gentle multicultural ambiente… dinner with dumpster-dived food cooked above an open fire, people singing and dancing around a bonfire, swimming in the ocean and a private techno party going on behind some rocks. Wellrounded. I haven’t slept in a cave before in this life, it was a new thing for me. Since Zen had a fancy moskito canopy, it was an especially quiet night with starview and peace of mind.

During my visit in the caves I loosely continued my search for a ship to join to the Caribbean, whilst reconsidering the initial idea of the upcoming months…

Originally it was thought that I’d be joined and accompanied on a sailing cruise for several month by my at that time partner. By then we had found ourselves walking on different paths and I have chosen to continue the journey I was on by myself. However, the exact route of that journey was being clouded in a haze of several options and questionmarks about the destinations and choice of transportation.

During that same time of inner tirmoil my grandfather had fallen severely ill and the family was in a state of anxiety, consequences and uncertainties regarding travelling alongside the worldwide handling of Covid-19 were taken into consideration.

Internal confusion, yearning for home, the wish to cheer up friends and support family back in Germany, the outlook to spend New Year with new friends in Tenerife or going back to Portugal for a short revisit, topped by the seasonal possibility at hand, to continue my trip as planned across the water, following the Passage winds and discovering if sailing is really for me.

While clearing the mind on top of Tenerifes‘ amazing mountain peaks, I followed all options to see where guidance would jump in.

Finally, one day before German Christmas day, I was accepted into the all-male German-Gran Canarian crew of Ema with captain Michael.

I have to say I love the new boat, a well-maintained Beneteau Oceanis 43. Even though it is a fair deal smaller in size than the previous boat I sailed with, 55 feet Pamina, Ema definitely doesn’t rank behind in its construction features. As little as I understand about the art of building a sailing boat, I can admire the elaborative thoughts given to build this ship. From the exact angle of bending of the glass fiber seats in the cockpit to make sitting and laying down comfortable and stable during strong waves in side-bent sailing to the thought-out construction of the living space interior, the positioning of handholds and arrangement of cabins as well as storage compartments sufficient for longer cruises, everything seems fitting. Plus I learned by now that a ship smaller in size holds the benefit of supportive handholds always in close proximity while dancing through the ship along the rhythm of the waves and the wind in a rougher sailing trip.

One day before New Years Eve we set sail from Tenerife with destination Cape Verde, Leg II of the Atlantic Ocean crossing began.

The journey should take us nine days and satisfy all cravings of adventure.

31.12.2020, about 9am

„We encountered and rescued a refuegee ship in the early morning hours of today! The evening before we have received a call by the Gran Canarian coast guards with the request of watching out for a refugee ship with 15 passengers which had been sighted and then lost track of about 50 nautical miles in front of us. At around 5am, we really were able to find it in the pitch black darkness of night with the help of flashlights while running on motor in rocky three meter waves. We immediately notified the coast guard Guardamar Polima and motored in circles around the white ten to three meters wooden fisher boat, which was indeed filled with 35 French-speaking refugees, two of them children.
As we found out through their words, they had started their journey in Dhakla, West Sahara four days ago. All except one were in good health despite having been run out of food and water supplies. We provided them with one of our water canisters and stayed in position to safeguard them until the arrival of the rescue ship.
About three hours later it arrived. The refugees where overjoyed with relief and gratitude, they kept waving to us, throwing their arms in the air with thumbs up and shouting thank yous in English to us.
What a first day! What a good way for them to start the new year. Wish them all the best in their new life.

Later that day.
Currently on my three hour night shift. Earlier I’ve thrown my wishes for the upcoming year on a tiny piece of paper with blessings into the sea.
Reminiscing about time and space I remember three years ago New Year’s Eve. It was celebrated in a circle of amazing people with a fire ritual to farewell the old and welcome the new year. Last year’s New Year’s Eve howver, I was sitting alone in my parent’s granny flat, writing down a plan for the long-awaited journey across the planet. It had taken me a total of four hours that day, after months of indecisiveness and unclarity. This initial plan had laid the groundwork for a year of nomadic living in 2020. In this year, experience has taught me to stop making plans, to lay the focus on the intentions and possibilities popping up on the way, choosing the individual path that unravels itself slowly with each step to each one who listens. I feel grateful.
Rob Riccardos‘ Afloat poetically describes my current situation best. Curious. Excited about the blessings of 2021. I feel it is going to be a crazy-good year.
Watching myself grow and expand on this inner and outer journey is fun, and seeing friends and family grow with me adds to the joy. Moreover, being able to be of service to others on my path, aiding with the realization of their full potential – what more can I ask for? And all of that, while getting to experiece the freedom of travel, making new enriching connections with people all over the countries!
I wish all of you a happy start in 2021 as well!“