Since my last post many things have happened: many positive, but also some very bad signs that made me really wonder and think twice on the decisions taken…
Dropped once for all my hopes to join Wylde Swan in sailing the Caribbean, I accepted the generous proposal from Luis to stay on board few days more with him and the amazing new friends from Atlanta. Mike and Kristin are expert
paraglider up to the point that Mike had his year off to paraglide around the world.
His passion is aviation and his enthusiasm and excitement brings us to Maho beach in the Dutch side of Sint Marteen. The beach is known worldwide since located at the start of the runway of SXM airport where even Boing 747 take off with a jet blast that smashes people in the face and sometimes even roll on the beach and end in the water.
But the sea is the main reason we’re here and, together with Manu and Michele (two friends from my home city visiting the island for holidays), we’re back on board Wind Whisper to have a round of the island thanks to the Captain Luis! A offhand BBQ on Tintamarre island and a Yoga session on Orange beach makes our tour memorable!
It’s already a month that I’m living with Luis on board Wind Whisper and the feeling is still good, but time is passing fast and the decision moment has come. A sunrise meditation session in the fore of the boat clears my mind and from deep behind I decide to step back on land to look for the next wave, either a boat to buy and fix either a flight to reach Nori in Rio de Janeiro to celebrate the Carnival.
I invest two days searching for good flight and to look around for boats both visiting naval yards and through internet websites. I visit 3 boats in total and within these an Amel Maramau date 1985 and fully refit in 2006. She’s lovely and spacious with 2 big cabins that makes it perfect in my mind to sail around the world in 2 couples.
On the other wave I spot a flight to Manaus – Amazon region of Brazil with 24h stop over both in Curacao and Aruba where I could try to extend a layover to make a dive.
It’s already 10 days that I’m around Saint Marteen and the idea of spending a month or more here to look for a boat, make her sea worthy before sail out is not giving the right feeling.
I book the flight and I write to Wolter, a friend and master diver met in Peru in 2014 who was living in Curacao. I discover he moved to Saint Marteen and he reach me from the Dutch side for dinner and beers together. The night goes fast and it’s half past ten in the evening when I walk him to the bus station on the road to the Dutch side to find a bus or hitchhike back.
I’m sitting with my mobile in hand waiting him to get a ride when suddenly an hand appear from my back grabbing my mobile together with the case used as wallet. The time to realise that a man is just stealing my mobile and running away and I’ve dropped my flip flops and bare foot I’m already on his back shouting to drop it or I’ll kick his ass!
Wouter also runs in his back, but when he suddenly turns in a black small street almost visible in the dark we both decide to stop and avoid to risk our life. No-one knows who else is in the small alley or if he’s carrying a gun.
We get a car of the Gendarmerie and pass the next 4 hours between the policemen speaking with local people on the street and leaving a deposition in French at the Gendarmerie office, with the help of Alessandra an Italian translator.
The wake up is full of thoughts, block the cards, get a copy of the police report, pack and find a way to the airport where I risk to be grounded since not able to provide the original of the credit card used for the purchase. The card was one of the two stoled with the mobile and the driving licence.
I hand over to destiny ready to go back looking for a ride on another boat where at the last minute I’m handover a boarding pass!
Aruba here I come! As soon as landed I try to withdraw with the remaining two Italian cards and after 6 different ATMs and 2 Wester Union who doesn’t do cash back I give up the idea of withdrawing on this island.
Luckily I met Kurt, the master diver of Twin divers with who I dive @ car Piles winning the bet on who will use less air… 1300 left against the 900 psi of Kurt: Keep healthy, running and not smoking guys!
Going back underwater after a long stop is amazing and the dive itself is full of new fishes for me. Colourful corals are all around us and in the “leaves” of one of them Kurt shows me also a giant crab resting. On top of the corals the bottom is full of car and trucks dropped at sea many years ago that became the house and base for a lot of marine life.
An amazing lunch at a local market with the few florins I have ( I strongly suggest to try Funchi, a corn meal mesh) and I’m back on a flight to Aruba. The Credit card situation does not improve and I leave the last 50 € cash to the hostel who accept only cash, but luck is with me: exactly tonight there is the parade for the Carnival of lights!
The streets are all ready with fences to contain the people and at 22 the parade starts with trucks playing music full volume, dancers in colourful costumes full of lights. It’s really a good pre Rio Carnival.. Unfortunately I’ve no mobile, so no photos for you! 🙁
I give 50 euro cash for the hostel and airport transfer to the owner in Aruba and I’m on the flight to Manaus hoping to pay the taxi pick up through the hostel not to use the last 20€.
The driver is an happy face as well the hostel, but cannot pay by card services outside the room rent and I remain with 10 Brazilian Reais as change, equal to 2,3 €.. I’m rich!
But the Energy is finally changing, on the airplane I win 17000 miles with the on board lottery and the hostel is really welcoming plus I get a reply from an amazing group for a tour in Patagonia and they want me on board! One van and a car starting from Santiago de Chile on 13th February heading South up to Punta Arenas in approximatively 3 weeks… Rock and Roll!
After some search in Internet and a morning in around the city I get also three other problems solved:
found my Jungle Survival adventure with Antonio:
Started loving the Santander Bank when an ATM first accept the card and blocks with an error counting the money, but at the second attempt allow me to withdraw enough for the Jungle tour and some shopping around!
last minute one: booked my next two flights after Rio de Janeiro to join the amazing group for the Roadtrip in Patagonia!
Keep Positive and smiling! All the pieces will fall in place one by one… 🙂
Heading tomorrow for three days and 2 nights in the Jungle, here below the plan: