Corpses pave his way
Now you may be wondering, what does this Italo Western, known in English as "The Great Silence" with Klaus Kinsky, have to do with me and sailing?
Well, when I was thinking about the headline to this blog, sadly, this movie title from 1968 came to mind.
Let me explain.
When I started this trip in 2007 with my then girlfriend Stefanie with a round through the Mediterranean, we spent the winter in Turkey, more precisely in Marmaris.
There I met wonderful people and these acquaintances turned into friendships that lasted for years.
Two of these people were Hannes Frühauf and Stefan Ramin.
We had no idea what fate would befall us on our travels.
The number of people I met and loved on this trip would be decimated by misfortunes and every time it is a stabbing pain in the heart.
In 2010, this Stefan was murdered and found dismembered on the Marquesa island of Nuku Hiva in the South Seas.
I flew back from Tahiti to the Marquesas to take his catamaran to Tahiti and witnessed the hunt for his murderer. The story went through the world press.
On the Fiji island of Vanua Levu, a Canadian friend slipped and fell into a boiling spring. A cruel death.
My then beloved partner Cecille died in January 2017 in the Solomon Islands in a diving accident due to technical problems, which almost brought me to the brink of despair.
Shortly thereafter, my friend Peter fell fatally from his mast onto deck in the South Sea paradise of Vanuatu.
This was followed by other sailing enthusiasts who died from spectacular or natural causes.
So, now you might get the headline.
In November, another very dear friend died on his yacht in Indonesia. He disappeared without a trace and was recovered dead from the water by fishermen a day later.
For the family, such an event far away from home is certainly a far greater shock than if this stroke of fate happens in familiar climes.
In addition to the mourning, there are the bureaucratic hurdles, the investigations, the insurances, often corruption, arbitrariness of the authorities, the repatriation.
Anyone who believes that Germany is the inventor of pointless bureaucracy has not yet had the pleasure of dealing with inefficient banana republic officials.
Sabine, the wife of Hannes, whom I have also taken to my heart as a good friend since our time together in Turkey and all the other places we sailed together, had the ship transferred from the scene of the accident to Lombock by a crew.
When she asked if I could take care of putting the yacht ashore, as she didn't have the strength to do so at the moment, I said yes immediately.
Lombock is about a 4-hour flight from my current anchorage in Palawan.
First, I had to get from Palawan to Manila. Are about 1.5 hours flight time. In Manila I have to stay for about 8 hours. Onward flight to Bali. Stay almost 10 hours. Then a 40-minute flight to Lombok, then a 2-hour taxi ride to the marina.
That's how easy it is to fly a normaly 4 hours here from Palawan ;)
Luckily, the yacht Cayenne, a sister ship of Odin, which was moored here at a secure mooring, was in perfect condition. After Cayenne was put ashore with the right tidal range and the right weather to wait here for a certainly happy buyer, I had time to look at something of this beautiful island, the little sister of Bali, before the return flight.
I almost forgot... it should be exciting again at the airport of Bali.
They didn't want to let me board the plane back to Manila because I didn't have a plane ticket out of the Philippines. WHAAAAAT???
I explain to the lady at the counter that I have entered the Philippines with a yacht and also plan to leave it the same way.
I am charming, demanding, make jokes and compliments, show my boat papers with clearance certificates in the Philippines... Nothing leads to convincing the lady at the counter.
Damn, still an hour until departure. What now?
Come on, boy... Think about it!
So book a flight out of the Philippines. Cheapest version of this ticket for the trash can is Hong Kong.
I try to book a flight out of the Philippines for the next 4 weeks at midnight to make the lady at the counter happy.
Credit cards are a great thing.
Flight searched and found.
Now it's just confirmation through an app on my partner Freldelyn's phone. I ring the bell to ask for the code number that the credit card company sends for security reasons.,,, But... Madame is fast asleep and cannot be awakened by a ridiculous ringing of the telephone
Dung!......... One more try...... and another, but she is blessed with a sound sleep.
I try to reach Sabine in Austria, but it doesn't work either.
The clock is ticking…
It's already past midnight when I remember my sailing friend Tom. Sleepily, he gets in touch and is immediately ready to help. Phew! He books!
Confirmation of the booking should take 20 minutes, the plane should have boarding time in 15 minutes.
I try to convince the lady with the brain carved out of wood that the payment confirmation is actually sufficient. The ticket is booked and paid for, the flight details will follow later.
Miracles are still happening.
The lady probably wants to call it a day and has an understanding with the annoying German.
Praise be to all 149866 gods of Bali.
That was easy! LOL
After a quick 32 hours of travel time for a flight that could actually be done in 4 hours, I am totally exhausted and tired back on the Odin.
Traveling is fun.....but not always, especially for such occasions.