All posts by Ania and Anto

To the mainland with The Longest Swim

After 4 months spent on the islands we successfully made it to the Americas. Leaving the idyllic Carribean islands was not the easiest. Our inventive advert claiming with the big letters “FREE BEER (on safe arrival)” brought us wrong attention. These adverts stuck in the sailors’ bars and around the harbor don’t work anyway. It was a good lesson of patience and assertiveness.

We ended up in the good hands of the “Discoverer” crew, in short: Disco crew. Very disco, indeed, 13 people (10 different passports) with an average age somewhere in between 20 and 30. Our intention was to go to Colombia, but they were going to Mexico and up to California, so we thought, ok Mexico, why not. Guacamole, burritos, tropical fruits, Mayan ruins and who knows what else.


Discoverer is not just any boat, it is a beautiful racer bought from the British army, that sailed around the world already 7 times. No buttons for autopilot, everything manual, labor intense. That’s the spirit! 24/7 someone needs to be at the helm and in the harsh weather condition it is a good work out and blisters on your (or rather my) hands. It was actually the first boat that we never got seasick on and thanks to the guys’ professionalism and engagement I somehow got the sailing bug back!

Discoverer is the support boat of an expedition called The Longest Swim and now …read carefully!

“The Longest Swim will be the 1st attempt to swim across the Pacific Ocean, from Tokio to San Francisco. After his daily 8-hour swim, Ben Lecomte will jump onboard the support sailing yacht “Discoverer” to eat, rest and spend time with the crew. The crew will mark his GPS location when he breaks for the day, and bring him to that exact spot to dive back in the next morning.
His average swimming speed is 2.5 knots. With the push of the Kuroshio and North Pacific currents, he plans on swimming an average distance of 30 miles per day for a total duration of 6 months.
Throughout the journey, Ben and his crew will contribute to 8 medical and oceanic research programs using equipment provided by such organizations like NASA and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
Ben Lecomte is no stranger to crossing the ocean. He was the first person to swim across the Atlantic Ocean without the kickboard in 1998 in support for the cancer research. “ This is what you can read on their website
Check it out: http://www.thelongestswim.com

This expedition is an amazing opportunity to raise worldwide awareness for environmental sustainability and the impact we have on our oceans.
The project is planned to start in spring 2018. We were happy to be a little tiny part of it and now we can spread the word.

Here’s a video made during our time on the boat:

And yes…we saw an unimaginable number of dolphins, some turtles and couple of whales and many many shooting stars. We would never expect to crossed the Panama Canal and sailed a little bit on the Pacific Coast as well.

Thank you Paul, Scotty and the whole crew for the fun, and the ride!

And now after exactly 4 months and 2 days after leaving Europe, Gibraltar we are finally across the Ocean back to the mainland in Mexico, Acapulco!

Enjoy the gallery 🙂

 

The many faces of Saint Martin

Busy working at the farm and looking for our next boat we lead a relatively uneventful but peaceful life.  We did go cycling and walking around this small Island (just 87-square-kilometres!) and we surely noticed many of differences that characterize it.

Many coins for many faces and contrasts. A French side vs a Dutch one. European culture vs American. The very rich vs the very poor. The local ghettos vs super luxury hotels and yachts. Unique natural spots vs never ending urbanization. And so on..

The island is not exactly split in a half equally. The legend says that a French and a Dutch made an agreement that following the coastline they will walk the opposite ways and in the place where they meet they will establish the border… but apparently the Dutch was seduced by a beautiful French woman on his way, or… he just got stoned and took his walk very easy.

Enjoy.

At the Rastafarm with Jabash

It is 6:45 – the morning alarm is ringing. This time by Anto’s head as it is his turn to slip out of the tent first. There are mango trees all around us, but unfortunately the fruits aren’t ripe yet. It is warm, but pleasant outside, the sun is still hiding behind the mountains. On the way to the kitchen we pick some local fruits, pomme cythere, star fruits and we munch them slowly waking up together with the surrounding nature. In the distance we could hear Coco chirping towards us “BONJOUR, CA VA?”. She is a green parrot, that in her special relationship with Antonio, in some miraculous way to the rhythm of her high pitch tones, convinced him to dance in front of the cage as he never did before.

There is also Gucci, recently become mamma- pit bull that in protection of her own nipples against always hungry puppies learned how to comfortably sleep on the plastic chair, and the cat KusKus that eats from the same bowl as the dog, and the turtles that sometimes stick their heads out from behind rocks by the salad patch.

Once everyone got petted, pinched, patted, scratched behind the ear we can continue making our way towards the kitchen for the morning herbal tea. We welcome our host with the fist bump and the words “blessings” as it is customary among Rastafarians. Today’s morning speciality: bay leave arrowroot tea. Apparently it strengthens your bones and puts asleep each infant crying at night.

 

During the morning ritual of watering arugula, spinach, peppers and other plants we got to know about a peculiar night incident. In the kitchen an unknown animal had appeared and stolen all the peanuts from the parrot! It was a raccoon. How do we know it? The raccoon left his footprints on the tiles that Gucci found and indicated. Fortunately it is not as bad as it used to be – says Jabash. “For 1,5 years I could not eat my own crop because of the monkeys. Dozens of them were coming at night eating everything that was ripe. One and a half years…but since I got a dog and we went together uphill to show them where their place is they stopped coming, and now they steal only from the neighbors.”

At 8:30 it is time for the morning radio audition and Jabash’s advice on naturopathy and herbal medicine. Today he talks about diabetes and correlated with it alcohol consumption and physical inactivity. He introduces a gooseberry and recipes on how to prepare a tasty juice that lowers your glucose level in the blood.

After the morning watering depending on the day we prepare the soil for the new beds, we dig, we transplant, we plant the seeds, clip the trees, prepare the water tanks for the upcoming dry season. Sometimes a whole classroom of pupils come by for their lessons in the nature, yesterday also a local TV showed up to shoot a small reality show from our camp place on the farm.

Before the noon is out, our host’s wife arrives together with her sister. She brings crunchy baguettes from the bakery. Together with olive oil, fresh tomato, chive or basil leave it tastes just the best!

At 11 o’clock it is too hot to continue working. Shower time. Maybe a small SPA this time? I fill up a bucket with the rain water as always and go with a small mug to the “shower room”. On the way there I cut an aloe vera leave and mix its gel with grains of brown sugar. I am not sure myself if I would rather rub it on my skin as a peeling or eat it straight away.

After a refreshing shower, it is time for a highlight of my every noon. Relax on the hammock with the landscape of wild, jungle-like hills. In the shade, with slight refreshing wind and a good book. This time it is Mysliwski and “A treatise on shelling beans”.

 

Life on the farm is good and simple. No electricity, but fire, no internet but nice conversations with others, no time frames, deadlines, rush. We are close to the nature. Pretty happy to cultivate food and work this fertile land after spending many weeks at sea. It is also a great opportunity to get introduced to Rastafarianism and its spiritual side.

There are some cons though: heaps of mosquitoes, tarantulas and other Caribbean animals that could trouble the human body.

We just wonder from time to time what is next, where will we go and if it is ever going to be as good, innocent, true in its experience as in here on the farm. Thank you Jabash for your unconditional hospitality!!!

And in the afternoons we are trying to do some boat hitchhiking, but frankly speaking, we are not too effective as it is our 33rd night in the tent on the farm… 🙂