64. Proper Farewells and Tropical Warfare

I am back in Grenada after a six-week European tour. Visiting friends and family in Göteborg, Stockholm, Stuttgart, Frankfurt and Brighton. People that I never got to say a proper goodbye to before I started my adventure. At the time when I left, Europe was at the height of pandemic restrictions, and I was lucky to be able to find a flight to Saoirse in Italy. Even if it meant travelling with hand luggage only and leaving with very little notice. I guess I have always felt a little guilty for my hasty departure even though people around me knew that I would leave as soon as I possibly could. But I can safely say that I feel that I have made up for that now. I’ve lost track of all the dinners, cocktails, laughs, Uber rides, promises to keep in touch and late-night planning of potential times and places to come and visit me. I’m so happy that I got the opportunity say farewell in style. Even if it was a year and a half later than I would have hoped for.

While I have been doing very little to look after my own health and appearance, Saoirse has been having a very different time away from her captain. She has spent the time getting all sorts of treatment at the local boat spa. I hauled her out at Clarke’s Court boatyard and left her in the safe hands of Diego and Cordel. They have made sure that she got waxed and polished, new antifouling, an engine service, new through-hull fittings, the watermaker properly installed, a new automatic bilge pump as well a number of smaller things. She looked fantastic when I got to see her! At least on the outside…

One of the concerns with living in the tropics is that you constantly have to be on the lookout for uninvited guests. I’m not talking about the human kind of guests, though I know that can happen too. No, I’m thinking of insects. Or more specifically – cockroaches. I have successfully been able to avoid them during all the years that Saoirse spent in the Mediterranean and the year that I’ve been in the Caribbean. Probably because I spend most of my time on anchor and not in marinas. But that does not mean that you can’t bring them onboard yourself. Either with vegetables or fruits, on your shoes or if you bring cardboard boxes onboard. For some reason, cockroaches tend to lay their eggs in cardboard. Another thing that you have to think of is to keep your boat clean and store food in sealed containers. Particularly when it comes to things like rice, flour and sugar.

If putting your boat in a marina increases the risk, I guess that putting your boat on land is much worse. And sure enough, a small colony had moved in while I was gone. They were not that many and certainly not the large brown ones that you think of when you picture cockroaches. These guys were much smaller and predominantly black. I guess they could be some other type of unpleasant bug or just cockroaches in their youth. Either way, I was not going to let them develop to see how they’d turn out. These guys needed to go. But they don’t leave on their own. Not even if you ask them nicely. Fortunately though, they have some pretty serious insect weapons in this part of the world. I chose between two tactics. One option was a ‘cockroach hotel’ called Hotel California. A little box that they crawl into but can’t get out of. It was sold with the obvious slogan – ‘they can check in but not check out’. The other option was an industrial strength gas bomb that you set off and close the boat for a couple of hours. The latter was recommended by a close friend of mine, accompanied with the advice to ‘go large, spare none, especially not the mothers’. I took this advice and set off six canisters, each designed for a volume larger that Saoirse’s interior. First two as a warning, then four to show that I meant business. And it seems to have worked. I’ve gone through every nook and cranny and have not found a sole survivor. To be sure though, I will repeat the process in a week or so.

So there you have it. Paradise comes with its own issues. But I have to say I’m glad to be back. If nothing else to return to a somewhat healthier lifestyle. But it was so special to meet up with friends, family and former colleagues again. You all made my trip to Europe truly special. Some of you even made me feel like you’ve actually missed me. I have certainly missed you all…

I decided to include a bunch of pictures from Europe rather than dead bugs. I am sorry that you didn’t all make the cut but the only reason for that is that I either forgot to take a picture or because it was way too late when I did. Some of you should actually be quite grateful that I opted to leave a few pictures out. That said, you know who you are what you mean you mean to me…

Boat trip on the Swedish west coast
My parents with my cousin
My boys
Jonas fell asleep in the hot tub!
Christening of Andreas’ son. His 5th. The 6th is due in December. I really should tell him what causes it!
Brothers in arms
At the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart. With my brother and his daughters
Octoberfest in Stuttgart
With colleagues in Frankfurt
Apparently, I become a millionaire on the flight back. Still trying to cash it in
Diego and Cordel. They looked after Saoirse while I was away
Military grade roach bombs!
A painting from my mom’s collection. For Saoirse. She is getting quite a lot of recognition lately. You can check out her work at http://www.lofehrling.com

4 thoughts on “64. Proper Farewells and Tropical Warfare

  1. Hi Tomas from pontoon B. Few of your friends here eg david/Anita, Brian/Dorothy etc. business as usual here. Weather beautiful and we have been swimming in the warm water. Circumnavigated lanzarote last weather calling into arriciffe and la graciosa on the way. Always enjoy your blogs and very interesting to hear about the cockroachs. Barney does his nut if you bring cardboard on board. R you staying in Caribbean or moving on?


    1. Hi there Fergal. Good to hear from you. And say hello from me to your neighbours on the dock. My current plans go as far as the Bahamas. Via the island chain north. So Bequia, Martinique, Antigua, BVI and Dominican Republic. I am considering staying the next hurricane season somewhere in central America. Bocas del Torro or San Blas. But that is a long way away yet. All the best. Tomas


  2. Dear Son,
    it was a lovely to see you again. We are happy for you that you have found a lifestyle that you treasure. Looking forward to seeing you again soon.
    Mom and Dad.


    1. Thank you so much. I was so nice to get back and see you after such a long time. And to see you two in great condition. Take care and hopefully it will not take so long until the next time. Love you both. Tomas


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