There she is! Meet Evi

Another amazing sunset is closing this day. Ieke and Robert, my sister and bf, are visiting. Sahara sand is flying over Bonaire, sand all over from the African continent is blown over the Atlantic. Talking about a meaningless effort, just to dirty our boat and solar panels. But it gives beautiful sunsets. This amazing sunset also marks Suus her due date. We are driving back from the Flamingo minigolf and Suus has killed us on the turf. She easily beat all three of us with a beautiful and impressive belly.

Two days later we are in the hospital again, we had a slight idea that the membranes could be ruptured. The membranes from Suus. After some tests it is clear, it is probably a really small puncture, but it is a puncture. Meaning we cannot wait long until the labour starts naturally. It means there is a “open” connection from the outside of the world with the baby. The little one has to come out within 2 days. We are sent back to the boat to wait one more day. We danced the whole evening, squating together, Suus ate pineapple hearts, we had hot curry for dinner, you name it, we tried everything. But the next day we are dinghying to shore without any real contraction. And it is certain, our daughter will be born before we will return to the boat. We brought the largest bag there is with all things we possibly would need, but definitely returned home with everything unused.

That night Evi is born, in the hospital in Bonaire. Because of the prolonged rupture of the membranes Suus and Evi need to stay in the hospital for one night. Just for observation. I am walking back to the apartment where my sister is staying, just 50 meters away from our boat. Although it is hard to leave my two ladies, it feels ok. I can share my emotions and my thoughts with her. “Oh Sis. It has been such an amazing force of nature. Seeing your loved one in so much pain and the only thing you could do is being there. Watching her do the most intense and impressive thing I have ever seen. I knew Suus is the strongest person I know but doing this, being able to yield and surrender but at the same time control her body and mind and welcoming our little baby. It is again, the most impressive thing I have experienced.” Not much news but it is true. As is most other things they say about having a child we will find out…

The morning after I can pick up Suus. I have never drove so slow and cautious as the trip from the hospital to the dinghy dock. When we arrive Ieke and Robert are welcoming us! Together with Ieke get in the dinghy. Suus, my sister, me. And our daughter Evi. No wind and waves making a perfect flat sea to sail to our boat. Sander from the Blue Beryl is sailing next to us in his dinghy. He makes photos of the mental picture that I will treasure for all my life. Lifting Evi on the boat for the first time, she is home. We are home. With our daughter Evi. 

Bonaire doesnt have real “kraamhulp”, 

We are home with the three of us. My sister helps with getting Suus on board. Evi is a natural.

(Thanks Sander for the pictures) 

Final hours, and last smile of Suus…

Wake up call

“Go, go, go!”, just 3 seconds later I signal Jonas to slow down. I am standing on my foil board for the first time. It is made for kitesurfing but we are practicing behind a dinghy.  To get a feeling for the board and the lift it is giving first, before also have to pay attention to manoeuvring the flying kite. A foil is connected to the bottom of a board, and the airplane style wings lift your board out of the water. When you get speed you’re sailing on these wings and not on your board anymore. This flying is an amazing feeling and also creates a really low amount of drag. But by moving your toe one inch and you are already catapulted up or crashing down. It is difficult, really difficult. Jonas (Danish friend from Zoma) and I are having a hard but fun time while Suus is laughing her ass off. 

Suus her belly is growing more beautiful every day and is still amazingly fit. We finish a lot of work and do many trips. We go mini golfing at the Scheetjes (a dutch family that was in a TV show “Ik vertrek”). Suus even goes windsurfing! We also have several trips to shoot content for our deal with the car rental company. The barter deal gives us a beautiful and huge pick-up car while we write blogs, shoot pictures and make beautiful (drone) videos for them.

“It looks like you have contractions already. That is way too early here so that possibly means we have to fly you to Colombia or Curacao”. Suus and I look really scared when the midwife tells us her conclusion. It is midnight and we have been told to come to the hospital 2 hours ago. Suus is only 32 weeks pregnant, the healthcare in Bonaire is really good but doesn’t have the technical ability to receive a child before 36 weeks. The genealogist does a lot of tests and around 03.00 we are allowed to go home. We have to return the day later and if the uterus has not opened more than now that what could have been contractions didn’t had any result, so won’t have a result probably later. A scary and sleepless night later we get good news at the hospital. If it were contractions they didn’t result in opening up the uterus, meaning it didn’t start the delivery! It is a wake-up call. The biggest reason for having early contractions is stress. We, and especially Suus, have been way to busy, Suus is so strong that she does not let the belly, and everything else changing in her body, stop her doing normal amounts of work. Next to that living on a boat is a bit different than living in a home on shore. We decide that she will stop working, she is going on a pregnancy leave. From this moment we are counting the four weeks until Suus is 36 weeks.

It also wakes me up to prepare the boat even quicker for the little nugget. On Facebook we buy an old cradle and make a closure for the baby bed from the bars. My toolstation has already been transformed into a changing station. All the wood is painted and we put up some stickers of sea animals. But it seems that I feel the pressure now and start painting all the wood of the boat, every day a small part so the chemical air is gone really quick for Suus. All screws, bolts and nuts are sorted in size and material, and we find spots for all things that needed new “homes”. The boat gets more and more ready for a third member.

First time practicing on the foil

Suus is even able to put in a small windsurf session with a pregnant belly.

All spare materials and DIY stuff gets sorted and new places on the boat.

Dolphins in the mooringfield.

Trrrrrr, Trrrr. I hear my phone vibrating on our steel deck. “Dolphins just 50 meters away from your boat!?!” I read in my whatsapp and scream to Suus. We are running to the front of the boat when a group of the most magnificent fishes are swimming by. Friends of us already jumped in their dinghy and are swimming next to them. We look at each other and decide to jump in the dinghy as well. Snorkle gear and slowly motoring to the group swimming just in the mooring field. “This is crazy!” I hear Suus whispering at me. When we are close we slowly dip ourselves in the water and see the dolphins go by gratefully. More than 50 of them are slowly cruising through the water. Moments later too many dinghies are rushing towards the dolphins and they dive a bit deeper. But just when we decided to go back to Yndeleau a small group turns and swims by just next to us. Two of them approach up to 2 meters from me, wondering and interested in what kind of weird things we are with a snorkel and big goggles, holding a rope with a floating thing, our dinghy.

While Suus her belly is growing we are finishing all the baby preparations, some needed baby tools are purchased second hand, a stroller, a maxi cosi. My tools have to make room for diapers, my workplace is replaced by a nice little changing station, one of Suus her clothes closets is gone for baby clothes, the kites need to be stored somewhere else because that is going to be her bed. Our boat is changing. At the same time we are struggling about where to be when the delivery could happen. We thought about Colombia but after a lot of deliberation we decided to stay in Bonaire. We felt really good about the dutch style healthcare, and it is a bit easier to speak dutch than our spanish. On the other hand, we had not been traveling for such a long time and that made us a bit reluctant to decide to stay in Bonaire. It would mean we should be staying four more months because we didn’t see us leaving before the little one would be a month old. But clearly the first arguments won and we decided to stay in Bonaire. We get a car that gives us the opportunity to kitesurf and discover the island. It also is way easier to transport a pregnant lady to the hospital for checkups and the delivery itself later. Suus thought that would be possible on a bike and me pushing her… Positive preggo brain.. 😉

“Wow, look to the right guys! That is the boat that was on facebook last night.” While we drive from Sorobon, windsurf heaven, back to the boat, together with Suus her sisters, we see a 48 foot Beneteau standing on the reef. From afar it looks like it misses a mast but it is just majestically standing there. The crane and all the cars around it already point out it isn’t meant to be there. “Let’s go check it out”. When we drive on the dirt road towards the point where the boat is standing we get another angle on it. And then we see it, half of the hull is bursted away. The boat stranded last night just after sunset. The crew was on its way to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and just after the dark came in they hit the reef. One of the guys told us he was just calling the coast guard and when they asked whether they could get off the boat safely he glanced outside and saw that they could just step off the boat already. They were thrown on the reef and were laying there. They got off quickly but after they realized they couldn’t do anything on the shore, they decided to take at least all valuables and even started dismantling all the instruments. The boat is total-loss. “Pff, that hurts my heart” sighs Suus when we are stepping in the car again. While Suus’ sisters are also walking back to the car we look at each other, “Wow, these things are a wake-up call again. Is it bad to say that I am happy that he is not a cruiser with all his life on this boat?” “No”, answers Suus, “but it hurts so much to see his boat like this”. “They just left to have a nice easy trip to the beautiful islands of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.”. “It shows how strong and unforgiving nature can be!”

It took us 24 hours to arrive at Bonaire. A lot of tacking needed but smooth sea and perfect conditions.

We arrived at Bonaire!

And in the end we were accepted! So happy to be here!

Going to Bonaire, or aren’t we?

While rocking and dancing on the waves, we pass the lighthouse of Curacao. A moderate breeze is healing Yndeleau and we tack every half hour to stay as close to Curacao as possible. We left 2 hours later than planned because we had to do ‘just a few things’ before leaving. A large current, and the wind right on her new shiny nose are slowing us down towards our holiday destination. “Shall we just make up the bed in the galley and decide not to rush but to sail through the night?” We are enjoying our sail, a lot of boats are doing this passage by motor or motor-sail because it is always against the wind and current. But after 10 weeks on land we are enjoying every bit of  it. Just before the dark, we prepared a fish curry with a just caught Mahi-Mahi fish. The new freezer is filled up with the rest of this beautiful creature and in complete happiness we dive in the night. Our e-readers and podcasts are feeling better than ever. Our internal batteries are already charging and with the first daylight we see Klein Bonaire, the little island just in front of Bonaire. 

“Yndeleau, Yndeleau, this is sailing vessel Doejong, this is Doejong”. Our radio breaks the silence, our Dutch friends that we haven’t seen since the Canary Islands, where we prepared for our crossing together, are calling us. “Yndeleau, Yndeleau, this is Zoma as well”. Our Danish friends are welcoming us as well and when we are close to the mooring field they are dinghying towards us. The beautiful reef is well protected and it is not allowed to anchor in Bonaire, you have to use a mooring, two strong lines tied to a concrete block under water. An anchor and chain would drag over the bottom and could kill/demolish the reef. “Yndeleau, Yndeleau, just follow us, we have a free mooring for you”. The Doejong family is racing in front of us to a mooring and help us tie to it.


Mesmerizing turquoise water welcomes Yndeleau and us to our mooring, after we thank our friends and have a small chit chat we lift our dinghy from the boat and prepare ourselves for our check-in. The same as when you arrive by airplane you need to go to immigrations and customs. In covid times this is even stricter, you cannot have personal contact with others and we have a recent PCR test done in Curacao. We have been to Bonaire before, so while walking to the customs office we enjoy many memories. The pizza place we have been 4 years ago with my family, the beautiful promenade, Karel’s beach bar, the friendly people, numerous pick-up trucks and the continuous view on the beautiful blue water and Klein Bonaire just a mile away. 

The customs office is in the center of Kralendijk. Because of covid it is only allowed to enter with one person, as Suus did the check-out in Curacao, she goes in with all the paperwork. Just next to the customs I see all the colours of fishes swimming, I long for the ice cream at Luciano’s I see afar, and wow, all the boats at the moorings in front of Kralendijk. We are back to the life we dreamt of again. We have done a bit too much but at least we are ready to enjoy this beautiful island now. While I walk back to customs I see Suus coming out. “Uh, I need the check-out form of immigrations of Curacao, do you know where it is?” she asks. “I have no idea but let’s check” we go through the whole map but I can’t find it either. “Ok, I will tell them”. Suus goes in with confidence but I am getting worried.

Four years ago we were at Bonaire with my parents and my sister. The beaches are pristine and I can remember that everywhere you dive or walk into the water you find the most beautiful underwater world. I am longing for my first dive and snorkel. Not to forget the kitespot with stable strong wind and flat water in the south of the island. Oh, this place already had our heart but we wouldn’t have dreamt that we would be back here by our own boat, with a new wonder growing in Suus her belly. 

5 minutes later I see Suus coming out crying. “We are not accepted, we have to go back to Curacao.” All kinds of things rush through my mind. Curacao is exploding with covid numbers, we have to do a new PCR test, sailing up and down will take at least 2 days, Suus her energy is really low now with almost 5 months pregnant. We have a doctor’s appointment here for Anti D shots, important for the pregnancy, for Suus. “The officer is making a phone call with their boss now but they probably won’t let us in”. After 3 hours, explaining our situation and finally speaking to the big boss they do let us stay. We have learned our lesson, and fortunately not with high costs. Suus forgot to check out at the immigration office in Curacao. After so many of the same procedures we just think it was the “pregnancy brain”. We made a mistake but are very, very grateful towards the officers in Bonaire that did let us stay. Walking back to the boat we were even too tired of emotions and our 24 hour sail to stop at Luciano’s for ice cream. But don’t feel sad, we definitely made up for that! 

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It took us 24 hours to arrive at Bonaire. A lot of tacking needed but smooth sea and perfect conditions.

We arrived at Bonaire!

And in the end we were accepted! So happy to be here!

Wow, it has been 10 months!

“Wow darling, we haven’t written anything in a long, long time” I say to Suus surprised while I am opening our website and see our latest post. It is in Dutch and titled “We are landlubbers”. It throws me back to our time in Curacao, when we were living in an apartment, with air conditioning, a swimming pool, a car and even had 2 bedrooms. Covid has its advantages. With tourists staying at home, and rent prices plummeting, we could afford this amazing place during our Curacao refit. Suus had taken on a 40+-hours a week project for the Dutch government helping Senegalese fishermen improve their marketing and sales with the purpose of exporting fish to the European market. I took the whole boat apart for the “baby-refit”. Suus is joining me and together we read my last written blog. “We haven’t even introduced that we were pregnant. It was posted 10 months ago”. “Ok, that is pretty bad, but in our defence; we had some other things on our mind” I reply, “but I would love to write again!”.

So, that is gonna be my promise to you. I will write more regularly again and I will write in English frequently. I hope it is better than what came out of Google Translate before though. Feel free to help or correct me, see it as Open Source software :). And please let me know if changing to English makes you stop following my writings? I will post the next weeks a new blog every Monday morning. Trying to get you up to the present moment as soon as possible! So, if you are up for a good story, or at least… something to read every first day of the workweek. Just to wait a little longer to go back to your work email. Subscribe for the mailing list to get an update in your email when the new story is live.

So back to the “baby-refit”. Oh, and hell yeah, Suus is pregnant during our landlubber time! While having low energy caused by the growing little shrimp in her belly she pushes through a large work project. It gives us the financial freedom to change the boat to be fully baby-proof. Every morning at 05.00 AM I drive to, Curacao Marine, the wharf. The winter months in Curacao are hot, African dessert style hot. So I try to be ready at 15.00 – which almost never worked out – and we try to keep our weekends free – this worked out 3 times. The hull (bottom of our boat) needs to be maintained, large parts of the paint are falling off. I redo the whole propeller/shaft installation, it leaked and we don’t want to continue thinking about it, it needs to be done properly now. We also add a washing machine for the washable diapers and baby clothes. To be able to wash daily, more water is needed, so a watermaker is installed. The bathroom floor is not completely watertight so I decided to break the bathroom out completely and rebuild it so Suus doesn’t need to shower outside late in her pregnancy. We also want to finish a lot of projects on our long to-do- list, so we can spend as much time with the little one before needing to go back to boat- projects. Next to a lot of small things, Yndeleau gets a nose job with a new anchor base and roller system, the large water tank of 1000 liters is divided in two 500 liter tanks and we install a new dinghy engine lifting system. 

“Pffff, I can’t even lift my arms anymore, I need one more hour,” I tell Suus finishing the last paint on the nose job. “And I am almost done inside,” Suus answers. Five hours later, in the pitch dark, we are done. Yndeleau is shining and the boat is liveable again. Totally exhausted, we fell asleep in the harbour. After being landlubbers for 10 weeks we moved back to the boat again. Suus’ project and my 60+-hours a week tropical boatwork have totally drained us. But, we are sailing to crystal clear water tomorrow, it feels like we are going on a holiday, we are setting sail to beautiful Bonaire.

Ready to leave! Sailing via the beautiful Punda part of Willemstad. Do you see the coloured houses?

Sailing under the highest bridge of the Caribbean.

Building a new bathroom.

One of the biggest jobs; renewing the bathroom. We broke everything out and fully started from scratch… Built with wood, epoxy and glassfiber. New skills to me but pretty happy with the result!

Everything new and redone, we now have a watertight floor, a window, improved drainage, new location of the toilet, new sink, new countertop, new closets and a WASHINGMACHINE!