To go to the beginning of this book, Tropic Moon: Memories, click HERE.
Hans and Jenny were from Germany. See Eule (German for Sea Owl) was their 40-foot Ferro-cement, junk-rigged schooner. (Junk-rigged means the boat had accordion-pleated sails, like a Chinese junk.) They built the boat themselves, with the exception of the hull. They even cut the trees for the masts in a forest in northern Germany. See Eule was what people refer to as a survival boat. The cockpit was enclosed, and the sliding hatch had a raised Plexiglas bubble. Standing in the cockpit, they could survey 360 degrees around the boat. They could tack the boat, and even raise and lower the sails from within the enclosed cockpit. In bad weather, they never needed to go out on deck. See Eule had many nice features. We both got a kick out of the large chart table, which lifted to reveal Hans’ electric train set, with its miniature cars and track.
Hans and Jenny sailed See Eule in northern Germany. They took her through France by way of the canal system. They then spent time in the Mediterranean before crossing the Atlantic. They were staying in Tortola for a year and a half while Hans worked as Stores Manager for one of the charter boat companies. Jenny did some skippering on charter boats, and looked after boats for absent owners. She also took up sewing – play suits, tube dresses, bikinis – getting her customers by word of mouth, and doing quite a good business.
December 16th (1981) was Hans’ 40th birthday, and we were invited over for dinner. Jenny made German goulash, boiled potatoes, salad, and, for dessert, German chocolate pudding topped with white custard. Birthdays should be celebrated, so in January, as Ed was turning 37 on the 10th, and Jenny turning 35 on the 11th, I decided to have a small birthday party on Tropic Moon. We also invited another couple, Susanna and Gerd, who were mutual friends. I cooked the dinner – quiche, fresh fruit salad, and beer bread. Gerd and Susanna brought over champagne. Susanna created the dessert – a butter crème torte, the kind she always made for Gerd’s birthday cake. She spent hours on it. The cake stood four layers high, with jam for two of the fillings, and butter crème for the third. The whole torte was covered with the butter crème frosting.
In February, Jenny and Hans found out they were pregnant. They’d been trying for a while, and couldn’t have been happier. In April, Hans finished his job with the charter boat company. They hauled See Eule, and began preparing her for passage. With the baby coming, they were concerned about being in the Virgin Islands for hurricane season. They decided to get south of the hurricane belt, and have the baby in Curacao, a Dutch island off South America.
I crocheted a baby sweater for the little one. I think I probably found the only pattern on the island! It was fairly complicated, with popcorn stitches, ridge stitches, a Peter Pan collar and raglan sleeves. The only choice in baby yarn was pink or blue. I picked blue because I knew Jenny hated pink. Jenny was working on her maternity wardrobe and had two dresses, two pairs of long shorts, and a blouse finished before they were ready to head south. Her sewing skills came in handy.
(In case you’re curious, Mira Margarethe was born September 2, 1982, in Curacao. Mira had her own swinging hammock on See Eule. While Mira was still a baby, Hans and Jenny sailed See Eule across the Pacific Ocean to New Zealand, where they settled. Mira is now in her thirties, married, and with a child of her own. My, how the years do pass…)