Indian summer

Hinnerk Weiler in the Bahamas relaxing at Rose Island
Sailors life – sometimes it's not even about sailing…

LaSalle, Ontario, Canada. – Leaving Germany I had an outline for my voyage. And along the trip whenever I was asked where I come from and how I got there I was also asked where I am going to. Last time this happened speaking to a fifth grade in Amhersburg public school. Preparing my presentation required me to look on aspects of my travel through the view of ten years old. I tried to think about what I would have thought 25 years ago when I was at that age and if someone would come to present me a lifestyle light years away from the reality around me. After a while I realized, that living on a sailboat to travel around the world was probably way more imaginable than everything my parents did for living. So I presented them exactly what my life is: A constant change with few anchors and ongoing motion through countries and oceans full of dolphins, sea turtles and all kinds of other fascinating things.

Paulinchen haul out in LaSalle, Ontario, Canada at St. Clair marine
Paulinchen hauled out in first morning light

The motion in my life had not come to a stop. Even now that the boat is on dry again and the Canadian winter is knocking on the door sending me back to Europe, I will be on the voyage and the “break”, if you want to call it that way, for long time became part of it. Wintering in Switzerland is less sailing for sure than the last one in The Bahamas was. But it opens room for other aspects of voyaging. I hopefully find the required time to finally finish my first book. I will work a lot on presentations and also have speeches in Europe. Finally it is a good chance to take a look with some distance on what and how I have traveled on my boat in the last thirty month.

Wintering Paulinchen 2009/2010 in Hamburg City Sporthafen
Winter 2009/2010 in Hamburg

The process of thinking about this started at least last week: The fall finally arrived last weekend in LaSalle and temperatures dropped significantly to almost freezing at night. Thunder, rain and black storm clouds hailed its arrival. Sleeping with a background noise from a heater reminded me of wintering the boat two years ago in Hamburg. Short days in which snow on the hatches blocked the daylight and ice in front of the small cabin windows put a huge change on my view. I felt comfortable on the boat and lost the fear of being caught in ice and snow in Alaska or Patagonia. I would not hesitate to spend the winter here, maybe even on the boat. But other things became important as well. This winter someone is waiting for me. Someone I have never had the chance to spend more time than a couple of weeks before one of us had to get back on a plane home, wherever that was. So even if it is not as adventurous as wintering on a boat in North Channel going to Europe is going to be somewhat challenging too and I am curious about it as I am about coming back to see the Georgian Bay next summer.

This time my winter on the boat was only a few days long and ended just one or two days before José lifted Paulinchen out of its element. The cold days ended in what locals call the “Indian Summer”. Speaking of it in Europe most people would simply think about the colors it tints forests into.  But witnessing its arrival here adds more to it. It is like a last uproar when the summer already is on its way to surrender just like it wants to leave the spot heads up putting out all its beauty one more time and raising temperatures to more than 25°C (77°F).

Fall colors in canadian indian Summer at Crystal Bay
Fall colors in Canadian Indian Summer at Crystal Bay

This temperature change causes all the trees to stand by for a hailing goodbye. They change their leafs from green to a shining red, to yellow, to brown or sometimes even to blue. I just hope to get a chance to see more of these colors and maybe some forests before I have to leave end of this week. – Why? Because one question I had to answer in the school reminded me why I am in Canada: “What has driven you to live on a sailboat and to come here?” The answer is as simple as this: “I want to see through my own eyes.”


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