Skydiving 2020

FINALLY, the skydiving season has started.

Yesterday I went the first time jumping this year (of course with a lot of restrictions and in compliance with all the current regulations implemented at the dropzone). As you can see the smile on my face I had a blast. This was the only time you could see my smile the entire day.

Thanks so much to Christian who gave me a ride to our favorite skydiving place and jumping with me. Also Christian produced a video from all the jumps in 2019. I contributed some footage and you can see me in some of the sequences as well (see if you can spot me). We all hope that we will be able to do more of these jumps this year.

Take care everyone and stay healthy.

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Escape from NJ – two days at Sea

Two weekends ago I got the opportunity to deliver one of the 1986 America’s Cup boats (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/America_II) from Newport RI back to NJ. If you have seen the movie WIND (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_(1992_film)) the boats are featured there.

This was a unique experience and I’m so grateful that the Manhattan Yacht Club gave me that opportunity. Both of the boats will be sailing all summer for races and charters out of Jersey City. First challenge was to get the entire crew up to Newport (5 of us). We rented a car and wore face masks to keep the potential infection concern to a minimum. When we finally got going we realized that the battery charger was not working so we had to visit the next marina to get that repaired. We arrived at 11.30pm in Old Saybrook the first night and the biggest challenge was to get a taxi to our hotel. Finally the hotel manager woke someone up to give us a ride (7 miles). The next morning we planned an early start (5am = 3.5hrs of sleep), unfortunately the keel was stuck in the mud until 830am. On the positive side we could enjoy our McDonalds breakfast and get some fuel. Due to the delay we hit the worse current when we reached NYC, but we got rewarded with a nice cruise down the East River with all the lights on.

It was an unforgettable trip with an amazing crew. See below a quick video of our trip I took.

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Social Distancing boating style

Mid April is the time when the new season for the marina starts, so a lot of boats leaving and arriving. Since most of the marinas were closed until last week, no new boats came but some left already. So this is Social Distancing boating style, currently we have no boat on either side or behind us (our boat is on the far right).

Last week a friend flew his drone around our boat and took some pictures from us having a sunset cocktails. I’m hoping we can hire him in the summer to take some pictures of us on the boat in front of the Statue of Liberty.

We are still trying to make the best out of the situation and stay as active, healthy and connected as we can. Last week though was terrible weather with cold temperatures and rain (exactly the opposite from Europe). Saturday was the day which brought us finally sunshine. I can tell you we enjoyed every second of it!

It stared at 9am with a 5k virtual run with friends from London/UK and a coffee afterwards from our favored coffee place as reward. The wind was calm and we took the boat out on the Hudson for a spin and also to practice to operate the boat with just the two of us. Jolanda is getting better handling the lines at the dock. In the afternoon two friends asked me if I want to go out with them on a sunfish to practice some racing (I have a lot to learn, in the picture below I’m usually the last). In the evening we had a catchup video call (cocktail happy hour) with friends from Florida we have not spoken with for some time, afterwards we had a romantic Raclett dinner. What a beautiful day – grateful!

Sunfish is perfect in the social distancing times – one person per boat and we do need our activities to keep motivated during this difficult times.

Please all stay healthy and safe…

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It can affect anyone ….

Last Friday we received very sad news that the husband of our helper and Julia passed away due to the COVID-19 virus. Even that we taking all necessary precautions and trying to stay positive, we will be reminded how real this pandemic is. Julia was helping us to keep our boat clean (even the small one we had before) she is a very kind and generous person. Her husband was only a couple of years older than us and they have three teenage children. With all the financial burden Edna has set up a gofundme webpage and Jolanda is trying to help to raise money to support the family to cover the hospital and funeral costs.

I can only say that this family really deserves all the support they can get.

Please all stay healthy and care about the people around you.

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Easter Still Connecting

What a difference…..

Easter 2019 celebrating with our NY / NJ friends in person on our boat

Easter 2020 spontaneous zoom catch up with friends from our Singapore days

This time Easter we celebrated over 5 time zones (Wyoming 7am, New York 9am, Switzerland 3pm , Koh Samui 8pm and Singapore 9pm). Looking at a bright side, before Corona we probably would never managed to get together like this! We are still trying to make the best out of the situation and these kind of things bring us closer together.

Some decorations Jolanda and our neighbor Lori did for the festive season:

Also this was the first official week without a job in finance for Marcus. It was a tough decision to resign but if you don’t enjoy your job any more you have to find something else. He got promoted to technical advisor and assistant of Jolanda. The office is much closer and the dresscode is more appropriate, just waiting for my first paycheck πŸ™‚

Besides the work we also got out to get some fresh air, of course with the necessary safety distance and facemasks. On Thursday we ran a virtual 5k with our friend in the UK. And we took the boat out to check if everything is still working and training for a two crew journey.

P.S> last week was my first time shopping in Trader Joe’s after standing in line for about 45min to an hour keeping a secure distance of 6ft, as soon as we went in the store no one cared about the distance any more. Instead of waiting to let people shopping and then go to the shelf people just stood shoulder to shoulder and were spending ages to decide what they want to buy. This does not make sense.

We hope you all stay sane and healthy…….

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Quarantine, busier than ever

In the last two weeks we were so busy, we couldn’t believe it. I had to finish up some work for the bank, before leaving and Jolanda got a new exciting client which we think has a lot of potential.

We consider ourselves extremely lucky as we have a lot of outdoor area and the park is not too far away for a run. We are keeping our distance to others (even boaters) and do not go shopping unless we really have to. The restroom of the marina closed so we have to have the pump out boat coming every other week to empty our waste tank. One project I finished is the gage on the fresh water tank, finally we are able to see how much fresh water we still have on our boat. This can come in very handy especially in winter when we have complicated ways to fill up our water tanks. The old gage was not working anymore, as you can see from the picture below.

Also Jolanda discovered mold on our boat and she is on a mission to get rid of all of it on the window frames (that might take a bit longer).

Last weekend was quiet eventful. Our nice neighbor Mark (who was a tenant at our marina for 20 years) left. We really hope we getting a nice neighbor again. See below a picture from our boat with the slip in front empty. Also we removed all the winter covers and celebrated with our first outdoor fondue on the flybridge. As it was so nice weather we took two Kayaks from our friends (thanks Franco and Frank) to explore the Morris Canal. The wireless headset (called marriage saver) – came very handy. With this nice weather we are doing Yoga and Workout session on the dock, for our fitness and also as entertainment for our neighbors. In the evening all neighbors gathered at the dock for a little happy hour – of course with the required 6ft safety distance.

Our cat Luna got a new job, we are using her as a homing pigeon. Attaching little notices on her collar for the neighbors and they reply as well. Luna loves to visit the neighbor boats and stays for a while.

Today we learned that all parks in New Jersey were closed down including our favorite Liberty State Park. Luckily we still had the chance to smell the flowers last week. Hopefully this situation is over soon and we all can get back to our normal life’s.

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Atlantic Ocean Crossing

Just before all the COVID-19 craziness brought our lives to a hold, we got the chance to fly to Bermuda to bring back Arabella, a 157-foot mega yacht, to Jersey City. We were concerned that we get in and out of Bermuda, but everything worked out well. This was an experience like no other before. We had 12ft waves, 40kts winds and rain. You can see how happy we were when we got back home.

Thanks again Michael Fortenbaugh and the the Arabella crew for such an opportunity.

Let’s see what other Lemon’s life throws at us we can turn into Lemonade.

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Minor Surgery before COVID-19 hits

A few years ago Jolanda was diagnosed with high calcium and high PTH. In the long term this condition would be damaging to her bone density. After a 2nd and a 3rd opinion – she finally decided to schedule a surgery to remove one of her parathyroid glands which was responsible for her condition. The surgery was scheduled for March 10th and this was just the start of the COVID-19 crisis in New York. We had long discussions, but eventually decided to go ahead.

Early in the morning Jolanda went with the Ferry to Manhattan and was scheduled for 10am. Ready for the procedure:

After 4 hours Jolanda woke up from the general anesthetic and I picked her up. We had a very nice trip home again with the ferry. As you expect she was soon back and in working mode.

Now two weeks later she managed to do her first small run and the follow up doctor visit will be a first – a virtual visit online only later this week.

In the meantime we experienced already our next adventure. I will soon post the most spontaneous boating adventure we have ever done…. Stay tuned

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Generator Project

Last year we started our biggest projects on the boat yet. We wanted to get our generator running again. Unfortunately the survey did not tell us that the generator did not produce any electricity. See (5) on http://marcusandjolanda.com/home-improvement-update/

Thanks to our neighbor Don and Hans, the help from Mark from Colton Point Marina we were able to get the generator repaired after many hours of hard work. A quick summary in the video below:

We are very proud to have power through a working generator and looking forward to the next projects.

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Four weeks which feel like an entire year

Have you ever ……. felt that you experience in weeks more than usually in a year? I definitely feel that way as I’m looking back since we got back from our holiday vacation from Germany / Switzerland to visit family and friends for Christmas and New Year.

Chapter 1:

The year started off on a sad note, our good friend Beatrice passed away in mid January after being in the hospital for the last few months. We have shared so many beautiful moments and we hope we brightened her life as much as she did ours. We could not thank her enough to take us in when our boat was not ready and travelled with us in her home country Colombia.

Chapter 2:

Many of you know I started sailing as well. Of course not the fancy boat racing as Jolanda does, but with a sunfish which also has a sail and a rudder. As I turned up on most Saturdays asking for a rental boat, I decided after a little while to buy my own sunfish. With the help of our friends Ken, Eric and little Tyler to inspect the boat, I bought the sunfish:

Chapter 3:

We were invited to an anniversary party on the 24th of January in Zurich Switzerland, Jolanda was very excited to be a bridesmaid. Because of crazy Swiss tax reasons our friends Susanne and Davide had to decide not to get “officially” married, nevertheless they anyway went ahead with a beautiful party. We had a blast.

Chapter 4:

The same weekend we visited our friends Simone, Konstantin and Juergen at her weekend house in the Swiss Alps Lenzerheide to go skiing. They invited us to stay at their cool place and we spend two days with them. We are so lucky.

We liked the area of Lenzerheide so much that we decided go spend the week there. Working remotely and still enjoying the beauty of the snow covered Alps.

Chapter 5:

Jolanda’s moms birthday was on the 29th of January so we decided to visit her as a surprise. She did not expect that we would show up. I think she had a great evening.

Chapter 6:

On January 31st I celebrated my 50th birthday. Jolanda told me that she want to take me on a surprise trip for the occasion. She did not tell me where we are going. Initially everyone joked around that we will be going to Jamaica to visit our friend Vicki and her new hotel. Even Jolanda’s sisters seem to be excited to go to Jamaica. So the day started with us getting a ride to Zurich airport from Jolanda’s sister Priska. They told me that we have to do a stop at Starbucks before the flight. I got greeted by a group of people totally unexpected:


I was overwhelmed – friends from California (Vicky), New York (Roe) and London (Clara) showed up (I thought it was just a coincidence that they were at the airport traveling through). I did not know what is going on. Are they all going with me on the surprise trip? Out of a sudden we left the airport again and drove to Altdorf (the town where Wilhelm Tell lived). When we arrived even more familiar faces turned up, including my ex-girlfriend Simone (we are still in frequent contact – we even went to her wedding). We all went up to the mountain for a sledge tour. The snow was a bit soft but the view was amazing.

In the evening I was expecting that we are going with our friends out for a nice dinner, but then suddenly Jolanda told me to wear black pants a white shirt black tie, hat and sunglasses. So I was expecting that we might go to a theme party. As we went down to the restaurant there were some tables food and drinks were served. Now even more friends turned up (all dressed like me). After one hour two guys did a Blues Bothers show and then …… MY FAMILY FROM GERMANY turned up (they went with the train 7 hours to the party), I was speechless. After everyone was there they opened another room where a sit down dinner with DJ was served. People who could not attend send videos with greetings which were shown on a screen. There are not too many moments in my life where I’m emotional and speechless this was defiantly one of them.

The next day everyone suffered a bit after the long party but nevertheless we went on a snowshoe hike in the mountains. After a amazing hike in the mountain we meet for a nice fondue with a little party afterwards.

The following day it was time to say goodbye to our friends and family, after all I was still getting my surprise vacation – so back to Jamaica :-). We took the ferry boat back to Luzern and then the train to Zurich airport.

As we arrived at the airport I was told that the first stop will be Helsinki / Finland, but there will be another connecting flight in the morning. So it seemed that Jamaica was a different direction, but who knows.

Chapter 7:

After a night at the airport hotel Hilton (we even had our own sauna) we continued our trip to Kuusamo / Lapland. After we arrived at the small airport we rented a car and drove to a cottage house in the middle of the snow covered Finnish country side. As we were getting cozy in the cottage at the fire place and sauna of course, our friends Arben and Patricia turned up. I nearly got a heart attack as I was sitting only dressed in a towel on the couch (no pictures from that moment of course). Another surprise, we had so many adventure the following days that I just include some pictures what we experienced:

Beautiful countryside

Dogsled tour

Fat tire bike tour

Romantic dinner

Cross country skiing

Snowmobile tour

We even slept one night in an Igloo, that was always a dream of me (unfortunately Jolanda had to join me πŸ™‚ ).

As I’m writing that we will have our last night in the cottage (Arben and Patricia left already yesterday). I can’t thank enough the friends and family to make that birthday party and surprise trip happen. Above everything else I’m so lucky to have a wife who organized everything and kept it as a secret until the very end. I never dreamed experienced something like that and Jolanda made it happen.

Maybe next year Jamaica πŸ™‚

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