2009-07_au_darwin 110.jpg Batchelor Primary School
2009-07_au_darwin 128.jpg climate solution contest
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=> Note (1): Latest media article:
=> Note (2): We are in Cullen Bay Marina now … and that is our address when you like to ship us something:
Swiss Sailboat Pachamama in Transit
c/o Cullen Bay Marina
GPO Box 143
Darwin, NT 0801
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After a week in the city of Darwin, trying to find out where Sabine can give birth and get an appointment with a doctor, it was time for the TOPtoTOP team to see what the outback communities had to offer! Batchelor was the destination, and it was quite a journey to get there for anyone not used to the long stretches of red dusty roads, even though it was only 100k’s south of Darwin.
2009-07_au_darwin 013.jpg Litcherfield National Park
Batchelor is a small township south of the Capitol, which was originally formed as a mining town when uranium was discovered prior to 1950. But it was during World War II that the town developed, as Batchelor became an important large allied air force base. Today it has a population around 358, and thrives from tourism as a gateway into Litcherfield National Park. It is also the home for volunteer-Jacquis Auntie and family, who generously invited the TOPtoTOP family to stay for the weekend and visit the local school, where “Auntie” Sue teaches. It was a great experience to stay at the outback house, and the kids loved her horses Alice, Amando and Dazzle!
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Sue and “Uncle” JB also invited their Swiss neighbors over to visit to celebrate their son’s birthday with Salina and Andri. Sue even cooked a crocodile cake!
The Swiss family told Dario about their new house under construction from a shipping container, and happily invited both Dario and Sabine for a tour. Everything was very environmentally friendly, with good ventilation and insulation to allow for natural air conditioning and climate control. The toilette was very impressive, as it wasted no water, an important aspect to any home living in remote communities with low rainfall in the dry season.
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The next day was a chance for the family to venture into Litcherfield National Park. The first stop on the way was at the King Termite Mounds. These amazing anthill constructions are all over the Northern Territory. The termites build these colossal towers of red dirt to form insulation from boiling sun. Inside the dirt would be thousands of the insects, including a queen termite and her batch of eggs, the “workers” which construct the tower and gather food, and the warrior ants which protect the colony. The termite mounds also provide a safe and insulated haven for other wildlife like birds and lizards.
The magnetic termite mounds, unlike the incredible cathedral mound pictured above are much more common, and can be seen along the road side all through the Northern Territory.
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Litcherfield park was stunning, especially Buely Rock Holes and Florence Falls, where we stopped for a swim. There was plenty of wildlife, and we were even lucky enough to see a rock wallaby on the banks of the cliff on the steps down to the base of the Falls. Sabine also had a close encounter with some wildlife, when she nearly stepped on an aggressive snake in the path!! Dario and the kids were already far in front, so Sabine had to walk all the way back around the meet Dario at the car park and share her story!!
The next day Sue took the family in to Bathelor Area School to do a presentation. It was a wonderful experience for Sabine and Dario to meet some local aboriginal children, who were happy to share some knowledge about their culture. The presentation was well received and the other teachers were very impressed with Sabine having achieved so much while being pregnant!
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Sues class was happy to invite Andri and Salina to join in for the rest of the day, while Dario was invited to have a look at another class’s work; building Solar Powered Cookers!
They were very outstanding, and the enthusiasm radiated from both the teacher and students, all very proud of their achievements!
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Meanwhile, Sue and her class was proudly showing Sabine, Salina and Andri what they have been up to; building a life-size baby giraffe!!!
Joining in for the whole school day was just great and a memorable experience for everyone!
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However, the time came for the kids to go home, and the TOPtoTOP team to say goodbye. But we must say how thankful we are to everyone at the Batchelor Area school, and we hope to see all the children’s fantastic ideas develop into potential solutions for our future! Also, a huge thank you to Sue, who made the visit such a wonderful success!
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But all the excitement didn’t end there! At the school, we met a Swiss teacher who invited the family back to visit her home in Berry Springs. She had some fascinating pets she thought that the TOPtoTOP team might be interested in looking at! Her Australian husband is a passionate reptile breeder, and their children were more than happy to show Andri and Salina their collection of snakes, turtles, lizards, birds, fresh water crocs, and even a big Salt water crocodile!!! It was unbelievable!!!
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Jacqui was most impressed with their endangered pig-nose turtle, while Dario nearly stood on a mighty python!
The weekend down to Batchelor was a great introduction to the Northern Territory.
Back in Darwin we got an email that the health insurance CSS quite Sabine’s insurance by end of July! That was again a chock for all of us. Still not knowing where we give birth and concerned about the kidneys of the newborn that was not the email you need.
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It was just great that we got in contact with midwife Mo Davy. In the situation we are, she came on board of Pachamama to check if it will be possible to have the baby on board.
Today we got an email of our friend Urs Wälterlin, the Swiss foreign correspondent in Australia. He heard about our troubles we have with our insurance and asked them for more information. He got an email back that they made a mistake and today we got an email from the insurance where they apologize for the troubles they made.
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On the 30th of July it was the first school day of Salina. She goes in Larrakeyah School about 1 km from the boat and she is now fan about her teacher Loretta Woolley. – Today Andri was able to join Salina for “Preschool in the Park”.
Thanks to the Swiss honorary consular Peter Bendel and his wife Marlise, we got invited to the Swiss national day party at the 1st of August and celebrated Switzerland’s 718th birthday with traditional Swiss games:
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On the party I met Marc, a kite surfer. He invited me the next day to fly the kites we have on board to use for Antarctica. It was a lot of fun and Geoff James from FUN SUPPLY sponsored me the missing safety leach:
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On the 4th of August our friends Anne, Uwe and Kara on SY Magnum left the Cullen Bay Marina for Indonesia. It was especially heart breaking for Salina to say goodbye to her best friend Kara. We are travelling together since Mooloolaba. We promised to Salina to set full sails to catch up with them as soon as the baby is born.
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Where is TOPtoTOP next:
4th of August: national Aboriginal and Islander children’s day
7th of August: Nightcliff Middle School
12th of August: Essington School
13th of August: Kormilda College
2009-07_au_darwin 010.jpg Salina climing at the Darwin Festival