See Nic’s video from the passage Hawaii – Aleutien here!
More Pictures here!
Press Release Dutch Harbor, download here!
Kauai, our last warm anchorage
On 27-07-2013 we depart Kauai for Alaska. After a last clean-up at the Hanalei beach we met per chance Terry Lilley, a marine biologist. While he films underwater movies, he explores the north shore reef of Kauai and his habitations. Doing this he has discovered four news species. His goal is to create a model of a worldwide reef protection. Unfortunately it was only a short meeting because he had to leave for Honolulu, where he had an interview. Salina wants to go back and do some underwater movies.
With the passage wind (20-25 KN, north east wind) we sailed off in direction North West. A last rainbow said good bye. The north pacific is characterized by a high pressure between 40-50° N and 150° W -170° E. Our goal is to sail on the west side around this high pressure, marked by less wind and to reach the west winds in the north for sailing back to the Aleutian Islands. This summer Alaska knows a heat wave and so this high pressure is even more pronounced. Once we have passed 40°N the wind turns to south and drop down. We used this time window to fix some damage on Pachamama.
5 o’clock in the morning, the best moment without waves to put Dario up the mast for fixing our front sail and the forestay. Even with the small waves Dario did some acrobatic exercises on the top of the mast. After the hard work, Dario is again on board, Sabine discovered water in one of the front bathrooms. The kids shouted already that there is a leak in the boat and that we were sinking. A ‘through hall’ was damaged and we had to exchange it, avoiding too much water entering the boat. Quite a challenge on a passage like this… At lunchtime everybody was tired but happy that everything was fixed.
Now we had deserved shower. The nights were getting cold. The kids got their gloves, beanie and boots. The adults took out their warm sleeping bags.
The high pressure forced us to go further west to find some wind. Past the high pressure the water temperature dropped down to 3.4°.
Our heating did still not work, even we ordered spare parts for US 500.-. Dario is missing one switch for it. We hope TOPtoTOP member Nikolai can bring it to Kodiak from Switzerland?
On the north side of the high pressure, the wind was more unstable because we are in the weather kitchen of the north pacific. With each west front we got wind about 20-25kn NE. Dario was quite busy to study the weather data which changed every 2 hours.
Thanks to Jan Hafner, Fred (from SY Songline) and Eric (from SY Sarana) who provided us with great weather information.
Life on the boat is marked by the rhythm of the shifts and the kids. Nic, Christina und I had four two-hour shifts. Sabine looks for the food sometimes with help from Noe and Alegra, Dario for the navigation and repairs and with Sabine for maneuvers and reefing.
Salina and Andri have school in the morning with Christina while Sabine and Dario tell some history to Alegra and Noe or draw with them. After lunch there is homework to do and Nic teaches them in science and English. In the evening Sabine teaches Salina and Andri to play recorder. Nic was filming the life on board. You will see it soon.
Nicole was responsible for the water samples to study the radioactivity in the North Pacific from the nuclear disaster and to watch for debris in the ocean. Our water sample installation needs some modification for well working.
The end of our passage we are occupied with the preparation for the arrive in Alaska. The wind was tricky and so too the decision where to reach the land. Finally we decided to do some detour for Dutch Harbor where Nic can go off from Pachamama and fly back to Australia.
Thanks to Jill Fredston (from SY Companiera) we are already able to plan the cycling to Denali.
After 16 days on sea, we are for anger in a bay without name. So Dario decided to give her the name Sabine Bay (N 35.45.475 W 166.22.475).
The green island with the fjords and snow is very impressive after the last days dominated by the blue color.
After a short morning sail through a small passage with a lot of current, we are now in Dutch Harbor, back in the civilization. Everybody is happy to be in Alaska!
Track us from Hawaii to Alaska
Goodbye from Hanalei – Kauai
The kids got gifts before leaving Honolulu, nice t-shirts from Therese for Alaska. They would like to say ” danke viel mol”! Thanks to everybody who joined or supported us, for the nice time which we could spend in Honolulu.
After a rough but short transit from Honolulu (O’ahu) to Hanalei (north side of Kauai), we found a nice anchor place in the bay in front of the small but nice village. The island looks greener and wetter than O’ahu.
Christina bought 2 ukuleles. I hope that we have some nice music evenings out at sea. Dario and the kids did a kayak tour on the river to explore the village.
Tuesday, we did a hike to the Hanakapi’ai falls. It was a really nice walk 4 miles bidirectional along the high sea cliffs, and winds up and down across lush valleys.
It’s the beginning of the famous Kalalan trail.
This trail takes several days and is for good hikers but the start is very popular. Tuesday it was raining and so there were not so much people. Beside the way we saw orchids, wildflowers, gave and mango trees, bamboo and eucalyptus. After 2 miles the way goes up the valley along the Kanakapi’ai stream in which a lots of small waterfalls flow.
Everywhere on the way were black nuts – kukui (candlenuts) which the local use for the famous necklace from Hawaii.
The falls were spectacular with a wide pool gentle enough for swimming. But it was too cold for swimming because we were so wet.
The kids walked all along alone, 7 hours walk! They did a very good job! In return, we got invited for pizza from Lana. Thanks to her for the lift from the Ke’e beach and the pizza.
Yesterday, Nic from Australia arrived on Pachamama. He will sail with us to Alaska for filming. Welcome on board.
Today, before we leave Kauai for Alaska, we will have a clean-up on the beach from Hanalei. Everybody is welcome to join us.
See our new partner project “Running Downwind” and our departure from Peake in Trinidad! A special thanks goes to Michael from Baltic Sun for organizing and driving a dinghy so that Laura and Thorsten from the “Running Downwind” project were able to film our departure.
At Peake Yacht Services we had to bend the shaft and rudder and the rudder had another crack that we had to weld. Thanks to Chris Maclean all went fine and he helped us also to put a new shaft bearing. Further we had to replace about 70 % of our rigging. Jonas from Trinidad Rigging did a perfect job.
For the Arctic we build a roof behind our bridge. Thanks to Vishnu from Peake Yacht Services and welder Marc Degans we now have much more protection.
Thanks to ICOM Australia we installed a AIS transponder so that big ships can visulise us better and Turtle Pac Australia send us some flexible tanks for the NW-Passage.
Many thanks also goes to Jotun for their Antifouling paint and Budget Marine for their support.
Thanks to Meret looking after the children; Sabine and Dario were able to work full time on many little maintenance jobs and optimized and improved many systems on board.
On the 30th of January the Honorary Consul for Switzerland, Michelle Khan, hosted a reception in Chagaramas to honour the expedition team. Read more in the Guardian newspaper here!
We sailed off Trinidad on Sunday the 10th of February and reached Bonaire on the 13th at 1 a.m.. On the way we nearly stopped at Aves Island in Venezuela, but when we approached the anchorage darkness came so soon that we continued sailing because we couldn’t see the coral heads.
The trip from Peake to Bonaire was one of the best sailing we had in the past with 2 to 3 kn of current with us.
In Bonaire you have to take a mooring for US 10.- per day, because anchoring is not allowed. One of the best snorkeling here just from the boat in crystal clear water. The first day we were already invited to a birthday party by sailing families to little Bonaire Island, where we did a clean-up.
On the 14th at 20.00 hours we set sail again to Santa Marta Columbia, because the GRIB files showed us good wind all the way (not more then 20 kn). We decided to sail N of Couracao and Aruba around Punta Gallina and anchored in the unique Ensenada Gairaca, one of the 5-Bays to get shelter. From there we were looking to the snow covered mountains as we were approaching — the only time you’ll see snow in the tropics. These bays have been compared to the fjords of Norway. You can get some very strong southeasterly williwaw winds off the Santa Marta Mountains. The wind was blowing so hard that our wind measurement system got destroyed.
To make this trip a fun trip here our strategy:
– Go from the ABCs as soon as there is not more than 30kn E or NE
– Stay at least 40nm from Punta Gallinas in deep water and follow the 2000m line
– If you go from Bonaire N of Couracau and Aruba you have to change course only once when you are on the height of Punta Gallinas; note that the wind is strongest in the late afternoon and lightest early morning.
We arrived in Santa Marta Columbia yesterday the 18th of February and had our first article today to organize our activities: see Diario del Magdelena.
Here our climbing project in Columbia 🙂
More pictures here!
Children enjoying the TOPtoTOP activities in Tobago
From Surinam we sailed to Tobago. The first 2 days we were so fast, that the prop started to spin. We hived by and stopped the boat so Dario was able to dive and check the prop. But the reason for the spinning prop was the speed. The wind was dropping soon after and the last days were slow.
After 4 days sailing we anchored in the Pirates Bay, near Charlottesville. This is the eastern tip of Tobago. Already on the first day we got in touch with the Rasta culture: cooooool!
During our clean up games with the local school we hardly could find any trash, – so clean is Charlottesville. Congratulation to the people of Tobago!
Tobago is a wonderful, relaxed island with jungle and mountains to go for a hike, waterfalls to do canyoning, beautiful shore for sea-kayaking, sandy beaches to surf and reefs to dive. Charlottesville has a lot of fish.
Our friend Per on SY Arctic, we met last time in St. Helena Island, got a big fish and shared it with all the sailors in the bay. He was in the water trying to kill the fish with a knife. When he finally won the fight, it attracted a shark. But luckily Per saved the fish into his dinghy in time.
End November we had to say goodbye to Christina: In these more than 3 months she was an excellent teacher to Salina and Andri and a perfect deckhand. She was very flexible: Besides the night watches, she was teaching the children constantly for 4 hours a day. With her charming nature and big heart she was integrated in the family in no time. Beside her function as teacher and deckhand, she was always busy and saw the work. – Free diving on open Ocean she cleared once the keel from a big fishing net. – Even on long passages and worse conditions she contributed to a nice atmosphere on board and became on this journey part of the family. Many thanks to Christina for your great effort! We will miss her as a good friend and hope to see her back on the TOPtoTOP Expedition very soon. – Salina joined Christina for a month to Switzerland, so that she was able to join her school and see the extended family. She will be back at Xmas together with Meret.
On the 6th of December we had Santa thanks to SY Shady Lady. The pirates from all boats climbed the hill and find Santa coming out of the jungle. Every child had to promise to do better from now on and got a present.
Our last school invitation before Xmas will be on Thursday. We already started with preparing the boat for the leg to Alaska. Turtle Pack in Australia ship us some flexible tanks we use in the very North. Bucher&Walt replaced our damaged GPS and thanks to Tracker also in Switzerland you will go to see our position.
Good News: Peaks Yacht Services will haul us out for free so that we can do the underwater paint for Pachamama and all the maintenance work starting on the 2nd of January 2013. Budget Marine Trinidad goes to support our project as well. Our partner ICOM Australia goes to support us with a ICOM M-500TR Transponder. This will be another great device to improve the safety on board. Thanks to ICOM Australia big ships will see the AIS signal of the TOPtoTOP Expedition sailboat also in the worst conditions.
Insider note: We had to postpone the installation of the LI-batteries from the NTU University, because they will not arrive in Trinidad in time.
Thanks to Swiss Honorary Consul Michele Khan in Trinidad we got in contact with Swiss hotelier Jörg Wickihalder who invited us into the Magdelena Grand Beach Resort where we will probably do a presentation begin of January:
Jörg Wickihalder – Merry Xmas and a happy New Year 2013!
Darian-Karsha-Andri-Noe. Thanks to Workshop Sea Tours in Charlotteville we are able to do internet and to wash our laundry! Karsha is the daughter of Lenore and Curtis.
Noe 1st swimming alone on the 12.12.2012 at 12 h!!
September 24, 2012
Version en Espanol
Many thanks for the Englisch translation to our member Hanna Law from Yankalilla in Australia!!
One of the most significant things that we learned from our participation in the UN World Climate Conference in Durban, The UN Earth Summit Rio20+ in Rio de Janeiro and the World Expo 2012 in Yeosu, Korea, is that without the active contribution of every individual, nothing happens.
We have once again inspired many students and individuals with our positive approach of utilising good solutions and sustainable initiatives to protect our climate. More details about this may be found in the Annual Report. Please enjoy also the short video that we made on St Helena.
SY Pachamama also became a test lab in order to test and verify equipment under extreme conditions, and a new generation of batteries will be added from the NTU University in Singapore next month at SGS Trinidad.
After the success of the ‘TOPtoTOP Climate Solution Award’ in 2010, we are now trying to organize another together with myclimate. The student with the best environmental activity organized from each continent, will be invited to see the best practice examples in Switzerland end of 2013. The strong network built among the first participants during this journey in 2010 was key to starting subsidiaries of TOPtoTOP in different destinations continuing our work. See the final report from 2010.
To get to the last two TOPs, we have decided to circumnavigate the two Americas in a figure 8, from pole to pole, and be the first expedition to do so. Next year our objective is to grow our community by incorporating more film and new media, with the ultimate goal being to get more and more people inspired for the future.
We would like to offer our sincere thanks to you all and specially to our main sponsors SGS and Victorinox for their continued support of the TOPtoTOP Global Climate Expedition.