While in San Francisco, we were busy trying to organise a marina to leave the boat during our bicycle trip, as well as trying to find bicycles for the the kids. Tim and Megan give us a lot of advice and helped us a lot, as well as very kindly lending us their VW camper van to act as a support vehicle for the cycling trip. Elsbeth and Karl Heinz helped us so much and gave us a bike for Andri. Thank you so much for everything and giving us a home! Lots of thanks also to Ushi and her family also, our kids enjoyed very much the company of Andreas and Patrick.
Barbara was helping us so much to find a marina, until finally, we found a place for Pachamama on Pier 39, were we received a warm welcome of the harbourmaster Shirley, Marta and Charlotte.
In San Francisco we were also joined by Jenny, a film producer and maker from the UK who joins us to document our journey and Anina who will teach our children for the next 3 months.
We organised the boat ….and off we cycled on our new Stromer e-bikes with our friends Anne and Kara over the Golden Gate Bridge. Thank you to all helping us getting ready!
The cycle will see us go from the highest coldest point on the american continent, Mount Denali, to the lowest hottest point, Death valley.
After cycling through the streets of the Oakland region of San Francisco we then faced the climb up to the Anthony Chabot regional park where we wanted to camp for the night. Unfortunately through the streets of Oakland we had lost Jenny in the van, and we were loosing light as well as heat and battery for the bikes very quickly! We were then met a very kind man named Rodrigo who helped us find Jenny, and then showed us a much shorter cycle route to a place we could camp. It was very dark and cold by this point and were were so very thankful for the help, and were reminded again at how generous people can be with their time. We had covered 30km in the first day and were starting to hit suburban San Francisco and make our way out into the country.
After a much needed sleep we set off on the bikes, carrying on through the Anthony Chabot regional park and down through the Chabot Valley… it was a nice smooth downhill stretch to start the day! We stopped just outside Pleasantown for lunch and then it was a fairly flat 30km through Pleasantown and Livermore to the base of the Del Valle regional park. After a sharp climb and then another decent, we arrived just as the sun was setting, set up camp, had some delicious spaghetti and steak – the best meat Salina had had this year apparently (!) and got an early night after a tough 2nd day cycling covering around 65km.
After a good mornings rest we set off in the afternoon to camp for the night at a dirt bike camp site around 30km down the road.
Sunday morning we arose early and set off east towards Yosemite. The roads were flat and thankfully it was quite cool in the morning sun. We ate up the miles on the roads and after 35km stopped for a quick rest outside a shut up farm shop. A few moments passed and the owners of the shop pulled up to check everything was ok, as they were passing on their way home from Church. We spoke with them and explained what we were doing and we were presented with some frozen peaches and and almonds from their garden! What a lovely treat – it was like ice cream!! Thank you Gary and Debbie – they were delicious and kept us going!
A further 25km down the road, it was starting to get very hot, we were tired and desperately hoping for a campsite to appear. We then spotted a swiss flag flying on a flagpole alongside the customary US flag at a house in the distance! We pulled up in the hope they may be able to offer us some shade under the trees in their garden, so that we could continue in the cooler afternoon. We got talking and it turned out that the father of the family, Norbert, was from the same town as Dario, and they offered us to stay with them for the night… and best of all they had a pool we could swim and cool down in. It really was like all our christmasses had come at once! Thank you so much to Norbert, Mary and their daughters Jessica and Lilly for being so welcoming and opening up your lovely home to us for the night.
We are now sitting down to a lovely Swiss meal cooked for us all by Sabine.
We will try and keep the blog a bit more regularly updated during our cycle, and we have also set up a new facebook page, which is where we hope to post a daily update and photo! Please visit https://www.facebook.com/TOPtoTOPGlobalClimateExpedition and like our page.
We will also be posting more photos from the last few weeks onto dropbox in the coming days.
More pics here!
We enjoyed a few days in the beautiful city of Vancouver. We had a warm welcome from Jerome Charbonnet from the Swiss Consulate and journalist Christof Marti from the Vancouver Sun. Unfortunately the teachers were on strike and so we could not go and visit schools.
It was great to meet Gordon who lives next to our anchorage just downtown. He was like an angel and showed us around. We visited some of the parks, the aquarium and Science World. For Meret it was time to say good-bye and go back home. Thank you so much for your time, we all miss you.
We finally made it to the Head Office of Arcteryx, our very first sponsor since the beginning in 2000! It was for us a very emotional moment. We gave a presentation there and felt very thankful having Arcteryx as our outdoor gear sponsor. Thank you Joanne for organizing the visit!
From Vancouver we sailed to Thetis Island where Quentin also had to leave the boat. Many thanks to Quinten, we miss your bread! We had a look at the Thetis Island Marina where Paul offered us a space to leave the boat over winter. The people were very kind and the island was nice. Many thanks to Michel and Linda for your self-made jam and juice for the trip South!
We needed to make a decision how to continue the expedition which wasn’t easy. It took us several days of thinking and discussing the different options.
Finally the decision was made. On September 5 at noon, we left the island in order to sail to San Francisco and start cycling from there. Overnight, we passed the Strait of Juan de Fuca and reached the open sea the next morning. The first couple of days the wind blew rather weak but then fortunately picked up and Pachamama speed down the US-Coast with a max of 16.6 knots (record)!
During this journey we were accompanied several times by different kinds of dolphins. Once we spotted a swarm of tuna fish so we decided to put a fishing line out on the back of the boat. A moment later a fish bit but managed to escape again. The disappointment for the kids was big. Luckily we got another chance. We had a second fish on the hook and this time it stayed. We were able to pull a 30 pound tuna on board. The next few days we ate tuna steaks, pasta with tuna sauce, tuna salad… It was very delicious and nice to know the origin of our food.
On September 11th, we sailed underneath the Golden Gate Bridge and entered San Francisco. At the Emery Cove Yacht Harbor we were welcomed by old sailor friends Anne, Kara and Uwe.
Elsbeth with her two grandchildren also came to visit us, what a surprise.
San Francisco is the last stop for Anja on our expedition. Thank you for teaching our kids. We hope you come back! The rest of us together with new volunteers are continuing the journey by bike to Death Valley, the lowest, hottest and driest part of North America after climbing Denali, the coldest, highest place. On our way we are going to visit schools to motivate the children to do something positive for our planet.
Report by Anja
More pics here!
I joined the family in Talkeetna at the end of May as a new crew member and teacher for the kids. Together we travelled back to Cordova. We organised some more project and got the boat ready for the next part of the expedition.
Excursions to the Sheridan Glacier
Twice we did a trip to the Sheridan Glacier with a group of students. Dario talked about the scenery and showed them the most important things about ice climbing including how to rescue someone out of a crevasse.
At Sheridan Glacier climate change can be seen as it gets smaller from year to year whereas the lake between the end of the moraine and the ice is getting bigger and bigger because of the melting water.
The students enjoyed the spectacular scenery and were amazed as for most of them it was their first time on a glacier.
TOP to TOP Presentation at Orca Lodge
For the group of college students from Colorado Dario did a Presentation at the Orca Lodge in Cordova to tell them about the Top to Top expedition and inspire them with good examples to do something good for our planet.
Beach Clean Up on Hinchinbrook Island
Together with the students from Colorado and the Orca Adventure Lodge, we cleaned up a beach in Hinchinbrook Island. A lot of rubbish was collected, mainly tsunami debris from Japan that was washed to the shore.
Dario and Andri fishing
In one of the last days here in Cordova, Dario and Andri got the chance to join a fishing boat for a fishing trip.
Andri: „In the evening, we went out with the boat to a good spot where there were a lot of salmon. And in the morning we put the net out. When we pulled it in it was full of fish. The second time one fish escaped. The third time I could help to put the fish in the fish hole. The fish were very slippery! At the end, a very big boat came to suck all the fish out of the fish hole to see which ones are good and which ones are bad. It was a lot of fun but I got wet. ”
Tour at Ocean Beauty
A few days later, we were invited to visit the Ocean Beauty cannery where we could go on a tour to see the different steps of the canning process. After the tender with the fish arrive, the salmons get sucked into a big tank. After the employees cut the salmon’s heads off and take the intestines out, the fish are put directly on ice. The canned salmon is cooked for 98 minutes. Big machines scale the fish and put it in cans. Our guide also showed us how they prepare the salmon to keep it fresh or to freeze it in order to ship or fly it out. Then they are put in huge containers and are flown mainly to Seattle to get packed and shipped or flown to different parts of the world from there.
In 24 hours Ocean Beauty could produce about 300 tons of salmon. From the time the fish arrives, it takes only a few hours until it is prepared for sale which allows them to sell very fresh products.
After having spent ten beautiful months in Cordova, it was hard to say good-bye. Sabine organised a Farwell-Party at the Skater’s Cabin where the whole family could enjoy some time with friends and thank everyone for their help and the good time they spent with them.
At the end of June, we welcomed Meret, who already accompanied the family on Pachamama from Trinidad to Hawaii.
There is plenty of sun on Tahiti! A good example is Mr. Michel Derhan. With his solar panels he produces 5 kW to run everything in his house. The remaining power he sells for a good price to the public net. Like this he does not need an expensive battery bank.
He also produces his hot water with the sun. The water flows through black tubes covered with glass on his roof. In the background you can see Pachamama. Michel Derhan offered TOPtoTOP his mooring for the time we spent in Switzerland. – Thank you very much, Michel!
Sabine thanks also to Optician Yves-Louis Perret from Bienne, Switzerland. His sun glasses are really top for the Southern sun!
Back on Pachamama we are busy to set the sails and to transport all our equipment stored at Michel Derhan’s place back to the boat. Fortunately our children like the life wests from Bucher&Walt.
Coming from the Swiss winter they were not used to the heat, sweat a lot and a cool bath was always welcome.
We could not safe our batteries. The person looking after Pachamama did not control the water level. 25 l were missing! Batteries in Tahiti are very expensive, so we are still looking for a solution. Anke Altermann from California, who writes sometimes a commend, was helping a lot with a good contact to a battery manufacturer. Fortunately we have our Megasol solar panels and Superwind wind generators, like this we are able to run our system (fridge etc.) during the day.
Finally a surprise: Salina makes “kaki” and “pipi” in the pot! Her birthday will be next Wednesday the 11.4., call if you like to know how to do it: 00689 24 47 40 (-12 h).
… and here a nice Email from Michel Hueter, EDA, Presence Switzerland:
mit Freude kann ich Dir bes
We are in on of the most beautiful parks on our planet. Our neighbours are dolphins, sea lions and black necked swans. Our anchorage is in Puillan fjord. From here it is about 2 hours to a native tree plantation to reproduce the 3000 years old Alerce trees which all were logged in the past. As a climber I was fascinated about the 900 m big wall here in the Vodudahue Valley, – like El Capitan in Yosemite Park, California.
We have also a wonderful time with the initiators of the park, Kris and Doug Tompkins. They live about 20 minutes from Pachamama in Renihue fjord where Salina enjoyed a warm bath in the sink. Yesterday they were on Pachamama and we offered the Swiss meals Aelplermacaroni and Plain in Pignia.
Between clean ups and school visits we spent our time fishing and doing the laundery, working on the boat…
CLEAN UP’s on Pumalin’s fjords:
A lot of the trash we found came from the salmon industry:
– antifouling canes
– beer canes
– clean up on Vodudahue beach
– cleaning gives satisfaction
– fishing nets and ropes
– plastic bottles and oil canes
SCHOOL VISITS in the neighbourhood of the park:
Here some pictures:
– Annemarie in action
– drawing contest
– finding solutions
– funny games
– great solutions
– kids of Amarillo
– kids of Chaiten
– local beauties
– plenty of good ideas
– Sabine in action
– Salina in action
– TOPtoTOP workshop
– Dario in action
– trash game
– trash sketch
– 3 solutions
The next 3 days we will try to climb volcano Michinmahuida…