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Clean up in Niebla & parks

Valdivia, Chile, day 800
contact us! phone: 00871 7625 68 933 or 0056 (for Chile) 09 65 99 807
Biking total: 138 days, 6167 km, 29’750 altimeters.
Climbing total: 262 days, 3411 km, 128’847 altimeters.
Sailing total: 400 days, 13’669 nm, 26 altimeters (Panama Channel)
by Jane Le Lec (TOPtoTOP member from NZ)
Niebla, at the mouth of the Rio Valdivia was a place of strategic importance since the arrival of the Spanish Armada in the Seventeenth Century. After founding the port of Valdivia the Spanish built castles and fortifications in the area to protect themselves from attacks by foreign ships and also from the indigenous people. The castle walls and cannons still remain at Niebla.
On a summers day Niebla is very popular outing for Valdivian people because of the sandy beaches there. Families go to enjoy a beach barbeque (asado) or picnic, to relax in the sun and to cool off in the sea ( a chilly 11 degrees C because of the Humboldt Current). The strong currents and the mixing of riverwater and seawater makes it a good place for birds; including pelicans, cormorants, vultures, hawks and different types of gulls. Sealions also live in this area, attracted by the plentiful fish.
One afternoon ToptoTop joined by the Le Lec family did a clean up around the rocky coastline and picked up 5 sackfuls of rubbish. Plastic bottles,plastic bags and bits of fishing net were caught in the rocks around the high tide mark. Also some plasic rubbish was floating in the water.
Local people were collecting seaweed to sell to a pharmaceutical company. Later in the afternoon the local fishermen sailed back in their small boats. It was a nice sight to see working boats under sail.
Puyehue National Park
Our young NZ-member Marissa just came back from a trekking in Puyehue National Park. Here her report:
Mum, Dad and I trekked in the Puyehue National Park for 5 days. When we got out of the bus we were instantly surrounded by huge horse flies that buzzed around us and bit through our clothes. We escaped them once we reached the forests of fuchsia and beech trees. The next day we climbed volcano Puyehue to the crater that was filled with snow. The walk across a pumice desert to Los Banos (Hot Pools) was like walking on the moon. At Los Geisires we peered into the sulphurous fumes trying to see the geysers. I liked the brightly coloured rocks around the fumaroles and the bubbling mudpots.
Parque Oncol
Ramon a Suisse from St. Gallen, who lives in Valdivia invited us to the Oncol Park not far away from Pachamama.
Our walk in Parque Oncol, a private conservation park close to Valdivia, was a rewarding experience. The native forest was alive with birdsong and we saw a beautiful hummingbird and a noisy Chucao. The

3 – highlights: New crew – Bronze Medal – second TOP: Aconcagua

Santiago, Chile, day 750
Biking total: 98 days, 4628 km, 27’000 altimeters.
Climbing total: 252 days, 3401 km, 127’400 altimeters.
Sailing total: 400 days, 13’669 nm, 26 altimeters (Panama Channel)
Highlight 1:
TOP of the TOP – we will get a new crew!
Highlight 2:
Our member Thierry Schmitter got the Bronze Medal at the Paralympics in Athens with sailing. Queen Beatrice welcome Thierry in her palace!
Highlight 3:
Clean up 300 kg on Aconcagua, highest peak of America and the Western hemisphere; – climbed on the 30th of November 2004 from sea level to the very TOP with human power only! TOPtoTOP reached the second TOP of the 7-Summits non-stop round-the-world expedition at 13 h. Aconcagua is with 6962 m the second highest mountain after Mount Everest on this first 7-Summits expedition using just human powered means: climbing, biking and sailing.
We biked 1294 km from Valdivia (Northern Patagonia) to Puente de Inca at the base of Aconcagua (see also last report).
To leave Santiago was not easy: The main roads were blocked because of the visit of president Bush (APEC).
From Santiago we got to Los Andes where we met Gregoria on the market. Soon after, we were invited in her house and cooked the Swiss meal plain-in-pignia for the whole family Saavedra.
An avalanche blocked the road over the Andes for several days. We were just in time and had to wait only one day till the Portillo pass was open again. Unfortunately it produced a lot of traffic on this main connection between Chile and Argentina. It was a hard climb with endless turns and over 3000 altimeters.
In Puente de Inca we met our our friend Michi and the TOPtoTOP-Aconcagua-crew:
Ursula Spoerri, Christian Sonderegger, Paul Degonda, Erwin Graf, Vitus Walder, Claudio Canova, Ernst Naef, Patrick Furger und Reto Casutt.
From Puente de Inca we reached in 3 days Plaza de Mulas, the base camp in the Horcones Valley.
Sabine went back to Santiago because our new crew in her stomach does not like 6962 m yet.
The days before we got to the base camp on 4370 m it was 35 degrees Celsius with snow and a lot of wind.
The 27th of November was a black day for our member Vitus: During the night from the 26th to the 27th of November the blood oxygen of Vitus fall down to 34 percent. Claudio, our doctor has done a very good job till the morning! Dario Saua, the official doctor in the camp organized together with the Park rangers a very efficient rescue by helicopter to the next hospital. I joined Vitus, contacted the Swiss Embassy and made sure that everything went smooth.
Together with Claudio Canova, I climbed Aconcagua in 3 days (55 h) from Puente de Inca (reached by bike from Valdivia) over Plaza de Mulas and Camp Nido. Only 6 climbers reached the TOP this November. We were number 3 and 4! Many expeditions were not successful because of strong winds and bad weather conditions. May a cause of EL Nino – a disruption of the ocean-atmosphere system in the Tropical Pacific having important consequences for weather and climate around the globe? – By the way: This climb might be also the first time from sea to the TOP by human power only!
After we toped the highest peak of America we started to clean up this giant and collected a total of 300 kg of rubbish!
An idea for other expeditions: We had a lot of good food left on base camp. We took it down and will distribute it in the slums of Santiago the following days.
Thanks to
– Leopoldo Leon, Romano Guillermo and all rangers of the Aconcagua Nature Park for the collaboration
– the German Ambassador Joachim Schmillen that we can stay at his place in Santiago!
– the Swiss Consul Jean-Didier Javet for the TOPtoTOP-Aconcagua welcome party tomorrow!
– the hotel Rugendas for the hospitality for the TOPtoTOP-crew and the offer to use their Internet facilities!
Tip for young people: Season kickoff for free – posted by our member Juerg Biner, Zermatt!

Biking to Santiago

Santiago, Chile, day 728
Biking total: 88 days, 4118 km, 22’700 altimeters.
Climbing total: 240 days, 3151 km, 118’400 altimeters.
Sailing total: 400 days, 13’669 nm, 26 altimeters (Panama Channel)
In 9 days we biked from Valdivia to Santiago ad met wonderful German -, Swiss – and Chilean people on the way, who offered us food and shelter: Carolina and Hernard, Kirsten and Hani,Engelmann, Garcia, Guinez.
The landscape with vulcans, lakes, lovely tows and rivers was just beautiful.
On the base of the vulcan Villarica we took a 2 days rest at the Kirsten’s; after 12 years cruising they settled down on this paradise of land and live from farming and rent a guest-house to tourists (phone 0056 9 443 11 99).
We have had sunny spring weather the first days. But then the weather changed to wind, cold and rain because of El Nino. That makes biking difficult on the unpaved roads.
In Victoria we were invited by Louis Meynet, president of the local Swiss Club, and his family. There we presented the Swiss Alpine Song to the big Swiss community.
Biking further to Santiago the urbanisation starts. Bivouacking in our tent was getting more and more dangerous! So we slept in a cheap 24h-hotel (4000 pesos = US 6.-): We covered the bed with our sleeping bags to prefent to end up with an illness! There was no lock on the door, so we blocked the entrance with our CANYON bikes. BUT we could not sleep even we biked a long distance that day: – the noise of the shaking next doors and the sound of music every hour to remember the other couples that the hour has gone was a torture and far worse then the storm between Easter Island and Valdivia.
But TOPtoTOP lives from contrary experiences!: Arrived in Santiago the other day our friend, the German Ambassador Joachim Schmillen, invited us to use his residence as our base camp. He is very kind and will help us to contact media, potential sponsors, and schools. A big help to organize school visits was also the meeting with the cultural coordinator Carlos Diaz Villaroel.
Yesterday we have had a warm welcome from the Swiss Ambassador Charles-Edouard Held and Swiss Consul Jean-Didier Javet.

First Swiss Sailboat and a broken chain!

Position: 29.00S/105.51W
On the 5th in the morning we went on land and visited the school in Hanga Roa, where we have done a TOPtoTOP presentation in front of 150 students. Then Sabine went to the hospital for a check up: – everything is fine! In the afternoon we organized fruits and vegetables, visited some of the over 100 giant stone statues with more than 12 m high and 50 tons! After 3 weeks together it also came the moment to say goodbye to Berit and Armando.
The port captain informed us that there are about 10 to 20 boats in total per year and we might be the first Swiss boat landing on Easter Island, called Rapa Nui! It is called by islanders: Te Pito Te Henua which means “the Navel of the World” and has the shape of a volcanic triangle of 180 km2. Rapa Nui is the most remote island on our planet: The next neighbours in the East are in Chile 5 hours – (3700 km) and in the West in Tahiti 6 hours by plane (4500 km) away. 70 % of the 2700 inhabitants are Polynesian: extremely friendly people; they like to dance and are great musicians and singers. At the end of our presentation they present a thank you song and they were very pleased to here some Swiss song from us (z’burabuebli, chara lingua etc.). We also got a CD of their music as a present.
There is no really sheltered anchorage on Easter Island and you have to be lucky that the surf is not too big so that you can even land: We were lucky that we have had Easterly winds and so we decided to climb Cerro Terevaka (425m), the highest peak on the island the next morning. On the 6th fishermen brought us, like the day before, on land, because the surf was too dangerous for our dingy. Suzanne (, the tourism director, explained us the way to the TOP and told us to come back next morning so that she can show us her island … but it came different:
We climbed the TOP and enjoyed the 360-degrees view: – In galapagos we thought we are in paradise, but Rapa Nui is Heaven! ->From one moment to the other the wind was shifting to N. We ran back to the boat. – Thanks to Juan and Manuel from Santiago de Chile! – Back on Pachamama we prepared to leave and suddenly there was a loud “BANG”! I ran to the bow and saw that after one meter the rest of the chain is missing! The chain was broken! … one link has been weak! and we lost anchor and 75 m of chain in 20 m of water! In my back was the noise of the giant Pacific waves crashing against the cliffs. Sabine was ready to start the motor in no time and saved Pachamama! Next we called the port captain and provided him with the GPS position of our anchor. Mike was in the next hour our angel! Orginally from France, he came here with Jacques Cousteau and opened the dive center “Orca” ( The day before we got a new fishing gear as a present and now he helped us again to rescue our chain and anchor!
As soon as the anchor was on board the port captain (Mritime Gobernation) came with officers from health, agriculture and immigration, a total of 7 persons to clear out and say goodbye. They provided us with weather – and track info. We were absolutely amazed about the help and hospitality of all the people here! Sailing E with a good Northerly breeze the port captain called us again on VHF 16 and wished us all the best!
To follow us here our route (S/W): 27.08/109.29; 27.30/108.35; 29.15/105.30; 30.50/102.20; 32.20/099.10; 33.40/095.42;
35.00/092.10; 36.25/ 088.42; 37.55/085.20; 39.20/081.37; 39.25/077.00; 39.30/075.30; 39.41/073.45; 39.48/073.28
Gabi informed me to add this important info; – please help that TOPtoTOp can continue! For all they become a member or
already payed their membership: THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!
English version:
You can make the following contributions for 2004-2005. Many thanks. Young People $25.- Students. $30.-
Companies/Clubs/Donors from $150.-
Adults sfr. $ 50.-
Families $75.-
Please pay your subscription as soon as possible within
one month into the account of
TOPtoTOP Club,
CH-7320 Sargans,
Bank: UBS CH Bern,
Account No.235-537752.01Q,
New: The members fee can also be paid by Visa/Mastercard on our website at
You can also donate. Just click on the donate-button on the TOPtoTOP Homepage.
Deutsche Version:
Die Expedition finanziert sich aus Spenden und Sponsorenbeitragen und auch aus Mitgliederbeitragen. Folgende Beitrage koennen einbezahlt werden: Jugendliche CHF 20.-
Schulen CHF 75.-
Firmen/Vereine/Gonner ab CHF 250.-
Erwachsene CHF 50.-
Familien CHF 75.-
Jeder Mitgliederbeitrag unterstuetzt die Expedition direkt und hilft mit, das
Projekt erfolgreich weiterzuf

Pirates on Pachamama!

Isla Isabela, Galapagos, Ecuador, day 644
Biking total: 60 days, 2979 km, 21’000 altimeters.
Climbing total: 240 days, 3151 km, 118’400 altimeters.
Sailing total: 344 days, 9563 nm, 26 altimeters (Panama Channel)
About the first pirate on Pachamama we were happy; even he did not want to leave our home! We rescued one of his colleges out of a fisher net the other day. But as soon as they got familiar with Pachamama, they used our dingy as their private toilette and we have had even more cleaning to do!
The last month we have done 7 presentations and an exhibition with the solutions from the children in the town hall: Escuela Municipal Jacinto Gordillo, Mauritzio, Dario explaining, Miss Thurgau, contest, artiste, Escuela Fiscal Mixta Odilo Aguilar with an innovative solar system from Germany, engineer, Escuela Fiscomisional Cornelio Izquierdo.
Together with the CEA (Centro Educativo Ambiental) we organized a clean up: Diego and his team, yuppie, the beach is clean … also the leguanas are happy!
Last week we were a little bit sad to say goodbye to our friends Tom and Vicky on 6355 Sunstone – but we will meet them again in Chile! – Thanks a lot to our last crew for the presents: self-made purse from Nicole, bottle for the helm from Gabi, solar battery charger from Andrea and the solar torches from Stefan!
Note for sailors: Isabela is one of the best places we have been: Safe anchorage in 4 to 6m, sweat water from a tube near the dingy dock, very helpful and friendly people, great wildlife, volcanoes and the best port captain since now (second from the left).
Note for Ernst: Come and visit the post office in Isabela and check it out! Here they are much more progressive than the Swiss Post: There is no mail service anymore but you can buy nearly everything! – How lucky that we got free internet access from easy net!
Please note: The head coordination goes over again to Sabine and Dario. Many thanks to Fiona who has done so much for TOPtoTOP in the last months!

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