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Expedition Report: Good news from Newfoundland: we received the autopilot

29th September, by Dario:

This morning we spotted the Northern shores of Newfoundland. Escorted by dolphins we sailed along the Northeast coast. We recognized that the small fishing boats got lots of fish. Soon after we entered Sant Anthony harbor, were the Canadian Coastguard welcomed us on the radio.
Our kids were excited to see deciduous trees. Temperatures feels very warm to us, even all is in autumn colors.
We anchored in the middle of the bay and paddled on shore, where Melcom gave me a lift to the school. There I organized our tomorrow’s events with the principal. Thanks to Jodie in Makkovik, he knew all about TOPtoTOP.

At the post office the postmaster Stephen gave us the box with the refurbished Raymarine autopilot. We were all very happy to finally get it. Helming the Northwest Passage exposed to the weather and cold is not fun.
It was shipped mid August to Pont Inlet in the Arctic, where we finally did not pass. While we were in Fort Ross, there were gales in the area of Pont and for us another reason to go through Fury&Hecla Strait.

Thanks to Rob Pratt’s efforts it made it finally to Sant Anthony. Many many thanks to Rob and Raymarine. It took a while. Sience end of July in Nome Alaska we were looking for a solution. Now all is good. We celebrated this special moment climbing the hill above town and Sabine just started to cook another delicious dish.
On the hike we learned that a tree on the hill needs a 100 years to grow 1 meter (3.5 feet). That is a little less than Alegra. They will grow faster in the future, when the climate gets warmer.

After the last night watches looking for icebergs and the autopilot now installed on board, we will sleep very good.

Gofundme link:
https://www.gofundme.com/2gb7d6c

Donations: http://www.toptotop.org/bank.php

Voyage link:
https://share.delorme.com/ChristinaHartmann

Best high resolution pictures:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/s0aorug11707501/AAC394QkszKupn4syRj2EyMpa/best%20pics%20of%20TOPtoTOP/2016-annual-report?dl=0

Expedition Report: Goodbye Labrador

28th September, by Dario:

It is always good to start just at the end of a storm. Sea conditions are not perfect, but improving and that is an important factor to the overall motivation on board. More important is this strategy for safety. In a environment with extreme and not predicted changes you gain valuable time and extend your weather window to arrive safely in your next anchorage. This strategy you can use also in your daily life where you eat or generally do things first, you don’t like so much.

On the expedition we had bad cross seas after departure from Makkovik, but after a day the vomiting stopped and the decision was made to use the improving conditions to go for Sant Anthony in Newfoundland where our autopilot is waiting at the post office.

We enjoyed later today sailing along the Labrador coast with a lot of sun and a blue sky. The kids spotted many humpback whales migrating the same direction we did. At the moment we do between 8 to 10 knots thanks to the Labrador current and a good breeze. The Labrador current transports many huge icebergs. Tonight we have to identify them with our radar again. This needs a lot of experience and concentration in a moving sea to filter the wave reflections on the radar screen.

Labrador was one of our highlights. With its friendly people, wildlife and unique landscape. It is also a story book about the climate. How natural forces carved and shaped the land.
We are very much concerned about this paradise. The impact of the fast warming you can experience around every corner. It is the speed of the change that kills and does not allow enough time for adaptation. We all have to take responsibility and safe this wonderful planet earth where Labrador shines as a diamond in the crown.

The children we met are the best example for all of us. They are so willing to help and have plenty ideas how we can help. In the TOPtoTOP Climate Solution Drawing Contest younger students express their solutions. Older students participate in the TOPtoTOP Climate Action Award.
On board of the expedition sailboat Pachamama they are so keen to learn all about renewable technologies. Solar- and wind power is “cool” among children and cools the planet. They are the decision makers in a few years and like that I am optimistic about our planets future.

As volunteers we get “our batteries” topped up every time, we experience the effort students put into our traditional clean-up-event to collect trash, mainly plastic.
A note for the students in Makkovik: you are the champions now, Parati in Brasil is second, congratulations from all of us!

Gofundme link:
https://www.gofundme.com/2gb7d6c

Donations: http://www.toptotop.org/bank.php

Voyage link:
https://share.delorme.com/ChristinaHartmann

Best high resolution pictures:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/s0aorug11707501/AAC394QkszKupn4syRj2EyMpa/best%20pics%20of%20TOPtoTOP/2016-annual-report?dl=0

Expedition Report: Goodbye Makkovik

27th September by Dario:

Our children were allowed to join school with Lucas and Marin, Joedie’s kids.
After school they joined the hockey training. Hockey is the favorite sport in Canada and specially up North. Makkovik kids are good in sports thanks to some wonderful people who act as trainers. Sport or music is really the medicine for the youth in this villages where the suicide rate is as high as 25% among young people in some places, – not in Makkovik. The youth is our future. Investments in youth programs is the best you can do, but it is not enough. You need also people who are able to wake them up and give them purpose and an objective in their lives.
In the schools up North we explained the students, that Sabine and I promised each other at the start of the expedition not to give up till we tried 20 times. We showed them how we overcome challenges… At the end they tell us their dreams and projects, they like to start after school and they promise us, also not to give up till they tried 20 times.
In that prospective, for all Inuit students following our achievements, it is a must to keep the boat. We have less than 60 days left; please have time to read more here: https://www.gofundme.com/2gb7d6c

Last night we invited Jodie and her family on board for “Älplermakaroni”, a typical Swiss meal. Her husband just came home from the mine and so it ended in a small birthday party. The plane needed several hours to get to Makkovik because it dropped other workers in Nain, Hopedale, Postville and Rigolet. He told me that the company decided to expand and also to go underground. They estimate that there is nickel for at least the next 7 years.
We were singing, Andi and Noe played the violine and Alegra the ukulele. As a present we had a Swiss Army Knife for him with the TOPtoTOP logo on it. It was not easy for our children to say goodbye to their new friends Lucas and Marin.

MV Astron left for Postville and MV Northern Ranger came to the dock. We met its captain in Nain and again he provided us with some useful local information. Many people were on the dock waving goodbye and helped us to get off the dock.
Soon we were in the open, exposed to the wind and swell and it became more and more unpleased on board.

Gofundme link:
https://www.gofundme.com/2gb7d6c

Donations: http://www.toptotop.org/bank.php

Voyage link:
https://share.delorme.com/ChristinaHartmann

Best high resolution pictures:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/s0aorug11707501/AAC394QkszKupn4syRj2EyMpa/best%20pics%20of%20TOPtoTOP/2016-annual-report?dl=0

Expedition Report: Strong nature!

26th September by Christina:

Wow! We had a lot of wind last night, up to 50kn. Pachamama was tied up well at the dock, nevertheless we had a rocking night and the swell managed to snap a 1 inch mooring line with a spectra core (26 mm). Nature is always stronger, than we are!

This morning Dario gave a presentation at the all-grade school here in Makkovik and we did a clean-up with the kids around the school. Sabine and Christina did a workshop for the Climate Solution Drawing Contest. What a nice school! Thank you for having us..
We invited part of the school to the boat. Our kids explained them how our solar angels and wind mills work. Dario traced them some navigation skills and safety on board.

Later on we had lunch in Jodie’s house, a nice lady from town that helped us organize things. She told us about the Muskrat Falls project and her concerns. The local people don’t get any money nor electricity from that project and they are worried about their health.

The project includes the construction of an 824 megawatt hydroelectric dam on the lower Churchill river, near Goose Bay in Labrador. The constructions began 2013. Full power from Muskat Falls to the island of Newfoundland and on to Nova Scotia through subsea cables is expected in mid-2020. The reservoir will be 59km long with an area of 101 km². The area of inundated land will be 41 km² at full supply level.

But as Jodie said, the local people have their concerns with the construction of that dam. The Lake Melville Scientific Report is a study by experts in Canada and the United States on how methylmercury will affect Inuit who rely on lake Melville for food. The study found there will be a “sharp increase” in methylmercury production in the Muskrat Falls reservoir immediately after it is flooded and those levels will remain high for decades. Nalcor, the energy corporation has only committed to partial clearing of the wood, brush, vegetation and topsoil. As this organic material breaks down, it will create higher level of methylmercury, which is then ingested by marine life. Methylmercury is proven to be toxic to a human’s central nervous system. Nalcor downplays this study. But the Inuit leaders want them to clear all the trees, brush and other organic material from the reservoir site. We hope they will find a good solution.

Thank you Jodie for all your help.

Gofundme link:
https://www.gofundme.com/2gb7d6c

Donations: http://www.toptotop.org/bank.php

Voyage link:
https://share.delorme.com/ChristinaHartmann

Best high resolution pictures:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/s0aorug11707501/AAC394QkszKupn4syRj2EyMpa/best%20pics%20of%20TOPtoTOP/2016-annual-report?dl=0T

Expedition Report: Makkovik and the MV Astron

25th September, by Cornelia and Dario:

Because the weather forecast announced a storm for the next night, we spend the whole day in Makkovik. The first permanent settlers in Makkovik came to the area as craftsmen and sailors and settled as hunters, trappers and fishermen. It’s now a nice village with a population of 400 people. Junior, a fisherman, told us about the changes here: In earlier times he knew exactly when the fishes and birds were coming, now he doesn’t know anymore because it changed. Winter is getting warmer, so the ice on the sea is softer and it is sometimes dangerous to go on the frozen sea to hunt. Instead of hunting seals close to the town, he has to go further now. Until 1964 they used the dogs for getting around, then the snowmobiles came and it was too expensive to afford the dogs and the ski-doos, so they don’t use the dogs anymore for getting around. It became hard to live outside town, so the people moved all into town, which is getting bigger and bigger. This is a problem, because there are not enough jobs. Junior can only work in summertime for the Torngat Fish Producers Co-op, and in winter time he gets half of his salary from the government and he uses the time for cutting wood and hunting. He travelled also to Europe and Asia through his job with the Fish Plant, but for him his village is still the nicest place in the world. Despite the changes, it is still a peaceful, quiet place with fresh air and beautiful environment. A wonderful walk along the Board Walk showed us a part of this beauty.

The women in the gift store told me more about the life here in town. The community is allowed to shoot 2 polar bears and 2 moose each year. The license is issued to one person at a time and expires after 72 hours. If the hunter is not successful in that time frame, the license will be passed on to the next person on the list. When a person shoots a polar bear in self defence, he or she isn’t allowed to keep the fur and the meat. Each year, families can obtain a license to catch seven salmon per household and at the moment there is a ban on shooting caribou, because the population went down. For seals and geese there are no limits. For people who are unable to hunt on their own or who have no one to hunt for them, they can go to the community freezer. People, mainly the elderly, are allowed to take some meat out there. She also told me that here is a ban on plastic bags on many of the communities along the coast. They only use reusable shopping bags.

At 4 pm our whole family went to church, where we became friend’s with Jodie’s family, who invited us in their house to eat Arctic chores. She also was able to connect us with the school principal to organize the next day’s school events.

The cargo ship MV Astron which came in this morning, stayed here for a total of 3 days, during the storm, because they don’t have a safe dock in their next destination.
We got invited by its captain Brent Mansfield. We had the opportunity to see the boat and eat diner there. They use 400 l of fuel per hour or 10t per day. It was very interesting for our kids to see the 3500 HP motor and learn about their navigation systems on the bridge.
They can come up here until December when the sea ice freezes and they start to come here again in June. For us this was a nice change to meet other people and to sit down without needing to cook. Thank you so much for all your hospitality and help.

Gofundme link:
https://www.gofundme.com/2gb7d6c

Donations: http://www.toptotop.org/bank.php

Voyage link:
https://share.delorme.com/ChristinaHartmann

Best high resolution pictures:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/s0aorug11707501/AAC394QkszKupn4syRj2EyMpa/best%20pics%20of%20TOPtoTOP/2016-annual-report?dl=0T

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