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North Atlantic crossing S to N

On the crossing from Bermuda to the Azores we crashed into a whale. Our children are very involved to preserve this great creatures. We all love whales and are said. To overcome the sadness, our kids did a “radio-interview” by themselves:

After our North Atlantic crossing from West to East, we crossed it now from South to North. Here how it was to cross the North Atlantic from the South to the North, means from the Azores to Iceland:

Our last preparation in Flores before the long journey North:

We sailed from Flores to Corvo. It was an exposed anchorage. In the morning we went to meet the students and teachers of the local school. We did a presentation and a clean-up with them. Suddenly a police car drove by and we got escorted to the harbor. The police officer told us that our mast is too high for the plane to land. Even the only plane that day has already landed when we got to our dinghy, the police officer forced us to go out and re-anchor Pachamama in a heavy swell. We got help from Cristiano, who drives normally tourist from Flores to the island on his speedboat. Back on land we got some fruits and vegetables from locals as gifts for our long journey North. The president of the Island, Mr. Silva gave each of our children a present and welcomed us back to Corvo anytime.

We sailed from Corvo North. We did the 1600 nm in 9 days. Once we did 200 nm in 24 hours. Means we had a lot of wind and specially in the beginning an uncomfortable swell. Filmmaker Livia was feeding the fish, but got after some days used to the constant shaking. At the end she was filming in heavy swells on our approach to Heimaey Island in Iceland, where we just arrived. Here to get an idea of the crossing filmed with my iPhone:

More pictures here!

New Ambassadors in Flores

We just sail North. Track us!

Note: More than a Million people listened again to the TOPtoTOP interview of the National Radio Station “NBR” in the USA, while Trump announced to pull out of the Paris Climate agreement!

In Flores we have been busy with schools and students like always. They are champions in recycling. You find also one of the best canyoning and hiking, but the best are the wonderful people:

Not: Dario was busy fixing the keel after we hit the grey whale on our Atlantic crossing. Now we hope all works fine so that we can set sail North soon.IMG_2680

We had also some fun. The captain of the most luxurious 5-star-Expedition-Cruising-Ship “Hanseatic” couldn’t win against Salina:

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Many thanks to Helmut & Erika, Camille & Marco, Lilian & Chris, Gabriella & Mario, Phillip & Anna, Birou and Marco Melo.

Special thanks to the most friendly harbormasters Carlos and Tino in Porto Lajes.

See more pictures here from the Atlantic crossing and the Azores.

 

America’s Cup Attack and Alegra 6

We opened a new passage in the Arctic avoiding all icebergs, but in Bermuda we got nearly hit by the Japanese America’s Cup boat:

On the crossing to the Azores we got seriously hit by a whale, just some days before Alegra’s birthday. Algera has a lot of energy, like the North Atlantic at her birthday. It was a wild party on board of Pachamama:

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We made landfall in Flores and had new friends in no time. They are all very hospital. Gloria organised a second birthday party on land for Alegra. She will be our translator in the schools.

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Our tradition is a treasure hunt at every birthday we celebrate:

At the moment it is too stormy to check the keel and we hope to have a better picture next week.

More pictures here!

Flores Azores

NotePlease listen to the NBR reportHere & Now is carried by 425 stations, so each time this runs the TOPtoTOP story is probably reaching 750,000 to 1,000,000+ million people.

At sunrise today the 21st of Many we made landfall at Flores in the Azores, just in time before some strong Southerly winds kick in.

Last week was eventful. We celebrated our 17th wedding day on the 10th and Alegra’s 6th birthday on the 18th. Andri became our best climber on board in climbing the mast twice in heavy swells. This was necessary when a rope collapsed on the top of the 20m mast in 60 knots of wind and was several times around the Genua furling system.

Again we identified some whales and many dolphins. We were exited to here from Rob about the progress to get a hydrophone that would allow us to collect even more valuable data. The biggest peace of plastic we encountered was about 2 m2.

All in all it was a fast trip with some uncomfortable seas. Thanks to our volunteer Elliott, it became a fun trip for our kids. He just finished Highschool and joined the boat in New York. The kids love him! He became the big brother to them and a valuable crew member on the journey.

Many thanks also to our Bermuda friends Swiss Honorary Consul Fabian and Petra Schönenberg, Isabella and Tamara Betschart, Kerry and Sasha Howland for all the delicious food. The former Swiss Honorary Consul Leo Betschart baked us cookies and fresh bred and even a Swiss Zopf for the trip.
Some joined us on Pachamama on our sail from Hamilton to St. George’s, where we cleared out of the country and shared with us the exiting moment with the Americas Cub boat.

Many thanks again to the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. The GM David Furtada gave us the flag of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and the dock master Reggie Horsemann a fishing rod as a goodbye gift. Many thanks also to Tom Watlington, Pierre Honegger and Paul Henry Doughty for having fun with our kids giving dinghi driving -, French and history lessons.

A reminder that “Murphy’s Law” is still in place was a message we got yesterday from our friend Martin, Commanding Officer of the School-ship SVANEN from the Danish Navy. Thanks to his great skills and wisdom a disaster could be prevented. They left Bermuda 60 hours ahead of us with new cadets. After his message below, we decided to intensify our MOB drills with the kids. Starting today with a unexpected MOB drill at 3 am on the approach to Flores.

“Dear Dario

So cool to hear from you! I hope that the Danish Arctic Command will be positive towards your requests.

We are currently (Friday afternoon) a bit ahead of you at 37 33N – 32 43 W, and our ETA at Horta is Saturday afternoon/early evening. Have you decided on a port of call at the Azores?

Everything is quite well, despite a rather unfortunate crossing from Bermuda. Here on board SVANEN we have had one of those accidents that just must not happen: A man overboard. Even though all our safety measures were taken and the weather was not that bad, one of our trainees slipped overboard in the middle of the night last week. Luckily, she was wearing a lifevest, and we got her picked up again in a matter of a few minutes. Since she had pains from her back and neck, we were worried that something was fractured, so in agreement with the Danish Radio Medical and our JRCC back home, we had her evacuated to a passing commercial vessel which to all luck was nearby. She was dropped off at Bermuda, and as it turned out everything was all right with her, she is now safely home in Denmark where she is being taken good care of. Of course, it was a dreadful experience for all of us, but we have worked it through and everyone on board is fine. It is the first time ever we have had an accident like that, but the fortunate outcome has shown us that our procedures works and that hundreds of times of training a MOB situation actually does pay off. The sea can sure be dangerous, none of us should ever forget that.

Adding to this, our engine here on SVANEN broke down yesterday, and as it is a highly computerized, modern engine, we have not been able to fix it out here. Good thing we are in company with THYRA so they can tow us to our berth in Horta when we arrive!

I hope that you have had a more pleasant crossing than us, and hope to see you again, if not in the Azores, then perhaps at Greenland next year – who knows? 🙂

Sincerely,
Martin, Commanding Officer of SVANEN”

Now in the Azores we start visiting schools and organizing clean-ups. Also important is that we can recover and refill our batteries for the long trip to Arctic waters. Specially Sabine in the 7th month of her pregnancy.
We hope that the encounter with the grey whale did not cause some major damage. We dive ASAP to find out! To brush off the ink of the giant octopus on deck will be an easy task.
We also hope to find the parts to fix our main sail. But most important, after Martin’s report, would be a donation to get a new MOB marker with a light integrated. The one we have, got submerged by the heavy seas and stopped working.

You can call, text or what’s up again to our phone number +1 415 516 36 79 and if it is not working always to our Iridium number +881623415208.

Good news!

1. Elliot survived his Ocean Crossing Baptism, thanks to some hours of calm conditions between two frontal systems:

“The baptism marking my first ocean crossing started late afternoon with the sound of an air horn in my sleeping ear. The culprit was Alegra, or regarded to as “Dolphin” while on the ocean, decked out in the full captain underpants look and tugging me out of bed. Confused, I spring to my feet and follow her to the cockpit to be greeted by King Neptune, the captain and ruler of the sea, followed by the rest of the crew dressed in similar ways complete with bandana and machete. All eyes are on me as I agree to the rules and commencement begins. My legs are then tied and leashed to Manta Ray, or Salina as the land goers call her, and am raced around the gunwales of the boat dodging metal wire and playing limbo through the sheets. I complete this first task in good time, but have no idea what’s coming next. I am brought back up the bow, untied this time, and take off what I don’t want to get wet assuming what the next task might be. It was much more complicated than just jumping
in the water Neptune explains, because we are still sailing at a decent speed. I will have to be more timely than before and make it the floating rope attached to the stern of the boat before it drifts out of reach, leaving me about 30 seconds of dive and swim time. I hit the frigid water and instantly speed to the line, grabbing hold and struggle to pull myself up against the wake of the boat. When I finally make it back on deck, my baptism is complete and I am given an ocean name of my own, “Mahi”.”

2. Main sail is flying again and Pachamama got baptized by a giant octopus:

After the top of the genaker sail failed and all hands were needed to rescue the sail out of the ocean, we improvised and were finally able to set the main sail again. We closed the day with some dancing for Mother’s Day joined by dolphins. Overnight a giant octopus colored our front deck with its dark blue ink. It’s nice to see that there is still a lot of sea mammals out there.

3. Alegra’s 6th birthday on the 18th:

Frank reported good winds for Alegra’s birthday, another birthday for her at sea. She likes it wild and has already crossed 6 oceans. Sabine started to cook a birthday cake what is a hard job to do with all the shaking. It would be great if some folks could call in to congratulate Alegra. Here our Iridium Satelite Number: +881623415208

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