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Texel’s treasures

After sailing from Medemblik to the dutch island Texel last Sunday, we coincidentally met other Swiss people. Since they had read the family’s book and therefore knew about the project, they were thrilled to join in and support us in a clean up.

Without further ado, we all rent bycicles and cycled across the idyllic island to the beautiful sandy beaches to do the clean up. In about half an hour we were able to collect four full bags of litter!

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After the clean up we got the chance to visit Ecomare, a rescue center for seals, birds and porpoises as well as a museum about the ocean and its creatures. There, Arthur gave us a tour through the museum, talking about the negative impact of the plastic in the ocean. Especially balloon strings are a big problem, where birds get tangled up in, injure themselves or even die a very painful death. This is why all the coastal municipalities in the Netherlands have abandoned balloon strings.

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If seals, porpoises or birds covered in oil, tangled up or wounded from the marine litter are found, they are taken to Ecomare’s sanctuary where they are being cared for and they can recuperate. Every year, 40 to 80 seals are cared for at Ecomare. After their recuperation, the animals are again being released into nature.

In the evening, after having enjoyed a cool swim in the salty sea, we were invited by our Swiss friends to Bratwurst and Cervelat!

 

 

Top Toppers

Just as we were getting Pachamama ready to sail off to Norway, we got to know about the Topper World Championships which are taking place in Medemblik at the moment. Although the kids had last sailed in Iceland on Optimists, and on top of that they had never sailed a Topper before, they were incredibly motivated to compete to as well as and learn from some of the best sailors in the world. So Noé, Andri and Salina promptly signed up for the championships. Turns out there are pretty interesting events going on here!

On the first night, all 209 participants as well as their families and friends participated in the Opening Ceremony, parading and waving their nation’s flag.

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The next morning, Salina, Andri and Noé were getting their Toppers ready, going through the rules again and putting on lots of sun screen before the race started.

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Even the youngest family member, Vital, checked if all the ropes were set up correctly.

After the races, Annie Lush, a professional sailor and former Topper racer, shared her experiences around the world under extreme conditions during the two Volvo Ocean Races she has contested. She also emphasized the enormous amount of plastic in the oceans she and her team have encountered along the way.

Also Leesa Carter-Jones, representative of the Captain Planet Foundation, informed about the precarious state our seas are. Especially one phrase stuck in my mind: If we continue like this, by 2025 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.

Leesa called the present young sailors to induce change in the usage of single-use plastics in their communities. As the stories she shared showed, especially young people have a great influence in making change. Since the seas are home to all sailors, it’s a personal matter for everybody attending the Topper World Championships. This is why Topper Class is contributing to the World Sailing Ocean Heroes programme, a programme aiming to make sailing clubs and events single-use plastic free. TOPtoTOP and World Sailing Ocean Heros will partner in the future.

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Leesa and the Kids

As a top example, Toppers are made of reusable plastic. They consist of polypropylene using a manufacturing process called injection moulding. Due to that, the Toppers can be ground up and recycled up to eight times!

I’m happy and feel very inspired to get insight into an international event like this, where young, passionate and nature-loving people get together to start making change. Innovative ideas and strong spirits like the above give hope that in the future, the fish in the ocean can swim alongside other fish instead of plastic cups.

By Laura Moser, the new crew member 🙂 More about me in another blogpost.

The last months

After the storm end of 2017 at the polar circle in the harbor of Akureyri, we had the most challenging time in our live.

Sabine and I were already exhausted after the 9 months never ending repairs. We were shocked last summer when we continued our project in East Greenland, where we realized that the boat is still not sound.

Last autumn Christina and Sverir helped us to sail Pachamama for further repairs to Medemblik in the Netherlands. Pieter Heerema helped us out with a slip at the Medemblik Regatta Center. Pieter Storm and his friend Ric Stevens were always in contact with Remco Sol from Medemblik Yacht Service to sort out open issues after the storm that couldn’t be fixed before.

Pieter Storm organised us some bicycles and we cycled from Holland to the source of the Rhein in Switzerland visiting schools. In Switzerland we were based in the lovely mountain village of Ftan. We knew from Iceland that outdoor sports is the best medicine for the kids. See the activities we got our kids involved to keep them smiling on our Instagram.

For Sabine and Dario it was the most difficult time. We had to deal with housing, boat repairs and try our best to run our program in the schools. The result was that our batteries were soon empty. Jaap and Maya Wurman Joles opened their house for us during the most demanding stage of the repairs and filled us up with food and positive energy. We like to thank you all for your support. Specially also the people of Ftan.

Everest is small compared to the struggle we went through. In retrospective we were not sure if all the troubles of repairing the boat, was worth it. But now we are on top of it. Pachamama is again smiling, breaking the waves for the dolphins to play. This experience will bond our family for ever.

At the moment we are in Medemblik taking part of the Toppers World Championship in the Netherlands. Laura Moser will report soon about the event and sustainability day.

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Ready again for the Polar Circle

The last 3 winter months we were busy to get the boat ready and to give presentations on climate change and workshops on sustainability to a very diverse audience: From schools to universities to communities in cities and mountain villages to foundations, clubs and companies.

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The “climate strike” has a huge media coverage worldwide and specially in Switzerland. The result: Climate change is finally THE major topic in our society. But awardness is just the first step. Actions have now to follow!

Therefore we plan to organize “climate solution star marches” to the most important site of each country around national day. Starting on the 1st of August 2019 with a march to the “Rütli” where Switzerland was founded in 1291. Participants from all over starts hiking (or other climate friendly ways) from home to the Rütli in the center of Switzerland with a good climate solution in his backpack. The idea is to share/exhibit these great examples and ideas on the way and at the Rütli and use the opportunity to build action groups to implement it. We will start a whatsApp group “climate star” for everybody who likes to get involved.

Global Expedition News: We are soon back at the the Polar Circle preparing for our planned actions in the Arctic before sailing to schools in West-Africa. Pachamama just get its final tuning in Holland and we are looking forward to be offshore again.

Icy conditions in January in Holland

..more stories about our overwintering soon.