March 3, 2004

Hard sailing trip to Martinique

Just before we left we had a presentation on the Grenada Sailing

We arrived in Le Marin, Martinique today; exhausted from 43 hours helming and tacking against strong winds. In the first night we recognized that the riggers smashed the navigation light when they hammered like hell on top of the mast trying to undo the halding bolt of the forstay. Fortunately we managed to do a improvision navigation light.

Then the motor stops, because we have had an air leak somewhere (I think). So we were forced to sail and put all electronics off to save electricity. We managed to run the engine by putting the diesel hose directly into a Diesel canister. In the shadow of St. Vincent and St. Lucia I was working on the engine;
result: we had the engine back to navigate into Le Marin; but still the stuffing box gets very hot.

Yolanda Forde from Barbados joined us on this trip. Sailboat White Princess escorted us till St. Lucia. There we lost contact with them in a thunder storm.

Tomorrow Philippe Leconte from Caribes Gréement will come on board to finish the work on our rigging. We hope also that somebody has time to check our engine; so that we can continue our trip to the Virgin Islands as soon as possible.

Posted by at 9:29 PM

March 4, 2004

rigging fixed

Le Marin, Martiniqe, day 465

Biking total: 43 days, 1877 km, 13'400 altimeters.
Climbing total: 186 days, 3040 km, 106'500 altimeters.
Sailing total: 236 days, 6527 nm

On Monday we arrived in Le Marin. The next day we have had already the riggers from Caribe Grement on board. A great "thank you" to the stuff of the marina of le Marin: The Marina sponsored us the stay!
Tomorrow we will start towards the Virgin Island.

Posted by dario at 9:15 PM

March 5, 2004

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday Sabine!

All the best and may your wishes come true.
for personal greetings:

thomas l

Posted by toptotop at 12:44 PM

March 8, 2004

Fast crossing to the US Virgin Islands.

It is 3 p.m. local time; our position is 17.58 N/064.20.6 W. Estimate arrival time in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, V.I. at about 9 p.m.. We have still 36 nm and we do 6 nm/h at the moment.

We left Le Marin, Martinique, France a the 7th March at 11.30 a.m. At about 1p.m. we tried to help another sailboat in trouble near the SW-Cap of Martinique. Because of the high sea and the hard wind we were only able to orgnize the coastguard. We were not able to give them a line.
At 17.40 h we have had radio contact with our Dutch friends on ESCAPADE. Unfortunately we lost contact. May our radio has some problems with the fine tuning. Until Saba Island we have had enough wind and a good speed. Between the islands we have had high seas from the Atlantic. So we were always wet.
Early this morning we went around the Island of Saba to avoid the dangerous seas on the Saba Bank. Now we are running towards our friend Jean Braure in Charlotte Amalie.

Posted by at 9:00 PM

March 10, 2004

welcome party in the Virgin Islands

St. Thomas, US-Virgin Islands, day 471

Biking total: 43 days, 1877 km, 13'400 altimeters.
Climbing total: 186 days, 3040 km, 106'500 altimeters.
Sailing total: 242 days, 6904 nm

Friday the 5th of March was Sabine's birthday and we celebrated it together with our new Dutch friends Pieter, Claire, Klaas and Jelle.

Monday 9 p.m. we arrived in St. Thomas after 58 h sailing. We lost some time when we were trying to help a vessel with problems at the SW-Cap of Martinique. The sailing was windy and wet: We were lucky that the sea is warm in the Caribbean! So it was not too bad when the big waves flashed over the deck of Pachamama. Till the Island of St. Christopher we were sailing almost with maximum speed and we enjoyed it. Early Monday morning we went around the Island of Saba to avoid the dangerous swell on the Saba Bank.

On shore in Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas, Virgin Islands our TOPtoTOP-member Jean Braure and his wife Choupette invited us for dinner. The next morning we went to Custom and Immigration: They told us first that we have to pay a fine of US 3000.- each because we have had no visa for the US. Fortunately the officer was very pleased with the expedition and together with a letter from Senator Hill we did not have to pay the fine.

Yesterday evening Senator Hill and Colette Monroe have organized a welcome party in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, V.I. for the TOPtoTOP-Expedition with a great banquet. After our presentation to about 100 V.I. citizens we have had a fantastic response. TOPtoTOP member Jean Braure is really a super organizer: In the first 48 hours we have had already a TV interview, 3 interviews to newspapers and a talk showon WSTA Radio Station.

Posted by dario at 11:19 PM

March 18, 2004

great support and school visits

St. Thomas, US-Virgin Islands, day 478

Biking total: 43 days, 1877 km, 13'400 altimeters.
Climbing total: 186 days, 3040 km, 106'500 altimeters.
Sailing total: 249 days, 6908 nm

We get great support here in the US-Virgin Islands: We were invited several times for dinner on our neighbour vessel "Tivoli", Bob and Jade from the Internet-Cafe "Beans Bytes and Websites" offers us free Internet , drinks and food!

Last Sunday we lifted our anchor and sailed along Queen Marry, the biggest luxury liner on earth, to the Crown Bay Marina. The Marina offered us a free place for Pachamama!

In the Marina we fixed the stuffing box. The Dive Center "Blue Island Divers" offered us the diving equipement to make the exit of the shaft water tide.

On Monday we have had a presentation at the University of the Virgin Islands. Result: Students will join us next weekend on beach cleaning actions on Water Island.

Yesterday we were at the Cancryn School. The students organized an eco-tour for us and explained what they do for the environment on their campus. After our presentation they started to draw their climate solutions.

Today we were at the All Saints Cathedral School. The director told us that she has never had such a good presentation and asked us to do another presentation next Monday for the High-School-Students.

Posted by dario at 12:58 AM

March 22, 2004

smallest TOP and beach cleaning

St. Thomas, US-Virgin Islands, day 482

Biking total: 43 days, 1877 km, 13'400 altimeters.
Climbing total: 186 days, 3040 km, 106'500 altimeters.
Sailing total: 253 days, 6908 nm

Students visited Pachamama on Friday afternoon and we got their climate solutions as a present.

This weekend volenteers meet for a TOPtoTOP-beach-cleaning-action on a beach near the TOP of Water Island:
After the warm-up we climbed TOP of Water Island, the smallest mountain on the TOPtoTOP Expedition. On the beach we discovered a wrack from hurrican "Hugo". This boat was smashed on land by the wind! Because of global climate change hurricans are getting more frequent and extrem!

The TOPtoTOP team was very efficient today: Young and old together filled 12 big garbage bags in only 17 minutes; - that's a new record! The hard work was the transportation through the bush. There we discovered interesting wildlife. Some wild animals observed us when we passed. Back in the civilisation we oganized a golf-car to transport the garbage. After the climb and beach-cleaning-action we went for a swim at Honeymoon Beach.

Posted by dario at 7:24 PM

March 29, 2004

action after action

Water Island, US-Virgin Islands, day 488

Biking total: 43 days, 1877 km, 13'400 altimeters.
Climbing total: 187 days, 3060 km, 106'700 altimeters.
Sailing total: 258 days, 6928 nm

On Monday 150 All-Saints High School students saw the TOPtoTOP presentation. Then we went with younger students to the art room for the climate solutions worshop.

On Thusday Yanick, Kris, Patrick and Tom from the Sea Chest hardware store sponored all our materials and tools we needed. Budget Marine on St. Thomas sponsored a VHF handhelt radio; - so we felt like Xmas!
The people here on St. Thomas are great: We already got donations which total US 1000.-. To continue our work and to visit schools in Central America and the Andes we need US 5000 or more, because we cannot expect to raise these funds in the poor countries!

On Wednesday Blue Island Divers invited the TOPtoTOP-crew for a dive in the corall-reef. Now we are able to present this wonderful ecosystem in schools.

On Thusday we have had a presentaion in the Montessori School. All children participated on the climate solutions workshop. Girls and boys created fantastic drawings. With pride they explained their solutions to other students and to the TOPtoTOP team. - The results were great!

On Friday the TOPtoTOP team went sailing with Jean Braure's boat Mumusunset.

On Saturday we got support from Kenrick Williams to fix our VHF radio. We also put the new Swiss flag, which was sponsored from Heimgartner Fahnen AG. In the evening we were invited to a party!

Today, we were 50 people for the TOPtoTOP clean up action on a beach on Water Island. Pathfinders from St. Thomas joined us also to climb the Top of Water Island. On the way back we encountered interesting species. Back at Honey Moon Beach we explained to them, how to build a solar cooker. - We got the information for the solar cooker from our friend Eugen Frunz. We met him just after the start of Swiss TOPtoTOP in February 2003 in Engelberg.

Now we are invited to spend some days at Alex house on Water Island.

Our laptop died minutes before a presentation on Water Island! The laptop is our main tool to do school presentations, to write expedition reports, to navigate, to get weather faxes etc.. Who is going to donate a laptop to TOPtoTOP? Mail to

Posted by dario at 2:03 AM