January 3, 2006

Xmas and New Year

Last schoolvisit in Valdivia, Chile before the summervacations:
With Christmas here in Chile the long summervacations begin until next March, when a new schoolyear will begin.
On the 23. of December we were invited to visit the school Escuela Fedor Dostorevski. Classes with children from the age of 7 to 12 and a class of disabled children with their teachers listened to the presentation of Top to Top. We tried this time, too, with pictures about the nature of Switzerland and Chile to compare these two countries. We would like that the kids and the teachers don’t take the image of the rich Swiss as a prerequisit for an intact nature but that they understand after the presentation that this wealth of a beautiful nature is even bigger in Chile and that it is the task of everybody to be careful with it whether one is poor or rich. Chile seems to me to exist of surrealistic surroundings like in a dream, of impenetrable forests, deserted deserts and clouds, which nestle like duvets up to snow covered vulcanos. - See the pictures of the last report. - All this beauty is a challenge to the senses. How nice that this wealth is open to each child, each adult. It is our task to give an oportunity to the youngs to see, feel and enjoy it!

Christmas on Pachamama:
Christmas on a warm summer evening out in the cockpit where Salina got her first Xmas present and the crew a real Swiss fondue.

Pachamama as a reference:
At last we got it! Pachamama is now equiped with two Superwind-Generatores and 9 Sunware-Pannels. The dammaged rudder is fixed and the whole ship got a new painting with a new antifowling at the hull. Uff, everything took a long time more than we thought. But this is a part of saling round the world!
Now we can present Pachamama with proud as a reference what is possible with solar and wind energy.
Thanks again to the whole crew of Alwoplast.

All this is possible thanks to our sponsors: With stickers on the ship we draw the attention to them.

Sailing to the South:
Wind and weather are good and nothing prevents us from sailing to the South with tons of food! On the way we have the opportunity of participating in two projects:

- Blue whale project - proyecto Ballenas azules: - in Melinka in the gulf of Corcovado and the isle of Chiloe, 1000km south of Santiago. This spot is one of the remotest place on the world due to the climate and the big distance to any village. Therefore this region is put on the list of the very important places for environmental conservation by CONAM (Comision National del Medio Ambiente), CONAF (Comision National Forestral), UACH (Universidad Austral de Chile) and WWF (World Wildlife Fund).
Dr. Rodrigo Hucke-Gaete works since 1997 during the summer months on a catalogue to identify the whales by taking photos of the dorsal fins and the pigmentation of the back. These two characteristics distinguish each animal from the other. So you can see if these biggest animals of the world come back every year on the same place. We are invited to help maiking observations and pictures.

- Douglas Tomkins and the Parque Pumalin
At the end of the 80th Tomkins sold his part of the firm “Esprit” and “North Face”, moved from San Francisco to the south of Chile, where he bouht in Patagonia his first piece of rainforest to protect it from cutting down. Resources like wood and cellulose come to about 50% of the exports of Chile. Environmental groups often criticize the way of these actions. Tomkins owns today a parc of 3250 km2 - the biggest private parc! He supports a soft tourisme with hotels and campgrounds. The energy comes from windmills. He sponsored even a school in this aerea. He invited us to come, see this project and give lessons to the children.

Just before we set sails we have had a warm New Year’s Eve with Chilenan food from our neighbours Jose and Pillar and dancing till early in the morning.

Posted by dario at 6:57 PM

January 16, 2006

We are off

Wolfgang decided to join us on the trip to Pumalin. Wolfgang we met when we biked to Aconcagua. He sailed for 12 years in his boat "Wilde Mathilde" and lives know with his wife Gabi and some sheeps and alpacas in Villarica. He does the Patagonian safety net for the sailors in the region.

We sailed with Wolfgang from Valdivia 33 h to Puerto Ingles on Chiloe Island, Salina's first anchorage. The sea was raft and everybody has to vomit. It is the first vomit on a boat for Salina and me. The next day the tide pushed us trough Canal Chacao and the speedometer showed 10 nm. In the golf of Ancud the wind was blowing from the South and we had to tack and couldn't make it to our next anchorage island Mecheque. So we found protection in Puerto Huite between fish farms on Chiloe Island. Passing Quemchi we followed the Canal Caucahue and soon needed the radar because of the dense fog. After island Tac the wind was picking up from the North and we have had a very fast passage over the golf of Ancud to the Renihue fiord. Like the day before, also today we have had a fishing line in the ruder but we were able to sail us free. Fortunately the clouds were lifting and we sailed into the fiord till the very end where the Renihue fiord turns left into the small fiord Pillan. We were lucky to have spring tide and that Wolfram and Rodrigo guided us in. Kris and Doug Tompkins invited us for dinner in their house and we were able to take a shower after this challenging passage.

We will stay now for a while in this very beautiful Pumalin Park and plan to visit some schools in the neighborhood. Kris and Doug Tompkins are the initiators of the Conservation Land Trust and Conservation Patagonica. Our friend Wolfram Heise is the international cooperation coordinator and helps us coordinating the school visits. Their goals are to create and/or enlarge national parks. They belief that in wilderness is the preservation of nature. Another good example of individuals they act for nature. Yesterday Rodrigo's wife Paula showed us the production of organic honey and Salina enjoyed it to play with Augustina. Today Salina and Sabine are just exploring the area to collect this extraordinary beauty for our next presentations…

Posted by dario at 3:22 PM

January 20, 2006

Pumalin Park: clean up and school visits


We are in on of the most beautiful parks on our planet. Our neighbours are dolphins, sea lions and black necked swans. Our anchorage is in Puillan fjord. From here it is about 2 hours to a native tree plantation to reproduce the 3000 years old Alerce trees which all were logged in the past. As a climber I was fascinated about the 900 m big wall here in the Vodudahue Valley, - like El Capitan in Yosemite Park, California.

We have also a wonderful time with the initiators of the park, Kris and Doug Tompkins. They live about 20 minutes from Pachamama in Renihue fjord where Salina enjoyed a warm bath in the sink. Yesterday they were on Pachamama and we offered the Swiss meals Aelplermacaroni and Plain in Pignia.
Between clean ups and school visits we spent our time fishing and doing the laundery, working on the boat...

CLEAN UP's on Pumalin's fjords:

A lot of the trash we found came from the salmon industry:
- antifouling canes
- beer canes
- clean up on Vodudahue beach
- cleaning gives satisfaction
- fishing nets and ropes
- plastic bottles and oil canes

SCHOOL VISITS in the neighbourhood of the park:
Here some pictures:

- Annemarie in action
- drawing contest
- finding solutions
- funny games
- great solutions
- kids of Amarillo
- kids of Chaiten
- local beauties
- plenty of good ideas
- Sabine in action
- Salina in action
- TOPtoTOP workshop
- Dario in action
- trash game
- trash sketch
- 3 solutions

The next 3 days we will try to climb volcano Michinmahuida...

Posted by dario at 11:15 PM

January 26, 2006

The climb

Salina got her third tooth and is able to eat like an adult and join the climb.
We moved to the camp ground in Galeta Gonzalo where Nico explained us how they produce organic food.
The next day we climbed from sea level trough the beautiful and dense forest to our base camp with a lot of soft moss on 850 m. We camped on a spectacular lagun just on the base of the glacier with a wonderful view on the Pacific Ocean.
During the night it was extremly warm. At 3.15 a.m. Jimmy, Sabine and I started climbing.; no clouds - only stars. Annemarie stayed with Salina in our tent. As soon as we accessed the glacier the first clouds came up. We continued in the fog. Then it started to rain and the snow were getting soft so that the snow bridges over the crevasses were getting weak. At around 7 a.m. we turned back on a altitude of 1800 m and joined Annemarie and Salina to climb further down. At 10 p.m. we arrived on Pachamama where already our friend Martin expected us.
Today we washed our cloths and were again invited by Tompkins for a barbeque.

Posted by dario at 12:29 AM

January 27, 2006

Douglas and Kris

From successful entrepreneurs to tireless environmentalists: Douglas and Kris Tompkins

His interest and passion in land conservation have their roots in his childhood growing up in a rural upstate New York community and in his life of mountaineering and adventuring in wild places all around the world and his growing concern about the relentless expansion of the “Human enterprise”. “To oppose consumption and to change ones habits would be a way to conserve the treasures of nature not to find out new ways in technology to produce more and more energy, more and more new consumer goods for the endless growing consumer society.”

The man is a phenomenon: He polarizes half of Chile since over 10 years and is more well-known as a lot of important politicians. From the proceeds of the sold of their interests of a large sportswear-and cloths firms the now 62 years old Douglas Tompkin and his wife Kris found two non profit foundations, the Foundation for deep Ecology (1990) and the conservation Land Trust (1992) plus moved out of the city environment of San Francisco to the isolated fjords and old growth temperate rainforest of southern Chile. The conservation Land Trust’s overarching goal is in the conservation of biodiversity. Important is also a good public access, trails, campgrounds, public educational and interpretive programs.

With the same precision as in the area of Pinochet big pieces of land were sold to foreign firms for deforestation and to make chips of wood he buys old forests piece after piece in southern Chile and Argentina in the size of hundred thousands of hectares to conserve the thousands of year old Alercewood, Coihuetrees, Cipres, Araucarias, Ulmos, Arrayans. Considered and with a big concentration they fulfill their dreams, give work to a lot of Chilean people when they put up all these beautiful, in the same style constructed working centres for agronoms, forest engineers and volunteers from the university of Santiago. The agronoms set up examples on how to plant in a pure biological way vegetables, apples, berries and set up a huge fabrication (3t a year) of biological honey. The forest engineers set up a huge nursery to cultivate all these endangered species of trees and to reintroduce them in burned off or once over cultivated land by farmers.

I wish that everybody who is interested in nature conservation would have the opportunity to sit a moment on the doorsteps of Tompkins house and get in contact with all these most interesting people passing by, invited to write a new book about forests or articles about these national parks in the most popular journals like Nat. Geographic- or Geomagazines. We got this chance of meeting Kris and Doug , of enjoying their outstanding hospitality, kindness and knowledge, to admire their endless commitment for the nature. Thank you so much, Kris and Doug!!!! Thank you Dario and Sabina to make this possible!!!

We are setting sails towards Melinka, leaving this beautiful anchorage in the fjord of Reñihue with the view of the snow covered volcano Michinmahuida, with the many Toninas (bottlenose dolphins, tursiops truncatus ), the many Southern sea lions (otaria flavescens), playing and hunting around the boat (the fjord is only shortly liberated by Tompkins from the salmon breeding stations. The “salmoneras” needed antibiotics and tranquilizers to make the fish growing quicker and without illness, killed sea lions and dolphins which they considered as competitors).

Posted by dario at 11:13 PM

January 28, 2006

Alerce for Salina

Kirs and Doug organized a ceremonie to plant an Alerce tree for Salina. An Alerce becomes up to 3000 years old, fifty meters high and grows 1 mm.
The "Salina Alerce" is on the bottom of volcano Michinmahuida. - The pilot Rodrigo gave me the chance to see the TOP of this volcano and Pachamama from the air.
On Pachamama we had kids to draw solutions for nature and clean up the beach nearby.

Posted by dario at 12:36 AM

January 30, 2006

Marcelo's generators

I just meet Marcelo Santana M in Castro, Chiloe. He is from Chaiten and produce very cheap and efficient generators: For the generators he recycles a lot of old material, like gas tanks, old generators from cars ... for more information please contact marcelosantanam@hotmail.com.

Posted by dario at 7:56 PM