June 7, 2007


After 24 h of sailing from Papeete we arrive on Huahine, the closest of the "isles sous le vent" de Tahiti. The next day we explore the wild, lush island of Huahine, well equipped with an umbrella to protect Sabine and the children from the intense sun. Like on all other Polynesian islands we see many beautiful flowers. A tourist attraction we don't miss are the blue eyed eels living in a small river. Occasionally we see houses in a traditional style with solar panels solar panels on the roof - a good example of how to use the abundance of solar power here in the South Pacific. We also pay a visit by boat to a pearl farm where they produce the famous black pearls of Polynesia (they also come in other colours, manly different shades of dark grey and green, but not white).

On the motus (small islands in the lagoon) many agricultural products such as melons need good soil, which is traditionally transported there from the main island. After a short time the soil is not fertile enough any more and until recently it was deposited somewhere on the motu, often posing a hazard for the environment (e.g. for the lagoon). A project called www.rurac.gov.pf "projet dévelopement d'une agriculture durable dans le pacifique (DADP)" teaches the locals to use compost to refertilise the soil. This also helps on the main island, as the collection of soil causes severe erosion on the steep slopes. Moana Tevaearai works for this project and kindly explains it to us and shows us around the island. As a thank you we invite him for a beach barbecue. Before we enjoy swimming at the beach and the great atmosphere and one of the many beautiful sun sets the pacific offers to us before it gets dark.

Posted by dario at 11:52 PM

June 8, 2007

School in Fare with RAI UNO

In Fare, the main village of Huahine, we visit the local primary school. Shortly before going there we meet a small team of RAI (Italian TV) making a reportage on French Polynesia, which is planned to be broadcast on RAI UNO on the 23th of June 2007 at 2:30 p.m. (the name of the programme is Stella del Sud, click on "Gli Speciali" - if you see it please record it for us). As they don't want to show only the touristy side of the islands they decide to join us.

Sabine and Dario explain the problems about climate change and show impressive pictures of the ToptoTop expedition. The children follow very attentively. I try to explain how a solar vehicle is working. The sun is hiding behind clouds and there is just about enough energy to have it slowly going. The kids show so much enthusiasm playing with the solar vehicle from Megasol that we give it as a present to the school. Sabine explains the drawing contest - with Andri watching intently the solutions drawn by the pupils. Obviously the solar vehicle has made a lasting impression!

Being my birthday we enjoy a great chocolate cake made by Sabine after dinner for dessert - the shape of the cake reflects the waves during its baking! The next day Annemarie arrives in Huahine and brings a lot of nice presents from Switzerland - Salina proudly demonstrates her new dress and hut and she will certainly like (as we all do...) the Swiss chocolate - thanks a lot for all the presents!

Posted by dario at 6:28 AM

June 9, 2007

Tahaa and Raiatea

Thanks to iaoranet which make this report possible.

After 6 days on Huahine we make the 5 hour crossing to the next island, Tahaa. We sailed along a string of beautiful motus with Salina checking if the depth is sufficient. Finding suitable spots for anchoring close to the island turns out to be difficult. We have been two nights close to different motus but to far from the main island to go there by human force only. But it was very beautyful with Bora Bora as background.

In Tahaa we visited two primary schools, one in Tapuamu, one in Tiva, where Annemarie comes into action.

Louise and her husband, who live in Tiva, offer us there mooring for free and made this school visits possible. They have an excellent restaurant where we enjoyed a great dinner offered by Annemarie and were very kind with us. By canoo we made a short trip up a river into a dense forest. On the way back we meet by chance the biggest producer of ananas and many other fruit of Tahaa - later he shows us his plantations and gives us many of his sweet ananas to taste - a real delight.

On Sunday we go to church, it is always an experience to enjoy and the singing of the locals is just great. The women are mostly dressed in white.

Last Thursday we arrived in Raiatea.
Sabine and Andri went to hospital thanks to Eric Egger's wife Silvie who organized transportation.
Sabine has an Angina and Andri get burned on his hand. Everything is under control now.
Eric is the school director in Tifa on Tahaa. His grandfather is from Altstetten and his grandmother from Lugano. He came to Raiatea by sailing boat from France about 17 years ago.

Michel took us into town the other day, where we met Joe & Nancy McKeown, friends from Doug and Kris Tomkins from Pumalin in Chile. Joe is a pioneer in bigwall climbing in the Yosemitee in the 60s!
Michel saw that we are sailing with children and the other day he gifted us with some vitamins!

Tomorrow e will sail to Bora Bora and than we will have about 2 weeks to get to West Samoa. May we will stop in the Cook Islands on Suvarow Island if sea conditions are o.k...

The satellite phone will be turned on each Sunday between 6 and 8 a.m. MEZ, so that you are able to call us.

Posted by dario at 7:19 AM

June 11, 2007

Bora Bora

Yesterday we sailed from Raiatea to Bora Bora and enjoyed this wonderful lagoon. At night Annemarie, Sabine and Peter went to see the Miss Bora Bora contest.

During our crossing we saw already from far away the big rock towers looking out of the lagoon.

So today Peter and I started climbing at 5 a.m. and managed to summit two peaks. We cleaned the top from the garbage other climbers left behind, this as another TOPtoTOP contribution for the "world environment day".

Already on the way up we have had a spectacular view. On the second TOP the different blue and green colours of the lagoon were even more special and we were able to see Tahaa ad Raiatea in the distance.

On the way down trough the jungle we were able to have an eye for Pachamama (on anchorage on the left).

Below the TOP in Vaitape we met the Swiss Rene Schmidlin. He was the pioneer in scuba diving in Polynesia 10 years ago. Today they own TOPdive, the biggest diving school in Polynesia together with the wonderful TOPdive Resort. Rene sponsored TOPtoTOP diving equipment. Thanks to Rene we are now able to act in a emergency; for example in a deep anchorage when the anchor is blocked by coral heads, lines or wracks; like we have had two days ago. - Danka Rene!

Thanks to iaoranet we are able to upload this report.

Posted by dario at 6:49 AM

June 14, 2007

School visit in Anau

School visit in Anau

Today we made our TOPtoTOP presentation in Anau. The director Miss Vaiho Rosane introduced us to Mr. Jacky Bryant, an activist in nature conservation on the island specialised in turtles. All school children will participate in the "climate solution contest".

TOPtoTOP volunteer Annemarie has been diving the last two days with TOPdive. She made wonderful pictures about the world under water to explain the children the beauty of our planet in the schools to come.

(Gold-lined sea bream, Gnathodentex aurolineatus, 25 cm)

Good trade winds are expected for Friday so that we are able to sail to Suwarrow in the Cook Islands.

Posted by dario at 9:00 AM