November 1, 2007

TOP of Noumea

by Andrea: Yesterday we finally made the way to the mountain range Koghi. Dario and Andrea climbed the TOP of Noumea and the second highest mountain in New Caledonia Mount Mone 1075m. Unfortunately when we reached the summit a thunderstorm came over the mountains and we had no view at all. Even worse the descent was getting very slippery and not after a long time we were walking more in a brook. But after all it was quite fun. Due to the bad weather conditions for sailing to Australia we used the time for different activities. We hiked the mount Toro in the south of Noumea. A spot normally used by the paragliders with a good view towards the Ansa Vata bay. For the second time we were invited by the "College J. Mariotti Noumea". Again the children were very enthusiastic especially by the TOPtoTOP game. Sabine, always with patient and a smile, explained all the rules. In the end the students had 5 minutes time to collect rubbish on the school ground. Quite a lot was found and the happy winner got a Victorinox knife; congratulations. We had the opportunity to collect another good example: the windmills of EEC/SUEZ. Thanks to wind energy around Noumea there is 20'000 t of CO2 less in the atmosphere. That is what 7000 cars produce in one year! Here the technical details: calculation, overview One important equipment for sailing is the radar. Unfortunately ours is broken and Dario tried to fix it but the spare from our member and friend Federico in Valdivia did not fit. So we have to wait till we are in Australia. Apart from serious work we could spend time with our friends. The children from the neighbour boat spend an afternoon in our tiny playground room with Salina and Andri enjoys the sunset with Mama on the Pachamama. Jean Marie, his wife Romy and Jean Louis invited us for a Pizza party at Jean Marie and Romy's home. And after a long time nearly four years we had also a nice reunion with our friends from Escapade Claartje and Peter and their lovely two boys. Jean Louis (green shirt) was the chief Pizza baker. Thanks it was absolutely delicious! Another day - another invitation for dinner. Fruity Fruits with Carolyne and Steffan invited us for a RACLETTE! That was a big surprise and we enjoyed it very much. Switzerland was no more that far away... thank you. Today we are preparing everything so that we can leave tomorrow morning towards Australia. Welcome back Annemarie! After a short absence she is joining us again for the next month.
Posted by dario at 5:43 AM

November 11, 2007

Ile des Pins

Thanks to Hotel Oure ( this report is possible. Thanks to Arnold and Tony, two Swiss arriving on the island 38 years ago, for organizing our TOPtoTOP school visit in the main village Vao. - Dario in action - - TOPtoTOP climate solution contest - One weekend we were invited by our friend Emmanuelle and her two wonderful daughters to camp with the Ouroue tribe in Thio ad the East cost of the big island. After Noumea we stopped on two small islands to fix our stuffing box. Because the weather on the way to Australia was not o.K., we could not continue and went to Ile des Pins to wait for a good weather window for the crossing. The last few days there were one tropical depression after the other passing S of us. Ile de Pins is the paradise itself. We climbed twice the highest TOP, Mount N'ga and organized a clean up. Andri like Salina is a gifted climber and made his first steps on this Southern most island of Melanesia. Now the weather seems to be o.k.. The silence is gone after a big cruiser arrived. We hope to be in Australia in about 10 days. Contact us by phone: 00872 7625 68 933
Posted by dario at 4:30 AM

November 23, 2007

Contact in Australia

We just arrived in Australia. Contact us with Skype out; our phone number is 0061 4 23 45 02 55.
Posted by dario at 12:34 PM

November 30, 2007

Warm welcome in Australia

Sshark Internet cafe makes this report possible.

From Ile des Pins to Australia we have had 8 days. We could not go to Coffs Harbour, because there was no wind and that’s why our navigator Andri decided to go directly to Sydney. Than we have had a strong wind warning on the way to Sydney and we took shelter after 1193 nm in Newcastle. Annemarie left soon after to make it in time to the baptise of her grandchild. Annemarie was now 6 month with us. Thank you again for all your help!
Newcastle Harbour is the largest coal exporting port in the world. Currently the port exports over 80 million tonnes of coal per annum. There are more than 3100 commercial shipping movements within the port annually. The ships that visit Newcastle are large, the largest being 300 m long, 50 m wide with Gross Tonnages exceeding 100 000 t.
George Keegan from the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club offered us a space in his wonderful marina, where we have done our clearance and organised a media conference. We have been on NBN Television in the evening news just on the same day, the Australians voted their new prime minister. Global warning was a major issue in the selections. The first action of the new prime minister was signing the Kyoto protocol! Here an article from the Harald:

Customs officer Damian Hedges told us that they have had only 6 sailing yachts from overseas in the last 6 years to clear in Newcastle. Customs, immigration and quarantine were very friendly and efficient and we can recommend it to all cruisers to go to Newcastle. It’s a lovely town with very friendly people.

The next day we prepared our bikes for the next TOP, the highest mountain in Australia, Mount Kosciusko. Brian and Jim from Civic Bikes in Newcastle helped me to tune our bikes, while Sabine, Salina and Andri went with Brain's wife Sharon to the Koalas and Kangaroos.

After the storm we continued to Sydney together with Peter Hampton, our new member from Newcastle.

When we saw the opera house we have been so happy that we crossed the Pacific and Andri started dancing! We thanked God that we have had fair winds and no accidents!

The Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron welcomed us and was of big help in the first days in Sydney. There we met the Waron twins. They are great sailors and already about 160 years old together!

The next day Steven Brown, Mark Raward and Aolam Parkinson from NSW Maritime organised us a mooring in the Five Dock Bay. This thanks to Sir Ian Keith Wilson an ex Australian navy commander we met in Morea and Chris Oxenbould, the CEO of NSW Maritime.
Afterwards we have had a warm welcome from the Swiss Consulate. Catherine Mochamps and Ernst Hofstetter have been a big help to contact the media (see media release).

The media conference took place at the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron organized by our friend Stuart Scocroft. A lot of sailors come along to see the beautiful TOPtoTOP expedition sailboat Pachamama. (May it is also because of one of our crew?)

Yesterday we moved from the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron just opposite the opera house to Five Dock Bay where Treharne Moorings placed us a mooring.

We enjoyed the sailing trough the biggest natural harbour on earth very much. We passed the opera house and the harbour bridge and went upstream the Parramatta River.

For Andrea it was his last leg. He joined us for 2 months and will leave next Sunday to Switzerland. He was one of the best crew we have ever had. Thank you very much Andrea and hope to see you again!

Today there was Alby from North Sails on Pachamama to take measurements for the new Victorinox sails.
The next few weeks we will have no email access, because we start biking towards Mount Kosciusko, the highest TOP in Australia. You can contact us anytime on our mobile phone (0061) 04 23 45 02 55.
Posted by dario at 1:44 AM