April 4, 2009

NZ hospitality


NZ is a great country! Its landscape is like Switzerland, but without people, means a perfect site to cycle with hardly any traffic.



We met our TOPtoTOP coordinator for NZ, Nita Smith in Hokitika.
She contacted us with Family Dave and Rach Cassaidy.


The picture shows the NZ hospitality very well. Great food and a warm shower and we felt like Xmas. Dave is working at the Mount Aspiring Collage in Wanaka with 650 students.



There we made 2 presentations and the students are quite keen to participate in the TOPtoTOP Global Climate Solution Contest.


Iris and Gary Dickson from Alpinism and Ski invited me sailing on Lake Wanaka, while Sabine and the kids continuing cycling with our students. On the boat was also Iris friend Jane Wilkinson from Nautimuk. - We did a public presentation in Nautimuk Australia in June 08 and Jane knows very well Louise and Cliff, where we were able to stay. So the world is quite small! - Gary is a great mountain guide and in the board of the mountain rescue in NZ. He works every year 3 months in the Swiss Alps, where he met Iris (Swiss). They may have work for me next time we sail to NZ.

We also met the owner of Adventure Consultants, Guy Cotter. They are very experienced on Everest. We are looking forward to work together with Guy while we are in the Himalayas.

Here some pictures while we were cycling wtith the students from Xchurch along the West Coast to the South:





Thank you to the 2nd group of students from St. Andrew's school and trip manager Vince for your patient to cycle together with Salina and Andri!


The Franz Josef Glacier is advancing at the moment with 80 m per year and goes down to 200 m over sea level. Andri enjoyed the ice climbing and Salina the rock climbing:



Please remember Salina's birthday on the 11th of April.


Our number is 0064 2 10 39 89 61. Presents can be shipped to: TOPtoTOP, c/o Gold Coast City Marina, Administration Building 76-84 Waterway Drive Coomera, Queensland, Australia. 4209

Here some idea's for Salina's birthday:
Hier nur kurz bez. Salina's Wünschen:

Salina würde sehr gerne zur Schule gehen und macht gerne "Aufgaben". Leider ist das in NZ und Australien nicht so einfach, wegen der Haftung und Versicherungsprobleme, wenn sie sich nicht in der Schule eingeschrieben hat. Letztes Mal hatten die Erstklässler Tanzuntericht und sie durfte nicht mitmachen!

Idee 1: Lern-Spielzeug
Wir wären deshalb froh, wenn wir für Salina etwas Schulmaterial haben, wo sie spielerisch lernen kann.

Idee 2: Einen Monat Homeschooling-Unterlagen
Wir wollen mit Salina mit "Homeschooling" beginnen. Alle unterlagen zum Basteln, Lernnen etc. wird zugesandt.

Idee 3: Bücher, die uns beim Unterricht helfen würden:
- "Pädagogischer Auftrag und Unterrichtsziele- vom Lehrplan der Waldorfschule" (ISBN 3-7725-0269-5) Mit diesem Buch haben wir ein Leitfaden und wissen in welchem Alter, wir was unterrichten sollten.
- "Der Anfangsunterricht in der Mathematik an der Waldorfschule" (ISBN 3-7725-0263-6)
- "Der Anfangsunterricht im Schreiben und Lesen" (ISBN 3-7725-0227-X)
- "Der künstlerische Untericht in der Waldorfschule, Malen und Zeichnen" (ISBN 3-7725-0229-6)

Posted by dario at 12:23 AM

April 14, 2009

Salina 4


Salina's first birthday was on Robinson Crusoe Island, 2nd on Tahiti and the 3rd in Sydney.


The 4th birthday was now in New Zealand on a hiking trip at the Farewell Spit.



The day before we met Salina's friends at the beach:



The first birthday cake was in the morning in the tent. The last "happy birthday" song on the campground in the Abel Tasman National park after an exciting glow worm expedition along a small creek with some Kiwi friends. The last cake was on Juanita's farm 2 days later where they nearly met the Easter bunny.



On our hiking trip in the Abel Tasman National Park we found some Easter eggs on the golden beach before we went caving. There Salina found a bone from a dinosaur!


Close to Nelson in this Karst with hips of caves is also one of the biggest spring on this planet: read more 1 and 2.

Before Salina's birthday we were busy in the schools around Nelson:

Tahunannui School

Hira School; what a great school!

Salina and Andri enjoyed the schools playgrounds and Salina had her 1st school day in her life on the 9th of April at the Nelson Central School where Dario made another presentation and just the day after she was invited to join the Hira School.

We also met Nick and Petty Algie from Perth with little Abel, who became a friend of Andri. We met them in the anchorage of Savusavu, Fiji and they were just in NZ visiting their parents.


At the same place in Fiji we met Kati and Arne's family. In Nelson we were able to look after Kati and Arne's house and their cat while they went for a short holiday. With all kids we climbed a peak above Nelson which is the center of NZ.


Thanks to Kati and Arne we had time to make an ultra sounding in Nelson from our next crew member.

We also met family members of our close friend and TOPtoTOP member Gerhard Reich who died one month ago. He was Anuschka's and Juanita's uncle and they live in NZ. He was since the start always in email contact with us...

Posted by dario at 8:20 AM

April 22, 2009

Leaving NZ for schools in Australians Outback

Check latest article in NZ... and how Dario became pregnant!


From Picton we crossed Cook Strait in perfect conditions to Wellington, the capital of NZ.



There we were invited by family Dave & Margaret Allison and Mohammad Ali Amiri to stay in their house.


The next day we picked up some brochures from the Swiss Embassy that we are going to use during our workshops in the schools.


Dave showed us around Wellington. Wind farms are becoming quite popular in this windy corner of NZ, where the wind is tunneled by the South - and North Island in the opening of Cook Strait.
Very interesting was the NZ national museum where you can learn a lot about climate change and why Mount Cook dropped 10 m. Salina was most impressed by the original model of a blue whale heart:


Now we are off to Austalia and the Outback where we are invited in the Barcaldine Shire to visit some really remote schools...

Posted by dario at 9:15 AM

April 23, 2009

Schools in the Outback


For us it is just incredible to see all this open space and the distances between the settlements...



Rob Chandler, the mayor of Barcaldine, organized a total of 10 presentations for TOPtoTOP in the Outback of Queensland! 3'505 people are living here in an area of 54'667 km2. So that is close to 20 km2 per person!


TOPtoTOP within the Muttaburra State School. This little town is really remote: The next shop to buy food is in Barcaldine 200 km away!


There we met also Doug Langdon. He found Australia's most complete dinosaur fossil "Muttaburrasaurus landoni batholomai". This giant was about 10 m long, 3 m high, weighed more than 2 tones and lived 100 million years ago. It walked on his hind legs and fed on the plants that were abounded on the margin of the inland sea that covered so much of inland Australia. One of the most distinctive features of this suarus is an inflated, hollow bony roof over the snout in front of the eyes. Doug told us, that it function was to make loud noises such as mating calls.


In 1963 Doug was out mustering cattle near Muttaburra, 1246 km NW of Brisbane. He stopped to water his horse at a creek near the Thompson River. He recalls: "I remember stopping to let my horse have a drink when I noticed a pile of unusual rock down by the river bed. I went down to get a better look at it and found that the rock was in fact a big bone..." He thought it looked like a very interesting fossil. He contacted the Brisbane Museum and 2 months later Doctor Bartholomai arrived in Muttaburra to investigate the discovery.


TOPtoTOP in Barcaldine State Pre-School. Afterwards we joined the trainings for the world famous goat race on the 2nd of May and Salina and Andri tested it out.



TOPtoTOP in the St. Joseph's Catholic School


TOPtoTOP in the Aramac State School


TOPtoTOP in the Barcaldine State School


Jenni Gray, Deputy Mayor of the area, who joined us in every school. She told us that the average grazier runs between 1000 to 4000 cattle, pending on the size of the properties. She told us that there was no rain for 10 years. On the day to give up and decided to go and work in a mine, it started to rain. Thanks to "La Nina" there were hips of rain and the country is green again.


Posted by dario at 4:13 AM

April 28, 2009

The Great Artesian Basin

Media this week: 2 interviews with ABC Radio (Danny Kennedy) and 4LG Radio (Anthony Priwer).


The Family of Rob and Debora Chandler was home for us here in the Outback. They run the Ironbark Motel in Barcaldine.
The Tree of Knowledge is the attraction of Barcaldine. It was a eucalyptus papuna (Ghost Gum) until it was poisoned around May 2006. The Trunk and branches were removed and transported to Brisbane for the preservation process before returning to Barcaldine to form part of the Au $ 8 million Tree Of Knowledge Memorial. The approximately 3500 batons recreate the canopy of the original tree as it stood in 1891.


The land is cattle country and so we had never so much and so good meet. Kangaroos are all over the place. On a water hole Rob showed us to catch crayfish; soon after we saw a dingo (wild dog) and emus. The properties are huge. Rob's brother John owns 110'000 acres (440 Km2) with 3000 cattle and 12'000 sheep and the fence is about 400 km long. That is about half of the department of Thurgau in Switzerland.



To get an idea of John's property we climbed together with Mac the 190 steps up the TOP of the outback, a 60 m Antenna. It was just great after our last climb in Brisbane some week ago:



John explains us that live out here is only possible thanks to the Great Artesian Basin. There is 65000 millions mega liters of water (1 mega liter is 1 Million liters), enough to cover all the land on our planet under half a meter of water!

The bore behind his house is 600 m deep. The water temperature is 52 degrees and is millions of years old. Because the water is so crucial the people in the outback taped their bores and run pipes to avoid evaporation. Like this they use it very sustainable.


John loaded just 88 cattle on a road train to transport them to Rockhampton to the abattoir 700 km away. Like this we got a lift towards Barcaldine with truck driver Tom Lipsett. His truck has 600 PS and needs about 1l Diesel per km. Last year he travelled 248'000 km to carry cattle from the outback to the coast. That is 8 times around our globe!


Back home Salina and Andri were playing while Mac prepared another rump on his barbeque. Suddenly Salina came and asked if the snake is dangerous at the entrance... It was a baby King Brown one of the most venous ones. If you get a bite you best do a bandage and then you have another max. 20 minutes to see a doctor and get the anti-venom.

Again we have been busy with our TOPtoTOP project in the schools. Here the School in Jericho.

Students to the first school presentation in Alpha.

Students to the first school presentation in Alpha.


These students are used to travel on the weekend 600 to 1000 km to play football with another team. We estimated that the feeling for distances between somebody from the Outback compared to a Swiss is about factor 10-times more: means 60 km for a Swiss is approx. 600 km for a local here.


Tom Luckie took us to Longreach to the School of distance education. Because some properties are so far away the parents started to do home schooling over the HF radio. The school covers about the surface of Europe. We were welcomed to visit the schools; saw how the teachers communicate with the students and thought: "That is the school for Salina!". We just posted the enrollment papers and please cross fingers that Salina is able to participate! The Principal Rachelle More (see picture) is quite keen to have Salina and TOPtoTOP on board.



In Longreach was Qantas founded! In the old days distances were so huge that there was a big demand for air services. Today you can visit a very interesting site: In the middle of the Outback is a 377 Jumbo and a great museum (website) with the story how everything started. This Jumbo travelled 200 times around our globe and covered 10 years of flying time. It was a great experience for Sabine and me on the wings and Salina and Andri in the turbine...


Finally it was a great time in the outback and thanks to the "White station Circle" we may stay healthy in the future?
A big thank you to the whole Chandler family who made all this possible! Thanks to Queensland Rail we made it back to Pachamama in time. Many thanks again to the Gold Coast City Marina and our friend Bill Dobson for the berth, so that we were able to visit the schools far away from the coast.

Posted by dario at 7:52 AM