December 1, 2011

World Climate Conference: Christiana Figueres joined us

New article in the Daily News from the 5th of December.

New article in the SGS Newsletter

2011-11-13_sa-durban (92).JPGThe "highest UN climate protector", Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and her husband joined the breakfast today on Pachamama. They came cycling from the conference and spent 2 hours on the boat. Christiana and her husband Konrad von Ritter were very interested in the work of the "TOPtoTOP Global Climate Expedition" and put their credits in the "Golden Book" of the expedition. They invited Sabine and Dario to take part in the "Momentum" event at the conference on Tuesday the 6th of December 2011. - Just great that TOPtoTOP has now 2 fans more!

2011-11-13_sa-durban (84).JPGClimate Alliance a partner of TOPtoTOP on Pachamama. Together we motivated 201'146 kids to collect 2'710'340 green footprints to save the world's climate in 2011. The hand over to the UNCCC Exec. Secretary was yesterday at the conference.

2011-11-13_sa-durban (83).JPGCOP17 Climate Conference 2011 Durban (by Dario Eberhard)
Since Monday 28th November the annually climate conference is taking place in Durban. There are delegations from 192 countries hoping to bring the new protocol that will replace Kyoto-Protocol an important step further.Next to the Durban ICC, where the politicians try to find consents in environmental questions there is an expedition side open to the public. All around the side there are lot of nice places to eat to watch African performances or to see innovative solutions for a greener future. TOPtoTOP is part of the official Swiss presentation in the International Exhibition tent, where we offer interesting presentations and speeches.

2011-11-13_sa-durban (55).JPGMain Sail repaired and life raft serviced
Wednesday morning we were very glad to see our perfectly repaired mainsail back rigged up. We hope that with the small things we decided to change the sail will be even more durable and secure. At this place we have to thank to Clyde and North Sails Switzerland.
Further we managed to service the life raft. Grindrod, thanks for your support.
Many thanks also to our friend and neighbour Erich Ruegsegger for the beautiful Kajak. He was the former chef of the Cadlimo Mountain Hut (Swiss Alps), where we came trough at the start of the expedition in the winter 2002/03! Read the report from 23.03.2003, day 111: Cadlimo Hütte - Andermatt UR (688/165); 17 km, 1968 km Total; 322 Höhenmeter, 55'370 Höhenmeter Total.

2011-12-01_sa_durban_cop17_divers.JPGPolice divers do a great job: Andre and his team control the underwater in Durban harbor for bombs (COP17) and helped us changing the anodes on Pachamama. They had to dive in a sewage tunnel under the ICC (conference) the day before and some got sick. Nurse Sabine cured them with some tea.

2011-11-13_sa-durban (61).JPGPresentation for the Swiss delegation
On Tuesday honorary consul Hanspeter Graber organized a dinner for the discussion group of countries where Switzerland is part of it. Members from the delegation of Lichtenstein, South Korea, Monaco and Mexico and Switzerland visited Pachamama. Before dinner TOPtoTOP held a presentation before at the Royal Natal Yacht Club.

2011-11-13_sa-durban (38).JPGPachamama 15' walk from the conference in the center of Durban

2011-11-13_sa-durban (33).JPGAlready 800 students visited in Durban!
Students of Virginia Preparatory School at the TOPtoTOP event

2011-11-13_sa-durban (23).JPGDario talking to 300 children of Thomas Moor School

Many thanks to Alison and Quentin Hurt from SGS in Durban for organizing the school visits.

Posted by dario at 10:07 AM

December 8, 2011

COP17: Doris Leuthard joined us

2011-12-08_sa_cop17 (95)-geschnitten-r.jpgSwitzerland's environment minister Doris Leuthard on Pachamama with the Swiss Ambassador for South Africa Christian Meuwly...they are both TOP!

2011-12-08_sa_cop17 (82)r.jpgSabine and Dario were invited for the "Momentum of Change" event at the conference

2011-12-08_sa_cop17 (84)r.jpgThe Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon together with Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC Christiana Figueres

2011-12-08_sa_cop17 (87)r.jpgSabine - Christiana - Dario on the reception after the "Momentum of Change" event. Thanks to our baby sitters Kathi and Joice, Sabine was able to attend too!

2011-12-08_sa_cop17 (63)r.jpg Dario giving a presentation to students at the Swiss booth.

Here our team; - Dario Eberhard looks after the stand in the 1st week, thank you so much. That keeps as free to meet people and do our media work.

We are happy to announce the partnership between myclimate and TOPtoTOP; - René Estermann from my climate with Dario.

Our TOPtoTOP coodinator in Brazil and great sailor "Raimondo" became a great friend of the family in Durban.

The request we have for the next COP is, that every delegate has to put his personal climate commitment online on the UN website otherwise he is not able to register. The public is than able to control and see if he/she is not only talking, but also acting and being a climate example.
The other request is that a city can only nominate to have the next World Climate Conference when the city accept to be car free during the conference. Only public transport, cycling and walking is accepted. That would be a very strong signal!
This two requests we tried to transport in the many discussions with the delegates during the conference and trough the media:2011-12-08_sa_cop17 (75)r.jpg

Because SY Pachamama has been so close to the conference we had many visitors on the boat:

- Christiana and Konrad playing with Alegra

- Plant-for-the-Planet was on Pachamama. Here their message: "While at COP17 governments are talking about how long they should wait before they want to start really addressing climate change, children do what they can to wake up their generation to face the challenge. At the Green Hub in Durban, over 50 children and youth came together on Monday afternoon to learn about climate justice and empower each other to become active.
Three Climate Justice Ambassadors told the others about the climate crisis and how as a human family we could deal with it. The participating children were invited to draw up their own action plans, which they did.
At the end they planted a symbolic tree for climate justice, gave interviews to German TV and heard a short presentation by Plant-for- the-Planet founder Felix Finkbeiner.
The ToptoTop family was present with Sabine and the kids and committed to spreading the Plant-for-the-Planet initiative around the world during their travels!"

- Bianca's birthday

- ...we have even a bride and bridegroom on Pachamama :-)

2011-12-08_sa_cop17 (30)r.jpgThe Swiss Club organized a TOPtoTOP presentation and a visit of Pachamama. Even Santa was coming from the Nord Pol! That was great fun for the kids.

2011-12-08_sa_cop17 (9)r.jpgAt the 1st of December we had a reception and a TOPtoTOP presentation for SGS staff and its customers.

2011-12-08_sa_cop17 (33)r.jpgMerry Xmas to you all!

Posted by dario at 3:56 PM

December 11, 2011

Xmas donation "Water for Maasai"

The video is up on the Climate Change TV website, klick this link to check it out!

Please donate for the TOPtoTOP Maasai Project! TOPtoTOP likes to build a best practice example for the region in the Maasai country for a sustainable water management system based on solar.

Thumbnail image for 2011-07-08_africa-ch-singapore (305)-small.jpg

Short description of the first project in the Loiborsoit village:
Catching water from the roofs of Loiborsoit primary school in tanks. Distribution of water through pipes. Water will be mainly used for washing and cooking in the school kitchen. No such installation exists up to now for the about 650 students. CHF 11'000.- is needed to build a sustainable system.

Here the link to the TOPtoTOP bank details and do not forget to note "Water for Maasai".

For detailed information please download project costs file (Excel) and/or contact project manager Markus Heeb ( and check TOPtoTOP expedition report from August 2011.

Here the link to more pictures

Posted by dario at 7:25 AM

December 23, 2011

Merry Xmas

2011-12-23_mnweni-pe (67).JPG

Good news:
The students of Sabrina Heeb in Wallisellen, Switzerland collected in their "Xmas market" CHF 3400.- for the "TOPtoTOP water project" for the Maasai school in Loiborsoit, Tanzania! - Congratulation!
We got the message from Juerg Zahnd from 3S in Lyss, Switzerland that they go to sponsor 10 solar panels for the "TOPtoTOP solar water pump" in Loiborsoit. - Thank you so much!

Durban to Port Elisabeth

2011-12-23_mnweni-pe (1).JPG

In Durban we said goodbye to Bianca who joined us for more than 3 months. She did an excellent job. Thank you so much Bianca!

2011-12-23_mnweni-pe (45).JPG
Thanks to the Swiss Consul in Durban, Mr. Hanspeter Graber we had the opportunity to go to some communities in the Mnweni Valley.

2011-12-23_mnweni-pe (23).JPG

It is in the Northern Drakensburg Mountains where you find many peaks over 3000 m and crystal clear creeks to swim. We were travelling walking and on horses for 6 days and found some great examples:

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One old man uses old batteries as weights to produce carpets.
2011-12-23_mnweni-pe (47).JPG
The best was a Zulu who has build his home and workshop (helicopter) out of used cars and makes his living in transforming old tins in airplanes.
Coming back to Durban we were relaxed for the sail ahead and got a wonderful dinner at Markus Baentziger family's place (originally from Appenzell).

At the time we left the Durban marina it was not clear if we can reach Port Elizabeth or only East London till we have to find shelter for the big waves from southwest. After 24 hours of sailing we decided to go into East-London.
Salina playing and running around in the marina of East London sadly twisted her ankle and has now a temporary stabilization bandage on her foot. It looks not very bad but she has to take care in the next couple of weeks.
After one night we already left East London. We did a very fast sail down to Port Elizabeth. We had company of several dolphins and many albatrosses out in the sea. In the middle of that journey we left the Agulhas current, who goes now more south towards Antarctica.
Tomorrow we continue towards Cape of Good Hope and will have Xmas at sea. We hope to arrive on the 26th of December in Simons Town. At Xmas day we hope to have good wind and waves around the most southerly Cape of Africa, Cape Agulhas.
2011-12-23_mnweni-pe (72).JPG
That's why we celebrated already with SY Imanja and SY Byamee in Port Elisabeth. The kids made an excellent act and even 6 month Alegra was involved. She was playing little Jesus.
We hope to have another Xmas party in Simons Town on the 26th after our arrival.
A Merry Xmas to all of you!

Posted by dario at 6:46 AM

December 31, 2011

Cape of Good Hope

2011-12-31_pe-simons (27).JPGCape of Good Hope

2011-12-31_pe-simons (19).JPGPart of the crew

We arrived on the 26th of December at the Cape of Good Hope and had a warm welcome at the False Bay Yacht Club. Club Manager Billy came out with Annemarie to escort us into the marina.
2011-12-31_annemarie_simons (2).JPGSailing into the False Bay Yacht Club

2011-12-31_pe-simons (24).JPGCape Agulhas

Strong winds up to 40 kn made it a short passage. We did the 423 nm from Port Elisabeth to Simon's Town near Cape Town in 50 hours and rounded the most Southerly Cape of Africa, Cape Agulhas, in the evening of Xmas day the 25th. Before we left Port Elisabeth we saw lions and got the best fish ever from the local fisher men for our Xmas dinner at sea. Check Alegra's accident with the salad...

2011-12-31_pe-simons (32).JPGXmas on Pachamama

In the evening of the 26th we celebrated Xmas together with Annemarie and Dario Eberhard, who left us on the 29th. The children couldn't wait to open the Xmas presents after the singing.
Thank you very much Dario E. for joining the expedition and happy further travel in Africa, before going back to Switzerland!!

2011-12-31_pe-simons (45).JPGAndri and Dario on TOP of Table Mountain

On the day we did our clearance in Cape Town we went up Table Mountain. We had a spectacular view over Cape Town and enjoyed the flora and fauna together with our friends Quentin, Alison, Jaz and Dons from Durban.

Please read the report of Annemarie in German:

"Eigentlich wollte ich mit Schwörers in Simon's town Weihnachten feiern, so war es vor mehreren Monaten am Skype abgemacht. Doch wie immer bestimmt die Natur die sicherste Reisezeit! Und wehe, wenn dies nicht eingehalten wird! Starke Winde in Durban haben diesen Plan zerschlagen, und in Port Elizabeth musste ein neues, günstiges Wetterfenster abgewartet werden, um ohne Schaden in Simon's town anzukommen. Diese Strecke ist eine der gefürchtetsten für Weltumsegler, da der südlichste Punkt von Südafrika, das Kap Agulhas, umrundete werden muss. Hier treffen sich 2 total verschiedene Strömungen, der warme Agulhasstrom aus dem Norden des Indischen Ozeans mit dem kalten, fischreichen Benguelastrom vom Süden des Atlantiks aus der Antarktis. Wenn dazu noch südliche Winde blasen, können sich riesige Wellen bilden, die schon manches Schiff zum Kentern brachten!
So stehe ich in totaler glücklicher Erwartung am Fenster meines Hotels in Simon's Town mit Weitblick über den Yachthafen und die False Bay, von wo sie mit Pachamama und meinen 4 Schiffsgrosskindern herkommen müssen!!Heftige Südwestwinde blasen über den Hügelzug, der sich bis zum Kap der guten Hoffnung herunterzieht und sich im Westen davon Kapstadt befindet. Ich habe Angst und gleichzeitig tröstet mich die Bewunderung über den Mut und das grosse seglerische Können von Dario und Sabine. Wir werden uns sicher morgen in die Arme fallen! Der Wind beruhigt sich und am 26.12. segelt Pachamama ruhig auf der False Bay in den Hafen von Simon's Town ein - wie wenn das ein Kinderspiel wäre! Kaum an Land gibt es nur DIE grosse Frage: Kommt wohl heute Abend das Christkind mit Geschenken? Wird es uns hier finden? Und wie es kommt!! Pachamama erstrahlt in Glitzer, farbigen Lichterketten und Weihnachtskugeln. Wir singen, hören die Weihnachtsgeschichte, essen Weihnachtsgüetzi und unter dem Weihnachtsbäumchen aus Valdivia liegen all die vielen Geschenke!
Der Yachthafen liegt im grossen Cape Town National Parc und ein freies Ankern in der Bucht ist nur kurze Zeit möglich. Grosse Kelpfelder wiegen sich zwischen den Bootsstegen, Seelöwen tummeln sich zwischen den Booten.

2011-12-31_annemarie_simons (4).JPGAfrican Pinguins

Etwa 3km südich von Somon's Town liegt Boulders, ein schöne Einfamilienhausgegend, die von einigen grossen Felsbrocken und kleinen Sandbuchten geprägt ist. Eine davon ist Boulders beach, wo die weltberühmte Brillenpinguinkolonie mit über 2000 Tieren beheimatet ist ( von einst weit über einer Million!). Von Holzstegen aus lassen sich diese Vögel beobachten, die gerade am Brüten ihrer Eier sind."


Posted by dario at 5:07 PM