February 10, 2013

Start of 8 around the 2 Americas

More pictures here!

2013-02-05_trinidad_pys-back-into-the-water.JPGThe main event in the past month, apart from working on the boat, was a "thank you party" on the 30th of January held in Peake Yacht Services organized by the Swiss Honorary Consul General Michele Khan.
The evening was held in order to thank all the wonderful people that have helped us complete all the work that needed to be done here in Trinidad and give a quick, more detailed insight into the TOPtoTOP expedition. The atmosphere was pleasant and jolly- even more so towards the end. Dario gave a short speech and showed some films and photographs of their adventures and experiences so far and the future plans. It was a pleasure to have also Ronald W Jones from SGS Trinidad and Roy Peake from Peake Yacht Services with us.

2013-02-02_trinidad_kiddies-carnival-1.JPGEven though we aren't here for actual carnival, we got to go to the kiddie's carnival and were thoroughly impressed by the costumes they had. I still wonder how they manage to dance with them on.

We were honoured to be invited to have lunch with the French Ambassador Jaques and Marie-Laure Sturm and the British High Commissioner Arthur Snell and his family.

Since the 5th of February Pachamama is back in the water and after a month of hard work we are ready leave. We will be heading towards Grenada and then the ABC-Islands.
On the way to Grenada we will be crossing the path that the expedition took in 2004, which is quite a big deal for the expedition.

Our departure here in Trinidad also coincides with the start of the figure-of-eight circumference of the Americas.
Once again a big thank to all the people that helped us, especially all the workers from Peake Yacht Services.

Posted by dario at 3:17 PM

February 14, 2013


More pictures here!

2013-02-12_trinidad-to-bonaire_dolphins-new-roof.JPGOn Sunday we left Trinidad accompanied for a little while by the film crew of Laura and Thorsten to document the start of the figure of eight circumference of the Americas.
The sailing was perfect on the 400nm leg to Bonaire. We saw a dolphins and the green flash on the 2nd day when the sun went down. At sundown on the third evening we tried to get to the island Aves (Venezuela) but it was too dark too quickly and we had to give up just in front of the light house because there are many coral heads and no moon. We arrived in Bonaire at 1 am in the morning so we spent the rest of the time till sunrise hived by, before we moved to the inner harbour.
But when we got to the Kralendijk we couldn't find a single free buoy and were on the verge of turning and sailing on to Curacao, because anchoring is forbidden in this coral paradise. Luckily, the very last buoy, right next to the cruise ship dock, was free.
In the immigration office we heard that all the schools here are closed due to holidays so we decided to do a clean-up on the beach of little Bonaire Island were the children had been invited to a birthday party instead. However when we got to the beach we only found a pair of shoes, a lip balm and a few plastic cups. It was nice to see about four big bins that had been provided by the STINAPA National Parks Foundation Bonaire. The STINAPA National Parks Foundation Bonaire is an NGO dedicated to the conservation of the island.

Another good thing: Here in Bonaire 30% of the islands energy is produced by wind farms.

Thanks to FICT Telecenter "Riccardo" to support us in putting this report online!

Posted by dario at 7:54 PM

February 20, 2013


See our new partner project "Running Downwind" and our departure from Peake in Trinidad! A special thanks goes to Michael from Baltic Sun for organizing and driving a dinghy so that Laura and Thorsten from the "Running Downwind" project were able to film our departure.


At Peake Yacht Services we had to bend the shaft and rudder and the rudder had another crack that we had to weld. Thanks to Chris Maclean all went fine and he helped us also to put a new shaft bearing. Further we had to replace about 70 % of our rigging. Jonas from Trinidad Rigging did a perfect job.

For the Arctic we build a roof behind our bridge. Thanks to Vishnu from Peake Yacht Services and welder Marc Degans we now have much more protection.

Thanks to ICOM Australia we installed a AIS transponder so that big ships can visulise us better and Turtle Pac Australia send us some flexible tanks for the NW-Passage.

Many thanks also goes to Jotun for their Antifouling paint and Budget Marine for their support.

Thanks to Meret looking after the children; Sabine and Dario were able to work full time on many little maintenance jobs and optimized and improved many systems on board.

On the 30th of January the Honorary Consul for Switzerland, Michelle Khan, hosted a reception in Chagaramas to honour the expedition team. Read more in the Guardian newspaper here!

We sailed off Trinidad on Sunday the 10th of February and reached Bonaire on the 13th at 1 a.m.. On the way we nearly stopped at Aves Island in Venezuela, but when we approached the anchorage darkness came so soon that we continued sailing because we couldn't see the coral heads.
The trip from Peake to Bonaire was one of the best sailing we had in the past with 2 to 3 kn of current with us.

In Bonaire you have to take a mooring for US 10.- per day, because anchoring is not allowed. One of the best snorkeling here just from the boat in crystal clear water. The first day we were already invited to a birthday party by sailing families to little Bonaire Island, where we did a clean-up.

On the 14th at 20.00 hours we set sail again to Santa Marta Columbia, because the GRIB files showed us good wind all the way (not more then 20 kn). We decided to sail N of Couracao and Aruba around Punta Gallina and anchored in the unique Ensenada Gairaca, one of the 5-Bays to get shelter. From there we were looking to the snow covered mountains as we were approaching -- the only time you'll see snow in the tropics. These bays have been compared to the fjords of Norway. You can get some very strong southeasterly williwaw winds off the Santa Marta Mountains. The wind was blowing so hard that our wind measurement system got destroyed.

To make this trip a fun trip here our strategy:
- Go from the ABCs as soon as there is not more than 30kn E or NE
- Stay at least 40nm from Punta Gallinas in deep water and follow the 2000m line
- If you go from Bonaire N of Couracau and Aruba you have to change course only once when you are on the height of Punta Gallinas; note that the wind is strongest in the late afternoon and lightest early morning.

We arrived in Santa Marta Columbia yesterday the 18th of February and had our first article today to organize our activities: see Diario del Magdelena.

Here our climbing project in Columbia :-)

Posted by dario at 12:06 AM

February 21, 2013

Santa Marta

See Sabine's interview with TV UN PAISA EN!

More pictures here!

2013-02-22_columbia_marina-santa-marta_staff.JPGThanks to the support of the Marina Santa Marta we were able to do our first two school presentations in the Colegio Laura Vicuna with 1000 girls. Many thanks also to teacher and environmentalist Maria Janeth for organizing the two presentations.


2013-02-22_columbia_marina-santa-marta_bikukaskool.JPG Today we had some students from the Biukaskool on the boat. It is an alternative school like the Pachamama school we visited in Ecuador in 2004.

2013-02-22_columbia_santa-marta_universidad-del-magdalena-2.JPGAt 3 p.m. Dario had a presentation and discussion at the Universidad del Magdalena organized by Antonio Jose Ayala Viloria.2013-02-22_columbia_santa-marta_universidad-del-magdalena-8.JPG

...and Friday evening we were invited to the family of Rafael Zagarra to celebrate Sophia's 5th birthday. Rafael helped us clear into Columbia (cel: 311 423 53 56) .

Santa Marta is great and whole Columbia seems to be a fruit paradise!
Sabine is busy with the sewing mashine we got donated from Johannes mother. Thank you so much Marianne, Sabine likes sewing very much and can finally do all the canvas work. Johannes joined the expedition in Trinidad and is teaching Andri and Salina.

Please note:

On Friday the 22th of February we will have a presentation and discussion at the University del Magdelena in Santa Marta: The location on the campus is: CiƩnaga Grande Sur 104 , between 15:00h - 17:00h.

On Saturday the 23th of February we do a big Public Clean Up. Meeting point is the Marina Santa Marta at 9 a.m.. After the clean up we proceed to a recycling event "GratiFeria". Here a map how to get there.

Posted by dario at 11:54 PM

February 23, 2013

SuisseNautic Boat Show 2013

2013-02-16_ch_bern-suissenautic_christina.jpgTOPtoTOP member Christina Hartmann represented the TOPtoTOP Global Climate Expedition at the SuisseNautic Boat Show in Switzerland from the 16th to the 24th of February 2013. She did presentations about the Global Climate Expedition and focused on teaching children on the ocean.
In the name of all TOPtoTOP members thank you very much Christina for your effort!
We are looking forward to see you back on the expedition in May 2013 in Hawaii!

Posted by dario at 9:22 PM