Logbook: October - December 2013
Canada. After two months of film screenings in Germany, we finally arrived in Canada. For Laura, who grew up here, it's like coming home. For me, it's my first time in Canada and so everything is exciting. I was all the more grateful for the awesome view we had on the flight.
We took the ferry to Vancouver Island, where we're currently staying. With lots of work to do, we haven't taken much time to explore the neighbourhood. But whenever I take a break from the computer work and look out the window or stroll on the nearby beach, I'm rewarded with smashing views of ducks, gulls, herons and even mighty bald eagles flying by. And if I spend a minute and marvel at the Strait in front of the window, I surely get to see one or two seals or sea lions poking their heads out of the water.
A curious sea lion pokes its head out of the water to watch us. Or maybe he's just coming up for a breath of air?
Canada. There's one good thing about the fact that storm front Xaver mixed up our travel plans - we arrived in Vancouver with marvelous weather. We already had a good view as we flew over Greenland, and the clear sky stayed with us during our landing on the Canadian west coast.
Window seat with a good view - Canada's north on a clear day.
One more circle over Vancouver and then it's time to land.
We continued on to Vancouver Island with the ferry and finally arrived around 8:30pm. The next day we explored the neighbourhood. During our walk along the beach, we met the neighbours - two bald eagles.
The impressive bird sits patiently in the trees 30 m above our heads until I have the camera ready.
... and then simply flies away.
But we're not only here to enjoy the beautiful landscape. Laura is organising our film tour in Greater Vancouver and on Vancouver Island, and I'm working on the next film.
Next stop: Vancouver!
Our time in Germany has come to an end and with it our 2013 film tour. We would like to thank all our viewers for their interest and many positive comments. A special thanks goes to the clubs, cinemas and organisations that invited us to show "Hitchhiking across the Atlantic." We had a great time.
Goodbye Germany. We plan to be back in spring 2015 with new pictures in our luggage.
Now we continue on to Canada.
After storm front Xaver blew our travel plans around, we have now reached Amsterdam with one day's delay. From here our journey continues to Canada. As sailors we're used to the fact that the weather has a say in our travel plans, but it nevertheless seems strange that of all the flights to Amsterdam yesterday, ours was the only one cancelled due to weather.
It's a pity that the weather also claimed further victims: the option to choose our seats ahead of time via web check-in and our originally ordered vegetarian meals were lost.
Note in hindsight: the last person we spoke to in Amsterdam could finally give us good news - he changed our seats to a pair by the window and told us that the caterers had been able to prepare our vegetarian meals in time.
Anyway, as a result we have the opportunity to get to know the Amsterdam airport. The airline prescribed a compulsory break of 6 hours.
Stopover in Amsterdam. Instead of a short layover, we have the joy of spending 6 hours here. We use the time for a logbook update.
Something different for a change
Recently, as we sat in the bus from Berlin to Cologne, we heard about the dreadful situation in the Philippines and in Vietnam following super-typhoon Haiyan. Unfortunately our film and project budget is limited. We can't just simply reach into our project funds and make a donation.
We thought about what we could do and came up with the following plan. For every DVD sold in Cologne, we would donate 3 € to the typhoon relief efforts. We officially donated the money today. We used the offer - valid until the end of November - of the internet provider web.de to double every donated Euro.
We'd like to send a special thank-you to all our DVD customers.
Germany tour and pit stop. We came to Germany to show "Hitchhiking across the Atlantic" and to edit our new film, "The Wild Windwards." But a visit in our old home also serves as a pit stop for us. After we got our boat, Corinthian, into good shape and then sailed her to Curacao, we have to take care of several other errands. My Mac laptop is giving me problems, the Sony V1 video camera and my left shoulder also needed to be repaired. Between it all we drove across Germany with a truck full of furniture. Everything needs to be taken care of in our two months here, between film screenings.
Accordingly, we're always on the go. From Hannover we went to Augsburg, to Karlsruhe and then back to Hannover. From there we then continued to Kiel and Eckernförde, Berlin, Cologne and then back to southern Germany. We'll return to the north at the end of November, to Hamburg and Kiel. I've put together a short photo series of our travels below.
Next stop: Kiel Studio cinema. After a successful test run of the film on the big screen, we give our "thumbs up." The show starts at 16:00 on Sunday Dec. 1, 2013.
In the holy halls of the WDR (Western German Broadcasting Corporation) broadcasting centre - live commentary accompanies the multimedia show after the film. Many thanks to the Cologne Yacht Club and the sailing group of WDR for the invitation.
Time for culture - in Cologne I took time to enjoy a "Kölsch" (beer) and to visit the Cologne Cathedral. An impressive building!
Short visit to Berlin - the "Schiffergilde zu Berlin" (boatman's guild of Berlin) invited us. Thank you for your hospitality, the enjoyable screening and the great feedback.
Eckernförde was our most northerly event - a large audience, friendly atmosphere and good AV equipment made it a wonderful evening. Many thanks to the Sailing Club Eckernförde.
The "Ökogarten" (eco-garden) of the IGS Peine boasts a lot to see and above all a lot to learn. That's what it's all about: hands-on biology lessons, things to touch and to participate in. The director Betina Gube took us on a tour of the premises. We took a few pictures, experienced the snake feeding firsthand, and learned a lot about native and exotic animals.
Autumn in the eco-garden? This is not dew - this plant releases water using its hairs.
Recently in the eco-garden in Hannover. Laura is helping with the snake feeding: "Help, there's a knot in the snake." The corn snake is vivacious.
This small python lies comfortably in my hands - and seems to feel secure. Soon it will be feeding time.
A hairy little animal - the tarantula. By far not as dangerous as its reputation suggests.
Foundling of a special kind - a bearded dragon.
Many thanks to Betina for the private tour. Visit the website of the eco-garden (in German) here.
Extended (German) trailer on Yacht-TV
The German sailing magazine Yacht published an article about "Hitchhiking across the Atlantic" and our German film tour online on their website today. The article (in German) can be found here.
We collaborated with Yacht-TV to produce an extended trailer for the article. The trailer (in German) can be viewed at the end of the article or directly on Yacht-TV. Enjoy!
Screenings in Germany until December 2013 can be found on our German "Events" page.
The film is also available on DVD. In Europe, it can be ordered through our online shop; for orders in Canada, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org until we have our Canadian online shop up and running.
18 October 2013
Off to the south - after Gronau, Paderborn and Hannover, we're headed for southern Germany.
Movie night in the cinema Gronauer Lichtspiele - tonight is the night. Lights out, start the film. But it's more than just a movie, it's also a live presentation. Marine ecologist Laura and I will be there to answer questions. The film, of course, will also answer a few questions about our "Running Downwind" project: how it started, when Laura and I sailed together for the first time...
Tuque instead of sunhat - film release in Gronau
For those who would like to come but don't have time tonight, we have more screenings in northern Germany in the next two months.
Corinthian is parked at Curacao Marine and the two Doberman watch dogs Uno and Puma are keeping an eye on her. We're back in Germany - the Airbus A330 of Air Berlin brought us back to Germany in just under 10 hours. Shocking cold - yes, I know, we've been softened. Or maybe hardened? We just happen to be able to tolerate heat better! Luckily we have our raincoats with us.
Laura and Thorsten in their warm raincoats
But we're not here to have fun - not only. In the schedule for today was an audiovisual check at the cinema Gronauer Lichtspiele. We dealt with the initial difficulties, now everything's running in highest quality. Tomorrow is showtime - we're looking forward to it.
Third time lucky
We pulled up our anchors with heavy hearts. Of course I didn't miss a chance to make a gargantuan knot out of our 60 m anchor rope. Then we set off. Laura steered our 'Corinthian' through the needle eye into the open sea. With only a headsail we sailed with 5 knots towards Willemstad. We got caught by a melancholic mood, since we knew that it was our last time sailing before we fly to Europe and Canada.
In order to enter the harbour area of Willemstad, the Schottegat, we had to pass the “swinging lady”, the Queen Emma floating bridge. Fearlessly Laura steered directly towards the monstrosity. The bridge was supposed to open, but I heard the engine start, saw smoke clouds rising, and heard it stalling. On the third attempt the 167 m steel construction began to move. Pedestrians rushed to shore.
Open the gate - normally they open her only to boats width, for us they opened completely.
We tuckered along through the harbour to Curacao Marine.
On our first approach to the slipway we saw that our fenders and ropes were on the wrong side. So Laura moved everything to the other side while I slowly reversed out. Second approach: in the meantime Curacao Marine had put a boat into the water and our spot was taken. The workers indicated that we should make fast on the other side. So once again – reverse out and re-tie all the fenders and lines. Third approach: we sneaked between the fastened boat and the dock and made fast. Spot on – our depth sounder showed 1.7 m, our draft is 2.3 m. Luckily the sounder sits in front of the keel and the ramp drops off steeply. From then on everything was in the hands of the team of Curacao Marine. They know what they're doing and needed only one attempt to bring our boat safely out of the water.
Gentle giant - the tractor slowly pulls our Corinthian ashore.
'Corinthian' will spend the next four months here, while we hold film screenings in Canada and Germany. Dates will be announced shortly.
Heading west, to Curacao – the 'C' of the ABC islands. Until now the wind always came from the side, now it's coming from behind. That's an entirely new experience for us. We set sail from Clarkes Court Bay in Grenada with a gentle breeze from astern.
Heading west! The end of a day sailing is followed by - a night sailing... We better get used to sailing into the sunset.
The tricky thing with tail wind is that it always feel weaker than it actually is. So we didn't feel the wind picking up. The waves also got higher. And 'Corinthian' went faster – finally our GPS recorded a new top speed of 12.2 knots. We reduced our sails more and more, until we were speeding along with the third reef in the mainsail and only a tiny triangle of foresail.
After three days we were almost there, but our ETA would have been after sunset. A boat doesn't just have a brake you can pull! Since the entrance to the lagoon of Spanish Waters has only a small gap between an underwater reef on the port side and a sand bank to starboard, it would have been bad seamanship to enter at nighttime. So we had to spend another entire night at sea.
In order to not drift past Curacao we had to turn our nose into the wind. We wanted to sail up and down once with wind from the side in the protection of Bonaire. However, Bonaire is very flat and doesn't offer as much protection as we had hoped for. So we found ourselves chasing through 3-meter high waves at 7.5 knots boat speed in 40 knot winds – we overtook 2 oil tankers. Most probably 'Corinthian' was less impressed than we were. At about 8pm we took away the foresail and went on the return course. That helped. We rocked along with 3-4 knots towards Curacao. Our plan worked. At 8:30am, I steered 'Corinthian' in between reef and sand bank with white knuckles and dry mouth. Unsuspectingly I thought that the worst was over.
But the entrance was no comparison for our search for an anchor spot in Spanish Waters.
Attempt 1: Ee threw our anchor bulls-eye in a little spot between other boats. Before the anchor could hold properly, a shrieking gust with more than 30 knots whistled over the lagoon, pushing us sideways, with dragging anchor, in front of the bow of a Swedish steel boat. Laura put the throttle down to keep us off the other boat, and I pulled our anchor up as quickly as possible, before the anchors could entangle.
Attempt 2: Boat outside the official anchorage area.
Attempt 3: A few metres to the side, the anchor didn't hold.
Attempt 4: We entered a small bay, where space was so tight that people tied their boats to palm trees. Not our cup of tea.
Last attempt, if this one wouldn't work, we wanted to tie up in a marina. This time our hook held. Our stern stopped a respectful distance in front of a German catamaran.
Willemstad, the capital of Curacao. Behind the bridge take a right to Curacao Marine, who will look after our 'Corinthian'.
Behind the scenes: Writing this logbook entry is much easier with a Cafe Latte at the Cafe Copacabana.