Logbook: January - December 2014
24 December 2014
We wish you a merry Christmas, peaceful and relaxing holidays and a happy new year.
- Laura and Thorsten
25 November 2014
We support the youth paddling group of the Naturfreunde Karlsruhe (Nature Friends Karlsruhe)
In October, Thorsten and I went paddling on the "Altrhein" (the "old Rhine", which used to be the original waterway of the Rhine and is now a beautiful natural area alongside the Rhine) near Karlsruhe in southern Germany with a youth paddling group. It was wonderful - calm water, nature all around us, bird calls, and on top of that the joyful voices of the children. They enjoyed paddling, swimming and jumping from the rope swing. The group needs new boats so that they have enough boats for all the kids and so that a few new kids can also join. For this, they need money. They've entered the video competition of a local bank, the Sparkasse Karlsruhe Ettlingen. Please watch the short film (Thorsten and I did the filming!) in which the group introduces itself and then vote for us. Help us reach first place! The deadline for voting is this Wednesday, 3am PST, 12 noon in Germany.
The direct link to the video competition is:
You don't need to log in to Facebook to vote, so you don't need to have a Facebook account at all.
Below the picture of the pig with a laser sword, with a battery charge indicator in one corner and REC in the other corner, you'll see several tabs. Click on the "Voting" tab.
Then you'll see all the videos that have been entered. Ours is in the second row on the very right (at least on my computer). It's called "Wild auf Rhein!" The text below reads:
Wild auf Rhein
To watch the video, click on it.
To vote for the film, click on the "thumbs up" symbol to the right below the film. You'll be asked to enter your first name (Vorname), last name (Nachname) and email address (E-Mail-Adresse). Then check the little box (with the text " Mit den Teilnahmebedingungen bin ich einverstanden.") to declare that you agree to the conditions of participation. And finally click on "Jetzt voten!"
In order for your vote to count, you need to confirm your email address. You'll receive an email from Sparkasse Karlsruhe-Ettlingen with the subject "Ihre Stimme beim Vereinsvoting der Sparkasse Karlsruhe-Ettlingen: E-Mail-Adresse bestätigen". Click on the link in the email in order to confirm your email address. Now your vote has been counted!
The bank organizing the competition guarantees that they won't pass on your personal information and that all the data will be deleted within 3 months.
If you want to see some screen shots of the voting process, there's detailed instructions (in German) online here: http://www.naturfreunde-karlsruhe.de/index.php/component/content/article/47-uncategorised/132-abstimmanleitung
Here you can watch the video right away. And now for the voting! https://www.facebook.com/SparkasseKarlsruheEttlingen?sk=app_338571739648578&app_data
Thanks for your help!
We're super excited!
Our newest film "The Wild Windwards - Caribbean encounters" will be shown at the Green Screen International Wildlife Film Festival in Eckernförde, Germany in September.
In this film, the second in our "Running Downwind" series, we sail through the southeastern Caribbean. Along the way, we get up close and personal with nesting leatherback turtles and curious sperm whales, watch a hummingbird mother feeding her chick, hike through the rainforest and to a boiling lake, and much, much more. The film trailer is available here.
We're extremely excited that the European premiere of "The Wild Windwards - Caribbean encounters" will take place at the Green Screen Film Festival. Green Screen is the largest annual wildlife film festival in Europe. You can see "The Wild Windwards" on Fri. Sept. 5 and Sat. Sept. 6. And best of all - Thorsten and I will be there in person to answer all your questions after the film.
Fri. Sept. 5, 8pm
Sat. Sept. 6, 11:30am
Ostsee-Info-Center (OIC), Jungfernstieg 110 (Promenade), 24340 Eckernförde
Tickets: €5 regular, €4 discounted (children, students, seniors)
If you can't make it to Green Screen or can't get tickets any more, you still have the opportunity to see and meet us during our subsequent film tour through Germany. At the moment we're still planning the details. If you have suggestions or want to organise a screening nearby, send us a short email to laura(at)tigersnail.com
Thorsten on the "hunt" for iguanas on Ilet Chancel, Martinique
A leatherback turtle camouflages her nest before making her way back into the ocean in the early morning.
For more pictures, come watch the film
We're looking forward to Green Screen and our film tour!
8 July 2014
Ciudad Perdida short film
At the end of May we hiked to Ciudad Perdida, the lost city, in the Columbian mountains. It was a wonderful 5-day hike through the rainforest, during which we learned a lot. We learned about the indigenous culture, the history of the indigenous peoples and Ciudad Perdida, their former capital city, and the flora and fauna in the mountains. We also had many opportunities to jump into the river to cool down. Our guide Jhon Jairo, from the tour company Expotur, was amazing. He could identify and tell us something about all the animals that we saw or heard, explained the medicinal uses of many plants, and impressed us with his knowledge of the indigenous culture and history. On top of that, he knew the best swimming holes along the river and was a great cook! The short film that we made for Expotur about our trek is now online under Videos > Ciudad Perdida.
We're back from the blue mountains... we spent 5 days hiking in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta – all the way to “Ciudad Perdida”, the lost city, and back. The ruins are found in the lands of the Colombian indigenous peoples. For the trek to Ciudad Perdida, you need an entry stamp and a guide. Our guide Jhon Jairo was absolutely wonderful. As was Expotur, the agency that organised our short expedition.
A short film of the trek will be available soon. For the moment, here are a few snapshots.
The weather cooperated – except for some drizzle one afternoon, we didn't have any rain.
The coca plant – illegal in Colombia, only the indigenous peoples are still allowed to plant it.
This young girl quickly spotted our granola bars and asked for one – successfully. The condition: she should put the wrapper in the garbage, which she did with a big smile.
Ready to go – Laura with camera, tripod and a 15 kg backpack.
The journey finally continues!!
After a somewhat longer stay than originally planned, we continue to Colombia with our Corinthian. All route descriptions for this passage warn against setting sail from Aruba with a weather forecast for more than 30 knots of wind. Now we have a weather window. The forecast shows 15-25 knots of wind for approximately four days. It looks good. There's only one thing: we're not starting from Aruba, but rather from Bonaire, putting us another 50 miles further east. We want to approach Santa Marta in daylight, so we set sail from Bonaire at 5:30am in order to arrive in Santa Marta exactly 3 days later.
Day 1: Instead of 15 knots, we have 8-9 knots of wind. We bob along with 2-3 knots boat speed. At least we're moving forward. Around 1pm our calm passage suddenly gets exciting. In a thundercloud off to our starboard side, we see a waterspout form - a geographically constrained whirlwind. Fortunately the waterspout keeps its distance. The spin-offs from the storm front do bring us some wind. With winds of 25 to 30 knots, Corinthian shoots through the water at speeds of 8 knots and more. The first night is disturbed by a squall.
Day 2: Blue sky with fluffy clouds, good sailing weather. In the second night we round the Peninsula de la Guajira, the northernmost corner of Colombia, and turn towards the southwest. From now on the waves continue to increase - as does the water level in the bilge. The bathing platform must be leaking. The waves from behind keep on swashing onto the bathing platform, and the water slowly makes its way inside the boat. Keeping with the common navigation advice, we stay in deep water at more than 2000 m depth. The disturbed seas still shake us through. Otherwise the night weather is perfect, with no disturbances.
Day 3: We turn further towards the south. The wind turns with us. We're heading towards the coast. The chaotic waves eventually organise themselves and come from straight behind. Night settles in. The water becomes shallower, the waves higher. With a mixture of respect and admiration I watch the 3 m waves as they roll past. The boat does everything by itself. Just like an experienced surfer, our "Cori" speeds from the wave peaks into the troughs. It's best if I let her do her thing. I'd rather use the time to bail water out of the bilge. By now we can take out one bucketful every three hours. Laura takes over the watch. I lie down. After an hour I wake up again - the sounds outside have changed. The wind has increased - 30 knots, in gusts more than 40 knots. To heck with the weather forecast! We completely roll in the foresail and enjoy the journey. A faint pink stripe on the horizon brings the first sign of morning. And then the sun goes up. To our surprise, a complete hand width above the horizon. In the first light of day we see the impressive mountains from behind which the sun is appearing.
Magical moment - the first glimpse of South America - Colombia in the light of dawn
We make it into the bay of Santa Marta under sail. Then we're in land cover - suddenly there's almost no wind. The VHF radio springs to life: "Sailboat captain, sailboat captain, this is Marina Santa Marta." They must mean us. In good, clear English we receive instructions on where we should go. Two dockhands will be waiting at our slip to take our lines. And the fenders should go on the port side. We turn into the marina entrance and see two men on the floating dock. One waves. Then the marina office comes through on the radio again: "Our dockhands want to tell you that your fenders are too high, please lower them a little." I'm impressed! I turn the wheel and Corinthian makes the turn. I put the throttle into neutral. With the last bit of momentum, "Cori" slides into the box. Laura throws the lines ashore. We've arrived. For both of us, it's the first time in South America.
Colombia is the gate to western South America. Our first stop - Marina Santa Marta, as seen from the mast of Corinthian.
Goodbye Canada, bon día Curacao
After three months in Canada, where we mainly worked but also managed to see some of Vancouver Island's beautiful places, it was time to say goodbye. After more than 20 hours travelling - including some quality time at the airports in Edmonton and Toronto - we arrived in Curacao on Sunday. Since it was too late to get organised on the boat right away, we stayed for a night at couchsurfer Peter's place. We caught a glimpse of the carnival and cured our jet lag with a good night's sleep.
Now we're back on the boat. In spite of the public holiday on Monday, Curacao Marine had put our boat out of the secure storage yard into the working yard. After four months, they still remembered to put Corinthian's nose high so that the water can run off the deck. We didn't know what to expect when we went inside. To our relief, everything was dry and everything was just the way we left it (see photograph). Now it's time to get cracking and back into the water.
Arriving back at our boat together with Peter, the couchsurfer who hosted us for the first night in Curacao.
Things are exactly as we left them inside 'Corinthian.' The good news - no water inside the boat, no mold, no ants, cockroaches or other insects that have taken over the boat. The not-so-good news - no one's cleaned up for us.
Laura's aloe vera plant survived well on its own. We left the plants outside on the deck and a few seem to have gotten enough rainwater to survive. The aloe vera and a big-leaf thyme plant are doing well. We'll see if we can also nurse the chives back to health.
The first few tasks are done already - tarp removed from the front of the boat, anchor chain put away, wind vane attached to the stern. We're getting ready to get 'Corinthian' back in the water!
The beautiful south
After our trip to Vancouver we went back to Vancouver Island. We had two screenings in its south. First stop was in Cowichan Bay. We had a very nice screening of 'The Wild Windwards' at the Cowichan Wooden Boat Society. There was a lively Q&A session after the film.
Then we carried on to BC's capital, the charming city of Victoria. We had some time to explore the area before the next screening.
No photographic trick - the fountain in front of the Parliament Building is frozen.
We spent a few hours hiking in the Sooke region and were rewarded with a stunning landscape and good light.
Then, Wednesday evening, we screened 'Hitchhiking across the Atlantic' at Ocean River Sports. We're proud that we were invited by this great outdoor and kayak shop. Their team created a nice auditorium in the shop giving us a unique atmosphere amongst the boats, paddles and other outdoor gear. This and the interested audience with plenty of questions made it a truly unique experience.
A wonderful setting amid the boats and other outdoor gear at Ocean River Sports in Victoria.
On tour in BC
The past 1.5 months have been full of long days in front of the computer – editing film material, researching, organising film screenings, etc. In between, we had a few film screenings.
The first was “Hitchhiking across the Atlantic” on Jan. 9 for Nature Vancouver's Marine Biology Section. It was a wonderful evening – great turn-out, lots of questions after the film, and stimulating individual conversations to round off the evening.
On Jan. 16 and 17 we were at the Sid Williams Theatre in Courtenay to show “Hitchhiking across the Atlantic” and our newest film, “The Wild Windwards.” Friday, Jan. 17 was an exciting evening for us, since it was the world premiere of “The Wild Windwards” We were spoiled both nights by the hospitality and technical expertise of the theatre staff, and even more so by the number and wide variety of questions after the film. We had a lot of fun on stage answering all your questions.
Today, Jan. 26, we returned to Deep Bay Marine Field Station in Bowser – home turf for us – with “The Wild Windwards.” We were happy to see that many people who had seen “Hitchhiking across the Atlantic” here last year were back again. Our guests were also able to enjoy the aquariums and “touch tanks” with local marine life that are set up at the station. We're looking forward to coming back to the marine station for a second showing on Thurs. Feb. 6 at 7pm.
This week – the week of Jan. 27 – we're excited to come to Vancouver for several screenings. On Wed. Jan. 29 we return to False Creek Yacht Club with “The Wild Windwards.” We're looking forward to coming back to this beautiful venue for a second year.
There'll be two opportunities for those who missed us last year to see “Hitchhiking across the Atlantic” - the first film in our “Running Downwind” series. We'll be at UBC on Thurs. Jan. 30. This event is organised together with the International Relations Students Association. We're excited to bring our film to a university setting. No need to worry if you're not a student, though – this event is open to the public! Second chance to see “Hitchhiking across the Atlantic” is at the West Vancouver Yacht Club on Sat. Feb. 1. Again, everyone is welcome. We do ask that you register in advance for this event (in order to have accurate numbers for food preparation), but contrary to initial advertising, registration is still open: contact the yacht club office at 604-921-7575.
In the first week of February, we'll be back on Vancouver Island:
At Cowichan Bay Maritime Centre with “The Wild Windwards” on Mon. Feb. 3
At Ocean River Sports in Victoria with “Hitchhiking across the Atlantic” on Wed. Feb. 5
Our final show: back at Deep Bay Marine Field Station with “The Wild Windwards” on Thurs. Feb. 6
All the details about our upcoming screenings are on our Events page. We're looking forward to seeing a bit more of BC and to meeting lots of people in the coming two weeks.