June 28, 2016
Emilie's experience with us
Aloha from Hanalei!
After the small craft advisory for the Honolulu area had passed, we set sail for Kauai. The crossing was rocky but worth it
when we sailed into the beautiful luscious green bay of Hanalei. The family had been here three years ago before setting sail
for Dutch Harbor the first time.
As usual the first thing we did when we arrived on shore was a clean-up. Hanalei Bay beach
only had some food wrappers but was clean in general.
Three years ago they had briefly met a marine biologist called Terry Lilley, the kind of person you would want to meet time
and time again. He is extremely passionate about teaching children of all ages about coral reefs and their importance. He takes
the kids out snorkeling and lets them take pictures so that back in the classroom they can look through their own footage and
learn all the animals they had seen. He has logged over 1000 hours diving around the shores of Kauai and knows the marine parts
of the island like the back of his hand.
Initially, we just wanted to do a brief interview with him but he started telling us about the coral reef die off. This wasn't
anything new, as we had heard it in several places along the way. But here in Kauai the story is a little different. "If 1% of
the coral reef is ill, the reef is still ok." Terry explained. "Here we were seeing up to 30% infected. We were losing between
10-30% of whole reefs per year."
Three years ago the older kids, Dario and Sabine remember swimming in a pristine reef. When
Terry takes us swimming with turtles this time, as wonderful as the experience is for all, it leaves us with mixed feelings.
The whole reef we swam over is dead, nothing close to what it was.
Terry confirms that this is the case in many places, especially along the North coast of Kauai. This is what the reefs look like
now- and not only the inner reefs but also the outer reefs. Some reefs have disappeared more than 3ft, this may not seem like a
lot but for these reefs to build up this much it takes thousands of years. Each new coral polyp grows on top of the one before it
and so over time they slowly pile up.
You may be wondering what is going. It is coral bleaching? That's what we guessed but we were mistaken. The corals are in
fact dying from a strange coral disease. One that when Terry began documenting it had never been seen before, it seemed
cyanobacteria were eating up the corals at an incredible speed. The question was why? There are cyanobacteria in every
coral reef, yet nowhere else were they destroying the reef at such a rate. The usual go-to options of toxins or nitrates
also couldn't be a cause, as these were only found in small amounts on inner reefs and all the outer reefs were dying at
an equal speed.
Terry and all the people he had contacted about this phenomenon were lost. Never had they seen whole reefs die off completely
over the course of 3 years. The answer came from an unexpected source ... the US army. A couple of years ago
the US like some other armies switch from nuclear warfare to a new kind of warfare - electronic micro-waves. Not the microwaves
in your kitchen but underwater electronic micro-waves. Since then they have been sending trillions of watts into the ocean to
practice this warfare technique. The base for this warfare testing is Kauai's North shore and when the hot spots were mapped they
overlapped exactly with places of the most coral reef die off.
So to explain is how exactly these micro-waves are killing the reefs. In all honesty, it's a little like AIDS for corals. When
electricity gets sent through salt water a reaction called electrolysis happens. For us on an aluminum boat, this would be seen
in terms of our hull starting to corrode, well a similar thing happened to the corals. They began to corrode. The micro-waves caused
electrolysis, which started to break down, or corrode, the calcium carbonate structure of the corals. This turns them orange and
weakens their immune system so to say, which allows the cyanobacteria to come in and kill the already weakened corals. The breaking
down of the calcium carbonate structure of the corals due to electrolysis was tested and proven lab conditions. However, this is still
all circumstantial evidence, Terry has been doing everything to make people aware of this and even had a meeting with the head of the army.
The army has acknowledge issue but until a full study is done and the full effects proven, they will not change their tactics or take full
liability, as this would mean they would have to pay around a trillion dollars to restore the reef. The activity on a whole is illegal as
it violates the Endangered Species Act. Unfortunately, as time ticks by more and more reefs are dying to points where restoration will be
difficult to impossible. We hope people will come together to save these important reefs! We certainly will be spreading the message.
A huge thank you to Terry for showing us the island and all you are doing for our oceans.
Through Terry we also met Kamealoha, who specializes in teaching students about the ancient Hawaiian knowledge of the ocean. All together
we did a clean-up on Kealia beach. Unfortunately, all the students are on break at the moment. This is a very exposed beach and we found a
lot of debris. We found fishing ropes, buckets, large plastic items and every square-foot of sand contained a plethora of small plastic pieces
a couple of millimeters wide.
We were very lucky to meet Aimee and Jeremy Brown, who are musicians and write the most beautiful song about how important the
environment is to us. Listen out for their music in some of our upcoming films.
Yesterday, we finally had the chance to change our anchor, just before a wonderful visit from Steve, Tom and Robin. It was lovely to have you
on board briefly. A big thank you to Danielle and Fabien at spade anchor for donating the brand new anchor!
Hopefully, we will be able to meet up with the Waipa Foundation today that is holding its annual youth camp here in Hanalei Bay. They do these
camps to educate the children all about living sustainably. We would love to meet them and do a presentation and some activities with the kids
to inspire them to save our planet.
June 18, 2016
To Hawai'i and its many islands
30th April, 2016
We saw a lot of bottle-nose Dolphins. We are 2 days at sea and my body is still adjusting to the waves. Mia makes it seem like we are still on land.
We have 18- 22 knots, so we are going pretty fast.
Today is the 5th of May. We have a little dove on board, it is a very nice change. And she is so beautiful. We give her food and water, which she enjoys!
We call her Vela (Spanish for sail). She is not shy at all, even flu down the galley into the kitchen! Andri has a bad cough. Mia is very funny and she
is practicing talking. School is going fine I guess! (Just had a French test! ;-#)
6th May, 2016
Today we are all coughing a little. We had school in the morning. We were putting the sail out when a huge Tuna appeared. He was approximately 70cm long.
Unfortunately, we did not catch him!
14th May, 2016
We have school in the morning till 12pm and then we eat lunch and we do homework till 3pm. Later we can do what we want.
16th May, 2016
Today Mia is 6 month old. While I was listening to music at the front of the boot I saw a plastic board, maybe 3 or 4 meter's lengthen we saw a boat behind us.
It is very nice to see another boat, it make us feel that we are not so alone! We tried to radio them but unfortunately they did not respond,
we guessed that they also head towards Hawaii.
In 2 days is Alegra's Birthday .We have more wind than ever on this passage, the fastest we went was 11 knots with Pachamama
17th May, 2016
Today we did school in the morning. It was cloudy and wavy. It rained hard for a 30 min.
18th May, 2016
Today ALEGRA has her Birthday. We woke up, played a Birthday game, opened presents, did school and home work.
19th May, 2016
Tomorrow we will see Hawaii. I can't wait to go swimming. Mia is fine, she nearly fell out of the bed but, mom was there first, thankfully!
22nd May, 2016
We are finally in Hawaii. The first thing that I did was swim. While I was swimming I saw 5 turtles .They were so close that I nearly could touch them!
The passage for me was supper good, except for not much wind. I was glad that we caught 1 tuna. It was delicious! It rained 3 or 4 times on the passage, that was refreshing!
31st of April 2016
I sit in the front of Pachamama by the anchor and for the first time in a long time, I can breathe in deeply! I am over my seasickness and I love to see only blue sky and blue sea!
After this difficult year it took longer to get ready. But now after working so hard to make it happen, we are sailing from Mexico to Hawaii. I feel privileged to not have any
internet and phone connection! It gives us time to think and talk instead of socialising alone with the phone!
I was the joker, the cook the cleaner and the mum and I had the watch from 6-8 am. That would be Emilie's shift, but she started school every morning at 8am. During that watch I
had do prepare breakfast and wake up the kids to get them ready for school. I soon found out that this time was very busy and I had to find another way for MY time! So I also
took Dario's watch from 10-12 pm to find my peace! Sometimes, I could see the stars and dream.....and sometimes I had to concentrate on steering correctly. I loved it, all by myself.
I had the feeling that the whole universe is a gift for me alone! I felt really thankful for this time even though I was always very tired, because when I would finally go to bad
Mia was hungry at 12 pm! And of course 4 am again... but it was worth it. Who would get up in the middle of the night to enjoy nature?
I enjoyed this passage and now when I think back, we were very blessed with Emilie and Ryan and that we arrived safely!
Imagine, we arrived on a Sunday morning, and because Immigration was closed we had to stay on the boat to wait till Monday! Kuulani and Roman, friends of Torgan, came and brought
us some Papaya and a fresh salad!!!!! So good! The next morning we went ashore and went through immigration. I couldn't wait to do a cartwheel in the green grass! We took a picture
with Pachamama and us next to a big cruise liner and sent it to our friends, to show we arrived safely!! Luckily they could not smell us! Thanks to Kuulai we could enjoy a warm shower! A highlight!
Noe learned how to write! So when I asked him how the passage was for him, he wrote:
Deutsch: Mir hapt di Raise gut gefalen! Di Delfine haben mir am maisten gefalen!
English: I liked the passage very much! I enjoyed the dolphins the most.
Alegra did a drawing of her passage:
The positive side were:-waves and a sunset.
The negative site were big waves and when they were fighting!
Our time in Hawaii started with a goodbye to Ryan. We thank him for joining us on this passage and for bringing such a wonderful cheerful atmosphere to the boat, for reading with the children and
helping out with the fishing and sailing.
As soon as we cleared in, Kuulai picked us up and we spent some days in her house, where we could have a shower and enjoy Maui. She spoilt us in general but especially by giving us a massage to
get rid of all the leftover stiffness from the passage.
During these days we also climbed the highest top on Maui and did a clean-up along Sugar beach.
Then went to Lahaina and met with Bridget to see the wonderful Mo'kiha o Pi'ilani boat.
Further, we enjoyed the wonderful Kamehameha Iki Park and met Bully who took the four older kids surfing. Luckily, we had just been given a surf board. Thank you Bully for teaching our kids how
to surf like pros!
Then we moved on to the island of Lana'i and were joined by Matteo and Corinna. Debbie from the kayak club Lana'i invited us to a beautiful meal with Allen and Steve. Most of Lana'i
was recently bought by CEO of Oracle Larry Ellison, who intends to make the whole island an eco-lab that runs on solar power. We also did the 11 mile hike to the highest peak in Lana'i.
The next day we did a clean-up.
On we went to yet another Hawaiian island, Molokai, where we also did clean-up. We had been told that there was a wonderful little bay we could anchor in, unfortunately it was too shallow
and we ran aground damaging our keel. The next bay wasn't much nicer to Pachamama and broke our anchor. So we decided to quickly to sail to Honolulu in order to haul out and do a big fixing session.
When we arrived we were sad to see Emilie go in Honolulu and we would like to thank her for her incredible enthusiasm teaching and always doing all the little jobs no one else seemed to notice.
Her joyful laughter brightened all our moods and we wish her all the very best for the future. Emilie's departure brought with it the arrival of the new teacher Cornelia. Just as we were about to
leave for the wharf, we were happy to see Meret hop on board again. A huge thank you to Matteo, Corinna, Cornelia and Meret for working so hard in the heat to fix the boat. Fortunately, Sabine and the kids
could stay in the Halekulani during this time, this really helped us out as the dangers and toxicity of the boat yard are no place for children. Thank you again to Ueli Krauer for making this possible!
Back from the boat yard we said goodbye to Matteo and Corinna, another thank you goes out to them for all their help and bringing us gear for our further travels.
We did a presentation at the Hawaii Yacht Club in Honolulu, after which we were invited to stay and became members. Thank you to all here who helped us; staying at the Yacht Club really made our lives and
re-stocking the boat with food and materials for our further voyage a hundred times easier! We would particularly like to thank Linda, Kim, Tom and Ella, James and Mary, Steve, Jenny, Robert and Bonny.
Also thanks to Scott and helpers for taking the kids out sailing every morning.
In the height of our preparations, Dario and Meret met with Nikolai, Jan and some of their students from the International Pacific Research Center to go over how best to collect data on marine debris in
the North Pacific. We will be changing the protocol slightly and possibly testing the effectiveness of using go pros in the detection of debris. Thank you to both Jan and Nikolai for all their help,
whether by providing us with tools, giving us delicious fruits and chocolate or all else.