Weblog van Laura

1 2 3 4 5 6

Volgende >>


A New Adventure

         A new adventure

Over the past years I have had many people ask me "Whats next?" - probably expecting me to start with some other adventure straight away. I might have disappointed some people, explaining how living a daily life in one place was the most challenging thing for me so far.
But even though I didn't talk of the many ideas lingering in my head - they are there! I just didn't want to go into too much detail yet.  After all, I didn't forget what happened (being worldwide news in 2010) the last time when I mentioned that I want to sail around the world…

When I left as a 14 year old I was already different from most kids my age - simply because my parents raised me so. However - the trip itself was absolutely life changing. Opening my eyes to the world and teaching me more then I could have ever learned in school.

Over the last years in New Zealand I've worked with the Girls High School, doing sailing lessons, hikes, camps, survival etc. I was so exited about the fact that these programs exist in schools there, especially when exchange students came over and I could see the difference first hand. Those familiar with nature and other things then school books and theoretical questions behaved more grown up, more capable to take care of themselves and take on responsibilities.

During my trip I didn't quite realize what an amazing gift my parents had given me by letting me do many things by myself since I was a little child, allowing me to explore and learn by doing things and not by being told it's not possible. And of course once I was able to stretch my wings and fly off on my own at age 14 all I learned was seriously put to the test - while learning still continued of course, as it hopefully always will.
All I knew when I left was western mentality thinking, which shortly summed up looks a bit like this to me: Get good notes in school - go to a good university - get a good job - in order to buy heaps of stuff over which you can worry for the rest of your life :)
I don't think there is anything particularly wrong with this - however the thing that I don't agree with it is that everybody is expected to do this. Whether they want to or not. Some people love to study, however others don't, but might be very good at something completely different. My parents never cared whether I had good notes in school or not. Dad never told me to do my homework either. He simply told me about the consequences of the different actions, but left the choice up to me. I loved learning and so I mostly did do my homework and did get good notes. But how is one to find it's capabilities if he/she isn't allowed to try? Of course kids will make mistakes and fall on their noses numerous times. So did I - really a lot as I am particularly stubborn. However through this I learned and found out which things I'm good at and which not.

Coming back to Europe I get a bigger shock every time - Seeing people so consumed with themselves, their own life, their own phone and holding onto it for dear life - not sharing a little bit of it.. :(  Don't get me wrong - there is still many awesome people out there, and also many that do share - but I do get a little discouraged sometimes.
I am very far from perfect - but one thing I did learn on my travels is that the people you meet along the way are the most important thing. They make it or break it. Some of the islands in the pacific are my favorite places not only because the land is so beautiful but because the people are. They share, they listen, they actually care and it makes them happy too! Even though they don't have much themselves, they will give you food, show you their land and their families. I met so many amazing people which - according to our western standards - have absolutely nothing, but they have a roof above their head, water from a river and food from the land and trees. This is enough to live and they were content, happy and more welcoming than most of the people I meet in our rich, busy society. It was a real good lesson for me to learn that happiness certainly doesn't come from materialistic things.
I wish I knew how to change the world. I wish so often I had all the answers and people would become nice again to each other, stop acting like kids and fight over everything. However the conclusion I came to is that we're all human and none of us is perfect. And to change anything in the world I must start with myself  :)

If it doesn't challenge you, it won't change you.

Daniel and I have been working on plans to acquire a good size ship to take groups of youth aboard to gain life skills while discovering new horizons.
Help them understand that we can be more independent than what we often act out on the one hand, but are more dependent than we often think in other aspects: the brands of our clothes, the latest phone, computer game or whether we act cool and up to date - these are things we do NOT depend on to have a place in this world! We can live independently of that kind of pressure. Plus - there's a lot of ability that young ones obtain, which is unknown to them, because they hear the words "You're too young for that!" or "You can't do that!" too often. Only the challenge will show, whether one is capable or not, and often it's just a matter of practice and exercise. There's a lot more independent capability in young ones, than many have found out!

On the other hand we depend on a good relation to friends, family and neighbors! A self centered attitude is destructive - because we depend on each other even more than we depend on nature - people and nature are our environment! So to act respectfully with each other and work/live together as harmonically as possible is of great value for a long, happy and healthy life.

The idea is that the ship will be used for adventurous expeditions.

Groups will vary between youth from 9-13yo to 13 -17yo.
There will be different legs to a journey on which they can join or they may join for the full length of the journey.
While sailing the focus shall lay primarily on building life skills and character that can be learned through sailing. They will be involved in all aspects of the trip - preparation, cooking, maintenance, navigation, watches, sails, provisioning etc. Through the trip we wish to achieve some core life skills, like team work, responsibility, self confidence, determination, discipline, become aware of our environment & experience the pleasure of simplicity (= how less can be more)
Of course they will also learn about life at sea (i.e. sail handling, ropes, navigation (celestial and modern), understanding the weather, maintenance (rope work, woodwork, engine…)
However our main focus is building confidence, determination, team work and responsibility as these are the important things in life.
The ship would make port several times along the journey. Explorations ashore may involve activities like hiking, camping, outdoor survival skills, cultural insight, educational (museums,..) and other activities depending on the possibilities at each port.
We have a lot of ideas on how to run such a program and get more excited every time we think about it - however even though the plans, ideas and motivations are there, we still need a suitable boat and enough funds to start putting it into reality.

The quest for a boat:


We began searching for a boat last year, asking around and searching the entire internet for a suitable vessel.
I found it very difficult to find something that would be suitable for our plans.

We want it to be a non profit organization and to be affordable for all youth. So it has to be a boat that doesn't cost tons in maintenance and dockage. However still be big enough to take on enough people to make trips worth it.
We've spend a lot of time over the past year traveling all over the world looking at boats and found some that were quite suitable but near sinking and far too costly to keep maintained.
We did also find some well maintained boats in our budget, but then they weren't really suitable for sailing with youth. However after looking at so many boats and searching the internet for days we did get an even better idea of what our next boat should ideally be like.

This one got very close to what we want:


However she needed so much repair and then maintenance to keep her sailing that it just wasn't worth it.

Our Ideal Ship

-  Around 24meters.
- A strong and seaworthy hull - preferably a long keel or semi long keel. It doesn't need to be super fast, more importantly it should behave well at sea. Not jumping around to much or rolling/ leaning over heavily as we will mostly have people on board that are unfamiliar with the ocean. As an example we found the behavior of the CT65 very nice while under sail.
- Be as maintenance free as possible, so no steel or wood. Fiberglass would be ideal but Aluminum is also an option.
- Lots of deck space for activities on deck while sailing - with a high railing all around.
- Bowsprit , because a ship needs a bowsprit :) and it's the best feeling in the world to stand there while sailing  (especially if some dolphins are jumping under you ;)
- A roomy and clean engine room with good access for maintenance.
- Proper space to do maintenance, have tools and gear stored - enough room to teach kids some handy skills too.
- Lots of storage space :)  After all the two minicats also need to come, besides lots of other adventure equipment, spare parts, sails, books, hiking, climbing and good foul weather gear for everyone onboard.
- Big wheel house with a good view, so that kids can be inside in case of bad weather and still see the ocean to observe and feel its power and beauty. I want to try to avoid the "being stuck in a hole down below deck and getting smashed around" kind of feeling ;)  So not to many walls and little rooms - lots of open and communal space
- Good size kitchen open to dining area so it's all a bit more of a social happening :)

We haven't found it yet - at least not something that fits our budget, which is the other BIG challenge!...
The money we will get from selling Guppy is not enough to buy a suitable boat even one that needs a lot of fixing - and then there will still be many more costs. So we will have to start doing some fundraising and finding sponsors.
We've even thought about designing and building the perfect boat ourselves.  I'm already drawing - might put some picture's up if it starts to look like something ;)   I love challenges :) Although some help from an actual naval architect wouldn't hurt ;)

Anyone willing to help or even just ideas for our project please feel free to e-mail us at: info@lauradekker.nl


Laura & Daniel 


Part II

We go ashore the following day to hike to the peak of Mt Hirakimata which - with 627m - is the highest point on Great Barrier island and pretty much the middle of it too. It takes us 3h to get to the top after several crossings of a little stream via hanging bridges which are popular in New Zealand :) We also came by an old Kauri dam, build in the time when logging was happening in big style and without restrictions. Quite impressive size that dam, anchored into the rocks on either side. Unfortunately lead to the end of the era of big old kauris.
The ascent becomes steep towards the end and wooden steps are constructed by the DOC (Department Of Conservation) to make it easily accessible for many - but Kim and Laura complain about gravity's endless force making life so hard - so I get the chance to advance my motivational skills  and soon we're all rewarded with an amazing view of the whole wooded island, Coromandel and other islands and a lot of ocean. And Guppy waiting quietly on her leash in the bay. Another path leads us back down more gradually than the first one and a very different landscape too as most of it is a ridge walk - smaller trees and scrubs and still in the shade.
Laura: Our days at Great Barrier island fly by while we're doing whatever crosses our minds - like scrubbing the hull (that crossed Kim's mind!), doing homemade competitions involving running, swinging, diving, balancing etc. (also crossed Kim's playful mind) - and socializing with George & Ellen on Winddancer. After a lovely dinner we paddle back from Winddancer one night and Kim discovers phosphorescence for the first time - and in fact, more extreme than I've ever seen it before too. Every move with the paddle causes an amount of sparks to illuminate not just the surface but also the below. It takes a while until she's done playing and testing out different versions of the light show. How great to explore all the magical features of the world outdoors!
And thus our sailing trip came to an end - and before flying overseas we drove north to get a glimpse of Maori culture on Waitangi day at the Bay of Islands (a yearly celebration of a treaty made between English and Maori with lots of singing and haka, some rowing and canon shots etc.) and cape Reinga, to see the place where the oceans meet, and indeed, there's something mystical about that place.

Laura & Daniel 



Once home again we got busy hosts - Dad and some friends from the US flew in to visit over Christmas and New Years which was very nice :) (By the way, the masts on Dads boat are not mounted yet - as was inquired about in the guestbook. They're ready to stand up and will hopefully do so in the coming summer)
Shortly after he left, Mum and Kim arrive to keep us occupied with family adventures.
Mum stays with us on board Guppy for the first week and we do our best to quench her thirst for adrenalin :D We drag her through the tightest holes in caves, let her dangle on a rope between the Whangarei falls, make her walk up the highest peak at the heads and then cool her off in NZ's chilly ocean… but nothing stops her from still cleaning away on Guppy and planing more adventures with friends of old! :)
In the meantime we use our spare time to pack all of our things into sturdy banana boxes and store them on shore at our friends basement.
Then we take a week off to explore Great Barrier island with Kim - to make Kim's time in NZ worth spending plus we've never been there for more than a night either. So here's our chance! We leave without a breakfast early in the morning with lots of zeal to get there in a day, but get only as far as the bridge till we find out that they don't open during morning rush hours. Haha typical us sometimes! So we breakfast there tied up in front of the bridge :)
Daniel: Wind's alright today and we decide to anchor at one of the Hen and Chickens islands and put our wetsuits on to scrub some of the hull. Just as we're about to jump into the water, someone calls out: "Uh, what's that over there?" … "A shark. Bugger! That's it!" the girls agree and turn back towards the cockpit. "It's just a small one!" I convince them "…and the prop really needs some attention." I jump in first as try-out-bait and Kim gets pushed in second. As she pops up again, she laughs nervously, trying to conceal her fear, but it is obviously not for pure joy, hahaha… Helped us all for a good laugh. Laura joined too and a few minutes later she tries to get our attention. We turn around and see a school of big fins passing through the bay. Pointy, dark fins make our alarm lights come on for a split second, but we realize quickly that they're dolphins. Alarm off, relax on :)
The wind has got a day off the following morning which means that we move slow - but it gives us the chance to observe what's all going on around us for breakfast at sea - sharks and dolphins stirring up schools of fish, birds diving like arrows for their share of the breakfast, and the girls find something illuminated in the water?! Dots of blue, green and yellow spark inside of a jellyfish-like creature. Early morning, sun's up and this 'something' has still got its light on… World of mysteries! Here we sail once more, after many hours at sea before, and find something unknown to us, right in our neighborhood!
Once the wind picked up a little, the lights disappeared and we sail into Great Barrier island to anchor in Kaiaraara bay in the late afternoon. The wind was forecasted to blow SW which would've kept us sheltered, but so far westerlies blow right into the bay.
The wind started to pick up a lot a while ago and Laura is anxiously watching wether we move in this floating neighborhood. We decide to keep watches and just as I get on deck, the anchor starts dragging. Laura races out to crank up the engine and averts a collision that was about to happen.  
So here we are in the middle of a pitch black night, with wind and rain flying over the boat in an unknown harbor.. Laura isn't very exited about it! The bay on the opposite side is sheltered but deep so we proceed to Smokehouse bay, which is sheltered too but apparently doesn't hold good. … Still our best option. A spot at 13m depth is the best that's available for us, because lil' Miss Captain doesn't want to get to close to other boats, as it's hard to make out where they are exactly.
Laura wakes up frequently during the night as we drag slowly - just not enough to do something about it. She waits until the morning, letting Kim and me rest and then we re-anchor for the 5th time in 2days… I end up with the exercise :D For some reason our heavy CQR anchor did not hold good even though we dropped it properly in slight reverse and had more than enough heavy 10mm chain out.

Laura and Daniel 


See English weblog 


Ik was vanochtend even mijn mails aan het checken en stel je mijn verbazing voor toen ik erachter kwam via een krantenartikel dat Guppy verkocht is?! Het duurde een tijdje voordat ik snapte waar het artikel over ging aangezien ik Guppy nog steeds heb en ze voor zover ik weet veilig in de haven in Nieuw Zeeland ligt,terwijl wij op zoek zijn naar een nieuwe boot in andere werelddelen. Maar ik probeer nog steeds de beste plek (jeugdzeilen)voor haar te vinden.
Nadat ik het artikel goed doorlas kwam ik erachter dat het helemaal NIET over mijn huidige Guppy gaat, maar de Hurley 700 die ik als 10 jarige had en waarmee ik mijn zeilavonturen in Nederland heb beleefd. Deze boot ( die ik al heel lang niet meer heb) is nu gekocht door RTL en word schijnbaar klaargemaakt voor een zeilreis.  Het is leuk te weten dat ze nog rondvaart en weer opgeknapt word, en ik wens Beau veel succes bij het leren zeilen en navigeren en uiteindelijk zijn reis :)



Anna Rose delivery part II

Laura: Along the way dad sends us weather-updates via satphone text. It's looking like we are going to get some very gnarly weather soon. 30-40 knots of headwinds for the rest of our 800NM to Hobart. It would take us a long time to get there, and even worse, since there is no protection from land it means bashing into waves that keep building up. With a cracked porthole, jury rigged steering cables and the slowness of a heavy long keeler - that is not something I am looking forward to.
So we started heading closer to shore in hope of catching some milder winds, but we're also aware of strong currents along the Australian coast. A day before the southerlies are supposed to show up we're sailing along in a strong northerly, about 25-30knots. I decide that we couldn't continue like this if the forecast remains unchanged.  So I change course towards Port Kembla, which is the closest port of entry. During the next night the winds shift and we can't keep our course even on a close haul. We're bashing into waves, making little progress and trying to keep track of all the big monsters ( freighters) that are heading out of Port Kembla to different places in the world. We've got only about 80NM to go but at this pace (barely 3kn) and not even on course…. it would take us at least another whole day or even two - with north westerly winds blowing and a strong northerly current.
I sit on my night watch for a long moment thinking what is best to do now… then get up to let the sails out and steer Anna Rose down the waves to head further south - at a speed of 7-8 knots now! Attempted destination: Jervis bay. Although it's not an official port of entry, they clear yachts if there is a good reason for it - I'm not too certain what a "good reason" would be but hope our situation is serious enough and that they won't get upset with us.
Sailing is good on this course now - quite wet and rolly but fast and towards a safe bay which should provide good shelter for the coming strong southerly winds.  
Dawn reveals land in sight already and I manage to get in contact with the authorities to explain our situation. They seem very understanding. … Then I have a closer look at the map, and find a great section marked as "military practice grounds' right on our path into Jervis bay!
"Oh dear…!" That means we're not allowed to cross that section - but if we don't, to avoid that section we'll have to go down wind first and then back north into 30kn of wind plus the current. We wouldn't get there for a long time yet and the porthole is still a worry if beating into waves. "Oh darn! Land so close that we can see it, but so hard to reach! Why do they have to practice right in front of our nose?!" I'm not happy…
I contact the Jervis Bay marine rescue (JBMR) and ask whether they are training today and - if not - whether we could sail through.. I don't think anybody would be out in such weather, but… they are!, practicing - which means shooting. To calibrate their weapons the navy shoots at targets on the northwestern peninsula of Jervis bay. We'd sail right under their bullets if we'd try to cross…
Daniel: A helpful fellow from Jervis Bay marine rescue says we can try to call the navy on VHF but also that they don't usually answer. Which we soon find to be true. But as he hears us try without success, he calls them up himself, explains our situation and they agree to let us pass, without any bullets flying over our mast. Wow! We definitely didn't expect such helpfulness!
That helps us to get into the bay about 4 hours later, but not into more sheltered water, as expected. The waves are lots less but the wind funnels trough the bay so that we have to take down more sail and the wind still keeps us heeled hard.
Once moored we smell good food besides the standard australian perfume of eucalyptus scent. Customs won't clear us till next morning though as it is to rough for them to come aboard. So close to the good food but can't get it yet… :(
The day ashore is a very welcome change after 17 days sailing. There's good food that we craved for and for uninterrupted sleep too. It seems as if the strong southerlies will prevail for a week which makes it timely impossible for us to finish this trip. What an annoying thing, to do half a job - we both feel that way. We go online in a cafe and find that the weather forecast changed since yesterday. Crossing the Tasman sea suddenly looks as possible as it rarely ever does - with rather too little wind in fact. Although we kind of settled our minds on "done with this", Laura and me get exited at this chance to finish what we've started. And this little break of a day was the perfect amount of recovery and re-stocking with food that we needed.
Next day: about 25nm south of Jervis bay we fill our fuel tanks at a busy fishing port in Ulludulla - to be able to make good speed in windless days so that we can outrun the next gale.
We sail some of the next couple of days whenever we can or use the engine to push us through a "sleepy" Tasman sea. We've heard a lot about it's infamous character and Laura even knew a family of sailors that disappeared when they attempted to cross that sea a few years ago.. Thank God that it is nothing like that for us. Dolphins show up in heaps but don't care about our bow much. Freighters show up in heaps too (until we leave the Australian coast) and luckily they stay away too. The sun keeps painting the skies for us twice a day and soon again we smell something like eucalyptus. Tasmania rises out of the water wildly. What a sight.
A day before we could have arrived in Hobart, strong southerlies force us into a sheltered bay again. On our way towards shore we spot a mount in odd colors, like pink, red, violet… "World of wonders!", I think and wonder about the reason behind these colors. Someone in Hobart tells us later that this mount is one of the sights on this coast to observe at sunset.
We drop the anchor in the dark and - what we don't know at this stage is that - Simon and Rosie ( Anna Roses owners) watch us from ashore as they spend a night in their camper van. It's magical for them as it has been uncertain whether we'd make it to Hobart or not, but now as they see us anchor below the stars, a bright shooting star even passes over us - to them a sign that all's going to be fine!
The anchor holds as good as a mooring in 40kn of wind plus gusts even much stronger the following day. Even in the bay. Great design that Rocna anchor. We leave the bay in the early morning after the 2nd night. There's a passage with shallow sandbanks that we'll have to pass at high tide ideally and after that the man-made Dennison channel. It turns out easy enough although we've got lots of wind on the nose. Good that Anna Rose's engine is a work horse. 120 horses strong. Once in the channel we remember places in Holland for some reasons and dwell in memories. The current is extreme in the channel and at the small turning bridge it funnels through and rushes through the row of posts that makes me wonder how much more until they brake. We're glad the current is against us, not with us. Good chance it would make you unable to steer and end in a disaster.
We arrive a few hours later in Hobart and meet Simon and Rosie for the first time. How nice to see them so happy to have their boat back. It makes it all worth even more!
At the yacht club we meet the commodore and Laura talks business with him about the presentation that evening. I'm so glad that I don't have to strain my brain that day no more. My girl can go far if needs! I wonder sometimes how deceptive appearance can be. She's such a …well, a rather small and lean girl - but never the less, there's some serious HP (horsepower) in that young heart! One wouldn't call her Guppy in that respect for sure.
We fly out without delaying much so that we only get a day to stroll through beautiful Hobart with all its odorous gardens filled with trees and flowers of kinds that give the town a mediterranean feel. A great way to finish one of life's adventures. Funny how the most ordinary and seemingly "small" things in life are the greatest rewards for extraordinary labor and solitude.

 Laura and Daniel 



Part I delivery of Anna Rose

Delivery of Anna Rose

Daniel: It's about beginning November as the doors of the plane open and Honiara's (Capital of the Solomon Islands) humid heat warms me instantly. I finally meet Laura at the airport again a few days later, after long months of separation. The plan is to fly to Lata a couple of days later - which is one of the Santa Cruz islands. There we would find Anna Rose, a 45ft yacht, and deliver her to Hobart. We're very eager to get to the boat as November is passing quickly and it's getting rather late to be sailing this stretch. The first hurricanes can come through in December already and we need at least a few days to get the boat ready. Our flight from Honiara to Lata gets cancelled again and again because the plane's engine was taken to bits and the mechanics are waiting for a part to be delivered in order to put it back together. We wait for more then a week, and are being told the same thing everyday from the airline: "Tomorrow! …maybe.."
So we wait in a town which is not attractive for waiters. One day we escape town on a scooter as far as we get in one day. Many smiles and waving hands greeted us as we roll through little villages where life seems timeless. Life close to the sea and in abundance of fruits, vegetables and nuts seems effortlessly independent. Kids enjoying the sun in the water, jumping from rocks, paddling in their wooden canoes, surrounding us as we stop to consume some mangos. They don't understand us but watch curiously what we're up to with their big smiles. A huge pig, longer than our scooter sits halfway sunk in a mud pool next to the road. What a life! I wonder whether these people have got an idea of what goes on in the world. Hard to imagine…
Some days later we board the plane finally, with too much weight too, but it doesn't seem to be a problem. As the plane lands on a grassy, bumpy landing strip in Lata, the suspension must be working hard. Titus, a loyal helper of Oceanswatch, awaits us and walks us through the little village and to his dingy which floats in water so clear that hovering seems to be a more suitable verb to use than floating.
A couple of very busy days finally start - getting the boat shipshape. We get fuel and water in jerry cans, check the rig and the rest of the boat, get some food - which was quickly done as there's no supermarkets on Lata. Most of our food supplies were lentils, pasta, rice and cans that were still on the boat and some fresh fruits and coconuts which we gather on Titus' land. It takes us half a day to get fresh water from a spring that feeds a creek as pure as crystal -  which is the water source for the surrounding villages and further downstream also a bathing and washing spot.

There's more to say about Lata and its friendly villagers and funny conversations that we had with a peoples that for example don't know their date nor year of birth and a mentality that is far from our way of living, that people don't even know what to answer, when you ask them what they work - "Nothing" one fellow said that helped us carry vegetables back to the dingy, "I stroll around.." he answered, not knowing what else to tell me. There's obviously some funny conversations happening when you talk to people so different from us :)
On the 21st of November we finally raise the two anchors (which were twisted like ivy on a pole). After 3/4hour of hard work Anna Rose is free finally and moving across the bay. A long journey begins with an unknown outcome. We expect fair winds for a week or so - any weather report further away can't be taken to seriously. And the Tasman sea is another mystery itself.
But the trip starts smooth, with winds that keep our sails full … and our hands too, full of work: Squalls keep us busy during night and day. We're glad, that it's still warm and the rain is a welcome refreshment, whether day or night. Just about every sunset is a different painting that changes colors like a chameleon - night after night. How entertaining! Laura spots two dolphins one day that stay playing in front of the bow and as we wave and call, they seem to look up as they turn sideways and we see half their belly. Dolphins never seize to amaze us - the friendliest creature of the sea! A few days after passing New Caledonia, a steady wind is blowing and we sail along nicely, until Laura realizes that the autopilot has turned off. She turns it back on, but it switches itself of straight away. Something is wrong. Laura turns the wheel and finds no resistance…Broken cables?,… the search begins. We find the bolt broken, that attaches the cable to the quadrant and I do the best fix I can think of. We also set up the emergency steering just in case and leave the quadrant accessible so that we can monitor our jury rigged cable.

Laura: Over the next days the weather is kind and our fix seems to hold well, but we're pushing the boat a little as we've got a satphone text from dad saying that a hurricane has just gone over the Solomon Islands and is heading for New Caledonia. By the time it gets to New Cal. we should be clear out of its way - but it never hurts to put as much distance possible between a hurricane and a boat!
Temperatures are dropping slowly, which we don't mind as it was very hot when we first left. The nights are pleasant and we love watching the stars and the bright phosphoresence that's around for most of the trip. And as a special effect the sea offered flashes of light in the dark sea. Flashes of about a meter in diameter - as if there was a deep sea disco going on and we sailed right through it. The light shows are amazing each night, whether it's the phosphorescence in the water or the stars from above. On some nights dolphins would be around and leave their green trails in the water as they shoot around Anna Rose.

I stand on the bow of the boat one day, enjoying the rise and fall of Anna Rose while she gently makes her way through and over the waves towards the horizon. I bent over the rail to look at her bow cutting through blue water and notice a beautiful blue Mamma fish with two little ones surfing in our bow-wave. We watch them for a long while as they play and surf along and check again later in the evening - and they're still there. The following morning I go to the front and am surprised to see the fish still surfing in the bow wave just as they had done the previous day. Sadly it looks like one of the little ones is no longer there… That evening they left and I wondered whether they had a destination or whether the were simply moving along as pilot fish? or using the shade? exploring? What would have made them travel for more then a 100NM in the wave of our bow?

For two days we see jellyfish gliding past. Big ones with an orange horse-shoe shape in the middle. Together with the jellyfish we often see something like a blown up piece of guts float on the water. It is slightly blueish, varies in sizes and gets up to the size of a hand. We wonder if it has something to do with the jellyfish that's floating by at the same time.
In my presentation I often get asked what I do when I am out at sea and how I can not get bored. Even after so many miles I discover new things out at sea, there is so much that we don't know about our oceans - there is so much life. It certainly isn't just a vast, blue and open space. To me, it's full of life, exiting, new and challenging.

About a week after passing New Cal. the weather is starting to become more challenging. Wind are rapidly dropping and the increasing again, changing direction, whipping up waves and tossing us around. With a heavy long keeler, and Anna Roses hull shape light winds are not so much fun! They make us roll heavily and unable to stop that. Often we would still move at 2 or 3 knots but the boat was simply to heavy for the wind to keep her from rolling. We try everything and in the end have to give in and take some sail down or start the engine for a few hours. I still find the state of no wind worse then a storm!
A couple of days ago, we had fixed a dribbling leak on the porthole above the chart table - which is on starboard side. We're still on a port tack this early morning as Daniel wakes from the sound of a stream of running water, wondering whether the tap's running for some reason or what? Following the sound he finds the porthole in the engineers cabin with a leak that is far beyond a dribble. It's a little stream. Besides a few serious cracks in the glass, the rubber has also shrunk with the heat of years in the sun. I get the boat up straight to stop the water from reaching the porthole and we do a fix with something like sikaflex. … Two bad portholes make me wonder about the last one on the starboard side and we find that one leaking too. A fix as easy as changing the rubber should've been done long ago...


Laura & Daniel 


Photo's delivery of Anna Rose


Portland-Vancouver-New York-Victoria-Bellingham-Hong Kong

A lot has happened since I arrived in Portland three weeks ago. Lots of presentation requests came in while I was already in the area. I tried very hard and managed to squeeze in a few more in my already tight schedule. It would have been sad to be in the area and not be able to go to certain places.. Whoever needs to sleep anyway?Such a time consuming thing to do..

I figured I could catch up once I was on a plane somewhere. So far that hasn't really worked out, so I'm glad I have lots of experience with sleep deprivation and forcing myself awake :)  
All the travels and talks have still been amazing though. Even with little sleep I could enjoy the past few weeks very much. While I was here I have seen the trees change from green to amazing shades of red, orange and purple.
During the time in Vancouver I had the chance to meet up with family that I hadn't seen in a while. They live in Victoria (which is on Vancouver island) so I had to take the ferry across,I left just as the sun started to rise behind the islands, which made for amazing colors and shades on the water and transported me back to the many breathtaking sunrises which I saw out on the oceans. Good that even in these busy 'land days' I get moments where I can dream back to some of the amazing things that I saw along my journey.

I actually quite enjoy giving presentations if its not too often. It helps me remember some of the lessons that I learned along the way - but also to still learn new things from it, as I always get some new questions and have to think about how and why I did certain things. It's a great way to reflect and learn from experiences.
Mostly in life we're so busy,running around, rarely do we stop to think about all the amazing things we do. And that's quiet a shame. Because I feel I only really get say 10% out of the experience if I just do it and then keep going with life. But if I actually take the time to reflect on some of the things I did and the people I met, I get so much more out of it.

When I gave a talk in Vancouver I even met two couples that I got to know on my journey at the San Blas Island (on my first landing there) and on Bora Bora. What a small world!  Meeting all those amazing people along the way was such an great part of the circumnavigation. I learned many lessons from people along the way, wether they were sailors or locals. And now also - even though I am not sailing - meeting people in all these different places where I go, is what makes the places more special. 
Still,… by now I'm quite ready to go sailing again - to have some time alone and to think about all the great places and people I got to meet. Quite ready for a trip, just as the trip is ready for me :)

I also made a short stop in New York and while I was there I got to sail on a Nacra 17 with a great girl from the Oakcliff sailing centre. That was AWESOME!  
I have sailed a lot of different dinghy's but mostly monohulls. Of course I have the Minicat and even though it sails very well, this is still something completely different. I was amazed at how steady it was when up on one hull and the speed at which it accelerates when a gust hits, is just mind-blowing!

I also sailed on a boat that is pretty much the opposite of a Nacra 17, when I was in Port Townsend on the west coast.
It was the more than a 100 year old schooner 'Adventuress'. I talked in Bellingham for the Waldorf school and every year they take their 7th graders on a sailing trip on this historic ship. But the parents need to come up with the funds - so half of of the proceeds from my talk went to their fund too, and I got to sail therefore - it was a good deal :)
I stayed onboard for one night together with the rest of the crew and it turns out that there is a lot of musical crew and instruments onboard. We had a very nice evening just playing along on several instrument. About 1.5 years ago I started to practice the violin, so by now I can play a few songs and it was so much fun to play with some more people for a change :)

I've now arrived in Hong Kong. I was expecting to be completely overwhelmed, but so far I have acclimatized quite well. I am staying onboard a boat in an area with lots of green hills and mountains, which is quite lovely. I went into the city and it felt very international.There wasn't much of the a culture shock. Of course it's different, but I think Hong Kong is so big that it has adapted to a lot of western styles and ways.( well and it used to be a british colony) All of the signs are in chinese AND english. Which is incredibly helpful as I would have had a hard time finding my way otherwise. I probably would spent 15 minutes at each sign just trying to figure out if the signs matched with the signs of the directions that I have to go to… But it would force me to learn some chinese, which it doesn't this way as I instinctively choose the convenient language… Well, there's pro's and con's to everything :)
For now I'm just super exited that I'm not stuck in the big city but on a boat instead - with a view of lots more boats and mountains - that's more the way I like it :)


Once work's done here in Hong Kong, I will fly to the Solomon Islands where Anna Rose (a 45ft yacht that I have delivered before) waits for a skipper to take her back to Hobart. A skipper and her man, in fact ;P
A longish trip but at least it's not storm season this time so I probably won't have to dodge any hurricanes - but the Tasman sea can be unfriendly at any time of the year. So we'll still have to see what the weather has in store for us, but at least we're out on the water, which is where I really want to be! 





Ga naar de engelse website voor de foto's :)


So about a month ago I left New Zealand on my own for a little tour around the world, by plane this time though.Daniel stayed home to guard the fort and to work...I stopped in Europe first, where I gave one presentation in Germany and two in Amsterdam. I’m always amazed at how short one month is to see family and get things done.

Of course it doesn’t help that the family is scattered all throughout Holland and Germany.And by now my little sister has also left home and is traveling all over Europe with the circus… But I enjoyed every second that I had with my family. Dad and me went sailing together a lot. In Kiel, where I gave the first presentation,we were invited to sail on a beautiful 12mr class yacht. They are wonderful yachts to sail - very heavy, which makes them smooth and quiet to sail on, yet very fast because of their (beautiful) design. Dad and me left Kiel to go back to Holland where we took part in a regatta on a boat that belongs to one of my dad’s friends. We have known him for a long time and I have spent a lot of time with him and dad racing on the rivers of Holland. I was usually on my own boat though. So this was a whole new experience. There was only 0-5 knots of wind during the race and our heavy displacement boat we stood little chance against the light boats. We were still pretty happy with the results in the end tho, and most importantly had a good-fun weekend. After the race I spent a mere two days on dads boat as we enjoyed the summery weather and went out wake boarding and sailing on dad’s Minicat. Time moves to fast when your having fun and before I knew it I was already on my way to the airport. I had just had enough time to have a few lovely days at mums place and to celebrate my 21st birthday at a pancake house with family and friends.

Next landing: Portland,Oregon.  When I was in Port Elizabeth I met two lovely couples from Portland. My very good friends on S/V Winddancer, who now live in Whangarei - and another couple that has now finished their round the world trip and returned to Portland. He is now the commodore at the Portland Yacht Club and got me set up for two presentations there (because the
first one had sold out). I have been here for a week now and managed to get around to see the area a little bit. Portland and the
Columbia river are amazing places to explore. There is a waterfall around every corner and lots of amazing hikes.

I have been away from home for a month now and it’s certainly not as much fun to travel all by myself as it was when I
was sailing around the world. At almost every presentation I get asked whether I wasn’t lonely. I think that up until now I
didn’t really know what it meant to be lonely. Since childhood I have done so
much by myself and I always just focused on sailing and learning more about sailing.  I had some good friends, but
because we moved so much I never made any permanent friends while growing up.
Of course I missed my family while sailing and still miss them.  But it’s just not the same as missing your other half.
I think the big difference here is that kids growing up have as main goal, becoming independent and leaving your parents. While the main goal in a marriage is, going through life together.
My travels aren’t finished yet. Vancouver BC, New York, Bellingham and Hong Kong still lay ahead before going home to Daniel
and Guppy



For picture's please visit the english site 


Me sailing MInicat


Me enjoying Minicat.










Interview BNR radio (Dutch)        https://www.facebook.com/lauradekker.worldsailingfoundation/



Chantal flew back home to Germany shortly after the end of our road trip. 'Normal' life kicked back in for us, finding little jobs to do around Whangarei and ongoing improvements on Guppy, the car and so on. I have been fortunate enough to do a few more jobs with the Girls High School here, including Sailing lessons, and a 2 day hike at the Whangarei heads. How much better can it get then to go sailing and hiking for a job! Most of the Girls thought very differently about whether the hike was fun or not! and they could not understand that I would do that for fun. - We did get some good views on the first day though and they all agreed that it was pretty awesome. The second day was very rainy - but a tough trip makes coming home even more rewarding. I'm rather sure that they all appreciated the warmth of their own home and their bed very much that night, which makes it a grateful experience for them :)
At the moment we are looking after the home from friends of ours who went on a mission trip to Papua New Guinea. The house includes a big white german shepherd who is keeping us active. She is a young dog with much to learn, but a very gentle and loving character. We enjoy looking after her a lot and she gives us many laughs but some headaches as well of course.
We started taking her to Guppy as we didn't want to lock her up at home all day. It was a bit of a mission getting her into the dinghy the first time. She ended up flopping into it on her belly like a sea-lion. By the third time she already acted as if she had always done it, and gradually seemed to enjoy it more and more.
One thing that she seems to dread, is when Daniel and I go separate ways. She does not know who to stay with. So it had to happen as on that one day, when we three paddled over to the jetty, so that I could go into town. Daniel started to paddle back to Guppy, taking  Jazz (the dog) back with him. Jazz was uncertain for a moment as she saw me walk away into another direction. Suddenly she leaped out of the dinghy towards the jetty, managing to get her front paws onto the jetty but slipped back into the water rapidly. We turned our heads towards the splash and saw the whole dog dip under water, where it stayed for a few seconds before popping back up again. Lots of thoughts went through our heads and as far as we knew, she hasn't been in water before. Frantically she began swimming up and down under the jetty looking for something to grab and making it impossible for us to get hold of her. She was holding onto some lines under the jetty when we finally managed to drag her out from underneath and pull her up onto the Jetty. We expected that she would be afraid of the water, dinghy (and maybe even yachts ;p) from now on but no! she acted like nothing extraordinary had happened and happily jumped back into the dinghy again after I had left out of sight.
We will have Jazz for a few more weeks and planning to go to the states afterwards for the rest of the winter. There are still a few open invitations for presentation that I'd like to follow.
Concerning Guppy: she is still up for sale, but I am talking to a Dutch Trust at the moment that would like to buy her for youth training purposes. I think it would be a lovely place for her! She will be used for a good cause and I would still be able to sail and see her every now and then, when I visit. But… they still need to get the funding for the purchase and for the rest of the campaign together.., so nothing is quiet sure about that yet..
If you would like to know more about the Guppy project please contact the founder of the Trust: Henne Pauli:  info@hennepauli.nl



Roadtrip Part II

Roadtrip Part II

We soon arrived in Stratford which is at the foot of Mt.Taranaki. Thinking that it would be fun to spent the night at the base camp car-park at an altitude of about 1100m, we drove up. Up 'n up it went through a thick green tunnel with odd and eerie looking trees.  Gobblin forest they call it. The night up there turned out to be a bit too exciting though as the wind grew strong during the evening - strong enough to make our car shake and vibrate with gusts. Felt a bit like sailing! On top of that it started hailing and within less than half an hour our car and the ground were white. We quickly decided to head back down lest we'd get snowed in with our poorly profiled tires, only a 2WD and no snow chains - of course (we were still in summer mode, not taking this winter serious so far). Winter was finally on and it hid the mountain successfully under its white veil of cloud (which could turn quite grey at times). In those few days that we spent around the mount, we never got to see its glorious stature and its white hat.
The road took us north from there, through lush green shires and past black-sanded coasts as we headed to some blue springs (that Daniel had seen a picture of and now insisted to see it with his own eyes, even though it was a leeway of two hours). We assumed that it was somewhat volcanic or hot, because we had seen similar colors of water in volcanic areas.
As we got there, we found out that it was not hot at all and the clearest and bluest water that we'd ever seen.  Apparently 70% of NZ's bottled water is tapped from this spring. Right at the springs the water has a very deep blue color, and even the flowing river is  blue and so clear that I could hardly believe it's real. - On this particular day Daniel had lost a card game and gambled on jumping into the next body of water. This one was 11ºC ..warm :D Brrr! He performed his part acting tough… and neither me nor Chantal could resist getting in touch with such appetizing water. So we all had a very chilling and wet but delightful experience.
By that time our road trip was almost at an end with a last stop at Karekare, which is a little place close to Piha on the west coast of Auckland. I had been asked to do a presentation at a film night for a group of locals there, which took place at the local fire station.  The place was not big and quickly filled with people so that I ended up giving the talk twice, to two different audiences. It was a wonderful experience. I enjoy doing these talks to small local groups… I feel that I can interact with the people better during my talk and it's more personal. But nevertheless it is a very tiring thing to do. I never expected that talking could be so tiring. Nervousness and the actual talking must eat up quiet some energy. It's not quiet as easy as sailing ;)

Laura & Daniel 


Roadtrip Part I

10 days later we picked Chantal up from the airport and escaped Auckland's highways asap - heading for the Coromandel. Explorations there took us into its wet green heart with lots of beautiful waterfalls and up misty mountains (which we marked as a 'pacific islander experience' because it recalled memories of hikes we have done on Tahiti) and some other wonders of nature like the Kauri tree high and thick, king of the New Zealand forest; idyllic falls of water that do their thunder undisturbed in the wild and…
the 'Cathedral Cove' and 'Hot Water Beach' were on Chantal's wish list too so - as responsible guides - we programmed her to low expectations, preventing a disappointment. 'Cathedral Cove' is a magnificent arch formed in lime stone and good enough for filmmakers to be used in Narnia e.g. It's an epic sight, but we warned her of lots of people with cameras, which is always the side effect of a place that's beautiful and well known.
'Hot Water Beach' (beach where hot water streams out of the sand into the ocean) - We've been there twice before and never succeeded in digging ourselves a little pool in the sand where the water was neither to hot nor to cold. But this time we managed! It was just about to get dark when we started digging with our plates & bowls :p so by the time we where done we could enjoy a starry sky and the crashing of waves onto the beach at a distance. As the night progressed the pounding of the waves came closer and closer until we finally had to abandon our pool which was about to be taken over by the ocean.
I am still - or rather 'more each day' - in awe of the beauty of nature. Whether it's the rock formations in riverbeds, waterfalls, trees or flowers. There is simply so much beauty in nature and then I am not even talking about the way it all works perfectly. Every flower and tree has their own unique way of spreading their seeds in ways we can't even imagine!
It's turning Autumn in New Zealand, so there is lots of trees shedding their colorful leaves. Autumn also brings more rain and cold winds with it, so that we're not swimming and enjoying the sun as much, but rather fighting dampness - trying to dry clothes and shoes in an already damp car.
On the way south of the Coromandel now and looking forward to the hot springs in Rotorua and Taupo!
… A couple of hundred kilometers further we slip into the hot natural pools while cold rain splashes silently on the water around us. Getting out of the car and into the pool was a whole different story though as the winter had finally got on stage. Most of the time the car wasn't far from the pool but even the few meters were agonizing sometimes. Although somehow it was quite fun and challenging as well.
Wet weather and short daylight forced us to huddle inside the car, playing cards while sipping on warm cups of tea. It got more and more out of hand as we started to make up punishments for the loser. Starting with the loser having to cook breakfast it went to having to jump into 11º cold water! … In the end we all ended up jumping in with the looser, but more to that later...
Eventually we had to drag ourselves away from the hot pools to head to Tongariro National Park. We hoped to walk the Tongariro alpine crossing but the weather didn't let us. So we tried the 5 hour return walk to the closest lakes. Which turned out to be tough enough as we were poorly equipped (some of our socks became gloves, which worked fine as long as they stayed dry:). Our shoes were drenched soon and not long after the rest of our body was too.
We had lots of layers of clothing on, so that I was not very cold and having a blast - marching against raindrops that were catapulted  by strong gusts to pierce our skin. I loved the fastness and the toughness of it. We managed to get to the lakes but fog was so dense that we couldn't see them. No lakes, no mountains. Just lots of scrubs and feet shuffling forward over rocky grounds, then muddy and across a couple of rivers. Big shame that there weren't any hot pools nearby…
But we forgot about the hot pools soon in the next few days as we drove over the forgotten world highway. We had chosen the route randomly and not known of its beauty.
Due to the big rainfalls there had been several rock slides which left huge rocks laying on the road. It took a long time to get across that road as we had to drive slowly and carefully. But that only served us well as none of us really wanted to leave this place behind quite yet. It was still raining as we drove through the gorges. Decent size hills were rising up on either side of us, maybe we could even call them small mountains. Clad in all shades of green, it gave the feeling of being in a rainforest. Very dense, green and alive, but quiet. Little waterfalls and rivers everywhere! A big part was unsealed road and we stopped occasionally to take in the breathtaking surroundings. One could have easily imagined being somewhere deep in a jungle. The road eventually led through to the Republic of Whangamamona. Yes an actual Republic!  They weren't very strict on their passport control though.. but Chantal did get her passport stamped at the local Hotel / Officials quarters...



NZ summer was coming to a slow end: high time to take Guppy out for a sail again! …and besides that, it was a good opportunity to introduce Chantal to sailing and for her to find out whether the legs she uses are sea worthy or not.
The work around the windows was all finished and turned out beautiful, and - even after a week of rain and waves - the windows did not show any sign of leakage! So I think they'll be good for another trip around the world! (Just not with me).
Slowly we sailed up the Northland coast, stopping in small bays overnight and exploring the areas by dingy. Whangamumu is one of the bays we stayed in for a little while, it's an idyllic place, save from the swells of the ocean and horse-shoed in by lots of wild bush and patches of lush, high grassland. The dingy trip there took us past many caves. Once inside the caves the ocean swell hitting against the far walls sounded very much like thunder. It's an exciting area with clear water around the rocks and boulders. The little tracks on shore lead us either along a frequently falling stream or along ridges and through plentiful forests and green hills. A scenic jewel indeed.
The bay of islands was as far north as the winds took us and I realized once again how much more strenuous it is to sail along coastlines with ships, reefs and islands. But I do love these challenges and we found some cool little passages through various islands that led us to beautiful anchorages.
The Northland coast is quite epic and one could easily sail around for years and still discover new beautiful places to go to.
After only a day at the Bay of Islands we headed back south again and couldn't help but visiting the Poor Knights islands (where Chantal had previously done her diving course). Daniel and I (and Chantal now too) love these islands for it's abundant marine life and the untouched and ruggedly wild looks of it - no one is allowed on the islands. There are lots of caves and arches to explore around those high cliffs, which drop vertically into the water and make anchoring very challenging. We managed to find a spot to anchor at 11m of depth, very close to some of the steep cliffs. I had to get up regularly to see whether there had been any changes in the weather. It turned out easier then expected to get up very often, as there were hundreds of hungry mosquitos that would not let us sleep! It drove us crazy, they managed to get to us even though we had a net spun around us! We had to get up at leasts every hour to fight back all of those that had gotten inside of the mosquito net!  The weather was great most of the days out at sea though, and we loved the little adventures around those islands. Also - we had the islands to ourselves, although we were hoping to meet one of the dive boats as we had run out of drinking water surprisingly.... But no one came by that day and we had some bottles left for reserve, so we enjoyed the loneliness and the feel of an ancient jurassic world alone.
Chantal turned out to be a good cook onboard a ship, managing fairly well to cook while the boat was rolling with the swell. There was only a few flying objects… and no vomiting nor sickness! She's a natural, besides the use of water !
After our weeklong sailing trip Chantal left for a week to Fiji which gave us some time to finish some other little jobs that we had to get done before heading off for a road trip :)



Last week has been a very busy one - our days are usually filled with little adventures of some sort and sitting still doesn’t happen very often.

About a week ago I went to the bay of Islands for a photo shoot while sailing my new Laura Dekker Minicat.  We went out about 20nm on a 72 foot sailing vessel to a location where clear water rolled onto a white beach and then green hills took over the rolling. A beautifull stunning little bay! We spent some sunny hours there but at the end of that day the sailboat had to keep going to other locations - it was not returning home to where my car was. So I sailed the 20nm back to Opua. The wind was perfect. I had a great reach almost the whole way down with some bigger waves (well… big in Minicat terms) backed by 15-20knots of wind. I already capsized before I had even left the bay…

It took me about 3 hours to get back to the car. It was a fantastic sail in such delightful scenery. Lush green islands covered in fog with sun-rays breaking through to point out some beautiful details. Sometimes there is moments so beautiful that I just simply don’t know what to do with it. Do I shout out of joy or jump up and down? Do I put it on camera to capture it all? Or should I just sit and enjoy it? Mostly I end up doing it all but it still doesn’t seem enough. The natural beauty of this world is just to much to take in sometimes. How fortunate we are to be living in such a world! And what a shame that we are destroying it at a rate and with numbers we can scarcely calculate anymore..

The same evening my cousin arrived from Germany to live with us for 8 weeks. Luckily she is very easy going, because we had started to work on Guppy just before her arrival and are still eating in between tools, pieces of wood and dust. We are replacing the windows around the upper part of the deck as they were getting pretty old. So while taking out the windows we figured it was a good time to replace some of the interior wood around the windows. But I am very happy that we are doing it now as it makes Guppy even more beautiful, homey and hospitable. And well, as in almost all cases, you have to start taking things down and making a mess before it starts to become more beautiful.

A few days after my cousin, Chantal, had arrived I was asked to be an instructor at a high school camp that was orientated around sea food gathering. Now - many of my faithful supporters might remember: I don’t like killing fish!!! I love eating it, but found out that breaking its neck, breaks something in me too. So luckily my main job was watching the kids in their kayaks and while snorkeling. Sounds easy, hm?! That's what I thought too, but I realized quickly how tiring it is to have such a responsibility and to stay focused for the whole day. Nevertheless it was great - I loved being out on the water and to see young girls learning to appreciate the outdoors and being part of a play with nature as our beautiful stage.

I am still alway pleasantly surprised by the kind of opportunities kids have in New Zealand schools. They do sailing lessons, camps, hikes - so many valuable experiences that I was only dreaming of in my class room years.

 Here's a video of me sailing the minicat back



Back home! Our last two weeks in Europe were as always to short to do all the things that we wanted to and we never get to spent enough time with all of our friends and family.. I went back to Holland to spent another week with my dad and sister. One evening Kim proclaimed that she felt like skiing, so we decided to drive to a big indoor skiing hall in Bottrop, Germany, close to the border of Holland. Spot stayed with some friends and off we went. A good friend of dad joined us on our skiing adventure as well. But as we drove towards Bottrop looking out at the beautiful weather we didn't really feel like being inside a big hall. So we spontaneously decided to keep driving another 2 hours to go to Winterberg - which is a small skiing area about 5 hours away from dad's place. It hadn't been a snowy winter at all and even the entire drive to Winterberg we saw barely any snow. Only the last 10km some snow started to appear. We almost turned around as we just couldn't believe that there was enough snow to ski. But sure enough, when we were just about 5km out everything around us had turned white. Winterberg is located a bit west of Germany's centre  and somehow geographically privileged in a way that there always happens to be snow before it falls anywhere else in the area. We spent one full day on the ski trails. I decided to join the rest of the group and try skiing instead of snowboarding for the first time in 12 years - and it's not as easy as it looks! But at the end of the day - after tumbling down a few times and going straight into the woods instead of turning - I did pretty well. We all came back home without any broken bones - It was a great day ;)

From Holland I flew to Stockholm for a presentation at the boat fair. There were various sailors presenting their story but I had a hard time following, as it was all in Swedish.. Luckily I was allowed to give my talk in English - I don't think the audience would've understood my swedish very well :) I loved Stockholm, although I had hoped for some snow. But even so far up north was not a single snow flake to be found. Nevertheless it was very cold, which can be quite handy sometimes, like on the morning before the boat show when I went to visit a Hurley 700 for a radio podcast. The owner had forgotten the keys of the marina but - thanks to the cold, we could just walk over the ice towards the boat! Not handy for sailing though… It was lovely being on a Hurley 700 again. It had the typical Hurley smell and the layout was exactly the same as the first Hurley that I sailed on. It brought back a lot of good memories. And I realized how much I loved that boat. Although I did think "it seemed bigger at the time" after standing up straight and hitting my head on the ceiling…I used to be able to stand up straight in the cabin, but those days are over..

Last week we made the long journey home. I actually enjoy flying, but spending two days on a seat, breathing dry, re-circulated air is not my favorite… But saying that - there has to be things in life we don't like in order to appreciate other things more. Oh! and how I appreciated smelling the warm summer air, and the fresh breeze flowing past my skin. It is lovely being home again! But soon after we came back it started pouring with rain for two days straight. I was afraid that we had missed the summer completely! The rain was accompanied by big wind gusts making Guppy sway from side to side between her poles in the marina. Like a wild horse that wants to run and jump but it is tied up...  

Just before the big winds came my new Minicat, the Laura Dekker version arrived and I had a chance to try it out. This 420 version is perfect to sail with two people. I managed to convince Daniel that it would be fun - so off we went. There was a good breeze and we were flying from shore to shore. I was having a great time! Daniel a little less, considering the high speeds we where at, that could easily crash us when making a wrong move… although he did agree that it was fun in the end when we were safely back home. I'm afraid it might have to do something with my sailing style?! The 420 is definitely faster than the 310 version! We gave it a good test run in strong winds and bouncing over waves, But I want to go out to do some more 'test' sailing soon ;) 

For now we are enjoying the calm after the storm with one beautiful sunny day after the other. There is things to do on Guppy (as always) and we will be working on her, while trying to figure out where life will lead us next :)








I just came across this lovely poem again written by John Masefield. A woman read it to me last year before the start of a presentation and I thought it was very beautiful. 


Sea Fever  

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and sky,

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;

And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,

And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.


I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide

Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;

And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,

And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.


I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,

To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;

And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,

And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.



Josefien was released from the hospital and we all drove back together. Much rest and sleep were ahead for her, but quiet the opposite was awaiting us. Daniel and I had decided to help my dad for a while with building the masts for his boat. We've been here for nearly a month now. The aluminum pipes that were laying in the hall when we got here have slowly transformed into a mast. I have always loved to see these kind of things grow. Every time I am amazed at how much humans are capable of making just by going step by step, day by day. I loved to see dad's boat growing out of a pile of wood - and later the walls that made rooms, then the interior and now slowly the masts. It's a dream that is coming true - slowly but surely. And I feel very happy to have been and still be a part of it. It's been so much fun working with dad again for a longer time. Thinking about plans to make things work and dreaming about sailing this boat. We've had some small breaks from working, in which we went to Sliedrecht with dad's boat to tow back a heavy tug that had a broken engine. We started heading to Sliedrecht just after sunrise, but we never saw anything of the sun.. the clouds were creeping around us while I was standing on the bow peeking through the thick mist - trying to find the next buoy. The water was rustling quietly at the bow as the boat was gliding through the water. Without any radar or chart plotter it was a real challenge to find our way across the Grevelingen towards the locks. Once we were at the locks we decided it would be too dangerous to keep going in this thick mist without any good navigational equipment. So we called a friend who has a maritime navigation program on his tablet and asked if we could borrow it for a few days. That made live a bit easier. But we had lost a lot of time by going through the fog that slowly, so that we had to keep going full speed to get to Sliedrecht before dark. The "Havorn" doesn't have any navigation lights yet - they have to be mounted on the mast and in the rigging which is still in the making. So getting there before dark was a necessity. We were doing well for the rest of the day, steaming along at almost 10 knots, even overtaking some of the inland freighters that were steaming along the rivers. With only one more hour to go we were hopeful to make it, when a police boat pulled up along side suddenly and made signs that they want to come aboard. We had a little chat and they checked our papers. When we asked them for the reason for their visit, they said that we weren't in their system. Otherwise all was fine and we could keep going. That had slowed us down a lot and sunset had already started. We hit the gas again to make up for the delay and had still some hope left, but only 10minutes later that hope was challenged again - by the port control this time. We told them that the police had just been onboard, but since I didn't know the name of the police vessel they couldn't do anything with that information. Again we had to slow down and explain where we were going (without them coming aboard). In the end they decided to stay next to us to serve as navigational lights, because darkness was becoming an issue by that time. Half an hour later we finally got to Sliedrecht. After mooring the Havorn the port control left us in peace.

The next morning was clear, freezing - and early, as there was work to do. We had to tie the tug next to the Havorn - and what we thought would be an easy job to do, turned out more challenging as we found the ropes frozen. Stiff like steelwire. After one our of fighting we had the tug next to the Havorn and the journey began. The sun even accompanied us for most of the day on our homeward trip. Towing the tug went well and we also had some good laughs when going through the locks. The "Bruinvis" (the tug boat) always got called on the VHF before they tried calling the Havorn. Guess it's a strange picture to see a tug boat being towed. Although it was rather obvious that nobody was aboard the Bruinvis and it couldn't have towed us the way it was positioned on our beam - the ghost skipper of the Bruinvis got the first calls! :D Again we tried to push on hard to get home before dark and even managed to squeeze ourselves into a lock with some other freighters. Sadly for the freighter behind us it had to wait for the next turn. He wasn't to pleased with this, and made that clear on the VHF. "They should have gone through the smaller yacht locks" he said. I explained to the lock operator that we were to deep and also to wide for these locks and that there was no other way for us than to go through the commercial shipping locks - which kindled the next discussion… "How could a boat from 65ft possibly be 3.40m deep?" Nobody seemed to understand and they came to the conclusion that only 3000ton freighters would have such a depth. After listening to that whole discussion via the locks' VHF channel, I decided to tell them about sailboats… That sailboats need this depth, and that it was very well possible for a 65footer to be 3.40m deep. All we heard for the next 10minutes was complete silence. The freighter behind us had to wait and we could go through, which was really necessary because we were still racing the sun at 7,5 knots now. The tug boat and Havorn both got home safely!

A cold but very nice trip over the rivers and through the locks. I loved seeing Daniel's face every time he saw a bridge that opened in yet another fantastic manner. Some went sideways, some up, or rotated. And I started to realize that so many bridges and locks are very unusual outside of Holland.

The following morning was an early one yet again, no sailing anywhere this time though. We were on our way to the Dusseldorf boat show. I have been working with Minicat on a new boat. Early on in my trip I got a Minicat 310 onboard. This is an amazing small inflatable catamaran. This way I could fold it easily into two bags and store it on my boat for a crossing and do some sporty sailing when I was at anchor. Over the years of sailing with the 310 version I gave Minicat some feedback and we decided to make a Laura Dekker edition. It is based on their standard 420 edition. But it has many upgrades. The boat is also stronger - because it will have to stand the way of sailing that I like! …with lots of wind and rough conditions ;)

The first boat has been build and was standing on the Dusseldorf boat show. I was very exited to see it in real live of course. It looked great with the many colors in the sails, carbon rudder, boom and bowsprit. Even with my name embroidered into the trampoline. Fancy :) I have enjoyed the Minicat 310 a lot over the years and really can't wait to sail this bigger, faster and stronger edition!




So far Europe has been cold, wet, busy but also very nice. Well most of it anyway.. We spent New years eve at a rather unexpected place, namely in the hospital.. But lets start from the beginning.

We had spent an amazing christmas at Daniel's parents place in Germany, also together with my parents and my old dog Spot of course. It was amazing to be all together. Certainly worth leaving the New Zealand summer for the cold European winter… Just after Christmas we decided to go to Switzerland. Together with Daniel's brother Otto and Josefien who is a Dutch friend that I met traveling in New Zealand. Daniel's sister and some cousins are working in a ski area over there, and we thought it would be nice to spent New Years eve together with them in the mountains. The first two days were great! There wasn't so much snow though, so we just did some smaller hikes and spent time with friends and family. But of course we wanted some more action. So we packed some sleds on our backs and started hiking up a snowy mountain, with the plan to sled down again. The view got more amazing the further we got up and we even got some heavy snowfall once we reached the cable station. It was truly a winter wonderland. Heading down turned out more tricky than we had expected. It was not always easy to find the best paths and big patches of snow were very icy. Daniel and I were already a little ways ahead, going very slowly down an icy slope, when suddenly we see Josefien flying by. Her sled had gotten onto a big icy patch and there was no stopping it anymore. We yelled at her to get of the sled but before we knew what was happening the sled and Josefien started bouncing and flipping downhill. I was the first to reach her - she was laying on the cold snow, eyes wide open but no reaction. A lot of thoughts went through my head as I starred into her bright blue eyes. It was scary and we had to take action quick. Daniel and Otto were still trying to get down while I was speaking to Josefien trying to notice whether she could hear me. When I asked her to blink her eyes she did, but that was all! I got some more hope but the situation was bad. We were halfway a deserted mountain (the lifts weren't operating due to whatever, so there was nobody except us) and darkness was coming fast. We very carefully moved her off the ice onto the sled and gave her our jackets in the attempt of keeping her warm. She slowly came back to consciousness a bit as Daniel and Otto were trying to call the Emergency Department. There was blood coming from a wound on her head but it didn't look to bad. And except for a very strong headache she didn't have much pain. I was guessing that she had a concussion - and I was very glad she didn't start feeling ill or throwing up for now. Rescue was our only hope as it seemed. We couldn't get her down the mountain like this and besides that it would be dark before we could have managed.

While we waited for rescue, I sat next to Josefien hugging and talking to her in the attempt to keep her warm and awake. I was also shaking partly because of the icy cold going through my bones but also because of the shock of course. Finally the rescue helicopter came buzzing down with bright spotlights and picked Jo up and I also joined them - as a translator, mental support and... spectator of the landscape :) which I had to thank her for afterwards, because I have never been in such a machine and it was an interesting experience to see all these things plus the beautiful view of course. The nurses and doctors in the hospital were all very helpful and friendly. Luckily I was allowed to be with Josefien all the time so I could watch and comfort her - I even watched her head being stitched together again. So all in all it was a very educational Old Years Eve. We wished it would have been differently but were very happy that she was alright in the end and only had to stay in Hospital till the next day. We stayed in the Hospital for a few more hours, trying to celebrate the years' change a little. We decorated the hospitals' bed with some break lights and the hours went by as we talked and even laughed. Finally we had to let Josefien rest and drove back to town where we stayed, in hope of celebrating with the others and getting some rest ourselves... but that didn't happen.

The rest of New Years night and the 1st of January Daniel and Otto alternated in running to the toilet and trowing up. They were both laying in bed with a fever and I was trying to look after them and also had to go to see Josefien in the hospital again to pick her up later that day. It was a busy day! The chances were good that 2016 could only get better from then on..



On the 23-24th of January 2016 I can be found on the stand of Minicat on the Dusseldorf Boat show to present the Laura Dekker Minicat edition. 


After 2.5 half years in the water, it was time for Guppy to get a serious manicure done. We hauled her out and worked like crazy for weeks to make her look all beautiful again. The rudder had to go back to bare steel to be retreated and so did some spots on the keel. I finally closed up one of the un-used through-hull holes which was always a potential leak… We polished the topsides to change its color back to her beautiful own red. And after we had put on some new Anti foul and anodes it was time for a sail!

We had 2 great days of sailing on which we had an average of 7.5 knots! Well,.. okay, I have to admit that we had very good winds, but the clean and smooth hull did sure make a big difference. It was such a joy to be out on the water again, and I am especially glad we managed to take her out before heading of into the cold winter of Europe.. We will be in Europe with Family for a while. But at least Guppy can shine in all her beauty now.


I have been toiling with the idea of selling Guppy for a while now, I have fallen in love with the taiwanese style clippers - like the formosa 51 and hudson 50 yachts. And so,.. even though it still really hurts - I would have to sell Guppy. I won't just give her away to anybody though! After all she is my first love and baby and the best boat I could have wished for to do my circumnavigation on. If anybody is interested feel free to e-mail me at media@lauradekker.nl and I will give you some more info on her.

Another thing that has kept us busy is building a cabinet in our friends apartment. Over the winter they have been so kind to let us stay in their basement apartment which was warm and we didn't have to paddle in the rain and cold. They mentioned that they'd like to have a cabinet in the kitchen, so we thought we would just build one from scratch. Neither of us had done anything like this before and so there was a lot of thinking work involved, which was Daniels job. I stuck with glueing, staining, varnishing and… well, what I do best of course - supervising ;)

We landed in Germany about a week ago - back in the fridge - and certainly worth the freeze as we really enjoy seeing our families again!



For Picture's please go to the english blog.


I want to start with saying thanks for all the lovely birthday wishes. I had a great day together with friends here in Whangarei. Daniel and I did a little birthday hike up to the top of mt. mania. Whangarei weather can be pretty unpredictable sometimes and we had everything from no wind and sunshine to downpours with gusts of wind. It certainly keeps it interesting, and makes for stunning views.

For the last couple of weeks I have been keeping myself busy on Anam Cara. She is the Wharram catamaran I sailed on from Bluff to Dunedin. She had some rotten crossbeams and needed a good refit before sailing up to the islands. It’s been good to work a lot with my hands again. I really enjoy working on boats (most of the time ;), I always learn new things, and it’s great to use the skills I have already learned! ☺ Anam cara is now back in the water and almost ready for her trip up to the Solomons with Oceans Watch.

Last week I flew out to Melbourne to do some filming for a short 5 minute inspirational film. It will show on Red Bull’s new TV station sometime next year. The filming involved lots of sailing on the big bay in Melbourne, and so it’s needless to say I had a great time! ☺ Whilst I was in Melbourne I talked to somebody who was going to see Jessica Watson speak that same evening. Of course I wouldn’t let such a chance pass and so we ended up going to the talk together. I had never met Jessica before, although I did feel as if I knew her quiet well just from following her journey. It was really great to finally meet Jessica personally and get to talk to her. We had a great time sharing our story’s with each other. 

I am back in Whangarei now, spring has finally arrived! It’s so nice seeing the flowers come back up and the little lambs jumping around in the paddocks. And now that the weather is getting better it’s also getting time to get some things done on Guppy! ☺


( go to the english blog page to see the picture's)



Last weekend I had a presentation in Twizel which is on the South Island. Daniel and I both got to go down and have a few days of adventure's in the Cold but very beautiful Twizel area.



Radio interview.

Next big thing radio ep. 23  (61 min.)  Wenn not working on your pc try this link

An older one: 

Next big thing radio ep. 3  (52 min.)  Wenn not working on your pc try this link


Sorting out and checking Guppy's anchor gear.  


 A gorgeous sunset accompanies us while passing the bridge on our way out. 


Last weekend Daniel and I decided it was really time to go out sailing again. So Friday night, after Daniel was done with work, we headed out. Of course it got dark very soon and I discovered that sailing out at night was trickier than coming in. At the beginning of the Whangarei harbour is a big refinery with lots and lots of lights, which blinded us from seeing the channel markers. My chartplotter GPS had once again decided to test me and refused to find a position so we were left with just the map. It's good fun actually, almost like a treasure hunt. Your looking for the right colour of light with the exact right flashing code. The map tells you what the light is supposed to do. For example: there's a Q which means quick flashing. So the light flashes quickly. But there are also more complicated once. For example: if it says Fl G (3) 2.5s  It means the light is Green and it flashes 3 times every 2.5 seconds. Despite the refinery over ruling a lot of the channel marker lights - we still managed to find them after looking intensely. It took us a long long time (about 5 hours for 8 miles!) to get to the heads due to very little wind. It was a beautiful night lots of stars and therefore also very cold. The temperature went down to 0 and even below 0 for a little while! We decided to anchor at Urquhart's which is a bay near the harbour entrance. We had planned to sail out to sea but the tide had meanwhile turned against us and the wind was too little to be very exiting. There was also another reason why we were eager to anchor. A very odd smell had been saturating the boat, and I had absolutely no idea what it could be. So we went on a hunt and found that one of the starter batteries for the engine was hissing and boiling. Nothing was charging it at that time but it was still connected to the second starter battery so we unhooked the two from each other after which the hissing stopped quickly. I felt pretty sick just from the smell that hung in the boat, but hearing the waves against the hull and rolling around quietly brought me into dreams soon. 

The next day we where lucky to have a bit more wind and we still ended up having a good sail before heading back home.





Here are a few picture's of some sailing lesson's I did a few weeks ago with some girls from Whangarei Girls High school. 

They are doing a Day-Skippers course in their Adventure Class and I helped out one day instructing, so they could get some practical experience in small boats. The mini-cat turned out to be a good boat for lessons. But a bit small with three people.






The days are getting shorter, darker and wetter. Winter has arrived and this year I am not escaping it. Since Daniel's accident we have been staying at George & Ellen's place where he well recovered (except for his right wrist which is still painful when used to much).

And that's where we are going to stay for now, as Guppy isn't much fun in winter on pile moorings and without a heater. I love the warmth in the house, but the walls and the absence of rustling waves against the hull and the tender swinging is getting to me. Daniel is working at a small factory that manufactures cast iron wood stoves and I used the opportunity to drag all of Guppy's floorboards up to the factory to sand them down and revarnish them. That way we get to go to work together :)

Although I do get distracted doing lots of other things as well. Like waving George & Ellen goodbye as they sailed down the harbor onboard their Yacht Winddancer, heading for Fiji. Daniel and I managed to fix the floppy rudder of my Minicat and I thought it would be fun to accompany them along the harbor. And fun it was! There was a lot of wind roaring through the harbor and before I even saw them coming around the first corner I had already capsized. And after that the wind only got stronger and they saw me upside down more often then flying along to catch up with Winddancer again. Once we got out of the shelter from the narrower riverbanks, the waves had built up and sailing such small cat, it felt like I had ended up in a huge storm. It definitely was not build for this sort of adventure. Upwind I would fly into and over the waves. On one occasion I flipped over backwards, with boat and all. That's when I decided to turn around and go back downwind. I waved Winddancer a last goodbye and then flew home. Literally flew home. It was hard to keep the little cat under control even downwind as I had to surf side-ways down the waves in order not to pitchpole. I was holding on to my seat firmly so I wouldn't get launched off - it didn't help. A strong gust made the cat and me flip mid air. After a short flight I landed in the water under the sail - still firmly holding on to the seat, which, at this stage was not attached to the boat anymore… While I was battling under the sail to try to hold onto the piece of triplex with one hand and use the other to free myself from that submerged knotting business - my thoughts wandered back to my early childhood. The first couple of times that I sailed out in my Optimist, dad would sail along me on a windsurf-board. He would capsize the boat in moments when I would least expect it. I often landed under the sail, which was what he wanted, so that he could see how I would react. It was - I realize now - the best preparation that he could have given me for my trip and other adventures. Teaching me not to panic but to think clearly. Of course, since then I have landed under boat, sail or ended up tangled in ropes of little boats so many times that it became almost as normal as actually sitting in the boat.. I had to make many mistakes before being able to control my little dinghy's perfectly. it's the most effective way to learn, although - saying that I think sometimes it might be good to just listen to your parents (or others) as they probably have a good reason for their opinion. (I definitely didn't think like that back then) but even this I had to find out by experiment. And well, honestly I often still don't listen to the opinions of others, because I like to try things out for myself. …which is why I was actually sailing on that day. Everybody including the more sensible part of my brain thought there was to much wind to go sailing in the Minicat. But how do you really know for certain unless you get out there. So long story short, I was struggling under that sail thinking of me at age 6 doing the same thing, and it surprised me how similar it was. The same amount of disorientation. Water sloshing around - above you and under you. Simply everywhere. The same struggle and the same thrill. I only just managed to get her right side up again, heading upwind before I landed in the mangroves on the leeward side. It made me realize again how much fun dinghy sailing is.






So here I am sitting again, thinking of how to start this blog… I have a confession to make. In my blogs I often write how busy I am and that that's the reason for not writing a blog, but really that's actually a lie. I am very busy yes, that part is true, but the actual reason for me not writing so many blogs is that I dread it. Even when hundreds of exiting things happen. There's a few things I really do not enjoy and one of them is having to place myself behind the computer to write or answer mails.. merely for the reason that my brain goes blank whenever I see all the mails or have to write something down. But as many things, I guess practice is what makes one good at something, so here I am again, trying to get that mess of thoughts sorted into some writing that hopefully most people can understand... 


Last month I made one of the biggest decision in my life. Together with lots of friends plus some of Daniels family and mine, we celebrated the commitment that Daniel and I made for each other. A commitment of love - on an absolutely stunning day. The forecast had been threatening us with rain all week, but on THE day the weather couldn't have been better. Some clouds dimmed the light on the venue outdoors in the morning, then it cleared up to a blue sunny day. 

Our honeymoon we spend on board our romantic Guppy, together with many friends and family that had come over and were staying on even after the wedding. So this is what it took to get both - my mum and dad - to come to New Zealand! They enjoyed seeing many of their old friends again a lot and recalled memories all the time. I can hardly describe in words how beautiful it was - it made my heart jump of joy to see all these people, that mean so much to us: together and having a good time. I loved having my dad on Guppy without actually working all the time and running from one place to another. It was a busy and crazy time but oh so beautiful! 

A couple of weeks after our visitors left, I took on a delivery from Bluff to Whangarei on a Wharram catamaran. Well, that trip was ehm, interesting.. I flew down the day before the departure was planned. Lia Ditton and her partner had been on the boat for a while working on it. I couldn't be there any earlier due to a presentation that I had the night before in Warkworth - so I just had to trust that all was fine with the boat. Early the next morning we were off, with a strong out going tide. Sytze, the owner and builder of Anam Cara was watching us from shore in the warmth of his car.  Just out of the harbor entrance I started hoisting sails, intended to, but they wouldn't let me succeed. They wouldn't go further up then a few meters.. This seemed very strange because there really isn't much to this gaff rig. Two ropes leading down the mast - with the sail sown around the mast. I dropped the sail again, checking the few blocks and tackles that there were, while Anam Cara was swinging wildly. Waves had build up on a shallow patch, just starboard of us. … Up went the sail again, but still no further. Eventually I just hung on the rope coming straight down the mast before it went through the block. This worked well and with Gerard pulling through the other rope, we finally had the sails up, one hour later..  A little later in the day I heard a concerning mumbling while Lia was on watch. The mizzen mast was swinging around wildly. The new rigging - which is just made up of ropes - had stretched itself so much that the mast now had enough freedom to dance a tango... While I was on the wheel Lia and Gerard tightened the rigging as much as possible in the confused seas. With night fall the wind turned onto the nose. By morning we had sailed a good distance, but we had made very little progress towards our goal. Winds proceeded to be on the nose and we had to keep tacking to and from the coast, only gaining very little towards north. Eventually the winds shifted, but then dropped. So even though we were on the right heading now, we still didn't make any progress. 4 days went by of which we spend almost 2 days floating just before Dunedin and tacking around it. On the 4th night the winds had strengthenth to a good 20 knots but from the north, so that we were back to the wave-bashing-business. We had a hard time keeping the boat on course because of the waves. I had just got of watch when I heard Anam Cara tacking and Lia running around on deck. Not much later we tacked again and I heard a turning of the ignition - a few slow turns of the starter motor - but the engine did not start. Flat battery,.. Lia opened the hatch and asked if I could come up. I quickly put on my sailing gear and jumped out. The blocks on the mizzen mast had broken off their bolts, which gave the halyard a very bad angle. The rigging had loosened again, which made the mast swing a little. Our main worries though, were loud bangs and the groaning of Anam Cara. So we made the decision to turn the bow around towards Dunedin. The next morning I had a chat to Daniel on the phone and found out that he had been hit by a car on the road, or - HE hit the car - as he thinks haha! That joke cost him a concussion, bruises and a few painful joints. Luckily George & Ellen had sweetly taken care of him as he was staying in bed at their place after the hospital had a look at him. And of course I was left with little choice, whether to go back and take care for him or not. So as soon as we had moored Anam Cara at the Otago yacht club I had to book a flight for the next morning and packed my things. 

Well,… that's the end of that adventure, I thought while flying home. But new adventure's are never far - as my flight was delayed by 2 hours, I missed my bus connection from Auckland to Whangarei without any other seats available on any bus liner that day. So I took a chance, talking to people that were paying their parking fees at the machine, to see if anyone could possibly give me a lift up north. Puppy eyes help in these situations, but what didn't help was looking like a rugged sailor in thermals as pants, gumboots and a salty, dirty sailing jacket - holding an old grey bag. I am not sure what people must have thought exactly. It does help to live in a sailing nation though. I am not sure what people would have thought of me turning up like that at Amsterdam airport?! Anyhow, I don't know how long I stood there, maybe an hour, before a lady that was heading up to Warkworth decided to take me along. While we were driving, I explained my situation and it didn't take her long to figure out who I was.

She drove past Warkworth and told me that she would bring me all the way up to Whangarei, which is about another hour further!! It was getting dark and she thought it would be safer if she took me home. Even though I told her that I would find my way home, she insisted on taking me the other half of the journey. Oh how thankful I was for this woman! 

Daniel was sleeping when I finally got to our friends place, he spend most of the week sleeping and resting. But now, a few weeks after the accident he's getting better everyday, we probably will soon be able to move back to Guppy :) Except for a sore wrist and slight headaches he is doing fine now, which, of course, is a big relieve for me. 

If you want to see how Lia, Gerard and Johannes are doing on Anam Cara, you can track them on this website: http://my.yb.tl/liaditton




For picture's please go to the english weblog. 



Here's a beautiful article about the restoration of my sextant, done by Bill Morris. He has done an absolutely fantastic job.



For all my fans worrying about the damage of Hurricane Pam:

Hurricane Pam passed us without leaving much damage. In the Town basin where Guppy lays not much was felt luckily and so we do not have a single scratch of the category 5 hurricane passing New Zealand along the coast last week.





Well,.. lets see what I can write about this time. I kind of feel like those days at sea, where there was always so much happening, But still I wouldn’t know what to write about. I think I will just start with the most exiting thing that happened. During our trip on Anna Rose I had been taking a lot of sights with the sextant. And doing complete Astro Navigation reductions. (of course checking myself with the GPS as well) It wasn’t all that easy - even on the days without much wind the boat was rolling and the sun was standing right above us. We were heading south while the sun was heading north and so we had one day where our latitude equaled the sun’s declination. And I realized, that taking sights at that moment isn't that easy.
Nevertheless, I was pleasantly surprised by how well my sights turned out. Most of the time it turned out to be almost at our exact position. I had lots of fun doing it, but the main reason I had taken my sextant on this trip was to complete my last part of my 'Yachtmaster Ocean' exam. In order to be able to do the last Oral part of the exam you need to do a practical. Luckily my examiner was as happy with my sights as I was and he didn’t even really ask me too much about it. Instead he asked me a lot of ‘’what would you do if’” kind of question. What if you dismast for example, or in case of a hole in the boat. I was telling him everything I knew about boats, weather systems, passage planning and various other topics. I was really nervous… even though, in the end there was not any reason to be, because the examiner seemed very satisfied with my knowledge and happily granted me my 'Yachtmaster Ocean' certificate.
As for the rest of life, it’s good. I am really enjoying living in Whangarei. Lots of lovely people around, and also Guppy has a lot of company. Neighbors come and go, while Guppy happily rests on the pile moorings and has many story's to tell to her mates from the past years.
At the moment Daniel & I are housesitting on a farm again. It’s quite nice not having to row and walk to shower and toilet for a while. And the big kitchen is much appreciated. Although I really do love the coziness on Guppy. Every now and then I still give presentations, and do some promoting for the English book. Last week, I flew down to Nelson for a talk at a fundraiser. We had a massive turnout and the boathouse - which was relatively roomy - seemed to get really small one of a sudden, with almost 200 people cramped inside and some outside not able to get in anymore. Everybody seemed to really enjoy my rambling about Guppy, waves, islands and life at sea so that makes me happy as well.






Check out some pictures of my latest sailing adventure here


Excuse me for being so slack with my blog! I just realized that I didn't even wish anyone of you a merry Christmas & a wonderful new year. 
So hereby a very belated Happy New year to everybody :) 

Christmas was wonderful again! Three friends of Daniel came over for a short summer holiday aboard and we took Guppy out for a sail to the Whangarei heads. We initially hoped to sail out to sea, but the weather was a little too rough to go out with three crew that had never sailed before - so I decided it would be more enjoyable to spend the night in a quiet bay near the heads, explore the shore there, scrape the hull, spend a rolly night out and then turn back - with three crew that know a little more what life's like afloat :)

Otherwise we have been busy with all sorts of things of daily life (including friends, work, maintenance on Guppy and other ordinary things that keep us alive and happy) - We also did a boat delivery. Only a few days ago Daniel, Rafael and I got back to Whangarei.

Early January Daniel and me flew over to Port Vila, Vanuatu, and spend about a week getting 'Anna Rose', a 13m sloop ready to be returned to New Zealand. The Hurricane season had started and so I had to watch the weather very carefully. There seemed to be no ideal time to leave. Different weather systems roared over all the time and created messy weather patterns. So when the boat was ready I departed from Port Vila with Daniel and Rafael as crew. Rafael has sailed a lot in the past and saw this delivery as a nice opportunity to be out at sea for a little while again. Sailing with him was interesting, because it gave us a lot of insight into “findacrew.net” and their makers. Rafael is its founder and to find out that he’s not just a computer specialist, but actually knows also about sailing himself (and was able to amuse us with lots of wild stories!:) was quite an aha for us. It explained, why ‘findacrew’ is so well set up for sailors and focused on crew and captains needs. It needs a sailor to serve sailors efficiently :)

The first two days immediately put the boat and us to the test. We landed in some sort of tropical system, which – according to weather maps – were supposed to develop more after they had passed us. We didn't have any means of getting weather maps on board, so I still don't really now what the weather did out there exactly. We sailed for a day in 35knots of wind on the beam bashing into waves. At night Rafael and I were up when the wind suddenly dropped. It was a very dark night. We couldn't tell the difference between the night sky and the sea. It all seemed to be one black mass that was tossing us around wildly. With no horizon to fix our eyes on, it didn't take long for all of us to get seasick. The sea had build up and seemed to come from two different sides. After about ten minutes trying hard to keep her sails from ripping and the boat from damaging anything by rolling around very wildly - the wind suddenly came back from the opposite direction, only this time with a fist of 50knots! 
We found a stable course for Anna Rose to lay on for the rest of night, not really going anywhere but just keeping the boat together. Exhausted we lay down in the cockpit with our wet weather gear completely soaked. The next day I realized that Rafael had slept in a waterfall that was streaming down the bench that he laid on. That night gave him a bad cough for the rest of the trip :(  When the winds finally ceased, we got the calm after the storm, which lasted for four days… There was no use in motoring for days, so we just patiently waited… slept, read, ate, dived into the bright blue deep (which I never would have done if there wasn’t dolphins around)… and so on. 
When we just decided to try out paddling :-) , a breeze cooled our cheeks and filled the sails to a gentle speed of under 2 knots. Other days again we just took the sails down and rolled about in a smooth, silent ocean. 
As it generally seems to happen at sea, there's either too much wind or too little and when it's a good amount of wind it is doomed to be on your nose. And so it seemed to be. We sailed slowly for a day or two, when a nice breeze replaced the calms. Soon enough the winds strengthened and on a close haul we were beating into seas again, that were now building up. I was very pleasantly surprised by how well Anna Rose managed to force herself through the waves. I think that it helped, that she is a long-keeler and very very heavy. That way we still managed to make good speeds and also to stay on our rumbline. Progress was certainly great then, but comfortable is surely different. It took us 12 days to get across from Port Vila to Whangarei, where we then moored the boat, rowed ashore, shook off the salt and indulged in a delightful meal at George & Ellens place – back home!

P.S.: Another thing that excited me was the adventures that I had in Iceland. I was offered to take place in another expedition for a dutch TV channel, but this time not in the hot Marocan desert but the iceland cold. Of course I couldn’t resist the opportunity to visit such remote place without even having to pay and organize it yourself. So I ended up on volcanic and icy grounds for a couple of weeks and later on dutch home screens. In case you’re interested and understand a bit of dutch you might like to see some bits of film cut to a weekly series about the troop and me fighting cold drops, cold heights and dog food, while the landscape was well worth all that!   Here is the link: http://www.expeditiepoolcirkel.nl/




USA radio interview.


starting at 3.50



Another interview




Radio interview,







The last 2 months I have been busy with some presentations and visiting family. Time in Europe flew by. I went to Spain where I was invited for the "Sail in" Festival. I loved walking around Bilbao, which is an old city with lots of beautiful architecture, I also really enjoyed meeting the other sailors that were at the festival. Racers of big boats were present as well as those that cruise the oceans using only astronavigation in their tiny boats. Capucine Trochet was one of the speakers who really fascinated me with her story. She is sailing mostly singlehanded using only celestial navigation. Her boat is a tiny boat from Bangladesh that is made from canvas jute (40%) , Polyester and recycled materials. This is the first boat made like this and she hopes to sail it back to Bangladesh to prove it's strength. Go Capucine! :)

Unfortunately I don't understand spanish and therefor couldn't follow what was being said on the festival. Which means that I had to get the personal stories by asking the people for an english version. Luckily a lot of video material was included, which made it more interesting for me :) 

The following week I found myself in Copenhagen. With its typical buildings and lots of water, it reminded me a lot of Holland. Prior to the presentation I went for a sail with the host on her boat. We sailed a little around Copenhagen and into the harbor where the mermaid sits. I love seeing the differences between boats in various places of the world. In Copenhagen I found a lot of old Colin archer type boats. Very wide and mainly wooden.

But then it was really time to get back to poor Guppy - who has been on her own for 6 months! On the way back I made one more presentation-stop - this time in Lake Tahoe, California. I stayed there for four days, enjoying the area and its people. I got to go wake-boarding on the Lake and jumped of a cliff into one of the clearest lakes in the USA! The area is perfect for adventurers on many levels, and I connected well with the people living there. There were about 350 people who turned up for my presentation, which I thought was pretty awesome for it being in a relatively small town. 

After another long plane ride I arrived in Auckland, where I took the bus back to Guppy. She was as expected full of Spiders,but not as much as I was expecting. Or maybe I just didn't find them all yet. It is so good being back! I had an awesome nights sleep and it felt so right to open my eyes and realize I am home. It is still a little to cold at night for my comfort zone though. Or maybe I should just close the windows a bit more.. The next couple of days I will be busy cleaning up Guppy and seeing if everything still works as she certainly doesn't get any better from sitting in the berth on her own. Oh and as I arrived back home, I found another nice surprise - the certificate of my Yacht Master Offshore! :) I had done the practical just before we left to Tahiti so that I didn't get to see it before.

Next month I will be busy doing a bit of a book tour through New Zealand. My book has finally been translated into english and will be published on the first of November this year by Harper Collins in New Zealand! :) 




 Kim and I enjoying time together. 


 My Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate :) 

 The english version of my book, only two weeks to go before it will be in the stores! 


Picture's can be seen on the english weblog.



On the 31st of July we left New York and headed to Frankfurt with a stopover in Paris. I had decided that I actually wanted to go to Holland after the flight was booked and thought it would work to get off in Paris. Dad had his boat in a dry dock in Zeeland and I really wanted to see it before it would go back into the water. Last time I saw Havorn dry, was when it had been let in the water for the first time - so this was a special moment that I did not want to miss. In JFK I asked if it was possible to get my luggage off the plane in Paris, but they told me there was no way. I didn't really try hard, as we were very late for our flight, very late means, the check-in had already been closed and we were just very lucky to still get on the plane involving much running. Daniel would continue to Frankfurt to his family and could take my backpack along. From Paris I took a bus to Rotterdam where my grandparents picked me up. I had not told my dad I would come to Europe and so when I finally arrived at the dry dock and he came out it was a big surprise! That night I also got a big surprise - Daniel told me that the stewardess in the plane had asked where I was, and when he said I had gone out they told him my luggage had to go as well, so they checked for it but came back with the message that my luggage wasn't there anymore. And so Daniel thought, great Laura got her luggage of the plane, which I didn't. When he told me this I did got a little distressed. I was almost ready to call the airport in Paris, but then he told me that he did actually have my luggage, and just wanted to give me shock - which worked! Turned out that both the backpacks had been put on Daniel's name and therefore not been taken off the plane. I was very lucky that my backpack came straight after Daniels' pack in Frankfurt, because he had already assumed it was with me, and would not have waited for it. 

Time with my dad was great, I helped with getting the last things ready on the boat and then sailed it back to Den Osse with him, after it was let back in the water. After that I spend a week traveling with my sister who was working in the circus again. Now I am visiting the rest of my family in Holland. I will be in Spain for a sail event from the 4th to the 6th and on the 12th in Denmark for a presentation, and for after that, I got more adventures planned, but more to that later :)



East Coast


The last couple of days before flying to Europe, we stayed with old friends of Daniel. They live in Pennsylvania and have two kids. We spend a lot of time playing with them. I got the mum inspired to raise her 5 year old by doing some more housework. I told her how I always had to do the dishes and fold the laundry and how much I complained about that, but that I am happy now that Dad raised me like that. So she started to do that with her child, and the little one now hangs up the washing and does the dishes as well. Isn't that awesome?! They live in Amish country. I had not really heard of Amish folk before and it was interesting to see how these people live. In the area where they live there were both Amish and Mennonites. Some of them are still riding horse-buggies only, without rubber or electricity. They all farm themselves. Somehow I really liked the way they think about things, like growing their own food and making things themselves. I don't think I would be able to live the way they do though, for many reasons.



California and the wild west 


From the Redwood forest we kept on heading South, following the coastline. Compared to the temperatures further inland the west-coast was very cold and going for a swim didn't sound as attractive anymore. Along the way we admired the beautiful beaches and adorable old villages with a very typical beach and surfing culture. We drove as far south as Santa Cruz, where we left the amazingly beautiful west coast and started heading east. I found the Californian coast very beautiful and wished I could have spend some more time. The surfing culture, wildlife, villages and sharp cliffs along the coastline reminded me somewhat of New Zealand. But that beauty soon disappeared,and so did the cold. It became very hot very soon, with temperatures up to 45 degrees, there was nothing left of anything we had seen in California. Only dry plants and a lot of sand caught our eyes. We were on our way into Death Valley. The highways so far hadn't impressed us much, so we often chose to take smaller roads leading us to all sorts of magical places. This time we ended up on a small dirt road leading us into some mountains that where so dry they seemed to be big sand hills. When we finally came out of the hills we overlooked a flat area where there was, well.. basically nothing. It seemed like nothing, nothing but sand and dry rock. Just like I expected Death Valley to be. But once we actually drove in this endless place of nothing, I was a lot more impressed than I expected. There are amazing rock formations, sand-hills and clay pans that somehow had the same effect on me as the nothingness of the ocean. Seemingly nothing, but in fact something. Hard to explain, but very impressing. I was not much impressed by the heat though.. We did have an air conditioner in the car, but with this heat it wasn't doing much anymore. I found the heat the hardest to deal with at night. As much as I had experienced desserts, I knew that the temperature drops at night. But here I don't think it dropped at all. We slept in the car somewhere along the road as usual, but much sleep I couldn't get. With all doors open it was still to hot. I even felt like it was worse, as the hot wind burned my skin. The next day we drove into Las Vegas. One other crazy place on this world. I am not to sure what to write about Las Vegas, especially as I feel like there has been written enough about it. Both of us weren't to interested, and so we only spend half a day to see if it really was as people told us. And yes, it definitely is a crazy place where everything seems possible. The weirdest was to see a huge town like that in the middle of a big dessert. That night we stayed near a big lake not far east of Las Vegas. Big dark thunderstorms made the sky a vivid grey and the sand got whipped up so violently that we had to jump into the car, otherwise we would get sandblasted. From here the Grand Canyon wasn't so far anymore either. It took us a little longer as we went off the highways again and actually ended up going really off-road. We had hoped to see the Grand Canyon without paying the fee to see the crowded park area, but that has been made pretty impossible and so we ended up entering the park, and well at 5 in the morning.

The rainstorms that had been with us again all night hadn't been blown away yet and with the sun trying to peak through, it made for a beautiful scenery. By late morning rain and clouds were gone and a hot sun was shining on our head. Halfway through the park we found a steep path leading into the canyon, whose call we couldn't resist - and soon found us sweating on rough ground. It turned out to be an amazing walk, very steep but incredibly beautiful. The Grand Canyon is unimaginably big, and with more colors and shapes than I could imagine. We ended up very glad to have paid the entrance fee and gone into the park.  

When we drove into New Mexico a bit of green finally started coming back. I loved the rock formations in the Grand Canyon and the rest of the dry places as well, but a fresh river to swim in and some trees and wood to make campfires again were very welcome. We drove through New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee. All of them had their own beauty. In New Mexico we saw a whole town that was build in utopian style, with clay, round forms, …just the cutest and most beautiful town I have ever seen. Oklahoma put us on many straight roads. And I mean really straight! We hoped to see a Tornado and chase it, but we drove through fairly quickly and did not see one. In Tennessee fireflies danced around us at night, looking like little stars giving us a private performance.



Redwood & Northern California

We have now come into the Redwood forest, which lay in the north of California. The trees are amazing and Daniel, being a tree lover, is totally in his habitat. I am very much in my habitat too, not really because of the trees, but because we have finally reached the pacific ocean on the west coast, after 14 days of no salt water. It always makes me very happy and relieved to see that the ocean didn’t run away while I was gone. While staying close to the ocean we ventured into the forest, to look at these amazing big and ancient giants of the earth. Some of which had survived lightning, flood, the axe and wild fires. They’re tough for sure!


Montana & Southwest bound

By now we had reached Montana and if anybody has done the math so far, this is very, very far away from the ocean… I had never been so far from the ocean and I started to miss it. But there are more things in life than the ocean and there was a reason why we wanted to come to Montana - namely this is the state in which Robin Lee Graham (the author of “Dove”) and his wife Patti live. Sadly we didn’t get to meet Robin as he was fishing in Alaska, but we did get to meet Patti. I read “Dove” a couple of times throughout my life and was thrilled to meet Patti and hear more about what had happened after their great voyage. I was positively surprised to hear Patti’s stories. It didn't include much sailing. But many great adventures through live, like raising their kids, building a house and finding positive and good things in life. From Montana the journey went on through Idaho and into Oregon, passing many beautiful and different faces of the states. From really cold areas to really hot ones, where we looked for rivers to jump in because – with no air-conditioning in the car - there was no other way to cool down. We camped next to a cold but clear river one night and while cooking our spaghetti on an improvised cooker (which is basically a campfire made inside a little, iron cage, so that we need less wood and a smaller fire to have enough heat to cook food) and not having a phone or computer distracting us, we observed nature around us. We watched how ants fought a worm-like insect that looked like a stick and acted like one, but in fact was a little creeping thing. Later on we saw the ants attack a caterpillar, felt sorry for it, and helped it shake them off. As soon as it was free, it ran faster than I have ever seen a caterpillar run! And then, on the way to a wake-up dip in the morning, we came past two baby snakes chilling out on the rocks, while taking in the heat of the sun. So far the American outback surprises us very positively.



Teton & Yellowstone National parks

Just before reaching Teton, we got to a little town called Dubois. Dubois fascinated us by its beautiful log houses and cozy wild west atmosphere and we stopped at a little souvenir shop. On the path to the door made-up bear paws led the way into the store. My hand could fit into these paws five times, that’s how big they were. I asked the lady if this was a real size paw and she answered that it was about the normal size of a grizzly, but that there were bigger ones for sure… She started telling us stories about Grizzlies who had ventured into town and how there had been attacks. As I listened to her stories I started realizing how bears were part of everyday life in this area. That night we slept as close as possible to town, with our windows up, the doors locked and me getting scared with every unfamiliar sound I heard. The next day got even better as we even saw a Grizzly bear from the road, walking into a camping area. At that moment I was really happy to be sitting in the car with wheels that could get me away fast. Even down on its four legs, a Grizzly is an enormous creature, so I don’t want to imagine him standing up in front of me. They’re not known to attack humans often, only if you surprise them or if they have cubs to defend. After I saw the bear I got over my fear somehow and hoped to see another one - so we still did some hikes, but always carried bear-spray and tried to make noise so that they were aware of our presence. Making noise was a bit against my feeling though, because I did actually want to see wildlife, I just didn’t want it to eat me! After Teton we spend three days in Yellowstone. There we found lots of hot springs, geysers and geothermal activity, which didn’t excite me as much after knowing New Zealand, but it was still fascinating to see. Much more fascinating to me was the wildlife. One early morning we went out to see wolves in a valley that’s known as their hunting ground, but they didn’t show up. Instead we saw a moose, a coyote, black bear and uncountable elk, deer and Buffalo along the way. Watching these animals in their natural habitat was a beautiful thing. They are quite different animals compared to those in a zoo. I'd really rather not see an animal, than watching it imprisoned behind bars and walls.


For the latest blog and picture's please visit the english blog, either by going to the English webpage or Click here




Toronto & Westward bound

And so the fun begins :) First stop, Toronto. I was presenting at Ideacity, a three-day conference that includes a lot of different speakers and topics. From genetic engineering over to entertainers and adventurers. After the conference we didn’t stay in Toronto much, even though it seemed to be a nice city - especially the great lakes had a strong draft. But New York had given us enough city input for a while, so that our eyes were focused on the western horizon now. I knew that the states were big, but I don’t think I ever really got the whole picture. For two days we drove through cities, over wide, long and straight highways and eventually we disappeared into the smog of Chicago. Once we were out of the smog, green meadow’s with dairy farms dotted all over them pleased our eyes. For another two days that was all we saw. Then coming to the far west of South Dakota the landscape started changing. The badlands formed some magnificent landscapes with bear soft rock standing in the form of hills with sharp edges and cliffs, all rising out of the flats. We also ventured past the great faces of Mt.Rushmore. The spot for the best view was occupied by a lot of tourists and we decided not to go there. Instead we climbed to the top of a rocky hill, to look at this amazing piece of art, so extremely big and still so beautiful and precise. We mainly just thought about how much fun it must have been to climb those rocks and create that piece of art. But there is no way to climb these rocks anymore. About every tree has a sign pierced onto it prohibiting us to go on a cross-country adventure to come closer to those cliffs. And so we continued into the green hills and empty lands of Wyoming. Many deer jumped over the grassy hills as we continued our way west. Somewhere along the way we had heard that there are bears in this area but forgot all about it until it got dark and we ended up in a dark forest looking for a place to sleep. With the darkness and the silence I remembered the bears. Having never been in bear country before, the idea freaked me out a bit and I wished that we would’ve had some more info on what to do. So we did the only thing we knew we should, and hung our food up in a tree, about 100m away, and went to sleep. Neither we nor our food got eaten by a bear that night, so that morning was a great relief. But this was just the beginning of a very exiting area.
As we drove through Riverton, we experienced how quickly the weather can change. The skies turned dark and a strong wind came up. I told Daniel to pull over as soon as possible and just as we did extreme gusts of wind and rain came pounding onto the car. The rain changed into hail quickly and it wasn’t like the hail we knew from Europe. It was much more severe. Remembering pictures of hail stones as big as tennis balls, I got a bit nervous and told Daniel - who was sitting behind the wheel - to find a save place for the car. Hiding on the lee side of a big building we waited out the storm. As the hail was pounding to the ground, everything outside a circle of a meter disappeared in thick gusts of water pouring down. After less then half an hour everything got quiet and we hit the road again. There we were given one good reason why Americans drive big cars. The road was transformed into a river that reached a depth of half a meter at some points. As we were driving through two walls of water, created by our own wheels, we realized that the very hot and dry city that we had entered now had changed into one big swimming pool. We felt small in our Subaru Legacy, when big Utes drowned us when driving past. So - as much fun as it was to drive through a river in down town, we choose what was best for the car, went uphill, and kept doing so until we reached Teton National park.


New York,

Leaving the beautiful little town and the friendly people that we had stayed with in Tahiti, Daniel and I went through a massive culture shock. We flew to the US of A, and from all the places that there are in that country, we went straight into New York. But the culture shock was a rather pleasant one. New York is somehow different from most big cities. As you may have figured out, Daniel and I are both no big city fans. New York however managed to keep and entertain us for almost two weeks. Walking along Brooklyn town often feels like walking through different countries while you’re still in the same city. So many different faces, cultures and stories. Nevertheless we would have been out of there earlier if it wasn’t for the car. We were hoping to buy a car and do a road trip through the states. But that wasn’t as easy as it sounds. Without a social security cart and a US address you can basically do nothing other than what normal tourists do, and apparently that’s not buying a car. The actual purchasing of the car wasn't too big of a problem - it was the registering. We tried many things, and failed many times. A friend in California tried to help out but the car needed a smog check and since the car was in New York, that didn’t work out. Finally we managed to register it through a friend in Maine, who needed a car anyway and so we made a deal that he would register the car and than get it for a nice price after our trip.



Link Radio interview 





Link Video Toronto 




Well I suppose it really is time to write something again. Last month we where going for a day sail to Opua on Gizmo, a 60ft Catamaran that we had sailed on before. While already underway we got to talk about their next voyage, New Zealand - Tahiti. I started dreaming away about Tahiti and the Islands again I got to love so much, the people, warm clear water and perfect breeze. Paul, the captain saw this and said that we should just come along. Everybody agreed but laughed as they would leave the next day and nobody thought we could actually come along. But my brain was working at full speed, thinking off all the reasons why not to come along. I didn't find one that was good enough so I looked at Daniel with puppy eyes and 10 minutes later we sat in the dinghy on our way back to Guppy. In half a day we packed our stuff, said goodbye to most of our friends in Whangarei and prepared Guppy for a long silence. For such little notice I am surprised about how little we forgot to think about. The next day we where at sea again, in my element. A little sad to leave Guppy and New Zealand behind but looking forward to show Daniel around French Polynesia. The trip to Tahiti wasn't the smoothest, lot's of squalls, headwinds and little wind laid on our path. But therefore we had some amazing sunsets. We did the 2200 miles in about 11 days so even though we did less than the average speed of Gizmo it was still a lot faster than we would do on Guppy. After a quick fuel stop in Rarotonga, we where surrounded by lightnings for 2 entire days. The wind meters didn't survive and it seemed to be a bit much for the autopilot as well. I am so glad I don't have any of those fancy meters and electronics on Guppy. Means then they can not break down or give trouble. The more you have on a boat the more can break. But I suppose if you have enough money it's nice for the time that it works.. Ones we got to the beautiful islands of French Polynesia we stayed onboard Gizmo for a little longer as they would do the Tahiti Pearl regatta and we wanted to take part. It's a 3 day race run between Raiatea, Tahaa and Bora Bora, which meant that we anchored at another place every night. With a heavy tender, a generator, an anchor and lots of spares, Gizmo had no chance of winning that race - so we sailed in the cruising division, in which we did actually win the first price overall. For one night we stayed in Bora Bora and I had the chance to catch up with the family Duval who took care of me and Guppy when I arrived in these islands the first time with Guppy. It was amazing to see them again. Sadly I only had the time to have a drink with them and to chat about what had happened since we saw each other last. I will never forgot their hospitality.

I am still sadly surprised by the many changes happening in these islands, every time I get back here the islands and its people are more destroyed then I knew it from before. By now there are four Mac Donald's on Tahiti!! These islands have been blessed with the best fruits, fresh water and fish in the world, but instead the people go to Mac Donalds!! With every bit that comes into their culture from the outside world like, computers, tv's , fast-food, plastic toys they lose a bit of their own amazing culture.. The people of Tahiti see America as an example, while in American people see Tahiti as Paradise.. when will people learn to love and value their own culture? ..and see that with all these electronics and manipulated foods the world is not getting any happier.. It hurts me so much to see these islands slowly change to what in my eyes will be the end of this beautiful world.. I know that there is a lot to say about this topic, and I would love to write a lot more about it but I think I will leave that to another blog as this one is already getting a bit long and I still want to tell a little more.

Even though the people here are changing they still are more hospitable then I have experienced anywhere else in the world. Currently Daniel and I are staying with a Tahitian family in Papenoo. We where hitchhiking around the island and ended up in this little town for the night. The beach looked good for camping and so we went to the store to buy some baguette and juice for diner. That's where we met Bety, who works there as a cashier. We got to talk a little and after she found out that we where planning to camp on the beach, she immediately invited us to come and stay with her. We thank her a lot but tried to explain her in our best french ( which is very bad..) that we are used to camping and it was alright, and so we went to the beach. We enjoyed our diner and gazed at the ocean for a while when it started to pour down with rain. There was a roof of a party tent on the beach which gave us perfect shelter so that we didn't worry to much, but just as we wanted to crawl under, someone tapped on our shoulder and wildly waved and pointed to a car. It was Bety! She wouldn't let us stay here and so we grabbed our backpacks and ran through the streaming rain to her car. Bety's english is about as bad as our French and so talking happens mostly by feet and hands, but we are surely learning a lot of french quickly now. Bety lives just up the hill with her husband and 3 children. The next morning she took us to town and introduced us to a cousin who has lived in America for 18 years and therefor speaks perfect american. They took us along for a local lunch on the beach and taught us to prepare and cook Uru ( breadfruit ), we made plates out of leaves and learned about the things you can do with coconuts. Uru looks like a big green ball-like fruit that grows in big trees. They are best when they turn yellow and old. We cooked them in a fire until they where pitch-black and then peeled the skin off. What is left is a soft potato like thing, but bigger, sweeter and much better!

Just before we met this amazing family in Papenoo, Daniel and I did a 2 day hike up Mount Aorai, which is the second highest mountain at a hight of 2066m. The walk is right on the ridge and very steep. A very dangerous path to walk if it rains, but we where fortunate and had amazing weather. There are two huts on the way in which we slept and so slowly made our way up to enjoy the view at the most. It really was an amazing hike, clear in the mornings and at night, cloudy in the afternoons.

For now we are staying with the Family and enjoy learning about their local traditions, a truly beautiful experience. What an amazing love these people have got in their hearts. It makes me want to share it with the world and somehow show them how wonderful it is to just do something for somebody and not want anything back. I wish I could tell people how much happier it makes one to do that.. It's great to see how these people do that and I very much hope to be able to give this hospitality and love to other people as well, so that maybe they will want to pass it on further.




Arrival in Rarotonga for a quick fuel stop.Beautiful sunsets on the way First night sunset after leaving New Zealand. Gizmo under spinnaker in Light winds.Preparing to pull up the spinnaker. Repairing the jib. Beautiful sunset! Squall developing in the back before nightfall. And a beautiful sunrise on my watch! Halfway mark sunrise :)  surrounded by lightning at night for 2 days. Gizmo anchored in Tahaa, last day of the Tahiti Pearl Regatta. The Gizmo crew girlsSnorkeling on a plane wreck in TahitiThe trail to the top of Mount AoraiAlmost at the top, above the clouds! View from the first hut, Mount AoraiMaking plates out of leaves with Bety and her family                                                  Making Coconut milk by squeezing freshly graded coconut. Preparing the Uru and cooking it on a campfire.                        Walking along a river in Papenoo valley, found some beautiful waterfalls.                         A bit further the river went trough an awesome gorge! 


For the latest blog and picture's please visit the english blog, either by going to the english webpage or Click here




A curious Albatross checking out on Guppy.Moonlight while seas are calm, some days are simply magical and indescribable                                                With the Spinnaker up Guppy lays straight and moves along at a steady 5kn in light winds.                         Guppy and her crew are loving it :)One of the most beautiful sunsets of the trip, 2 days out of Whangarei, it looked like the sky was on fire.First sight of the Island by daylight - we arrived and anchored in darkness.Guppy at anchor in the bay - can you find her? ;) Guppy at Anchor in Cascade bay, Norfolk Isl. Guppy meets Guppy! On board some locals which where kind enough to give us a lift ashore and back. Leaving Norfolk Island after a very enjoyable 6 hours there.  We where going through these grey skys with drizzle for days after leaving Norfolk Love those colours of the ocean and interesting cloud formations, no day at sea is the same!  Pancake time!! Everything happens on an angle.Beating through some rough seas on the way back, but Guppy's doing very well! :) Beautiful sunset, which we could only enjoy while on top of a wave..Seas getting rougher while going through a front on the way back.Sewing the replacement Main

Arriving back in Whangarei 



We are all cleared in and sailing home to Town basin. Guppy with a big smile on her bow, doing another 1000 nm together. The wind stayed and the last bit of the night it turned in our favor. But we had to tack until then though. We are very much looking forward to a FRESH water shower and some fresh food! :)



Guppy went like a rocket for a couple hours and then the wind just turned straight south, south east again and we're back to tacks... But the couple of hours that we could keep course where awesome! We're now at 35.18S 174.27E 37nm to go to Whangarei heads.



The Wind turned! yeay! So we tacked. The last two rough days, Daniel says he was slowly turning into a vegetable not being able to do anything :P. We didn't make much progress anywhere today as we heard a loud bang this morning and found the mainsail in two pieces... I think there's something about getting close to land that my mainsails just can't stand... I had one spare on board but with some little rips in it, so we spend the day sewing and putting the other main up. Now Guppy is happy sailing again, nicely on course to Whangarei doing 5kn, still pounding into some leftover seas but all very well on board :) We're now at 33.51S 174.27E



Well we've gotten into weather now. Guppy is dancing, two times reefed main, mizzen and storm jib. The speed has gone down quiet a bit as the waves have builded up and its hard making any progress right going into this weather. But at least making some and not going backwards :) We are now at 33.22S 173.43E The skies cleared up today and for the first time in a week we could enjoy a nice sunset again, but not without getting really wet.. :)



The wind picked up again fairly soon after I wrote and we didn't end up motoring, so that was good. Been going to much east all night now but doing reasonable speed. Instead of the wind dropping it has been around 15kn sometimes more. Put the 1st reef in the main which made Guppy a lot happier. Still all the other sails full up. Now at 32.34S 172.18E. We made bread and pancakes so we don't have to worry about food to much when we're pounding into waves, because the wind will start to pick up now. Guppy so far is doing really great. After around 38.000 miles sailing with her, I'm still impressed, especially now that we're pounding into waves and rollers start coming over deck. She's a tough one! We just had to renew one sail batten yesterday that had flown out, so some sowing as well. We just sowed the batten in now..



The wind dropped last night after we had sailed a little. We had to start the engine again, but the 10 hp Yanmar can't get into the choppy waves unless the sails are helping. So we had the volvo running for a little while last night. This morning we sail again but the wind dropped later and we are back to motor sailing. We have to fight for every mile! But yes we knew this before and it's all good. The sun came out today and there was not as many squalls and dark clouds hanging around, so that was a nice change. On the moment it's back to drizzle and cloudy sky's. Also the wind is dropping again, hmm speaking of dropping, the wind is litery just disappeared and we're back to bobbing, So we will have to start the engine... But therefore we have enjoyed a nice little breeze for most of the day, and been making some really good progress. We're now at 31.45S 170.38E.



Currently bobbing around at 30.49S 169.49E. We ran the small engine for the night as there was no wind, Guppy can't quiet get to 4kn though because we're fighting some swell and waves. But we made good progress since yesterday. There Is a little bit of wind coming now and we started to sail again, but doesn't really seem to be enough to stay on a steady course so might leave the engine by and motor sail for a bit.



We had a one hour squall in which we where able to sail the right course line, which was great but most of the time it's either S or W tacking. We are currently at 30.06 S 168.57 E. Still have about 15kn of wind and doing around 4kn. Daniel made some bread today which included some dough flying trough Guppy. He is still getting used to the fact that things really do start attacking you as you leave them alone for a moment. We also saw a big ship on the horizon. The sea and weather are not to bad. Some waves and a long 2m swell. Also a lot of squalls around but they seem to mostly just give drizzle and some wind shifts which are mostly in our favor, so that's life for now.



Well, after a very enjoyable day on Norfolk we are out at sea again. So we are all cleared in and out of Norfolk island, with a stamp in my, but most importantly Daniel's passport this time :) as that belong to the same procedure and is done at the same time. I have not often experienced such easy clearance! Custom hoped on board looked at the clearance of our last port and stamped our passports, later he did call again on the vhf though to ask for our passport details as he had forgotten to write them down. Daniel went ashore first, so I could stay on Guppy and watch the anchor as there is no any good anchorages around here. If he comes back I go onshore. A local actually gave us separately ( as one of us always had to stay on Guppy) a little tour of his island. Very friendly people on a beautiful small island. So far I can see the island looks very green and empty except for the many pine trees covering the wavy hills. Oh, and I almost forgot, Guppy met another Guppy! The boat that dropped of the customs guy, is also called Guppy and talking to the locals here we discovered that there is another 2 boats called Guppy on this island. Isn't that funny?! We are at 29.10S 168.11E now, doing 3.5kn on a starboard tack. So not great progress but pretty much all I can get out of her now. Sailing nearly full sail.




We just anchored in Cascade bay, a little rolly but really not as bad as I thought it might be, so quiet happy with that. We will do customs in a few hours when it gets light and everyone wakes up, so going to try to catch a hour of sleep as well :) So far the island looks pretty and very deserted, we didn't even see a single light on it when we approached, how cool is that! Okey well, going to get some rest now.




Still 45 miles to go, we will most likely arrive tonight. All is well here, wind and seas are just beautiful and Guppy is doing around 6kn. Makes me just wanna keep sailing, especially looking at the weather to get back to New Zealand... We would have 20-25kn on the nose which will be unpleasant.



We got some wind and are making good progress after some calms before yesterday. Still the seas are nice and calm. We didn't even have the sprayhood up for a single second of the trip yet. We are at 31.59 S 171.14E doing around 5.5 -6 kn at the moment. Yesterday we had the spinaker up for most of the day and where doing great speeds but took it down for the night tough as I didn't really trust the dark clouds on the horizon. Also yesterday we saw a albatross, very cool! Nothing else out here except for some little birds playing around Guppy. It's wonderful to be out again with Guppy, and Daniel this time :) Made a beautiful picture of Guppy with a magnificent sunset behind.





Abalony shell found on the Hen and Chickens ( Marotere islands)


As you can see on the pictures we have let Guppy out again. Going to the Hen and Chickens which is a group of islands just off Whangarei. Since I met Bernie last year when he took me flying in his little plane he has wanted to come out sailing on Guppy. So we finally made it happen and together with his 13 year old son, Gared, they made a great crew for the weekend. The sailing weather couldn't get much better. A great breeze from the beam brought us out to the islands while enjoying a nearly cloudless sky. Ones we arrived at the islands we found a nice spot out of the wind in 10m deep water. The fish must have watched us puzzled, when seeing me dive into the clear blue with my normal clothes on. Daniel taught me a lesson for something I said… what was it again?? :P A bit to cold for my likings though. Not like the pancakes for dinner - very much to our liking :) As the night fell, the wind started to turn around and picked up. It kept swinging around - now blowing us further into the bay and the anchor started dragging. While watching the rocks coming closer real fast , Daniel and Bernie very quickly hoisted the anchor and we sailed out of the bay, which by now was ruled by strong winds and a rolling swell. The moon broke through the clouds a couple times and gave us just enough light to carefully maneuver between two island to a safer anchorage. Luckily Daniel and I had sailed Guppy here in daylight before and knew what to look for and where not to go. The second anchorage turned out to be just a little bit more sheltered but at least now we would be blown out to sea in case the anchor should drag. The wind kept picking up, Daniel and I didn't sleep to well that night. Luckily our guests rather enjoyed the swinging of Guppy and woke up feeling rested. After a quick snorkel we sailed back with the wind on our nose. Guppy being completely in her element performed beautiful, doing a constant 7 knots all the way up the river.

We also enjoyed an awesome festival in Rotorua just before we went for that sail with Bernie and Gared. Raggamuffin gave 1% of it's ticket sales to YforYouth and all that money went straight to "Heart for Youth" which is a youth organization in New Zealand. So it came that we rocked the grass of Rotoruas International Stadium to the Raggae-sounds of Damian Marley (Bob Marleys Son) with YforYouth printed big on our back. During the weekdays we worked on a big steel boat standing on the hardstand, taking of rust, sanding ,polishing and then in the evenings work on Guppy continued, as right now we are actually very busy preparing Guppy for a trip again. We will do a visa run for Daniel as his visa has almost expired, and we haven't got all the paperwork ready yet to get him to stay. The trip will lead us to Norfolk island this time, roughly 500 miles north of Whangarei.




First of all, I wish everyone a very happy 2014!!  

As life kept me busy with exiting things, I didn't get the chance to write much in the last months so I'm quickly going to back up a little here. In November, Robert (Daniel's brother) came over to New Zealand. For a little while we worked on a big catamaran in Auckland, and straight after we continued doing some maintenance on Guppy so that we could take her out for a little trip. We didn't go very far as there's no need to go far to find some beautiful spots around here. We anchored at the Hen and Chickens, a group of island just a few miles off the coast. The snorkeling is amazing there, but as it is prohibited to go on shore, we got bored quickly and continued to the great barrier. There we found a beautiful bay, without any other boats at anchor, which surprised us, as it is the middle of the cruising season now. We found out quickly why there were no other boats anchored here… The holding ground for the anchor was terrible! It felt like the anchor simply didn't do anything at all as soon as we put the engine in reverse. We kept trying and trying at different spots and then moved a couple bays until at one stage it seemed like the anchor was holding. We set out a second anchor to be sure and then paddled ashore, where we landed on a beautiful deserted white beach.. ropes and swings hung of the branches of strong thick trees - but no one seemed to be around or close by.. A perfect playing paradise for some big kids ;) 

But that was only the beginning of the fun..

I finally got the chance to show my little sister Kim around in New Zealand, and invite her into my life here. During her Christmas holidays she came over to enjoy the New Zealand summer. So just after we arrived back at  Whangarei with Guppy, I drove down to Auckland to pick up Kim from the airport. My 15yo sister flew over from the Netherlands to New Zealand and After a long 29 our trip on different planes, we fell into each other's arms at the airport. We drove the two ours back to Whangarei at night, so nice driving here at night as there's no cars at all!  We saw 7 cars on the highway. The next day, Kim had to get used coming from winter in summertime and we went to explore some caves a bit up north. Life on Guppy got kind of crowded with four people but also crowded with fun. Kim is the first one of my family to actually visit me here in New Zealand, as it is simply to far away and to expensive to get here. Showing her my way of living and of course the place where I live, gave me many many smiles. I showed her around in Whangarei and took her gliding on a plane with Bernie, the same guy that took me flying across Northland in his little stunt plane about a year ago. It was the first time gliding for both of us and surely an amazing experience. No noise of an engine's roaring, just the wind, the sky, the clouds and yourself. You constantly have to look at the clouds to find the best lifting. Similar as with sailing, you're only using air-pressure systems to go to places. And when you are not able to find a good cloud that gives you a lift back up high - there's not much of a problem either as you can land in pretty much any paddock that's long enough. And we've got many paddocks in New Zealand. A couple days after Kim's arrival it was Christmas which we spend at George and Ellen's house together with friends and other sailors. Now that Kim was here I had to show her some more of New Zealand of course, so we packed the surfboard, the guitar, dinghy, and all of our stuff into Joy and started heading south. Taking turns in driving, we drove the five hours down to Rotorua in one night. By the time we arrived none of us felt like getting the tent up, so we ended up sleeping in the car with all four of us. But Kim is nice and small so it felt like three people anyway ;)  And as we were all very tired, sleep came over us pretty much straight away. We ended up with the four of us in the car more often after that, as our tent wasn't as water resistant as we had hoped. In Rotorua we showed Kim and Bobby the Bubbling mud and steaming parts of mother earth.  

She thought it was really cool, but found the smell unbearable and wondered why all these people would wanna live in the farts of mother earth… So we took her swimming in some hot rivers close by and I think that was good enough of a answer. I have been in that area three times now and am still amazed by the beauty and mystery's of that area. Driving along the highway in Rotorua we could see the lines of steam coming out of the trees where a hot river is. Further south we where surrounded by such beautiful round green hills that they could come straight out of a fairytale. Then we went to Taupo and stayed on a lovely spot next to the river. Also there was a awesome little cave next to a big waterfall where we climbed in. A very cool little spot. After enjoying the hot springs for a couple days it was time for some action. So we set out to climb the highest mountain of the North Island, Mt Ruapehu roughly 2800m. None of us had good climbing shoes and the best Kim and I had, were sandals. So we set out with the idea to just see how far we would get. It started of challenging straight away with some nice hiking over big rocks. Black rocks most of them, making the scenery look dead and burned like charcoal. But while hiking along, we could see brown and red colors too and even bits of green stiff grass and flowers. About half way up we encountered the first snow. Luckily it was very hard and we could walk over it without getting any snow onto our socks. So we got to the next rocky part, this time smaller rocks and more challenging as it was steeper as well. But we were rewarded with a great view. The last part was going up steeply and no way around the snow, so we slowly started trying and kept going bit by bit until we couldn't go any higher - standing on the ridge. As there weren't many clouds, the view was tremendous. We could see Mt. Taranaki and the dark looking Volcano Ngauruhoe. We started heading down not to long after reaching the top as the wind was freezing cold up there. Going down was by far the best part of the whole day, as we could just sit on our bum and slide down the mountain, a bit cold but it brought us back to the car very quick. Two days later Bobby left us to get his plane and continue his travels elsewhere in the world. So it was just the three of us left. We looked on the map and picked the area closed to us that looked most remote, Eastland. Off to new adventures, we cruised into an area where only few people live, mostly Maori's. As we drove past a beautiful remote coastline with wild sandy beaches, rivers and later on cliffs and reefs, we saw Maori's fishing and hunting. Along the reefs we collected some nice shells and abalone's. Holding the surfboard tight - we jumped into the waves a couple times, but as Kim got hit by the fin straight away, the fun of it was rather painful and not as enjoyable for her anymore. She did manage to catch some nice waves anyway. But as she didn't stand up yet, she will have to come back for that :)  For New Years eve we parked next to a clear river on the east coast. Paddled across with the small dingy we brought with us and walked for a bit. Then we made a nice campfire next to a river, with a magnificent star lit sky as our roof, roasted some meat and just had a really great time. We show Kim some big kauri trees a lot of other nice beaches and just had a awesome lot of fun together. After that there was not much time left. To fast came the time Kim had to leave for a her long flight back to the Netherlands, as school in Holland was starting soon and Kim had to go back home. All visitors are gone and 'normal' life on Guppy continues. Well…normal is a bit of an undefined word especially as I haven't really found out what normal life is, so I guess I better call it another stage of life on Guppy. 








So lets see where I was at,… yes that's right - I arrived back home on Guppy about a month ago and it didn't take long until I was out on the ocean again. I was contacted by George and Ellen onboard Winddancer, a boat that I had met in South Africa. They told me that they are in Raiatea (close to Tahitie) with an engine that's not too good and that they would love me to join them for the 2400nm trip across to New Zealand. At the same time I had another offer to crew on a big catamaran but let that go as I felt more connected to Ellen and George on Winddancer. So I booked a flight the same day and not even 48 hours later I landed on Raiatea. George built Winddancer about 25 years ago and they have sailed all over the world with it since then. The next day we did some provisioning, and I tried to get to know the boat a little before we cleared out of Raiatea and left the next morning. The first week we had some great warm winds pushing us along at 6.5 knots through the beautiful clear water. It was such a great feeling to be out on the ocean again. After we'd passed the Cook islands the voyage started going south, still great winds but it did start to get a little colder. For days and days we didn't see anything except for the endless blue. Not even birds or fish. I started to wonder what had happened to all the beautiful creature's I knew being out there before… One group of enormous dolphins turned up and played with Winddancer for about an hour. But these where the only dolphins we saw… A couple of days before we reached the Kermadec islands the days turned grey, waves started building and the wind turned against us. The following week we beat into 20-25 knots of wind, which made us go way more south than we wanted to. The nights where cold, but George and Ellen who aren't exactly the youngest people anymore kept having a great spirit. Ellen kept serving us great meals every day, even when the floor had turned into the wall and everything was trying to attack her. And George, who is in his seventies, just reefed and cranked the sails like a young strong man would do. I learned to have a lot of respect for these two people, and was so glad to be there with them instead of a big fast catamaran.. Finally the winds and waves slowed down on us and we were able to sail in a straight line to New Zealand which was a real blessing. But the winds kept dropping out and soon enough we where becalmed. Once the wind had stopped giving us a hard time out there, nature made up for all that in no time. It only took one day to forget about the waves smashing into our faces and the winds keeping us busy with the sails. We saw Albatrosses circling around the boat for two days, and two little brown birds followed us for at least four days before exploring other horizons. But the best thing was the whales that showed up next to Winddancer - gently moving along, not even noticing that we were there. Slowly we kept moving along towards New Zealand, still sailing as we didn't want to kill the engine that was already dying. Eighteen days after we had left Raiatea we saw New Zealand again, the same islands and the same heads that I saw first when I came into New Zealand with Guppy last year. Just now there were no breaking waves and no forty knots of wind blowing me towards the shallow waters. Instead we slowly watched the Poor Knights islands and the Great Barrier getting bigger until we could also see Bream head and the shoreline of New Zealand. We got there in the middle of the night, so that we only got a few hours of sleep before clearing in and a long day of getting up the river with almost no wind and only being able to motor at 2kn. But I wasn't in a hurry and neither where Ellen and George. We enjoyed looking around, especially as George and Ellen hadn't been going up the river since they left on Winddancer in 2001! A couple of days later I drove down to Auckland to pick Daniel up from the airport, who had stayed in Europe a little longer. His brother also came over after traveling in Australia for a while. So we are now showing him around a bit and enjoying the lovely summer.




I'm standing at the airport surrounded by my family who all drove to Amsterdam to say goodbye to me. Saying goodbye is never great fun, but I am in a very good mood as this plane will bring me closer to Guppy, closer to my home. With just a few days stopover in Dubai. An Australian friend whom I'd met in Thailand, lives in Dubai. There will be a sail race going on from Dubai to Abu dhabi and since I'd never sailed a race in that part of the world I thought it be very interesting. So from cold Holland, I landed into a very hot Dubai. I stayed with my friend, Elizabeth, who showed me different parts of Dubai. So I saw the huge shopping malls,  the skyscrapers which are all completely different from each other, burj kalifa proudly standing above all of them. In the old part of town there's no skyscrapers but old buildings and little streets, more like I know it from morocco. Somewhere in between all these buildings standing on top of each other there is the gold souk, a street... well a couple huge streets with shops that just sell jewelry and gold, and it just keeps going and going and going…  It was amazing to see but I was over it quite quickly as it was way to busy for me. 

 A couple boats had pulled out from the race as the forecast gave almost no wind for the period that we would be on sea, but luckily my boat still got to do the race. We had a great start, sailing in front of the boats we had to be in front of and making good progress. There are a few great sailors on board. But then after a day of sailing, the weather forecast made it's words right and we where becalmed. We could have made it back to the finish line in probably another 17 hours if it would have stayed like that, but one of the crew had to catch a flight that night and we where forced to start the engine so we could make it to Abu Dhabi in time.  I had a great sail and time on the ocean anyway with very nice warm temperature's and new waters. To bad we had a deadline to catch :-( Next day I had to wake up early as we wanted to see the camel racing before I would have to go to the airport. Camel racing is a very seriously taken sport and there is heaps of arabians training and racing their camels, a quite spectacular thing to watch. I knew that they could run fast, but just having seen our lazy camels in Morroco I was quite impressed how fast they where, sprinting over the racetracks here. I couldn't stay to long as I had to make my flight back to New Zealand. Such a torture sitting in a plane for 17 hours not being able to do anything and so exited to go home! But it made the arrival even better. The same day I drove back to Whangarei where I was very happy to learn that Guppy was still patiently waiting for me and had only taken on some spiders inside of the boat. Also my car Joy was still there where I had left her and started without a peeps! So I just got some cleaning to do now, most challenge thing will be to find time for that as I am always very busy. The next day I already had to drive back to Auckland for a Y for Youth meeting and now I am finally actually sitting still for a couple ours since I arrived home. So happy to be back. :-)





German radio interview:



For the dutch speaking Fans.



Many more video,s in german, Dutch and Englisch:




Last presentation in Germany on 6th of oktober 

just before starting my presentation in Hamburg yesterday, I worried about how I would manage to do it in German,.. but realized that it's a lot of fun :) It really seemed to have come through nicely, so that I decided to do one last big presentation in Germany before going back to New Zealand. I will hold my presentation on the 6th of October in Windeck.


letzte Präsentation in Germany am 6 oktober

Ich war etwas nervös eine Präsentation in Deutsch zu geben, als ich in Hamburg auf meinen Auftritt wartete… doch habe gemerkt, daß es viel Spaß macht :) Anhand des Feedbacks nach der Aufführung scheint es sehr gut gelungen zu sein, so daß ich mich entschieden habe, noch eine große Veranstaltung zu geben, bevor ich wieder nach Neuseeland ausfliege.


Die Präsentation wird stattfinden am sonntag 6.Oktober um 18 Uhr im, Bürgerkulturzentrum Windeck Schönecker weg 5 51570 Windeck Schladern Die Eintrittspreis ist 14 euro pp, Die Eintrittspreis für Kinder ist 8 euro.

Feedback Hamburg presentation:Klik








Life in Europe has been busy, and tough in many ways. It is more difficult then aspected for me to come back into a rushed society like this, and leave Guppy and New Zealand behind for such a long time. As much as I love to see my Family and work on the promotion of my German book, I realize more and more that this is really not home for me any more. The time spend in Europe I did a lot of promotion for my book, Ein madchen ein traum, that has just been released in Germany. In between I visited friends and surprised my sister by coming to the circus where she worked at for the summer. She didn't know I would come to europe so it was a very big surprise for her. And I finally got to watch her doing her circus tricks in real life, which I really really enjoyed. We all went to my dad's place for a while and enjoyed a bit of the dutch summer, with heaps of dinghy sailing, swimming and water-fun. But the fun can't stay forever, my sister went back to school and I went for a tour trough Germany for my book. After spending another week at my mum's place, we went to France to celebrait my 18th birthday there. A day that I have been looking forward to for a very long time..  In France we visited Leatitia, with whom I have traveled in New Zealand. Josefien who was also part of our travel team in New Zealand came along as well. And so I spent a great 18th Birthday in France with some really good travel mates I met in New Zealand. We went up the Eiffel tower and visited some beautiful old castles. After three gorgeous days with plenty of france baguettes, crepes, cheese and wine the party was over and we headed back to Germany, doing more promotion and presentations. The weather is starting to change to winter, and I am really looking forward to go back home to see Guppy in a couple weeks and enjoy the New Zealand summer. 





We had five marvelous days on Sweet Robin, the Jeanneau we borrowed from new made friends in Phuket. After checking everything on the boat and doing some necessary work on it as well like changing the oil and tightening the V-belt we sailed into a new cruising ground.They only had 20 meters of anchor chain so we had to find shallow spots for the night to anchor and with the common squalls gusting over us, having only 20 meters of chain went to my nerves a bit, but luckily the anchor had good hold and we didn't encounter many problems. Phang gna bay was our cruising ground for that week and even though we where on a different island every day the time wasn't even nearly enough to get a good view of the bay. Phang gna bay is scattered with huge pillar rocks sticking out of the water and islands formed out of limestone with in numerous caves and hongs. Hong is the Thai word for room, which the enormous openings in the middle of these islands are called, mostly entered trough a cave or narrow opening. After 5 days of sailing and exploring we sailed Sweet Robin back to the marina and lived on board for another couple days with the family before heading off to explore another part of Thailand. Five rides with locals a short bus ride and a train ride of 12 hours later we arrived in Nakhom Pathom at 3am. The benches at the railway station looked quite comfy and we slept there until daylight, and hundreds of Thai's rushing on and off the stopping trains woke us up. The trip continued westwards to Kanchanaburi where we stayed in a very cute guesthouse build on docks along the riverside. A very basic hut with a shower, cockroaches and ants included served us well, we where glad to leave our heavy backpacks somewhere while exploring the city.As everywhere in Thailand eating on the streets at local stands is the cheapest and easiest way to fill your tummy with yummy food. We didn't visit a single grocery store, except for a ice cream every now and then… Hiring a scooter costs about 5 dollar a day and turned out to be a great way to go exploring and drive to the local markets which are a great cultural experience, so is the driving… most of the time they drive left but that seems to be as many rules as they have for scooters. After a night in Kanchanaburi we traveled to Ayutthaya where we explored the old capital city with it's many impressing ruins and tales. The city isn't to big and a bike seemed to be the best way to explore the many old ruins and get lost in the littlest streets and backstreet markets with the cheapest best food. By then we had booked our tickets to Germany and time was getting a bit little. I will be in Europe for a while to promote the German version of my book and hope to do some presentations as well. We left Ayutthaya and went into the hectic of Bangkok where we didn't spent to much time looking around as it was far to busy and commercial for us, instead we spent a night at the airport and flew back to even more hectic and busy europe. Since then it has been a culture shock again, every time I get back into this rushed and strange society I wonder where this world is heading to. People just not thinking for themselves any more and following the 'protocol of life' made by media and people that just care about themselves. But mainly the mentality created by civilization is something that really bothers me. In Thailand or New Zealand for instance it is normal to greet people on the streets or in the car, but now I just get strange looks, and people probably think I want something from them… Friendliness is not something from this society anymore. Luckily there is still places in this world that are 'untouched' and people that haven't been sucked into the tornado of the western civilization. And I'm extremely thankful to be one of these people that can see and explore these places, but so far it makes me sad to come back into a world that has been so destroyed already..





We arrived in Phuket, Thailand safely - after an unexpected layover in Singapore. We had booked the 8 o'clock morning flight from Singapore to Phuket, which would be a 4 hour layover. But when we tried to check-in, they told us that we were booked in for the flight at 6pm!! Even after showing them the proof of our bookings they told us that we couldn't get onto that flight unless we pay another $200! The reason for that was that we had book via an agency and not directly with Tiger-Air. That's why Tiger remained firm in blaming the third party, Bravofly in our case, and wouldn't leave us an option... To make some use of the day we now had in Singapore, we took the train into town to explore a bit. For the little bit of time that I was there, I found it a very interesting city with a lot of art and buildings of strange shapes. When getting out of the subways, we looked up into the sky, as if watching a UFO land on earth. There it was, a sailors dream – a ship in the sky! …on level 57 to be exact. High above ground they put a boat on top of three buildings. We couldn't help having a closer look and went for level 57 - where we found a roof-top swimming pool that looked liked it was running of the building. It was a very spectacular view. We got sent down quite soon though, as it was just meant for paying hotel quests and not for poor looking and barefoot-backpacking Gypsy's :). Nevertheless we ended up having a great 15 hours in Singapore before we arrived in Phuket at night, to meet Dan's friend working on his boat in a marina not far from the airport. Knowing that, we started walking towards it. A few rides on the back of pick-ups helped us getting there quicker and finding Queen Tala in the dark. It's an old 52ft ferro-cement ketch with heaps of work to do before I would even consider it seaworthy... We have been working almost non-stop on getting the boat ready for a trial sail. We replaced the bowsprit and cleaned the whole bottom of the boat which pretty much meant removing 10cm of reef over the entire length. One day we went out sailing to an island on a Jeanneau with a family that we got to know here and lives on their boat. When we anchored in front of a beautiful island, Dan and I took our hammocks and slung 'em up in a tree that managed to grow with it's feet under water. We spent the next morning exploring the wild heart of the island a bit and had a good time on board later on, before we sailed back. The owners even gained some trust in our handling of the boat, so that they offered us to have the boat for a couple of days as they were heading off. And I will NEVER say no to cruising around Thailand while being the skipper myself. Really looking forward to being on the water again and exploring by boat. I'm completely in my element again living in a marina and working on boats in the humid heat of a new place to explore.




Just realized that my last blog is already a while ago and so many exciting things have been happening since. I was back on Guppy for a little bit but busy as always trying to organize a lot of things at the same time. After I sailed Guppy to Whangarei I attended an opening of an exhibition in the Auckland museum . The exhibition is called Moana ‘’my ocean’’. The exhibition starts at the surface of the sea with the smallest creatures and goes further into deepest parts of our oceans. I found it a very interesting and well made exhibition. Late at night I drove back up north to Guppy because the next day I was flying out from there to Dunedin for a presentation. The weather hadn’t been very good in the last days and down south the city’s were covered in snow and there are floods in many places. At the airport in Whangarei they told me that the chance of getting to Dunedin that day wouldn’t be very big, but unlike many other travellers who’s flights were cancelled I was extremely lucky and still got to Dunedin without much of a delay. The presentation for the Otago yacht-club went nicely as it was put together with the prize giving, and quite a few people and many kids turned up. Dan, who had left me in Christchurch two months ago to go working in Australia, had just finished his job so I looked for a cheap flight to Perth and found a good price. So a few days later I gave Guppy a big kiss and a warm hug before I set off to Perth. For the past two weeks I have been exploring Western Australia, distances here are far bigger then what I’m used to and everything seems ages away. We borrowed an old car from a sailor friend who just happened to be back home for a couple of days from his travels and took it down the coast to Albany. We stopped a couple times along the way and jumped in the water, but that didn’t last too long as the water is a bit to cold in winter for swimming. On the way we explored some caves, and high treetops, which they used to locate fires in the old days. Back in Perth I did a couple presentations for yacht clubs around here and spend some time surfing at the beaches on WA’s sunset coast. I haven’t been eaten by a shark yet which I am pretty happy about as that seems to happen quite often here. According to all the signs that we have encountered on the way everything in Australia is quite dangerous. We came across signs such as ‘’Rock risk area’’ while climbing in a cave, ‘’Tree climbing risk area’’ in the forests and a whole bunch of ‘’Coast risk area’s’’ in coastal areas on the way as well. It’s kind of sad to realize that we live in a world where people can’t think for themselves anymore, where these signs are actually necessary because if anything happens to them they blame others… But we had heaps of fun anyway. Next plan is to go up to Thailand but flights are a bit expensive at the moment as the holidays have started over here, but hopefully we can find something affordable soon and head back into the warmth.



The past three weeks I've been in Morocco for a Dutch tv game programme wich will be on television from August. For a change it had nothing to do with boats or water whatsoever. Pretty much the opposite of where you would expect me to be, I was in the sahara! Burning in 45degrees and breathing sand. It was a awesome experience on it's own, but after two days I already missed the ocean and had seen more then enough of the endless sanddunes and little sandstorms sandblasting my skin. I wasn't allowed to make any picture's during the trip so we will all have to wait until August to see the captured moments of it. 

 I just got back to Guppy about two days ago. A huge difference coming from the sahara into New Zealand winter. I'm not a big fan of cold but for now I'm enjoying it as my bones are still cooling off. I'm gonna sail Guppy back to Whangarei this week as there's not much to do in winter near Tutukaka.

While I was busy making television in the most remote places in Morocco my Dutch book has been Published, wich is pretty exiting. I had to write it in Dutch because of a contract I signed three years ago. There are a few English publishers willing to publish my book but don't want to translate it. I still havn't been able to find a translator that's affordable for me so that will still have to wait a bit.




I'm very proud to announce that my book 'A girl a dream' will be published tomorrow, sadly only in Dutch so far. 'A girl a dream' will be published in German the 23rd of September this year. I'm really trying to get it translated and published into English as well but haven't had any success so far. So I'm really sorry for my english fans as they will have to wait a little longer.



Klik for more info (dutch)


On the way from Auckland, the rain started pounding against the windscreen. 'Welcome back to Whangarei,' I thought while driving on familiar roads again. The weather hasn't really been great the last couple days but nevertheless I'm really happy to be on Guppy again. I wanted to make it good with her and take her out immediately but changed my mind after seeing the weather forecast. A strong gale! Ok, so maybe not such a good idea to go sailing right now... Leatitia is still with me, and we drove up to Cape Reinga instead. The wind was blowing in our faces and soon the rain followed, but the view was definitely worth it. The Pacific and the Tasman Sea coming together, creating 10-meter-high wild crossing waves. We stood there on the top of Cape Reinga for a while and looked out at the sea, me wishing I was out there again and Leatitia happy to be safe on land... After two days the wind settled down and we decided to take Guppy out for a sail after checking and maintaining her. The sun was shining in our faces and a fresh breeze came to say hello once out of Tutukaka harbor. As soon as we were sailing, the engine did not want to switch off! The whole electric panel was dead... including the RPM meter. I checked the connections but nothing seemed wrong with that so I emergency stopped the engine by hand. After all, Guppy is a sailboat and I don't really need an engine. On sea I checked the connections to the batteries and soon found the problem. Something had bumped into one of the power switches. So that was too easy. Guppy wasn't finished with me yet though. I think after such a long time away from her, Guppy was a little grumpy and she just wanted to make sure I was still capable. So a few hours later the chart plotter decided to give up his duty now. By dark we arrived in the Bay of Islands where we wanted to anchor for the night. Arriving there Guppy's spotlight didn't want to work anymore either, but with the good old paper maps and an old GPS I managed to miss all the rocks and anchored in a beautiful quiet bay, where we stayed for the rest off the night. On the way back the next day we had plenty of wind and rain as well, giving Leatitia (who hadn't sailed much before) a good view of how sailing can also be. I don't think she enjoyed that trip as much though as she was seasick most of the way. But Guppy was doing almost 8 knots and happy as in old days. Now she is moored on her berth in Tutukaka Marina again. She is happy to be out with me again and so am I. She has a big smile now, even the rain is gently ticking on deck and the fresh wind telling me that the winter is coming…






We spent a whole day cleaning and repacking 'Joy'. We washed, cleaned, and made a For Sale sign for 'Marta," my girlfriend's car which we left behind in Christchurch with a friend. Joy packed with 3 backpacks, traveling gear out of two cars and the three of us squeezed in between, we left Christchurch. The following week we saw a lot of the road and the car as it was pouring down with rain. We stopped and walked around in the Marlborough Sounds at the very rare dry moments. In Nelson we visited some old friends that were in South Africa with their sailboat Lemanja at the same time as me, so it was awesome to catch up with them again. But the sad weather got boring and annoying very soon as there's not much to do if you live in a car with three girls, so we rolled onto the ferry and back into Wellington. In Wellington we said goodbye to one of our travel mates, as she was flying out to Australia. Leatitia and I left Wellington the same day and arrived in Wanganui late at night making a few stops on the way. We were looking for a place to camp out for the night and drove onto a small dirt road. It was dark and we realized after a few seconds that the dirt-road had ended and we were now on the beach. As I tried to turn around the nose of poor 'Joy' went for a dive into the soft sand. No more turning around, we were stuck on the beach… As we stepped out of the car we felt the wet sand and saw the tide coming up only about 20 meters away from us. So we started digging and tried to get more grip under the wheels by putting the carpets out of the car under the wheels. Meter by meter we moved the car. I looked around from digging and saw a light coming towards us further on the beach. A small 4-wheel drive stopped behind us. 'Move girls!" "we can't, we're stuck!" I answered. "Ah okay, go aside." Four big Maori guys jumped out of the vehicle. One sat down behind the wheel and the three others went behind the car. In the next minute they lifted up the whole car and pushed it through the sand 50 meters uphill. While they were already back in there car we were still trying to process what we just saw! We thanked the guys and asked them if they knew a place where we could camp for the night. "Well, I have a lovely family and a house, just park in the backyard. Come on, follow me." We got invited to a lovely Maori family. They gave us some delicious food, we had a warm shower and could camp out in their huge backyard. The next day one of the family friends we met the other day invited us over to his farm a couple km out of town. He owns a lot of land and he brought us to a place where there used to be an old hippie community. The houses are still there, but the people moved out about 8 years ago. Not many people come there, as the easiest way to get there involves crossing a river and a one hour walk. We stayed a night in one of the houses with a nice fireplace and a stove. It was just amazing! The next day we went back to the farm where I get invited to catch a horse and went riding on one of the them. After that I practiced some shooting at cans. I might have to practice a bit more as there where no holes in the cans afterwards... After two good days out with nature and some great people we left the lovely countryside of Wanganui. In Taupo we stopped for a dive in the hot-river and in Rotorua we had a lovely day by the big lake. The weather had finally turned around and the sun was now burning on our skin. We are walking around in dresses and swimming in the sea, awesome! The sun stayed and we moved on to Tauranga where we climbed to the top of Mt. Maunganui and enjoyed the beautiful beach. We are now back in Auckland after a short visit to our friends from Anasazi who are still up in Whitianga with their three kids. Being back in the big city is a bit of a shock after being out with nature for so long. I had completely forgotten about the existence of traffic jams, noise of busses, and the fumes of cars, not to mention all the people running you over being busy with god knows what! So well, I will start heading back to Guppy and peace as soon as possible.




Well I haven't been writing much, but a lot happened since the last blog. I'm back in civilization again, after spending a while traveling in places whiteout internet or cellphone reception which was Great!! We left Christchurch soon after I came back from my presentations in Auckland and drove towards Raikaia gorge. After more then an hour over small roads a lot of curves and less and less houses we arrived at a bridge, a beautiful blue river flowing under it, inviting us with it's beauty. We walked along for a couple hours and decided that we wanted to explore this river a bit more. So the next day early we packed up my little red dinghy out of the car and started walking along the river, upstream. Our plan was to leave the car behind, hitchhike up river and then peddle back to the car, but there were so little cars on the road that we didn't manage to catch a ride and ended up walking 15km with the dinghy in the backpack. We found a good spot to launch and before we even knew it the fast flowing river grabbed hold of the dinghy. We were now racing down the river at about 7/8 knots and faster in the rapids that we encountered every couple hundred meters. The landscape changed in every corner while we flew over the crystal clear water each holding a peddle to get trough the rapids without capsizing. We managed, not completely dry though… After 3 hours of peddling down the river and a good night of sleep back in the car, landscape changed again, mountains and a beautiful blue lake showed up at the road-horizon. At the end of the lake, Mt Cook (3754m) was making the view even more amazing, his white snowcaps glittering in the sun. We hiked up one of Mt. cooks little brothers to Muellers hut. A really beautiful hike 1800 m up, where we found some snow and a lot of wind! During the hike big black clouds came rushing over the mountain peaks, taking our beautiful view over the mountain range away. But we were lucky as the rain just started when we were a descend walk and 1810 steps back down at the car-park. More windy roads brought us to Wanaka and Queenstown where we met some amazing people that are into flying! a different kind of flying I was used to though. They took us up to the top of a mountain and attached us to something that looked like a strange chapped sail. ' if I say run you start running down until we are up in the air, got it? ' I looked up at the wings above me on which I was attached with a rope and then down at the steep hill that we had to run off. My hang-gliding pilot started running so I did the same and before I knew it off we went, high up in the air. In tandem I experienced hang-gliding and Para-gliding around the beautiful mountains and lakes of Queenstown. It's both a lot of fun!! and a awesome experience! Using the wind to move, just in 3D instead of just 2D like on a sailboat. After the flying experience we came safely back down to the ground and did some great day walks in the Fiordlands and Milford sound.  We encountered some Ice and Snow and got told of a mountaineer for doing longer day-walks on Sandals. If the ground wouldn't have been so icy I would have preferred to walk barefoot… After that we drove down to the southern most point off New zealand and from there took a ferry to Steward Island, where we hiked for 2 days. I gave a talk to the local preschool kids (7-10 year olds) and a school group from Invercargill that was visiting there for a week. They had just been reading about me and were all really exited to hear the story. The school class from Invercargill went on the same ferry back as us and the whole one hour ride they kept asking questions which was really nice. Before Steward Island we had just hopped along the Catlins coast and saw some Yellow eyed pinquins and sealions. But after all these days out with just nature we had to drive back to Christchurch as Dan (the earthling) had to fly out from there to Australia for a couple months work and I had to do some presentations there. I met up with two girl friends I knew from Auckland. So I'm still in good company and we hope to travel back up North together with Joy (my car).




Life's been quite adventure's since the last update. I decided to go traveling a bit and explore New Zealand on wheels. So once the Fanworm problem on Guppy was solved, I got my backpack, the car keys and started heading South - together with my boyfriend that I met in New Zealand. ... When being asked for his origin, he doesn't know what to answer, cos his roots are all over the world - just an earthling... like me.The first stop was Auckland, where I had another speech for a fundraiser for Y for Youth. We left Auckland straight after that as we saw no further point of hanging around there. Next we stopped in the Coromandel to meet the lovely Anazasi crew with their three kids. They had been our neighbors in Auckland for a while, and went to Coromandel to haul their boat out. After that we kept heading south, passing geysers in Roturua - and awesome hot water rivers and springs in Taupo. Passing further down the coast the hardest thing was to find a parking spot that was free and legal to camp out in the car. We travel, eat and sleep in the car, which is the cheapest way of exploring the land - just not if you get fined for wrong parking... After about a week we had driven all the way down to Wellington, where we didn't stay longer than a day before we got enough of the big city and wanted to see the mountains, the green and rivers on the South Island - things that everyone was telling us about. So we rolled down along the cities shore, bound towards the ferry, that crosses the Cook Strait. The ferry was loading on the last few trucks and ready to leave for it's last trip that day. We also managed to roll on and park our home in the last few minutes - and off we went, towards South Island… leaving the daylight as well as skyscrapers and everything that comes with a big city behind.We didn't see much of the South Island until the next day as it was pitch-black when we arrived. But the next morning we woke up in a world of differences - we passed big green mountains, little islands and beautiful bays as we went along a curvy road towards Nelson. Further towards the south we took the road along the west coast passing gorges, waterfalls and the longest swing bridge in New Zealand. The sandflies living on the South island are less pleasant though. I had to get used to wearing shoes again as my feet got eaten by them. But with the air getting colder every day that we traveled further South I didn't mind to much keeping my feet warm. From the west coast then we drove towards Christchurch, crossing Arthur's pass - a high mountain range towards the east coast. It was raining the whole two days while we drove through that range but that didn't stop us from hiking up the mountain and exploring some gorgeous waterfalls. At the end of the second day even our walking track had changed into a little creek… With the air being wet and cold, all our wet cloths hanging in the car didn't really want to dry anymore, so we decided to keep going further towards Christchurch, which is where we are now. I flew back to Auckland for 2 nights to do a presentation at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and a talk at the Maritime Museum, which worked out nicely. Now I'm back in the cold of Christchurch again and planning to travel further South soon.





Because of the Fanworm feeling a bit to well on Guppy's hull I had to take the boat out of the water, which I could only do in Whangarei as the small slipway in Tutukaka was a bit to busy the next weeks. So after arranging everything I sailed Guppy from Tutukaka to Whangarei, which where a good 5 hours of beating into 30 knots of wind and a few hours up the river. Th next morning as soon as the tide was high enough Guppy got hauled out and inspected for any Fanworm by bio security people which - to their big surprise - wasn't on the hull anymore. I anti fouled Guppy's bottom, cleaned, polished and waxed the hull, put some new anodes on it and the next day early afternoon Guppy went back in the water looking very happy and shiny at me.  It was high tide again and the water was rushing out of Whangarei harbour and so was Guppy. With a good 20 knots on the beam and full sail she was flying back to Tutukaka doing 8 knots average for a couple hours. Bio security is satisfied again and has allowed me to sail again anywhere. But for now I think Guppy is happy to just shine her glory in the marina as I have to head out to Auckland again this afternoon to attend at a dinner for 'Y for Youth' where I will be a keynote speaker.

I am not going to say much about the film Maidentrip, but I won't be representing it as I am not fully standing behind it.







My life continues to be really exiting and very busy! In the past week I have taken Guppy out two times to the Poor Knights, flown a plane went on a night dive, started my rescue course and have bio security messing up my plans because there's something growing on Guppy's hull… pfew well and then the all day life things like working and trying to organize my life in between of course. This whole week has been beautiful sailing weather and I was keen on taking Guppy out again. So I decided to sail her to the Poor Knights islands on my day off, just to show her the beautiful nature and island where I am working every day on the dive boats. A couple days later I took her out again when "Dive! Tutukaka" was having a first trial run of a new product ; overnight stay aways! I had a lovely sail over there with some of the "Dive! Tutukaka" crew onboard Guppy and the other crew on El Tigre, one of the diveboats. I did my first night dive which was really amazing! Seeing all the torches underwater and trying to keep orientation while looking at the underwater nightlife was so cool! The next morning we did a early morning dive which was maybe even more epic as we saw a Bronze Whaler shark passing us about 3 meters away! When we came back in Tutukaka the next day I set of to Whangarei airport to meet Bernie Massey the owner of a small two person airplane. I had met him the day before in Tutukaka and he spontaneously invited me for a flight in his plane. After a little bit of explaining about the plane and the wind I figured that the wing of a plane is actually very similar to a sail. We flew around Northland from the east coast to the west coast and back to the bay of islands and then down the coast with a little break at the Whangarei gliding club. New Zealand looked even more amazing from the sky with heaps of green, forest, farms and beautiful blue water dotted with islands and boats. I got to fly for a bit as well, which I think went reasonably well as we were still alive after that. Flying is bit like diving, you have to look all around you to see everything and just going trough the air, this is an amazing feeling where you aren't actually anywhere but just flying. After a few loops and acrobatics we made our way back to Whangarei with a little detour so I could see Guppy from the sky. After the flight and once back in Tutukaka I made my way to the classroom because I just started my Padi Rescue Course. The last course before becoming a dive master. At the end of the week I felt like I hadn't slept at all, so last night I slept for almost 12 hours straight before another busy day. I hadn't really planned to do anything for today and just take it easy but then fate decided that that's not an option for me. So after a nice morning walk to the dive shop and back I found bio security waiting for me, telling me only things that I don't want to hear. They had been diving in the marina to check for Fanworm, a type of anemone that grows on the bottom of the hull and they try to keep it out of the Northland. Apparently it's a very fast growing species very common in auckland wich is where I got it. If it spreads it will overtake in majority very quickly. So just because they found a couple of these little things on Guppy's hull I have to pay a fee and I'm not allowed to take Guppy out, dive under the boat or touch the hull until everything is clear. So instead of having a nice quiet day I learned a lot about biosecurity and Fanworms which at the end of the day I started to dislike more and more especially the ones that decided to settle on Guppy's hull.




It's been quite a while since my last blog. Even though I don't travel as much as I used to, there's still so much happening and changing in my life, sometimes like by the minute. Guppy and I have been staying in this small town called Tutukaka on the east coast about 30 minutes from Whangarei. I have a nice job here at Dive Tutukaka, a diving company that goes out to the Poor Knights every day. I am studying to get my dive masters and for a skipper's license. I just have to wait until I am 18 to do the exams. For the time being, I am working as crew on the boats and doing whatever I can just trying to get as much time behind the wheel as possible. I have been up here a couple weeks now and really enjoying it. By now, Maritime School back in Auckland has started. I decided not to attend school after all. Living in a big city like Auckland and doing the same thing in the same place every day didn't seem very exciting. So I decided that I would take another route toward getting my skippers license for the kind of boats I want to sail. I find this way far more exciting! It also gives me some spare time to make new travel plans. I miss the sea, the islands, and being out on sea with Guppy so much. I am in love with New Zealand but I don't think I've reached the point yet where I could imagine settling in forever. But I do know this is the country I will always come back to and call home. Guppy wants to sail out again and explore more of this fascinating world, so as her skipper I will do my best to make new dreams into many more adventures for us. At the moment, I'm just working hard to earn some money to maintain poor 35 year old Guppy. In addition to working at Dive Tutukaka, I also do presentations from time to time--it's always fun and I get a lot of very nice reactions. Last weekend, I gave myself some free time and went racing on a Steward 34 with two other crew. We had a lovely sail, and beat the boats that we really wanted to beat ;). Other days I have off from work, I either work on Guppy or go for little road trip adventures around the northern part of this lovely country in my car.




My first car! 



Guppy in the marina of tutukaka 



After a week on the farm, poor Guppy wanted to see me again. After all, I had only spent one day with her after the trip on Akatea. So I moved back to Guppy, and this time I've stayed onboard since--for a change. I gave some presentations at the Maritime Museum for groups of kids visiting the museum. It was really nice, as kids have such a different way of thinking and they ask such different but still very smart questions. After the presentations, I came aboard Guppy and saw that she wasn't looking too happy. The big city with all the noise day and night, being surround by big buildings and lots of people, was becoming too much for her. Guppy wanted to get out into nature again--to feel the wind, waves and freedom. So I decided to sail to Tutukaka with two good friends I met in Auckland. The sail up north was gorgeous. To start, we had a really nice 15 to 20 knots of wind from the west and then it slowed down a bit at night. We had left in the afternoon and had the whole night to sail the 80 miles from Auckland to Tutukaka, so I didn't really care when we were only doing 3 knots. We had dolphins out in front of Guppy and I saw that she was happy and smiling again. And it was so nice and quiet that we brought pillows and blankets into the cockpit and had hot chocolate while watching the stars and the beautiful clear night. Guppy got a nice berth in Tutukaka Marina where I'm working on the dive boats. It's so nice here, being surrounded by nature and the atmosphere of a little village in a mild summer. Guppy looks so much happier here, but still keeps asking me when we will go out again.





The delivery trip on Akatea back to Auckland from Hobart was really good. We left a day later than planned because Akatea hit something during the Hobart race and no one had noticed that there was a huge chunk out of the keel until the day of the planned departure. So we had to haul the boat out to check and repair the underwater ship. But we finally left on January 3. We had such beautiful weather, especially for the Tasman Sea, known for its rough storms. It wasn't a very fast trip, as we arrived early on the 10th after 1500 nm. I hadn't realized how much I missed sailing until I was back on sea. Seven days was way too short, but the excitement in being back in New Zealand and seeing Guppy triumphed over wanting to stay on sea forever. I gave Guppy a real nice long hug when I got back. She waited so patiently for me while I was gone and still she looks as beautiful as ever. Like always, I didn't stay long in Auckland. I'm not really magnetic to big cities and after the busy month of traveling and having people around me all the time, I decided to go out to the countryside for a bit to work on a farm somewhere between Auckland and Whangarei. It's so lovely to hear the birds and the wind in the trees when I wake up in the morning. I even quite enjoy working on the farm in the warm sun. I definitely wouldn't want to do this forever but it's a really nice change and I have been learning a lot of things in the past few days, that plants are a lot more than just green and what al goes on before you have meat or veggies on your plate. It's amazing!



Top stories 2012




To everyone, the very best wishes for 2013!

This New Year's was a bit different from last year. I did spend it on a yacht again, but this time I was far from alone, surrounded by friends and other sailors. The last yachts of the Sydney to Hobart race came in yesterday afternoon while I was sitting on Akatea, moored in the Hobart marina. It was really great to ring in the new year with the crew from all the different boats. Hobart has been really nice. It's a perfect change of pace from Sydney. Of course, it's gotten busier with all the excitement of the race and the arrival of the yachts, but it's still just a nice town surrounded by sea and mountains, much quieter than Sydney which I really enjoy. I didn't get to see much of the city, as I could be found on or around Akatea most of the time. We were busy replacing the race sails and halyards, doing grocery shopping, and all the other normal preparations when you're getting ready for a sailing trip again. So Akatea is in ship shape and all good to head back to New Zealand again. Today we will do the final preparations and hopefully tomorrow we will be on our way. I'm looking forward to being out to sea again. One month in big cities around the globe with no sailing is just way too long. It looks like the weather might get a bit rough out there, but that will only make the trip back to New Zealand more beautiful.






I've spent more than fifty hours on airplanes over the last few weeks, not even including time in airports. It feels great to finally be back on the right side of the world, even though I'm not exactly home yet. After Tokyo, I flew to Holland to see my family which was really great even though it was only for a few days. From there, I took a short trip to Germany to be on a great TV show. While I'm usually not a fan of the cold weather, it was fun to have some snow and experience the great Christmas spirit up there in Germany. My latest trip was back to the warm side of the world in Sydney, Australia. Here in Sydney, the sun is shining and the Christmas season looks pretty different from Europe. I will be here for a few days until the start of the Sydney to Hobart race on the 26th. Then I will be off to Hobart, by plane unfortunately, because I am too young to actually do the race. But I am in the delivery crew that will take Akatea back to New Zealand from Hobart. Sydney is awesome so far and I am happy to be back in much better temperatures than Europe. I've already met up with some good friends from yachts I met along my journey and I've explored a lot around town, as I am determined to get over my jet lag. Well, I have pretty much had jet lag for the past few weeks straight. When I finally got used to Tokyo time, then it was off to Europe, and then as soon as that felt normal, I was off again. Well, now that I'm right next door to New Zealand, it can only get better from here. Hopefully I will be back in New Zealand by the beginning of January. I'm looking forward to continuing to organize my life there. After I passed my school exams, I got accepted to Maritime School which will start after the summer holidays. It's really exciting but I still have a lot to arrange and prepare for it. It will be a great opportunity, as I will be studying for a few years toward my goal of becoming a captain on the big mega-yachts.




Germany Film:

Menschen Bilder Emotionen 2012





Introduced 1:53 to 3:40. The interview starts at 25:04.

Tokio TV Interview




I've been traveling all over the world again, but this time by plane, leaving Guppy on her own at the Maritime Museum where she will be looked after. Even after the devastating tornado that went through Auckland a couple days ago, she is still gently bobbing around in her marina berth, which was quite a relief to hear. From Auckland I flew to Korea, and from there to Tokyo where I received the 2012 Challenger Of The Year Award from the Faust Adventurer's Guild. Even though I only was there for three days I saw quite a bit of this enormous fascinating city and culture. Everything is different, from the people being really polite and generous to the food and even going to the bathroom is a experience all on it's own. The toilet seats are heated and there heaps of buttons right next to it that do all kinds of weird stuff that I didn't really feel like trying out. But I had a great time, also discovering new food--lots of delicious sushi, fish eggs, and some other stuff that I couldn't identify. After the award ceremony and a fancy dinner, it was off to Amsterdam with a stopover in Dubai. I stayed one night aboard my dad's ship in Den Osse which was really nice, because it has changed quite a bit from the last time I was there. And now I'm in Germany for a TV show. It's really cold over here with lots of snow and slippery roads. But it's really nice to walk around at the German Christmas market with my dad. I also just realized I haven't seen snow in three years, so since I will be leaving in a couple days toward the warm summer of Australia, for now I am just enjoying it.






Racing at 0.5 knots... 




First place!






Living on Guppy in the Maritime Museum has been great. It can be a bit rolly at times with the passing ferries, and noisy on the weekends from the bars we're surrounded by, but most of the time it is just lovely. Living in a big city and not having plans to go on a big sailing trip anytime soon still feels really weird though. I've already started missing the islands in the Pacific where everyone lives off the simple things on the island and thinks about the easy and good things in life. Back in society, you can't survive without keeping up with the flow. I am really busy settling in and getting things sorted and I'm starting to love having a place like this to call home. With the summer coming fast, I'm able to escape every now and then from busy Auckland. In between all the organizing, I am still sailing a lot. I've been sailing on Akatea a couple more times, and sailed around Waiheke Island with a friend on a very slow 8-meter boat. A few days later I sailed around Waiheke again on an open 40 which was definitely a lot faster and great fun. An American family lives on the boat, with two kids and a third one on the way. The four year old girl on the boat has sailed her whole life with her two adventurous parents, just like me. They are here now until the baby comes and then they will continue sailing around the world. It's been great talking and sailing with them. It's still such an awesome way to live life. Yesterday, we went racing on Waitangi, on an old classic boat that's also based in the Maritime Museum. I skippered the whole race which was really awesome. Meanwhile, Guppy has enjoyed having a rest while I do some maintenance on her, like stitching up the suncover, greasing the winches, and many other small things to keep her in good condition.




Since yesterday, Guppy and I have been moored at the Maritime Museum in Auckland. There is a little swell here in the harbor which is not to bad because it's a great reminder that I am still living on a boat. Well, now a boat in the middle of a city :) And I am really happy to be here. Bruno has a good job in Whangarei and has found a place to live there. So it's just me and Guppy together again. Edwin and his 14-year-old sister joined me for the 80 mile journey to Auckland. There was not a lot of wind when we left Sunday morning. But we had a nice quiet spinnaker ride down the coast and stopped at Kawau, an island about halfway, so we could have a nice evening and a bit of sleep. We left again at 5am, but this time ran into rain, squalls, and periods of no wind, finally arriving in the museum harbor at 1pm. I'm still busy sorting out my life here in New Zealand but it's coming together. I just became Youth Ambassador for Y for Youth, an organization that generates funding for youth organizations in New Zealand. It's been great talking to them and seeing what I can do to help. And at the moment, I'm just sitting on Guppy looking at the museum, figuring out some stuff, and getting used to the feeling that I live here now.


TV interview 




sailing down to Auckland



  listen to interview




Exciting news! I am moving to Auckland next week. Guppy will have a great berth right in the middle of the city at the Maritime Museum, where I will do some presentations and things with kids when they visit the museum. I am very excited for the move. I love Whangerei but I think Auckland will be a perfect place for me right now with easy access to things like uni, great sail races, and also the opportunity to study for my captain's license. And I have been spending so much of my time in Auckland already, it is only logical to have Guppy join me here. So I will go back to her today and sail over to Auckland this week. Guppy and I had such a wonderful time staying in the place of my birth and I know this won't be goodbye forever. I've made many great friends who I plan to visit as often as possible. It is truly one of the most beautiful, friendliest places I have ever been and I am grateful for the perfect homecoming I've had there. This past week, I've been pretty busy over here and having a lot of fun. Saterday I raced again on Akatea. It was a great race and we came in first on handicap :). With the same race boat, I will sail at the end of December from Hobart, Australia back to New Zealand after they have done the Sydney - Hobart race. Before that time, I have also been invited to Tokyo and Germany for shows. So a lot to figure out! Yesterday, we where taking the ice cream trailer to a festival. Yeah, Edwin's parents have an ice cream trailer, and go with it to events. They say; let the kids run it so they can make some extra money--quite cool :). What an amazing beautiful place this country is, with so many wonderful people. I really love it.





1 2 3 4 5 6

Volgende >>