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27-09-2013

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

 

 

Laura 

 


23-09-2013

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. 

Laura 

 


22-09-2013


15-08-2013

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..

Laura


14-08-2013


21-07-2013


21-07-2013

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.

Laura


10-07-2013


09-07-2013

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.

 


17-06-2013

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.

Laura  

 


21-05-2013

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.

Laura

 

More info (dutch)

 


10-05-2013

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…

 

Laura

 


10-05-2013


02-05-2013

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.

Laura 

 


01-05-2013


18-04-2013

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).

Laura

 



 


17-04-2013


24-03-2013

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.

Laura


23-03-2013


07-03-2013

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.

 

Laura  

 


06-03-2013


26-02-2013

 


26-02-2013

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.

Laura 

 


16-02-2013


15-02-2013

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.

Laura


04-02-2013


24-01-2013

 

My first car!

  

Guppy in the marina of tutukaka 


22-01-2013


20-01-2013

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.

Laura

 


16-01-2013


12-01-2013

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!

Laura

 


04-01-2013

Top stories 2012

 


02-01-2013


01-01-2013

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.

Laura

 


27-12-2012


22-12-2012


21-12-2012

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.

Laura

 


14-12-2012

Germany Film: 

Film: Menschen Bilder Emotionen 2012

 


14-12-2012

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

Tokio TV Interview

 


09-12-2012


09-12-2012

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.

Laura  

 


08-12-2012


27-11-2012

 

 

 

First place!

http://classicyacht.org.nz/sites/default/files/Round_the_Buoys_Results.pdf

 

 


26-11-2012

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.

Laura


13-11-2012

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.

Laura

TV interview 


12-11-2012

Sailing down to Auckland

 

 

  listen to interview

 

 


04-11-2012

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.

Laura 

 

 

 


24-10-2012


23-10-2012

I am finally back on my beloved Guppy, after more than one month away from her. The Coastal Classic turned out to be a good sailing trip, thought not so good racing. We had lots of wind for the start which continued for most of the trip and cause wipeout after wipeout, because the rudder came out of the water. Halfway through the night, when the fast boats had already crossed the finish line, the wind started to die down. We did very well until Cape Brett, where we arrived at 2am. Unfortunately around that time the wind died down to less than zero knots and we were bobbing around in the same spot for about eight hours. Finally the wind picked back up and were able to cross the finish line under spinnaker with a time of almost 26 hours, just 17 minutes before the cut-off time. Then we had a good sleep and set sail back again the next morning. The wind had shifted around once again and we had a beautiful kite ride all the way back to Auckland! So we did have a great sail after all, and definitely enjoyed taking part in this big yacht race. And now Guppy is really happy to see me again and I am very glad to be back home on her after all this time.

Laura

Film: Coastal Classic 

 


16-10-2012

I have arrived safely back in Auckland after a great time in New York. One big highlight of the last two weeks in the states was going to visit Tania Aebi in Vermont. We only stayed for one whole day but in that time I got to meet Tania's father, his friend Fritz, both of her sons, and many of their neighbors. Tania is such a great person, just as I had expected. We had a walk through the beautiful woods where all the leaves were changing color and it was just beautiful. We talked a lot about our voyages and life in general and it was really nice. And then we ate a delicious dinner of vegetables from the garden and a chicken that had been walking around there not too long before. Really cool! Eventually we had to get back to the big city, where time continued to fly. I did a few presentations and some more work on the movie and then suddenly it was already time to leave New York. But as my first fortune cookie told me a week ago, "A thrilling time will be ahead." In Los Angeles, where we had a layover on our way to Auckland, I arranged to meet up with Mike and Deana, really good friends I met in the San Blas Islands last year. They came and met me at the airport and we had dinner in a restaurant nearby. Even though it was only for a couple hours, it was amazing to see them again, almost like no time had gone by. So then after a 12 hour flight from LA I'm now back in New Zealand, where I'm happy to report it is finally getting a little warmer. I will spend the next few days in Auckland training together with Edwin de Laat to do the Coastal Classic on his Farr 727. The Coastal Classic is a big 120 mile yacht race from Auckland to Russel, with about 160 boats competing. I am really looking forward to that.

Laura

 

 

 

 


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