Laura's Blog

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04-11-2011

 

20-10-2011 

It is another sunny day today and there is still a nice wind blowing. Everything on Guppy finally has the chance to dry and the batteries can get a good charge. This was really needed after so many days of rain. Besides, the sunshine is good for the morale aboard. After 24 days at sea I have covered 3000 nautical miles in comparison to my crossing form the Galápagos Islands to the Marquesas Islands that took me 18 days for the same distance.. But all in all I had a few days good sailing and everything aboard is fine, except for the storm jib's furling drum and the sprayhood that was heavily deformed by a wave.. So things are going well aboard.

Laura


04-11-2011

 

19-10-2011 

Finally a bright and sunny day! That is good to me and for the batteries.. Along with a great wind and nice waves it all makes for perfect sailing conditions. Guppy and I have taken advantage of these as much we can and we are making very good progress. Up to now we have travelled many miles, but also have to sail many more.. I baked bread today and to my own surprise I succeeded very well. It is a real nice to have good and fresh bread at sea. No rain and smaller waves mean I can keep the cabin's hatch open a little more. It feels real good to have fresh air coming into the cabin with sunrays shining inside too.

Laura


03-11-2011

 

18-10-2011 

It is another grayish gray rainy day in Guppyland. But there is a good wind so we are going great under sails. Last night the wind decided to be just a little too enthusiastic and came at us at 35 knots bringing in also some heavy rain. As I was battling the wind I sadly lost a bucket of fresh rainwater.. But not only the wind gets to be too excited at times and today a wave decided to join in the excitement too. I was in the galley preparing food when the top of a wave jumped on Guppy instead of going under her .. The spray breaker made of a plastic sheet on the cabin entrance is designed to hold against spray water not to stop this kind of water, and so half of the wave dropped inside to land on top of me. Naja .. I felt a little off track today, time went by without me really noticing. I read a book but also forgot to eat and to chart my postition. Oh well, missing a day won't hurt..

Laura


03-11-2011

 

17-10-2011 

How is it possible to be for three weeks at sea and not get good winds for two days in a row .. The weather doesn't look like things will improve soon, so everyday is the same with very little wind and drizzling rain.. Today was even worse than yesterday the horizon being a 500 meters away, visibility stopped by a ghostly white and gray curtain of drizzle, just enough to make everything really wet aboard Guppy but not enough to keep some fresh rainwater. The sails are not flapping and Guppy is slowly going on through the bleak weather making me feel comfortable inside. I have found a new hobby, playing the flute.. It was on board with me since departure, just like a lot of other unused stuff I have.. I was more interested in playing the guitar so I didn't really know how to play it.. But I find that while bouncing around on a boat playing the flute is much more easier to do than playing the guitar .. I am starting to get the hang of it now that I have mastered a few basic techniques..

Laura


02-11-2011

 

16-10-2011 

Nice change; I awoke to the sun shining today. All morning It warmed Guppy and me which gave us a chance to dry up a little. But sadly, it disappeared again and along with it the wind that had blown us forward during the last few days. Our speed has dropped to less than 3 knots and sometimes Guppy is just bobbing up and down on the waves. It now drizzles at times and the sea looks like an endless faded grey blue dale. As always the wind will come back and of course it also will fade away again.. But it is nice to be able to walk on deck without waves going over or sit in a dry cockpit.

Laura


02-11-2011

 

15-10-2011

The wind faded away to normal and we are sailing into another gray and rainy day.. I feel very tired since I did not have much chance to sleep in the last days. I really miss the sunlight too. I can't even say how long it has been since the last time I have seen the sun. Everything here is getting timeless. If it was not for my daily entry in my diary I guess I would loose all sense of time. There is not much difference between being at sea for 20 or 25 days but there is a big one between sailing for one day or five days. Anyway, I am very happy to be here with Guppy between the waves which are a bit smaller today. Of course at times I wish I was ashore again, but then when I am, I often wish I was back sailing at sea.. Still I haven't lost my curiousity about all the things that lie over the horizon and this is what drives me on and keeps me going forward ..

Laura


01-11-2011

 

14-10-2011 

Yesterday evening and night felt like I was taking a rollercoaster ride. The waves reached up to more than six meters [20 feet].. really awesome waves. They were huge but specialy very steep and  way different from the ones I met in the Atlantic or the Pacific. Until now I had never worried about Guppy being knocked down by waves.. but it certainly can happen here! That was made perfectly clear to me yesterday evening when a huge breaker came over from the side going all over Guppy. Poor Gup was carried down in a mountain of foam and then rolled on to her side! From the cabin entrance I could see the cockpit being flooded by half the ocean.. With a few loose things floating away out of the cockpit, Guppy straightened up and the windvane brought us back on course.. Things are going a little better now, and at times the cockpit even gets a chance to dry a bit.. So anyway I made some very good progress the last few days and I am faster to my next destination..

Laura


31-10-2011

 

13-10-2011 

The wind has become a little too enthusiastic.. She is getting strong and the seas are getting pretty rough.. Different from what things were in the Pacific Ocean, the waves here in the Indian Ocean are very high and steep with a huge swell that comes in at a totally different angle from the wind. Guppy is carried forward by the wind as the waves wash heavily all over the deck. I keep the cabin entrance closed all the time now and when I look outside all I see are walls of water speeding by. Guppy takes all this in a stride which makes me realy proud of her, as I know for sure that she will keep cleaving through the waves as we go forward until such time when the seas calm down. So there is not much left to do for me but to keep an open eye on things and the sails.. I have been at sea for 18 days now which means this crossing is officially the longest one I have made on my journey.

Laura


30-10-2011

 

12/10/2011

No bird droppings or squalls today but a strong breeze. That’s exactly what we are going for! The sky is still heavily clouded but the sun showed up for a few hours which really cheered me up. For now the wind is blowing at an angle from astern so I have poled out the Genoa. I invented something to prevent the pole from wearing through the sheet. I simply sacrificed a short rope by tying it to the Genoa's eye. So now the pole doesn't fray the sheet. Of course it will wear out with time but that is not as bad as wearing out the sheet. This experiment seemingly works very well, but that is also what I first thought of my previous solutions with the Duct Tape, Rescue Tape and wrapping cloth around the sheet... But in theory this should do fine. The sea is steadily building up to biger waves and some huge ones have already washed into the cockpit, of course at exactly the moment when I was standing there.. And again I was thrown all thru the boat with some loose things coming along with me, which means everything is back to normal in Guppyland..

Laura


29-10-2011

 

11-10-2011

Wind finally! A nice wind that takes Guppy flying forward, so for the first time since our departure from Darwin we are making good progress. This morning the squalls enjoyed knocking me around, with the wind first coming directly from astern then suddenly striking from across and finally coming in from straight ahead.. just to completely fade away in the end. With a high swell and cross seas I did not feel too happy about this.. Anyway, now we are doing great under sails which is nice. Today I busied myself for a while with cleaning the solar panels which apparently have become the birds favorite restroom.. Not good for charging the batteries after many cloudy days. Well it keeps me busy..

Laura


28-10-2011

 

10-10-2011 

Finally I have some wind, but it is so dark and gray outside that it looks like Guppy will be swallowed by the clouds at any moment. The swell is more than four meters as I have had one squall after the other for two weeks now.. I just finished reading another book which helps me forget about everything.. In the time it took me to cover the last 1500 miles, I had already completed 2800 miles on the crossing from the Galápagos to the Marquesas Islands! So far the Indian Ocean did not bring me much luck and I will be glad to leave it behind once it is a done thing... It is somewhat odd that even though I was surrounded by rain clouds and squalls all day today, I didn't get a single drop of rain so I could take a nice shower and refill the water tanks... Anyway... at some point the weather will get better and for now I have wind, so I will simply keep ignoring the threatening dark sky..

Laura 


27-10-2011

 

9-10-2011 

Well, I am still waiting for some wind.. Last night I sailed with the engine on for a slow going 3 knots. So I could steer Guppy from moving perpendicular to the swell this way I could at least have a reasonably good sleep. For one hour in the middle of the night there was a strong squall with thunder and heavy rain and I thought about putting up the sails, but after some hesitation I decided to keep running on the engine. one more hour of sleep was well worth the expense against the small number of miles we could make more under sails... And so days go by as we bob along, at day time I keep adjusting the sails to make the most out of even the smallest wind breath.. Today was beautiful with sunshine and it was not too hot, the time slowly ticking away.. there is no wind and I am learning to enjoy it. In any case I won't be spotting land soon, wind or no wind. As long as there is no high swell I have a pretty comfortable life aboard..

Laura


26-10-2011

 

8-10-2011 

Of course I am without wind again, but at least the sun showed up.. But wait.. maybe I should keep quiet because over the horizon I just spotted the first squalls ready to attack. I am very happy the sun is shining again so the solar panels can provide enough energy to recharge the batteries. For now I have some light wind but I am not at all sure it will stay with me, but then maybe the windgods will be kind and let me have a good night sleep so I'll be ready and in shape to fight with the sails tomorrow.. I found stowaways again aboard Guppy and this time they are.. ants! It is not too surprising since Darwin was swarming with them. Luckily it is a very small species that does not bite. From time to time one of them runs on the galley's counter top which is helpul in making me keep the pantry mega clean and do the dishes in time, Becouse I dont want to see an anthil inside Guppy..

Laura


25-10-2011

 

7-10-2011 

Well okay, I spoke too soon... Since last night the wind is back to 'normal' which means calm winds, headwinds and shifting winds.. For the past 12 hours the winds came from all possible directions at speeds of 0 to 10 knots. So of the 12 days I have been at sea, I enjoyed going under sails for a good 24 hours and had one good night sleep.. It does look like this crossing won't end up as one of the best I had on my journey, or is it? Today it drizzled non-stop with additional heavy rains at times, but in between the heavy rains there were winds that blew Guppy forward. Otherwise she just bobbed up and down... So this was just the perfect day for me to dive into my schoolbooks once more. For some reason as I sat inside the cabin reading my books and eat some the sound of the rain falling on the deck with Guppy's rolling movements made me feel this was a special moment. Anyway.. I do hope things will change soon because I definitely might run out of books to read during this crossing..

Laura


24-10-2011

 

6-10-2011

Yes! Finally I have wind and it is even blowing from the right direction. With decreased swell but increased wind and in the company of a brightly shining sun, everything is suddenly a lot more fun. Indeed after two nights with only a little sleep, the sails flapping and a deeply clouded sky with drizzling rain, my good mood had pretty much faded away... But a good nightsleep works wonder. Now I have good crosswinds that make Guppy fly over the waves at 7 knots [13 kilometres or 8 land miles an hour]. Last night I only had to get out of my bed once so I had a good sleep. As I got up this morning, I had a totally different view of the world and new horizons on things... Again Guppy is going great under sails and I really hope it stays this way for a good while..

Laura


 


22-10-2011

The news has also reached me by now.. And I want to congratulate the Dutch Nuon Solar team with the Nuna 6 which I met in Darwin with coming in second. It's quite something to travel 3000 km in 7 days only on solarpower! I'm going to put the first missing blogs on the website soon and from then on every day one, so everyone can follow again what has been going on lately out here..

Laura


20-10-2011

It's a pity that I can't write everything because there are people who can figure out where I am by looking at the weatherconditions I have.. But of course I write and keep al my weblogs so I can put them on the website later. I am really happy with the nomination for the Conny van Rietschoten award. Even just the nomination means a lot to me.

Laura


16-10-2011

Everything is going well with Gup and me. Every day I write my blog as usual about the things that happen. I will place them in a few weeks on my site.

Laura


12-10-2011

everything good with me...

Laura


09-10-2011

It is OK with Gup and me. From now on I regularly will let you know how it is going. So I wrote already, my blogs about my adventures will appear later.

Laura


06-10-2011

Because the danger of tracing me by information of my blogs , from now my actual blogs will appear some time later. Sorry, but this  is for my security.

Laura


05-10-2011

It seems that the wind was waiting for me to fall asleep... 'Yep, she's almost asleep, in just a moment...' And then the wind fades and the bobbing party starts over - up and down, up and down - as the waves come in from all directions again. And again I am wide awake and back on deck... For many hours I wrestled with the sails and I couldn't take the flapping noise of them shifting from one side to the other any longer. Poor 'Gup' winced with each flap and that deeply hurt because I knew that this would result in damage if we kept on going like that. I furled the Genoa halfway so it could not hit anything, then I adjusted and tied the mainsail at its middle position and finally I engaged Mr. Yanmar, the small engine. Needless to say, we didn't make any good progress this way. Guppy was still heavily rolling back and forth but at least with the engine running the waves would not treat her like a cue ball. The sky remained cloudy for the rest of the day and finally in the afternoon the wind came from around the corner for a visit. There is still a steep and high swell but as long as there is enough wind I can live with it. Otherwise everything onboard is going well. From time to time I chat with other sailors and in the last days I spent lots of time reading books. I still have many books onboard that I haven't read yet which includes the books on my unfavored school subjects for HAVO 5 [final year of High school]. When I am finished reading them, I'll have to start over with the books I already know...

Laura


04-10-2011

Flap clang, flap clang... Huh? I jumped out of bed, the boat was upright in the water, bobbing wildly up and down the steep waves. The wind had completely faded away, simply vanished. Under the pitch-black clouds hiding the moon and the stars I could see nothing...there would be no wind for many hours before a squall would come. I was awake and didn't feel like going back to bed so I just waited for the first squals with winds coming out all directions.. With the rising sun I could see distant squalls moving out over the horizon as my favorite wind came back to me steadily blowing. And so... we were on route again. Good! I'll be able to catch up on my sleep... On my control round up on deck, I noticed that the furling drum of the storm jib had moved up a little... It shouldn't be like that because this means something might be broken, or that something may be wrong with the drum steel bearings which should normally be impossible. I still can roll the storm jib in and out without any problem so I don't quite understand what happened. I will definitely keep an eye on this. Guppy is doing great. She steady heads on her way as my life aboard simply stays the same. I cooked something nice for dinner today, brown beans with mushrooms and bacon with garden beans to go along – quite different from my habitual pasta and rice. I don't usually like cooking but from time to time I like a nice meal so..

Laura


03-10-2011

When I woke up the sun was already shining brightly in the sky. I didn't have much chance to sleep last night as I went by two small lights that must have been from ships... But then there were lights all over the horizon...I counted eight small lights, none moving, and my radar screen hardly showed anything. Looking for position lights I couldn't see any so I started wondering if those lights were coming from boats at all, the more so since I didn't get any answer to my calls on the VHF-radio. So I sailed all night long with those lights in sight until dawn when I could now see far in the distance the night clouds heavy with rain curtains moving away. That is when the secret of the mysterious lights unfolded.... a group of fishing boats had been close by all night. Before the very last one slid over the horizon, I had my binoculars in hand and could confirm that indeed that's what my night lights were all along... Guppy is still sailing close hauled but on the right course now and I can catch some sleep. So no more complaining from me about that and I am just enjoying my sailing to the fullest.

Laura

 


02-10-2011

I really hope that the wind keeps on blowing constantly and that it will shift to a better direction sometime because we are still sailing on a close tack as Guppy plows trough the endless blue sea. I am standing with my back to the sheet of the close hauled mainsail as I look at the long and deep swell that would hardly be noticeable otherwise. Guppy is too small to be affected by this kind of swell and just bobs up and down over it like a rubber duck... Up and down the wave, up and down again. In the hollow of the waves the wind is weaker but stronger at the top so 'Gup' is heeling a little more then... My rumbling stomach takes me out of my daydreams. Yes! I really feel hungry this time and I am looking forward to a nice dinner and that is a good sign. The very first days I was not hungry and not much interested in eating. I know this rising interest in food is a sign of my good sea rhythm settling in. Well, obviously the only thing I needed was wind...

Laura 


01-10-2011

Finally I have WIND - Hurrah! For sure it could be coming from a better direction but at least we have wind and Guppy is going under sails and running twice as fast as with the engine. Guppy is on a close tack so I am a bit like a bouncing ball aboard... which hasn't stopped me from baking cookies - delicious mind you - and spending the rest of the day enjoying them as I looked at the waves. In a solemn ceremony I even sacrificed one to Neptune... Now I really feel like I am at sea and on my journey again! Today I also came by another boat - an old fishing thing entirely built of wood. I don't think they saw me and they didn't answer my VHF radio calls. As I sailed by at a distance it crossed my mind that I have a much better look out then they are…

Laura


30-09-2011

The wind kept blowing all night, and for a moment it looked like it wanted to shift to a better direction. I was hopeful that 'Gup' had indeed found a good wind but then we were left in a lull again with the sails flapping and going at 0,0 knots... Actually this region is knowned for being windless. So I started the engine again and went looking for a place where there would be winds... But then this morning when the wind slowly woke-up from its sleep it came along with a bad swell that abruptly slowed down Guppy with each second wave. Calm winds in combination with that sort of swell meant only one thing and that was running the engine again! I am really not happy about using so much diesel right in the very first days of this leg so I really hope to find some winds soon. Everything else is as usual - I am coming back into my sea rhythm and I have found a SSB radio network so I can chat with other sailors. At least I can share my frustrations with someone…

Laura


29-09-2011

Beep - Beep - Beep... My alarm system keeps waking me up all the time usually because of nearby ships, but not this time. I went up on deck to have a look around in the rising sun but still dim daylight, and I spotted an oil rig on the horizon that we were so very, very slowly coming closer too... I still can't see any trace of wind but the last shining stars reflecting on the water create the illusion that we are floating through space... The clouds too are beginning to reflect on the shivering water. It is not before the oil rig is out of sight behind me that I feel a whiff of wind slowly strengthening up into a light breeze. And finally the engine sound gives way to that of the waves being cut into by Guppy's bow. The wind is not blowing from the best angle but we are going under sails again even though we are not heading in the right direction... but we are moving under sails so I am happy to just have wind at all. Now all I have to hope for is the wind coming from the right direction…

Laura 


28-09-2011

I stretch myself in the cockpit having been chased out by the sun-heated air inside the cabin. I still have no wind and the small engine is hard at work which also means that I can use the electric autopilot so the boat is running on its way, quietly upright … and that is the good side to it. But I would rather enjoy going under sails anyway... But why is the sun so very hot?! Earlier as I was in the galley making breakfast for myself a whiff of bad air assailed me and it just got worse when I opened… the fridge door. Oh no not again! And yes, again I had forgotten something in the switched-off fridge…for some days now. The last time it happened the odor was coming from a cucumber that could barely be recognized as one anylonger - but this time the fridge victims were ​ham slices. Oh well… There is still no wind so my trusty engine tuff-tufts on as I keep moving in the cockpit from a shady spot to the other. Ans so crawls by the days waiting for…

Laura


27-09-2011

Well finally the wind has completely left me.. so I started the small engine and for the first time since we left Darwin, Guppy's nose is pointing in the right direction.. Then I began to take down all the sails and roll in the Genoa... But wait... why is it that the Genoa resists rolling in? Oh no... the only reason I can think of is that it became stuck with the halyard wrapped around the forestay. But it is night and even with the flashllight I can't see where the problem really lies. Oh well... There won't be any wind during the night so this can wait until tomorrow. Early the next morning I am back on the foredeck in the hot sun with no breeze to cool me off, and start pulling at the Genoa halyard, all the time looking up to make sure things are unfurling properly until everything is back in its normal place with the halyard securely fixed ... Problem solved. Then I stretched out in the cockpit and enjoyed the rising sun – but staying in the shade that is, of course! The same weird floating 'sand' I saw back in the Arafura Sea is all around again - big brownish fields of it defacing the endless blue of the sea... And to think that I had just cleaned Guppy's hull a few days ago! Apart from the sand, the sea is like a huge flat mirror with no sign of wind to come. This will be another very hot day..

Laura


26-09-2011

After a good night sleep I set sail at dawn and watched Darwin slowly vanish in my wake until there was nothing but water left to see behind or ahead of me... but for a container ship!... And another... and then another one ... until they too gradually dispersed at sea. Sailing is going great! I am getting used to life back at sea and the quiet aboard Guppy. I would like the winds to come blowing from a different direction but I am happy to at least have winds... It surprises me how well we are doing in those winds, sailing at 2 knots on a course that is not even close to perfect as the GPS tells me. But one of the things I have learned from my voyage is not to be in a hurry to reach my destination. All night we slowly drifted away from our course line but we are also still heading in the right direction. So l didn't worry about it and slept very well..

Laura


23-09-2011

To start with I want to thank each and everyone of you who wished me a happy birthday on the telephone, or by SMS and e-mails or who have written in my guestbooks on the web or sent birthday cards to me. I really had a great anniversary day, what with the cake and Guppy all decorated with balloons, I enjoyed it all. I am in town now just standing in line at the customs office with my passport and my boat papers, waiting to fill in all the paperwork. My planned time of departure? Hmm... tomorrow... Estimated time of arrival? I have no idea... In the line next to me a man is also waiting to clear customs, he is heading for Indonesia. He proudly tells me that it will be his first long distance crossing. He asks me for how long I have been on my trip. Well...A little more than a year is my answer. He then asks, all the way here from Holland? Yes, I answer... After a moment he then asks me my age. I am 15, I proudly tell him, but I immediately correct myself – I am 16. I still have to get used to it... My father is now on the plane back to Holland... The water and diesel fuel tanks are full and I am all set to go. One more night here and then I will leave Darwin behind me. The time just flew by. I met so many kind people and also I was very surprised to learn that sailing is a regular subject in schools over here... I would like to thank the Darwin Sailing Club and especially David very much for all that they did for me. I will surely miss everyone and my time here. Well... that goes with sailing around the world and I have to accept that it does. But for now I still have many miles to sail that will bring me to my next beautiful destination. I would like to tell you about it, but sadly I really can't..

Laura

 


21-09-2011

After eating so many cakes and donuts yesterday I had to spend today resting my bellie and just recovering. It is not everyday that I have this many sweet treats under my nose but I believe I had a good reason to indulge and eat all I could...This morning we had the very last donuts for breakfast. Along with my father and friends I had a great 16th birthday here on the opposite side of the world. This was my second birthday on my world circumnavigation and if all goes well it should be the last. I was thinking of getting my driver license here but I did not have enough time for it, too bad - Within a week I would like to steer Guppy's nose towards the Indian Ocean. She is in good shape again and I have just enough of the coming few days to gradually make the usual preparations like refilling with water, cleaning-up around Guppy, checking on all and everything once more and completing the clearance procedures. My friend Jillian is already on the plane heading back home, and there are only two days left for my father to enjoy the warm weather here with me before he too has to go. And then it will also be time for me to leave Darwin and Australia...

Laura     

 


20-09-2011


18-09-2011

After having solved all the known maintenance problems, I went looking for the still undiscovered ones and found that one of the backstays was a little bit pulled up from the deck. A small steel plate fixed from below would solve this problem - the kind of steel angle that can always be found at a shipyard or even at a scrapyard... But of course not when you really need one... So 10 minutes later my Dad and I were on our way to the hardware store, an easy bus ride away or so we thought... But because of a street market happening there was no bus service in the morning going by the Yachtclub and we had to walk to the next bus stop. Once there the posted timetable indicated that the bus had just passed by a few minutes before and that we had to wait for half an hour for the next one to come by. OK then...we decided to walk to the next stop... and of course, after we had walked down the street for 200 meters, the bus passed right by us! And we kept walking for several kilometres in the sweltering heat until we were about halfpoint on our way when I spotted an 'M' shining in the sun over the bushes... a McDonalds. So we made a stop and enjoyed a deliciously fresh milkshake. A few kilometres later we finally arrived where we wanted to be. We went around searching the entire hardware store ten times before we found a steel plate that would fit perfectly. When we left the store we saw the bus coming by and sprinting we managed to catch it at the very last moment. We were so comfortably seated that we missed the Yachtclub stop, and so we decided to keep going all the way to the supermarket. We did our groceries shopping but then we forgot the eggs for the pancakes. But happily, the people at the Yachtclub restaurant were so kind, and they gave us some eggs so that in the evening we finally could enjoy our

pancakes in the cockpit.

Laura  

 


16-09-2011

I was in a good mood when I started replacing both my engines oil filters while my father was trying to solve a problem with the electrical system. But then halfway through I suddenly realized that I did not have spare filters for the Volvo engine onboard with me.  But instead I had three filters for the Yanmar engine! Hmm... I must have had a less clear moment sometime last year... Anyway, it was not easy finding new filters over here. I also have my repaired sails back on board. But today when I hoisted them I saw that they weren't good. So we took them back to the sailmaker again... But happily, the Zwaan Sails Company in the Netherlands had already made new sails for me which my father has brought with him here in Darwin. Thus I now have an entirely new set of sails But I would be happy to keep the repaired ones for spares... And so this is how - sigh - my To-Do list got longer instead of shorter... until I found someone with a car and time to go around. So going to get the Volvo's new filters at the marine supply shop was made much easier. It was a half hour drive out to a part of the country that is more like a desert. But!...they had the filters I wanted - another problem solved and along with it, seeing a little bit more of Australia.

Laura

Look for picture's at the dutch weblog or last picture's 

 


14-09-2011

Today I was invited to take a look at the Netherlands' solar powered car that will compete in the famous 3000 kilometres [1865 land miles] World Solar Challenge race from Darwin to Adelaide. I really enjoyed my visit and besides it was a nice break from all the work on Guppy. The car built with carbon is even lighter than I thought it would be. There is a surprising number of parameters that come into play to keep it going as fast as possible and that was very interesting to learn. Guppy's entire electrical system is running on solar power too, but this is completely different... It is much more high tech and that really impressed me very much. But in the same way that this car was mysterious to me, my own journey was mysterious to the team that built it, and so we had many questions for each other. Now I understand much better what goes into building this car and what the challenges are to be able to compete in a race like this - and the car team knows more about what is involved in doing a round the world journey.

Laura


13-09-2011

It is 4 AM when the alarm clock resonates in my ears and it is cold 18° C [64,4° F]! outside. We hoist anchor and I slowly manoeuvre Guppy between the other anchored boats, edging closer to the beach... Ten centimetres [4 inches] ... Five centimetres [2 inches]... Yes, she touches ground. Ten minutes later Guppy is standing upright, solid as a rock. We moored her tightly to two piles on the beach that are meant for yachts with a keel to stand dry, and little by little her under water hull showed naked as the sea receded. I found a cheap solution to get Guppy out of the water. Here the big tides – up to 7 meters [21 feet] – bring strong currents that may be a bother but it can also be used to some advantage... Daylight comes and we start working. First, we removed all the marine growth from the hull by using scrapers. This goes better than expected so we have enough time to apply one layer of antifouling before the next high tide comes in. Then after nine hours of hard work the high water is back and we have to make sure Guppy is well secured to the piles so she doesn't go bouncing or rubbing against them with the swell and the winds. We just have enough time for a quick wash and a bite before the next low tide and we can apply another coat of antifouling. It is already the middle of the night when I crawl into bed. But this time the familiar sound of the waves lapping at Guppy's hull is not there and I am not gently swayed to sleep as I usually am, Guppy is standing aground on the beach near my dinghy with the water more than 100 [ 300 feet] meters away - I feel like a fish on dry land... But by 5 AM Guppy is happily floating again and we move her back to deep water and drop anchor. It was the first time in more than a year that Guppy had been out of the water. I am glad that this is over now because I get a little bit anxious when Guppy is on dry land and not where she should be, in the water. But this was well worth all the effort and now she is ready to head to the sea again in a while.

 Laura  

 


11-09-2011

Gradually the cruisers are departing from Fannie Bay. Henk and Sogno d'Oro have set sail two days ago for Cocos Keeling Islands or Christmas Island. Myself I will stay here until my birthday. I am very happy about this because I really like it here in Darwin. Besides, Guppy still has to be lifted out of the water and each time a thing from the to-do-list is striked off there is something more to add to it... But gradually Guppy is becoming a seaworthy boat again. It has rained for the first time since I am here! A small tornado came passing near by which means that the rainy season is about to start. But happily, overall it is just as dry and hot as usual ..

Laura

 


10-09-2011

After I did my presentation at the Darwin Yacht Club I had a big surprise when the Carbon Club announced that it will sponsor the repair of my old sails. I am really happy about this, it is a weight off my shoulders so now I can concentrate on all of Guppy's other minor bruises and aches in good cheer. With my father we went to work on the Yanmar engine leaking exhaust. But before we could really start with this, it was necessary to clear up things on board... Working in a mess will only make for more mess and work, I have learned... So I emptied out the back and front of the cabin, and then I put everything back into its right place. And now I know for certain what I have onboard my squeeky clean boat...and a dinghy loaded full with four trash bags overflowing with unnecessary waste, or so are saying Jillian and my father... But I have problems with throwing things away... So it is busy around here and the days just fly by with my departure date fast approaching. Today I did some shopping and tomorrow I am going to refill the fuel tanks. I also have chosen my sailing route back to the Atlantic Ocean but I cannot tell you about it now ... the pirates have internet access too.

 


10-09-2011

for photo's look at the dutch weblog


09-09-2011

Yesterday evening I made a presentation here at the Darwin Sailing Club. First I gave it to a group of children, and then I did it again for a group of adults. Of course, it was all given in English but still I had plenty of nice reactions afterwards so I imagine that I did not do too bad... More boats are leaving each day heading for the Red Sea or for South Africa. We already had set up an SSB radio network between sailors for those currently sailing West on the Indian Ocean. Sadly, I have been too busy all the time so that I totally forgot to participate. But once I am back at sea it will be nice to keep in touch again with all the other yachts.


08-09-2011

It has already been two weeks or so since I am in Darwin, and my father has just arrived here to join me... I could not wait for him to come from the airport so Jillian and I went over to pick him up at 4 o'clock in the morning. I was sure he wouldn't expect this and indeed he was very happy but also very much surprised. We had so much to talk about that the few hours we could have spent sleeping afterwards were over in no time as Darwin woke to a new day again... We inspected Guppy's small bruises together, and Dad thinks that I have gotten most of the solutions right. So this is really a good start...

 


05-09-2011


04-09-2011

I have been very busy for the past days ...and it looks like it will be like this for some time.I have problems with the rudder again. which gets harder to move the longer Guppy is lying still. I am afraid Guppy will have to be lifted out of the water... After sailing half the world she really needs and deserves a major overhaul! Guppy has kept on sailing steadily all the times I have been safely sleeping in the cabin or sitting in the cockpit reading... So, I brought the sails to a sailmaker, I wrestled with the rudder, I tried to find the best place to have Gup lifted out of the water and how to go about it, then make an appointment and inquire as to how much it would cost. I also worked on my book, started on a presentation and did a thousand other things aboard Guppy, plus we did some filming for the movie. The steering wheel has come down in priority on my to-do list. All this is going to be a blow to my finances.  As much as I would like to go sailing I would not get very far with a boat that can't be steered... So this problem has to be solved before, but there is a solution to everything... The people here are really very kind so happily I am not alone. The nice and warm reactions on my guestbook remind me of this, too. Thank you very much. And yeah, I will try to keep with log updates regularly.


03-09-2011

photo,s look at; www.lauradekker.nl
or last pictures.


31-08-2011

The days just fly by and I haven't had time to be bored, not even for one second. There is plenty of work to do on Guppy and fixing the steering wheel is the hardest job... Because of oxidation from salt water the stainless steel bolts in the aluminum control column are stuck so I cannot remove them even though I borrowed tools to do just that.They have to come out, there is no other choice...My friend Jillian has arrived here this morning– she is the one making a film about my journey – so I let go of the steering problem. Instead we went for a walk into town, we ate gelato, we laughed a lot and I got myself an Australian SIM-card for my phone. I also took the torned sails to the sailmaker for repairs so I will still have them for spares. And... it is now for sure! My father will be over to visit me in one and a half week! We are going to celebrate my 16th birthday together and I am really looking forward to it. But for now I still have one hundred small and big jobs left to do. It will all take much of my time but well...Luckily I am staying here for a few more weeks so it all should work fine..

Laura


29-08-2011

There were pretty strong winds blowing as the regatta took place and right from the start I already had trouble keeping the boat upright. Even though my dinghy was a Laser with Radialsail  (shorter mast section and smaller sail), the old laser slowly started to fill with water making it increasingly unstable! As we reached the part of the run where the wind blew at an angle from behind I capsized...and then capsized ... and then again and again. Because there was a lot off water inside the hull. Evidently I would not win the race so I just enjoyed the sailing and I had a lot of fun. Then after capsizing some twenty times or the like, I carefully maneuvered so I would cross over the finishing line as I should in any case, for it doesn't matter if it is a few minutes behind, the important thing being to finish... with a half sunken boat back on the beach and having had a great time. And then the big surprise ... I was awarded second place because I had done so well yesterday! Sogno d'Oro has sailed in too and is now anchored next to me. Together Henk and I we concluded that the last crossing had a place in the top five most difficult ever. I personally rank it number two. The first place I give to sailing from Bora Bora to Tonga where a was sick, have no wind or very strong winds and then cross seas with shifting winds... The Atlantic crossing gets a well deserved third place..

Laura


28-08-2011

Now that I am well rested, I could go over all I wanted to do yesterday and it went a whole lot better. In no time my bike was ready and the outboard engine is now working perfectly. Because of the tides high range I am at anchor far off the coast with some 100 other yachts, so that makes for a long ride to the yacht club. But it is beautiful here and I have already met many friendly people. Really nice kind of people and everyone here has a boat and is an active sailor for real! It is all mega cool too at the yacht club. There is a regatta organized for the weekend and I will have a chance to compete with a borrowed laser dinghy so I will be in the race...Today at practice I didn't do too badly but tomorrow I may still be the last to sail across the finish line... Which wouldn't matter very much really because it is all about the fun... But of course it would be fun to be first too ... To Abby , thank you for your kind words to me [ Abby Sunderland blog of August 23 _ http://soloround.blogspot.com/2011/08/off-to-school.html ] for sailing through the Torres Strait - indeed I had an absolutely high feeling of accomplishment and I hope that you too will have many more such great highs in your life. It was exactly as you wrote: " feeling of being on top of the world…"

Laura


26-08-2011

photo,s look at; www.lauradekker.nl
or last pictures.


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