Laura's Blog

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31-07-2014

 

Europe

 

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

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



 

 Havorn in the drydock

 The dry dock has been filled with water again and we are getting ready to go out. 

 Leaving the dry-dock

 My Dad, Skipper, designer and builder of the Havorn.

 Heading back home.

 Of course I needed to test her new abilities as well. 

My 16 year old Sister Kim in circus Fantasia. 

 

 

 

 


20-07-2014

East Coast


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


15-07-2014


California and the wild west


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

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

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

 

 Northern Californian coast. 

 Golden gate bridge, San Fransisco.

 Modern roadsigns? California

 Upcoming moon. 

          Doing a hike is a nice change from all the driving. 

 Bushfire's burn down whole forests, these are some of the remains. 

 Going off-road we end up in some magical places, and sometimes in a whole heap of sand. 

 Entering Death Valley..

  Feeling how sharp the cactus is, very sharp! 

 Death Valley. 

 

       Clay pans in Death Valley. 

 

 

          Las Vegas.

 

 

 Beautiful lake just past Las Vegas, vivid grey skies and thunderstorms. 

 Grand Canyon, early morning. The rainstorms are leaving and the sun is taking their place. 

 

           A squirrel enjoying the endless depths of the Grand Canyon.

 

        Utah

        A river in New Mexico

      The Mexican Hat. 

 


11-07-2014

Redwood & Northern California

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

 

 

First sight of the Pacific ocean in Cresent city, after driving across the whole of the USA.

 

 

 

Driving through the redwoods, giant and ancient trees surround us. 

 

 

Fallen, hollow redwoods tree.  


09-07-2014

Montana & Southwest bound

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

 

 

Our improvised cooking stove.  

 

The living stick-worm, which we saved from the ants.

 

 

Dead trees in Oregon - the trees where black and white, but on some spots moss still grew on them which made it look so amazing. 

 

A very big crater lake in Southern Oregon.

  

Swimming in the crater lake - the water was very cold! Notice the snow on the mountains in the background? 

 

 

A very beautiful clear river in Southern Oregon that we just had to jump in.

 


08-07-2014

 

Teton & Yellowstone National parks

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

 


 

Signs in the little souvenir shop of Dubois.

 

 

Mountains in Teton National Park. 

 

 

Hiking in the mountains of Teton National Park.  

 

 

Be bear-aware! We had to put all our food in food-lockers at the camp-sites, so that we wouldn't attract bears.

 

 

 

Beautiful colors, created by heat loving microbes in the hot springs of Yellowstone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old Faithful Geyser.

 

 

Bison crossing the road without any rush, like the king of the scene.

 

And deer, not acting like kings, rather humbly getting out of our way.

 

 

A moose, casually cleaning himself.

 

 

The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.  

 


07-07-2014

 

Toronto & Westward bound

And so the fun begins :) First stop, Toronto. I was presenting at Ideacity, a three-day conference that includes a lot of different speakers and topics. From genetic engineering over to entertainers and adventurers. After the conference we didn’t stay in Toronto much, even though it seemed to be a nice city - especially the great lakes had a strong draft. But New York had given us enough city input for a while, so that our eyes were focused on the western horizon now. I knew that the states were big, but I don’t think I ever really got the whole picture. For two days we drove through cities, over wide, long and straight highways and eventually we disappeared into the smog of Chicago. Once we were out of the smog, green meadow’s with dairy farms dotted all over them pleased our eyes. For another two days that was all we saw. Then coming to the far west of South Dakota the landscape started changing. The badlands formed some magnificent landscapes with bear soft rock standing in the form of hills with sharp edges and cliffs, all rising out of the flats. We also ventured past the great faces of Mt.Rushmore. The spot for the best view was occupied by a lot of tourists and we decided not to go there. Instead we climbed to the top of a rocky hill, to look at this amazing piece of art, so extremely big and still so beautiful and precise. We mainly just thought about how much fun it must have been to climb those rocks and create that piece of art. But there is no way to climb these rocks anymore. About every tree has a sign pierced onto it prohibiting us to go on a cross-country adventure to come closer to those cliffs. And so we continued into the green hills and empty lands of Wyoming. Many deer jumped over the grassy hills as we continued our way west. Somewhere along the way we had heard that there are bears in this area but forgot all about it until it got dark and we ended up in a dark forest looking for a place to sleep. With the darkness and the silence I remembered the bears. Having never been in bear country before, the idea freaked me out a bit and I wished that we would’ve had some more info on what to do. So we did the only thing we knew we should, and hung our food up in a tree, about 100m away, and went to sleep. Neither we nor our food got eaten by a bear that night, so that morning was a great relief. But this was just the beginning of a very exiting area.

As we drove through Riverton, we experienced how quickly the weather can change. The skies turned dark and a strong wind came up. I told Daniel to pull over as soon as possible and just as we did extreme gusts of wind and rain came pounding onto the car. The rain changed into hail quickly and it wasn’t like the hail we knew from Europe. It was much more severe. Remembering pictures of hail stones as big as tennis balls, I got a bit nervous and told Daniel - who was sitting behind the wheel - to find a save place for the car. Hiding on the lee side of a big building we waited out the storm. As the hail was pounding to the ground, everything outside a circle of a meter disappeared in thick gusts of water pouring down. After less then half an hour everything got quiet and we hit the road again. There we were given one good reason why Americans drive big cars. The road was transformed into a river that reached a depth of half a meter at some points. As we were driving through two walls of water, created by our own wheels, we realized that the very hot and dry city that we had entered now had changed into one big swimming pool. We felt small in our Subaru Legacy, when big Utes drowned us when driving past. So - as much fun as it was to drive through a river in down town, we choose what was best for the car, went uphill, and kept doing so until we reached Teton National park.

 

 

 

Driving through cities, smog and long boring highways for two days, after leaving Toronto.

 

 

Found a beautiful sunset when taking some backroads in Wisconsin.

 

 

A Damsel Fly that travelled with us on the dashboard for a little while.  

 

 

South Dakota, moving into the Badlands.

 

South Dakota - Some awesome tunnels in the black hills.  

 

 

Experiencing how fast the weather can change, and how much water can come down in very little time. Riverton, Wyoming.  

 

 


06-07-2014

 

New York,

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

 


 

 New York, Times square.

  

View of Manhattan from the Brooklyn bridge. 

 

New York - subway station. Some have beautiful paintings and mosaic pictures.  


04-07-2014

 

Link radio interview 

http://raddeviant.com/?p=48

 


03-07-2014

 

Link Video Toronto 

http://www.ideacityonline.com/video/youngest-cirvumnavigator-sail-alone-around-world-laura-dekker/

 


21-05-2014

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

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

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

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

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

Laura

 


20-05-2014

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


16-03-2014

We've been doing some more work for Andy, on his boat Baltazar, which is still standing on the yard… One of the first times we met he started talking very exited about his newborn company called "aloft alone". As a mountaineer he's got a lot of experience with climbing and climbing gear and being a enthusiastic sailor as well, he started thinking of a system with which people can climb their mast alone. Ideal for solo sailors! The kit includes a backup system and a griri which make going up and down super easy and a lot safer then other systems. Having worked for him for a while he offered me one of his kits to try out and see what I thought of it. Well… I think it's awesome! I wish I would have had this one instead off the climbing gear I had on my circumnavigation, but I sure will enjoy it a lot now as well. So, Andy, thanks a lot for this great kit. I wish you a lot of success with it :) Anyone that wants to find out more about the "aloft alone" kit can have a look at the website: aloftalone.com

So, let's see, well.. Except for Hurricane Luci who just came blasting over the top of New Zealand not to many exiting things happened. We serviced all the winches of Guppy and did some little things here and there. At the moment we are housesitting at a hobby-farm just 15 minutes out of town. Looking after the cows, sheep, chickens and a lovely old dog. But with a hurricane breathing in our necks we suddenly found ourselves flying up and down from the house to Guppy. Checking Guppy's lines and seeing if she is alright and then going back to feed and comfort the animals. I can still not understand why so many people always want to have more and more and bigger things, I mean after all you just have more and more to look after… Luckily the hurricane changed it's tracks a little and it didn't turn out as bad as they first forecasted. But driving around town yesterday, when the tail of the storm was still coming over we still saw quiet a bit of damage in places. The Whangarei fall looked spectacular though, bigger then I have ever seen her, such a mass of water roaring down! After the falls we drove past Guppy and back to the house to pick up Sparky, the old farm dog. We then drove out to the beach to look at the waves crashing into the rocks. We where a little concerned if Sparky might be scared, but it turned out that he loved it just as much as we did! Running up and down the beach like crazy and even jumping into the waves, courageously holding on to his stick. We didn't think that this was such a good idea so we had to get into the water to drag the water-loving dog back onto dry land where he started rolling in the mud and sand. Just perfect, having a salty wet dirty dog in the car which we only just cleaned.. But he had heaps of fun, even wen we put the garden hose onto him after we came back and scrubbed him down he didn't seem to mind to much.

The weather has finally calmed down and Guppy is all well, she didn't seem to mind the storm at all. At the farm we just had some banana plants come down and lots of little branches.

 

Laura  


15-03-2014

 

                                                       Cutting onions can be an emotional job, but there are good solutions available :)  Cleaning Guppy's winches.  Hurricane Luci passing Northland.  Poles came out of the ground in the playground next to the marina..                                                  The Whangarei falls are looking spectacular with the heavy rainfall of the last day.  Daniel and Sparky running up and down the beach while waves are crashing into the rocks. 

 

 


27-02-2014

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

Arriving back in Whangarei

 


26-02-2014

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

Laura 


25-02-2014

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

Laura 


24-02-2014

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

Laura


23-02-2014

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

Laura 


22-02-2014

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

Laura


21-02-2014

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

Laura 


20-02-2014

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

Laura 


19-02-2014

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

Laura 


18-02-2014

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

Laura 


17-02-2014

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

Laura 


16-02-2014

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

Laura 


15-02-2014

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

Laura

 


12-02-2014

                                                                                             

Abalony Shell found on the Hen and Chickens ( Marotere Islands) 


12-02-2014

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

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


Laura 


13-01-2014

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

 

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

But that was only the beginning of the fun..

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

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

 

Laura 


12-01-2014

Picture's


29-11-2013


28-11-2013

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

Laura


25-10-2013


24-10-2013

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

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

 

Laura 

 


18-10-2013

 

German radio interview:

http://www.radiobremen.de/mediathek/index.html?id=93095 

 

For the dutch speaking fans.

http://www.een.be/programmas/cafe-corsari/zeil-je-voor-het-eerst

 

Many more video,s in German Dutch and Englisch:

http://www.lauradekker.nl/Basis.aspx?Tid=2&Lid=15&Lit=VIEW&Hmi=5018&Smi=5018&STIJL=1 


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 

 


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