Sunday, June 29, 2014

Grenaa/Denmark - Kattegat Center


This weekend we visited Madita in Grenaa/Denmark. But since the weather was bad and the wind direction was of no real use, we stayed there and made a visit at the Kattegat Center.
We were very much impressed and the children were very excited, running ahead and calling our attention to the next imposing animals they discovered.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

From Sønderborg to Grenaa - 06/19-06/21/2014


During our summer vacation our plan is to reach Oslo/Norway; this time by sailing ;-)
But since it is not that much time for this rather long distance (and back), we thought about bringing Madita northwards before our journey starts. The best time for doing so would be the weekend after Corpus Christi with a few days off around that.
Wolfgang wanted to do a sailing weekend with his cousin anyway and he offered to help bringing Madita to the north.
I am more than grateful, that it were not the children and me doing this trip, since it was rather windy with up to 37 knots of wind (Beaufort 7-8) at the first day, a little less the following days with even higher waves.
Although it was wet and salty, the guys were in high spirits when returning home four days later.
And Madita is now in Grenaa waiting for the highlight of the year: Oslo we are about to come! :-)


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Porpoise


It is not getting less, it does not wear off: The exciting feeling of meeting porpoise while traveling across the Baltic Sea.
Most of the times we only see the dorsal fin appearing suddenly out of the water. But sometimes we are lucky and these amazing animals start to play with Madita, an event which causes permanent smiling.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sunday morning thoughts


Sunday mornings, when I take the dog for a walk around the neighborhood, we pass all those neat nice houses. Flowers are blooming manifoldly in the front gardens, balconies are planted in equal elaborately. Windows are opened to let in the fresh summer morning air and allow one to get a glimpse here and there of the nicely and modernly decorated living rooms. More or less our house may give the same impression.


Friday, June 20, 2014

Scotland - fall 2013


In Autumn last year we traveled to Scotland for 8 days. We would love to go to Great Britain by our own boat one day, but this time because of lack of time and weather conditions, we took the ferry from Amsterdam/The Netherlands to Newcastle/England. We feel a little uncomfortable on these ferries, but actually it was much more convenient than going by car the whole distance.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Hagenbek-Zoo Hamburg


Today is Corpus Christi and the school of our children was closed although it is not an official holiday in Hamburg. A friend of us invited us to the Zoo. I didn't bring our camera, but we have been there before and Wolfgang took some nice pictures that time, I would like to share.
Especially the recently built Arctic Sea department impresses us over and over.
Still, the question remains whether zoos are up to date, with the new media allowing virtual travels where real traveling is difficult, somehow overcoming the need for shutting animals in relatively small compounds.... Needless to say that there are as mostly pros and cons; I am yet undecided and feel it is on one hand hard to tell, how zoo animals really feel about their situation. On the other hand I can not imagine that they would not prefer to be free. But then again, what about species conservation? Somehow pros and cons seem quite balanced but that might change with globalization in one way or the other.
One effect visiting zoos, is always the wish to rather observe these wild animals in there natural environment.

Bagenkop/Denmark where "Jesus calms the storm"


This week our children had Bible Day at school. The whole day all classes worked in different ways about the same story: This time it was the story from the New Testament about Jesus, who falls asleep while he was crossing the Sea of Galilee with his disciples when a storm rises. The disciples get very frightened and wake Jesus for help. He tells them to trust in him and calms the storm with one word. The disciples are deeply impressed and ask "What kind of a man is he, to whom even the wind and the waves are listening".
That reminded my of the church of Bagenkop/Langeland-Denmark. During the day the doors are wide open, although a grid blocks the entrance, and one can see inside the church directly on the wonderful stained glas windows, showing exactly this biblical story. It is easy to imagine what this story means to the fishermen, who have to go out on the Baltic Sea each day regardless of the weather.

Norway - fall 2012


During the autumn break in 2012 we traveled to Norway. Since we expected not the best whether at that time of the year, we took the ferry from Kiel/Germany to Oslo/Norway and stayed 3 nights in a hotel. Using the ferry allowed us to bring our car, which was convenient, but going up the Oslo Fjord in this huge and luxurious ferry, we felt kind of sad not being here with our own boat :-/
Anyway, we enjoyed visiting Oslo a lot, but soon we felt that we would love to see the nature and the mountains. We drove outside the city and soon were fascinated by the landscape, the ancient stones, the waters and the nordic flora.
It was a great trip with a lot of new impressions and I am more than happy that this summer our vacation should lead us to the Oslo Fjord again, this time with our own boat :-)


Stone Organ


Strolling the beach of Anholt/Denmark in 2012 we came to a stretch where waves rolled over a bed of stones, all almost the same size. With the water running back the stones chattered to each other making kind of music. I call this effect "Stone Organ".
This is part 3 of experimenting with natural movement....

Grey Seal (Halichoerus grypus)


Last year in spring on a one week trip we met some very special animals.... We were on our way to Gedser/Falster-Denmark when suddenly a howling filled the air. First we had to use binoculars to figure out who made these sounds, but when we reached the sand bank Rødsand we saw them... and they saw us: Grey Seals :-)
The are area around Rødsand is prohibited, but since the wind was low, we were able to float directly at the borders of this natural reserve.
Suddenly the whole group of Grey Seals started to move into the water. We saw them playing in the shallow water in front of the sand bank.
All at once, not ten meters from Madita, a head with two saucer eyes appeared out of water and looked curiously at us. We were not sure, whether he expected fish, wanted to see our papers or simply wanted to inform us, that we are not allowed to enter the area....before we figured that out, he disappeared, but only a few later another, one was looking at us from short distance. Sometimes they showed up in pairs, sometimes only single; this whole game lasted for about 30 minutes. Then they seemed to lose interest in us and went back to take a nap on the sand bank.
We continued our way, filled with excitement and happiness about this cute encounter.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

How we lost Madita's mast in 2011


2011 was our first year sailing.
This start was rather successful: After the first teething problems, like unattended cereal bowls on the salon table with a heeling of 20° or the sudden and unexpected appearance of pontoons while entering the mooring box, we had a lot of fun. We traveled a lot; every weekend and all vacation days.
During the summer holidays we made a trip around Funen with Ballen/Samsø being our most north point.
We felt just fine. In September we had two last weeks vacation for the season. As ending point of this trip it was planed to stop in Neustadt/Holstein-Germany, where a space in the winter depot was already booked. We started at the Schlei/Germany, traveled via Bagenkop/Langeland, Naskov/Lolland, Langø/Lolland, Fejø, Femø, Stubbeköbing/Falster, Nystedt/Lolland until Kühlungsborn/Germany. So far we enjoyed the journey, traveling in off-season, finding very quiet places.
In Kühlungsborn we arrived in the evenings. As expected this was not our favorite place, with all the tourists crowding the seafront. But it was a good place to stay over nights and take off early in the morning. No sooner said than done we slept early. For the next few days the forecast reported strong winds and we wanted to reach the Bay of Lübeck before they start.
We headed westward with wind of 4 Beaufort from southwest and with the Genua in the second reff. The waves were 1-1.5 meters high. It was quite a pitching and a lot of water washed over deck. Therefore the children stayed downstairs.
3 NM away from Kühlungsborn we heard a very loud bang. We looked at each other, but since no obvious source of the noise could be seen, we shrugged and went on.
Suddenly a bluster came from above. I looked up and could do nothing but yelling "Wolfgang the mast, the mast!" The mast was broken right in the middle at the height of the spreaders and everything, the whole rigging came down. The fore sail was hanging completely in the water with the broken Furlex system still attached to it.
A split second after I looked up, Wolfgang pushed me fiercely to the side; the very next moment the boom hit the cockpit where my head had been...
I told the children to absolutely stay downstairs, lay down and not move until we call them. They followed my command with no further question.
Wolfgang started the motor in idle running and we brought every loose line and the sail back on deck. While I felt panic slightly coming up, he seemed to be absolutely calm and considerate.
With nothing hanging in the water anymore, we made it without any outside help back to the nearest harbor: Kühlungsborn. Shortly before reaching the harbor entrance a small voice ask from down stairs "May we get up now?" The children kept so quiet all the time, that I completely forget to permit them to move again.....
We had to stay in Kühlungsborn for the next five days, since the forecast was right and the wind rose a lot and we did not dare to cross the Baltic Sea with what was left of our mast on deck.
For a short moment we thought of, me bringing the children home, but that was unanimously declined. These days in Kühlungsborn, all four of us were in lethargy.  The days went by uneventful, waiting for the whether to clear up. The only gay moment was when we celebrated Friedrich's 5th birthday. We gave him a red remote controlled Ferrari and there were quite a lot elderly men enviously looking at him letting it run through the harbor. 
Finally the wind lowered. In the meanwhile Wolfgang organized the help of the harbor maintenance crew the bring the rest of the mast down and store it on deck.
Looking crushed, we made our trip to Neustadt/Holstein, where the sail maker already expected us. Before a new mast and rigging could be order, the insurance's expert had to survey everything. His diagnosis was material fatigue and even before taking Madita out of water for the winter, she received a new mast and rigging.
It took us a while to feel confident with the new rigging and we for sure sail even more defensive. But on the other hand we learned a lot out of this. It was our first real emergency situation and we were luckily able to handle it.
And most important: Thank God, no one was hurt!
At the end of September we winterized Madita, but the first weekend of October with the national holiday in Germany brought the summer back. We spontaneously decided to take the chance being without mast and visit Lübeck/Germany where we would have to pass some really low bridges. About this jolly weekend I will tell you some other time....

Imbued by travel V


What is our position in the world? Are we still a part of the nature? How do we alter the nature? How does nature influence us? How can we protect nature? How to make sure, that protecting nature does not dissociate us from nature?

Nature - 2013 - Acrylic on Canvas - 100x80 cm - $500 at Saatchi Art Online

Monday, June 16, 2014

Stone at the beach

Second part of experimenting with natural movement....
The waves were washing over the stones at Søby's beach vigorously, which gives a little idea of what waters do to stones during millenniums.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Rose (Rosa)


It is an open secret: I crazy about flowers. I love all kinds of wildflowers and it drives Wolfgang sometimes crazy that our hikes are prolonged by me kneeling down to take a picture of every blossom I can find.
But as well I love cultivated flowers and it is a good start of the day to take a round in the garden and see what started to blossom overnight. 
Currently the roses are just beautiful :-)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Imbued by travel IV


Feeling to be a part of nature by experiencing the wind and sun and sand and water. The feeling on the skin, the smelling, listening to the sounds and tasting the salty air.

Anholt - 2013 - Oil on canvas - 100x120 cm $1000 at Saatchi Art Online

Cockchafer (Melolontha)


A couple of weeks ago, actually at the beginning of May, this guy landed on the leg of our son, when we were in the garden. We never saw a cockchafer in real, let alone so close. He was just beautiful and the children carefully observed every detail of his perfectly build body.


Wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus)


After dropping the children at school this morning I met this cute and shy little fellow in the nearby park. He was hiding in his hole apparently waiting for a quiet moment to cross the path.
Sorry for the somewhat lower quality of the pictures recorded by cellphone.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Why the Great Loop?


Why do we dream about the Great Loop?!

Screenshot from Great Loop - Google Maps

When the idea of doing a longer journey by boat hit us, we always talked about circumnavigation. We discussed that for quite a while; there were ups and downs: Sometimes Wolfgang was absolutely fond of the idea and I had doubts, sometimes it was just the other way round.
He always dreamed of getting away from regular live, I searched for a project connected with the journey, like writing about it, doing some research, develop some art projects.
And of course we have many worries concerning the children. Although we are sure they would benefit a lot from a long family journey, still we have to consider education issues as well. Another big point is the financial situation.
We did a lot of reading and followed other people living their dreams and reporting about that in the internet.
I always felt that doing the "conventional" route - Canary Islands, Caribbean, South Pacific, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Suez Canal and back to the starting point - is not what I am dreaming about exactly. Although there are many many places on this route I would love to see, there are other spots I would very much prefer to visit, such as Patagonia, Japan, Kamchatka Peninsula, Alaska, Canada and USA....
Since we are not sure, whether we will be able to do a journey over a couple of years, why not start with a shorter project?
We read before about the Great loop and it seems to be the ideal journey for us. It is manageable within one year. Besides the Atlantic crossing the sailing will be close to the shore or mostly on inland waters, which fits to our "Baltic Sea skils". We more or less speak the language. Taking the children one year out of primary school and teach them aboard should be doable. Plus, for a long time I dreamed about returning to New York City, where I worked in 2001, on our own keel....
That sets it: The Great Loop would be a perfect starting point for a change of life. 
Of course there are many many issues which are ambiguous right now.
A big topic still is the financing.
Since we have compulsory schooling in Germany, we will have to get a permit to take the children out of school, which is possible, but depends on the personal approach of different people. 
Madita will definitely not be the right kind of boat, to do such a journey and we will have to sell her before the journey. That is kind of heartbreaking to any of us :-(
We have different options: We could find a new boat here, do the equipping and sail across the Atlantic. Or we could sell everything here, fly to USA and buy a boat there. Currently I prefer the first option, because I feel much more comfortable to put everything in place and get used to a new boat before we start.
And I am sure many questions will pop up while preparing...but hey, we know what we are preparing for and that is a good starting point!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Hugo - our family dog


I wanted a dog for years. Wolfgang was strictly against buying one....although he loves dogs or maybe because he loves dogs. His parents had dogs and he perfectly well knows how much work and responsibility it is.
But on the other hand wouldn't it be the most joyful and heart warming thing to have in life?!
At least we figured out at one point what kind of a dog we would like to have, if we ever would get as far as buying one....A flat coated retriever seems to be a good breed for us. The big dog book we have on the shelf says: A flat coated retriever is extraordinary charming, does anything to please, very friendly with children and the tail is constantly wagging.
But still Wolfgang was not fond of the idea. Then, one sunday afternoon just a few weeks before my 40th birthday, he suggested a nearly 2 hour drive to Oldenburg (Oldenburg) to see some puppies....."We will just look at them...."
Some hours later we were driving back home, the sweetest black, furry thing sitting anxiously on my lap. That was the day, Hugo (*12/25/2011) came in our life.
He was really wild in the beginning and not much interested in cuddling. To our surprise we had to get used to each other. But only after a few he became a family member. His training might not be the best, but he is a real family dog, very kind with the children, easy to handle wherever we take him, very friendly with other dogs. The only negative thing I should mention is his weakness for sweet stuff especially cakes and muffins, which he of course would only take if they obviously would have been put on the table for him.....

Field poppy (Papaver rhoeas)


Two years ago a new tree was planted  in our street a few houses further down. It is a lime tree (Tilia) and the neighborhood is not too happy about it, since it is one more lime tree in the street spilling its sticky pollen all over the place on windows and cars. But in the soil which came with this tree seem to be seed of many different wild flowers. Last year beautiful mallow was growing all around the trunk. This year poppy established itself. It just started to blossom, but I had to take a picture by now, because I love the texture and color of the blossom and I can not expect the seed capsules to fully appear. 


Spot of the week - Vejrø/Denmark



We love the danish islands and Vejrø is on the top of our list.

Vejrø is a little private island of 1.6 km² located in the Smålandsfarvandet. The harbor offers room for 85 ships and  is open to leisure boats. There is a ship shuttle service for appointed guests to the island. The only other way to arrive is by privat plane. Vejrø has a little hotel and few guest houses. The restaurant as well as the little shop offer organic products of the island. The harbor fee is rather high, but the facilities on the island like shower, washing machine and dryer, tennis court, bicycles, electricity, water and BBQ with wood or coal are for free. But what we love most on this pearl in the Baltic Sea is the nature. Although the island is cultivated the nature is overwhelming. Deers are looking at you every now and then from behind a tree or the open meadows. Rabitts are running around or sitting quietly in the green. Many birds nesting all over the place. Wildflowers are blossoming everywhere. All this is surrounded by a sea of turquoise color. It is very quiet here. While strolling around we feel completely relaxed and embedded in the bursting nature.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Fossiloid


Over the past few years I literally carried a huge 60kg blue alabaster stone with me. It moved from Berlin to Hamburg with us and I moved it back and forth in the house. For a long time I simply was not sure, what might be in the stone. During the past 3 month I finally figured it out and made this sculpture. 




How much is enough?



There is nothing to complain about. We live a good life. Everything is just in place....but somehow that seems not to be what we want. It starts with all the stuff we have in the house. Each piece on it's own might have been a good purchase. But more and more I feel uncomfortable and wonder wether we really need all of it. It is nothing, which can be explained by reason, it is more an emotion leading to the decision, that it has to start with getting rid of at least a good part of the stuff. Which leads to the question, what we really need or want to have. What is really important to us, what has a meaning? With every piece we sold or gave away so far, I feel much better. I don't expect that reducing will lead to absolute minimalism. But in the end I would be happy if anything would fit within one boat ;-)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Monday, June 2, 2014

Rainbows....


Talking about rainbows...On pictures they look easily like kitsch, but seeing one in real is always an enchanting moment...

Once, we visited the peninsula Schleimünde/Germany, a whole rainbow spread over the baltic sea. It lasted for about 45 minutes and was for a while accompanied by a second short piece. It was too large to put it in one photo.



Sunday, June 1, 2014