Walking instead of sailing

GehenWe have got a new homepage about our new tour. We don’t sail with our WAL. We will walk. This is our new homepage:
and here you find some photos:


Theatre academy

It all started with this: Daddy showed me a piece of paper. But I didn’t understand what that means. Daddy explained it: It was about a children’s theatre academy. And I had to write a letter of application. I drew a picture and I wrote about my theatre experience and my questions, for example how an actor is able not to laugh when it is funny. I was lucky and I received a letter from the academy with my new student card. On six sundays in September and October the theatre academy was in an rebuilt area from the coal mining in Essen, which is now UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. http://www.zollverein.de/index.php?f_categoryId=3&f_menu1=3&lang=en
The building with the theatre academy was in former times a lavatory for the miners. Now we could sit there on davenports on rolls.
There was a big stage and I was sitting there with around hundred other children. A producer explained his work, a comedian showed us how to make peoples laugh 8and not to laugh) and a famous director pointed out his several jobs in the theatre.
One lecture was in Bochum, another town in the Ruhr district, in an old machine building, now a theatre with a special stage. The scaffold was on rails and could be moved alongside the stage. The stage was 120 m long and only 3 m wide! The scaffold is very heavy, 130 tons and for 810 spectators. Very impressive.
I’m looking forward to the academy in the next year and hope to see my friends there again.

My brother Thomas

thomas-1My brother is born on 12th of July 2007, his name is Thomas. He is born in Dortmund, he weighed 3260 gram and he was 52 centimetres long. My brother is very cute. But sometimes it is bugging when the small one is squalling (like just in this moment). He needs very much care. I help to swaddle him and I look after him when he wakes up and squalls. Mum has still a fat tummy, she looks like if she is pregnant in the fifth month.
When I was waiting nearly one hour for Mum, Dad and the baby in the delivery room, when Mum had the caesarean section, I was so excited that I couldn’t read or do anything. I was VERY HAPPY when the midwife showed me my little brother. thomas-2I was surprised how small his hands are. All was well with Mum and Thomas.
In the hospital I drove Thomas in his little bed around in the corridor, that was much fun, and Thomas slept well. Now at home Dad is cuddling Thomas very much. I like to carry my brother around on my arms.

On the farm

TraktorIn the last weeks I was every day at a farm. I just have to drive two or three streets, than I come on a field way and there the farm is. It’s a big riding estate with many horses. I like the farmer very much, because he makes many jokes and he explains me much. The farmer drives a John Deere tractor. The back wheel is bigger than I am tall, the tractor can pull 7 tons, WOW! I like this big tractor very much. On the front is a big fork. When I’m 14 years old I’m allowed to drive the tractor on my own. Some boys there are 14 and they are allowed to drive the tractor. Now I really like to drive with.
Sometimes we mow the grassland, the mower is connected to one side of the tractor. The mowing is very noisy, I have to cry to understand the farmer when I’m with him in the tractor. One time I saw a dead rabbit on the field, which made me very sad. Sometimes we also see small rabbits running around on the field. Every day at 4 pm we get grass from the field for the horses. I’m helping the farmer when I drive with him, for example I attach the trailer to the tractor. I get scared when the 40 cm wide back tires from the tractor drive towards me, very close.
My two friends there are helping with. Often we are allowed to sit on the trailer while we are driving. But we are not very carefully, we are jumping up and down and we slide around on the trailer. The temper is laid-back.
There are always a lot of other children on the farm and we like to play hide and seek. My best hiding place was on the hayloft. My friends had to search me nearly an hours.
Last week I stayed overnight at the farm. With two boys in one horse box and five girls in an other box, we slept on the straw. Nearly the hole night we played in the barnstable. We annoyed the girls, that they couldn’t sleep. Maybe I slept only two hours in this night, because early in the morning the farmer came and waked us up. He asked us to help him with the horses. I was tired, but I liked this overnight stay very much, that was big fun!
That is enough – now I have to go again to the farm.

What a wonderful letter

Letter from AntarcticaGuess from where I got my last letter? You will never know it. From Antarctica! WOW! I wouldn’t had believed it, would I not have hold it in my hands. The letter was from my big friends Deborah and Rolf from the sailboat NORTHERN LIGHT. On the letter are three stamps with weddell seals and a postmark from British Antarctic Territory Port Lockroy. This polar research station is on Palmer Land (S64deg50min W63deg29.3min) on the portion of the Antarctic Peninsula. The letter was taken first by ship and then by air mail. It took more then four weeks since I received it. Of course I get off at full store. The letter was thick, and in it was: A patch from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research at King Georg Island, and very nice photos from whales and a real penguin feather. The letter and the photos I put on the table and the patch is now lying near my bed. What a wonderful letter! I’m very happy. On the photo you see parts from the letter and the polar station which I built with Lego bricks.
Deborah wrote several times in my weblog and I like that very much. The last entry was from Antarctica, about their sailing adventures there. I know Deborah and Rolf since the sailing tour with my parents around the world on the sailboat WAL.

My rabbit is dead

puschel-11cTwo weeks ago my rabbit Puschel died. I have had him since one and a quarter years. As we wanted to go to the music school, for my accordion lesson, Daddy recognized that Puschel was dying. When we came back from music, Puschel was lying dead on the side. I was very sad and I had tears in my eyes. I gave him to less to eat. With Daddy we buried Puschel the day after he died. In our garden I dug a deep hole and put him in and I put flowers on the grave and Daddy built a cross and put it on the earth.
Puschel was young, when I got him and I played very often with him and I let him run on the lawn with rabbits from my friends. Everyday I said to him: “good morning Puschel”. Puschel dug many holes in the garden. I cuddled with him, sometimes to much, than he bit me with his long sharp teeth. All from our family liked Puschel very much, my Grandma and my Grandpa have bought always something to eat for him, Daddy has built a cage for him. Puschel has had a nice soft coat and was very intelligent. One time he was running away. I was swimming on a lake with Mum and I left Puschel on the lawn in a small outdoor enclosure. When we came back he was away. I searched everywhere. Finally I found him: where I dug onetime a hole, it was much bigger and deeper there now and Puschel was sitting there in, tired from digging. In my Grandparents house he once gnawed away a telephone cable. In the winter I have done a hike with Puschel in a cardboard box on the sledge.

BIG changes

Hi Andreas and greetings from "Northern Light" in Antarctica!
We are still in the Melchior Islands (South 64 deg 20 min and West 62 deg 55 min), waiting for decent weather to cross Drake Passage. Years ago, before we had access to so much weather information, we would have left on a rising barometer, gotten a few nice days at the start, and then taken what weather and wind we got after that. Now, we can "look into a crystal ball" and see in the GRIB files the next week's weather prediction. That gives us a better chance of NOT leaving in good weather, only to perhaps meet nasty weather three days later in the northern Drake Passage.
Here in the Melchior Islands, we are anchored and have shore ropes to both sides of a narrow channel, between Eta and Omega Islands. Besides getting the boat ready for sea, we are watching Antarctic terns, Weddell Seals, and also, sadly, Antarctica melting. There is water dripping everywhere. From snow fields. From glacial walls. And Omega Island, as we saw it in 1991 (and as it is shown on our old chart) has now become 2 islands! There was an ice/snow bridge connecting the islands before, over what is now a shallow passage. We have navigated it by dinghy at high tide.
Yes, Antarctica is melting. A cruise ship captain told us that in the Weddell Sea, on the east side of the Peninsula, the Larsen Ice Shelf is breaking off and floating away. One huge iceberg, 75-nautical miles-long, is now on its way toward South Georgia!
We think the lack of ice in the Weddell Sea has changed the local weather pattern. Ice reflects sunlight, and creates a local high pressure area. That's the way it was last time we were here. That high pressure area tended to start a northeasterly airflow along the west side of the Peninsula. It has not happened this season. Instead, there has been a low pressure area building repeatedly on the Peninsula's west side. Twice, that low deepened rapidly and spun away, giving us gale-force winds once and storm-force winds once, both while we were in the South Shetlands.
At Hovgaard Island, which we know well, since we spent 15 months there in 1991-92, lots has happened. Pleneau Island (which is the white, snow-capped island north of the boat in the picture of the anchorage in our book "Time on Ice") has shrunk. It is lower, and the ramps which we used to ski on are gone! The ice cave we played in is gone! The ice dome on the little islet next to it is gone! Hovgaard's edges are now pure rock. There used to be snow patches at this time of the year and frozen pools. All gone.
With more rocks, the Gentoo penguin colonies are spreading. And with warmer temperatures, the snow algae has increased. Pleneau only had a patch of it 17 years ago. Today it is covered.
All this happened so shockingly fast. What will the future bring? Your friend, Deborah

Antarctic sounds #2

Hi Andreas! We are now waiting for appropriate weather to cross Drake Passage. After 27th looks possible, but that long-range prediction is not so trustworthy. We'll see. We are in the Melchior Islands, in a channel between Eta and Omega Islands, which is open to open water at each end.
Last night I was up at 0300. It was clear and calm...so calm that the stars reflected in the water. Magnifico! Why was I up?
Yesterday an ice piece, est 400 Tons, came plowing down the channel on the tide. We had to lift one of our lines over it. Unfortunately, it did not disappear. It went aground, then later re-floated on the rising tide, and started its return journey toward us. At 3AM, I heard it coming close. As I told you before, through the hull, we hear a noise like running water when a big ice piece is nearing. The ice came to rest against the rope, but as there was no wind, we decided to let it stay there. Better there than on the other side of the rope where our windsteering becomes endangered.
Well, our friends the Weddell seals, didn't think that was a good idea. They became concerned and started vocalizing, trying to warn us?! They sang and trilled and glunked, just outside our hull. And when we did nothing, they tried again, and again. "C'mon guys," they were saying, "this ice piece is big enough to destroy you. Do something. Get out of the way!"
Not until the tide changed, and the piece floated away, did the seals go off to tend their own business. The melodious vocalizations had lasted an hour, 10 times longer than we have ever experienced before. We went back to sleep with big smiles. How I love this place--there is always something new and interesting happening! All the best, Deborah

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