My Organisational Challenge With walk1000miles

1.000 miles – 1.609 kilometres. That’s the distance I want to walk or run in 2017. However, one or the other restriction is supposed to make it a bit more difficult, hence my organisational challenge. It is not supposed to be too easy to accomplish, this is a charity event (or project) and my supporters want to have some fun for their money (meaning: see me struggling).

walk1000miles - brief break in the woods

Ok, it is not that bad. Not really. Five months into my walk1000miles challenge I can already say that physically it is not a problem at all (walking, that is; running is indeed a problem). The organisational challenge, which I had anticipated, has now arrived. Bad news. And good news at the same time.

What is the biggest (self-inflicted) restriction?

Well, if every single step were to count, I would probably be very close to 1.000 miles already. But that would have been way too easy. The only steps, metres and miles that count towards the walk1000miles total are the ones I specifically walk or run with my donation project in mind. This means, for example: Continue reading “My Organisational Challenge With walk1000miles”

Kids Research Microplastics In Mussels

Is it true that microplastics in mussels will harm humans? To answer this and a few other question, a small team of very young researchers entered a nationwide contest. Their topic won them a five day research trip on ALDEBARAN, a professional research sailing yacht.

In summer 2017, my eldest daughter will move from primary school to grammar school. She very well knows which grammar school she wants to attend (and, luckily, we agree). I was quite surprised to find out that some kids from her school-to-be took part in a contest organised by “Deutsche Meeresstiftung” (German Sea Foundation). Their topic: research the concentration of microplastics in the North Sea. In addition, do microplastics in mussels change the mussels’ ability to filter sea water? And how many pieces of microplastics can actually be found in mussels? Continue reading “Kids Research Microplastics In Mussels”

Outwell Montana 6P, My Outdoor Castle

I could live in there permanently. Sell the house, move in, enjoy fresh air all year round (ok, including a backup for very cold winter nights). Our Outwell Montana 6P is a fantastic tent for a long term holiday, or something even longer than that.

Outwell Montana 6P and some camping equipmentFive years ago some friends showed off their newly purchased tent. It was huge, looked like a UFO and had the entire family in a camping craze. We were still unsure whether we should go for a camper or a tent, so we checked the website of that UFO-tent producer. Outwell, a Danish company.

After hours of comparing their various family tents we finally went for the Montana 6P. A choice we have not regretted at all, and talk about a camper has since then not happened in our family.

Outwell Montana 6P – that’s what it’s like

The Montana 6P sleeps six (in theory), we have used it for max. four so far. It is a huge tent for the four of us, and that was our intention when buying it: to have some space and a playground for the kids just in case it is pouring down outside.

Continue reading “Outwell Montana 6P, My Outdoor Castle”

Weekend Break On Als, Denmark

beach near SkovmoseNo surprise here: I love the Northern European landscape. It is not as lush, colourful, maybe impressive as the Alps or the Mediterranean. Still, the entire North in all its scarcity is great for being outside, and the island of Als (Denmark) is no exception.

Quite a while ago I have briefly described one of my beloved quiet spots, some friends’ summer cottage in Denmark. It is located in Skovmose, a beautifully quiet location on Als. A couple of weeks ago the four of us went there for a long weekend. This brief break was so fantastic that only two days later I took the chance to go back with the girls and spend another couple of days in peace and quiet. Well, whatever you might want to call “peace and quiet” with two young girls.

Hiking on Als

hiking place/hut for staying overnightThe entire island of Als offers lots of possibilities for one-day or longer walking trips. The cool stuff about hiking in Denmark is that you find those very basic huts (or whatever they might be called) along more or less every officially marked hiking trail. No need to put up a tent, simply throw your sleeping bag in there and have a rest. Another great thing both for hiking and sailing: barbecues can also be found almost everywhere, they can be used for free and are a perfect place for getting to talk to other folks. Continue reading “Weekend Break On Als, Denmark”

Outwell Montana 6 Front Extension For Sale

It is the best add-on we have bought for our Outwell Montana 6P, and now it is up for sale after just three weeks of usage. Why? Because I bought the wrong one! This front extension is intended to be used with a Montana 6, not a Montana 6P.

Outwell Montana 6 front extensionThis spring we decided to extend our voluminous and large tent Outwell Montana 6P by a so-called front extension. This front extension is something I love having around wherever I “live”. You can stay dry during rain and still be outside. Fantastic.

Montana 6 Front Extension – our holiday saviour

In fact, this front extension has saved our summer holidays this year. During our three weeks’ holiday in The Netherlands we have had quite a few rainy days, more than all of the previous five years combined. The Montana 6 front extension has been a perfect gateway and dry path into the tent. It was also more than ideal for having meals outside despite the rain (or a glass of wine in the evening). Continue reading “Outwell Montana 6 Front Extension For Sale”

Strawberries – Picking, Jam And Tummy Ache

some of the freshly picked strawberriesFreshly picked strawberries – so sweet, tasty, yummy. The same is true when enjoying them with whipped cream or chocolate, in ice cream or smoothies… the list could go on. I wanted to show the kids where their favourite strawberries are coming from. So I took them out for an afternoon of strawberry picking – plus some “work” afterwards.

Looking back at it, the “strawberry picking event” turned out to be a ninety minute happening (with not too much happening at all). The agitation and excitement of it all had been much greater in the couple of days before. Isn’t that the case all too often? When it came down to actually doing it, it was kind of boring. So I’ve been told afterwards by those three young ladies having joined me.

Continue reading “Strawberries – Picking, Jam And Tummy Ache”

Beaches, Boats And Horses On Fehmarn

Keeping the kids busy and trying to avoid “death by boredom” (their wording) during school holidays can occasionally turn into a challenge. One week of this year’s Easter school holidays turned out to be as much fun for the parents as it was for the kids.

deserted beach on FehmarnOk, my kids are not really that bad when at home. They can go without parents for hours, only needing help when it comes to food and drink. This is usually fine for a couple of days, but two weeks can get very long in the end. So we spent one week of that Easter break near the Baltic Sea, an hour’s drive from home. It was on Fehmarn, one of my favourite islands round here.

It was the second week in April. Spring had not really arrived yet, sunshine and rain played hide and seek on an hourly basis. In addition to all that, a nasty cold wind was blowing – not really a combination to have the kids roam around outdoors. There was, however, not a single day with the kids asking for more action. The reason: horses!

Continue reading “Beaches, Boats And Horses On Fehmarn”

Come On, Rainbow Pirates, Keep On Going!

The “Rainbow Pirates“ had quite a crazy day way back at the beginning of March. The result: a 2.050,- € donation! Another great step for the team of “Meer bewegen”. They can now continue their challenging task of getting disabled folks out onto the water and sailing.

"Meer bewegen" team picture swimming pool
“Meer bewegen” team picture swimming pool

“Pirate Party” sounds like a lot of fun, and it was indeed for dozens of kids and their parents. The team of “Meer bewegen” (the Rainbow Pirates) also had a couple of goals for this party day. In details:
– the happiness of and fun for all those kids having turned up (location: swimming pool)
– reach a specific donation target (location: www)
– have quite a bit of fun themselves (location: both of the above).
Success rate of those goals: 100%.

What an amazing and crazy day it had been for them! Loads of children turned up and wanted to get onto “White Pearl”, the RS Venture with sailability kit. No chance of counting the number of times the White Pearl crossed the pool (hopelessly overloaded with eager sailors-to-be). Very happy and excited faces all around encouraged everyone involved to keep going not only all day long, but rather with the entire idea and concept of “inclusive sailing”.

Continue reading “Come On, Rainbow Pirates, Keep On Going!”

Three Optimists Extend Rainbow Pirates Fleet

Third time lucky? It is rather a case of lucky to the power of three – on the very first try. The team of “Meer bewegen” were on cloud nine when they received the news that they had been granted a donation of three new Optimists. They are an extension to their fleet of barrier-free sailing boats.

three new Optimists (c Meer bewegen)
three new Optimists (c Meer bewegen)

The IMMAC Sailing Academy regularly sponsors training and development of young sailors. One way they are doing this is by giving away Optimists to sailing clubs and schools.

Meer bewegen” had sent in their application for a sponsorship. They knew how unlikely it might be that they get assigned a boat by the independent committee. I would have loved to see the team when they heard the news that they will in future have not one, not two, but rather three brand new Optimists. With those they can enable their youngest to go sailing on the Wittensee. Continue reading “Three Optimists Extend Rainbow Pirates Fleet”

Baltic Sea Calling

Some call it pond, for others it is already an ocean. Quite a lot of folks hardly know where exactly it is, and some sailors never even dream of leaving its sailing grounds. The Baltic Sea can be described in many ways, some of them are “gorgeous, diversified, underestimated”. As for me: I love it.

last couple of kilometresThe Baltic Sea is the largest brackish inland sea on the planet, covering 412.500 square kilometres. The deepest you could dive (theoretically) is 459 metres, the average depth, however, is only 55 metres. Along its coastline of 8.000 km something between 50-85 million people are living. That was it already with facts and figures, let’s move on to the interesting stuff. Continue reading “Baltic Sea Calling”

Any Young Sailors Around?

No, I am not trying to set up a talent pool for the next generation of America’s Cup sailors. What kept the question of “any young sailors around” in my head was my own experience from ex- membership in two sailing clubs, as well as friends’ experiences from their clubs. A recent article by Judith brought this topic back to the surface and has led me to ask some folks all around the world what their impression is.

Back in 2008-2010 I was a member in two sailing clubs. One right next to the shores of the Baltic Sea, the other one for sailing on the Ratzeburger See, a large lake in Northern Germany. Club events we (the family) only rarely took part in, mainly because the “shock” of the first party had a rather negative effect on us. We were the youngest by many years – and we had already been in our mid-/end-thirties back then.

No other young families, no kids around, and this all made it a bit boring for us. Interesting stories to be heard, yes. But always being a junior by something like 30 years or so took the fun out of spending time at the club’s premises. Continue reading “Any Young Sailors Around?”

Rainbow Pirates Sailing Dinghy With Disability Kit

rainbow pirates logoBy accident I literally stumbled over the team of “Meer bewegen” during this year’s Hanseboot. The team’s ambition is to get people with and without disability to go sailing together. They have equipped an ordinary dinghy with a kit especially designed for disability. With that they are roaming the waters on the Wittensee in Schleswig-Holstein, Northern Germany.

Sometimes little accidents turn out to be a positive event after all. While staring at a rather unusual boat interior I bumped into Eike Ketzler, who turned out to be the leader of the “Meer bewegen“-pack. A pretty interesting chat evolved and here I am with an article about the “Rainbow Pirates”, folks (and especially kids) with and without disability on a mission to go sailing together. Continue reading “Rainbow Pirates Sailing Dinghy With Disability Kit”

Picturesque Flensburg Harbour Centre

classical boats at Flensburg HafenspitzeWhenever I spend some time in Flensburg, getting near, onto or into the Baltic Sea is a definite must. One of my favourite locations for breathing salty air is the so-called “Flensburger Hafenspitze” (harbour centre) – and this is where I went for a brief stroll last weekend.

Ok, it is not really the right place for a swim. For starting a sailing tour or simply going for a walk, however, the story is a rather different one. To be a bit more precise: it is perfect. It is the very end of the Flensburg Fjord (or, maybe, the beginning?), so if you started sailing, paddling or swimming you could get out onto the Baltic Sea, move onwards to the North Sea, Atlantic, round the world… Continue reading “Picturesque Flensburg Harbour Centre”

Rounding Mount Gehrenberg On Tour “GuckinsLand”

Gehrenberg GuckinsLand bridgeOne day, all alone. During some time off from family duties while camping near Lake Constance, I took the chance and tackled a hiking tour round the Gehrenberg. It had been classified as difficult, required advanced fitness levels to complete the 468 metres difference in altitude on a 14,6 km circuit. So – what was it like?

The name of that one day tour round the Gehrenberg, “Guck ins Land”, translates to something like “peek into land”. There are, in fact, some view points where not only the remaining German territory towards Lake Constance can be seen but also glimpses of Switzerland and Austria. One brief tour, three countries. Or, if you were to believe Bavarian folks with their understanding of Bavarian independence, four countries. Continue reading “Rounding Mount Gehrenberg On Tour “GuckinsLand””

A Bit Of A “Reinfall”, The Rhine Falls

Rheinfall SchaffhausenMaybe the influence of not so sunny weather was having an effect on me, maybe I was just too busy looking after the kids, or many other maybes… but the Rhine Falls, the supposedly impressive and great falls near Schaffhausen in Switzerland, were a definite “Reinfall” (bummer, flop) for me.

The numbers are impressive indeed, and they make the Rhine Falls the biggest falls in Europe (by water volume):

Width of the Rhine Falls:  150 metres
Height of the Rhine Falls:  23 metres
Depth of basin:  13 metres
Age of the Rhine Falls:  app. 15.000 years
Capacity of flow in summer:  app. 600.000 litres per second
Capacity of flow in winter:  app. 250.000 litres per second.

However, numbers only don’t really impress me that much, I need to see for myself. While spending a family holiday at a great campsite near Lake Constance we drove all the way to Schaffhausen, Switzerland, to have  a closer look at those falls. The result was rather disillusioning, or more in the direction of something like really disappointing. Continue reading “A Bit Of A “Reinfall”, The Rhine Falls”