Donnerstag, 23. Juli 2009

Wenn sich der Mond keck vor die Sonne stellt...Total Solar Eclipse

Sechs Minuten und 39 Sekunden Finsternis über dem Pazifik: Die längste Sonnenfinsternis des Jahrhunderts hat in Asien Millionen Menschen in ihren Bann gezogen. Die Sonne verfinsterte sich zunächst über Indien. Vielerorts wurde das Erlebnis durch eine dichte Wolkendecke getrübt, doch hat es vielerorts spektakuläre Momente gegeben, ein paar nun auch hier...-

The moon passed between the Earth and sun for several minutes yesterday, causing a spectacular total solar eclipse, with 6 minutes and 39 seconds the longest one in this century, starting in India.

"The pictures and videos that floated out of Asia on Tuesday drive home a simple truth: wherever we’re from, whatever we do, however removed from the natural world we might be, having the moon cover the sun is just freaking awesome."(source of text and next 2 photos here)

Und so wundert es auch nicht, dass von jeher Aberglauben und Mystik eine Rolle spielte, wenn es darum ging, dieses Phänomen zu erklären. Bis zum heutigen Tag hat sich das vielerorts nicht verändert.

"Als sich am Morgen der Mond vor die Sonne schob, hatten Priester und Propheten wieder einmal Hochkonjunktur. Der 22. Juli sei ein "sehr gefährlicher Moment im Universum", warnte ein indischer Astrologe: "Wenn die Sonne, die Anführerin unter den Gestirnen, krank ist, dann bedeutet das, dass es auf der Welt große Probleme geben wird."(vollständiger Artikel hier)

Angst vor schädlichem Einfluss und Katastrophen fand ihren Niederschlag auch im Vorfeld, doch nicht nur Warnungen an schwangere Frauen, das Haus besser nicht zu verlassen ließen sich in Kommentaren finden, monatelang kursierte im Internet eine Theorie, die einen Tsunami größeren Ausmaßes vorhersagte.

Doch gab glücklicherweise weder einen Tsunami, noch giftigen Regen oder herabfallenden Himmelstau, das Erschaudern beschränkte sich in einigen Gegenden auf das die Sonnenfinsternis begleitenden Monsunschauer, die die Sicht nicht immer ganz einfach machten.Das war das erste Photo, dass ich am 22. Juli morgens im Internet fand....-

This was the first photo I found on Wednesday morning on the net...taken in Chuan, in NW China in the province of Ningxia Hui.One day later I found this one...
That one was taken in Sheung Shui/Hongkong...Nur eine teilweise verdeckte Sonne, gesehen durch einen Stacheldrahtzaun in Afghanistan..-

A partial solar eclipse is seen through a razor wire fence on Combat Operation Outpost McClain in Logar Province in Afghanistan ...

And now some facts:
- The longest recorded duration for a solar eclipse is 7.5 minutes

- A total solar eclipse will not be visible until the sun is more than 90 % covered by the moon.
- When the sun is covered 99%, day becomes night in the areas where the eclipse is visible
- Total solar eclipses occur once every year or two years and only during a new moon
- Every eclipse begins at sunrise at some point in its track and ends at sunset about half way around the globe
- July 22 eclipse started at sun rise in India and ended at sunset in the eastern hemisphere
- Nearly identical eclipses (total, annular or partial) occur after every 18 years and 11 days, called the Saros Cycle - During an eclipse the moon's shadow at the most 273.59 km wide, and in the path pf totality, local temperatures can drop by as much as 20 degrees Celsius during a roral eclipse.
(Information courtesy Akash Ganga Centre for Astronomy, Mumbai)

Die nächste totale Sonnenfinsternis gibt es erst wieder am 11. Juli 2010, sichtbar im Südpazfik, hin zu den Cook Inseln, der Osterinsel sowie einem kleinen Teil im südlichen Chile und in Argentinien. Und eine länger andauernde als die von gestern, werden wir alle nicht mehr erleben, 2132 ist wirklich lang hin...-

The next total solar eclipse will be on July 11, 2010. It’ll be visible from the South Pacific, reaching land in the Cook Islands, Easter Island, and a small section of southern Chile and Argentina. And as to the next total eclipse being longer than this one....just forget about it, as it won't happen while you are living...2132...

This amazing photo was taken in Mumbai, the buiding is the Taj Mahal Hotel...

Interesting articles:
- tagesschau/dt. , National Geographic/engl., Guardian/engl., Stern/dt.(great photos)
- wikipedia/engl. , wikipedia/dt., Liste aller Sonnenfinsternisse des 21.Jahrhunderts
- Total Eclipse & Tsunami theory (which didn't work out, but reached even some people of our island)

Photo sources either within the articles or here:
Xinhuanet (6/Wang Peng-AP, 8/Hongkong, 8/Reuters), flickr, twitter
(1/manGo,2/banesaki, 5/wuqing, 11/suazzer), Guardian(7), Unknown (9), (10/themousepotatoe-Phillipines)

Dienstag, 21. Juli 2009

Congratulations from Rodrigues, Zac - You did it !!!

Zac mit 16 (links) und Zac mit 17 (rechts)

Ein Jahr, ein Monat und zwei Tage....- Geschafft!
One year, one month and two days... - Mission accomplished...He DID IT!
Wieder heil zu Hause und Weltrekord!!!
Zac hat es geschafft, nach 13 Monaten und 2 Tagen erreichte der 17 Jährige (Geburtstag 29.11.) bereits letzte Woche am 16. Juli seinen Heimathafen Marina Del Rey in Kalifornien. Er ist damit nach dem Australier David Dicks jüngster Weltumsegler. Dicks, bei Ankunft nach 8 Monaten 18 Jahre und 41 Tage alt, hielt den Rekord seit November 1996. Regelmäßigen Besuchern des Rodriguesblogs ist Zac kein Unbekannter, denn seit seinem unfreiwilligen Abstecher in Rodrigues im November, haben wir immer wieder von ihm berichtet.

Zac did it - he arrived after 13 months and 2 days already last week on July 16 in Marina Del Rey - world record, as he accomplished his mission to sail around the world as youngest circumnavigator ever, although he took more time than his Australian predecessor David Dicks who held the record after 8 months since November 1996 at age 18. Regular visitors of the blog know about him, as since his unvoluntary stop in Rodrigues last November, we have dedicated him several postings.

Read here what happened before he had to be pulled in to Rodrigues by our local National Coastguard, after Zac's mother had alerted the Tourism Office...

"Worse was the day that, in gale force winds, the forestay rigging, which holds the forward sail and helps secure the mast, tore loose and the furler banged out of control, smashing parts of the bow. The forestay also supports the mast, so Intrepid was at extreme risk. With the furler drum loose, Sunderland could only partially furl the forestay's genny, which whipped violently in the wind, tearing at lines. He worked feverishly through two days and nights atop a slippery deck and secured the situation as best he could. " (source here)

Zac in Mauritius where he met his father who came with spare parts for repairs...

Lisez ici en francais

Tour du monde en solitaire : Zac l’a fait !

Zac Sunderland, un jeune californien de 17 ans - qui, nous vous l'avions révélé le 11 novembre dernier, avait été récupéré au large de l’île Rodrigues après une panne survenue à son bateau - est entré dans l’histoire jeudi dernier. Zac, après 13 mois en mer à bord de son sloop de 36 pieds, l’Interpid, est, en effet, devenu le plus jeune marin à avoir accompli un tour du monde en solitaire.

L e jeune homme avait quitté Marina Del Rey le 14 juin 2008 et a fêté son 17e anniversaire en mer au large du cap de Bonne Espérance. Le précédent record était détenu par un jeune Australien, Dad Dicks, qui avait accompli cet exploit en novembre 1996 alors qu'il était âgé de 18 ans.

C’est l’Office du Tourisme de Rodrigues, alerté par e-mail par la mère de Zac qui avait déclenché l’opération remorquage par la National Coast Guard basé à Port-Mathurin. Interrogé en exclusivité par à Ile Maurice Tourisme Infos, Zac Sunderland – qui est parti de Los Angeles le 14 juin dernier – devait dire sa joie et son soulagement d’avoir été récupéré par les Rodriguais. (Lire l'article)

Il devait, par la suite, passer quelques semaines à Maurice en attendant qu’une pièce importante de son bateau puisse arriver ici pour réparations.

L’océan Indien conservera une place importante dans l’histoire de cette traversée en solitaire. Il avait, en effet, sur les conseils de son père – avec lequel il est resté tout le temps en contact par téléphone satellites échappé miraculeusement à des pirates.
While Zac made headlines around the world, even the Pravda reported last week about Zac's arrival, another youngster is on his way to claim the title soon...

"While Zac Sunderland plods slowly north off Baja California, less than 300 miles from home after a 13-month around-the-world odyssey, Mike Perham, his British counterpart, has entered the Panama Canal. Tale of the tape: Both sailors are 17. Zac is a few months older, though, so not long after he becomes the youngest person to sail alone around the world, Mike is expected to complete his journey and claim that distinction.

Zac's trip is not well-funded. He's on a smaller (36-foot), older, much slower boat. Mike's journey is fully sponsored. He's aboard a 50-foot racing yacht whose sails might be worth as much as Zac's entire vessel. Mike left England months after Zac left Marina del Rey and were it not for a series of boat issues he'd have easily beaten his Yankee rival to the record. Mike is due home in early August.

Fighting words: Zac and Mike are not friends and Mike recently issued a statement on his blog that could be perceived as being directed at Zac:

"Usually cruising boats making this trip up from New Zealand or Australia would use their engine during these light conditions to make good progress -- but due to the nature of my trip, which is to sail around the world, I haven't and I won't use the engine to push me even one nautical mile around the planet.... Using my engine wouldn't be right or fair!"

Zac has used his motor, sparingly, he says. He used it while trying to escape the path of a presumed pirate vessel bearing down on him in the Indian Ocean. He used it while backtracking to a Mexican port to beat the predicted arrival of an advancing hurricane. In a March 8 blog post, he wrote about motoring during a long windless period, which clearly was picked up by Mike's camp.

When Zac entered port recently in Puerto Vallarta, his motor had 400 hours of use, which seems insignificant considering the duration and length of his excursion. Said harbormaster Dick Markie, whose port is used to prep sailors for circumnavigations: "You get into positions where you have no choice; that's the reason there's a motor on the boat."

Charlie Nobles, executive director of the American Sailing Assn., added: "At the end of the day, the challenges are not whether you sit for an extra day or two [in no wind] and don't use your motor, it's all the other stuff you've been through, so I don't think you can really say that diminishes it."

Zac assured in an interview that Mike has used his motor too, "while sailing through storms and stuff." Beyond that, though, Zac refused to comment critically. (read more here)

We are sure that Zac will enjoy being home, looking back and sharing special moments of the last 13 months with his family and friends. What Zac has achieved in terms of experience, stamina and motivation was extraordinary and can't be taken away, that is what counts. And we, we are just grateful to have been part of the Zac pack for a while and we are looking forward to hearing what comes next...So congrats from Rodrigues!

Photo credits :
Jen Edney and Zac's Blog - In our archive you will find some entries about Zac (November 08, December 08, May 09)

- Auch in der dt. Presse finden sich Artikel zu Zac: Ein 16jähriger segelt um die Welt & Jüngster Weltumsegler steht kurz vor Rekord,

- More articles about his arrival you will find in the Los Angeles Times and here you will find a couple of articles, videos and interviews. another AP article here

- About Zac and Mike Perham, his British counterpart

- French source here

Mittwoch, 8. Juli 2009

The incredible Ocean Angels did it... - Arrival after 79 days in Mauritius

Heute geht es zwischendurch mal nicht um die Regatta in Rodrigues, sondern um ein Event, was seinesgleichen sucht...das Indian Ocean Race 2009 und zum ersten Mal in der Geschichte hat es ein weibliches Team geschafft...Weiter auf Englisch, und hier kommen die Ocean Angels....
"The last night at sea?...

5 Jul 2009

After 11 weeks at sea, our concept of time has completely gone to pot! Last night flew by in an instant but every minute seems to last an eternity.

Your weather dances and gift to Neptune has all been worthwhile as the weather is now in our favor and we're moving on a good course towards the finishing line ... with good speed. As the GPS is about to turn on to 49.9 we're ever so hopeful that tonight will be our last night on the great ship Pura Vida.

We've passed away the last few hours playing 'cat and mouse' with cargo ships. At one point last night we could see three different ships on the horizon within 6nm of us. All of them looking enormous. "Sante Isabel" came within 1 nm of us and we just couldn't get over the sheer size of her. What struck us even more however was how she just completely disappeared from sight when we dipped to the bottom of a wave - a reminder of just how big the Indian ocean swell can be!

With another Angel now free of leg hair, the prepearation for land is really now happening ... if you could all say one last little prayer at bed time tonight for us ... we hope tomorrow night we'll be able to settle into a day, clean, warm, bed that doesn't move!"

7 Jul 2009

‘Ocean Angels set a World Record for Great Britain’
4 ordinary women, 1 extraordinary race

4 British women, the Ocean Angels, have become the first all female crew to row 3720 miles across the Indian Ocean from Australia to Mauritius. Rowing for 79 days it has been a grueling test of their determination to succeed in the first ever Indian Ocean Rowing Race. They are raising money for Breast Cancer Care, the charity that supports people living with breast cancer.

The foursome is made up of: Fiona Waller, a photographer and cancer survivor (34); Sarah Duff a consumer researcher (25), and Elin Haf Davies a nurse (32) who all rowed the Atlantic in 2007, and also first timer Jo Jackson (28, surveyor) who had never set foot in a rowing boat or been to sea until signing up for this enormous challenge!

The Ocean Angels started their epic journey from Geraldton, Western Australia on 19th April 2009 and have been rowing ever since. They’re the only all female competitors, in what is heralded, as the world's toughest rowing race. The race was won by ‘Bexhill Trust Challenger’ (all male four) on Friday 26th June who took 68 days to complete the race.

On finishing the race Fiona Waller, skipper says:

“I can't believe we've finally made it - the first all female crew to row across the Indian Ocean. To say it's been tough is an understatement but what an adventure. We have seen the best and the worst of the Indian Ocean. I'm really proud of what we've achieved both in terms of our world record and also the money we have raised for Breast Cancer Care. I saw my mother, Elisabeth, go through and eventually die from breast cancer in 2000. I was also diagnosed with cancer just after my 30th birthday so I have seen the impact this disease can have. We'd like to thank all our supporters and sponsors for helping us all the way to the end”.

The girls have had to be totally self sufficient on their 29 foot rowing boat, rowing in pairs for 2 hours and resting for 2 hours all day every day. They ate dehydrated rations and made their water using a solar powered de-salinator - dealing with numerous breakages, power problems, flooding, and steering issues. They have also been pushed backwards at times due to the extreme weather conditions in which they found themselves. Just days from the finish crew member Sarah Duff was thrown from her rowing seat by a rogue wave, injuring her back and her ribs and reducing the crew to three...Despite these set-backs and other physical discomforts such as salt water sores, the Ocean Angels battled on to finish the race and take their place in history.

The 4 girls hope that their supporters will help them raise £50,000 for Breast Cancer Care after their epic voyage. If you want to support the girls donate on their Justgiving website All of the links can be found on our website

Also, you can still put 'your face on the boat' as the girls are planning a huge wall of faces at the fundraiser - celebration they are hosting in October when they get back. Go to to donate your ‘mugshot’ and your money!

The Ocean Angels would like to thank the luxury 'Merville Beach' resort for ensuring the girls have a good first nights sleep in Mauritius - in a deluxe stonewall, thatched roof cottage set in tropical gardens by the sandy beach. Thank you!

Facts & Stats:

The Indian Ocean Rowing Race is organised by South West based nautical events company, Woodvale Challenge Ltd., te Indian Ocean Rowing Race 2009 is one in a seies of ocean rowing races open to anyone, regardless of age, gender and experience.

The distance rowed in 78 days, 15 hours and 54 minutes was 3,100 nautical miles (3,720 miles) / (6,000 kilometres), the race was won by 'Bexhill Trust Challenger' (all male four) on Friday 26june who took 68 days to complete the race.

Conditions in the Indian Ocean are extreme with frequent swells of over 50ft, hurricane forces winds, unrelenting sun and intense heat, sudden and unpredictable weather changes and dangerous marine life including sharks.

There was a sailing support boat to act as emergency assistance if needed.

Previously no all female team has ever successfully completed a crossing of the Indian Ocean – The Ocean Angels are the first.

Prior to this race, only two unassisted crossings have been made of the Indian Ocean, the first by
Svedland Anders in 1971 and the second by Britain’s Simon Chalk, in 2002.

Of the 10 boats that set out in April, only 5 are still in the race which is testament to the grueling conditions the rowers have had to face.

For more info and the girl’s blog please visit, for donations click here.

Related article about their arrival and the race here

Sorry, deutsche Übersetzung kommt später....