A few years ago the “Zoo Basel” came up with a crazy idea: Let’s build a huge aquarium!
Costs: 100 Mio. Swiss Francs. With that amount of money, an ocean national park, with 1’850 km2, could be protected and supported for 20 years!
Plus, imagine the costs for maintenance! How much energy would it use? Talking about CO2….
When I for the first time heard about it, approx. 2 years ago, I immediately thought, they must be kidding! Doesn’t everyone know these days, what a criminal business the trade with tropical fish is? Also with the big fish like sharks and rays, or mammals like sea turtles!
It’s of course a billion dollar industry and everyone involved want their share…But a zoo, who is supposed to protect animals and their habitat was planning to be part of this dirty business? Their arguments were stone age, such as education and conservation of the oceans…..erm….what?!
That was the believe 100 years ago, but today?
Nowadays, we know that millions of animals are dying in fish tanks – and have to be replaced again. Since most of these creatures cannot be breed, the coral reefs are being plundered – including destroying corals itself, sharks and other animals are brutally ripped off their habitat. Only to die a miserable death, sick and deformed because they can’t perform their natural life. So in the end it would be a continuous destruction of the precious wildlife!
It’s are very emotional topic, of course! (And I try to keep it short).
In the end, people in Basel could vote about the project “Ozeanium” – the 19th May was D-Day! Weeks and months before, the theme was in the medias. Politicians and scientists discussed the subject hotly and well-known nature- and animal protection organizations, such as Ocean Care, Animal Rights, Fondation Franz Weber (to mention only three), did everything possible to fight about this insane plan! People were in the streets and performed peaceful demonstrations against the “Ozeanium” and explained the massive impact it would have in the nature, in case the project would be adopted!
Well, to cut a long story short, the people in Basel decided wisely and voted “no” – with 54.56% – BRAVO! It’s a milestone and shows that people start to think differently! They are more sensitized about what happens to our planet, to the animals and their habitat! Finally it’s also about our own survival, right?!
Needless to say, how happy I am about the result – together with thousands of others! It’s such a relief and I do hope these 100 Mio. Swiss Francs will be used for ecologically worthwhile projects, such as the protection of our oceans and rainforest, or perhaps give the animals in the zoo in Basel more space, by renovating the site?
We’ll what will happen – maybe the zoo considers a project, similar as the new “ZOOXXI” in Barcelona. A vision about education through zoo’s, developed by Fondation Franz Weber (https://www.ffw.ch/de/projekte/zooxxi).
Honestly, this was one of the most troublesome weeks!
Some of you know that our new bimini annoyingly hasn’t arrived on Easter. So instead of getting some work done, we were “forced” to enjoy a week holiday…well, of course it was fun, but not the plan!
After our return at home, we received the good news that the bimini had finally been sent from Germany on the 26th April, and within 5 working days it was scheduled to arrive in Loano. Sweet! We immediately started to plan our trip and I booked a room at the Yacht Club for the weekend from 18th – 19th May.
With plenty of time for the transport we weren’t worried, but looked forward to see Luna Azzurra again and to finally assemble the new item! Since we have guests who booked our boat, it was just in time to get the job done – before the high season starts!
Well, almost a week passed and no news about the parcel delivered at the marina office. The forwarders track and trace system did show the pick-up and some further movements and that it arrived in Como/Italy on the 30th April. But that was it – nothing more happened after that?! When I contacted the forwarder and asked about our consignment, I was told that she would try get information and shortly be back with me… I haven’t heard more, so I sent a reminder or two…nothing.
Still quite calm and not too worried I patiently waited for an answer. Somehow another week passed – without any progress – and Patrik and I started to get nervous about the whereabouts of the bimini! Where the hell is it and why don’t we get a reliable answer? Is it lost, damaged, sent back to Germany, stolen…?!
I mean, it’s a big parcel which weighs 25 kg. Hard to lose it under a pile of paper…
Meanwhile, it was the 10th May, and I’ve started to be in telephonic contact with the forwarder in Germany! At least she was very understanding and kind, but it didn’t help much in our situation. I also was aware, of course, that it wasn’t her fault and she just could just pass the information to me which she got from her partner firm in Italy! BUT IT WAS NERVE-RACKING!
On the 06th of May I finally got the “Hurray-News” that the parcel will be delivered tomorrow, on the 07th *yeah*! But when asking the marina office on the 07th, they didn’t know anything about a delivery for us. Back to the forwarder, and they promised to send me a proof of delivery asap! Two days later I’ve been told that – oh sorry – it wasn’t delivered and apparently they needed our and the boats name. *arghh* We knew that the paperwork and address sticker on the parcel was correctly filled in, so we simply couldn’t understand the problem….just deliver the bloody parcel, man!
Mails went back and forth and phone calls were made….still no result and by now it was Monday, 13th May! It was too late to cancel the hotel room and get the a refund, but that was the smallest of the problems, because the bimini still wasn’t delivered! More mails and phone calls followed and from being puzzled I began to be really annoyed and worried and had to pull myself together to not to shout at the poor girl at the other end of the phone! On the 15th I even sent a copy of the delivery note to her, in order to proof that the correct address was mentioned in the shipping documents!
Then – finally – on the same day I received the news that their partner in Italy had all necessary documents (didn’t they have them already before…??) and the delivery will happen in the afternoon, or on Thursday morning! She would keep me informed and let me know when the parcel had been delivered.
I didn’t jump to the roof yet, one disappointment was enough, so I waited patiently anxiously for the liberating news…..
During Thursday….nothing happened again – no news that it has been delivered or of any progress at all ! I even called the factory in Germany and asked them for some help. They assumed it had been delivered on the 07th May, and were more than surprised that it hadn’t.
She promised to call the shipping company and try to find out more. Since it is their regularly appointed forwarder, they might have better connections than I have…
On Thursday evening, just before I left the office, I received an email from the forwarder, that the package had been delivered this morning… I drove home and immediately called the marina office and – HALLELUJAH – they confirmed the receipt of the goods!! WOW, what a relief, un-***-believable!
After a three weeks odyssey our bimini had finally arrived at its destination! I thanked the woman at marina and mentioned that we see one another on Saturday!
Afterwards I called Patrik – who was in Gdansk / PL from Wednesday until Friday – and told him the fantastic news! He also almost couldn’t believe it, but was soooo happy!
So on Friday, after work I picked up Patrik from the train station, then we had to pick up our Chevy from the garage and started packing the few things for one night, plus some stuff for the boat!
Unluckily, the weather forecast for Saturday in Loano was not so good – rainy and pretty cold with only approx 14 deg. C. So our rain jackets and my wellingtons were also added – I even bought a pair of rain trousers (for nothing, as it turned out…. but rather like this, than the other way around).
Five o’clock on Saturday morning we left home, after kissed Odin good-bye, and arrived at the marina in Loano at 11 a.m., luckily, the journey went super smooth! We immediately picked up the bimini and started assembling. According to Patrik it shouldn’t take longer than 3 hours, so the task was completed just after three, good job! After a short visit at Matteo’s shop, we finally checked-into the hotel at the Yacht Club and enjoyed a well earned prosecco. After a shower we got ready for dinner – which we had at “Shardana Wine and Sea”…….. change of plan, “Shardana” was fully booked, so we went to the pizzeria a few meters further away, called “All’Acqua Pazza”. Although, the ambience isn’t as charming, the food was fantastic!
Today is Sunday and the weather is – well a bit better than yesterday! We just had our breakfast and at 11 a.m. we’ll check-out and prepare our journey home! If we are lucky, it shouldn’t take much more than six hours….
The bimini is where it supposed to be and Luna Azzurra looks very proud, I believe she is!
So this nightmare has a happy end at least – thank God!
I arrived home from Mariehamn late last night where I have been for an exhibition.
Normally it’s not me who’s going on the exhibition’s. But as they speak Swedish on Åland and I have some old contacts as well old class mates from university (Marine academy in Gothenburg) who came. It was not much of a choice and an easy decision to go.
If you attend this kind of exhibition the connections and speaking Swedish is more or less mandatory.
Not because they don’t speak English there. It is more that it’s a more relaxed exhibition than normally, here you chat with everyone “more as friends” even if it is only to say hi.
As Åland is and Island country it is not that easy to come in and be accepted. But when you are accepted you have more or less friends or partners for life.
As there are two of us in the company who speaks Swedish (Kristoffer who are sales and Finish citizen and myself a Swedish citizen) It was we who would go.
Kristoffer know heaps of people in that area as well. All from ship-owners, suppliers and even politicians in the Finish government. We had a really good, interesting and fun time to talk to everyone.
At the same time we could meet and talk to new people and get new contacts from within the marine business/industry.
The trip/journey in itself makes the visit a must and one of the most beautiful voyages you can do with ship.
I can just recommend to make this wonderful journey between Stockholm to Mariehamn.
I add some pictures from the voyage / trip to Mariehamn.
We hope you also had a pleasant week! Ours was very short…..hmm…OK, mine was, as I took last Monday off, “poor” Patrik had to work!
But I wasn’t lazy, on Monday I did the remaining laundry from our week in Loano. Which was – as usual – a lot (not only our clothes, but also towels and bed linen).
I even had the time to devote myself to my hobby, doing jewellery and key rings – a brand new design, by the way!
Tuesday was a working day, but on Wednesday it was 1st May and we weren’t working. Each canton in Switzerland handles it differently actually. We are lucky enough and life in one where the 1st of May is treated as a holiday!
The weather improved slowly since last weekend, so on Wednesday it was pitch-perfect! Patrik and I only had to decide if we would visit Hausammann’s, “our winemaker”, who had an open house, or work in our garden and finally get things done…..Well, the latter won!
Luckily, we decided in favor of the garden, because the weather changed during the rest of the week. It didn’t only start to rain from Thursday to Friday, but the temperatures dropped continuously from almost 20 deg. C on Wednesday, to 7 deg. C on Sunday!! The weather really is on a rollercoaster, just crazy!
So on Saturday, we visited my parents quickly and then went home and stayed inside for the rest of the day. I bet we won’t leave the house today either….Not even Odin starts any attempts to go outside! We can’t blame him, why should he want wet paws…?!