Newsletter 30th December 2011
Dear Friends of PlanetSolar,
After our Thai stopover, we headed West towards Sri Lanka for our last oceanic crossing of 1200 miles (2000 km). After 3 days of ideal navigation, we stopped over in the Indian archipelago of the Nicobar. While charging up our batteries, we were able to cross the coral reef and explore the lagoon of this wonderful and uninhabited island. After a friendly check conducted by an Indian military vessel, we continued our journey to Sri Lanka where we crossed some incredible stream rivers on the high seas…
We probably operated the first rescue mission with a solar boat while we were still 500 km away from the coasts of Sri Lanka. Some fishermen waved at us and called for help while we were in their proximity. They had no freshwater left so we gave them twenty of our bottles of water. I cannot recall a time when someone thanked us in such a sincere way. For the whole crew, this really was a strong emotional moment that will remain engraved in our memories.
Our stop in Sri Lanka has been the occasion to embark several journalists with us. Hence, a team of the Swiss television as well as a journalist from the « Le Temps » newspaper shared a week of solar navigation and the life on this solar sea giant with us… Sri Lanka has given us the opportunity to meet its people of an infinite kindness, always smiling, and ready to help us out. In Colombo, capital from another time, we had the chance to get the visit of the energy minister as well as the ambassadors from France, Norway, and Belgium. All of this had been arranged by the Swiss ambassador in Sri Lanka. For this country, which is highly dependent on fishing and fossil fuels, solar energy is a promise of independence and a better future.
Navigating towards Bombay has been very complex as a storm blocked the way of the PlanetSolar for the second time. We were forced to make a security stop at Goa to take shelter. Gusts of wind reached the speed of 100km/h. For the whole crew, the night when this depression shook the PlanetSolar has been very hectic. After a very brief stop in Bombay, PlanetSolar headed for the Persian Gulf sailing along the Pakistani and Iranian coasts to reach Doha where the PlanetSolar will moor during Christmas. This will allow the crew to rest for a few days before taking on the last miles that separate us from Monaco.
Our whole team based in Yverdon-les-Bains, in Switzerland, has been working for several months on developing the new version of our website « www.planetsolar.org ». This new website will be online on 23 December 2011 and will be a little bit like our Christmas gift. This new website, totally rethought, will enable you to follow us at all times no matter our location. This will also enable you to have an easier access to the different information on our adventure.
After our Christmas break, we will head towards Abu Dhabi in early January in order to present the world’s biggest solar boat at the World Future Energy Summit. Then, we will continue our way in pursuit of the sun towards the Red Sea.
Follow our adventures from Thailand to Doha in the “PlanetSolar minute” of December.
The whole team of PlanetSolar wishes you a happy new year 2012. See you next year for sharing with us the last miles of this first solar navigation around the world.
Raphaël Domjan, Founder & Expedition leader
Immo Stroeher, Co-founder