I fell in love with Tasmania

After four weeks away, 7000 km under the wheel and lots of astonishing moments, we are now back on board in a hot and humid Brisbane. It is going to be hard not to use too many superlatives as our road trip was just amazing. So let’s start with the negatives: Tasmania is too far away and Australia is a really big country …I can’t think of others!

After few days in Sydney  meeting up with our old South African friends Emma and Harvey and seeing again our sailing buddies from SV Nika (met first in Panama), a few hops here and there, a too quick visit of Melbourne, we boarded the Spirit of Tasmania, all excited.

Our three weeks traveling around were full of excitements, breathtaking views, friendly encounters, delicious tastings, astounding discoveries, laughters and a great family spirit. We arrived on a cold day and our first stop was to wear our thick jackets and buy some gloves. I couldn’t remember the last time I slept with some socks on, but I couldn’t see myself not doing it for few cold nights in our tents. We learnt quickly that you can have four seasons in one day in Tasmania.

The wind, the sun, the clouds and maybe some rain: it is all very lively there and you have to do with these natural elements. Packing jerseys, rain coats, sunscreen and lots of water became a daily habit. We went from city discoveries to bushwalking, from camping in the middle of nowhere with only few wallabies and noisy birds as neighbours to more sophisticated camp sites. We became tent popping and packing experts. Our site can be ready in 5 minutes. We had few longer walks (6 hours), some being a little bit more demanding. We even ended up buying better walking shoes to Felix and Clea so they could have a better grip on rocks. We went from forest lands to mountainous sceneries and coastal environment.There wasn't a day when we didn’t like our surroundings.

The trees are beautifully magnificent. Their huge straight trunks are majestic. The forests have such a magical vibe that you can’t be bored looking around, from the roots to the canopy. The sea was super clear. The beaches were empty and the rocks were inviting. Tasmania has so different places to visit and we have the feeling that we just had a pre-view of that amazing island. Tasmania, we’ll be back.

Yes, I fell in love with Tasmania, its landscape, its trees (can I become a Tree Hugger?), its berries and cherries, its invigorating air (apparently the purest in the world) and its magic.

Summary of our stops in Tasmania and links (in bold) to the photos:

27-30 Dec: Hobart: MONA, Sydney Hobart race, Visit of the French research vessel Atalante, walk on Mount Wellington, Salamanca market, Taste of Tasmania

29 Dec: Port Arthur

30 Dec: Franklin Boat shed, Tahune Air walk

31 Dec: Huon Valley with Hartz Mountains, Hasting Caves and hot springs

1 Jan: Franklin (Boat shed), Cockle Creek (far south) – 18km walk to the

2 and 3 Jan: New shoes – Mount Field, Tall trees

4 Jan: Sorel Lake

5-9 Jan: Same spot for 4 days: Freycinet, Bicheno, Coles Bay: more walks, fish and chips, huge ice creams, orientating World Cup – My camera refused to work from the 6th so after that the photos are from Greg’s Iphone!

9-10: Back to a mountainous landscape Lake St Clair: short and long walks (to Shallow Lake)

11 Jan: Drive to Strahan via Franklin Park. Wood cutting, Huon Pine experience, McQuarie Heads and Ocean beach

12-13: Arthur River with David, Joanna, Jude and Leni (friends from the kids school)

14 Jan: the Nut, drive along the North Coast (West and North coasts photos here)

15 Jan: Ferry back

16-17: Drive to Brisbane (via “the dish”)

(all the photo galeries are under "tasmania")


Wishing you a wonderful Christmas 

The end of the year has been very busy with two graduations (Felix finishing Primary School and Victor finishing Middle school), graduation dinners, Christmas concerts, end of the year drinks and work functions etc. The weather has being busy too, playing its wild card with impressive thunderstorms one after the other, sometimes disturbing our routine.

We are all in need of a break from school, work, thunder, hot temperatures and electronic. Our holidays are getting closer and closer which might mean a little silence on that blog.  

It is also that time of the year where we take our funny hats again. These hats followed us all the way from Cape Town and they always bring smiles on our face when they come out.  So it is time to share our smiles and love.

We wish you all a joyful Christmas and an extraordinary festive season.


Moment of pride

Felix was selected to speak today in front of his school, kids and teachers and all the parents at the year 6-7 graduation about his leadership experience during this past year. On top of it, he also received the "Leadership award" AND "the Principal special award". Wow, we, parents, feel super proud.

So here is Felix's graduation speech:

1. Hi, my name is Felix Hall and I arrived here at New Farm in grade 4 and would never imagined myself talking to you today in a leadership role. It is a great honour for me to stand here and present my speech to you. I remember my first day at this school, I felt largely accepted by everyone and I am sure that this was also shared by many of our present students. This school embraces cultural diversity making it possible for everyone to achieve their goals.

2. When I arrived here I was unsure on how things would work and was overwhelmed by the number of kids running around as I was home schooled before. For the first six months I had to adapt. I kept on learning, always trying my best. Later on, I became more confident and got myself involved in new activities, this helped me to step up  whenever I could. At the end of grade 5, I decided to try out for Binkenba House Captain, yet I did not get selected. Shortly after that I tried out for Media Captain and was very pleased with the positive results.

3. As you might all know, New Farm State School took part in a leadership project; this was our “Graduation tree” legacy project. In this project, a total of seven Captains were set the task and responsibilities to leave a positive legacy in our school, in which students in future years will also be able to, contribute and after that, cherish it themselves. I was very lucky to be part of this team and I'm sure that this will apply to all the other Captains. We are all very grateful of all those who helped us accomplish this legacy project. From the start our “Graduation tree” legacy, seemed impossible to accomplish, neverless, as Nelson Mandela's quote goes;

It always seems impossible until it’s done.” So, we persevered. 

4. Now, if you have ever managed a project, you would know how hard and complicated it is to successfully complete a project. Well, myself and the whole 6/7 cohort felt that same feeling this year, as we attempted to make our dreams of leaving a positive legacy behind, come true. As you all know our attempt was a huge success. If it was not a success, we would still have all the wonderful memories and thoughts, in which we had and build up upon along our journey here. As we started off this amazing journey we all thought it would be straight forward with only a few milestones on the way... this proved to be an incorrect assumption. The behind the scenes of the making of "the graduation tree", is buried underneath months and  months of hard work. So next time you have a quick glance at the tree, opposite the office entrance before you rush off somewhere, please remember the hard work we all put in, to this make unreal dream come true.

5. A leader that I highly respect, Nelson Mandela once said;

After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”

We, all the 6 and 7s have experienced this saying in several ways; from helping others around the school or house, learning new skills, to planning "the graduation tree" we have all climbed what seemed at the time a "steep hill". ....Today, we are at the top of a hill, of which we now like to call, primary school, and as we stare down in astonishment, we see that, what seemed like steep and slippery slopes at the time, now looks like climbable hills. As we stare down at every bump we see every moment you, the, parents, teachers, guardians ,caretakers, friends and siblings supported us in climbing it, from taking us to school to helping us with homework. So, we would like to thank you, for enabling us to climb that hill. Thank you, for giving us a helping hand to carry us over that hill in the difficult times. Before I leave, I would just like to describe you what the scenery looks like from up here. As we peel our big eyes off the far away ground and look up, we see an even bigger mountain, a mountain commonly named high school. so please understand that if we start stumbling again, please do as you, the; parents, teachers, guardians ,caretakers, friends and siblings, have always done for us in primary school, heave us up. You will not be disappointed.


Respect des traditions

Premiere fournee de bredele

(et c'est sur qu'aucun ne sera gaspille - voir l'article precedent!)


Rubrique radio: Le gaspillage alimentaire

Comme toujours, ecoutable en posdcast pendant une semaine: selectionner French

Le gaspillage alimentaire

En cette periode de fin d’annee et de festivities, parfois d’orgies insensees, j’ai pense faire ma rubrique sur la gaspillage alimentaire, non pas pour vous culpabiliser, mais pour simplement vous faire prendre conscience de ce phenomene important. L’annee 2014 qui se finit a d’ailleurs été décrétée comme année de lutte contre le gaspillage alimentaire par le Parlement européen.

Le gaspillage alimentaire est le fait de jeter ou de supprimer des aliments encore comestibles. Ce gaspillage alimentaire se produit tout au long de la chaine alimentaire: de la production a la consommation, en passant par le stockage, la transformation, la distribution, et la gestion Alimentaire. Il represente la partie perdue, dégradée ou dévorée par des ravageurs par exemple, mais n’inclue pas les parties non comestibles, inevitables tels que les peaux, les feuilles, les graines, les carcasses, les trognons etc…

Quelques chiffres dont nous n’avons pas vraiment conscience et venant de diverses etudes et sondages:

Le pourcentage de nourriture perdue a été multiplié par deux depuis 1974 et continue d’augmenter.

Les Francais pensent qu’ils ne jettent que 6% des produits alimentaires qu’ils achetent – alors qu’il s’agit en fait de 21%. Si l’on prend en compte l'ensemble de la chaîne alimentaires (c’est-a-dire a partir de la production), les déchets alimentaires en France représentent aujourd’hui près de 120kg par personne. Au niveau d’un foyer, le gaspillage serait de 20kg de produits alimentaires par personne dont 7kg sont encore emballes. Ceci represente un montant annuel d’environ 400euros.

En Australie, on ne fait pas mieux. Les Australiens jettent egalement 20% des produits achetes (c’est-a-dire 1 sac tous les 5 sacs de course), ce qui correspond environ a 350kg de nourriture/an.

La FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation) a estime qu’en 2011 plus de 1.3 milliard de tonnes de denrees alimentaires etaient gaspillees (a partir de la production), ce qui represente environ 1/3 du volume de nourriture produit globalement.

De facon generale, les trois grands secteurs de perte sont:

1-      L’industrie alimentaire: les processus de production sont mal calibres, mauvaises conditions de stockage, mauvaise anticipations des demandes, des dechets et des surplus

2-      Les foyers: qui achetent trop (comportement notamment encourage par les promotions mais aussi du a un mauvaise usage de la date limite d’utilisation du produit)

3-      La restauration: en moyenne au niveau de la restauration collective il y a une perte de 132g par assiette servies.

Alors au niveau des foyers, que jette-t-on essentiellement:

Pour plus d’1/3: des produits frais (que l’on ne pense plus frais)

27% des restes

15% des produits pre-emballes et qui se gardent longtemps (comme le lait UHT)

10% de produits surgeles


Ce gaspillage a de nombreuses consequences. Par exemple:

Ethiques: on pense bien sur a la lutte contre la faim dans de tres nombreux pays en voie de developpement mais aussi aux personnes demunies dans les pays developpes.

Economiques: voir les sommes detaillees precedement

Environnementales: il y a gaspillage d’eau, d’energie, de pollution des sols par exemple utilises en pure perte, l’augmentation du traffic routier, mais aussi il faut gerer par la suite tous ces dechets ainsi que leurs emissions de gaz a effets de serre.

(Petit apparte ecologique, il faut savoir que l’alimentation est l’une des premieres sources d’emissions de gaz a effet de serre. Depuis la production jusqu’au traitement des dechets, le cycle de vie de la nourriture d’un Francais moyen represente environ 20% du total de ses emissions quotidiennes.)

La France, tout comme de tres nombreux pays, essaie de reduire ce gaspillage et de nombreuses actions locales ou nationales ont vu le jour.

Quelques solutions pour eviter de gaspiller (en vrac):

Faire une liste de courses et s’y tenir

Utiliser des produits frais

Acheter des produits bruts et non transformés

Cuisiner soi-même autant que possible

Arrêter de vouloir acheter toujours moins cher au détriment de la qualité

Privilégier les produits locaux, autour de chez soi

Se servir au « vrac » pour ne prendre que la quantité nécessaire

Cuisiner les restes et les fruits ou légumes abîmés : soupes, gratins, compotes…

Congeler ! Rien ne se perd pour peu que l’on ait un congélateur

Se méfier des promotions et des lots qui, souvent, ne sont pas plus économiques

Manger moins en quantité mais mieux en qualité

Bien ranger son frigo pour pouvoir garder les ingredients plus longtemps: la temperature n’est pas uniforme dans un frigo et il y a toujours une partie plus froide (haut ou bas selon les modeles). Dans la partie la plus froide, il faut y ranger les viandes, les produits laitiers etc. Il est recommande d’enlever les emballages. Mettre en avant les produits a manger en priorite, par ex en fonction de la date limite de consommation. D’autres initiatives ont ete mises a place et en France une grande campagne de sensibilisation a ete lancee. Cela inclut:

La promotion des legumes moches et tordus, campagne suivie par Intermarche et par les producteurs de fruits et legumes qui encouragent de temps en temps d’acheter ce qu’ils appellent “des Gueules cassees”

Lancement de cantines “Zero Gaspil” ou les enfants ont le choix des portions mais aussi ou ils n’ont pas forcement tout l erepas d’un coup sur le plateau: ils se servent d’abord l’entrée et n’iront chercher la suite qu’une fois l’entrée finit. De meme pour le dessert. DAns le scantiness utilisant ce principe, les restes ont ete reduits de 170g a moins de 10g par enfant. De facon generale, au niveau des collectivites (cantine): il faudrait demander la quantitee desiree avant de servir

Pour les restaurateurs: il faudrait proposer par exemple differentes tailles d’assiettes

Il faut faire la difference entre “A consommer de preference avant” et “date limite d’utilisation optimale”. Bien souvent un produit jete peut encore etre consommé.

Aussi ce que l’on appelle dechet ne l’est pas forcement.

Il y a de plus en plus d’initiatives pour reutiliser la nourriture non consommee. Des ateliers pour apprendre a cuisiner les restes ont ainsi aussi vu le jour

Au niveau des dons alimentaires, il faudrait eventuellement lever certaines reglementations qui faciliteraient ainsi l’action d’associations qui se chargent de recuperer les dechets et de les redistribuer.

Les grands producteurs alimentaires peuvent egalement utiliser les biodechets pour faire du compost ou de la methanisation (c’est-a-dire utiliser l’energie cree par la degradation des produits) : Cette utilisation est deja obligatiore obligatoire pour les tres grandds producteurs de dechets mais le sera des les 10 tones de dechets produits a partir de 2016 (contre 120 tonnes en 2012).

Le gaspillage alimentaire represente un dossier tres vaste et on pourrait en parler pendant bien longtemps. Toutefois il est important d’en avoir conscience et d’essayer, avec des petits gestes simples, de le reduire au quotidien, au moins chez soi.