Drifting downwind can bring you in rough waters sometimes.
The grand opening of Sail Amsterdam 2015 finally happened after weeks of preparation! Dennis, employed at Stichting NDSM was very helpful with fulfilling the wishes for our stall. A total of 2.3 million people visited Sail 2015. Luckily we did not see them all 😉 . A lot of our visitors mentioned the Groene Ocean (Green Ocean) was the most comfy and quiet area of Sail. We were not able to check this for ourselves because we have been too busy with our own stall.
The Ocean Clean-up was supposed to be the large “crowd magnet” on the NDSM wharf, with their work on “The largest cleanup in history”. A few street artists were busy making a beautiful piece of art with their 3D drawing on the slope of the NDSM dock. Some visitors ask us were to find this piece of art, only to return 2 minutes later. We have noticed some of them were disapppointed by the lack of exciting activities offered by this project. But, as the saying goes; bachelor’s wives and maiden’s children are well trained… We heard that quite some members of The Ocean Clean-up were on a mega expedition some time later, to test a pilot for the real project and were not able to assist on Sail. Very useful! But, to repeat The Ocean Clean-up; “prevention is better than cure.”
Our other neighbours were noticably more present. Sea Shepherd obviously works like an oiled machine. They brought stalls stocked with tough looking merchandise that flies from the shelves. A black pirate-like flag is of course very cool to put on your boat in Grau’s harbour. Most visitors will recognize Sea Shepherd as the organization that likes to play it rough, but are often unaware of what else they do to protect nature. Images of the mass slaughter of pilot whales on the Faeröer are too gruesome to view, but without Sea Shepherd almost nobody in mainland Europe would know of this annual marine mammal slaugther fest. The volunteers provide extensive education on the importance of oceans and the marine life they contain.
A lot of people are curious about us. “What is CoralGardening” is an often asked question. That is exactly the reason you (could have) found us on Sail! Of course we are more than willing to explain. Most people are unaware of the current status of coral reefs. They support our views and dedication. A single visitor is more sceptical about our approach, because artificial reefs have a hard time matching the quality and beauty of naturals. We would love for it not to be necessary to build them and for reefs to recover by themselves, but we have to keep the rudder straight ahead and help nature a little bit. Our Coral-Aid system also triggers some amazed expressions. All our volunteers were helping visitors and enthousiasts all day long.
Our workshop KoraalTuinieren (surprise surprise, “CoralGardening”), sponsored by Keramikos, draws in big crowds. We ask children to design nice houses for fish and corals. After a short explanation many kids enthusiastically start building whatever they can. Who knows what great inspiration for a real life statue they can provide! A variety of creative artworks emerge: Spongebob-Frankenstein, real houses, dragons, sail boats and even a lascivious mermaid (mind you, this one was made by an enthusiastic mother…). It took a lot of effort from some parents to take their children home. Other parents decided we served as a good dump for their offspring and left them an hour or so at our stall while they explored Sail or the Noorderlicht cafe on their own.
Some things did not go as planned. For instance, our coloring pages got a lot more attention from parents (and some of our volunteers 🙂 ) than from children. Ages 05 to 41 were noted on the drawings. Who would have thought that?!
We received nice compliments on our unique products, which we handed out to special donators. The home made stone hangers, inspired by Edd Bax, were an appreciated present. The first Dutch Ocean Sole marine animals received a lot of approval as well. Three time’s lucky: how often can buying a piece of art help you support 3 charities? Assisting in the reduction of the plastic soup, supporting Kenyan artists and helping the restoration of coral reefs!
The weather was also very supportive: it was sunny and dry every day! Only on Sunday the tables were turned. Quiet literally.We had to use all our hands and feet and those of our neighbours to keep our tents from blowing away and tables from falling! Sea Shepherd helped/saved us and we finished Sail 2015 with a slightly smaller stall. moesten alle hens aan dek zetten om onze tent te redden.
The winners of the lottery are known: Albert, Angelika, Anki, Fred, Gerke, Mandy, Marieke, Willem and Yvette: congratulations!!! We have sent everybody who has not received his or her price yet an email. Check your mail so you can reply us with your adress. Many thanks to our sponsors:
All in all Sail was a succesful and interesting event. Our volunteers have more than simply passed their dedication test! 😉
We want to thank all visitors who have registered themselves into our CoralCommunity. Welcome! You are free to invite friends and family to subscribe as well. The larger our group becomes, the better we can support our coral reefs and our oceans. For more photo’s, take a look at our Facebook page, tag yourself and like our page.
You can also follow our website and other social media. The next update will be about our work in Thailand in September/October, where we will make final preparations before we start building our first Garden early next year!