Hello and a warm welcome. My name is Chris and I live on the beautiful island of Mallorca. On this website I publish blogs and videos about my activities.
So far so good…
I was born and raised in Austria in the last Millennium and ever since I was interested in action-loaded activities and sports in general. No matter if it was team sports like soccer or beach-volleyball, but as well on my own when I rode my mountain bike from one peak to another. Water always caught my attention regardless of its physical state. In its solid form like ice or snow I spent many hours skiing. As Austrian citizen you are obliged to ski by the constitution. Water in its liquid form always gave me enough playground to kite-surf, dive or swim.
My dream job as a teenager always was to become a commercial pilot.
My career as a pilot started back in 1998 as First Officer with Tyrolean Airways on a Dash8-300. This 50-seater built in Toronto, Canada was piloted by me on our European network. Quickly my logbook was filled with flights and I gained experience hour after hour. Shortly after three years I got promoted to Captain and suddenly I was the pilot in command. Some few years later I got the chance to move on to our jet fleet which was based in Vienna. On a Fokker 70/100 I got to see airports like London Heathrow or Moscow.
For more than ten years I was able to collect a lot of flight hours and gained a lot of experience in a civil aviation airliner. It comes without saying that we faced some tough years especially after 9/11 or the financial crisis. A lot of airlines don’t exist anymore and for Tyrolean, too it was time to lay off crews to avoid bankruptcy.
I was lucky to be able to decide by myself that it was time to move on. In 2010 I was hired by FlyNiki as Captain on an Embraer 190, base Vienna. About one and a half year later I swapped planes and started to fly an Airbus A320. Based now in Salzburg we flew passengers to the Canaries or to Hurghada in Egypt.
Unfortunately times changed again and FlyNiki with its partner Air Berlin were in serious financial troubles. Again well ahead of time I was able to move on and actively chose my path. My professional career continued seamlessly in Dubai when I joined Emirates as First Officer on an Airbus A330. This 220 seat aircraft was taken on routes like Jakarta or Dar es Salaam. My personal long-range experience however, started only after I was trained on to the largest ever built commercial airliner: the Airbus A380.
As a teenager I always dreamed of becoming a pilot and fly to exotic places like Shanghai, Hongkong, San Francisco or Sydney. Certainly not Graz or Vienna. On the other hand if you find yourself after more than 15 hours flight at the other side of the globe you quickly realize what it really means to fly long-range.
Service on board
I cannot deny our crew meals were first class. But one will rapidly gain weight if you eat all flight long without physical exercise. So I decided to go for soups and salads.
Don´t get me wrong, destinations like Sydney, Christchurch, Toronto or L.A. look pretty damn good in my logbook. And honestly I do not want to miss this experience. But after flights up to 17 hours with time-zone changes up to ten hours you sometimes really don’t know where you are. If you want to try long-range try this first: wake-up call at midnight, have a seat in a dark closet and spend the next 8 hours in there before you will go to rest in a tin can.
Even worse is the fact that on most lay-overs the pick-up for the return flight is arranged less than 24 hours after landing. The romantic idea of seeing the world is not entirely correct. Besides after the 25th time in New York City or Bejing one just doesn´t care anymore. So I decided to move on. Again.
I consider myself really lucky that at this very moment a new company opened its doors in Europe. Vienna, to be exact. Luckily I got hired and I started as a direct-entry Captain again on an Airbus A320, based in Palma, Mallorca. As part of the Lufthansa group there is at least no imminent threat of a financial disaster.
It seems I finally settled on a professional point of view.
Connected to nature…
Anytime I am not flying I love to spend time outdoors. Already as a teenager I used to ride my mountain bike or I skied as often as possible. Nowadays I enjoy one or the other hike. My most spectacular one was together with my childhood friend Heli when we accomplished to hike Kilimanjaro. Suddenly we were on top of one of the Seven Summits.
Even at the moment I moved to Dubai I could not let go of sports. Action-loaded sports like go-karting or kite-surfing, taking my Jeep into the desert or parachuting without a chute in iFly Dubai.
Mountains always were fascinating and had a magical effect. It took some time for me to realize what a mountain can give me but when I finally did it was awesome. Whether it was in Austria or Germany, Tanzania or here in Spain there was always a mountain that waited to be hiked. An ascend could take several hours and sometimes a peak had to be left untouched because of fog or bad weather. But once I got up there I was at peace and enjoyed every minute. Up there I found a place to re-charge my batteries.
Together with my childhood friend Heli I managed to climb Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa’s tallest mountain. Some 5895m above mean sea level. At that moment we did one of the Seven Summits. Technically not really difficult this guided tour led us to the peak and back within one week. It was breathtaking how the scenery changed during that week. As was the cooking skills of our chef who, even at 4900m served a 3-course meal.
Once on top we did however feel the lack of oxygen but the experience we have had will never be forgotten.
Here on the island of Mallorca there are no peaks with more than 3000m above sea level but there are more than 50 peaks which are taller than 1000 meters. Sure, that doesn’t sound much but bear in mind that lots of them cover easily 1000m in height difference because your starting point is at or just a few meters above sea level. Additionally some mountains show various levels of difficulty and a hike should always be started with proper equipment. If you seek a bigger challenge try the long distance track from Port Andratx to Port Pollenca which covers more than 130 km with more than 6500m in height difference. Wikipedia shows nine sections depending on your speed. Bring water. Lots of water.
Moving to an island, in this case Mallorca, usually goes hand in hand with something new. As for most of the islands Mallorca is surrounded by water. A new playground for me. So what should I do with all that water? Swim? Dive? Kite-surf ? Yeah for sure, but all of this is nothing new to me. If you have a walk on the beach you will promptly realize how many sailboats there are. That in mind I started to think about becoming a sailor.
Exciting. Relaxing. Demanding. Diversified.
I started sailing by accident as one day I got invited to a trip in the bay of Palma. Of course I liked it that much that I decided to attend a sailing course. A few weeks later I got my first license. Together with a colleague from work I joined a sailing club as active member to sail a 39ft Beneteau Cyclades. Shortly thereafter we had logged already a few miles in our logbook and at the same time we got to know many beautiful areas around Palma.
That feeling one encounters while sailing for me is some kind of freedom. Out there with some wind around my ears and water splashing against the hull makes me forget all the rest on shore. A feeling I usually had when I hiked. Apparently I needed to go sailing as often as I could. With friends or family and sometimes even by myself to learn something about single-handed sailing. It didn’t really take long when suddenly a question popped up in my head: how would it be crossing the Atlantic on a sailboat? Well, I asked Dr. Google.
It seemed there are more crazy people around than I thought. I could chose from several suggestions and found myself on the webpage from Matt and Amy. A young British couple circumnavigating the world on their 37ft boat Florence.
Nice…just another crazy thought which I needed: circumnavigate the world on my own boat.
Crazy idea, crazy plan. Welcome to my head. So I started to investigate: which boat would I need, how big, how much does it cost? How long would it take me? Which equipment?
One very important part of equipment is without a doubt a dinghy. Without you cannot go ashore if you are anchored in a bay. So I started to build a dinghy according to B&B Yacht design on my very own balcony.
Made of 6mm plywood I followed the construction plan step by step. A few months later I had a boat on my balcony. With champagne I celebrated its maiden voyage.
But of course the dinghy was just the beginning. What I was looking for at that moment was a sailboat which is capable of crossing oceans. Now, two years later I still look for a proper boat. In fact I already visited several different locations to check sailboats. There was a Beneteau, a Dufour, I’ve seen Elans and Jeanneaus but not a single one was to my liking. And that made me think. I saw boats which were either too expensive or were not properly equipped. What if…yes exactly, what if I bought an old version of a sailboat and do a complete re-fit by myself?
The next boat waits in Cagliari, Sardinia. It’s a Jeanneau Sun Magic 44. Could this one be my next project? Stay tuned and subscribe to my channel…
Youtube: SailingCelina ( https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC15wNE4L8caD8zuec3eLYig )
The adventure has only just begun…