Dr. Katinka's practice

Of flying chickens and a crashing rooster

A sunny day animates us to go for a walk again. We see the preparations of the airport team and decide to look at the airport from a viewing platform. The path leads along the southern part of the island towards the east and we are surprised that it is so nice and warm. From a bush we spook a rooster and his two hens. At eye level they fly, ten meters in front of us from the said bushes, across the road, onto a rocky outcrop.

Mangareva, Gambiers

As a young boy, I remember my uncle who kept free-range chickens on the farm and sold the eggs, once a week, at the market in the nearby town. In those days, the chickens had their wings clipped so they couldn't fly away. That was fifty years ago, the last time I saw flying chickens. We were all the more surprised to encounter such. The road we are walking on is unpaved and has potholes, just like the road in our village back then. I can still remember how at that time I could not stop jumping around in the puddles all day, wearing rubber boots. Somehow the feeling comes over me to try this, here and now, once again. Only I have no rubber boots with me, but no matter. I peile therefore the next puddle and am held back only by the outcry "Unter steh you!". I think only spoilsports. We come to the junction with a sign announcing us the viewing platform. Along a rocky ridge, we reach it and look at the nearby motu, with the airport facilities. The plane was already gone, of course, but we still enjoy the view and the panoramic view of the archipelago and its islands.

Gambian Archipelago

The basalt stone has heated up in the sun, quite nicely and so we do not linger long. On the way back, we stop by Fritz the German. Fritz is our Trans Ocean site manager. Unfortunately, he was in Tahiti when we arrived, so we only get to know him today. He has been living on the island for over 40 years and is known like a mad dog. Fritz is unique and knows many sailors. At least he knows that he knows them. Unfortunately, at the age of 82, his memory sometimes plays tricks on him. Nevertheless, he is still very spry and tells us his story of when he joined the Foreign Legion. We say goodbye to him, not without Gaby promising to bring him her original Swabian potato salad. We in turn look forward to the Silesian chops, from his freezer.
Spurred on by the beautiful day, I decide to take another small tour, over the ridge, to the north side of the island, to Kirimiro. We had already made the tour together once and wanted to visit a magazine because I read that there is cheap beer. The magazine was closed then and so today I set out on my own. Since we ran out of lemons, Gaby tries to get some in Rikitea. Past the rock that gives a wonderful view of the anchorage, the passage over the ridge, I finally reach the banana plantation on the other side of the island. Now it's only a few hundred meters to the magazine and I'm looking forward to the beer.

Ralf on the palm

Unfortunately, I am up to a feint and so I make my way back undone. The way was not completely in vain, at least I could buy a Pütz and my favorite peanuts. Since the road to Rikitea, which we took last time, is much longer, I decide to walk the same path back. Shortly after the lookout rock it happens. By a carelessness I slip and fall headlong, about 100 meters, down the mountain. On the damp underground I have all trouble to find hold. My right shoulder hurts and I almost lose my senses. The fact that I am alone in the jungle helps me to concentrate. The pain is almost unbearable, but the first thing to do is to get back on the path. The right arm is no longer operational and so it takes me almost an hour, slipping again and again, to reach the path. But now I still have to descend about one kilometer into the village. I reach the village road and find help. They drive me by car to the medical center. The alarmed doctor has my shoulder x-rayed and diagnoses a dislocated arm. Since the x-rays are not very informative, and probably out of respect for a stranger, he refers me to the clinic in Papeete. My efforts the next day to convince the doctor to put the arm back in place also fail. The next flight to Papeete leaves on Saturday, which means four more days. Since the pain was already enormous the night before and I didn't sleep a wink, we looked for other solutions. From the book, medicine on board, we get the instructions to set up a luxation again. So we lie together on the floor in the salon, Gaby's foot in my armpit, grabbing my arm and slowly pulling. I bite down on a piece of wood. A creaking sound and the snapping of the ball of the humerus into the socket, creates a sigh of relief in me. The pain subsides immediately and only when touched is it still slightly present. According to the manual, now comes the more difficult part. Immobilization. By chance we meet a French sailor who is a doctor. A short examination shows that there are probably no broken bones and she prescribes four weeks of rest. I am glad that we do not have to go to Papeete. If I could fly like a chicken, none of this would have happened.
If the rest worked and which other obstacles I have to overcome with one arm, we will tell you next time at this place. Until then, always fair winds and keep a stiff upper lip.