Alone Like a Rolling Stone

Back in paradise, thoughts about freedom

We didn't leave at all, but the last two weeks the weather was not very nice to us. South of the Gambiers, one low-pressure area after another passed through. Some of the fringes brushed the Gambiers, so we were anchored for two weeks, between 25 and 30 knots. Coming ashore was at times, in my condition, at times, somewhat uncontrollable. With one arm tied to the body, it is difficult to keep the balance, which is extremely important when getting in and out of a dinghy. So it happened that I smooched the gas tank when getting in, or lost my balance when getting out, and due to lack of support, of course, rolled on the damaged shoulder. Both always painful, let me pause for a few minutes and think about the meaning and purpose of life.

The colors of freedom

But I always get myself up again afterwards. Taking a deep breath, pushing the tears out of my eyes, feeling the piercing, pitying look of my nurse on the back of my neck, which feels almost like the pain in my shoulder, I drag myself on. For a few days now, we've had dream weather again. Little wind, partly smooth sea, yes and the sea presents itself again in all the blue and turquoise tones you can imagine. At the last BBQ on Taravei, we celebrate Herve's birthday. We already wanted to cancel, but Christer, our Swedish neighbor, wanted to participate, but did not dare, with his two meters draft, alone the first time, to enter the lagoon. Since I know the way by now, he takes us on Sunday and so we can still celebrate.

Anchorage Taravei, Gambier Islands

Valerie collects leaves, from a shrub, for me to crush and apply to my arm mixed with oil. Call it voodoo magic or imagination, but I have a feeling it's getting better. Back on our boat, we are expecting the supply ship again this week. It's amazing how we've gotten used to the routine in such a short time and the anticipation is great, it means fresh fruit and vegetables for us. Anticipation also because you never know exactly what you will actually get. Carrots and potatoes are always there, and potatoes have never run out so far. You don't get carrots after a few days. Lettuce or cabbage is not always available, apples very rarely, and grapes or kiwi are priceless. For a head of lettuce you pay 5,50€ for apples 7€ a kilo. Grapes or kiwi cost 13€ and 17€ a kilo respectively. By the way, the prices are excellent and the same for the locals. Welcome to paradise, Germany is still a bargain country. I mention this only so that one or the other can guess where the journey could still lead. Maybe it's a good idea to grow fruit and vegetables in your own garden again. That's definitely how the locals do it here. They are so friendly and also give away when they have something in abundance. A gesture that makes the people here extremely likeable.

Supply ship at Mangareva, Gambier Islands

For us, such a shopping day, after the supply ship was there, always starts very early in the morning. We get up at 5:00 a.m., have a quick coffee and then go ashore at 5:30. It has rained during the night and the concrete square in front of the dock is wet. The rising sun is reflected in the puddles and the roosters crow, at this time, particularly loud. I turn and look into the rising sun, which is just rising over the outer reef. The water inside the archipelago is smooth as a tablecloth and the intense orange is reflected in it. It's virtually windless and there's not much happening on the road yet. From time to time we meet a stray dog. In Rikitea there are five so-called magazines that sell food. Another magazine, on the north side of the island, is added. But that is all. In two of the stores you can enter and take what you need from the shelves. You then pay at the cash register. In the others, you stand outside in front of a counter and tell a nice lady what you would like to have. This is sometimes a bit difficult, because French would be very helpful. We always manage somehow. As you can certainly guess, these stores are not particularly large, the largest corresponds to about two double garages. In this respect, you can't expect to be able to choose from several brands. Many things are often not available for weeks. So you buy them as soon as they are available or you simply do without. That's how freedom feels, just so there's no false image here. Many things lose importance. If you want to be free, you first have to detach yourself from the consumer society and learn to limit yourself to the essentials. In a blog I recently read that a go driver "only" two large bags of shoes, from her huge closet from home, took on board. I had to smile, because of course that was the same for us. We have moved too far away from freedom with our lifestyle, so that most of us can only find our way back step by step. We do not exclude ourselves. In the meantime, we have learned that we hardly need shoes. Flipflops, barefoot and flipflops again. For hiking we still have a few hiking boots, which hang on us like lead blocks after a long period of non-wear, and a few sneakers. Of course, freedom is not defined by the wearing of the footwear. I want to explain also only on the basis this example, which stands to one everything in the way to experience freedom, there you made surely also your own experiences. No, I'm getting at something completely different, and that is what restricts our freedom. Because even in paradise there are such restrictions. Besides health, which must be maintained first and foremost by all means, it is the energy budget. Gas for cooking, electricity from so-called "renewables", i.e. sun and wind.

Power supply on board

I make the latter a topic, since we are of course also following the discussion in Germany. In the latitudes where we stay, the sun shines very often and intensively. The solar system provides us with enough energy during the day. We are also still in the fortunate position to store energy for the evening hours, because from 15.00 o'clock the energy yield, by means of the sun, decreases rapidly. This is no different in Germany, even if the sun shines a little longer in summer. If then also no wind goes, in Germany statistically on 290 days, it is over with the "renewables". Managing energy is an enormous restriction on freedom. We start the diesel, if it should not be enough once, what do you do? In this sense, think of your freedom, wish always fair winds and keep a stiff upper lip.