Alone Like a Rolling Stone

The sailing yacht Kiqdlue (Greenland: boiling water on open fire)

With the dinghy we cross over. The yacht is only 100 meters away from us, but we are happy when we arrive. It is wet, it is cold and the wind blows with 20 knots from southwest. For Europeans cold is perhaps exaggerated, after all we still have well over 20°C and besides it is winter in the southern hemisphere, but 20°C, barefoot, feel ice cold. Especially if the feet are wet, and they inevitably will be if you are at anchor and depend on the dinghy. The whole day it has rained again and again and the dinghy is full of rainwater. Sure it is self-draining, but then I would have to chase like a maniac through the anchor field while I pull the plug and the water pushes out the back. I prefer to leave that to the jet boat drivers, of whom there is also one here. He uses the anchored boats as a turning point and often heats up here for over an hour. There would be enough space a little further out, but there no one sees what a great pike he is. Youthful courtship behavior evenly, it is begrudged him. So I scoop the dinghy empty again.

SV Kiqdlue, Mangareva

Before the next squall passes through we moor our dinghy at the Kiqdlue. A one meter high wave is in the bay and we have some trouble to get on board. Jens has invited us for dinner and made a secret of it until the end, what we will have for dinner. Now he explains what smells so good while we sit in the cockpit and listen to him attentively. With Jens, when he gets down to the nitty-gritty, you can't miss the part. His introductions are generous and have nothing to do with what he wants to say at first. At some point he changes the subject and gets to the point. This is also the case now. While we wait to see what's for dinner today - by the way, I'm already very hungry - he tells us about a piece of wood he's been carrying around since Tasmania, which he now wants to use as a sign saying "Private". The police officer on duty on the island rounded him up when he tried to clear in and found no one at the police station. He then searched the area for someone to ask and ran into private property, which was not marked. Jens then also found the policeman, which the less well liked. Now this gets a, from Jens, carved sign from a piece of wood, that no one more, in the embarrassing situation comes to have to run around unauthorized on private property. Yes, that's Jens. While he tells us this story and how he got the piece of wood, he switches to the food and announces that there is lamb. For this he has bought a few mutton bones, which he has cooked with potatoes, spinach and a few olives, in a casserole dish, in the oven. For this he has gone to expense and bought a bottle of red wine. 

Moon night on the Gambiers

Since it is too cold in the cockpit, we take a seat at the large table in the salon. Kiqdlue is a yacht from the late 80s of the last century. The yacht was already aground and Jens salvaged and restored it. Since then he sails with the boat around the world. That is now, after all already, 23 years ago. The yacht in the classic English architectural style is pitch-dark inside. There are no windows and only a little light shines through the companionway, now in the evening. The furnishings are dark teak, and there is a diesel stove at the entrance to the forecastle. It is cozy and warm. So that we do not lose sight of each other in the darkness, two headlamps hang down on a string stretched across the table. Jens tells us the story of Kiqdlue. A huge hole, when she was stranded off Newfoundland, had to be plugged. When the tide came in and put the ship on the other side, he closed the hole with plywood and put a layer of tar over it. The bilge pumps and a powerful fishing boat did the rest. Back home in Greenland, the ship was then thoroughly repaired and is still sailing today. But Jens is not only a very good storyteller, he also makes sculptures out of wood and stone. Especially on board he specialized in wood, because it makes less mess. A few days earlier we had talked about Germany and France and about the territories of Alsace and Lorraine, which have changed from time to time in the many feuds between the two countries. The sculpture shows the German Michel and the French Marie, separated by the river Rhine. With their hands they touch each other across the stream, for friendship. A very beautiful sculpture, which will eventually be seen in an exhibition on Greenland. A beautiful evening comes to an end and we say goodbye to Jens, not before issuing a return invitation. 

Anchor field Mangareva

So we continue to spend the winter on the Gambiers, expecting one storm low after another, which pass through the south of the archipelago, but keep brushing the islands. My shoulder is slowly getting better and I start doing exercises to get some strength back in my arm. Not so easy after four weeks. It's amazing how quickly the muscles break down when they're not needed. I am confident that I will get it back. Until then, we wish you always fair winds and keep a stiff upper lip.