Part 4

Part IV:
Journey home from February to May 1956

1__Report 31: Thanks from ,Commandante’

We were quickly relieved of our coal, but not from coal dust. The stevedores worked like hell and coal, heave after heave, was unloaded within a few days out of our hatches into dozens of barges. After the last lumps of coal, we heaved up the anchor, greeted the stevedores warmly and once again our football friends on the pier and made our way to Rosario in the Argentine province of Santa Fe.

1_Report 32: Finally: Gauchos, Assado and Carnival in Buenos Aires

Anyway as everything was supposed to go very quickly in Rosario, the hatches were full, almost from the moment the trunks of the silos were swept clean. With so little time available, the cradle of tango would, as it has been rumoured, not be explored by me and many others. How could someone find ways, in one, two, three hours to hip swinging?

2_Report 33: Mayday for a Troop of Penguins

With brisk northeast wind blowing, we had left the Rio de La Plata on East Course. Downright 500 nautical miles had been sailed in 36 hours when the radio operator reported to the officer on watch, MAYDAY, meaning “distress, come help me” has been received from the Argentine research vessel El Gran Salvador. That was yesterday morning.


3_Report 34: Lookout on the forecastle and on the yards

….Suddenly someone shouted at me from behind: “You were asleep” I said, “No I did not sleep.” Then him again: “I had my arm moving up and down in front of your eyes. You did not respond” Me: “I’m supposed to look ahead and should not be distracted!” etc, etc. Then he ran down the catwalk to mid-ships and shouted: “He was sleeping!” .

6_Report 35: Grain feeds the man

How that happened is a mystery to us. We had crossed the equator days ago, but were still close to it. For weeks, we had to wait for wind, and we waited, and waited, just because we did not have enough fuel for the engine motoring two or three days to free us out of this situation. What little we had was supposed to be kept for an emergency and for the English Channel. So far so good, but now we have another problem.

1_Report 36: A waterspout for the Third

The third officer, let’s call him Wotan Streit was when it came to an attack on meteorology, never abashed. He rarely left the many daily weather reports we received without a comment: incompetent, stupid, hopeless. If it was boring and nothing was going on during night watch, you only needed to go onto the middle deck and consult the Third, in matters of meteorology, when he was on watch duty.

4_Report 37: Movies on widescreen sails

What we did not know was that both of our numerous Christmas guests were pitted against each other [Report 28]. Never leave the enemies out of sight. Every movement was reported to our own marine monitoring stations. While we had seen South America, a little bit of the country and its people, the cold war in the North Atlantic continued.

3_Report 38: Sputnik coming up

On this trip, we sailed a north-eastern course. The Bermuda Triangle probably still stuck to the captain’s bones. On the other hand, we had to catch all the wind we could, because the fuel supply for the engine was not increased, as long as we did not reach a harbour for replenishing. Whether hitting port on the Azores was considered as an option, I do not know.

5_Report 39: Falmouth

Today it is quite late, but this day, I have to document immediately, otherwise I might forget something important. We finally got fresh provisions on board in Falmouth and set sail immediately. Now a few busy days were ahead of us, until we would arrive in Hamburg in early May. After the Russians had “jokingly” dragged us into a strong wind zone [Report 38], we came swiftly to the harbour of Falmouth. Since 1600, there is a beer house (Ale House) in the harbour named “PENNY-COME-QUICK” what the radio operator knew from conversations with John, our Christmas-mail helper, on departure [Report].

3_Report 40: Last leg to Hamburg

………..Finally, she said: “What you told me so far is pretty boring. If you cannot do better, then we prefer to leave it as it is!” So we suggested that she should turn off the music blaring in the corner and listen to our hit. So it happened that we blared, “Don’t cry for me Argentina”, first together in one voice, then two voices, and the steady filling Shark-fish-bar joined in, until 11pm. Then we had to catch last port-ferry.
For me this was ok. It would be a long day tomorrow. Signing off from Pamir. Bye! Bye! The next days had to be well used, because in one week it will be all about a large cargo steamer to Australia.