Farewell to the Açores

We return the rented car and buy some last souvenirs. Then we return to the ship and make everything ready to leave. At four o’clock we are towed from the pier by a harbortug. We are underway again.

27.11.2001

Watchduty starts immediately after we have left port. In a fresh northeasterly wind we start to set sail again. Soon the engine is turned off and we are sailing. The royals and topgallant we left made fast, as well as the upper staysails. To windward lies the island São Miguel, that shields us from the waves. When we will leave this shelter, there is more to come. When we reach the open sea, waves and wind start to build up. The ship is prepared for rough weather. The wind is blowing from northeasterly directions and increasing. We are in for a hard time.

It takes a considerable effort to keep the footing and not to stumble around the deck. Some shipmates are already seasick.

In the night a cold moon shines on a stormy sea, clouds are racing across the sky, the wind is howling in the rigging, on the windward side we are taking over some water. The work on the braces gets really rough and exhausting. When the watch is over we stumble to our hammock and when we get into we are happy that the movement stops for a while.

28.10.2001

Still galeforce winds and rough sea. At eleven I am called to the bridge, my daughter calls me on the phone and informs me, that at home the kitchen has burnt down. First things first, nothing happened to my daughter, she is okay. The rest has to wait till I return and will be taken over by the insurance. In this surroundings the whole thing seems not to be so important.

Now it is too dangerous to use the showers. The meals are now taken from cardboard plates. It is too dangerous to wash the porcelain too much cracks. The decks are allways moving. I have the feeling, that I am constantly walking uphill.

29. — 31.10.2001

The direction of the wind is most unfavorable no chance to set a direct course for Brest. If the wind doesn’t change we will have to start the engines. We are down to stormsails.

The wind has shifted to northeast. We have to give up the sails and go on under engine, if we want to keep our schedule. When we operate under engine, there is not much work to be done. So we take lessons in navigation and watch some videos about sailingships in former times. Very impressing is the film about a voyage of the German ship “Pamir” around the horn to Chile, filmed in 1952. This is the last document of this fourmasted barque. She foundered in the hurricane Carrie in 1957 at$35^{\circ}57' N, 40^{\circ} W$.

The Halloween night is rather impressing. The full moon bathes the waves in a cold silvery light. Astern a rainsquall passes and suddenly there is a silverwhite rainbow showing up in the middle of the night. The only sound is the wind shrieking in the rigging. Some strange thoughts enter my mind. I’m thinking of generations of seamen that fought their ways to distant shores on the big sailing ships of the past. I get a little glimpse of the life they lived and endured on their long and lonely voyages to distant ports.

01.– 05.11.2001

We still operate under engine. The wind has calmed down, but blows from the wrong direction. In the morning we are visited by a whale. He follows us for five minutes only five meters off the port side. He dives and surfaces again. Then as if his curiosity is satisfied he gives a big shove with his tail and vanishes in the wide Atlantic ocean

As we approach Brest the traffic is building up. Like on a highway the ships drive in and out of the English Channel. At eight in the evening of October 4th we drop anchor near Brest. The whole afternoon we have prepared the ship for harbor. Now we wait to get into Brest on the following morning.

Early in the morning the pilot comes aboard and we are towed to the pier. For most of the trainees the voyage is over. After three and a half weeks we prepare to leave the “Statsraad Lehmkuhl”.