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News about the ship at breakfast: The repair team found the unit responsible for the fault in the turbocharger. Spare parts were available in Holland, were delivered, and the engineers install them at this moment. Then everything will be tested. If things go well, we will leave this afternoon. Pierre is allowed to revisit the city. Before 16:00 the gangway will not be pulled up.
At lunch, the captain says that he has bad news: The repair was not successful. We have to stay a few more days in Hamburg. He himself will leave the ship tomorrow. A new captain with wife and a few new sailors come on board.
The cook, like all other sailors, is a Pole. That is why the cuisine is mostly Polish. Cabbage and beetroot are an integral part of this cuisine. At first, I was sceptical whether the food would be tasty, but now I am a fan of the cook. Every meal, Robert, the steward, serves us, is excellent.
Robert is a darling. He usually has a slightly worried look because he wants to do everything right and therefore wants to see if anything is wrong. His English is good, but it’ s not his first language. So he always chooses his words carefully and earnestly and then looks concerned whether we have understood him well. But he can also smile, and I always try to chat with him. Today we have cabbage rolls for lunch. Robert uses the Polish expression, explains what it is about and then says: “It’s a typical polish dish.” I answer: “Oh, it’s also a typical German dish. We call it ‘Kohlroulade’.” He probably talked with the cook about this, because after a while he comes back and wants to know again what the German expression is like. We practice saying “Kohlrouladen” a few times, and then he goes back to the kitchen, mumbling “Kohlrouladen. Kohlrouladen”.
In the afternoon I visit Pierre in his cabin, the “Owner’s Cabin”, a suite with bedroom and living room on the D-deck. Pierre shows me photos from the 70s when he was hitchhiking through Africa. Once Cape to Cairo.
The real reason for inviting me is that he wants to talk to me about the situation on board. He spoke to one of the officers. The spare parts that were delivered were not the right ones. Now they are desperately looking for them in Germany and all the maritime neighbouring countries to obtain them. We will be here for a few more days. When we leave at some point, Porto and Port Elizabeth were cancelled from the itinerary. But Walvis Bay is still on it because it is an essential port for the shipping company. Pierre might not get to Cape Town in time. Now he considers whether he gets off in Walvis Bay and then flies to Johannesburg or whether he gives up the dream of the ship entirely. His travel agency is currently talking to the shipping company about reimbursement. I regret it if he doesn’t come with us anymore. He has grown close to my heart.
When the engineer asked him about it a few days ago, Pierre said that it was not a goal in his life to travel to all the countries of the world. And I also think he believes this. But today Pierre shows me a map of the world in which he has marked all the countries where he has been with a marker. The other day he was in Copenhagen for a few days. Denmark was his 106th country. Now that he no longer has to work, he can travel at other times of the year than in the European winter. From South Africa, Pierre wants to go on to Madagascar, Réunion and Mauritius. It is now more critical for him to reach Madagascar and Mauritius, where he has not yet been than to travel by ship around the Cape of Good Hope (where he has already been). He would have liked to have combined one with the other, but when he has to choose, he chooses Madagascar, Mauritius and Réunion. If the Bright Sky doesn’t leave soon, so he can at least get as far as Walvis Bay, he will give up the boat trip.
My priorities are different. For once in my life, I want to travel by ship from Europe to Africa. For this reason, I will stay on the Bright Sky. The only alternative for me would be another ship.
At dinner, Pierre tells me that his request to the travel agency has made waves. In the afternoon, he had received a call from MACS, the shipping company, and was making a few phone calls up the hierarchy. In any case, someone from MACS will come for breakfast tomorrow to inquire about the state of affairs. The captain is also already informed and not particularly delighted to have the management of the shipping company on board on his last working day, especially not after today, when the repair had failed so badly.
The captain tells us that the repair could proceed more quickly. The spare parts have not been found yet, but there is a company in Hamburg that could repair the broken units. Maybe we’ll start tomorrow. Pierre says that he would then still come with us to Walvis Bay.