Canaries (or “Black Raven, what are you? …”) p2
I ended up either in Germany, or in Spain, or in. England … All traditions coexisted here. Traditions of the best of Spain, Germany and England …
And only perplexed memories reflected in the minds of the wild wasteland of recent mountains, blue spots visible in the distance …
And surprisingly: I wanted to return to them, in their pristine expanse …
And now there was an ocean nearby, and how to reflect its transparency, and the sandy coastal distance, and the combination of blue, green, gold, competing with each other in their statement – endless … Fuerteventura!
Two coins fell into the slot of the telephone.
– Mr. Kurt?
“I would love to meet you.” Hello from …
“At ten in the evening.” Are you okay? .Address remember?
The old man spoke slowly and deafly, looking somewhere past me, towards the city center of Puerto Del Rosario, flickering neon lights with a strawberry fog in the night, gathering over the island.
The old man’s name was Kurt Russell. A German, originally from Kiel, he, a hereditary sailor, was called up in the fortieth year in the fleet, an ordinary sailor in a submarine. He fought until the end of the war, until April 45th, and he talked about this distant April now, sitting on the balcony of his house with carved railings from the Canary pine in the steadily blackening twilight, dissolving the mountains and the ocean.
“Hitler wanted to make the Canary Islands an outpost of Germany in the Atlantic,” said Kurt. “From here, all the routes leading from Europe to America were actually successfully controlled.” Franco, not wanting to spoil relations with the Fuhrer, presented him with the southern part of Fuerteven-rounds, soon fenced off from the whole island, and barracks, moorings and bunkers were hastily built on this territory. The ruins in which the Spanish conquistadors once lived, who also viewed the island many centuries ago as a transshipment base on a long journey to Latin America, were updated.
It was more difficult for conquistadors than sailors of the 20th century, ”I said.
Kurt chuckled, not without irony glancing at me.
“I don’t know how the conquistadors and current sailors …” he said, shaking his head in doubt. – But, I think, we, the German submariners, were much harder. Do you actually imagine what a submarine of the 40s is? Perhaps you think that we sailed under water? No, we depended on batteries and were only capable of brief dives. Therefore, each encounter with the enemy was a cunning battle and to flee, having gone into the depths, was pure luck, and not a tactical rule. With a full refueling, the boat could reach from Latin America to Germany, return and again repeat the exact same flight. On the way back, however, the second fuel tank was filled with fresh water and we could at least wash ourselves … And use the second toilet, because on the way to America it was filled with food.
– But what about the bath procedures on the way to America?
Kurt grinned grimly.
– No way! The Führer ordered, however, to invent soap that would be washed in sea water, but it was such a soap … Well, in general, we preferred to do without washing, like that. How did I end up here? At the end of the war, we transferred a lot of cargo to Latin America … Which ones? I do not know. I was a simple sailor and saw only boxes. What was in the drawers? Documents, gold? Who knows … But on our last voyage, our U-7 came out with these boxes and ran into the Allied destroyers here, near Canary. Destroyers of the “Trable” type are nimble, maneuverable … We used up all 14 torpedoes, but to no avail: the boat was damaged, had to lie down … Two of the crew — the navigator and engineer — were wounded, which means that the submarine had a chance to survive no longer existed. Yes, yes, ”he shook his head. – The duties of each crew member were so tightly signed that even with the loss of one person, the boat fell into critical condition. And you say, conquistadors … So, we were lying on the ground, at a depth of 40 meters, the stuff was terrible, the diesel engine was damaged, water flowed from holes, patching which was useless … We could not come up. So it remained to emerge, so to speak …
– From 40 meters?
– Yes. The situation had its pros and cons. Cons: the prospect of decompression sickness, excitement of 3 points, sharks and night. The destroyers that flooded us are gone, the acoustics did not hear them … Pros: there were about 4 miles to the shore, the boat lay on the shallows, the water temperature was plus 19. So there were chances to survive.
– But what about the wounded?
“But the wounded did not have a chance,” Kurt answered shortly. “However, the rest, too, as the ascent showed …” he grinned bitterly. “I came up alone … Night, milk foam, blinding splashes and only stars – these are so calm … They helped me.” As landmarks in this water cycle. They are also an inflatable vest. In the morning I crawled ashore … He was the same as now, only then it was the shore, and now it is called the beach …