Several lives I have been through during my 3x20 years of existence. They are totally disconnected one from the other, have nothing to do with one another. I found myself at ease as a ballet student among dancers and opera singers, hanging around stages and back stages. I found myself at ease as an ethnologist among African migrants, wearing a long skirt and tentatively speaking Fulah. And, as a crew member on various sailboats, I found myself at ease being a sailor accross the Pacific ocean.
All this intro to say that I have been recently moved to tears by the film on Captain Cook produced by the NDR (Nord Deutsche Rundfunk) and put on the franco-german ARTE television channel. James Cook is my hero! I sailed on his tracks in the south pacific as much as I could. I had no means, just the mad urge. I often went hungry just to be there, because I wanted to sail like he did. Ridiculous. Me? a silly little french woman. But I did it. I did some. I did experience the fabulous joy of heading for the high sea and feeling so free.
On that ARTE film yesterday, I shivered on a few occasions: when they hit the reef, moreover when they got loose, that very moment when you feel your fragile vessel is floating again. It had been one of my very first sailing experience in the '60s on the Queensland coast of Australia. We had been hit by a cyclone (there was no warnings for cyclones in those days) and thrown onto the beach of a small island off the coast. The boat lying on its side shuddered all night under the pounding of a mad sea. In the morning when the weather calmed down, we were elated and screamed when we felt the boat was floating again...
The other occasion in the film "Die Reisen des Captain James Cook" that stirred me, was when they found the opening in the reef, a pass, to let them sail out to the open sea. I have experienced that feeling of escaping to freedom.