29 AUGUST 1949 – A WONDERFUL LIFE
The late summer sun forces us to take a dip in the cooling Baltic. The sea is as flat as a millpond and Öland’s southern point is clearly visible. If this channel is full of risks, that all seems very alien today. But judging by the stories of first lighthouse keeper Larsson, I should give the area the greatest respect. Larsson has been in service aboard for almost 20 years and knows what he’s talking about. I enjoy listening to his stories.
4 SEPTEMBER 1949 – THE SILENCE
The fog swept in at night enveloping us like a blanket. Standing at the stern I can barely see the bow. It feels as though I’ve stuffed my head into a barrel of cotton wool – the silence makes my skin crawl. In vain I try to rid myself of the worry we could be run into. At lunch chief lighthouse keeper Jansson ordered us to ready the foghorn. I’m nervous.
7 SEPTEMBER 1949 – THE DIN
My eyelids feel as heavy as lead. The foghorn’s driving me insane with its endless howling, day and night. I miss the silence. The other seven crew don’t seem to care much about the din. How can they find peace? The only consolation is the compensation we get from the Pilot Service for the unfavourable conditions created by the foghorn. But unfavourable is a massive understatement!
14 SEPTEMBER 1949 – OUT OF THE FRYING PAN, INTO THE FIRE
When the sudden autumn storm blew away the impenetrable haze, I gave a cheer inside. I could sleep again! But the raging weather is now making the boat tear at the 1400 kg mushroom anchor, and the ship is jerking like a furious dog fighting to be free of its shackles. It’s throwing us around like matchsticks in a box. The only person aboard who can eat is chief lighthouse keeper Jansson. He looked to be enjoying his minute steak as he washed it down with grapefruit juice. He’s smiling. I’m feeling sick.
24 SEPTEMBER 1949 – CORRESPONDENCE COURSE AND SMÅLAND-SIGGE
For the first time since I signed on a month ago, I finally get the chance to start the correspondence course I registered for. I really hope there’ll be more opportunities, otherwise I won’t finish it. I’ve also become good friends with lighthouse keeper Hjalmarsson from Småland. He’s called Sigge, and strangely enough he can’t even swim.
3 OCTOBER 1949 – TRIP TO GET SUPPLIES
The weather is fair and the chief lighthouse keeper has given the order to make a trip to get supplies. The crew is hopeful, but only two people will make the trip. I really hope I’m one of them. It’d be great to have both feet on terra firma, if only for a few hours. Of course I love it out here, but it can easily get very monotonous, and there are almost three weeks left until I go home.
4 OCTOBER 1949 – A SETBACK
In the morning, first lighthouse keeper Larsson and steward Andersson set off for Karlskrona. I was disappointed, obviously, but I got Larsson to promise to bring back a good book and maybe a bottle or two. He said he’d see what he could do. I’m keeping my fingers crossed – mainly for the bottle of course
25 OCTOBER 1949 – AUTUMN STORMS AND LOOKOUT
A storm is raging. In my small cabin everything is lashed down, even my shoes. When nature calls I have to hold onto the bulkhead with both hands so I don’t lose balance. I don’t get seasick any more, but I have great respect for the power of the ocean when I’m on watch keeping lookout. Even though the wind has grown more intense, it doesn’t pull at the ship so much any more. It’s as though the hull has finally yielded.
27 OCTOBER 1949 – DISASTER
Chain’s broken! Chain’s broken! We’re drifting aimlessly. I wake up with a start. What on earth is happening? I come across the chief lighthouse keeper who looks as though he’s seen the devil himself. He walks resolutely to the windlass and stands eyes wide open. The unimaginable has happened. The chain has succumbed to the ocean’s forces and broken away from the heavy anchor. All the crew gather in the chief lighthouse keeper’s cabin and the severity of the situation can be seen in their faces.