Kurt Carlsen tells the truth about the drama
Kurt Carlsen sat, subdued, with his pipe in his mouth. It had long gone out, but he didn’t seem to realize that. Deeply concentrated on both the projector and the shipwreck from his past, he chewed on the stem of the pipe and adjusted the focus. The monotonous sound and flashes of light on the white screen in the living room reinforced the mood. Once in a while Carlsen pressed the pause button and carefully wound the big film reel back and forth when important details needed substantiating. For example, the story of the graphic descriptions circulated by the world’s press of ”chief officer Kenneth Roger Dancy, who, in the hurricane, leapt from ship to ship in the foaming Atlantic Ocean!” –
”Well”, said Carlsen and focused on the stern railing. ”Dancy stumbled over on ”Turmoil”, and suddenly he was standing next to me!” Later in the exclusive 3 hour long presentation, further details emerged. But there are neither photographs nor films of the first dramatic days and nights of the worst hurricane of the century to off the coast of Ireland. That drama was illustrated when Kurt Carlsen stopped the projector and created imaginary pictures. ”It wasn’t until the American warships arrived that pictures were taken and filming began,” Carlsen explains.
His own favorite scenes are the ones showing the many attempts to cast a line to ”Flying Enterprise”. ”Time and time again the line hit the poop-deck where we were standing, but it wasn’t until the destroyer’s sharpshooter came and used his harpoon rifle that he elegantly placed the line precisely where it was supposed to be. And then we hauled the containers with hot food over. With cigarettes, candles and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee…!”
During Christmas 1976 there was an atmosphere of melancholy in the house on Alwat Street in Woodbridge. Agnes Carlsen made no attempt to hide that fact while she was co-commentator to the unforgettable flashbacks of the frightening days and nights on the Atlantic. ”I often woke up from nightmares where I dreamed that Kurt had drowned, and during the day I had to stay awake. Either I sat by the radio and listened to the news and was informed of developments by Kurt’s ham friends, or I was shooing journalists and reporters away from the doors and windows.”
”Kurt should have done as I said after the shipwreck: He should have accepted an offer from Mærsk McKinney Møller – then we wouldn’t have been without a pension today!”