pole 25

may 20, 2003.

'Be not afeard. The isle is full of noises,
Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.'
[ Caliban, Tempest - Shakespeare ]

Until monday I stayed on the west of the island. Time to break through to the other side.
Took the bus to Nes, and from there I continued by bike. To the neighboring village, Buren (which actuallly is Dutch for 'neighbours', though it's my guess that that's not what this 'Buren' means), and on into the dune and wadden nature areas.
This time of the year there are hardly any tourists, except for the occassional class of school kids passing, all on bicycle. But, generally, the further to the east one gets, the quieter it becomes, and is there only the wind blewing and the sea woshing and the birds crynging, all in many tongues. Mingled with the roar of the occasional fighterjet passing over head.
The wind - there are hardly ever windless days on the island - is the source of the many rythmic ticking sounds I encountered and 'snapped': flag ropes whipping flag poles, metal chaines clinking against metal gates ...

Stalled my bike at the Oerdblinkert and continued by foot through the Oerderduinen in the direction of the north coast of the island. For this was monday's mission: to reach the upper-east-most point of the island, near the infamous 'pole 25', marking this edge of the world ... When I came near the low northern dunes I got impatient and decided to take a short cut, leave the path, and cross the dunes directly. That was when my cell phone beeped, once, announcing the arrival of an sms message. Almost simultaneously I got attacked by a seagull, who started diving ever lower and lower over my head. As a genuine suicide pilot - or as if auditioning for a lead in a remake of 'Birds', say - shreeking 'n' squeeking 'n' crying out loud.
Must have been because I got too close to her nest, Timo told me later.
For a while I stopped and stood still there in the dune and taped her war cries on my walkman, while she raced on and on, just inches over my head. But as soon as I got on and a bit further away, the threatening flying ceased. It was pretty impressive and I did duck once or twice, in a reflex, even though it was more or less clear that she only wanted to scare and did not intend to hit ... (That would've hurt her at least as much as it would've me, probably, and I guess she knew).

pole22.200 pole23
pole24 pole25

So here I stood on the vast and totally deserted beach, near pole 22.200, facing an gigantic oil rig rising up from the Northsea's surface just off the coast.
That meant just short of 3 kilometers to go to pole 25.
And there I went.
And then came back again.
Sun, gathering clouds, sea and sand together made for an eerie sort of gray-blue-ish light, with amazing shades and colors.
Not a soul in sight.
The only sounds: my breathing, some wind, the softish rustle of the sea, seagulls crying and the sucking plops of my feet in the sea wet sand, mixed with the some time sound of cracking shells.
On my way back to the Oerdblinkert I entered the dunes at pole 23, passed a drilling installation of the Dutch Oil Company NAM.
Then, shortly before stepping on my bike for the ten kilometers ride back to Nes, rain began to come down in buckets. And I do mean buckets ...

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