The three disappearances of ‘El Fausto’
“Even the monsters are nice looking at the place where we look for the beloved woman.”
This sentence pronounced in the mouth of Fausto, found in the book of the same name written by Goethe could be something similar to what was thought by the crew of the Canarian fisherboat who appeared and disappeared three times when they did not see the horizon.
Miguel Acosta and the brothers Ramón and Heriberto Concepción, habitual residents of the ship, accompanied for the first time by the young Julio García Pino, a mechanic who sought to stay in the fishing boat, without waiting for the ‘correìllo’, because the disease of his daughter forced him to leave El Hierro with haste.
La Palma celebrated the Festivities for the Virgen del Carmen of 1968. It was July 20. They loaded water, fruit, sardines and the right fuel to travel the 98 kilometers that separate both islands. Their women waited for the arrival of the four men early in the morning the next day, but the thick haze did not presage that the delay was not due to her.
No wind, no swell. The sea was a plate and the point of destination one of the most visible islands in the world by the relationship between its height and its size. The delay forced the authorities to mobilize an Air Force plane without success.
On July 25, the radio rang in Tazacorte. An English ship, named ‘The Duchess’ confirmed that it had found the ‘Faust’ about a hundred kilometers from the town without breakdowns and with all its crew healthy. They explained that they offered tow or escort to La Palma and that they declined asking only for provisions and some fuel to return on their own.
After this call of hope, the port was greeted by people who wanted to celebrate, finally, the arrival of the missing ship. Although it was expected that it would arrive at five in the afternoon, the fishing boat never touched land. Some people, including their women, waited until dawn in the port holding on to increasingly impossible hopes. During the next morning, it went from one to four aircraft, in the largest naval-air device in the history of the Canary Islands. The result was nothing.
On August 7, its disappearance was formally declared. Three months after leaving El Hierro, an Italian boat named ‘Anna di Maio’, reported that, close to the Tropic of Cancer, had seen a boat adrift of similar characteristics to ‘El Fausto’. Inside was only one corpse, naked and almost mummified, clinging to the radio as if he had spent the last breath in finding somebody listening. It was Julio García Pino.
The Italians then decided to tow it to Puerto Cabello, in Venezuela. Only two days later they reported again that the joint between the ‘Anna di Maio’ and the ‘El Fausto’ had been released. That’s what they said, because at the time there was fear that they had decided to cut it because when they got to the ground they did not want to give clues about what they found inside until the second conversation with the authorities.
Only there, they revealed the existence of a yellowish notebook with all the leaves torn except one. Addressing his wife Luz, Julio the mechanic, left written instructions to administer the properties after his death. The testament ended “never tell ‘Julín’ what happened.”