Thursday, September 3, 2015

Day 8

I stepped onto the front porch and saw the Claymore anchored off the island.  It had returned from Mangareva with some new visitors.

New visitors
At 8 AM, Simon and I walked down to the landing to greet the new visitors.  Simon had to be there since he was the quarantine officer.  I wanted to be there out of curiosity.  Only five new people came onto the island - a couple from Wales visiting as tourists, two financial auditors from New Zealand here on business, and Carol Warren returning home.

At 10 AM, I walked to the hospital to say hi to the doctor.  Her name is Gina, and she had been on the Claymore with me to replace the doctor who was at the end of his one-year rotation.  The previous doctor had left Pitcairn on Sunday, and Gina was now running the hospital.  When I arrived at the hospital, Gina was just sitting around, so I had a friendly chat with her.  I also chatted with the nurse Darralyn Griffiths.

Darralyn grew up on Pitcairn, trained as a nurse in New Zealand, and then returned to Pitcairn as the hospital's nurse.  But she earns just NZ$400 per month as a nurse, partly due to the fact that the hospital is open just a few hours per week.  So she also picks up the garbage for NZ$100 per month, and is a council member.

The hospital was closing soon, and Gina decided to leave early, so we went for a walk together.  Gina wanted to walk down to the landing, so we descended the Hill of Difficulty together.  As we walked down, she kept saying how beautiful everything was.  She was in love with the island.  I asked her why she chose to spend a year on Pitcairn, and she said that she wanted to escape to a peaceful place.  To her, a year on Pitcairn as the doctor was like a vacation.

Her husband Kosta met us at the landing on his quad bike.  I asked him what he had been up to since arriving on Pitcairn, and he told me that he had been doing a lot of gardening.  Such is life on Pitcairn.

Gina and Kosta drove off together, so I walked up the Hill of Difficulty by myself.  When I walked through town, I bumped into the couple from Wales.  The husband was an old white guy, and the wife was an old Asian woman.

I asked what had inspired them to visit Pitcairn, and they told me that they had already been everywhere else.  They tried to get to Pitcairn a year ago on a cruise ship passing the island, but they didn't manage to leave the ship due to bad weather.  They did remember meeting Simon and Shirley on the ship though.  Anyway, they were determined to tick off Pitcairn from their list of visited places, so they opted for the Claymore this time around.

I walked by Reynold and Nola Warren's house, and they invited me in for a cup of tea.  Both of them grew up on Pitcairn, and Reynold showed me pictures of Pitcairn from his youth.  There was a picture of the Bounty anchor being lifted out of Bounty Bay.  Reynold had helped drag the anchor up the hill.  The anchor is now prominently displayed in the town square.

Nola complained about Simon and Shirley.  She said that Simon really should be working on the new jetty.  She said that in a place like Pitcairn, it is essential that every able person pitches in.  She said that Shirley was too antisocial.  She said that in a place like Pitcairn, everybody needs to interact with each other.

I played Scrabble with Simon in the afternoon.

At 7 PM, I walked to the public hall in the town square.  Two of the scientists who had gone to Henderson Island were going to give a talk about Pitcairn's marine life.  They were Robert and Terry, and were part of a conversation group.

There were maybe 30 people in the public hall, including the administrator, the mayor, the doctor, Anneka, the couple from Wales, and half the islanders.  First the scientists showed photos of fish and whales around Henderson.  Next Robert talked about fishing around Pitcairn, and encouraged the islanders to record their fish catches.  Then Terry talked about efforts to regulate fishing to avoid a tragedy of the commons where the waters are depleted.

The doctor was the first to speak out, saying that fishing regulation was ridiculous for such a small community.  Terry agreed that 50 people fishing for themselves could not deplete the waters, but he cited lobster catching as something that potentially needed regulation since Pitcairners often trade large amounts of lobsters with passing cruise ships.  He said that rules needed to be in place to prohibit catching a pregnant lobster, for example.

After the talk, I walked back home.  Unfortunately, once I left town, there were no street lights whatsoever, and I did not have a flashlight.  I was actually amazed about how dark the island is at night.  The only thing that I had on me was my camera, so I turned on the flash and took a total of 78 pictures to make my way home.


  1. What, no bacon and eggs?

    1. Since new visitors were visiting the island on this day, Simon spent the morning preparing for his quarantine duties instead of cooking bacon and eggs. I may have eaten cereal on this day.

  2. Ha, I was laughing at seeing bacon and eggs every day :)