The Mighty Murray River!

The Mighty Murray River!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Day 9 on Pitcairn (Thursday 29 August)

Thought I would do this post at the end of the day since it was a quiet and leisurely day and not when I normally do it which is early next morning!
Today the Claymore returns to Pitcairn on passenger run #1 (the next one arrives next Thursday) and will leave on Sunday to Mangareva.  The ship arrived early this morning and by the time we got down to the Landing at 8.45am the longboats had already launched, picked up the passengers and Bob the chief engineer (the only one of the crew that is allowed on the island as that is in his contract ... Nigel the Claymore owner won't let the crew ashore as in the past one crew member go drunk etc ... but unfortunately he is apparently still punishing the crew for it ... which doesn't make sense really as they are wonderful!), came back to the Landing, unloaded the passengers and had just begun to put the longboat away so we missed that so on Sunday or next Thursday we will make sure we get there in time to see the boats launched.
 After everyone had left Neil and I walked back home, yesterday while in the square Sharon dobbed me in to Jacqui Christian, who is the editor of the Pitcairn Miscellany which is the monthly newsletter for the island and also it has a subscription following overseas via paper and email, to write an article about our voyage so far ... just our impressions etc.  Sharon used the excuse that she doesn't have time but apparentlty I do!  So I said okay and how much and Jacqui just said a page or half a page so then Sharon decides that she does have time and will write it so I say why don't we both write a piece since we both have different impressions of Pitcairn ... Sharons' being spiritual and mine being some what more practical!  So I spent an hour writing up a piece ... not sure if that is what Jacqui wants but I wrote it a bit like my blog ... humour since chatting to Dave Brown yesterday who said that the newsletter was "add some sort of expletive here and then something that you excrete!"  and that it was boring etc.
So this afternoon we took Bradley swimming with us at The Landing ... they still had the Pitcairn Island flag flying (it was done for this mornings arrival of visitors)
 Neil had his wetsuit and I borrowed Lea Anns ...
 I don't think we really needed it but it did keep us warm while in the water and it was very bouyant too!  Here is Bradley and Neil faffing around trying to get in the water but finding it a tad cold!
 Neil enjoying himself ...
 Bradley going out to check out the waves, but deciding that it is not worth it since Kimiora turned up ...
 So Kim runs in and gets the mask and snorkels and a spear gun and decides to catch fish ...
 here is a beached whale just floating in the water ...
 funny I  should mention a beached whale, we haven't seen any frolicking in the sea since we last saw them on Thursday.  But we did see about 1.5-2m in front of us a large turtle head bob up so Neil took off to the side to grab the mask and I took off out of the water to get the camera to see if I could see it in the water when looking down from the Jetty.  Unfortunately it was a cloudy day so you could quite see the bottom of the sea.  Still great knowing that the turtle was swimming with us even if we didn't know it!
Kimiora speared 3 fish call 'moi'
 Yesterday I informed the Kids that as a rule back home in Melbourne I don't eat meat and told them because I don't like the killing of animals.  So they said what about fish and I still said no I won't kill one unless I needed to survive and had to kill one but being here everyone else does the killing so I don't need to catch and kill a fish.  The 2 boys think it funny and made every effort to snap the damn head of the fish in front of me!
Back at Brendas' her son Andrew (my cousin) is busily making a bowl and lid for Uschi.  He is very talented and takes a 'stick' as they call it and us a bandsaw to cut the stick into blocks ...
 blocks of wood (miro I think)
 and then using some machine and hand tool shapes the top and bottom ...

 I notice that he isn't wearing safety glasses so I go and search for them in Brendas filing system ... check this out ... nothing is thrown away on this island there is always an alternate use for everything ... this is what her broken down fridges have become ...
what every fridge should have - tools and bits in it!
Not sure what we are doing tomorrow (Friday) maybe we might try the highest point.

Day 8 on Pitcairn (Wednesday 28 August)

I think there is the threat of rain today so Brenda thought it might be a good idea to climb up to Christians Cave which is at the end of the eco trail.  Although Mum, Dad and Uschi wouldn't be able to climb up to the cave itself they still came along for the eco trail.  Mum and Dad started walking with us from Brendas' and Lea Ann and Uschi joined us at the eco trail start. 
On the way just past town I finally saw my first breadfruit tree ...
and its' fruit (not in season at the moment)
The eco trail is quite an easy trail and is popular because it is relatively flat and informative ...
this trail passes the school (8 students there and they are in their school holidays so they like to hang around with us!)
along the way is this huge overhanging rock which is a great place to regroup as we tend to all disperse and waunder around at different paces ...
Dad seems to be coping okay with one arm ... his walking stick comes in handy ...
Just at the base of the cliff Dad and Uschi decide this is how far they will go but Mum has bit of a stubborn streak in her and is trying to regain her youth and continues on up the first part of the climb until the wind (which is blowing across us) forces her to stop ... Brenda and Neil both cursing her and saying that she shouldn't go any further!  I think Mum know her limits and just wanted to see how far she could get ... I think in her youth she was bit of a mountain goat (I think everyone here in their youth were mountain goats!).
So up we start climbing ... it is not a cliff face per say more a rock climb.  The rock is different to the rock at Down Rope (which was black and a little slippery) here the rock was lighter, porous and if you had good tread on your shoes (or in the case of the islanders - feet) it was easy climbing ...
while I say it was easy climbing it is by no means easy aerobically for those not so fit ...
Mum is the 2nd person from the top right of the photo (Dad is sitting at the base of the climb) not long after this photo was taken she stops ..
Like I said before the wind was blowing hard across us but not dangerous enough to blow us off!  Check out Sharon and Lea Ann ...
about 1/2 way up you come to a tunnel

In front of Sharon is a shear drop and also the way that they islandersv(back when Mum and Brenda were young goats!) use to come up to Christians cave (not the way we have just come) and from this tunnel they follow the trail we take. 
From here it is a bit of rock climbing and trail work to the cave which is alot shallower than what I thought
They say that this is where Fletcher Christian use to come and keep watch out for ships when they first landed on the island after the mutiny.
Now this cave is frequented by adventurous tourists like ourselves and also used by Tropic birds to nest ...
this bird was  one unhappy little camper when we all turned up!  She/He wouldn't move as it was sitting in an egg.
The view, of Adamstown and surrounds, from this cave spot is sensational ..
The lookout in the distance is Ships Landing where we were the other day.
Now I have to mention that my oldest sister Lea Ann is not exactly the outdoor tramping, sporty type person so climbing up to this cave (and climbing down Down Rope) is bit of an effort for her and also a major achievement ... these photos and the look on her face says it all!


a sheer look of relief!  But wait there is more she has to get back down!
While going down is not aerobically challenging it is every hard on the front thigh muscles as they are the ones stopping you from going 'ass over tit' down the rocks!

Once back down we all make our way along the eco trail back to the overhanging rock ... along the way back I stopped to look at the cave from the trail view ...
once back at the rock we take Mum on a quick diversion to Sailors Hide ... not sure what that was used for maybe as some form of shelter ...
By now it is getting close to lunch time so we all start heading back to Brendas for lunch ... off course in dribs and drabs - some by bike and some walking.  Lea Ann the last time she was here got her quad bike licence so she renewed it for this trip and today she was the taxi driver for some weary passengers ... check this out (almost a bit like Vietnam!)
I count 5!
Mum, Neil and I walk back and just before the climb of our last hill Olive comes out and asks us in for lunch and coffee ... we are starving so we jump at the chance.
Olive is busily making 'rolly poley' which is shaped like a cornish pastie but not filled with meat but quava.  The Claymore is returning tomorrow (Thursday) with the first round of passengers - some tourists, the attorney general and his assistant, so Olive and Steve have 2 guest with them so we decide to try to help Olive out ...


tomorrow we may take a break and try to go for a swim at the Landing.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Day 8 on Pitcairn (Tuesday 27 August)

Hi De Hi campers, you are going to love the photos from today walk!  But before we get to that I must mention that the store, post office and government treasury office are open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from 8am to 9am and also the medical center from 9am to 12pm.  So since it is Tuesday we make our way down to the general store (they do open for you outside their hours if you ring ahead) ... we buy a few supplies.  Quite a few of the islanders were down there so I chatted to a few.  Adrianna, who is Randys daughter and my 2nd cousin was there and for some strange reason she has really latched on to me so she wants to come back with me so after informing her Nana (my Aunt Olive) we hike back up the hill.  Part of the way up she points out to a swing so she has a go (I would have had a go but I don't think it would have held my weight.
 Before I came here to Pitcairn Island I had a partial clean out of the craft room and made up a few card packs to give to the girls ... so since Adrianna was with me I gave her hers' and to kill a little time while my fruit loaf and buns were rising and cooking we made a card ...
 Once cooked we all met back at Brendas - Kimiora was there which is one of the boys from the other family on the island with children - Charlene and Wayne (no relation to us ... well as far as we know!)  Wayne is the island electrician.  So I gave the boys - Bradley, Ryan and Kim their Australia/Melbourne baseball caps and Geelong Cats socks (which went right over their heads considering they don't wear shoes!) so I said to give them away or use them when their feet are cold! The loved the hats and didn't mind they had Australia on them!
So we headed off around 11am Brenda with Izzy and Lea Ann and the rest of us walked (Mum was with us but not intending to actually go down Down Rope).
On our way previously a few days ago Lea Ann and Brenda had swung on some Banyan trees so this time we decided to give it a go with the boys ... here is me ...
and here is Sharon ...
 Once at the junction where Ships Landing is Kimiora shows us his family vege plot and next thing you know they are digging into the carrots ...
 the kids on the island are really unusual compared to Australian and NZ kids and even more 'back with nature and down to earth' compared to country kids ... I mean when they grabbed the carrots some washed it roughly and some just wiped it on their clothes and didn't mind that there was still dirt on it! now that would definitely not happen in NZ or Aust!  here is Adrianna chomping on her carrot ... note the foliage is still attached (makes it easy to carry!)
 So we get to the start on Down Rope which is on the way to St Pauls.   We meet up with Brenda and Mum heads back to Dad and Uschi who will be viewing from Tom Blocks lookout.  (Mum met up with Kerry on her way back so she hitches a lift with him to the look out!) 
Izzy is 3 years old and the climb down is a wee bit hard for her so Brenda when Izzy was a baby developed a very very unique way to carry her ... a backpack with holes cut out in the bottom for her legs ...
 So Down Rope is aptly named as I think they may have used a rope to actually scale down the cliff face in the olden days as this was one of the few places that they could fish for Nanwe (which now can be caught anywhere around the island).
So we all set off ... the boys lead the way then Lea Ann, Brenda and the girls, then Neil, me and Sharon in tow ... here are some photos of what we had to go through ... a lot of bum sliding along the ground occured in the descent!!!
walking through dry and prickly Pandanas leaves (shoes came in handy here)
 and here are the mountain goats ... note that is Lea Ann on her ass in front of them!
 this is the cliff face running along side of us ... there is sort of a natural rock stair syst em that we are climbing down ... very hairy going down as gravity is pushing us down and there is the constant feel of falling forward!
 this is the 'stairs' we are climbing down ...
 Neil guiding Sharon ... note doesn't Izzy look comfy!
 once at the bottom we climb over rocks to the only sandy beach ont he island ...
 Once on the beach we start exploring as there is alot of boat and shipping wreckage on the beach.
Here are a few of the locals that we found on the beach ...
 the view from the bottom ... Dad, Uschi and Mum should be there looking down at us ...
 Down Rope is known for its Petroglyphs ...
 Now you remember the other day how Neil found some road kill ... well it happened again (in fact there is some much wreckage from boats etc that it is hard not to find road kill!) and this time we are calling it 'beach kill'
 a few more of the locals ...

 not sure where the body is for the above lobster or crayfish - I forget which one it is ... While the boys were clambering of the rocks looking for Obsidian they come across tha Tropic chick ... which must have tried to fly from its nest ...
we must have spent at least an hour down there collecting stuff we then decided to head back up the cliff face ... so off goes the mountain goats ...
 here is Bradley guiding Sharon where to put her hands and feet ... (he is a good boy!)
 and Neil is guiding Lea Ann ...
 here is Lea Ann taking a quick break to get her breath back ...
 Lea Ann did a good job climbing back up the cliff face ... she found it easier (in terms of scariness to climb back up rather than down .. and I think we all agreed) below is Sharon still climbing up - this photo probably depicts best what we had to climb ...
 about 2/3's of the way up we all stop to admire the view ...
 relieved we finally get to the top and have a water and snack break ... now I am fascinated with how the locals especially the kids cope on the island and I think I have to remind everyone that they DON'T wear shoes when they walk even on the rocks and over sharp dry Pandanas leaves ...
 We walk back but this time just Sharon, Neil, Bradley and I ... so for dinner we had coc'nut and bean soup, cornbeef stirfry and breadfruit and I made a pasta salad.  Actually Len cooked this lovely traditional island food dinner for us this afternoon while we were at Down Rope (Len is 87!)
 Neil loves the breadfruit as it is alot like boiled potatoes ... I prefer it mixed in with some gravy or something so it was nicer mixed in with the cornbeef
... the vegetarian diet is out the door on the Claymore and on the Island as it is too difficult to organise so I am eating the fish and this cornbeef (which comes out of a tin) but this cornbeef that
Len made was nice and it wasn't as salty as I thought it would be!
There is a correction I have to make in a previous post I stated that we saw a breadfruit tree with big yellow fruit well that was wrong apparently it is a Permillo tree which is a bit like a grapefruit crossed with an orange.