The Mighty Murray River!

The Mighty Murray River!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Last day on Pitcairn (Sunday 8 September) – Mangareva (Tuesday 10 September)

It was a day for some to do last minute packing and tidying up.  I managed to pack dads bag since he only has one arm.  Fortunately we are not as heavy as what we were when coming over, although all the curios we have bought are taking up space!
Our long boat doesn’t depart until around 5pm so we don’t have to be there until 4.30pm.  Neil did a bit of visiting and doing what he loves best - chatting, me I just said my goodbyes to the cemetary and walked around the town a bit, didn’t really want to face anyone without breaking down and crying!
Like we all guessed the majority of the island came down to say goodbye (a very teary goodbye) – the long boat was exceptionally crowded with 17 passengers and the long boat crew and luggage!

There was a serious unloading of passengers and luggage on board the Claymore, again more teary goodbyes and then the long boat crew and passengers decide to sing us the island song ‘sweet bye and bye’ more bloody tears!

The sun was setting so we had an early dinner and the went upstairs to take photos as the sun sets

The boat is cramped and single travellers are having to double up.  Of the 17 passengers on board 8 will get off at Mangareva.  Neil spent the next 36 hours chatting to all the tourists on board!
Funny enough Lea Ann and Uschi didn’t get sea sick on their 2 night journey to Pitcairn from Mangareva but not long after we set sail from Pitcairn Lea Ann was down with sea sickness and later on that evening Uschi came down with it.  Lea Ann was semi okay the next day (Monday) but Uschi had it bad.  Both had recoverd by Tuesday morning.  The rest of us have had no sea sickness with the exception of Mum who I think convinced herself that because she wasn’t feeling sea sick that there was something wrong with her and in turn made herself sea sick!  Otherwise the seas a relatively calm … can’t say it will be like that all the way back!
We arrived at Mangareva Monday night around 10pm, set anchor out in the reef and waited until next morning to go alongside the jetty.  This is the island of Managreva (the back side of it)

And approaching it we can clearly see the big church (which according to the Claymore crew is a must see)

The jetty is small, about the length of the Claymore and we can see that there is a group of men unloading some containers (we found out later that it was a weather crew from America sent to monitor the weather patterns).  Since we are in French Polynesia again we have to have our passports stamped so Hamish jumps ashore with everyones passports to be processed while we wait on board.  Hanging around we noticed that the Claymore has 2 flags flying – 1. The French flag and 2. A yellow flag (this indicates that the ship, crew and passengers haven’t passed through customs).  Apparently whatever port you are in you have to fly the countries flag.

Just opposite us is the ferry used to take people that are flying out of Mangareva – to the airport that is an atoll across the bay!

We are only in Mangareva for about 4 hours even less for the ones flying.  So we decide we don’t have enough time to climb Mt Duff but enough to waunder up to the church … here is the main street

Now Managreva is not a tourist destination and has no need to promote itself, there are the odd pensione for tourists to stay at at ridiculously high prices.  The islands main revenue comes from farming black pearls and also they received huge payouts from the French governtment for nuclear testing at the nearby Muroroa Atoll – although warned of the testing and they were sheltered when tests we done, the fall out from the testing still affected them as the fall out would land on root tops, then rain and the water became contaminated, there was considerable birth defects in the years to come so the French government paid compensation.  So the island may look poor but they are not!
The church is not far and is a huge Catholic church that can sit the island population of around 1200.  They all speak french so there was a lot of ‘Bonjours’ flying around!

Inside the church is massive and the confession box was empty

Not sure what the front area of the church is called where the priest lectures but it is really sensational – the mother of pearl display is spectacular!

Here is a close up of the detail



And here is looking back at where the congregation would sit

No Sharon is not kneeling and praying she is standing (as that table is quite tall) videoing some detail on the table cloth!
Here is the outside of the church

We walk down towards the school and can see the jetty where the Claymore is

Walking back, like Pitcairn, this island has a lot of similar plants and flowers and the Hibiscus are large and colourful


Lea Ann and Uschi board their ferry at around 11.30am so we say our goodbyes, we have our lunch and set sail.
Later on in the afternoon at around 3pm we have a muster, sitting up on deck lazing away there and then all of a sudden there is a long continuous blow of the horn and it scares the absolute bejeezes out of us! We scramble down to our muster spot and put our life jackets on …

Now our 12 day journey back to NZ begins … basically the same as when we came!

Monday, September 9, 2013

TRACKING THE CLAYMORE BACK TO TAURANGA,NZ

Here is the link to a ship tracking website:
http://www.sailwx.info/shiptrack/index.html
This will take you to the home page and from their you enter this code BATFR47 (works upper or lower case) into the 'search ship by call sign' box, then click on 'search'
From here you will be taken to the page that will show what track the boat has taken.  While we are on the island (today) you will see that it has a red trail tracking from Mangareva and it is currently anchored outside Pitcairn, so the red trail is where it has BEEN.  You can use the zoom in and out button to see where the closest island is but that is really only relevant to when we are heading to Mangareva and away from it and from then it is nothing until the coast of NZ!
see you in NZ!

Day 18 on Pitcairn (Saturday 7 September)

This is our last full day on the island, tomorrow (Sunday) we will be busy packing and getting last minute essentials for the  boat trip back home.
Olive and Steve wanted a family gathering up at what the call the vege patch.  Like most islanders they have a large vege patch away from their main home (as well as having a substantial one around their home!)  Up at their vege patch they have a kitchen and small sleepout.  So we went up to dig yams.  The yams on the island are not like the one in the supermarkets ... they look more like taro or root potatoes.  They are also pronounced differently ... try 'yarms' LOL

Everyone on the island does grow their own veges ... basically cabbage (green and purple), carrots, yams, spring onions, tomatoes, pineapples, lettuce etc.  I think Mum and everyone else are surprised that they don't plant more of a variety ... I did point out that they grow the veges THEY like not veges tourists like!  Mum would like capsicums and cucumbers!  then again it is cooler so maybe they grow better in the Pitcairn summer.
So the set up for their kitchen and sleepout is typically Pitcairn!

I think most people would die if they saw what the food is prepared and cooked in ... but hey that is just typically Pitcairn ... especially typical of the die hard islanders (older generations) not so much maybe the ones that have lived in NZ for the majority of their lives!
Now Steve and Olive grow 2 types of yams - purple and white and they are just boiled up in a big pot and served up like a potato, breadfruit and taro.  They are best served with a saucy meat dish.
here is a photo of some just dug out of the ground
They are easy to dig out of the ground as the ground is soft but unfortunately they are also easy to break with the hoe/digging implement ...

 even Adrianna had a go at finding them but used her hands!
Here is Len and Brenda peeling them along with the tomatoes and onions
 here is Mum working on her suntan ...
 and here is my late lunch/early dinner - coleslaw, purple yam (above coleslaw), white yam and goat (again!) I am feeling guilty eating it now as there are some many cute goats around!
 
I stayed away from the tomatoes, onion and cornbeef combo as that is artery hardening stuff - cornbeef is tinned (not silverside) and is the stable diet of most of the Pacific Islands ... although here on Pitcairn it is not a stable (eaten daily!) but you do see it in peoples shopping baskets!
Later on that night Brenda began making some Arrowroot biscuits - I love these - they are just grated coconut (and its milk) and arrowroot flour and you make a mix so that it is pliable and then spread it out on a tray and bake
 off course I had to give it a go ...
 you try to make the spreading of the mix as even as possible so it comes out all one colour, Mum used her fingers to spread the mix whereas I found it easier with the palms of the hands!
Okay this is my last post until NZ.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Day 17 on Pitcairn (Friday 6 September)

What a day yesterday (Friday) ... I think the island will be glad to see the back of the O'Brien clan!  Sharon, Lea Ann and Mum decided to walk to St Pauls - which if you remember is the place where Neil and I visited and the ocean was very rough and crashing up and into the local swimming pool and the 2nd visit was clam enough to swim in ... well all 3 get there and it was like our first visit there - rough with spectacular waves crashing in.  At the base of the stairs you have the option to stay put and watch or climb out onto the rocks to peak around the corner to see the pinacles where the waves come in ... they decide to go there and some how Mum manages to fall and graze her arm badly, so Sharon runs back part of the way to the Duncan (toilet) at Down Rope where there is a first aid kit, while there Bradley and Emily and the little goat are trotting along to St Pauls, so Sharon completely out of breath tells them the Mum has had a fall and that she is okay and this is where we are not quite sure what was said but Emily ends up running back to the chalet to Neil and I and tells us the Cena has had a fall of course she was out of breath and there seems to be some urgency in her voice and she explains that Sharon said about the fall and we try to ascertain if Cena has hurt her arm or leg but Emily is unsure. So we run down to Mike and Brendas and he gets on radio informing that he needs the stretcher and then with the stretcher has to come able body men as they may have to carry Mum up from the base of the stairs.  So next then you know there are quad bikes starting up all over the island and heading towards St Pauls, Neil and Mike make there way, Brenda comes back unloads her gear and takes off again, meanwhile we wait with all the kids at Brendas place.  After 20 minutes Neil and Mike come back saying that it is just a graze on the arm!  We all chuckle as Mum would be fuming that everyone has come to her rescue. 
Poor Bradley and Emily they feel bad and are worried they got it all wrong and did the wrong thing by raising the alarm so I tell them no they did a brilliant job and did exactly the right thing and begin to explain to them that when information is limited you always prepare for the worse case scenario and in this case we prepared for a leg injury and a carry out scenario.  They seem content with that and over time when everyone said to them basically the same thing they accepted it.  Another thing about these 2 kids is that they made an excellent decision while running back - they assessed their situation - the 2 of them and a baby goat, so together they made the decision that of the 2 Emily is the faster so she should run ahead and raise the alarm while Bradley ran along with the goat as it was slowing them down ... now how mature is that decision made by a 9 and 12 year old!  when the 2 kids told us that storey everyone made sure they went up to them to congratulate them on a mature and correct decision.
So Mum is okay so in Brendas house when have Dad with a dislocated arm, Mum with a long graze up her arm and Brenda is hopping around with a bad corky to her thigh (some the water tank lids fell on her leg the other day!)  I tell you it is like a rest home down there!
In saying that we have renamed a few of the spots on the island - The Landing (where dad slipped) is now known as 'Philips Slip' and St Pauls (where mum fell) is now known as 'Cena bussa ass' - Brenda came up with that one ... basically 'Cena busted her ass' which is the island way of saying fell over!
So in the afternoon we took Mum down to Issacs Rocks (she only had a few rocks to scramble over!)
 It is a lovely place to swim and is a great alternative to St Pauls, So Neil, Bradley, Kimi and Tureka jump in while I sit with Mum on the rocks ... it is not long until the waves start crashing in ...
 it comes in washes over the first person (Neil)
 catiches Tureka and then another wave has come through from the other direction to catch Bradley and Kimi!
 soon it is like a huge washing machine ... but safe!  The photo below is what it is like without the rough seas crashing in!
lovely aye!
After that we start heading over to the historic site of Thursday October Christians home and we pass the local jail ...
 the cells are the ones straight ahead behind the water tanks.  To the left is now used as offices for the tourist dept and soon to be a curio co-op I think.
The outside fence isn't exactly maximum security!
Just on from there is where Thursday October (Fletcher Christians son) had is homestead which was pulled down about 10 years ago as it was falling down but the foundation stones still remain
Last night was dinner at Steve and Olives .. and guess what we tried ... goat! they cooked it in 2 ways - roast and boiled ... personally as a vegetarian (but not strict!) I prefered the boiled way as it was lovely and tender.  Not as gamey as I thought it would be (that would be because they chose a young goat - 10 months old) ... I tell you island food is definitely fattening!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Day 16 on Pitcairn (Thursday 5 September)

Crikey Neil and I both pulled up stiff and sore this morning after Wednesdays’ effort at Soccer!  Once we got going walking around it loosened up a bit.  Today the Claymore arrives and also the Braveheart again this time with a group of birdwatchers that have chartered the Braveheart to take them around all the Pitcairn Islands – Henderson, Dulcie and Oeno which are uninhabited and are full of bird life.
Also Brenda husband Mike arrives back – he was suppose to come back on the same boat as us from Tauranga but his doctor said it was too early for travel after his leg operations.
So we didn’t do much today except go out and fish from the Landing once they had finished loading and unloading.
The morning was spent listening and watching a slide show from Henderson.  3 people from the island had just come back from 2 months on Henderson with the rat irradication programme so Sue (one of the islanders that went) gave a fabulous talk and slide show on the island to the birdwatchers as she had quite a good collection of bird photos and could tell them where to find particular birds.
I promised Lea Ann that I would give fishing a go and judging by the days strong winds I didn’t think we would be too successful and I was right!  We got down to the Landing and the longboat had been left out as they still had to take the birdwatchers back out to the Braveheart

So we had to fish on the round section of the Jetty which is pretty slippery.  Bradley and Kimi joined us and they turned it into a competition … mind you so did Lea Ann

You can see the 2 ships in the background.
Now I am not exactly a fishing type person so I wasn’t exactly keen on catching any fish that I would have to kill but I still baited my hooks with octopus and dropped the line in … waiting …

Waiting …

Yep still waiting and beginning to get bored of waiting for a nibble …

Although to break the monotony of ‘waiting’ ooops I mean fishing we did have visitor and off course he/she had to cross my line and get a little bit tangled so I began panicing that I am going to end up killing a sea turtle and Lea Ann, cool as anything, took my line and pulled and waited for a wave to come in to loosen the line.  I think the hook got caught under his arm/flipper thing!

So no fish except for a small parrot fish by Bradley and 3 white fish from Kimi … Lea Ann and I got nothing (much to my relief for myself not catching anything that I would have to kill!)
Walking back up the hill we saw Emily and Ryan with the little goat that followed us back from Tedside

Last night I finally finished my basket … actually the basket was easy to make it was the’ how to keep the lid closed’ that was difficult.  As a temporary measure I made a big square button and used ribbon to hook the lid closed … when I get home I will substitute the ribbon for elastic and the makeshift square button with a large button(s)