Monday, August 9th, 2010
The Captain says that the only thing harder than getting to Pitcairn Island is leaving. He is absolutely right. Picton Castle sailed away on a beautiful Monday afternoon in fresh easterly breezes after an eight day stay. Each of the two watches was able to spend four days ashore exploring the island and getting to know the islanders. There were definitely tears in a few eyes at the Landing at Bounty Bay as everyone said their goodbyes, some in the eyes of Picton Castle crew boarding the longboat to sail away and some in the eyes of Pitcairn Islanders staying behind and waving from the jetty as the longboat pushed out into the big Pacific swell and back to the
ship. An amazing time at an amazing place with wonderful folks and truly friends of the Picton Castle. In fact, we’re considering renaming both, either Picton Island or Pitcairn Castle or both!
Before we get to the delightful aspects of our visit to Pitcairn Island – it was not all fun and games, far from it. We had a medical emergency ashore which called upon the skill, talent and training of the islanders and ship’s crew to deal with as well as the help of the Island Administration and French Navy. One of the popular things to do around Pitcairn Island is to clamber all over the steep cliffs, down to various parts of the shore around this beautiful island. A few days ago, while climbing back up from the shore with a group of crew and islanders, our Jimmy lost his footing and took a nasty tumble, falling down the side of an area called Down Rope. The group had gone down to see ancient Polynesian petroglyphs on the rock walls. The crew and islanders provided first aid where he fell, then transported Jimmy in a stretcher up the cliff to the well equipped medical clinic with the island’s doctor Bruce and our medical officer Gary in attendance all the way. Jimmy had broken his arm pretty badly so it was thought best to get him evacuated to full medical facilities in Tahiti as soon as possible. A French Navy vessel nearby could get him there much more quickly than we could, even going as fast as possible. So with the help of Governors Representative Lucy Foster and Mayor Mike Warren the call went out and soon Jimmy was on his way, along with two
Pitcairn Islanders who also had to get to higher level medical care. We are all extremely grateful to Commanding Officer Lieutenant Alexander Blonce and the crew of the La Railleuse for their rapid response and solid seamanship. Jimmy is now in hospital in Tahiti and all reports say that he is doing well.