Thursday, February 20th, 2014
By Chelsea McBroom
February 5th, 2014
The Picton Castle crew’s hour of fishing aboard the Pitcairn longboat was successful. Steve was kind enough to pick me up from the Landing after we had brought in the boat to hose it down and watch the locals filet the fish. We went and picked up Emily (aka Emi, age 9) to join us and went exploring around the island.
I met Miss T, a big old tortoise brought to the island from the Galapagos on the Yankee ages ago. She loved eating whole bananas and cucumbers. I could tell she had quite the appetite since I knew that she’d had visitors all day feeding her and still she couldn’t resist our offerings. She’d slowly raise up her head and open her mouth with great effort and with an inhale chomp down on the half cut of yellow cucumber Emi had in her hand, juice coming out of her nose, making it disappear within seconds. We got back on the ATV and as we drove over the bumpy winding roads Emi told me of her love for horses (she could trot and prance like one too) and of the 16 goats she had caught, named and kept. We passed a fresh water stream and the old radio station as we drove up to the highest point that had a bench overlooking the island. Steve said it was a great spot to go with a picnic in the evening when it was cooler.
When we could no longer stand the heat we were taken to St. Pauls Point and the big pool surrounded by rock and fed by the ocean. The majority of the pool was deep and the water very clear and warm and so blue. Nolan, Teis, Gustav, Lian were there too, swimming and snorkeling. We splashed and played and when my hands were wrinkled and pruned we were called to head back. The cookout was soon and Emi and I had just enough time to shower before we began our walk down to the Landing to begin the cookout.
We were handed a platter of treats as soon as we arrived: chocolate dipped apricots, balls of coconut, fudge and chocolate marshmallow squares. I watched fascinated under the boathouse as the locals cooked the fish in a variety of fried ways. As people arrived, the table of food grew until it was covered in bowls and platters of rice, bread fruit fritters, salads, fries and fish. Our plates were piled high and just when I thought I couldn’t eat any more, the banana cake, chocolate pudding and lemon cake were pointed out. Once everyone had eaten and socialized the crowd gathered to watch Picton Castle crew share their talents. Hannah started it off with a joke, Lian brought out his guitar and played a few songs, Lily and Beamy juggled together, Hannah played her viola, and then Denise, Hannah, Beamy, Vai, Teis, and Nolan did a traditional Tonga dance. In return the locals got up together and sang to us of the island, thanking us for the visit and then handed out handmade necklaces, posters and hugs. It was time to go – Emi wished that I would come back and visit her and her goats and I hoped to see Steve and Olive again. I was sad to leave when my watch jumped aboard the little motorboat (blowing kisses) and went back to the ship with our bags just after the sun went down.