After such an historic beginning, the rest of our two hundred and four mile journey was very peaceful. Of the forty hours at sea, twenty seven were spent motor sailing, the sailing bit was fast and good. The sunset we had on our second night at sea.
I know, I know, the marketing people will be all over me like a rash, when they see the resting captain. I also know I have to get the mower out on the facial hair too.
Heading into a bit of messy weather, nice rainbow though.
A squall as Palmerston came into sight putting us in a very grey day.
Quite a swell as we neared and took the sails in.
At ten o’clock this morning, midst the big swell and twenty knot plus wind, we could see a little boat waiting patiently for us outside the reef, It was Bill and his family come to welcome us. They guided us to a mooring ball and told us they would organise the ‘officials’ to come out and sort the paperwork. We watched them manoeuvre through the reef and a little while later the radio chirped, “this is Arthur, I will be with you within the hour.”
The cockpit ready for collection. Arthur came aboard, followed by Simon – the Representative of Palmerston Island and Martha, the nurse, originally from Fiji. Sadly, she felt seasick and had to repair to Bills dinghy. She felt her Health Service hat was not required when she found out we were ‘ex trade’. I could have talked to Arthur all day. A native of the island but twenty years on Murihiti, was back to look after his aging mum. He was very knowledgeable about the genealogy of the Marsters family, Leicestershire accents and colloquialisms (proven by a Liguistics Professor who had visited the island). Paperwork done in a flash. No need to check the stuff we had brought as Customs had checked it before we left and we “look like a nice pair who wouldn’t have added contraband to the collection.” The two men went to help Bear hoist the outboard. Simon saw our ‘Help for Heroes’ sticker and said he had recently met Tom who had done two tours in Afghanistan. Oh that’s Alan’s son off Zebedee. “Yes, Alan was here a little while ago, straight from Tahiti with Tom aboard and you have just missed Windarra and Tribe.” Oh we are at the back of the queue, nothing unusual there then.
Simon and Arthur, swing the outboard over to Bill.
A wave from Arthur. Bill at the engine, Martha buried in her queasiness, Simon checking the balance of the load, Nagariki (Bill’s son) and Tae Pae (the grey haired gentleman to the right of Bill) who had stayed the whole time in the boat, because his leg was playing him up, officially the quarantine official – hope to make his acquaintance tomorrow. Bill asked what time we would like to be picked up, but, as it was lunch time we felt it unfair to drag him back out for the third time today. Ten o’clock on the morrow would be fine.
We watch the heavily laden vessel slowly make way.
Bill expertly navigates through the tight gaps in the reef.
Ahead of us the reef.
Later the wind picked the top of the waves.
Nothing for it but to celebrate with boiled eggs. As the captain put his first one down, it unfurled into a great egg event.
Late in the afternoon the tide went out, revealing more reef.
Not expecting to see Bill until tomorrow morning, it was a surprise when he appeared with Metua (his wife) and Nagariki, en route to go fishing. This wonderfully kind family handed over a great big bag of coconuts and breadfruit. An ice cream tub held three big, frozen, fish fillets “for your supper. We will cook you lunch tomorrow at home.” Such kindness and generosity we will never forget.
ALL IN ALL THE BEST WELCOME EVER