A truly incredible place several hundred miles from
anywhere with a population of 67 people when we arrived.
A Victorian Englishman, William Marsters, founded
the island village with his 3 wives. Each wife's family's descendants has their
own part of the island, even their own cemeteries where every gravestone has the
surname Marsters engraved. Everyone we met had the same surname - really
These people are really English; imagine British
Empire manners, Victorian ethics and Polynesian hospitality all mixed up making
these people unique.
Bob was the first islander to greet us and guide us
to an anchor spot and is the head of our host family. The host family provide
lunch every day, collecting you from your boat at whatever time you like and
letting you sleep in their house if you wish - you are now part of the family.
Some of the families have virtually nothing, even running out of food if the
supply ship is late, but provide ample meals to their guests.
Bob's son's first name was Bury, but he maily used
his middle name of Andrew. There is an island tradition of naming after anything
connected with the death of their founder, so people have names like Coffin,
Pillow, Upme (from "Lift me up") and Okay. Bob's daughter Goldine called her
Aunt Painkiller Auntie Pain for short.
Our first full day started with Bob collecting us
for a party on the tall ship Picton Castle. This is a training ship with a crew
of about 50 of which 14 are professionals and carries cargo and gives lifts to
islanders when she visits every three years.
The ship is beautiful and sails at about 5-6knots.
Captain Dan invited all the islanders and the yachties for a party and tour of
the shipon gtheir last day at the island. A great day for farewells, nibbles,
dancing and fun including an island population reduction of 1 to 66 as
Bob's daughter joined the ship for a journey she has dreamed of since she was 7.
Bob and his wife Topou said goodbye to their eldest daughter who was invited by
Captain Dan to join the ship as assistant cook and train as a professional crew.
Topou sobbed and sobbed as her daughter prepared to leave.
We then enjoyed a family with our hosts, Murray
helping Andrew barbeque the barracuda and Caroline peeled the potatoes. The
family also have Caroline's favourite bird, the red-footed Boobie as a
The ambience of the island is special. Our tour
revealed a magnificent but small mahogany forest, nestled amongst the palm
The only problem with the anchorage is that it is
only usable in the trade wind easterlies. Any other wind will put you on the
reef. You cannot anchor further from the reef as it sits on a cliff of coral
which goes from 10m to 100m in the length of your anchor chain. Even mooring
isn't safe as boats came adrift 3 times while we were there (one boat
The main street and church
This island is magical in its charms - a truly