The 'hosting' system:
As I approached Palmerston it was still
dark and I contacted 'Samuel' on the vhf to get directions and he told me to go
to the 'North of the Island'. Of course I misunderstood and went to the 'North
Island' instead. After beating the weather for an hour or so I finally arrived
at the wrong island and contacted 'Simon' again to find out that his brother was
waiting for me in a small dingy at the other island!. His brother did not have a
handheld vhf so there were no way of letting him know why he had to wait for two
hours for me. Needless to say I was a bit nervous to meet him after having him
wait but there were no reason for that. Edward was a great man and the truth was
that there were other families out there too, trying to get me?. Palmerston
island have no airport and the supply boat only comes 3 or 4 times a year so
when the sailboats arrive they are happy to meet other people and give us the
best welcome and hospitality imagined. It works like this: The first boat out to
meet the sailboat are the host for this boat for its entire stay, that means
that Edward would come out to get us every day at the time we would like to go
ashore and take us back at night. During the daytime we are welcome to join them
on breakfast, lunch and dinner. Coffee is served all day and we are free to do
whatever we want to do. I could easily have stayed at Palmerston for ten days
without spending one dollar but when they had a paid dinner to collect money for
a school trip we bought plates for us and even the dog at 6 dollars a plate. The
host family don't expect anything but friendship but they like to exchange DVD's
for the nights and of course we donated small items like lures and rivets that
they would otherwise have had to wait for months to get with the supply boat.
The Doctor, The
Electrician and the Mechanic!.
The Polynesians have
been so good to us that both me, Paul and Andrea were starting to feel that we
owe these people lots of favors and up till now we had not found a way to repay
all the kindness we have been given. We have received fruit, vegetables,
showers, water, rides with cars and so much much more. Here on the other hand
being so isolated the people were in need of all kinds of services and we were
not slow in offering our services. Andrea who is a licensed chiropractor set up
shop at the health clinic and during three hectic days she saw just about all
the people on the island. The result was magnificent and everyone were happy to
have a doctor on the island again. Paul made spears for the kids spear guns and
fixed their bikes, well actually Andréa patched two bikes with leaking tires
too. I went to four houses and gave lections on battery maintenance, fixed two
printers, one vhf, one radio and other small stuff. I also helped Paul start up
a 25 hp outboard that had not been running for two years.
The Island and the
Palmerston is a
really really small island. You can walk around it in 30 minutes and the highest
point is about 3 meters. On that point they have the rescue-three that they have
to cling to or climb if a hurricane hits the island. Even though the population
is small they have a lot of activities going on and besides the never ending
task of fishing (there are lots of fish around the island) we entered the
annual volleyball tournament and the team i was on actually won!!!. Well i was
only good enough to sign up for the kids team and there was only two teams in
this division but a win is a win, right??.
couple of days before leaving we were invited to a kids haircutting? and two
year celebration. I have never seen this tradition before but it was fun. The
kids hair was tied up with 24 ribbons and 24 people were invited to come up and
cut off one piece. I was number 21 and I must admit it was fun. After we all ate
and another tradition i liked about the island proved to bee true. The most
important thing when you are hosting a dinner is to make sure that it is
impossible to eat all the food and that everyone gets to bring food home for
breakfast. For a bachelor sailor it really doesn't get any better than that.
A Funny story?
The power on the island is
supplied by a generator that they run 6 hours in the morning and 6 hours in the
evening. Before the volleyball competition that Edward actually won (best of 6
or 8 teams of sand volleyball) he wanted to look good so he started to cut his
hair only to loose the power after the first cut, hehehe. He had to go to the
tournament looking like on the picture below, hehehe. Everyone but him thought
this was really funny...
'Edward the Host'
'The Main Street'
'Even though this girl don't know what Liverpool is it was
great to see that even here they know how to dress when The Fa cup is going to
be won by the best'