October cycle tour map

October cycle tour map


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Last day on Pitcairn (Sunday 8 September) – Mangareva (Tuesday 10 September)

It was a day for some to do last minute packing and tidying up.  I managed to pack dads bag since he only has one arm.  Fortunately we are not as heavy as what we were when coming over, although all the curios we have bought are taking up space!
Our long boat doesn’t depart until around 5pm so we don’t have to be there until 4.30pm.  Neil did a bit of visiting and doing what he loves best - chatting, me I just said my goodbyes to the cemetary and walked around the town a bit, didn’t really want to face anyone without breaking down and crying!
Like we all guessed the majority of the island came down to say goodbye (a very teary goodbye) – the long boat was exceptionally crowded with 17 passengers and the long boat crew and luggage!

There was a serious unloading of passengers and luggage on board the Claymore, again more teary goodbyes and then the long boat crew and passengers decide to sing us the island song ‘sweet bye and bye’ more bloody tears!

The sun was setting so we had an early dinner and the went upstairs to take photos as the sun sets

The boat is cramped and single travellers are having to double up.  Of the 17 passengers on board 8 will get off at Mangareva.  Neil spent the next 36 hours chatting to all the tourists on board!
Funny enough Lea Ann and Uschi didn’t get sea sick on their 2 night journey to Pitcairn from Mangareva but not long after we set sail from Pitcairn Lea Ann was down with sea sickness and later on that evening Uschi came down with it.  Lea Ann was semi okay the next day (Monday) but Uschi had it bad.  Both had recoverd by Tuesday morning.  The rest of us have had no sea sickness with the exception of Mum who I think convinced herself that because she wasn’t feeling sea sick that there was something wrong with her and in turn made herself sea sick!  Otherwise the seas a relatively calm … can’t say it will be like that all the way back!
We arrived at Mangareva Monday night around 10pm, set anchor out in the reef and waited until next morning to go alongside the jetty.  This is the island of Managreva (the back side of it)

And approaching it we can clearly see the big church (which according to the Claymore crew is a must see)

The jetty is small, about the length of the Claymore and we can see that there is a group of men unloading some containers (we found out later that it was a weather crew from America sent to monitor the weather patterns).  Since we are in French Polynesia again we have to have our passports stamped so Hamish jumps ashore with everyones passports to be processed while we wait on board.  Hanging around we noticed that the Claymore has 2 flags flying – 1. The French flag and 2. A yellow flag (this indicates that the ship, crew and passengers haven’t passed through customs).  Apparently whatever port you are in you have to fly the countries flag.

Just opposite us is the ferry used to take people that are flying out of Mangareva – to the airport that is an atoll across the bay!

We are only in Mangareva for about 4 hours even less for the ones flying.  So we decide we don’t have enough time to climb Mt Duff but enough to waunder up to the church … here is the main street

Now Managreva is not a tourist destination and has no need to promote itself, there are the odd pensione for tourists to stay at at ridiculously high prices.  The islands main revenue comes from farming black pearls and also they received huge payouts from the French governtment for nuclear testing at the nearby Muroroa Atoll – although warned of the testing and they were sheltered when tests we done, the fall out from the testing still affected them as the fall out would land on root tops, then rain and the water became contaminated, there was considerable birth defects in the years to come so the French government paid compensation.  So the island may look poor but they are not!
The church is not far and is a huge Catholic church that can sit the island population of around 1200.  They all speak french so there was a lot of ‘Bonjours’ flying around!

Inside the church is massive and the confession box was empty

Not sure what the front area of the church is called where the priest lectures but it is really sensational – the mother of pearl display is spectacular!

Here is a close up of the detail

And here is looking back at where the congregation would sit

No Sharon is not kneeling and praying she is standing (as that table is quite tall) videoing some detail on the table cloth!
Here is the outside of the church

We walk down towards the school and can see the jetty where the Claymore is

Walking back, like Pitcairn, this island has a lot of similar plants and flowers and the Hibiscus are large and colourful

Lea Ann and Uschi board their ferry at around 11.30am so we say our goodbyes, we have our lunch and set sail.
Later on in the afternoon at around 3pm we have a muster, sitting up on deck lazing away there and then all of a sudden there is a long continuous blow of the horn and it scares the absolute bejeezes out of us! We scramble down to our muster spot and put our life jackets on …

Now our 12 day journey back to NZ begins … basically the same as when we came!

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