Hopefully the passage will give me some time to process our stay here on Penrhyn. What a remarkable, remarkable place. Being here has been very much what I pictured long-distance sailing as before we set out: visiting a place that is too remote to reach except by private boat, being the only travellers on the scene, and interacting with the very friendly locals.
Penrhyn has internet, so people skype with their family members overseas, and almost everyone here has spent time in either New Zealand or Australia. So it's very much a place of the modern world. But the scale of remoteness about the place also sets it apart from everything else. Two ship visits a year are all the chance that Penrhyn Islanders have to supply themselves with the essentials of life. And right now the supply ship is overdue, so flour, rice and gasoline are all in very short supply. And those items will stay in short supply for another four or five weeks, when the ship is expected to arrive.
There is no scheduled air service here, and we were the fourth boat this year to sign the logbook for the village of Tetautua, where we spent most of our visit. So in a way we were real emissaries from the outside world. And we were emissaries from the outside world in a Polynesian culture where gift-giving and hospitality to strangers are reflexive.
So, quite an experience. But more about that later! The deck awning is down, the two dinghies are securely lashed on deck, the tradewinds are blowing hard, and the night is getting late. Time for me to sleep, since tomorrow we look forward, and set in motion another leg of this voyage...