August 31st 1982

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Leaving Papeete

Doug is a pretty leisurely sort of bloke, + it was quite clear that we weren’t in any hurry to be off.  We all took it in turns to take a shower, + then pulled the dinghy up on deck, which was one of the few pieces of work we’ve been asked to do.  (I omitted to mention that yesterday lunchtime, Val + I had to swim around the boat cleaning weed off the waterline, but that had been more like fun than a chore.)  We celebrated our hard work with a couple of beers, + then pushed off from Papeete, Tahiti + French Polynesia at about 12.  Motored out of the harbour, but soon picked up a nice bit of wind, + were off exactly on course.  We cut down between Tahiti + Moorea, keeping a good eye on the Moorea reef, + then were out on the open sea.  The system of watches on board is 2 on, 4 off, + as yet I’ve no complaints about it, tho’ I’ll reserve full judgment.  My watches are the 2 o’clock + 8 o’clock ones, + that suits me fine, tho’ really there’s little or no difference between them.  Val was feeling her usual beginning of voyage queasiness, so I cooked dinner.  We had 3 huge pork chops, tho’ by the time I’d finished cooking they were considerably reduced in size.  Still tasty tho’.

No hurry to be off, but off we were at last; our journey had resumed.

August 30th 1982

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Canoe at sunset

The plan was to leave this afternoon sometime, but that was dependent upon things going well bureaucratically, + otherwise.  Anyway, after breakfast, we all popped along to the gendarmerie.  No trouble there, tho’ Val did have to fill out an extra couple of forms (which were chiefly designed for people flying in, so were largely irrelevant.)  I thought things had gone too smoothly… and of course I was right.  This was only the first of several offices, so we had to work our way round the building, finishing up where we’d begun.  Even then, we weren’t done.  Without any notification, they’d moved Doug’s 2 guns from the office where he’d had to deposit them, to another office, all the way around to the end of the dock.  Not very pleasing.

Anyway, next stop the bank, where Doug reclaimed his bond (less commission of course) + then we split up.  He took a taxi round to get his guns, + Val + I got some vegetables.  We weren’t especially successful, since our major task was to beg, steal or borrow some pamplemousse, the big local grapefruit, + there didn’t seem to be one to be had.  However, we got the rest of the veg, then hurried back to Thyme.  To our surprise, Doug had beaten us back.  Equally so, there was no sign of Manate, either then or later.  I imagine we’d arrived at one of our customary confusions.

The usual for lunch – a few beers, + then back to the supermarket for meat + a few other goodies.  Doug was in no way mean, buying huge chunks of meat to keep us going.  We ran into Dave there, out getting some lunch-time shopping.  I directed him to the porridge oats I’d seen they’d just had delivered – very cheap, + in plastic screw-top containers – the very thing we’d been looking for all the time we’d been there.  Dave seemed to drift away tho’, without us having the chance to say goodbye properly.  He’s a terrific feller, + I hope we get to see him again.

We took the provisions back to the dinghy, + Doug went off to visit some friends (we’d already decided to delay our departure until tomorrow) while we rowed the stuff back + stowed it away, temporarily at least.  Then back into town, so that we could spend the last of our Polynesian money.  Thought about an Hinano glass (Hinano is the local brewery) but eventually we decided on a T-shirt for me.  It took quite a while to find one we liked tho’, + by then the shop was about to close.  As we didn’t have enough cash + no dollars with us, I had to run back to fetch some double quick.  Met Ian on the way, who ran with me – he’s not a bad bloke either.  So, quick row out, then the run back, arriving just in time.  That left us 36 francs, and an ice-cream took 35 of those, so we didn’t do too badly.  Val tried to give the last franc away, but I wouldn’t let her.

Back on the boat, we got a bit nervous when we discovered we couldn’t turn anything electric on – we thought that somehow the boat’s wiring was buggered.  Still, Val got the dinner cooking, enough for everyone in case Doug came back, + we were enjoying the sunset when we were attacked by a plague of flying termites.  It made for a very unpleasant half-hour to have these things crawling over you.  Still, they went away (or were stamped on) in the end, + we wound down again with a rum.  One of the marvellous things about Papeete is that one can sit + watch dozens of canoes of all sizes being paddled past the sun setting over Moorea – it’s marvellous.  And so was the dinner, tho’ it was a long time coming – liver + bacon with potatoes + carrots.  Doing the washing-up in the dark wasn’t quite so great tho’.  Still no sign of Doug, so we assumed he’d get a lift back out, + we went to bed.  I heard him come in, obviously rather drunk, + he managed to switch the lights on with no trouble at all.  Obviously it was us who had a wire loose – we hadn’t switched a battery on.  Ho hum.

I have always assumed that we managed to dodge Polynesian bureaucracy entirely, and that was clearly not the case. Still, the fact that we were now on our way out of the country, and therefore no longer their problem, meant they weren’t too concerned about our earlier invisibility, and there were no issues that I can recall.

Shame somehow to have missed Manate, but that does seem to be par for the course. A more important goodbye. and another one that we managed to mess up, was our farewell to Dave, who had been our salvation in so many ways. We did get to see him again, by the way. Must have been a few years after we returned (sorry, plot-spoiler, yes we do return) he came to England as part of the Vancouver rowing squad, specifically to row in the Henley regatta. We met him in London, and did manage to arrange somewhere for him to stay in London, as he stayed on for a while, working in Covent Garden, but actually it was a bit unsatisfactory; the earlier connections seemed to have faded away. And nothing since then. Such is life.

August 29th 1982

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Manate and Val

The same breakfast, the same chef.  Dave called by during the morning to drop off our camera which we’d accidentally left with him yesterday, and to tell us, in case we were interested, that a group of them were going out to the Taharai.  However, we decided not to bother.  Curious – when we left the camp-site, we both felt sad to be leaving an atmosphere that was so friendly + so much fun, but even after a couple of days that feeling has faded away + we now feel entirely at home aboard the ship.  In any case, the camp-fire community is starting to break up.  Russ flew home last night, + (shock horror) Tom moves on to NZ tonight.  And at least from my point of view, Doug has entirely removed any fears that the trip could turn bad – he has been a perfect host.  2 of his friends called by at about 11, called (I think) Jim + Barbara.  They were pleasant enough, tho’ naturally a lot of the talk was yachtie, which I find only marginally interesting.  And both Doug + Jim revealed a disappointing prejudice against blacks, as a result of bad experience in black countries.  Nonetheless, the beer flowed like water, with the result that we were all ready for a siesta by afternoon (tho’ for some reason Val + I didn’t take one.)

At about 3.30, we went in to shore.  We had intended for Val to row the boat back, + then swim in again, but as it happened Doug awoke + took us in.  The reason was that Manate + his wife had ridden by the camp-site, given Dave some fruit, + invited the 3 of us up for a meal this evening.  A little bit of a chore for us in some ways, but Manate deserved some consideration for all his kindness.  Besides, yesterday we had clubbed together to buy him a present, a dive knife, + wanted to give it to him.  When we arrived at the camp-site, Dave had just got back from the beach, so we waited for him to get ready, then strolled up.  Manate was pleased to see us, but it seems we’d missed some sort of trip up the mountain today – either he hadn’t made it clear, or Dave had misunderstood, or more likely a mixture of both.  We sat + talked for ages – agonising it was actually, since we were all very hungry.  Eventually, Manate roared off on his scooter, to fetch his wife + kid, + eventually they all returned, Manate + little Manate on one scooter, + Mapu, absolutely enormous in a pareo + bikini top, on another.  And in next to no time, dinner was ready.  I shall try to remember all the dishes: chicken + cabbage, pate, pressed meat, taro, a sort of dry miti tui (coconut sauce), lemon sauce, turtle flippers (I tell you no lie), a sort of banana pudding, pineapple, coffe, + donuts.  Being, as I’ve said before, of a nervous disposition, food-wise, the only bits I enjoye4d without any reservation were the last 3.  However, it was a magnificent spread, + I did make an effort to try everything.  Val, of course, was far better, + braver, than me; Dave was about the same.

The evening went well.  Manate Jr was cute, + they laughed a good deal at the funny stories we were able to tell (somehow I even fitted in the one about Mum’s Italian friend, + how she had to mime a chicken when first buying eggs because she couldn’t remember the word – they loved that one, + we spent some time solemnly exchanging addresses + phone nos.  They were very insistent about the phone nos, but I do hope they don’t use them – they will spend a ,lot of money + confuse my mother dreadfully.  Manate was pleased with his knife, I think – I wish we’d thought to get Mapu something as well.  And just before we left we were very pleasantly surprised when they gave each of us a gift of a straw hat, plus a bag for Val.  Then Mapu borrowed their neighbour’s car to drive us back.  We showed them the “Thyme”, where they promised to visit us tomorrow at 11, + then they dropped us all off at the camp-site – we had some things to pick up, + wanted to say bye-bye to Tom.  The usual big crowd there, a couple of new faces.  Grabbed a few addresses, said a few farewells, + left.  We were a bit late by now, of course, so I had to swim out to fetch the dinghy – to my surprise, I enjoyed the swim, the climbing up was a bit tricky.  A better Sunday than usual.

A shame we managed to miss the trip with Manate, for his sake and ours. Dave and his appalling French mainly to blame, and he felt really bad about it, so we played it down for his sake. But delighted that we were able to partake of such a feast.

August 28th 1982

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Chess al fresco

A good start to the day – tea, then porridge, then bread + marmite (I seem to have landed the job of breakfast chef.)  Even so, it’s going to be difficult to adjust our eating habits.  Over the past week, we’ve become used to huge quantities of fresh bread being available, with butter + jam.  That custom will have to be turned down.  Afterwards tho’, Val + I went in to the camp-site to meet Dave, + I have to confess I went straight round to the grocery, bought a baguette, + then ate most of it, Val having the rest.  As usual, there were a few new faces round the camp-fire, Tom presiding as usual.  There was a young Danish couple, + Regina, a pretty French girl.  6 of us agreed to go out to the beach at Tahiti village: Dave + Regina, Val + I hitched out in 2 groups, Tom + Russ to follow soon.  The hitching was as easy as ever, Val + I arriving first.  I gave swimming with a mask another whirl, but enjoyed it no more than last time, so soon came out again.  I gave Tom another game of chess when he arrived, and the rat beat ne again!  So we spent some time chatting + eating fruit.  I don’t like Regina, I decided, too much of both a know-it-all and a put-downer.  Still, I wouldn’t have minded seeing her without her shirt, but she wouldn’t even take that off.  On the same subject tho’, there were an extraordinary number of very pretty girls lying around in states of severe undress – very nice to look at.

Persuaded Tom to play chess again – and at last I beat him.  Then I played Russ, + won that one too, so I was considerably cheered.  We hitched back with Russ – a frighteningly fast ride in the back of a pick-up with some crazy local surfers.  Still, we arrived in one piece, + then back to the boat.  Once again, a few drinks, + then Doug provided another marvellous meal, an oxtail stew with onions + potatoes, + Val provided some turnip + celery cooked up in parsley sauce – beautiful.

I’ve got fed up apologising for my juvenile infatuation, so I’ll stop. Have to say, did consider editing out such embarrassing revelations, but made a decision at the beginning to transcribe it word for word, however awkward, and so that is the bed I have made. Good to get my chess game going at last; I have a tendency to make silly mistakes, which is infuriating after all that intellectual effort.

August 27th 1982

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Papeete church from the harbour

Our last morning at Tom’s camp – not that that stopped us from enjoying our breakfast.  We packed up our gear in plenty quick time, + headed off to join Thyme, Dave acting as chief bearer.  Doug was ready to welcome us aboard, + had a pot of tea on, so that was a good start.  Tea done, we went down to the gendarmerie to see if we could check out, but hearing that we were leaving Monday, the guy told us to call back then.  A pain in the arse, since he clearly could have done the necessaries there + then, but that’s the way things go, + it’s no use grousing about it.

Stopped off at the supermarket on the way back, where Doug picked up some big chunks of meat, + then, the morning’s work complete, back to the boat for a beer or 3.  Doug is generous with the booze, + enjoyable company too.  He has a good sense of humour, + is prepared to listen with interest to what other people have to say… tho’ you have to watch out you’re not having your leg pulled.  Cheese sandwich for lunch – Doug has some tasty cheese + some delicious wholemeal bread – + in the afternoon Val + I went shopping.  The main object of our search was some material to make some trousers.  Sally at the camp-site had made some, so Val, anxious to find something practical to do on the journey, decided to follow suit.  We went looking for suitable material, but Val had to suffer a severe disadvantage – me being along.  I do not make a good companion for Val when she is shopping, as I’m inclined to hurry her.  Anyway, we found some material that was what we wanted, + bought enough for one pair.  Really, we wanted to find a different material for the other pair – we don’t like dressing as twins, or Pinky + Perky, but nothing else really suitable was about, so we left it for the time being.  Ran into Dave, Sally + Ian, on the same quest as ourselves, on behalf of Dave.  When Dave saw the material Val had, he decided to get some too.  So off we all trotted, like Tom Cobley + his crew, back to the shop.  By now, time was moving on, so we said cheerio + headed back to Thyme.

Arrived at a good time too – Doug had just opened the rum bottle.  It’s wonderful how a couple (or 3, or 4) of rums give one a mellow perspective upon life.  And a healthy appetite too.  Doug cooked a wonderful meal – a huge steak with potatoes + cabbage.  Then a little more conversation, before bed + a book.  Doug has no objection to the lights being used at night.

Taking advantage of our new, rather more drunken, lifestyle, what with beers and then rum. But at last we seem to be on our way again… though not with any particular urgency. Ah well, that is part of the yachtie’s life.

August 26th 1982

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Dave, Val, Chris and Tom

Happy birthday to Tom, etc, etc.  He really is the centre of the camp-site, + I have to say I have changed my mind about him, + really think he’s a good bloke to know.  I’m not sure I trust him, at least not about anything important, but he’s amusing (+ that always counts for a lot with me), non-pompous, generous, friendly, + cynical.  I like him – would quite enjoy meeting him in a pub again – maybe we will.

We had to pop off to Vaima quite early to meet the French lady.  Dave made some noises about joining us, + I’m afraid I discouraged him – I though it might be a bit of a cheek to just turn up with 3.  We arrived at the meeting place just before 9, waited in a baking sun.  Saw Paul, the Englishman – he hadn’t changed, + was every bit as garrulous as ever.  And then our friend arrived, + invited him to come along too.  He declined, but I could have kicked myself – Dave could have come too.  I nearly asked Claudine (the lady) to go along + pick him up, but I hesitated, + the chance was lost.  Ho hum.

Claudine was with 1 daughter + a small son, + drove us out east of Papeete, past Point Venus.  We stopped off first at a blowhole, where the pressure of the sea forced water to jet up from the rocks in a hiss of spray.  However, the sea was relatively calm today, so it wasn’t very impressive.  Next stop was to buy a local… fruit?.. from a roadside vendor, a sort of large chestnut.  I wasn’t very impressed, + contrived to throw some of it away. 

The waterfall was impressive.  A short walk took us to it – a long clear fall into a small pool.  A lot of mosquitoes as well, but we weren’t staying long.  From there, back to town, tho’ we stopped off at the Taharai, which Val + I pretended we hadn’t visited before, in order not to disappoint our hosts.  Claudine showed us a tree from Africa in the grounds, the pod of which produced a treacle-like substance when broken – quite tasty.  And then, since she was in a hurry to meet someone, Claudine dropped us off at a supermarket, from which we could take the bus back.  The good news was that she presented us with a donut each, plus a necklace each, as gifts – a lovely lady.  The former went down very well indeed, especially when combined with milk.

The waterfall

Back at camp, good news from Dave – there was a very good chance he’d found himself a berth on a yacht to New Zealand, what’s more an incredibly luxurious, comfortable yacht, with all the luxuries.  What’s more, they would pay expenses – all food + beer!  Doesn’t leave for a week, that’s the trouble, + not certain even then, but still, a good chance.

I played football for a while with a couple of local kids – they were really good fun, + good footballers too.  Then photo-time – Val had bought herself a grass skirt at lunchtime, + we took a photo of Dave, Tom, Val + me, all dressed up local style.  One of the local kids showed me how to put on my pareo as a pair of shorts – tho’ it felt more like a big nappy.  I played a game of chess against Tom… + lost (the bastard.)  Well’ it is his birthday.  I bought a few beers, after which Tom decided to celebrate with a big rum punch.  He bought a bottle of rum to start things off, + then we proceeded to squeeze all sorts of fruit into it (as well as aforementioned wine.)  And then, by way of change, Val, Dave, l’autre Chris and I went off to buy pizzas.  We tried to persuade others to join us, but apathy + poverty played their part.  A nice-looking pizza parlour, tho’ I’m afraid the pizzas weren’t up to anything special. 

A big crowd around the camp-fire tonight, wolfishly watching us tuck in to our pizzas – for once, I was disinclined to share.  Dave had generously provided Tom with one, so the birthday boy was alright. And the punch?  Both a success… in that it was strong, + a failure, in that it tasted pretty horrible.  There was so much mushed crushed fruit in it that it was christened “the punch with munch”.  Val + I bowed out of the general proceedings respectably early.

The usual problems when trying desperately not to offend, is that you manage to mess things up in another way, viz leaving Dave behind. Though if he gets the berth on the NZ yacht, that would be more than ample compensation. “Punch with munch” sounded disgusting, but I don’t suppose it was worse than what one could get at parties, when we were of the age that inebriation was the goal above all others.


August 25th 1982

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Papeete market

Once again Val + I set out on a small expedition this morning.  Dave was busy yet again – yesterday he’d gone to see the “Bounty”, a big freighter of the Tahiti line, off to New Zealand in a day or two, to see if he could go along as a passenger, but he’d walked a long way + received no good news for his pains.  However, persistence itself, he was off again today.  As for Val + I, we had the vague idea of hitching all the way round the island, tho’ we weren’t by any means dogmatic about it, + would take things as they came.  A short, but very hot, walk brought us to the place to begin hitching eastward out of town, + we soon got a lift – hitching here is as easy as anywhere I’ve ever known.  The guy was very friendly, a French art teacher, + he dropped us off outside the Taharai hotel, one of the most luxurious on the island, so we took the opportunity to go in + look round.  It certainly was very nice, + had a spectacular view over the cliff down into sparkling blue water + forests of coral.

However, back to hitching, which took a little longer than usual, + where, unfortunately, we couldn’t get out of the sun, so we almost fried.  However, a ride in the back of a pick-up truck took us a short distance to Point Venus, where we decided to go for a swim.  Very pleasant it was, + I was even able to enjoy myself in the water, since I’d found a soccer ball on our walk out of town, + tho’ I couldn’t play with Val, since one of us had to look after the gear, I was able to amuse myself with a little game – I really enjoy playing in the water.  After our swim, we had an ice-cream, then discovered it was 12 o’clock, + as it was hot, + we were tired, + weren’t very far round, we decided to thumb back.  First tho’ we had a fabulous lunch of fresh cold milk + fresh crisp biscuits.

We were very fortunate, + got a lift back with a very nice French lady + her children, who took us off the road to see the tomb of Pomare V, the last king of Tahiti, + then, even better, offered to take us to see one of the waterfalls on the island tomorrow.  Naturally we accepted… immediately.

Arrived back at camp at a good hour, + spent a couple of hours playing, kicking the ball around, + throwing a Frisbee.  Good fun, until the Frisbee lodged in a tree.  It was only after we’d thrown the ball at it several times to attempt to dislodge it that we discovered there was also a wasp’s nest there.  A number of angry wasps appeared, + one of them gave me a powerful bite – like a hard, sharp blow it was, as tho’ I’d been struck by a small stone.  Fortunately, tho’, my body didn’t react too badly to it, + the pain soon went away.  However, end of the game.

Val + I bought the provisions for the evening – we were attempting our most ambitious meal yet: shepherd’s pie with cabbage.  What’s more, Russ had supplied wholemeal bread + cheese, + we had some wine, so the meal was prolonged even more than usual.  We also had more than ever people gathered around – Kent, a New Zealander, Chris, a Texan.  However, the meal was a huge success – it was totally delicious + very filling.  (My mouth waters even now just to think of it.)  Afterwards, a lively discussion of the political/philosophical kind, with Kent attacking Britain and/or defending America.  Later, tho’, Kent seriously damaged his toe – fortunately for him, Chris was alert enough + concerned enough to play doctor.  The evening finished with a huge game of yum, the loser to do the washing-up.  Unfortunately for him, Chris again, a total newcomer to the game, lost.  After that, general dispersal.  We dropped another bottle of wine outside Tom’s tent, it being his birthday tomorrow.

I think it was a hornet rather than a wasp, and I can still recall one angry beast hurtling from the tree and straight at me, almost cartoon-style. Other than that, more low-level, and necessarily cheap or free, tourism. Good that Dave is so determined to fins a boat, bad that all his efforts are getting him nowhere. No idea how I managed to cook shepherd’s pie without an oven, but delighted that it was such a success (and it’s still one of my favourite meals.)

August 24th 1982

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After the usual lazy start to the day, Val + I hitched out to a place called Tahiti village.  It used to be a luxury hotel, Polynesian style – ie a motel arrangement of a large no. of thatched cabins grouped around a large reception area cum restaurant cum bar cum dance-hall.  However, for some reason this one had failed – the cabins are now rented out as permanent apartments, + the central hall is unused, but the big attraction for us is that it has a good beach, more or less open to the public.  The hitching was very easy, tho’ it did take 2 rides, + we were able to converse fairly easily with the people – our French has improved considerably in the last few weeks.  The beach had only a few people on it, so we were able to find a good spot, then take it in turns to go swimming.  We had borrowed Dave’s mask, so could use that to look at the coral.  I have to confess tho’ that I barely spent any time in the water.  I’m afraid wearing a mask just increases my feelings of insecurity in the water – I become more panicky + claustrophobic, so cannot allow myself to relax.  There is also a strong current running parallel to the beach, far too strong for me to swim against, so that didn’t help.  However, Val got into it, + was able to swim out to where it was more interesting.  I enjoyed myself enough tho’ – Tahiti has followed the French fashion of toplessness on the beach, so I was able to enjoy the scenery.

Tom turned up, tho’ disappeared again soon after, + then a couple from the camp-site, Ian + Sally, came by + chatted.  They’re both Australians, born in England, + Ian’s not too bad, tho’ Sally is a bit bossy + boring.  Still, they had interesting things to say about their trip across the States – they’d travelled  by Green Tortoise, one of the alternative bus companies (America has everything.) 

Hitched back to the camp-site with absolutely no trouble at all, + of course spent the rest of the afternoon in the usual way, rapping round the campfire – not that it was lit yet, but the benches are there.  Another American turned up, or rather returned – Russ, a quiet, pleasant guy on his way home after a trip to Australia + NZ.  Val cooked up a curry in the evening – just hot enough to set the lips tingling + very much appreciated by all.  (We seem to be feeding more + more people every night – obviously word is getting round.)

More finding things to do to pass the time, which does not sit all that well with us; we both tend to get itchy feet when we have, to our own satisfaction, exhausted the possibilities of a particular place. But that decision had been taken away from us, so we were trying to make the most of the place. And, of course, there is the camp-site, which has become a growing social hub.

August 23rd 1982

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Around the camp-fire

Today, according to the original plan, we’d intended to pack up all our belongings, + head off out to the end of the peninsula.  However, Val just seems to be getting better with all her sores (she’s been taking antibiotics) + that, along with the fact that things are so comfortably arranged at the camp-site, plus our natural indolence of course, means that we’ve decided to shelve that notion, + maybe just take a few day trips out to various places.  However, today we decided to devote to shopping.  But with our usual efficiency, we managed to arrive at around 11.30, ie exactly when everyone was deciding to shut up shop for the lunch break.  That meant we had to waste a couple of hours, just sitting around.  One certainly has to adjust the old life-style in one’s travels.

But then, in the afternoon, we really got to work, + spent a small fortune.  A few pareos, a stove + a cook-pot for Dave, plus the groceries for dinner – a tidy little sum spent there.  Dave also managed his daily cruise along the boat strip – he has notes up on the trees, but there’s nothing like the personal approach.  And he did find a boat looking for crew – the only problem being that it was heading for Pitcairn + Chile, which must be one of the few destinations Dave cannot even consider.  Ah well.

The evening fell into the usual pattern, of lazing around the fire, + eventually getting round to cooking dinner.  I cooked tonight, + things went remarkably well, even tho’ it was for 5, Tom (as usual) + Rene joining us.  Turned out bloody well too – a really tasty + substantial stew, followed by coffee + bread + cheese, courtesy Tom, + some yum, before the usual dispersal to bed.

A very lazy day, in which we just about managed to get ourselves moving to do some shopping. It does seem that we have been seduced by the camp-fire lifestyle, rather than throwing ourselves back on our own resources; there is something comforting about feeling part of a small community.

August 22nd 1982

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A strangely nothingy day.  As usual, there was a new figure at our fire when I got up – our camp fire (because it’s the only one around, except for the one belonging to an evangelical group in one corner) seems to be the centre of attraction for newcomers.  Hardly surprising – there’s often tea available, things are set up pretty well, + Tom (+ us as well) are generally welcoming.  This time it was Luke, an Aussie film actor who was on his way home after working in California.  He was hiring a car today, to drive around the island, and Tom, always with an eye out for the main chance, had got himself invited, along with Rene, a French guy camping there.  We 3 musketeers just about got ourselves together to get to church by 10 o’clock, so that we could listen to the music.  It was very good indeed – we’ve vowed to renew our search for local church music on cassette.  The people were all dressed up too – we were able to take some good pictures.  One guy stood at the back with a long stick, + it was his job to walk along the aisles during the sermon, + tap people with it if they weren’t paying attention.

However, for the rest of the day we did virtually nothing, except laze around, eat, throw an occasional dice, and get bored.  It was very annoying we had an excess of expendable energy, + nothing to expend it on.  No ball, no Frisbee, and try as we might, no way of obtaining one, it seems.  Eventually the evening came, + we could eat our evening meal – omelette.  Soon after, the evangelical group returned – they’d been out visiting somewhere – with an excess of cake, so they brought over masses to us, which we made pretty short work of.  They certainly had loads – when Tom returned, he went over to join them (+ pig himself), + Dave joined him after Val + I went to bed.  They seemed nice enough, tho’ Tom + Dave had to endure a prayer said for each of them.

Quite the day for religious intervention, of one kind and another. But we are killing time, and actually want to be on our way. Never did find that cassette, by the way. Now that we have the internet, I ought to be able to track some down, I suppose, but some of the impetus for that has been lost over the past forty years.