Finally: the most remote inhabited place on earth!
So it wasn’t the next day we disembarked onto Tristan. We were actually floating around the other islands of Tristan which was great. We got to see penguins and fur seals, oh and lots of birds at both Nightingale and Inaccessible Island. And wow, Inaccessible Island is absolutely gorgeous. It has cliffs on each side of the island that reach about 400 metres high. Below there is a small strip of beach which is owned by the fur seals and a small colony of Rockhopper Penguins. We were so lucky to anker in front of Inaccessible Island to hear the noise the animals make. At sunset the birds got out to give a small flight show to us, which was absolutely amazing. Inaccessible Island is a national heritage island and protected, which is good.
The next day it was time to disembark and explore Tristan da Cunha, the most remote inhabited island on earth. We would be going down a rope ladder onto a small boat which would take us to the harbour of Tristan. So we all had to put on a safety vest and a harnas and there I went, off the rope ladder. I was a bit scared but all went well. Though from the boat it seemed like a calm sea it wasn’t really that calm. The waves and wind were increasing and so we were afraid we wouldn’t be able to stay long at Tristan.
We were welcomed by Dawn and Kelly. Kelly I had already talked to via Facebook so it was really nice to finally meet her. She is from the UK but recently married with a Tristanian boy and got a child. She is of the Green family, which is one of the biggest families on the island and of Dutch decentness. We hiked up to the potato patches of the Tristanians which was about 45 minutes walk one way. The Tristanians are almost all self sufficient. They have a big fishing company, which mainly catches crawfish. This is sold in Cape Town and even further. Then they have cows (max. 1 per person) and sheep (max. 2 per person). There of course are some chickens and we even saw some goose. But then there are potatoes. Apparently one of the bests in the world, according to Joe who was a vet at Tristan for about 9 months. At the potato patches is feels like life stood still. It looks gorgeous and cute. The houses are of volcano stones and the patches are divided by the same rocks.
We rushed back because we of course had to drink a beer at the most remote pub on earth, which is the Albatross bar. We got a not so cold but luckily not to hot beer and talked with some of the locals, who told us a bit about life on Tristan. It’s quite hard for the younger generation because there aren’t many young people. Not only are there not many youngsters, there are also not many boys. There are 7 big families on Tristan and 2 quite recently arrived I guess. Well, that is still not much to choose from when you want to marry. Anyway, they seem to be able to deal with it and have actually strict rules about not marrying your direct cousin.
The settlement, as they call their village (officially: Edinburgh of the seven seas), is small but has some streets. Containers are scattered here and there. The houses have one floor and not too many rooms. The supermarket can be found not far from the post office and tourism centre, which is located in what looks like a couple of containers together. There is an internet cafe and a police office. If we were lucky enough to stay here for a couple of days we would have stayed at the police officer Conrad Glass. Unfortunately we couldn’t stay at his place though we did meet him.
It’s not really a picturesque village but the island makes up for that. I don’t know how it is to live on an island like this and I guess I will never truly know but I guess it can be pretty boring sometimes and very enjoyable at others. Everyone knows everyone (there are about 270 people living at Tristan), that means everyone knows everyones business, but it also means that you’ll always find help and can’t run away from your problems. Which is a good thing I think.
Just before we needed to leave the island we did see a Rockhopper from up close. Yes! That was so nice, those penguins are so cute and funny at the same time, they are definitely my kind of penguins. We had to say goodby to Tristan way to early but it was time to get back on the boat and on our way to St. Helena. We will probably never get back to Tristan but if we do it will not be on this boat. We continued the last voyage of the RMS St. Helena.