Life on the most remote inhabited island in the world


The last two weeks have been absolutely wonderful as we have both been at home and have been making the most of the time to rest and relax and spend some time together (normally bickering about who makes the most mess) and spend time with Caitlin (who is currently ahead in the polls as ‘mess maker of 2007/8’). We’ve been doing quite a bit of visiting to drop off Christmas presents, and have a bit of a natter with our island neighbours. It’s amazing that, despite living within a fairly short distance of each other, we find that we end up seeing very little of our friends in the village. Christmas does offer an opportunity to visit and we have made the most of it. We had good intentions of dropping all our gifts off before Christmas day, and had planned on averaging 4-5 gifts per day for the week leading up to Christmas! Ha! At an hour or more a visit and Erik and I only really getting going in the early afternoon, we have been lucky to average 2 visits a day – with the accompanying drinks and gossip at each house.

This year we were also really honoured to be invited to ‘family’ functions with islanders – something we hope is an indication that they don’t mind us too much! 

Christmas day in our house was total chaos, with the carpet around our tree piled high with presents – most of them for Caitlin.  Children here are the total focus of Christmas, and in many cases, families seem to forego presents for the adults in favour of the kids. We have taken most of the presents Caitlin was given and put them in our back room, and give her a new toy every now and then, as she wouldn’t know what to do with herself or the gifts, if she had them all at once.

Erik has finally given in to his beachcombing ways and now has the whole village talking about him being ‘Steptoe’ and just needing the ‘Son’. We’ve decided to take a liberty and change the name to Steptoe and Daughters, as there aren’t likely to be any more kids – well, not from this union anyway….

Sadly Hubert Green (82) passed away on Saturday 5th January. It was really very unexpected, but fortunately (is it appropriate to use that word?) seems it was fairly quick, which is a blessing, but a great loss for the island.

I went to the funeral to represent the ‘family’ and was very touched to see how funerals are conducted here (this being my first funeral attended on Tristan). The eulogy was very personal, as of course, everyone knew Hubert, and it was lovely to see so many people attending, to show their respects.

I believe the funeral procession normally starts from the hospital and consists of the priest and lay ministers, along with the ‘hearse’ and family and friends who walk behind alongside to the church. The service is normally fairly short, but there is a section for the reading of emails and messages from islanders who are currently off island and it was really touching to hear how many of them had taken the time and trouble to write to express their sense of loss and send best wishes and thoughts to the families.

From the church, we all proceeded to the graveyard, where the final internment is done. The family then, I believe, proceed home for a wake. It was all very touching and a reminder again just how different this community is in so many, many ways.

We are hoping to have a good number of fishing days before the end of January, so that Erik and the guys can complete the quota and Erik can then, hopefully, travel home with me toward the end of February.  A good friend of mine is getting married and I need to leave in Feb in order to make her wedding in March.

One of my resolutions this year is to write more often, so let’s see if I manage it…


Comments on: "2008!" (2)

  1. Hello Claire, Erik and Caitlin !
    I’m happy to receive your news on this begining of new year.
    And to find again this blog address, that I forgot…
    I’ll be able to follow you more oftern.
    Au revoir !
    (still making some jokes on the Frenchies… Erik ? haha..)

  2. AlanfromBigEasy said:

    Today, all electricity is produced by diesel power on Tristan by your firm I understand. And as we all know this is going up, and significantly !

    Over a decade ago, Tristan installed a wind turbine, which was latter destroyed in a wind storm. Today, specialty wind turbines are in operation in Antarctica and these same units should be suitable for Tristan. However, they are neither constant nor do they respond to demand.

    Microhydro appears to be the best option to run with diesel (at least at stage one, unless a large enough installation could be made). The first step is to chose potential sites and evaluate the issues of installation.

    A number of trained civil engineers will be visiting Tristan soon. May I suggest that you ask for a professional eye on the possibilities for a small scale hydropower plant ?

    Best Hopes,

    Alan Drake

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