This morning the fishing ship MV Edinburgh was anchored off shore. This ship fishes in the waters around Tristan for a few months, sometimes appearing close to the island. Today however the Edinburgh was on a mission to take a couple Tristanians to Gough Island. I watched as the longboat motored from tiny Calshot Harbour to meet the ship, but did not see the transfer of passengers from one vessel to another as this was done on the side hidden from shore. During this trip I will have the rare opportunity to see both fishing vessels that make regular stops at Tristan. Aside from the Agulhas II and MV Edinburgh, MV Baltic Trader also stops here. These three ships combine to make either eight or nine regularly scheduled visits each year. The Baltic Trader is scheduled to arrive at Tristan on 26 September, yet its passenger capacity is considerably smaller than that of the Agulhas II. The Baltic Trader only has room for ten passengers. I did see the Baltic Trader in port in Cape Town when we left for Tristan, and took some photos of it. The next time I will see it will be upon its arrival at Tristan. Maybe I can pretend to be a Tristanian and see if the passengers notice.
This afternoon after classes were over, St. Mary’s School opened for adults to play badminton and table tennis. Children on Tristan da Cunha go to school until the age of fifteen, then they continue their education usually in Cape Town or St. Helena. We played doubles at badminton and I played two games, one with the visiting dental technician Stan Riley, the other with young islander Justin Green. We played against the teams of the visiting dentist and the wife of the head of the school, and in the second game against the visiting doctor and dentist. I played table tennis with French nuclear researcher Marc Escudier and then had a few games with Justin. Justin kept losing so he tried different children’s playthings as rackets but they made his game even worse.
Some of us arranged to meet after dinner at the pub, the Albatross Bar. It was not very busy, but on the weekend it is packed. The pub stays open only until 9 p.m. on weekdays. I planned to order just one beer but I was not prepared for what it cost. Do you think that beer is overpriced on the most isolated inhabited community on the planet? Everything has to be brought in by ship, often taking a week or more from Cape Town.
How about only 86p for a bottle of beer. I couldn’t believe it. I paid with a pound coin and told the bartender to keep the change. I chitchat with Stan, Justin, Wikus and Chris Gerber, a father and son who had come on the Agulhas with me, as well as with Tristanians. A nine o’clock closing means an early night so after I got back home to the Greens I wrote four more postcards, all of which are no further ahead in their destinations than the first cards I wrote.