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During evening the wind came up. In the night Blue Sea began rocking back and forth so hard she shipped water on both sides. Our anchorage became untenable. Working under spreader lights, we hauled anchor and sailed around the island the rest of the night, running under shortened canvas.
The wind continued the following day, but when our 24-hour period was up the longboat came out anyway. With a bone in her teeth she came plunging toward us. We changed the watch; and once again the Pitcairn men steered their boat safely through the churning foam off Bounty Bay. But now, we had to start planning for our departure.
The people, knowing our need for fresh food to supply the boat, gathered the best the island had to offer. Fred Christian's wife baked a tin of biscuits. Violet McCoy raided her kitchen shelves for canned dates, cooking oil and flour. Floyd McCoy, John Christian and Theo Young arranged for fresh water to fill our tanks; and they gave us papayas, avocados, tomatoes, pineapples, corn and bananas. Finally, they handed us bags of clothing for Easter Island.
On our last night ashore John Christian beckoned us off the path and into his house for a "cold drink," a pitcher of lemonade. John's wife Bernice brought out cake and cookies, and the island people dropped in to say goodby. We sat around John's dining room table and talked of simple things: Blue Sea's draft; the weight of miro wood; the amount of rain during the year; the number of steamers that go by Pitcairn every month (an average of five). I asked John Christian about Pitcairn's correspondence with the rest of the world, since almost every house had a table piled high with incoming and outgoing letters.
"We find out about the world by mail," said John. "We know many people by mail alone. A lot of our carvings are sent out by mail, and anything that can't be grown or made on the island must be ordered this way."
In the morning we made a run with the longboat to load food and water. The wind had abated somewhat, but the ocean still smashed against Pitcairn's doorstep. A second longboat came out, carrying 30 men, and women and children, as well. Blue Sea had her anchor up, with all sails set, but we came into the wind long enough to wave goodby to the tossing boatload of islanders. At a signal from the longboat captain they all stood up, precarious as it was, and sang us a song of farewell.
As we sailed away I thought of Floyd McCoy's answer to my question about new settlers on Pitcairn. He had lifted his golf cap and scratched his head: "I wouldn't say we would exactly discourage it...I would say we would be easy on the matter."