Sunday is church day on Palmerston Island and we were invited to attend.
Bob and Taia picked us up and we were whisked through the boat pass to shore. Here we met all the islands ladies and many gentleman dressed in their Sunday finest.
The religion is the Cook Islands Christian Church a Protestant denomination. The founder of the church, an Englishman, famously went on to be eaten by the islanders in Vanuatu a 1000 miles west of here in the mid/late 1800\’s.
The service was about an hour, some lovely singing and we met the islands nurse, Jock who was the Church\’s Deacon and school principal, Yvonne. Yvonne was the wife of Teddy and she had emigrated from the Netherlands. Her sister had married a Marsters and she met and married one herself.
After the lovely service (see Photo Gallery of Palmerston Island), we met Daniel, an Aussie ex-pat who lived in the UK and was a PHD candidate living on the island for the last 6 months. Daniel was even taller than me so you can imagine he stood out quite a bit. His thesis was not so much on the genealogy of the Marsters but rather about the viability of their future. He had lived amongst all the families and finally had his own digs on Bob\’s land in William Marsters\’ son\’s house. Also, the former infirmary. His tenure their was a bit mixed having gotten along with most of the families but after we had left, we heard he was on the outs with Simon and Edward\’s family. About what? We don\’t know. He was great friends with one of the current patriarchs, Bill, who ran the Palmerston Island Yacht Club. His Mom, Hinano was soon to become my dental patient. Who knew!? First, Bill….
Bill had spent a great time \”off island\” and was perhaps the most worldly guy on the island. He opened the Palmerston Island Yacht Club on the premise that an annual world cruising rally would be coming through. The \”boaties\” wanted a watering hole and gathering spot. Indeed, 150 boats showed up one year (about 10 years ago) and it was a great local hit. However, as the anchorage was a bit tenuous, the cruising rally chose to skip Palmerston in the future and the Yacht Club pretty much has lied empty since. Bill will tell his tale of lament to anyone who will listen. It\’s kind of a cool place and is where I first met Hinano, his Mom.
Jock told me that Hinano had a dental infection for several days and her face had indeed swollen up to three times normal. She asked if I\’d have a look. News travels fast when you have a skill in a place like Palmerston. Hinano, 82 years young, the islands oldest resident had asthma and a wonderful disposition. Jock, the nurse was asking my opinion, but all along grooming me to remove the tooth for her. I asked her if she had taken any teeth out before and she said yes, about 85, but I break a lot of roots!
She had indeed taken 3 out of Bob the week before I arrived. Unfortunately for Bob, two were the wrong teeth!… Doing this without X-ray in the USA would be malpractice, out here, not so much. My concern of course was Hinano\’s age, asthma and who knew what those roots were going to look like on a back lower first molar?!!! Jost told me she didn\’t know how to numb lower teeth so was doubly glad I was there. 20 minutes later, the tooth was out and patient doing well. The next day she wanted to adopt me.
We\’d met Bob in one of our Taia tours and along tagged Mehau, her youngest and cute as a button sister. Mehau was about 9 years old and endeared herself to Cindy immediately. She constantly punched me, I took that as a sign of acceptance. She is a very photogenic young girl and you can see her on the Photo Gallery of Palmeston Island along with the who family……We interestingly learned on our second tour that William Marsters asked to be buried NEXT to his headstone and not under the headstone as is traditional. Why? He wanted everyone to walk on him so he would be remembered. It was said that Taia\’s grandmother Sara had done the same.
All in all another very successful day at Palmerston Island.
Scott and Cindy