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Homeward Bound

Sea Trade 2014 finished this afternoon.  Everything to do with shipping was in the Miami Beach Convention Centre, ship building, engines, insurance, wines, plus probably 100 + shipping ports and destinations all being promoted under one massive roof. Our South Pacific team was unanimous in agreement that this had been a very worthwhile exercise.  Clearly the South Pacific is a destination that the shipping companies perceive as  a good place for growth.  The planning by these companies for 2016 and onwards is well underway and we have put a stake in the ground or should I say laid a buoy !

Expect the unexpected.. I was chatting to a couple, clearly they weren't target market (shipping company representatives) and to be honest I wasn't too sure how they ended up in the room.. (Lanyards were not very visible).. Turned out they were with a radio station, and they ended up interviewing me about Pitcairn ........Proof that my belief to never discount any person who fronts up to a booth as unworthy of my time. (Until they clearly prove that they are tyre kickers).  Without exception everyone I have spoken to over the last 4 days has been thirsty for knowledge on Pitcairn and that includes my South Pacific colleagues,

Now my thoughts turn to the homeward stretch and a very long trip.. Hopefully Cyclone Lusi will have moved on by the time I land on Sunday morning..

On Monday my thoughts turn to Niue Island, JAWS and Napier, here I come !

Susie receives a proposal...??!!

After a delightful day of exploring South Beach on Sunday there the reality check came quickly with SPTO (South Pacific Tourism Organisation) and SPCA (South Pacific Cruise Alliance) meetings all day Monday.

Tuesday and Sea Trade is all go.. There are well in excess of 2,000 booths..

I'm uncertain how many "suppliers" this entails as we have 2 booths representing a total of 8 countries .. Pitcairn (that's me!) Fiji, Samoa, American Samoa, Cook Islands, New Caledonia, Tahiti and the Kingdom of Tonga.  Sea Trade covers a vast area, it would be great to explore but I need to be "on station".

First impression this morning was the high standard of dress. Nearly all male visitors are attired in suits, many very expensive looking.. most are wearing ties to complete a very cool look, even the Aussies are looking very sharp.  I have seen only one visitor in jeans ! Clearly this is not New Zealand with its casual attire at daytime Expos.  Someone said that they thought Europeans but I have to say that the South Americans scrub up rather well also. Our Sth Pacific team as always is dressed mostly in Bula shirts appropriate attire for the region.

 I've had some very good meetings with some very interesting people.  One of the more bizarre was a proposal !!! hahaha the old bugger did ask if  I was married, didn't seem to make a lot of difference, clearly not of sound mind or vision !!  Of course he was the one of about " 2 scruffs" in the room !

I am amazed at the numbers who have visited Pitcairn but I guess I'm dealing with shipping people who do sometimes get to go to awesome destinations.

It's just after 6.00 time to get ready for SPTO cocktail party at the Sagamore Hotel.

 

South Beach

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WOW what a cool place South Beach is, Sunday and beautiful weather "sundress warm". I love the Art Deco, Cuban and Mexican aura. Language is nearly all Spanish.. I've walked miles, checked out South Beach, (beach that is) rows and rows of beach chairs, umbrellas and a bizarre range of people, many eating huge plates of food (a big part of the lifestyle here). For those of you who have been to Pitcairn, Norfolk or Niue there is no common ground really.. It's like a beach "factory" very commercial, busy and buzzy. Lincoln Mall ( street Mall) is wow ! Outdoor dining, dozens if not hundreds of choices, most with Cuban / Mexican influence.  The usual hustlers are out in force wanting you to eat at "their place" offering discounts on drinks to entice you over the line. Plus as you can imagine  retail "for Africa". My hotel Riviera South Beach is very funky, Art Deco I should be draping myself in the lobby with a cigarette holder and a martini. It's been a lovely day.. I'm recharged and ready to talk Pitcairn Islands as of tomorrow.  I have a an Admiralty Chart # 4655, maps brochures and pins of the Henderson fruit dove as giveaways. Hopefully even better than all of that my knowledge and enthusiasm will be inspirational.

Miami... Here I come!

Rumour has it that my boss Mike Hogan gets sea sick when there has been heavy rainfall at the North Shore Golf Club... This enabled me to be the Hogans person to travel to Pitcairn Island a journey to be undertaken when Hogans were appointed to represent The Pitcairn Islands.  Possibly my initials S. L meant  Sea Legs and I was destined for that awesome journey in May last year??

I am now en route to Sea Trade a shipping convention in Miami to represent the Pitcairn Islands as part of the South Pacific Cruise Alliance. The Pitcairn Islanders have for generations traded with passing cruise ships and the population of just under 50 residents continue to maintain and value that link with the outside world.

I feel very privileged to embrace this role having stayed on Pitcairn and when I think about it being one of the very few who who can connect the dots between tourism and the 4 Islands that are Pitcairn.

This - like my trip to Pitcairn - is a leap into the unknown.  Tick the box, been to Miami with the family about 15 years ago. Should any one have told me then that I would be a. Back working in travel, b, Returning as the representative for the Pitcairn Islands at a huge international conference I would have thought I was the subject of a Tui Billboard !, I'm looking forward to connecting with industry colleagues promoting the South Pacific and to liaise effectively with those shipping companies who have Pitcairn on their GPS.

Destiny is quite unpredictable!

Susie's new nickname

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After a working week of travelling and inspiring not only the agents but also other suppliers to visit Niue I seem to have been given the nickname "Niue " Last night at a bar in Gas Town it was suggested that I turn it into Wash Away and go behind the bar to get my own (and other's drinks)..

Vancouver is a super city. A few of us went to Granville Island yesterday morning.  Granville has markets, street theatre, no comparison at all between Niue and Granville other than they are both Islands..We spent the late afternoon / evening in a stunning penthouse apartment enjoying a salmon BBQ.. A few of the other suppliers are doing a wedding show today which leaves me with a day to myself.. As it's now a week since I arrived some time to myself will be very nice before the flight back home.

 

 

Canada oh Canada

I'm in Canada now on the Sunsational Roadshow representing Niue.  Calgary and Im missing the sea. Our hotel is called Coast.. REALLY , but the coast is 1,000's of k's from here.. The Rockies are on the horizon .they look beautiful.

Third  night in Victoria on Vancouver Island. Whale watching  trips humpbacks to boot, yeah now I feel at home, boats, water..  Vancouver Island is the largest island in the Pacific West of New Zealand.    There's an interesting piece if information..

Tomorrow we catch the boat to Vancouver City, we might see porpoises, maybe whales..

Its a great opportunity to educate the agents and my travelling colleagues on Niue.. Many are planning to visit.. There is  little to no time for shopping or sightseeing, so Im really looking forward to a boat instead of a plane..

Update since I've been home

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Because the anti nausea pills made me a bit drowsy I opted to tackle the seas on the return trip without drugs... YIPPEE what a difference, it was rough but absolutely no issues other than seeing my tea literally "float up" out of the mug on a rogue wave. Dressing after a shower on a "bouncing ship" is an interesting one - one hand against the wall for support, one leg off the floor to get into knickers and jeans and trying to predict the movement of the ship... nowhere to sit... mmmm FUNNY !  Clearly the southbound trip had given me sea legs sufficient even to venture into the hot and noisy engine room, as well as the ability to spend time on the bridge deck to chat to the Kiwi crew who had some great tales to share about their life at sea plus the stories of Henderson, Ducie and Oneo islands, the other three in the Pitcairn group.. more destinations added to the "bucket list".

Having the Pitcairn stamp in a passport is a surefire way to have immigration ask you questions on arrival into Auckland - twice now.. where is it, how do you get there, and whats it like??

The Pitcairn T shirt was worn in Hawaii and on both occasions we had locals wanting to talk Pitcairn....

Over the past few weeks I have been a guest speaker at 2 Probus meetings and a Country Club, talking about travel.  Without doubt Pitcairn is the destination that leads to the most questions.... to the point where one chairman concluded that in 7 years he hasn't had a guest speaker who has been the recipient of so many questions from the floor.. Interestingly at all three functions ( approx 50 at each ) there has been one person who has stopped to Pitcairn en route between NZ and the Panama canal..  At each function I have given away a jar of beautiful Pitcairn honey and someone always challenges me on importing "foreign" honey... no problem with this... the most pure on the planet and sweet with customs.

Sales calls since my return to NZ have doubled in length with many consultants having read in press releases that I have been to Pitcairn and clearly they are interested in the how, where and who aspect of Pitcairn.

As I tell family, friends, travel colleagues, consumer audiences, Radio Live listeners... more people will climb to the summit of Mt Everest than will stay on Pitcairn.. Pitcairn is a journey and a destination that has given me a different perspective on life... How exciting to call on an agent last week who knew virtually nothing about Pitcairn until she started to see information from Hogans... within a short space of time she had a Pitcairn booking (nice timing)... as she said when it comes to selling a destination these days "Never say never"

 

The time went waaayyyy too fast!!

Well I must say my time on Pitcairn went way too fast and I promise to write more detail very soon.  I didn't just stay on the island (although was tempted!) - the gap between blogs was just because time got away on me.  I was too busy meeting some of the most interesting people with some amazing life stories, enjoying dinner and drinks and seeing the sights and lifestyle of this amazing place.  Absolutely amazing.  It has been a real eye-opener to me and I am thankful to have been given the opportunity to visit.  This is a real bucket-list destination! 

Since I left the lovely Pitcairn Islands, I had a mad couple of days in Auckland catching up in the office and repacking before heading out again - this time on holiday with my family to Hawaii. Aloha!!  So bear with me while I hula my way around Maui and more updates and pics to come!! 

The adventure continues ...!

Two time changes from Papetee.. Advance one hour at Mangareva and then onto Pitcairn time as we left Mangareva.  The Claymore II sailed at 1800hrs on Tuesday and arrived at Tedside Pitcarin Island at 0600 Thursday (Landing at Bounty Bay wasn't possible).

The landing boat was alongside us at 8.30 for the journey around into Bounty Bay.. Amazing seamanship!!  A boatload of passengers and freight all delivered safely.  Warm welcome from the locals and Richard from Blue Water Adventures (UK) and I were taken to Big Flower (Heather Menzies and Kerry's home stay). It's stunning!  1,000 metres above the ocean with infinity  views - all mod cons, this is not roughing it but signs of sustainabilty with a wonderful vege garden and chooks.

Transport is by quad bikes. Polaris mostly. The terrain is rugged, roads are red and at this time of the year muddy. Climate is mid 20s.  Houses are simple but functional. The people friendly, proud,  resourceful and resilient.

Surprisingly only one dog on the island.. Billie, she lives with Heather and Kerry, at Big Flower ( my home stay ).   To look at my home go to  www.young.pn

I have loved riding on the back of the Polaris... standing up and ducking as we pass low branches, definitely a No no for OSH.

The Claymore has gone over to Henderson Island with a film crew and arrived back into Bounty Bay today (Sunday Pitcairn time).  I have just been out in the longboat to meet the returning passengers,  WOW felt like a local.  Big seas - exciting stuff the seamanship is amazing..any NZ boatie or surfie would be highly impressed.

The PitcIrn Ialanders are Seventh Day Adventists. Church on Saturday, not everyone goes, just like at home.  It's  a good way to engage with the locals and hear their favourite song, an old traditional "The Sweet Bye and Bye. "I had read about this song in connection with the history and knew that I'd hear it sung in the church.. And I did.

Unfortunately I haven't been in the sea at this point.  There was an opportunity  to swim at Bounty Bay on day 1 but the water was just a bit too choppy, the longboat bouncing against the wharf, and I wussed out. The seas have been massive, apparently due to an earthquake in Taiwan, or so the rumour goes.  I wouldn't know if that is correct or rumour. For sure my togs and snorkelling gear is going to remain unused but there is more to Pitcairn than the sea.

PEW Envvironmental Group and the PitcIrn Island community are the process of developing the Worlds Largest Marine Reserve 800,000 square kilometres.. PEW are on island at this time.

There are two other tourists on island.  Gwynneth a truly remarkable woman mid 60 s who is spending 6 weeks in Tahiti and Pitcairn.

John from Arizona - another intrepid traveller. Both are on the  3 night stay and we will all be on the Claymore this evening, Sunday...

Susie Sunday 2 . 6 .

I've arrived... and left???

Check this out - not many have this stamp in their passport but what makes me laugh is that here is the departure stamp, but I'm still here!! 

So much to write about but no time just right at the moment.  Having dinner with novelist Nadine Christian tonight ... Have read her first romantic novel..  Can anyone out there beat that for an interesting person in such an isolated location. 1,800 Kim's and two time changes from Papetee ???

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