Personal feelings about Chatham Islands

There are sheep, oh yes, there are, sheep, many of them. There are 200 times more sheep than humans. Imagine: 200 sheep against you, what you can do? - Nothing! But luckily, they are not against you. Even though they are sheared, squeezed into stinking cargo ships, butchered and wrapped into plastics, freezed and exported. They are nice, and they live free under the blue sky, and they are not against you.

There is windy, oh yes, whoosh, it's windy. There is no single tree that stands straight up, if it still stands. Leave your hat at home, otherwise it'll end up in Chile. If you have a tent, choose the place carefully.

Waitangi General Store is the command centre. In the evenings it is in the pub, at the waterfront below. Leave your dirty boots outside. Don't expect Pak'n Save prices.

Cheapest accommodation is your tent. The next cheapest is Roo's Roost. Don't go camping before asking permission. With a permission you can have the most magnificent site next to the beach and listen to the Pacific waves whole night. There is farmland everywhere, and fences, more fences.

Say Hello to people, they'll also say hello. You can ask for a ride, or not, you'll get it anyway. Rent a bicycle, or walk, or sit, and chances are good you'll get a ride. Remember people, they'll remember you.

You are in a miniature society, where you can't hide. Everything is miniature, store, schools, church, Police, TV-station. But everything is there, and if it is not, it can be ordered by next ship or plane from New Zealand. And best, or worst of all, in a miniature society everybody knows everything. People also want to know everything, even though they don't show it, so tell them and you'll have less, far less trouble.

Cattle and forest don't live together. Either one has to go away.

I enjoyed my stay in Chatham Islands. I think people were very friendly. Air Chatham left me there for couple of extra days, which I didn't want at first. Later on I realised that those days were among the best ones. I stayed ten days altogether, it is a good time on the islands of sunrise.

Pitt Island, that's the island of the sunrise. I never went there. But if I ever want to go even further away from home, Pitt Island is the place to go.

Matti Pellinen