Accommodation On Pitcairn Island
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Lord Ashcroft

Pitcairn Island, Big Flower - Lord Ashcroft
Lord Ashcroft
Big Flower - May / June 2012

May 31st - June 2nd 2012 - Sam and Michael
Though we still don’t actually have doors on our guest rooms we decided to start having guests stay with us at Big Flower late last year, in response to a private booking for 2 travellers, made by a lovely lady in the United State, called Lindsey.

Pitcairn Island, Big Flower - Lord Ashcroft and Sam at the landing
Lord Ashcroft and Sam
The Landing, Pitcairn Island

As the months ticked by we started to get things organised. Deciding that the door thing was not really an issue we felt we had things pretty much under control. Then we discovered that our first guest would be the Michael Ashcroft who, amongst other remarkable life achievements was knighted in 2000 and his friend and travelling buddy Sam. Suffice to say this, and our lack of doors, was enough to unhinge my vision of happy house guests. Thinking I was doing the right thing I started making enquiries about finding Michael and Sam somewhere else to stay. Obviously, somewhere with doors! But, Lindsey stuck to her guns – a booking is a booking - and she wanted Michael and Sam to stay at Big Flower.

Pitcairn Island, Big Flower - Lord Ashcroft and Sam
Lord Ashcroft and Sam
Big Flower, Pitcairn Island

On May 31st our two intrepid explorers arrived for their 3 day stay and, you guessed it, within 5 minutes they noticed ‘no doors’. For some reason this struck them as unusual (I can’t think why) but they graciously came to the conclusion that ‘no doors’ should actually be considered a Big Flower feature - what the heck - who needs them when the whole house is open plan and you can watch the sun rise and the star-scape from almost every room? How delightful, I thought with some relief – ok, the worst is over. But, no… there was so much more to come. Lindsey, being the great PA that she is, had naturally told Michael that I’d tried to find accommodation for them elsewhere. This, and my obvious anxiety, was enough to unleash Michael’s truly wicked sense of humour and he teased me, without mercy, for the rest of their stay ensuring that anyone within earshot knew that I’d ‘tried to get rid of him before he’d even arrived!’ So, there I was, the delegated ‘fall guy’ and what fun we had. We laughed a lot whilst cramming as much as possible into their brief stay.

Pitcairn Island, Big Flower - Lord Ashcroft heading out to the Claymore
Lord Ashcroft
Leaves the landing by longboat for the Claymore

Sam was able to dive both the Bounty and Cornwallis wrecks and they both got see the island, meet many locals and, of course, sample Pitcairn’s world famous honey. On Friday night it was off to dinner at Christian’s Café and a quick visit to Andy’s for a nightcap. The following day we wandered around Vaine and Charlene’s banana plantation and along the Eco trail before catching up with Carol, the Governor’s Rep, for lunch - pumpkin soap and roast beef, cooked to perfection by her husband/chef, Juergen.

Pitcairn Island, Big Flower - Lord Ashcroft about to depart on the Claymore
Lord Ashcroft back aboard the Claymore
The final minutes before we part

Departure and farewell hugs soon followed. As we waved goodbye from the Longboat Michael caught my eye and gave me the ‘thumbs up’. He’s an intuitive guy and I knew he’d experienced an understanding of what Pitcairn means to those of us who choose to live here. I put my hand to my heart and yelled over the roaring engine, “We’re feeling it too, Michael.” Then, as we had done all weekend, we laughed. We both knew he’d enjoyed Big Flower’s billion dollar view and we also knew that Lord Ashcroft was sure looking forward to sleeping in a room with a real door.

Internationally renown film crew

Late in 2011 Pitcairn’s Tourism Department began working with producers from Pilot Productions, a UK based film and television company, to help get a 3 person film crew to the island to shoot footage for its award winning Globe Trekker series (also known as Pilot Guides).

Pilot Productions

Pilot Productions has an outstanding reputation for producing and distributing factual entertainment and travel led programmes, broadcast to over 30 million viewers in over 50 countries throughout the world.

Globe Trekker

Its Globe Trekker Round the World Series is a one off special devised to celebrate the 20th anniversary of this award-winning series. It entails a team of popular hosts travelling, each taking on a leg of a round the world marathon, beginning and ending in London, host city of the 2012 Olympics. In particular, Episode 4 kicks off with host, Zay Harding island-hopping through the Pacific and this leg of the journey absolutely had to include a visit to Pitcairn!

Pitcairn Island, Big Flower - Ian Sciacaluga
Ian Sciacaluga
Pilot Productions

On June 7th, after months of planning, the film crew finally arrived with 2 of the 3 (host, Zay Harding and Director, Ian Sciacaluga) staying with us at Big Flower. It took several quad bikes to transfer all their equipment from the landing to Brian and Kari’s, where the cameraman, Nigel Kinnings was staying, and up top to Big Flower.

Pitcairn Island, Big Flower - Filming the documentary
Pitcairn Island, Big Flower - Filming the documentary
" at speed"

Within a couple of hours we hit the ground running – filming a segment to promote Pitcairn’s honey industry and local bee keepers. Word had gotten out and pretty soon Big Flower was full of locals and tourists, all fascinated with watching these professional film makers do their thing – this flurry of activity pretty much set the tone for the next couple of days. And, it was crazy fun.

Pitcairn Island, Big Flower - Filming a longboat arrival
It took many trips in and out of the harbour
to stage and successfully shoot a Pitcairn arrival

We had just 2 ½ days to fit everything they wanted in. This included setting up interviews, diving the wreck of the Bounty, filming interviews at the Museum and Church, introductions at the curio market, Zay ‘whale toothing’ at Sue and Pawl’s, Zay down the Eco trail, below Christian’s Cave, down Bounty Bay and at a language and culture class at the school with Meralda and the kids. And then there was Zay and Kerry, shooting down breadfruit – with Meralda’s gun and with Meralda as back-up shooter - this being entirely necessary because Kerry and all 3 of the film crew managed to miss the damn thing entirely.

Pitcairn Island, Big Flower - Ian and Martin
Ian and Martin
A chance meeting on Pitcairn, now mates for life!

It really was a mini marathon but we loved the pace and thoroughly enjoyed their company. We learnt lots more about film making and their ‘can do’ attitude reminded us of… well, us. Just everyday people doing the best they can with what they’ve got. So, ‘big ups’ for Ian, Nigel and Zay - easy going, easily pleased and easily lead! Just as well too. Their producer had given us permission to boss’em about to get what she needed – so, naturally, we did.