The 10 most important things one should learn and do whilst on Pitcairn
Visit Ms T - Our Galapogos Tortoise
Far on the western side of the island is a place called Tedside.
Once the location of an early Polynesian village, to this day its stone boundary markers can be still be seen.
Tedside is a relatively large flat area, most of which is located just above sea level - although its western boundary slopes right down onto the coast line with the road to Tedside ending on its rocks.
On Pitcairn, Bounty Bay is the only other location where you can almost drive right down to the waterline
Tedside is one of two places on the island where large ‘public’ banana plantations grow. Community members can help themselves as required. On the Tedside coast you’ll find a small patch of sand, great for the kids and a large rock pool called ‘Cabin’ – which is almost like a natural spa. Fishing from the rocks at Tedside is excellent, in particular from a small point called ‘Frankie’.
From the highest point of the island it’s a 2 kilometre drive down to Tedside. Approximately 1km down the hill you must pass through a wire gate.
It’s kind of strange coming upon a closed gate in the middle of nowhere, and certainly on Pitcairn. What’s even stranger, is realising a wild goat could easily pass either side of it. That’s of course, if stopping goats was the intention of this ominous, heavy meshed, 3 metre wide, 1.2 metre high, tripled hinged, galvanised super gate!
At this point you need to be informed. There’s a rule on Pitcairn which everyone abides by, irrespective of which direction you are travelling in...”Always shut the gate!”
Continuing on, your mind soon focuses on the massive Tapu trees. If you’re lucky you’ll spot the occasional ‘Hulianda’ tree with its fragrant flowers.
Approaching the bottom you begin to enter the banana plantation. It is here you drive with even more caution so as not to disturb Tedside’s long-time, world famous resident, ‘Miz T’ – a female Galapagos tortoise and the reason for the gate.
Meeting Miz T for the first time.
Zara and Brandon introduce themselves to ‘Miz T’ who happily complies - allowing her shell and leathery skin to be stroked.
She’s very friendly and not shy at all. She’ll even make a loud snorting sound when trying to communicate. If things get a little hectic, without being told she’ll simply pull her head in, no pun intended.
Some have estimated her age to be around 60 years, so she’s still very young in tortoise terms.
Pawpaw, cucumber, melons, bananas to name a few
When you visit ‘Miz T’, her only expectation is that you bring the nibbles
Her favourite treats are freshly picked Pawpaw and … cucumbers, believe it or not!
With grunts and groans of pleasure, twisting and bending her long neck to get to that next piece of fruit, she’ll happily sit with you for most of the day.
A couple of hours quickly pass, and on the last chunk of cucumber the trio say their farewells.
But that’s not before ‘Miz T’ insists that Zara take a photo of them both… for Facebook I think.
Brandon spots several bunches of bananas and ensures the vehicle is loaded up before the drive home.
Heading back up the hill, although the pair were pretty exhausted, from out of the blue, in unison they yell… “Let’s not forget to shut the gate!”