Income on Pitcairn Island

The 10 most important things one should learn and do whilst on Pitcairn

Hot Water
Trading
Fishing
Pota
Fly a Kite
Unna a Coconut
Down the God
Swimming
Nola Reynolds
Miz T

Trading On-Island

Secondary income for islanders is trading souvenirs and the like, with cruise ship passengers. On average we get 8 cruise ships a year. Of the 8 at least 2 will get their passengers ashore. Typically these are the smaller expedition type ships with 100 – 150 passengers and that number again in crew. Otherwise we will go out to the ship and trade on-board.

There's an art to trading on-island. Where you setup your table can make the difference on the day. The 3 key areas are;

1. Down on the landing.

2. There’s a couple of hundred metres of main road through Adamstown from which to choose an advantage spot. This could be beside a large tree offering shade from the sun for customers or on the few grass verges along the way providing a soft green carpet for those admiring your wares. For the last few years we’ve set ourselves up outside the General Store. Although the stores not open on the day, it has a large awning providing additional shelter to our gazebo.

3. The third location is within the ‘Square’. Typically passengers ashore will head here and decide their day. Totally under cover, lots of seating and tables, with the Post Office right beside.

Most ships like to arrive, be anchored and start moving passengersed by 8am. This means locals are up and ready for action by day break. Trading tables need to be setup, then able body persons down to the landing, to assist should the ship require our longboats to help shuttle passengers.

Zara was eager to manage our table whilst Heather welcomed passengers ashore in her role as 'Tourism Coordinator, and I would assist in the longboat.

Pitcairn Island, Big Flower - First cruise ship of the season
The first cruise ship of the season...
and they're bringing passengers ashore

Down at the landing Heather and I watch as the ship drops anchor and decides whether to use its tenders or our longboat.

Pitcairn Island, Big Flower - Preparing the trading area
The first cruise ship of the season...
and they're bringing passengers ashore

Meanwhile Zara, Darrin and Brandon are putting finishing touches to our trading area.
Darrin sweeps Pitcairn’s dried mud from around our table, whilst Brandon demolishes a local fruit called “Snow Fruit” for breakfast.

Pitcairn Island, Big Flower - Brandon's breakfast
Brandon's breakfast
'Snow Fruit'
Pitcairn Island, Big Flower - Snow fruit
The flesh is soft and like a spider web.

Zara uses a length of dark material as a table cloth on which she arranges jewellery and soap, our key wares. The dark cloth makes both products stand out. Its velvety look and feel, provides a sense of ‘plushness’ to the jewellery. Zara’s pretty confident we’ll be able to pay the bills come the end of day.

Pitcairn Island, Big Flower - Setting up the trading table
Zara and Darrin setting up the trading table
Pitcairn Island, Big Flower - Second attempt at the trading table
After a second attempt Zara
confident the tables just right

It takes Zara several attempts before she satisfied with her arrangement. Then it’s sit and wait for the first wave of visitors.

Pitcairn Island, Big Flower - First customers
The tables good, now where's the customers

Passengers tend to arrive ashore in lots of 40, after which they walk or are taken by quad bike to the top of the Hill of Difficulty. From there they’ll scroll along the main road towards the Square… to get there they must pass ‘ZARA’.

Pitcairn Island, Big Flower - Zara waiting for customers
The first customers arrive

The first group starts to arrive, and things don’t quite go as anticipated. Sales are not really happening although there’s a lot of positive feedback.

Pitcairn Island, Big Flower - Nola Warren gives advice
Nola Warren gives expert advice on trading

Fortunately Nola Warren turns up to give moral support and provide expert advice on arranging a table. With slight adjustments made, the tide begins to turn. By the end of the day Zara’s made a handful of Dollars, Pounds and Euro’s and farewelled a lot of very satisfied customers.

Pitcairn Island, Big Flower - Money made
It's been a long day but worth it!

Come 4 o’clock we’re all back up at Big Flower and watching the ship hove to as it prepares to head towards Tahiti. On our minds right now… we need to make more jewellery before the next ship arrives!

Pitcairn Island, Big Flower - End of day
Ok - what's next?
Make more jewellery fast!