National Geographic : 1949 Jan
The Yankee's Wander-world irving dOllnsOn As if on a Christmas Morning, Pitcairners Open Their Presents from a Generous World Not many vessels stop at isolated Pitcairn and, of those that do, Yankee is almost the only one that comes back regularly. On this tour she carried a ton of supplies, including clothes and household utensils. Pitcairn has to improvise so many tools that the vise (right) was especially appreciated. This collection was sent by the Boston Yacht Club, whose burgee is shown. Mrs. Johnson (back to window) presides; Norris Young, the island's magistrate, sits at her right. individuals, the Boston Yacht Club, and the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Pitcairners, as members of that church, never swear, but they have a way of using the word "please" as compellingly as a ringing oath. It was not long before we spotted the Pit cairn longboats, manned by some of the world's best oarsmen, coming out from their harborless, surfbound island to meet us. Ship's Doctor Doubles as Dentist Great was the welcome, for eight years and a war had separated us. Crew members, in vited into simple Pitcairn homes in cliff-top Adamstown, were given the best beds, always placed beside open windows, so they could en joy the breeze, stars, and waving palms. Their skins and laundry were washed in blessed hot water. They were stuffed with watermelons, chicken, and homemade bread. One of our crew grumbled, "Only one meal a day," but he soon learned that the "meal" lasted all day. Dr. Bothamley, who hadn't had much prac tice aboard ship, found himself the busiest man on physicianless Pitcairn. At a little dispensary run by an Adventist nurse he set up open clinic. Every Pitcairner, ill or well, had to see the doctor, if only to recite a vague symptom or recount a healed injury. Some complained of a nonexistent heart trouble. Many, surpris ingly, did have high blood pressure. "Doc" attended to scratches, gave advice on "fits," and removed four cysts; but he performed most nobly in the unaccustomed role of dentist. He had lots of work, for Pitcairn teeth had long gone unattended. Most patients required removal of jagged stumps left by clumsy amateur surgery.