National Geographic : 1957 Dec
754 From This Cave Fletcher Christian Anxiously Scanned the Sea Tradition says the mutineer retired to his high look out to watch for ships "half in fear, half in hope." Trees screened the opening in Christian's day. "Not yet," I admitted. "Why, man, you've not eaten Pitcairn food." All these I savored in time. Humpus-bum pus is made of mashed ripe bananas with arrowroot flour, fried as fritters or baked. Flora told me about Eddie, bananas cooked in coconut milk. "It's not Eddie the name," she said, "but they put it that way. Eddie-that's Lucy's husband-he like it, so that's why they call it for him." China-in-the-milk is another favorite way of preparing green bananas in coconut milk; potta is made by stewing taro greens in the same liquid. Goat Fence Divides the Island As the days went by, I became more and more absorbed into the life of the community. Allen Wotherspoon, the schoolteacher, had started a men's and a ladies' club. One night I attended a meeting of the former. Anything may be discussed. One man said that people should not shoot "white birds," the lovely terns that fly in pairs along the cliffs. Another brought up the question of whether or not a small boat should be built to make use of a 12-horsepower gasoline en gine that had been left on the island by an American scientist. Most men thought this not practical because of the difficulty of ob taining gasoline, since ships refuse to carry it. Lighting plants and other engines on the island run on diesel fuel. Then someone brought up the question of goats. The chairman looked resignedly heavenward and everyone laughed. Goats are a sore point on Pitcairn. The original goats were probably imported by the mutineers. There are now 400-odd goats on Pitcairn, confined to the southern half of the island by a five-foot-high fence. Anti-goat Pitcairners say: "They nuisances, do lots of damage." Pro-goaters say, with Flora: "If war come, ships cut right off, and we'll go stranded with no meat." Pitcairners re member vividly the war years, when they were almost completely isolated. A goatmaster, elected each year, is in charge of all island goats. With eight helpers he brands the new kids as they come along. No household may keep more than two breed ing nannies. The goatmaster also organizes shoots when the people need fresh goat meat.