Personal Health and Well-being questions
Have you found that you have gained weight on the Pitcairn Island diet or lost weight?
Some people gain weight, including us! We walk everyday in an effort to keep weight off. We go out at about 6:30am and often walk down to the harbour at the Landing and back before breakfast. It’s much cooler then. In the winter when it was too dark early in the morning we had to go after school.
To walk from the house to the Landing takes about 25 minutes. Often the road is very muddy and slippery. If this is the case we ride the quad bike to the start of the concrete road and leave the quad bike there. From there the road is concreted right down to the Landing and takes about 15 minutes to walk.
It takes about an hour and a half to two hours to walk around the island. To walk up and over the hill to Tedside takes about 70 minutes and then you can enjoy the little sandy cove there and walk back again. It makes a very nice outing on a weekend.
The food on the island tends to be plentiful and high in calories. The sweet potatoes and bananas will add weight quickly. If you want to eat salads with tomatoes, lettuce and cucumber you will need to grown your own.
What about dental check ups?
Get a thorough dental check up before coming here. There is dental equipment here on the island. From time to time a visiting dentist will come. It is usually about every two years. I have never had to have any dental work done while on the island but others have. They are still alive!
Does the medical clinic carry medications for many basic ailments?
Yes, it is a very well equipped clinic. The Medical Clinic opens 9.am on Sunday, Tues and Thurs. There is no need to make an appointment. The doctor just stays there until everybody has called. Phone or radio for Kevin if there is an emergency. Make sure your Tetanus is up to date before you come.
Have you found that sores / mosquito bites get infected easily on the island? Fungal infections? Tropical rash?
Mosquitoes bite all the time when you are in the gardening areas particularly in the early morning and evening. They are a problem in the summer months. During May, June, July we hardly saw any mosquitoes. When you are down at the Landing or swimming etc you will not see any mosquitoes. The Public Square area and the Church seem to be some of the worse areas. All of the government houses have insect screens over the windows. We often eat outside on the deck overlooking the ocean as we have a nice wooden table set. We light citronella candles to deter the mosquitoes.
No, we have not had any problem with fungal infections or tropical rashes. Cuts heal quickly and easily.
Have you experimented with any kind of alternative mosquito repellent such as tea tree oil mixed with olive oil?
Yes. This seems to work well. We have used 2-3 insect repellent sticks in the 8 months we have been here.
Have you found that people get the usual colds or flu on the island? I wondered if with less exposure to the rest of the world that there might not be as much of that type of thing?
We have been healthier on Pitcairn Island than we usually are. I have not seen anyone with a heavy cold or a cough. After a cruise ship calls there can be a run of flu symptoms. We get more sleep here. Because the power goes off at 10 pm we go to sleep earlier than we do in New Zealand. I think this contributes to the deep rested feeling I have living here. I also think the rich sea air makes you sleep more deeply. Our diet of fish and vegetables also is healthy. Of course we can all order sweets and chips and junk food if we choose to. Many of the older residents on Pitcairn are still very active and healthy.
Can you swim year round on Pitcairn Island?
I have not swum from 15th May through until 15th August as these months were a bit chilly for me. I love to swim and now that it is August I am swimming again. It is probably a bit cold for the local adults to swim though.
Do any of the islanders have hairdressing skills?
Yes. Michelle Christian cuts hair for $10 per cut. You can also ask her to do streaks etc. Bring your own colouring kit. She does a very good job.
Do you find the heat a problem? Is it difficult to sleep at night because it is hot?
Yes in summer it is hot. We have all the windows in the house open most of the year around. We also use fans. When we first arrived I found that my hands and feet were swollen with the heat and it took about 8 weeks to acclimatise. We sleep just with a sheet over us during the summer and a couple of light blankets in winter.
Is the humidity a problem?
Yes it can be. Goods can go mouldy quite quickly. Leather goods such as belts and bags go mouldy. As do wooden stirrers and bamboo placemats. Paper for the photocopier needs to be kept in a warm cupboard. Even the furniture and couch went mouldy and the bed often feels damp. We have an electric blanket which we switch on from time to time to air out the bed and dry it.