Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Manners, Manners..everywhere…even Suwarrow National Park?

The  "cruise" vessel...my home for two weeks

It has been a very busy two weeks. I was asked by numerous media outlets to comment during the leadup to the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton about the protocol and etiquette which was likely to be in place for the event; and then to comment after the beautiful wedding about the etiquette, protocol, and dress standards which were evident during the ceremony and following proceedings. In short, I loved it all, the splendour of the occasion and the pomp and ceremony, albeit with a modern touch. And sharing the joy of an obviously loving couple.

Then it was Mother’s Day. And I received the annual requests for information from the media about how to combine a happy Mother’s Day with the dysfunctional family arrangements of separated families. My answer on all occasions is…with dignity and consideration for everyone involved. Sometimes it works…and sometimes it doesn’t…but there is always another year. And we mothers love being appreciated every day anyway!

And now I am off to explore the South Pacific. I am joining an expedition voyage which leaves from Rarotonga in the Cook Islands and two weeks later arrives in Apia in Western Samoa. On the way we visit a number of atolls and islands in the Suwarrow National Park.

Tom Neale fishing:  a photo from his book mentioned below

I am particularly interested to visit the island where the New Zealand “hermit” Tom Neale spent many years, alone, in the 1960s. His book “An Island to Oneself”is not only inspirational but fascinating in its raw accounts of life without others…and the manners he has to remember when he is rarely visited by passing vessels. The thought of seeing his “shack” and where he lived is exciting for me.

It is going to be an adventure for one who is as comfortable in five star resorts as I am on remote islands…but on a 53 feet long catamaran? As far as my companion, Damien,  and I know, there are at least five other people joining the expedition. We will have to assist with the on board duties, but I will draw the line at assisting with the mast and sails as I suffer vertigo…I will offer to cook in the galley! It will be a wonderful opportunity to see manners in their many guises: amongst those living within the close confines of a small vessel; and with the local families in whose homes we will stay on Palmerston and Pukapuka Islands.

I will share with you the details of my adventure on my return in four weeks.

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