A little known passenger service direct from Tauranga to French Polynesia is preparing for the next departure on Friday May 14.
Stoney Creek Shipping Company owner, Nigel Jolly
The Claymore II is expected to take two weeks on the voyage to Pitcairn Island, to be followed by a stop off at Mangareva in French Polynesia.
Owned by Nigel Jolly of the Palmerston North-based Stoney Creek Shipping Company, The Claymore is under contract to the British Government and the Pitcairn Islands administration.
“We have serviced Pitcairn Island since 2002 with the boat next door called Braveheart,” says Nigel.
The Stoney Creek Shipping Company was established to take people to out-of-the-way places about the south pacific and the sub Antarctic.
“Film makers, scientists, bird watchers, administrators, all these sorts of people to remote locations so they can carry out whatever is in their hearts,” says Nigel.
“Because Pitcairn is a remote location, the British Government got to hear of us and asked if we could help them out at some stage.”
It was at the beginnings of the troubles with court cases on the Island.
“We took the British police out to investigate, then we took the lawyers and the counsellors,” says Nigel.
“We took all the material to build the jail, and once they had built the jail we took the judge and the prosecutors.”
Some of the accused were extradited from other countries and Braveheart took them as well, and their police escort.
When the six convicted men were sentenced Braveheart also took the prison guards to Pitcairn Island for their three month tours.
He’s happier now things are back to normal.
“It’s a lovely place and they are really nice people,” says Nigel. “Now things are back to normal over there, there is a big resurgence of young people building houses and expansions going on.”
The Claymore II was purchased in August 2009. She is a ferry as well as a supply ship, and carries passengers from Pitcairn to and from the nearest airport, 400 nautical miles to the north east at Mangareva. The trip from Pitcairn to Mangareva takes 32 hours.
The voyage from New Zealand to Pitcairn takes 14 days. There are nine crew and on the larger ship there is accommodation for 12 passengers.
The 48 metre Claymore II is suited for extensive voyages. She was built in Germany in 1966 to service the navigation buoys in the waterways opening into the Baltic Sea., Claymore II has an ice strengthened hull, because the Baltic freezes from time to time.
The large derrick on the foredeck was originally used to lift the buoys out of the water so they could be worked on, on the foredeck.
“While they were doing that, the ship would stay on location and take over the navigation role,” says Nigel. “I bought it from South Africa.”
Contact Nigel, or the Pitcairn Island Informationa Office in Auckland or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org