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Last on

Sat 18 Jan 2014 15:45 BBC Radio 4

15 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 28 December 2013

It may be the most isolated inhabited place on earth. Palmerston Island in the South Pacific is visited by a few yachts each year and the occasional container ship. Otherwise, the 62 inhabitants are untroubled by the outside world.
Thomas Martienssen makes the 8-day yacht journey to meet the native Palmerstonians, who are all descendants of an Englishman, William Marsters, who settled on the island in the 19th century with his three Polynesian "wives". He hears about the strong Christian faith of the islanders, listens to the ballad recounting the story of the community's founder and learns how they regularly salvage the wreckage of boats which have come to grief on the coral reefs. And he hears how fishing, the island's only source of commercial income, may now be threatened by over-exploitation of fish stocks. How long can the Palmerstonians continue to survive on their island at the end of the world?
Producer: Julie Ball.


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