After we had studied the spurge, I though walking was relatively easy on this ridge, and I was able to look around me as I stepped. Big mistake. I was looking at Boatswainbird Island as I tucked my boot tip under a piece of rock . I went forward, my foot stayed behind, and I was tripped. But it did not stop there. I went head over heels , my hands stopped my head from getting a gash from the ground, but instead the palms were badly grazed. It must have only lasted a couple of seconds but I felt I would never stop turning; I think I somersaulted three times. I came to a halt when my ribcage bashed against the ground. I looked up and saw the other three looking at me helplessly. Stedson shouted “Are you all right?” I shouted back “Yes”, then stood up ….and winced. I looked at my hands covered in blood and bits of grit. I tried to move and my rib cage shrieked back at me. But we were miles from the car, there was no way to just call a halt, so I had to put up with the pain and walk on. As I moved more the first pain started to ease. It would come back a day or so later, just as I was getting ready to head off to St Helena on a rolling rocking ship.
The Letterbox looked temptingly close, but to get there we still had to drop down into a wide ravine and up the other side. We had several individual nests to check out as we progressed. The masked boobies were not particularly perturbed by our presence. One or two would move away from the nest as we approached, but hung around just out of arms reach. Some would defiantly sit on the nest and it was quite difficult to determine what was underneath.
We could not take the straight route onto Letterbox which would drop us too low and make us reach a dead end against a cliff. The Letterbox appeared like a fortress with sheer sides even on the landward side; our approach to it would be from the north west corner, which was a considerable hike from where we were. Eventually we did climb on top and the unevenness and raggedness of the lava fields disappeared.
On the RMS – First night at sea – When I Went To