The residents of Tristan da Cunha, a hundred people of different races, were used to living in a uncontaminated and isolated environment, making the most of all the resources that nature offered them.
The crew, made up of Ligurian sailors used to earning their daily bread, to honor the saying “Mainà nu ghe travaggio che u nu sagge fa”, immediately set to work to return the hospitality. With the wood recovered from the wreck, the crew built a sidewalk along the only road of the island, lined with simple shacks, to avoid stepping on the mud during the rainy season. Later they installed fences to house livestock (especially cows and sheep to get milk, wool and fertilizer for the cultivation of potatoes, one of the basic sources of sustenance for the islanders) and began to teach the islanders the use of nets and lines recovered after the shipwreck.
In the few months spent on the island, our sailors worked side by side with the islanders to improve living conditions and encourage the development of their businesses. Two of them found love and decided to stay on the island, continuing their legacy: Andrea Repetto and Gaetano Lavarello.
Thanks to the journalist Josè Crovari, Camogli began an exchange of information that lasted for a long time, allowing us to follow – we can say “daily” – life on the island.
Later we sent a first aid kit in use on the ships and one day we received the photo of the “Camogli Hospital”. And how can we forget the arrival of the Chief in Camogli?
Even now we continue to write emails to Tristan’s friends, convinced that a part of the heart of our city has “emigrated” to a remote island in the Atlantic. Gianfranco Repetto, descendant of one of the castaways, visited the island in 2019. Through his photo diary we can get an idea of how the island looks today.