Pitcairn IslandsFebruary 26 on the Pitcairn Islands ⋅ ⛅ 81 °F
After spending the first month of our trip in the same time zone, we are now racing at breakneck speed across a new time zone every day. This has resulted in Jeff and I being on the jogging track before 6am (that is NOT our favored time of day) walking as the sun rises.
This morning found us in Pitcairn Island in the South Pacific. We’ve been warned for weeks that a landing in Pitcairn Island is highly unlikely due to
typically rough seas and lack of a protected harbor. In fact, more people summit Mt. Everest in a year than people who are able to make a call into Pitcairn Island. Hmmmmm.... Our chances don’t look good, but we are being good sports in hopes of a little time on land after a number of days at sea.
Pitcairn Island probably sounds familiar primarily because of it’s location. Over 1000 miles from Tahiti, over 3000 miles from New Zealand and over 4000 miles from South America. I mean to tell you, we are a long way from everywhere!
This isolated volcanic island was sighted by early explorers in 1767 (these guys went everywhere with little idea of what they would encounter!) but was incorrectly charted. Thus, this island appeared on maps 200 miles away from where it actually was.
Now this brings me to the really exciting part of the story!
This miscalculation on the maps of the day made it a perfect hiding place. So comes the story of the Mutiny on the Bounty. After Fletcher Christian and a group of mutineers threw Captain Bligh and some of his loyal sailors off the Bounty to fend for themselves in a small boat, they sailed to Pitcairn Island to hide. If they were caught as mutineers, they would be hung. So they took up residence here along with several women they brought with them from Tahiti, married and started families.
They retrieved everything they deemed usable from the HMS Bounty, then set her afire and sunk her just off shore.
Although boarding the zodiacs from the ship was a bit of a challenge (I recognized that as I was getting ready to board the zodiac with the help of the extremely capable crew, and one second I was 3’ above the water and the next I was up to my knees in water still standing on the same step), we were deposited safely on land and got to explore this breathtakingly beautiful island-population 50. Yes, 50-most descendants of the mutineers. We walked up the “hill of difficulties” which was incredibly steep. The tiny town was welcoming and people were friendly. They get 2-5 cruise ships per year and a supply ship every 3-4 months. There is no air access here. You can imagine they are very happy to see some new faces.
It’s difficult to imagine what life here is like and we didn’t get too much chance to ask. Do they have game night? Covered dish dinners? Do they all get along? Or do they want privacy from people they know so well?
In any case, it was a great visit that was thought-provoking in many ways. The rugged beauty of this island will always stay with us.Read more