Pitcairn Island

Approaching Pitcairn Island

Pitcairn is probably the strangest place we visited on this trip.  It is a tiny island, the only inhabited one in the four widely scattered islands that make up the Pitcairn group.  The islands that comprise the group are Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno.  The group covers an area of several hundred square miles.  The group is located in the south Pacific ocean, and is farther from any continent than any other island in the world.  It is located about 1000 miles west of Easter Island and 1400 miles east of Tahiti.  The group is a British Overseas Territory, which is administered from Auckland, New Zealand.  Pitcairn is only 2 miles long and 1 mile wide, and the only approach is by sea.  The population here hovers near 50.

Pitcairn Island is best known as the place where the mutineers from the HMS bounty landed and then burned the ship, in 1790.  There is only one point where the island is accessible.  The island is so isolated that the mail ship come by only every three months. That is how they get all their supplies, although cruise ships generally make some donations as well.  Their only ocean-going transport is open, motorized long boats, which is what they use when they head over to Henderson Island to harvest the wood they use for their crafts.

The islanders make beautiful crafts, especially the wood carvings.  They come out to the cruise ship in their long boat and set up shop on board by the Lido pool, whereupon the cruise ship passengers go into the shopping equivalent of a feeding frenzy.

While the shopping frenzy was going on, the ship circled the island first in one direction, and then the other, so that the people who had balcony cabins could enjoy the view from their balconies.  Some of the views can be seen in this photo album.

Pitcairn Island is a novelty destination, and while it’s fun to say we’ve been there, to us it was not the big deal that it apparently is to some.  When we left, there were an amazing number of passengers wearing Pitcairn t-shirts.  Since you don’t get to go ashore, and there’s really nothing there if you do get ashore, it does not seem worth a return visit.

© Susan L. Stone 2015                   rovingstones@me.com