HAL 2019 World – Day 21-23 Sea Days and Pitcairn Island

February 14, 2019 Paul Groves

Today, day 23, we reached Pitcairn Island.  It is the last British overseas territory in the Pacific.  It is just one of four volcanic islands that comprises the Pitcairn Islands group. There are no usable landing sites for us on the island so there were no excursions.

You probably would never have heard of Pitcairn had it not been for the legendary mutiny on the Bounty which occurred on April 28, 1789.  The mutineers, led by Christian Fletcher, and their Tahitian companions (approx 27 people) took control of the Bounty and stranded Captain Bligh and his supporters on one of the ship’s small boats (Bligh’s leadership and navigational skills during this time were remarkable and worth reading about).  The Bounty sailed away and eventually ended up at Pitcairn island.  Fearing discovery by searching vessels, they burned the Bounty the remains of which still lie in Bounty Bay today (picture with the green boathouse).  Sadly the remains can only be seen by scuba divers, however, its anchor and ship’s bible are on display in a small museum on the island.  

The remains of the Bounty are in the bay below the slant-roofed boathouse.

On the right side of the island is a tall stone cliff with a cave called “Christian’s Cave”.  It is said that Christian Fletcher used to spend a lot of time here watching for approaching search vessels.

Approximately 50 people, of which almost all are descendants of the Bounty mutineers, still live on the island today. When our ship arrived most of the islands’ population jumped into a longboat with their local wares to sell and set up shop on board our ship.  Items in demand were postcards/stamps (the next mail ship arrives in the middle of March so items mailed today won’t even leave Pitcairn until then!) and getting your passport stamped.  Apparently they produce an excellent honey but we didn’t see any for sale.  After three hours, the visitors packed up what little they did not sell (along with much needed supplies such as potatoes and onions from the ship’s stores) and went back to their island.  We then sailed away towards Tahiti, our next stop.

The triangular cave in the top two photos are Christian’s cave.

Since all of our sea days are pretty much the same, we will include them in our day count but will only discuss them when some interesting event occurs.