Published: February 9th 2011February 9th 2011
Tuesday Feb 8th, 2011
South Pacific Ocean
Latitude 19 degrees 12 minutes south- Longitude 144 degrees 49 minutes west
Pitcairn Island is now 836 miles behind us, but the impact of our visit there is still fresh on my mind. We did not get to go ashore, but the inhabitants came onboard to sell their wares and give a very interesting presentation of their life on this remote island. The story of their struggle to survive for over two hundred years since Fletcher Christian and his mutineers ran the HMS Bounty ashore here in 1790 was fascinating and intoxicating. Direct descendants of those original 18 Royal Navy sailors and their Polynesian women; the 43 people who came onboard were a pleasant mix of island friendliness and blatant capitalism. There are only a total of about 60 people who live on the island, of which 10 are small children and they did not come. So, almost the entire population was onboard. They were willing to answer the many questions from inquisitive passengers and smiled sweetly while hawking their HMS Bounty t-shirts made in china and numerous other items of paraphernalia and memorabilia in an obvious effort to milk
the famous story of Captain Bligh and the mutiny. What really struck me was the fact that they were still living on this small island in the middle of nowhere and their obvious love for that rock and their lifestyle. They talked of their collective effort to survive and prosper is these modern times. No longer are they fugitives hiding from the wrath of the Royal Navy. These people have chosen to live here because they want to. The island is part of the British Commonwealth, so they are citizens of Great Britain and can go live in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada or any other part of the commonwealth. They did not view their life as a great hardship, but a rare gift in these hectic times. Of course, some people have left over the years, but there was actually one man we met who had moved there from London several years ago. They got the internet four years ago and that may influence some of their young people to leave in the future. However, we talked to 26 year old Andrew Christian, a 7th generation Fletcher Christian descendant. He was full of plans for the future of
Pitcairn Island and you could sense the tangible pride he felt in his home and his heritage. So, in the end I was left with an optimistic outlook for the future of Pitcairn and the survival of the people. They have a small hotel and tourists come on the freighter that arrives every three months. So, if you want to experience life in a completely different reality, away from all of the frantic hustle and bustle of our modern society, hop a freighter from New Zealand and go native.
Now, we are heading NW at a steady 18 knots, making almost 500 miles a day, toward Tahiti. Tomorrow we will arrive at this tropical island paradise that has fascinated so many. The mystical island of Moorea is the day after that. Fair weather and calm seas have greeted us so far on our voyage across the Pacific, let’s hope the magic continues!