Posted by: catamarantwooceans | May 14, 2017

Pitcairn Island Visit

8.5.17 – Monday – After we were securely anchored we took the dinghy to what they call here “ship landing point”, a rather small basin with a dock and a ramp for launching their long-boats, which are kept in a boat-house on shore.

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There was a large welcoming party, which included a doctor to check we were not carrying any contagious malady, a policeman, representatives of the agricultural department and the tourism office. Somebody suggested that we take the dinghy out as the basin gets strong surge from the waves outside and this was done quickly with an hydraulic winch. 

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Once the formalities were completed we met the lady who was to take care of our needs on the island. Her name was Charlene and if I got it right, she is a descendant of Fletcher Christian, the leader of the Bounty mutineers.

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Adamstown, the island’s only settlement is up in the hill and to go there the locals use their A.T.Vs; Each of us boarded one and we were taken to Charlene and Wayne’s house.

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                                             Wayne

Wayne is originally from the Cook Islands; he came here years ago to build the place’s electrical system, got married and fathered five children. The plan was that we would be taken to the highest point of the island, walk back and then have dinner at their home. This gave us an opportunity to see the island’s rich vegetation and wild shoreline plus exercising our leg muscles after a long sea voyage.

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Back at our hosts’ home we were surprised to see that they invited more members of the family.

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Dinner over we received a large cardboard box with all kinds of fruit including a huge stalk of bananas. They treated us beautifully and our appreciation was not diminished by the fact that all that had a price and not a very cheap one. For the benefit of future visitors, here are the fees and cost: Island Entry – 50$ per person. One way drive to Highest Point – 50$ for the three of us. Dinner – 20$ pp. big fruit carton – 25$. Ride from boat to shore (return) on their boat – 50$ from Bounty Bay, 65$ from Down Rope for all pax. Three hours island tour – 50$ pp. Museum entry – 5$ pp. Internet – 10$ an hour pp.

Going back to the boat was performed in two rounds; one was Danny and the fruit the second Zulu and I. By the time we got back the sea livened up. waves were rocking our boat and the feeling was just as if we were on a passage.

9.5.17 – Tuesday – We passed a rocking and rolling night and in the morning there was no respite. I considered going to the Down Rope bay, just around the corner in the hope that it would be calmer over there, but then decided to go to the island first. We asked Charlene to arrange that their boat, having a 40 H.P outboard, would pick us up; waves were to big for our dinghy, especially for its lifting up when we came back. We went to the grocery store (open three times a week) and did some shopping. Zulu found the New Zealand equivalent of his favorite Marmite – yeast extract – on which he was raised during childhood. We then went to the tourism office, which is Melva’s domain, to use the internet. I was happy to be able to speak with Gili on WhatsApp, download the weather and publish the last four posts, which were waiting impatiently in my computer. Melva had married an American and lived in Alaska for quite a few years, coming back to the island five years ago.

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We had an interesting talk with her about a few things, including the Land ownership system and the local education system. Children go to preschool at five years of age, then school; reaching the eights grade they are sent to a boarding school in New Zealand. Many continue higher studies over there and many remain abroad. There are around 40 people on the island and there is a plan to bring in new people. Next we went to see the Museum, where many artifacts of Island life, as well as ones salvaged from the Bounty were on display. From there to the Post office, run by the ever busy and active Charlene. Zulu had the idea of sending his family members letters from the island, carrying the interesting and rare postage stamps of Pitcairn.

Lastly the three of us boarded our hosts A.T.V s and went on a tour. Most of the roads on the island are dirt roads, going up and down steep terrain through thick forest.

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The first site we visited was St. Paul pool, which is one of the most beautiful seascapes I have ever seen.

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Danny took the next picture in which you can see me kneeling down, not in prayer, just taking the picture above…

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                         The eastern part of St. Paul pool

Through a scenic pinnacle we watched Adamstown and then went to the last location – Tedside, on the northwest of the island, where they are building an alternative small boat harbor for times when Bounty Bay is closed by strong winds from the eastern sector.

We were taken back to our boat, which was being rocked by the waves even stronger than it was in the morning. we took the anchors up and motored to Down Rope bay. Finding the right spot was difficult because a cloud covered the sky, making it impossible to read the bottom; the point recommended by our hosts was too deep, 24 meters and in addition big swell rolled into the bay. We had no choice but to go back to Bounty bay for the night. Another boat came into the anchorage; a luxury motor vessel named “B Plan”. She was going to land about thirty people on the island the next day and the island’s population was busy organizing reception, market and tours.

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We sat down to consider the forecast. If we stayed another day, which was what we all initially wanted as there were some more locations on the island we wished to visit, we would have to stay until Friday to avoid contrary winds. Zulu thought that from the weather point of view we should leave immediately. The final decision was to wait for the next day, check weather again and then decide.

10.5.17 – Wednesday – We passed another unpleasant night in the anchorage. I woke up a few times during the night and finally in the morning felt that I could not stay another night there. Danny was in agreement, Zulu reminded me he said “leave” yesterday so the decision was taken.

Pitcairn is very special, the views, the island’s people and historical connections were fantastic. I am not overlooking the shadowy occurrences that took place on the island in 2004. Those interested can check it up on the web. Nowadays it is in the past and this blog is mostly about the present. I will always regard the Pitcairn visit as one of the most challenging and impressive I have ever done.

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