Day 13: Pitcairn Island

Pitcairn Island

Pitcairn Island today! After the information sheet we had received the evening before detailing the dangers of going ashore in the Pitcairners’ longboat, from signing your life away before descending the ship on a rope ladder to being bounced about in the severe waves while going to shore, there was a hum of nervous chatter at breakfast! Some declaring they would go at any cost, some who would never consider it, etc. So we eagerly awaited finding out if we would be allowed to go to shore. Unfortunately, the answer was ‘NO’. The seas were just too wild for Captain Erik to allow us to attempt it.

As we approached Pitcairn, I turned my GPS on for the fun of it and checked what the next closest waypoint to here would be; would you believe Adamstown, the only ‘settlement’ (won’t call it a town!) on Pitcairn Island, is actually in my cities waypoints?!?!

The boatshed and jetty is downhill and to the left of Adamstown. All approaches to the island are STEEP and it is surrounded by some serious ocean with big swell – which become big crashing waves as they hit the island.
Pitcairn Island Pitcairn Islander's longboat
Today even the Pitcairners had trouble getting aboard the ship; they were unable to board when we were opposite Adamstown. the ship and the longboat travelled to the other side of the island to try to get less violent ocean in the lee-ish side (it didn’t seem to make much difference!), and eventually the islanders made it on board. While we were re-positioning, I took some photos of travel bugs with Pitcairn in the background just to prove they had all been there!

The Pitcairners set up an impromptu market in the Carousel Lounge, and it was chaos! People wanted to by and chat – all at once. It must have been strange for them – from a small community of less than 50 people isolated in the middle of the ocean to being swamped by hundreds of people! I couldn’t cope with the crowd, so sat near the entry where Simon & Shirley had set up and I just listened from a distance. They had been on the island for 5 years: he was from Yorkshire and she was from LA. I didn’t have any US$, so mum bought me a t-shirt and some postcards & stamps. I addressed and posted off 5 of these so they could get into the Pitcairn Island post. The islanders left at around 5pm, although 2 stayed aboard as they are ‘catching a lift’ to Easter Island, then flying from there to a conference on Pitcairn Island.

The ship followed the long boat around the island to ensure they made it safely home. TS & I met on the Lido Deck and while having beers we saw them disappear into the surf near the jetty and eventually saw figures near the ATVs. TS & I watched the lights ashore as Pitcairn Island disappeared behind us.