French Polynesia | Pitcairn Island | Part 2

Wendy PriestlyPostcards0 Comments

PMC Postcard StampHi PMC Members,

After a few days we are able to drop anchor and enjoy the warm waters and white sands on a few of the very small inhabited islands.

Most of the islands require a short zodiac trip across some moderate swells to reach our destinations.However our safety is assured by the skilled engineers who know when to tell you to jump into the zodiac and when to jump out so you do land on the back deck safely.Then we have our Zodiac skilled driver to ensure that we surf the waves to land on the beach without getting too wet on the trip to land. On one such island stop we are welcomed with the locals giving us a most impressive dance welcome.

Many of the larger islands have trade schools to teach students local trades of shell carving and pearl setting and harvesting. These are local skills which can keep young people employed at home. Some of the products are sold directly to visitors at much reduced prices with no middle man pricing, as in the main city centres.

Another 2 days sailing and we reach the only island of French Polynesia still ruled by Britain, the famous Pitcairn Island and its main town of Adamstown, where the Bounty mutineers after putting Captain Bligh and half of the crew in a small boat and set them adrift while Fletcher Christian sailed to find Pitcairn island – not the Anthony Hopkins and Mel Gibson movie story. The mutineers landed around 1790 and some of their decendants have lived since then and now under direct British rule. On arrival anyone can see why the island was chosen by Fletcher Christian as a safe haven. It is the remains of an old volcano and there is only one beach which has a cliff face rising above it. Any vessel coming toward Pitcairn can be seen for miles around. This meant that the Pitcairn mutineers and their Tahitian companions were undiscovered till 1808, by which time all but John Adams were killed and he was the last remaining mutineer. He had set up a school for the children and their text book was the saved bible from the Bounty. The Bounty was gutted and sunk by the mutineers in the “harbour” so there was no means of leaving the island.

The walk up “The Hill of Difficulty” is one way to get to the top of the island and Adamstown, or you can take the local transport of the buggie that Pirate Pete invites all to try.

Many of the sights on Pitcairn Island are very historic and carry the traditions of the Bounty into the present. The Bounty anchor sits proudly in the centre of the town square.

Pirate Pete takes us to the highest point on the Island to show us the memorial plaques with the list of names of the the British mutineers and those of the Tahitians who joined them and came to Pitcairn Island.

We now return to our ship and farewell Pitcairn Island for the 3 days cruising to Easter Island.

Regards

Wendy Zirins (Priestly)