Pitcairn Islands: My Journey of a Lifetime
More people climb to the summit of Mount Everest in a year than stay on Pitcairn Island. I’m very proud of my Pitcairn Islands passport stamp, it tells a story. I have yet to find a friend or colleague with a Pitcairn Passport stamp!
I knew I was somewhere very different when an immigration officer stamped my passport with an arrival stamp and directly followed up with my departure stamp. I had only four precious days to soak up Pitcairn Island, a destination that is so unknown by most to the point that few can locate this island and the other three all uninhabited islands of, Henderson, Oneo and Ducie that make up the group of Pitcairn Islands.
The journey to Pitcairn is an exciting one. Starting with a flight to Tahiti. Most travellers to Pitcairn enjoy a few nights in Papeete before an early morning flight to the remote island of Tahitian Island of Mangareva. The weekly flight from Papeete to Mangareva takes four hours and connects with the Claymore 11 a freighter which transports both cargo and passengers to the legendary Island of Pitcairn. The Claymore 11 accommodates only 12 passengers. The “Kiwi” crew plus the well-travelled passengers are good company for the 36 hour journey.
Pitcairn Island is arguably one of the smallest and most isolated communities in the world. Barely 2 x 4 kms and rugged. For those living on Pitcairn even sighting an aircraft or a contrail is rare and indeed only about once a year. All visitors arrive and depart by sea just as it has always been from the early Polynesian explorers to the Bounty in the 18th century, whalers in the 19th century to the tourists of today.
Because there are no hotels or motels all accommodation is home stay with a local couple or family, a truly rich experience offering a fascinating insight into the lives of these resilient people.
Pitcairn Island is steeped in history of the HM Bounty, Tahiti, Fletcher Christian, Captain Bligh and legendary sea journeys. The island is humming in history and even the place names such as “Where Dick Fall”, “Break Im Hip”, and “Oh Dear” tell a story.
Pitcairn Island has less than 50 residents and because many travellers are seeking places “off the beaten track” it’s definitely a destination that has growing appeal.