Monday, August 9th, 2010
What makes Pitcairn so special to us? Well, for starters, the island itself is strikingly beautiful. Pitcairn is a tall rock rising steeply out of the sea far from anywhere with a rocky and mostly inaccessible coastline, lush green valleys filled with banana trees and pandanaus palms, breathtaking ocean views, sparkling turquoise blue water at St. Paul’s pool, regal Norfolk pines dotting the tops of hills.
It could be the island’s history, including the Polynesian history of Pacific navigation, exploration and settlement before 1400 plays a part. Certainly at the top of the list is the story of the famous Bounty mutiny in the late 1700s and the ongoing story of the folks who have called this island “home” since 1790. It could be due in part to the fact that we have just sailed 3,000 miles under canvas across and down the wide South Pacific to reach Pitcairn.
But even with all of the above it is most certainly the Pitcairners themselves and how they make us sailors feel so welcome. Although heirs to a centuries old legacy of back to the land life on this storied island, each living soul there now has made a conscious decision to live the unique rugged lifestyle that is necessary in this remote place. Our crew find that the people of Pitcairn are a lot like us- in our world on the Picton Castle – all hands rely on each other because they have to, they must conserve resources and can make or fix anything from anything. They know each other well, tease each other (and us) mercilessly, and pull together when called upon.
When our crew first came ashore after a thrilling ride in the big longboat, each met their host family at the concrete jetty of the Landing in Bounty Bay (seas bashing spray over the black volcanic rocks where the Bounty met her end), threw their bags and themselves on the back of a 4-wheel ATV (known on Pitcairn as “bikes”) and drove up the steep switch backing ‘Hill of Difficulty’ on their way to their new home for two days. From that point, each crew member had a somewhat different experience ashore as they were involved with the lives of their hosts. We had been told, as Picton Castle approached Pitcairn, that everyone on the island was trying to get all of their work done before our arrival so that we could all relax and spend time together during our visit, so it wasn’t quite business as usual
when we were there. We were, however, part of all sorts of island fun.