Pitcairn : Meeting the descendants of the Bounty mutineers
Located in the dazzling blue Pacific waters between Tahiti and Easter Island, the tiny, remote island of Pitcairn is thousands of kilometres from the nearest continent and so isolated that it is only accessible by sea.
It all started in 1767. Two Englishmen called Wallis and Carteret were commissioned by the Admiralty to ‘discover’ the southern continent in the vast Pacific Ocean and became the first Europeans to reach the island of Tahiti. Later the same year, as they rounded Cape Horn, a storm separated Wallis’ ship, ‘the Dolphin’, from commander Philip Carteret’s ship, the Swallow. As the ‘Swallow’ headed north, on July 2nd, 1767, seaman Robert Pitcairn spotted a high island. But the swell was too strong, the sky too dark, and the English ship couldn’t get close. Even the position Carteret recorded for the island wasn’t accurate. The name of its “discoverer”, Pitcairn, was nevertheless given to the island, as tradition required. 20 years went by before it gained lasting notoriety in the story of the mutineers of the Bounty.
With all the capabilities of a freighter, the Aranui 5 offers a new, elegant and comfortable way to visit the island. Located on the smallest British territory, Pitcairn has a population of just 50 people. These are the descendants of the first European settlers on Pitcairn, the mutineers of HMS Bounty and their Polynesian companions. Visitors to this isolated island at the edge of the world can mingle with these local families and discover the culture and history of the island as it is lived today.
If you are looking for an adventure that gives meaning to the expression “off the beaten path”, this is the faraway paradise you might be seeking.
200 years after the arrival of the Bounty, the island is still inhabited by the descendants of the mutineers. The tomb where Fletcher Christian lies is always visible.
Pitcairn, in the footsteps of the Bounty mutineers
After the Master’s Mate Fletcher Christian cast adrift Commander William Bligh in the ship’s boat, the mutineers sailed the Bounty back to Tahiti, then onwards to the Austral Islands, eventually seeking refuge on what was then an uninhabited island secure from the outside world, Pitcairn. As part of their crew, they took with them six Tahitian men and twelve women, the beginnings of the current Pitcairn community. Upon their arrival in January 1790, the crew found Pitcairn to be an inaccessible and uninhabited place but with fertile and warm conditions. After removing their possessions and lugging everything up the aptly named Hill of Difficulty, the Bounty was run ashore and set ablaze so that no trace of her would remain visible from the sea. A village was established on the lower plateau, situated above Bounty Bay, where the village of Adamstown stands today. Although he lived in this isolated sanctuary only a few years, Fletcher Christian is fondly remembered as the founder and first leader of modern-day Pitcairn.
Oeno, the birds' island
Named after an American whaler, Oeno is considered an atoll, although the main island, approximately 15 ft. high can be found in its lagoon. Designated as an Important Bird Area, it is home to different bird species, most notably its colony of Murphy’s Petrels, estimated to be the second largest in the world.
Though uninhabited, Oeno Island is used for two weeks in January as a private holiday site by the people of Pitcairn Island who travel the 90 miles by long boat. Aranui 5 will spend half a day in Oneo, where guests will have the opportunity to explore the island.