10 things you might not know about Pitcairn

Roxana Acosta Sosa 22 December 2020 949 views 8 min. read
Pitcairn island map

shows it is formed by five islands in the middle of the South Pacific, of which only one, the Pitcairn, is inhabited. It is just 2.5 square miles in area and is the least populated national subdivision in the world. If it were to become independent from the United Kingdom, it would not only be the least populated country on the planet but in all of history. However, although it is such a small and isolated territory, it accumulates some curiosities that make it one of the most interesting destinations in the entire Pacific Ocean. If you want to know exactly where is Pitcairn island and many other things you might not know about it, we invite you to read this post.

1. Where is Pitcairn island?

ticketWhere is Pitcairn Island

? It is an archipelago that is part of Polynesia in Oceania. Of the five islands that compose it, only the so-called Pitcairn is inhabited. It is the only British colony left in the Pacific Ocean and is considered one of the world's most remote places. In case you travel to Pitcairn Island, the closest inhabited islands are Easter Island, 2,000 kilometers to the east, and Mangareva Island, 500 kilometers to the west. Thus, regardless of what the Pitcairn island map shows, politically, it is a British Overseas Territory, the British Empire's colonial remains. It appears on the list of 16 territories that, according to the UN, are pending decolonization.  The island's capital is Adamstown, named after John Adams, mutineer on the Bounty. It is the smallest official capital in the world and is the only town on the island. Only 9 families reside. Still, travel to Adamstown Pitcairn islands it's quite an adventure.

2. The Pitcairn Island population is only 50

50

In the 15th century, the Pitcairn island people were Polynesians, but upon being rediscovered by Europeans in 1767, the island was deserted. In 1790, mutineers from the British Navy's HMS Bounty, along with their fellow Tahitians, settled on the island. Although they learned to survive well, disease and violence sparked conflict. One of the causes of violence between the Pitcairn island people was based on the fact that there were fewer women than men. However, in 1831 the islanders left Pitcairn to emigrate to Tahiti but returned six months later because they could not adapt to the new island. So it was that in 1838, Pitcairn finally became the first British Pacific colony. It was also the first territory to recognize the right to vote for women. And so it became one of the most narrated and filmed events in books and movies of the last 250 years: The Mutiny on the Bounty. Today, all the Pitcairn island people are related to each other and follow puritan customs that include alcohol and dancing prohibition. The language spoken by the Pitcairn island population is the Creole language derived from the 18th century and English. Nowadays, the Pitcairn island population is just about 50 inhabitants, becoming the least populated country in the world according to the 2018 census. There are currently only seven children in the island's school (education is compulsory and free until the age of 16).

3. The island has no ports or airports

beach sand

Surely you wonder if you can travel to Pitcairn Island, and the answer is yes. Still, an island of volcanic origin, with a coastline full of cliffs and a maximum altitude of 346 meters above sea level, has no ports or airports. So how to get to Pitcairn Island? Its only access is Bounty Bay.  There are no paved roads, just roads where some all-terrain vehicles circulate. It also has no rivers or lakes, so drinking water is collected from the rain in cisterns. Despite this, if you are an adventurer you can visit Pitcairn island, although getting there will take at least three days. To answer how to get to Pitcairn Island you must first get to Tahiti by plane, but not every airport offers the service; that is the first obstacle.

How to visit Pitcairn island?

flight to pitcairn island

The flight usually makes a transfer in Los Angeles, United States. When you finally manage to reach Tahiti, it turns out that you are still far from Pitcairn, so you must take a flight to Monica Raiva, the island with the closest airport to Pitcairn Island, but there, only leaves one plane a week. The flight to Monica Raiva takes about five hours. Once there, you still have to travel about 531 kilometers of distance. It would help if you took a supply ship, the only one that sets sail for the island once every three months. So keep in mind the flight and the ship departure dates if you want to travel to Pitcairn Island.         If you have coordinated everything to perfection and arrived in Monica Raiva just before the supply ship left for Pitcairn, about 32 hours of sea navigation await you until you finally reach the long-awaited island, where you will be received with kindness and cordiality by its few inhabitants, who even give you free land to build, in case you want to stay with them. I know the journey is quite long and is even tiring, but the destination is worth it; you will find nice things to do on Pitcairn island, the cordiality and kindness of the people will make you fall in love, and above all, nature will hook you greatly. The island is a very quiet place, of course, partly due to its small population, but, in general, it is a pleasant place away from the human endeavor and its follies. It is an excellent place to do a kind of personal retreat, and beware! The ship that took you there only passes once every three months.

4. The Pitcairn island people is about just 4 families

sunset

The first Piticairn islander of birth was Thursday, October Christian, Fletcher Christian's son, mutineers leader, and so-called because he was born on a Thursday in October. He died at age 40 after emigrating to Tahiti. During 1937 the Pitcairn island population increased slowly to 230 inhabitants, but emigration, mainly to New Zealand, has depopulated the colony to the current 50 inhabitants. As we mentioned earlier, many of these Pitcairn inhabitants are direct mutineers descendants; There are only four families on Pitcairn, the Fletchers, Warren, Young, and Brown, all of whom are also the Bounty's descendants. In 1856 the island population was 193 inhabitants, which exceeded the capacity to sustain it, so the inhabitants asked for help from Great Britain, which moved them all to Norfolk Island. Eighteen months later, 17 people returned to the island, followed by another 27 more, five years later.

5. In 2004 the first prison was built

prison

If you travel to Adamstown Pitcairn islands you will see that although it is a tiny island with few people living there, in 2004 a jail had to be built. A place like Pitcairn may sound idyllic, but the truth is that it has many shades. In 2004, seven Pitcairn men were charged with minors' sexual abuse, including Mayor Governor Steve Christian. The trial uncovered decades of tolerance about sex with minors and promiscuity, something not very strange on a lost island in the middle of the Pacific where contact with the outside is limited. The defense cited local custom and the island's invalidity of British laws on sex with minors, but six of the seven defendants were sentenced to prison terms of up to six years. The island's population was divided by the incarceration of most of the adult male population, especially the island's women. None of the convicts came to serve their entire sentence, and the prison is now a hostel.

6. Things to do on Pitcairn island

big island

If you visit Pitcairn island you will see that it has a cafe, a warehouse where food is sold to order from New Zealand, a school, a clinic, a post office, and a police station, but it is an interesting destination. Now that you know how to visit Pitcairn island, you can be one of the 100 tourists that arrive per year. Mostly the inhabitants travel the island on foot, which means that it is a perfect place for hiking and touring the entire island. At the same time, you watch and delight yourself with its incredible natural landscapes that undoubtedly captivate anyone. Also, you can visit the art gallery where you can find handicrafts, do shopping, a small museum, visit the church, but one of the most interesting things to do on Pitcairn island is visit the ship that the mutineers of the Bounty burned when they arrived at the island so that no one would find them. The remains of this ship still exist today.  The Bounty is still one of Pitcairn's main attractions, and divers dive to view the anchor and other wreckage. If you desire to visit it, you can find out its main attractions on the tourism website and get ready to exchange your currency for New Zealand dollars. https://www.visitpitcairn.pn/

7. Pitcairn's population survives thanks to tourism

tourists

Although the Pitcairn island map's visibility is almost impossible, since 2010 ten cruise ships a year stop for a few hours on the remote island, providing them with about 80% of their income. A government-run ship brings tourists to and from Mangareva, in the French Gambier Islands. The manufacture of souvenirs and the production of honey and fruit, together with stamps and coins for collectors, complete the local economy. Visit Pitcairn Island to see its valleys, which have very fertile land. Thanks to this, many fruits and vegetables are produced, including bananas, watermelons, yams, and beans. The inhabitants of this small island survive thanks to fishing, agriculture, and crafts. The island's workforce is made up of only 15 men and women. Every day the inhabitants go fishing, either from the rocks, from a fishing boat, or diving with a harpoon rifle as there is a great variety of fish such as Nanwee, Whitefish, Moi, and Opapa, which are caught in shallow water, while Snapper, Big Eye, and Cod are caught in deep water and Yellow Tail and Wahoo are caught by drift boat to be consumed or sold.

8. The island has a tropical climate

pitcairn island

In case you plan to travel to Pitcairn island, we can say that it has a tropical climate, taking into account that it is located just below the Capricorn Tropic and has warm temperatures throughout the year. Average annual temperatures are 25 to 35º C, ranging from October to April, while in winters the temperature ranges from 17º to 25º C. Average humidity in summer can exceed 95%. The rainy season is from November to March.

9. The island has an interesting fauna and flora

interesting flowerTravel to Adamstown Pitcairn islands

to see the nine plant species such as the tapau, which in ancient times was an important source of wood and the giant nehe fern (Angiopteris chauliodonta). Some, like the raspberry, are very close to extinction. The Pitcairn Islands are one of only two places where Glochidion pitcairnense plants are present, the other is Mangareva. Also, now that you know how to get to Pitcairn island, you will see Turpen, a Galapagos tortoise. A protection order made it a crime for anyone to kill or harm the turtle. On the island, you can also find different types of birds such as the Australian tern (Sternula nereis), the Saint Felix's tern (Anous stolidus), and Redstart Redstart (Phaethon rubricauda). The Pitcairn cockatoo (Acrocephalus vaughani), also known to residents as 'sparrows', are endemic to the Pitcairn Islands; Formerly it was common, but since 2008 they were declared an endangered species.     

10. Pitcairn Island Flag

pitcairn island flag

The Pitcairn Islands also has its flag. Despite their small population, they are a British overseas territory, and the flag was adopted on April 2, 1984. You will see it if you travel to Adamstown Pitcairn islands.     This flag is a version of the British blue one, which contains the Union Jack or Union Flag, the United Kingdom official flag, in the canton and incorporates the archipelago shield. On the shield, there is an anchor that is the representation of the Bounty ship. The blue ensign is the flag most used by British agencies and some British institutions that are governmental. Some countries, former colonies of the United Kingdom, such as Australia or New Zealand, today use the blue ensign design on their national flags. We hope this blog could be helpful in case you have been wondering how to visit Pitcairn island. On the other hand, in case you want to do something more than visit Pitcairn island, i. e., if you are a person who wants to have a safe job, a safe and quiet life away from everything and technically from everyone, live in harmony with nature, Pitcairn Island is one of the places to keep in mind for this task. On the other hand, if what you are worried about is not having the money to buy a piece of land to build on, don't worry about that; it doesn't matter. The land on the island is given to those who want to live on it; the only thing you have to give to obtain it is a profession or occupation that benefits the community.

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