A Special Treat

Trip Start Jan 05, 2011
1
13
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Trip End Apr 26, 2011


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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pitcairn Island, South Pacific, January 23, 2011, Sunday – Day 19
          
            Two days at sea to Pitcairn Island, passed calmly except for a minor explosion on the Sea View deck that I caused. While trying to open a small cereal box, I yanked too hard and it erupted. To the lady sitting behind me it was a shower of Raisin Bran flakes, and to the crew member who happened to be watching, it was a mess he had to clean. Mary slid down in her chair trying to appear invisible. I just smiled like an idiot. My other problem is trying to open the little box of milk that has a bent straw attached to it. I can't get that opened either. I now take my pocket knife to breakfast.      
            We have seen nothing while at sea this time but the Pacific Ocean and the sky – no birds, no vessels. We are alone with only an endless, captivating expanse of sea and sky from horizon to horizon. Like the Sonora Desert, intense and forbidding, but in its own way it is alluring. 
            As Captain Olav predicted we arrived at Pitcairn Island at 9:15 AM. From a distance it looked like a large rock tossed into the sea. It is the home of 45 stalwart souls. It was first discovered by the crew of the HMS Swallow, July 3, 1767. The mutineers of the ship Bounty set Captain William Bligh adrift and  brought the ship to the island in 1790 then sunk the Bounty just offshore where it presently resides. The mutineers settled the island and the inhabitants are their descendents.
            The only access to the island is by ship. It is 3,157 nautical miles from Callao, Peru, and 1,187 nautical miles from Tahiti. Olav did not drop anchor. Instead, he let the engine idle.  A crowded long boat emerged from shore. It looked like it contained the entire population of the island. When it reached us they began to unload boxes, bags, buckets, and various small containers. Soon there was a crafts market set up on the Lido Deck surrounding the pool.  Since we couldn’t go to them, they came to us. How cool is that?
             What happened next was a complete surprise. It reminded me of throwing raw meat into a tank of sharks. The passengers swarmed the vendors on the Lido Deck before they could get their stuff unpacked. I can’t imagine anything they might be selling that would induce me to enter that fray. I retreated with my camera to the upper deck that allowed me to watch and photograph the festivities without being crushed. Mary, however, a venerable shopper, jumped in and got some stuff including a T shirt for me that was made in Nicaragua . . . but it said Pitcairn Island. The carvings and crafts made on the island were excellent. Mary purchased a very nice carved dolphin by Randy Christian, a descendent of the leader of the Bounty mutiny, Fletcher Christian.
            In the meantime Captain Olav made two circumnavigations of the island, secure in his pilot house. The long boat returned to the ship; everything was off loaded; we gave them boxes of food, necessities, and Olav’s favorite beer; and off they went back to their island. First, however, they made a pass by the ship and waved and yelled as all of us cheered.
            It was a remarkable and interesting event in the middle of the ocean that we will not forget. At 2:20 PM we left Pitcairn Island behind for two more days at sea to Tahiti. We’ve now sailed 5,208 nautical miles from Fort Lauderdale, and as the song says, "we’ve only just begun."
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Comments

carl conley on

A t shirt from Nicaragua. Wow, it seems incredible they'd get a delivery there BTW what type of money exchanged hands, I wonder

Ann K. on

Missed some of your travels. Seems that my computer decided to drop your emails into the junk files...don't ask my why...so I've spoken harshly to my computer and you are back!

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