Only On Pitcairn

Posted by Crooked Compass

Known most commonly from the infamous story of Mutiny on the Bounty, The Pitcairn Islands are located in literally the middle of nowhere. Just over 2000km from Tahiti and 6600km from Panama, it is as close to London as it is to the South Pole and is one of the most remote locations of human habitation on the planet.

Aerial shot of Pitcairn Island © RSPB
Aerial shot of Pitcairn Island © RSPB

The Pitcairn Islands are made up of four islands - Pitcairn Island (which is an uplifted volcanic island), Henderson Island (an uplifted coral island which is also UNESCO Heritage listed for its untouched ecology and endemic bird life and flora), Oeno and Ducie which are both coral atolls - this almost inaccessible reach of the pacific is creeping up more and more on curious travellers radars.

So, why go? And how?

Oeno Island, one of Pitcairn Islands coral atolls - Photo credit: Andrew Christian
Oeno Island, one of Pitcairn Islands coral atolls - Photo Credit: Andrew Christian

With tourism first introduced to Pitcairn Island in 2009, this extinct volcanic island poses as one of the most remote (and youngest) tourist locations in the world. Home to the world's third largest marine reserve, it is Britain's last remaining South Pacific colony.

Home to less than 50 locals who mainly come for 4 families which are direct decedents from the Mutiny of the Bounty crew, the government is enticing expats who can handle remote living the opportunity to live on this secluded island with the reward of free land in a bid to increase the population to around 100 people to make continued habitation on the island sustainable.

Rugged coastline of Pitcairn Island - Photo Credit: Andrew Christian
Rugged coastline of Pitcairn Island - Photo Credit: Andrew Christian

Whilst many cruise ships offering the experience to 'cruise past' Pitcairn Island, only the smaller expedition vessels can get travellers onshore. The island can only handle a maximum of 300 tourists at a time.

Not into cruising? Neither are we - so how else do you get there? A handful of times a year, the freighter ship known as the Silver Supporter, departs on a Tuesday from Mangareva, Tahiti. It is a 32 hr sail through a fairly consistent swell of sea with poor wifi connection and very little for travellers to do on board except for hunker down with a good book. If you venture to the island between April and October, you have the possibility of seeing whales on your journey. The Silver Supporter can only take a maximum of 12 travellers, meaning it is very possible you may be the only tourist on the island!

Travel to Pitcairn Island on Silver Supporter - Photo Credit: Pitcairn Islands Tourism
Travel to Pitcairn Island on Silver Supporter - Photo Credit: Pitcairn Islands Tourism

As the island looms into view, you will be met with sheer towering volcanic cliffs, lush green valleys and a rough and rugged coastline.

The main mode of transport here is quad bike - although there are now 4 cars on Pitcairn. Homestays are the only type of accommodation which vary from living in-house with a local family through to having your own independent dwelling on their land. The homestays vary from a true ramshackle Pitcairn experience to a more modern uncluttered stay.

Quad bikes are the main mode of transport on Pitcairn Island - Photo Credit: Lee Mylne
Quad bikes are the main mode of transport on Pitcairn Island - Photo Credit: Lee Mylne

Pitcairn Island has been declared as the 8th Dark Sky Sanctuary so is really starting to peak the interest of those interested in Astro Tourism. It is the only territory in the world where the entire country is part of the sanctuary and the night skies are simply incredible.

Part of the Dark sky Sanctuary, Pitcairn Island delivers an incredible astro experience. Photo Credit: Chris Pegman
Part of the Dark Sky Sanctuary, Pitcairn Island delivers an incredible astro experience. Photo Credit: Chris Pegman

Whilst staying on the island, one of the most rewarding experiences to take part in, is to hit the water with the locals on a community fishing trip. There is no cost to do this - you head out in a longboat, fish alongside the locals and on your return, the fish are split up with the entire community on the island. (Barter is still a practiced method of trading on the island and pretty much any hard currency will also be accepted.)

Pitcairn Islands Post Master - Photo Credit: Lee Mylne
Pitcairn Islands Post Master - Photo Credit: Lee Mylne

Quite often during your time on Pitcairn, you will have the opportunity to join a community dinner. This is the only place in the world where you can dine with the entire country!

Thinking of sending your family and friends a postcard? It may take a while! Post is only sent off the island once a quarter.

The island is etched with walking trails and picnic spots sporting multi-million dollar ocean views. Natural pools such as St Pauls provide a refreshing swim in nature and those keen to swim in Bounty Bay (the only place for small boats to dock) on a calm day, will find themselves bobbing with sea turtles.

Aerial shot over Bounty Bay - Photo Credit: Andrew Christian
Aerial shot over Bounty Bay - Photo Credit: Andrew Christian

For bird watchers, Pitcairn Island is a bird watchers paradise being home to the Pitcairn Warbler, the islands only endemic land bird and Henderson Island home to five endemic species not found anywhere else in the world.

Pitcairn Island is also home to the world's purest honey due to the pristine nature of the islands environment. The island has three apairy's (or honey farms) of which you can do a tour through. Bee hives are scattered across the island.

The main road on Pitcairn Island - Photo Credit: Lee Mylne
The main road on Pitcairn Island - Photo Credit: Lee Mylne

Pitcairn Island has an evocative mystere surrounding it whilst brimming with folklore and a dramatic history. Due to the islands remoteness, the island has remained unspoilt. The community actively work to protect the islands natural resources including its pristine oceans. The seas surrounding The Pitcairn Islands are some of the planets least polluted and best protected ecosystems globally. In 2016, the UK government announced the designation of the Pitcairn Islands Marine Protected Area which extends to 370km around all four islands covering an area three times larger than the UK.

Silhouette of Pitcairn Island - Photo Credit: Lee Mylne
Silhouette of Pitcairn Island - Photo Credit: Lee Mylne

The sustainability plan for Pitcairn is tourism and we want to take you there.

Are you keen to take a true adventure and explore the Pitcairn Islands? Crooked Compass offers a charted expedition to Pitcairn Island, Henderson Island, Oeno and Ducie. For further information click here.