Monday, April 5, 2010

Goodbye Pitcairn Island

Our second day on Pitcairn was as full and rewarding as the first one.

It started early with a call from Infini on VHF as they were (finally) approaching the island. We guided them in to a good anchoring spot.

At 9:30, Brenda Christian and 'Radio Dave' Brown were out in the skiff to collect us and Infini. We went with them to Brenda's house, and enjoyed more warm bread and Pitcairn honey at Brenda and Mike's, while Infini filled out their paperwork.

We organized lunch at Betty Christian's Cafe, with Dave's help, and then set off with Brenda and Mike on 2 quads for the quick tour of the island. We had already seen a couple of the sights yesterday with Bruce, but were happy to go again. Brenda encouraged us to make the hike down to 'Down Rope' and see the Polynesian glphys carved in the rock face. It was a near vertical scramble down and back up, but worth it for the look at the glyphs and a chance to beachcomb a little. We visited Ship Landing Point and St. Paul's again, this time with Infini. More pictures!! Sue and I actually followed Brenda way out on the 'nose' of Ship Landing Point (see photo when posted, which Bruce took from his house below). We also went to 'Highest Point', which has the famous signpost showing how far it is to everywhere important. More pictures!!

Another great lunch at Betty's Cafe. Dave loved the huge smorgasbord. I loved sharing lunch with such a variety of people, including Tom and Betty Christian, both direct descendents of the mutineers, and their daughter. There were also a couple of the passengers from the 50' sailboat Southern Cross, who makes passenger trips to Pitcairn from Mangareva.

After lunch, Infini went to see the museum, post office, and town area, and Dr. Bruce came to collect us again and we set off for the other end of the island. We stopped at John Adams grave (the only marked grave for a male member of the mutineers). John Adams was the last surviving male mutineer, and converted the rest of the islanders to Christianity, after learning how to read from the Bible. The whole 'on Pitcairn' part of the mutiny is a fascinating story. If you're interested in reading the whole saga, look for a copy of the Bounty Trilogy. It details the pre-mutiny, the mutiny, life on the island, and life on Captain Bligh's longboat after being set adrift from the Bounty.

Then Bruce took us out toward 'Tedside' and (???)'s Ridge. The ridge gave us a great lookout over the town and the boats at anchor. The attractions of Tedside are 'Mrs T', a Galapagos tortoise who roams there--originally brought by Irving Johnson on one of his circumnavigations, and a blowhole. The blowhole is caused by big waves forcing themselves thru lava tubes.

We had a nice cup of tea with Bruce and his wife, and then Bruce ran us back to the landing area.

We had asked if there were fruits and veggies available on the island. We ended up with literally 20 lbs of bananas, some ripe and some not, and a great deal of fresh garden veggies including cucumbers, sweet potatoes, passion fruit, carrots, corn, a pumpkin etc. Several people had donated to our pile on the quayside, but again, special thanks to Carol, Brenda, 'Radio Dave' the banana man, and Bruce & his wife. Anyone want a banana??

We had been on the fence all day about whether to leave in the evening or not. Each islander we met asked how long we were staying, and we'd waffle every time. Each of the cruisers were facing the same question and all were waffling as well. The islanders were pooh-poohing the forecast we had of big swell coming.

But when we got back to the landing area and saw the anchorage, our minds were made up "Let's get the heck out of here.". Brenda took us back to the boats, thru the surf, and we had our anchor up within an hour. Infini at first had said they were staying, but after an hour aboard at the anchorage, they also decided to leave. The only boat left at sunset was Zephyrus, who were firmly committed to staying, no matter what.

We loved Pitcairn. We loved the island, and thoroughly enjoyed the people. Would have loved to have stayed longer. Would love to come back some time.

But we are now 15 hours into a 55 hour passage to Mangareva, Gambiers. This is the SE tip of 'French Polynesia'. Since we did so much motoring to get to Pitcairn, we turned the engine off as soon as we cleared Pitcairn, and drifted along at 2 knots most of the night. But now the wind is a good 10-12 knots and we are making good time toward Mangareva. ETA Tuesday morning sometime.
At 4/4/2010 6:10 PM (utc) our position was 24°30.19'S 130°54.85'W

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