Thursday, July 10, 2014
Wanna Get Away? I Mean Really Away?
It's that time of year when I just want the whole world to go away. I want to go so far away that no one can find me. I want to get lost. In the words of Southwest Airlines, "I wanna get away." Well, I found it. This is the most remote place I've ever heard of. Welcome to the Pitcairn Island Group.
Your adventure is the trip on this one. You need to make your way to Tahiti. That's where it starts. You will have to take a small plane to Mangareva. That's a small island in the French Polynesia group. Then what? Well, then it gets difficult. There isn't much of a way there. Every three months a ship travels from New Zealand to Pitcairn with supplies. The good folks of Pitcairn have worked in cooperation with the ship to turn it into a vessel for travelers.
The MV Claymore II makes up to 8 trips every three months to the island of Pitcairn. The accommodations are nice. They have staterooms and lounges and a dining hall to eat in. It takes a while to get to the island, and you may have to wait to get back, so make sure you don't have to be back at work. This is the most remote place on Earth that I've ever heard of. That says a lot.
Pitcairn Island has only about 50 inhabitants. There have only been two babies born there in the last 15 years. They do speak English as they are a British Overseas Territory. They have a Mayor for local government and a Governor in New Zealand that is their liaison with Great Britain. They do have a town square where they set up markets for the tourists. They have a school and a museum. They have a health center and a post office. There are accommodations that include some rentals and home stays. It's a real culture mindbender. It's quiet, it's far away, it's beautiful, and it's one of the more famous islands of the Pacific. That's right, it's famous baby.
These days, Pitcairn Island is most famous for it's postage stamps, but in the past there's a huge history. The original inhabitants of this island are from the Bounty. That's right that ship that had the famous mutiny in the Cook Islands. Turns out that Pitcairn was once inhabited by Polynesians, but that came to an end. When the whole mess went down with Captain Bligh, things got rough for the mutineers. Fletcher Christian set off with a few men, some women, some Tahitian slaves and a baby. They went looking for a place to hide and they found the mismapped island of Pitcairn. Christian was pretty sure that the British couldn't find it since they'd mapped the area wrong, so they settled down on the at that time uninhabited island.
That group formed the base of today's entire community. They started a new society that was peaceful and spiritual. The modern day Pitcairners are Seventh Day Adventists and a very traditional people. They enjoy a wealth of natural resources, abundant wildlife, moderate climate, and amazingly beautiful landscapes.
I know that it doesn't sound like a thrill a minute to be on Pitcairn, but think about it. Sometimes you just want some peace and quiet, and this is the spot. The most common cause of death on this island is old age. Beat that. The capital is Adamstown and it's the only town there. It's great. You have a chance to meet the locals, experience their lifestyles, and enjoy some beauty and space.
There's lots of hiking and beaches to lay on. There are a lot of handicrafts to shop for and a lot of locals to talk to. But this island has something strong and that's it's history.
Pitcairn and it's other islands are volcanic. There are some gorgeous rough rock shores. Bounty Bay is really the only landing spot on the island. Boats stop there and tourists are brought ashore by wooden boats that are sent out by the locals. Some cruise ships do stop at Pitcairn, but only if the weather is good. The only way you can count on getting there is on the MV Claymore II. If you want to go by another means, you must sail there yourself.
But, why would I tell you about this as an adventure for anyone? Well, the fact that it is one of the most remote places on Earth is definitely an adventure, but my main purpose is to tell you that you should go there to see the Bounty. That's right, the ship. You don't follow? Well, neither did I.
So, it turns out that Fletcher Christian and company burned the Bounty when they settled on Pitcairn so that Captain Bligh's men couldn't find it. And it's still at the bottom of Bounty Bay today. You can go out with a snorkel and see the Bounty for yourself. You can also climb up the cliff over the bay to Christian's Cave where he stayed temporarily. Or, if you don't want to do all the legwork you can just stop in at the museum in town. However you wish to put it, the place is a piece of history. It's more than worth the trip for any history buff.
So, you wanna get away? It's actually harder to get to Pitcairn Island that it is to get to Antarctica or Easter Island. This is an adventure. This is a beautiful spot to spend some time. This is a cultural mindbender. You will love this if you love to travel. If you just like being a tourist go to Disney. If you really love to travel, stop off at Pitcairn Island.