Destination: Pitcairn Island

By David Langan

Born in Dublin, Ireland, David Langan fell in love with travel and culture through stamp collecting as a child. There is no post office too remote for him to travel to, having visited over 300 TCC destinations. This is the first of a series of some of our most challenging places to get to.

Why is it so difficult?
Ships are infrequent and landing is difficult. Most cruise ships just stop and let the islanders come on board. [Note: this does not count as a TCC visit, nor does cruising in territorial waters count. You must step on the land.] So you need to check that the ship is planning to stay at least 24 hours to attempt to land. Most ships that are serious will have up to 48 hours in their programme to allow for a landing.

How to do it
Fly to French Polynesia and catch another flight to Mangareva and join the MV Claymore II there. Servicing Pitcairn, this ship sails about every three months. Allow extra time at the start and end of the trip for regular delays. You can usually stay ashore on Pitcairn from 3-10 nights. You can also book a cruise from French Polynesia ending in Easter Island or vice versa.

Noble Caledonia, the company I went with, has two trips planned. “In the Wake of the Bounty,” departing 20 November 2017 and 2 April 2019. Scheduled are 4 days for the Pitcairn Islands, so it is as good a chance to land as any. On my trip we also visited Ducie and Henderson Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

What to do and see
Bounty. A small museum displays some artifacts from the Bounty as well, including Fletcher Christian’s Bible. Also on the island is the grave of John Adams, who was the last surviving mutineer, and burial sites of the original settlers.

Most interesting of all is to interact with the locals and see how life is on the island. The population is approximately 50 persons. If your ship anchors overnight, the islanders will come on board for a barbeque. On the island you can buy souvenirs and local honey.