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Pitcairn Islands Study Center

Pitcairn Island Photo Tour

Photo of a beach cliffside of Pitcairn

Begin Photo Tour

[Photo from Guide to Pitcairn. Used by permission.]

Map of the globe showing where Pitcairn is

#1 - Where is Pitcairn?

Pitcairn is just south of west and south from San Francisco, about 5,000 miles. About midway between Panama and New Zealand.

Painting of the HMS Bounty

#2 - HMS Bounty

It all started with HMS Bounty which arrived at Pitcairn Island near the end of 1789. On or about January 23, 1790, the ship was burned just off the island.

Image of Pitcairn Island, taken with a fisheye lens from inside an airplane

#3 - Pitcairn from the Air

From the air - a rare view of the island. Pitcairners may go for an entire year without seeing a single airplane. (RNZAF photo)

Image of Pitcairn from the ocean

#4 - Pitcairn in Silhouette

From the ocean - in silhouette - Pitcairn looks much like what many have called her, “The Rock of the West.”

Image of Pitcairn from the ocean

#5 - Pitcairn from the Sea

The fertile, green look of Pitcairn today is attributable to many years of tree planting and tending following a barren stripping of greenery in earlier years.

Image of a ship in front of Pitcairn

#6 - Nautical Visitor

On average some kind of ship, yacht or boat calls at Pitcairn about once a week. The trouble is that a month without a ship’s call happens quite often.

Image of a container vessel

#7 - Another Pitcairn Visitor

Many kinds of ships call at Pitcairn: Container vessels, roll-on-roll-off auto carriers, bulk carriers, cruise ships, tankers, yachts . . .

Image of a large amount of barrels of fuel on a ship deck

#8 - Diesel Fuel for Pitcairn

To feed its public generator, which provides electricity for about eight hours a day, Pitcairn needs a constant supply of diesel fuel, always brought by ship.

Image of people on a 1950s longboat

#9 - 1950s Pitcairn Longboat

Whenever a ship calls the Pitcairners go out from their island to meet it. There is no harbor on Pitcairn. This is a 1950s oar-powered Pitcairn longboat.

Image of people on a small boat riding waves as big as the boat

#10 - Pitcairners Going Out to Meet a Ship

The weather has to be storming heavily before it will stop the Pitcairners from braving the sea to go out to meet the ships that call.

Image of people on a small Pitcairn boat on calm waters

#11 - Pitcairn Boats Today

Today’s Pitcairn boats are about 45 feet in length and are made of aluminum, powered by a diesel engine, and quite speedy.

Image of a small group of Pitcairners crowded together

#12 - Pitcairners

The faces of the Pitcairn people - here waiting to launch their longboats to meet a calling ship – are the modern-day face of the former Bounty mutineers.

Image of a longboat heading across calm waters to meet a larger ship, very far away

#13 - Longboat Heads Out to a Ship

In the far distance awaits the ship. Closer is the loaded Pitcairn longboat that will meet her; a process repeated scores of time each year at Pitcairn Island.

Image of two Pitcairn longboats pulling close to a ship

#14 - Drawing Close to Ship

The Pitcairn longboats pull close in to the now dead-in-the-water ship, tiny toy boats compared to the great ship which has called at the island.

Image of people on a Pitcairn longboat right next to a ship

#15 - Making Fast to Ship

Making the Pitcairn longboat fast to the visiting ship is the first order of business when preparing to board the vessel.

Image of a ladder going down from a ship towards a Pitcairn longboat that's fastened to the ship

#16 - Rope Ladder Attached

Once the Pitcairn longboat is firmly attached to the calling ship, a rope ladder is thrown down the ship’s side. Up this ladder all who want to board must climb.

Cargo from a ship being lowered into Pitcairn longboats

#17 - Lowering Cargo

As quickly as possible, cargo for Pitcairn Island carried by a calling ship is lowered by sling into the waiting, bobbing longboats - a tricky, always dangerous procedure.

People climbing up a rope ladder on the side of a ship

#18 - Climbing Rope Ladder

Climbing up the rope ladder can be very long and hard, especially when the calling ship is lightly loaded and rides high in the water like this container ship.

Von Stimpson climbing up the ladder to a ship

#19 - Strength, not Age

Here former Pitcairn Medical Office Von Stimpson comes aboard by 'Jacob's Ladder'. Whether you’re seven or 70 years old, if you live on Pitcairn and go on board passing ships, you’ve got to be strong enough to safely manage the rope ladder.

Pitcairners climbing back down into their longboats from the ship

#20 - Down the Rope Ladder

When the Pitcairners’ selling of curios on the ship is finished, it’s back down the rope ladder to the now supplies-loaded longboats to beat back to Bounty Bay.

Image of the jetty at Bounty Bay, taken from an eagle's eye point of view

#21 - Jetty at Bounty Bay

The foaming waters and crashing surf surrounding the jetty at Bounty Bay awaits the Pitcairn boats which will be quickly stored in the boat sheds to await the next call.

Pitcairners in a small boat, with various island mountains far behind them

#22 - Running in to Bounty Bay

Riding the rolling seas just off the Island, the Pitcairners, having left the calling ship, make ready to run in through the often heavy surf to Bounty Bay

Pitcairners on a small boat, facing the island

#23 - Judging Approach to Bounty Bay

Watching the crash of the surf on the rocky shore of the Island, the Pitcairners judge how they will make their approach to the landing at Bounty Bay.

Pitcairners heading into Bounty Bay in a longboat

#24 - Threading the Narrow Inlet

Having made their landing decision, the Pitcairners thread the narrow inlet of Bounty Bay in such a way that their longboat will come safely in to the shelter of the Island’s jetty.

Image of the Pitcairners having landed by the jetty

#25 - Landed Safely

In calm seas the Pitcairner’s longboat has sheltered behind the Island jetty and the work of unloading supplies begins.

Image of Pitcairners walking up and down the dock as the boat sits empty

#26 - Tidying up after a Ship Call

Having safely landed after a ship call, the Pitcairn’s longboat, loaded with bright green barrels of diesel fuel for the Island’s generator, is readied for storage in the boat shed.

Image of three longboats tied together in a row by the jetty

#27 - Unloading Three Pitcairn Longboats

Three Pitcairn longboats of an earlier day are lashed together behind the Island’s jetty as unloading of a cargo of fuel oils begins.

Group of children standing in a line watching waves

#28 - Pitcairn's Children

Pitcairn’s children, some probably wanting to go for a swim in Bounty Bay, watch the waves crashing into the inlet before taking their chances.

Group of Pitcairners posing for a photo

#29 - Visitors Welcomed

Visitors to Pitcairn are always enthusiastically greeted. On this day some of the islanders are costumed for a special occasion.

People walking around doing various activities

#30 - Gathering Supplies

The Pitcairn longboats having landed supplies and visitors at The Landing, both islanders and visitors must now get their supplies carried up to the village of Adamstown.

People looking at a longboat on shore

#31 - Protecting Boats from Storms

When sea water has been bailed out, and they have been checked for damage, the Pitcairn longboats are stored against possible storms in the Island’s main boat shed.

Image of Ship Landing Point on Pitcairn

#32 - Ship Landing Point

One of the first Pitcairn “sights” visitors to the Island take note of is “Ship Landing Point” which thrusts its needle-like point hundreds of feet into the air above Bounty Bay.

Image of Bounty Bay taken from the top of Ship Landing Point

#33 - Bounty Bay from Above

From the top of “Ship Landing Point,” the tiny inlet of Bounty Bay hundreds of feet below looks even smaller.

Image of the plaque on Pitcairn's Hill of Difficulty

#34 - Historical Marker

At the top of Pitcairn’s “Hill of Difficulty” road leading up from Bounty Bay is a historical marker and an inscription in the Pitkern language.

Image of the view over Pitcairn Island

#35 - View over Pitcairn

From near the highest point on Pitcairn Island, one can look down over the village of Adamstown and see “Ship Landing Point” rising in the distance.

Eagle's eye view of Adamstown

#36 - Village of Adamstown

The village of Adamtown is comprised of newer and historic homes scattered about among the greenery of Pitcairn on a few acres of the Island’s flattest land.

View of the ocean beyond the green hills of Adamstown

#37 - View beyond Adamstown

Beyond the village of Adamstown, and Ship Landing Point is the unbroken horizon Pitcairners see every day - the blue of the South Pacific Ocean.

Image of a mountain taken from ground level

#38 - Garnet Ridge

The face of Garnet’s Ridge - only slightly lower than Pitcairn’s highest point of 1,109 feet on Pa’alwa Valley Ridge - rises above the greenery of Adamstown.

Image taken at ground level of the view of the mountain from behind the cemetery

#39 - View of Garnet's Ridge

Another view of Garnet’s Ridge from the Pitcairn cemetery is framed by the relatively few coconut trees that grow at lower levels on the island.

Image of a small cave in the mountain

#40 - Christian's Cave

Christian’s Cave, set in the face of Garnet’s Ridge, has very little depth to it. It was here that Fletcher Christian used to come and brood over his unhappy lot.

Image of a dirt path leading down into a green forest

#41 - Pitcairn Forest Road

One of Pitcairn’s “freeways” makes its way into part of Pitcairn’s forest of greenery.

Image of trees very close together with small glimpses of the sky behind them

#42 - Banyan Tree Canopy

The opportunity to hide from passing ships under the Banyan tree canopy that covered Pitcairn when the mutineers landed in 1790, was one of the reasons they chose it for their home.

Image of a dirt path leading down to a lush green valley

#43 - A Pitcairn Valley

The beauty of the green valleys of Pitcairn are an invitation to exploration to both those who live on the island and to sightseeing visitors.

Image of the green plants, bushes and palm trees of Pitcairn

#44 - Pitcairn Vista

The lushness of the land, accented as it is by many flowers, and the warm, tropical climate, are two of the great “draws” of Pitcairn Island to visitors and Pitcairners alike

Image of a small house near the base of the mountain

#45 - Teacher's Residence

In a beautiful setting under Garnet's Ridge and above the island school is the residence of Pitcairn's school teacher.

Image of the view of the ocean and various Pitcairn plants through a window

#46 - Soothing View

The view from a number of Pitcairn’s residences provides a soothing vista of both island vegetation and the ocean.

Image of a man swinging into the pool as other people rest leisurely on floaties

#47 - The Inviting Waters of Bounty Bay

A calm day at Bounty Bay is always an invitation to Pitcairn’s children - not infrequently to its adults too - to try out the natural swimming pool.

Image of people swimming in Bounty Bay

#48 - Swimming in Bounty Bay

Though the visit of sharks to the waters near or in Bounty Bay are not an unknown quantity, there are few if any instances of shark attack of swimmers at Pitcairn.

Pitcairners heading out to sea on two fishing boats

#49 - Fishing

Though in some parts of the world boat fishing might be a pastime, on Pitcairn it is a necessity, what with fish being an important part of the Pitcairner’s food supply.

Pitcairner standing up in a canoe getting ready to fish

#50 - Pitcairner Fishing

A number of the Pitcairners have canoes which they sometimes use to go fishing when they do not fish off the island’s rocks or use the larger, public longboats.

Group of Pitcairners on a historic longboat

#51 - Historic Longboat

For decades the Pitcairners used white-hulled, wooden longboats to answer to ships that called at the island. Today diesel-powered aluminum boats are used.

Pitcairners on a longboat with a canopy serving as a temporary roof

#52 - Longboat with Canopy

Canopies are often rigged on Pitcairn’s public boats as protection against the sun when the craft take a number of the islanders to favorite fishing areas.

Image of a bell on the far right of the image, with a building taking up most of the rest of the picture

#53 - Pitcairn Bell

The bell, seen here at left, in the Square at Adamstown has served for many years as an important “communicator” to let the Pitcairners know of corporate functions.

Image of a boy standing and ringing the bell

#54 - Pitcairn Bell

Although today “family radio” is used, the island’s bell in the Square used to call Pitcairners to answer ship calls, come to worship, and to a host of other activities.

Image of two older men standing behind an HMS Bounty anchor

#55 - HMS Bounty Anchor

One of HMS Bounty’s anchors is kept on the Square of Adamstown. Here Fred and Parkin Christian pose with the relic.

Image of a rusty cannon from the HMS Bounty

#56 - HMS Bounty Cannon

In the yard of Len Brown’s home on Pitcairn one can see one of HMS Bounty’s rust-encrusted cannons, retrieved some years ago from the waters near Bounty Bay.

Image of a nurse next to a patient sitting on a hospital bed

#57 - Medical Clinic

Pitcairn has a well-equipped medical clinic, usually with a specially qualified nurse who watches over the health of the islanders.

Image of a group of Pitcairners having a council meeting

#58 - Island Council Meeting

Although Pitcairn’s population is greatly reduced from former years, most of the islanders attend the meetings of the Island Council at which important actions are taken.

Group of ten Pitcairners pose for a photo

#59 - Island Council Members

These members of a recent Pitcairn Island Council had the authority to enact rules of the nature of by-laws which must be notified to the island’s non-resident Governor.

Group of ten men pose for a photo

#60 - Pitcairn Island Council Members

The members of a Pitcairn Island Council of nearly a half century ago did a “dress up” for the photographer of this formal picture.

Two Pitcairners count money on a wooden table inside what looks to be a kitchen

#61 - Craft and Currency

The processing of money received by the Pitcairners is an interesting process since the islanders receives money from craft and other sales from many countries of the world.

Three Pitcairners sit at a wooden table to count and keep track of money

#62 - Currency from all over the World

Drachmas, rubles, pounds, piasters, dollars and other currencies being counted by these Pitcairners turns up on Pitcairn from craft and other sales to ships of many different nations.

Four women sit together weaving

#63 - Busy Hands

Even when they sit down to take a break from the day’s heavier work, Pitcairn women probably have their fingers busily at work weaving the basketry they sell on ships that call.

Older Pitcairn woman smiles with a woven basket in hand

#64 - Island Baskets

Most of the larger Pitcairn baskets, woven by the loving hands of women on the island, have woven into them the name, “Pitcairn Island.”

Image of a parked red four-wheeler

#65 - Pitcairn Island Vehicles

Pitcairn transportation is largely confined to all terrain vehicles, both three- and four-wheelers. This one has just come to the Square in Adamstown, parking beside the island church.

Almost a dozen red all-terrain vehicles parked together

#66 - Herd of Terrain Vehicles

Down at The Landing, hard by Bounty Bay, beside the boat sheds, a whole herd of all terrain vehicles await their owner’s use.

Pitcairner sits on a four wheeler alongside large wooden beams balanced across the vehicle

#67 - Oversized Loads

Pitcairner Betty Christian demonstrates the correct technique of moving oversize loads on the island’s all terrain vehicles.

Close up of the tires of an all terrain vehicle

#68 - Practical Island Vehicle

Depending on the weather, Pitcairn’s soil frequently moves from one place to another. This all terrain vehicle’s heavily muddied tires are doing the moving.

Front door of the Post Office

#69 - Post Office

On one of the three sides occupied by buildings on The Square in Adamstown we find the island’s small but sometimes very busy Post Office.

A man carrying a sack standing in front of a large pile of sacks

#70 - Ship Mail Day

Ship mail days on Pitcairn often bring many letter-filled sacks and packages to the island, while as many or more pieces of mail may leave on the same ship that brings mail.

Postmaster working at a typewriter on the counter of the Post Office

#71 - Inside the Post Office

Pitcairn Postmaster Dennis Christian minds the store at the island Post Office. On “Mail Day,” when mail arrives or departs from Pitcairn, Dennis is one busy person.

Pitcairner checking a bulletin board with postal rates on it

#72 - Checking Postal Rates

With frequent changes in postal regulations affecting Pitcairn, the islanders need to check prevailing rates at the small Post Office often.

Many stamps arranged on each other to form an almost collage of stamps

#73 - Pitcairn Stamps

Since 1940, when it began issuing its own stamps, Pitcairn has issued scores of different and colorful stamps, many of them depicting the island’s history.

Pitcairn Island stamp of two vases

#74 - Miro Wood Vases

This Pitcairn stamp, showing two wood-carved vases, highlights the islanders’ carvings of Miro wood which they gather from Henderson, another island of the Pitcairn group.

Pitcairn stamp that features woven basketry from the island

#75 - Pitcairn Basketry

The colorful, attractive woven basketry made by Pitcairn’s women is featured on this 20-cent Pitcairn Islands stamp.

Stamp featuring Pitcairn's Coat of Arms

#76 - Pitcairn's Coat of Arms

Pitcairn’s Coat of Arms, gracing this 50-cent stamp, features a breadfruit seedling planted in an island wheelbarrow, with the Bounty Bible and one of the ship’s anchors.

Display of several Pitcairn stamps on an envelope

#77 - Postage Stamp Display

Almost any grouping of Pitcairn postage stamps on an envelope provide a colorful and informative display of the island’s history.

Pitcairn man burning a sheet of unsold stamps

#78 - Burning Unsold Stamps

One of the factors keeping the philatelic value of Pitcairn postage stamps high is the public burning on Pitcairn of all unsold sheets of an issue.

Small group of Pitcairners with all terrain vehicles in front of the general store

#79 - General Store

The weekly cycle of life on Pitcairn often finds several all terrain vehicles parked at the island’s General Store as their owners make purchases of basic items that have come by ship.

Pitcairners shopping at the General Store

#80 - Islanders Shop

In Pitcairn’s General Store islanders and visitors can find groceries, toiletries, clothing, kitchenware, stationery, and a host of other basic need items for sale.

Interior of the General Store, with people milling around shopping

#81 - Inside General Store

Pitcairn’s General Store is always in business, but sometimes business can be slow, especially if a ship from New Zealand is delayed in bringing supplies to the island.

A historic wooden longboat sitting on some grass

#82 - Historic Wooden Longboat

Still kept on Pitcairn as a historic relic of the past is one of the island’s wooden longboats. Today aluminum boats have replaced those crafted of wood on the island.

Image of a man kneeling with his hand on the headstone

#83 - Headstone of John Adams

A visitor to Pitcairn examines the headstone of the grave of John Adams, last of the mutineers to die. The graves of Adams’ wife and daughter are also in the family plot.

Close up image of mutineer John Adams' headstone

#85 - Adams Grave Close-up

Visitors to Pitcairn are always interested in visiting the grave of mutineer John Adams. His is the only burial place on the island that is associated with the death of any of the mutineers.

Close up image of John Adams' wife Teio's headstone

#86 - Headstone of Teio, Wife of John Adams

The Pitcairn headstone of John Adams’ wife, Teio, also known as “Mary” and “Mummy,” notes that she died only nine days after her husband, March 14, 1829.

Close up of the headstone of John Adams' daughter, Hannah Young

#87 - Headstone of Hannah Young

The headstone of Hannah Young, one of John Adams’ three daughters by the fourth of his five wives, tells of her emigration to Norfolk and later return back to Pitcairn Island.

Close up image of Rosalind Nield's headstone

#88 - Rosalind Amelia Young Nield's Headstone

The headstone of Rosalind Amelia Young Nield noted that she was “A lover of children.” She was also an island school teacher and widely-read author of a book on Pitcairn’s history.

Pitcairners attending a funeral

#89 - Funeral

Always sad occasions, funerals on Pitcairn are usually conducted on the same day as death occurs since the island does not have embalming facilities.

Image of the Pitcairn School, with a small group of children roaming in front of it

#90 - Pitcairn's School

Located on the rising slope of Palau, Pitcairn’s well-equipped school provides for the education of children from five to 15 years for 380 “half-days” of the year.

Image of young schoolchildren in class

#91 - Inside Pitcairn's School

Pitcairn’s school keeps pace with curriculum changes in New Zealand, providing primary education based on the New Zealand syllabus. Correspondence courses are also offered.

Image of a school assignment by a Pitcairn student

#92 - Display of Schoolwork

The attractive and thoughtful work in school of Pitcairn’s children forecast solid citizens of tomorrow who will be well able to take their rightful place in almost any society.

Image of an art project done by Pitcairn students

#93 - Student Art Display

The walls of the Pitcairn school at Palau often display outstanding pieces of student art as children depict life on the island and abroad.

Children in Pathfinder uniforms hold up the Pitcairn flag

#94 - Pitcairn Flag Held by Pathfinders

Dressed in “Pathfinder” uniforms, Pitcairn’s children “show the flag,” not of Great Britain but of their own island, which features the British Union Jack and Pitcairn’s Coat of Arms.

A man stands with a wheel barrow on a dirt road

#95 - Island Wheel Barrow

A Pitcairn visitor, having unearthed a relic of the past, trundles an island wheel barrow along the road below Ship Landing Point in the background.

A man stands holding a wheel barrow

#96 - Island-Made Wheel Barrow

For many years the low-slung, island-made wheel barrow, featuring hooks on its handles because of the steepness of the island, conveyed heavy loads around Pitcairn.

Small Pitcairn child sits in a wheelbarrow in front of a happy-looking dog

#97 - Pitcairn Child Gets A Ride

One of Pitcairn’s cherubs enjoys a ride in the traditional island wheel barrow.

A house on stilts

#98 - Pitcairn House

Visitors who arrive thinking Pitcairners live in thatch-roofed huts are surprised to find modern dwellings like this one (with Christian’s cave rising in the background).

A house set behind several trees swaying in the wind

#99 - Pitcairn Home

Although the island is small in size, with only about 100 acres of semi-flat land, a number of Pitcairn homes are located on spacious parcels of land

Image of a run down, abandoned house overgrown with vines and bushes

#100 - Abandoned House

Those who leave Pitcairn do not always care for the future of the home they leave. Mother Nature has begun to take command of this abandoned house.

A man stands in the middle of a field full of green leaves

#101 - Pitcairn Garden

If they are to fend off starvation Pitcairners must grow most of their own food. A former pastor of the island church is here tending his lush vegetable garden on the island.

Pitcairner standing in the midst of tall crops

#102 - Tending the Garden

Usually a couple of days each week are given to tending one or the other of the several garden plots each Pitcairn family owns.

Small plot of land with pineapples growing

#103 - Pineapple Garden

One of the sweetest things on Pitcairn are its small but delicious pineapples; most Pitcairn families grow them.

Pineapple that's almost ready to be harvested

#104 - Pineapple Ready To Eat

Almost ready for harvesting, this Pitcairn pineapple will soon grace the family table sliced or cubed, or perhaps made into a mouth-watering cake.

Small pile of fruits and vegetables on a counter

#105 - Fruits and Vegetables

The fruits and veggies of Pitcairn are of great variety and full of the good taste that comes only from field-ripened produce.

Three Pitcairners sit together eating watermelon

#106 - Enjoying Watermelon

When its hot, and the family has been working together in the garden, there’s nothing better than a rest break that involves a face full of delicious Pitcairn watermelon.

Pitcairner sits holding a coconut

#107 - Preparing Coconut

Pitcairner Betty Christian, having just removed the nut from its husk, makes ready to use a coconut in a favorite dish.

Pitcairner scraping out coconut meat with a special bent knife

#108 - Removing Coconut Meat

With a special knife, Pitcairn housewives cut out the soft white meat of the island’s coconuts to begin making one of the many dishes of which this nut is a part.

A woman stands in front of a stone oven with flames within it

#109 - An Old Stone Oven

Mostly in “the olden days” Pitcairners housewives used this type of stone oven, often called a “bolt,” for baking bread and other foods.

Image of branches and leaves of breadfruit plants

#110 - Breadfruit Plants

The gathering of breadfruit plants in Tahiti, seen here growing on Pitcairn, was the mission of the voyage of HMS Bounty in the late 1700s.

Three piles of caught fish on cement

#111 - Fish "Share Out"

Piles of fish, separated as part of the traditional “share out” among Pitcairn families, await the journey to Pitcairn homes, and a trip into the frying pans on the island.

Two men kneel cleaning fish on concrete steps right next to the water

#112 - Cleaning Fish

Cleaning fish at The Landing at Bounty Bay is something that happens at least every week on Pitcairn, sometimes more often than that.

Pawpaw fruit

#113 - Pawpaw Fruit

Most of the food consumed on Pitcairn are grown there or fished from the waters surrounding it. These Pitcairn pawpaws, nearing ripeness, promise delicious sweetness.

Three kids sit in a kitchen that's well-stocked with food

#114 - Well Stocked Pitcairn Kitchen

The kitchen of many Pitcairn homes are often well stocked with island fruits, vegetables, and off-island baking supplies; Tom and Betty Christian's daughters make ready use of the family kitchen.

A group of people all filling their plates from a table stocked with food

#115 - Pitcairn Celebration

For many years any birthday or anniversary on Pitcairn called for public feasting. While it doesn’t happen quite as often these days, when it does, the tables groan with good food.

Three people get food from a table full of bowls of food

#116 - Outdoor Feast

Whether indoors or outdoors, Pitcairners love to do few things more than to eat of the delicious and plentiful bounty of the island.

Large group of people filling their plates from a table full of food

#117 - Gastronomic Delights

Different women are noted for the cooking or baking of their own special food dishes on Pitcairn, and when they all come together in a public feast the gastronomic delights are infinite.

Three men standing with large stalks of sugarcane

#118 - Cane-Sugar-Making Time

When its cane-sugar-making time on Pitcairn just about everybody pitches in to do the needful. The cane juice is used to make molasses.

Image of a man sitting and using a large radio

#119 - Radio Contact

For years Pitcairn has had a twice daily radio contact with its British government headquarters first at Rarotonga, then Fiji and more lately with New Zealand.

Two men sit in front of a large radio setup

#120 - Tom Christian, Radio Officer

For some 40 years Tom Christian (right), shown here with an island visitor, was Pitcairn’s radio officer. His communications skills helped to save a number of lives for which he was awarded the M.B.E. medal by Queen Elizabeth.

Image of two small buildings on a plot of grass with a third building further back

#121 - Short Wave Station at Taro

Pitcairn’s short wave radio station at Taro ground is part of a communications system which started with lamp signaling in 1921 and then Morse Code transmissions in 1926.

Image of a woman sitting in front of a radio station

#122 - Kari Boye Young, Radio Officer

Norwegian-born Kari Boye Young, served as one of Pitcairn’s radio officers for some 20 years before moving off-island to New Zealand.

Close-up of a newspaper entitled the Pitcairn Miscellany

#123 - "Pitcairn Miscellany"

The monthly “Pitcairn Miscellany,” published by the Pitcairn Island School, saw its first issue published in 1959. Readers throughout the world enjoy reading its island news.

Painting of the Pitcairn

#124 - Missionary Schooner Pitcairn

In 1890 the missionary schooner Pitcairn made its first call at the island. At that time many of the Pitcairners became members of the Seventh-day Adventist faith.

Photo of the church

#125 - Pitcairn Seventh-day Adventist Church

The Seventh-day Adventist church, located in The Square at Adamstown is the only house of worship on Pitcairn Island.

Photo of people inside the church praying

#126 - Island Worship

About a dozen of the 50 people on Pitcairn Island worship in the island’s Seventh-day Adventist church each Saturday, the seventh day of the week.

A man at the pulpit reads from the Bible

#127 - Tom Christian in the Pulpit

Tom Christian, a direct descendant of Bounty mutineer Fletcher Christian and head elder of the church, sometimes preaches on Sabbath at the Pitcairn Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Group of Pitcairners standing together at the front of the church

#128 - Special Celebration at Church

Special days having religious significance are marked in the Pitcairn Island church by costumed participants and decorations.

Image of a wooden box containing a Bible, amongst other things

#129 - The Bounty Bible

The Bounty Bible, one of two books of Scripture brought onto the island in 1790 from HMS Bounty, is kept in a special case in the island’s Seventh-day Adventist church.

Image of hands holding the Bible in front of an open window

#130 - The Bounty Bible Open

The Bounty Bible, published before 1790, is in fragile condition and thus not open to examination by most visitors. Great Britain's Prince Philip, though, was allowed to hold it during a visit to Pitcairn in 1971.

Image of inscriptions in rock

#131 - Pre-1790 Inscriptions

Inscriptions that may still be found on Pitcairn tell that there were people on Pitcairn Island some time before the mutineers landed in 1790.

Image of three tooled stones

#132 - Stone Tools

Tooled stones found on Pitcairn in considerable quantity testify to habitation on the island, probably by Polynesians, before the Bounty mutineers took up residence there.

Image of a pool of water underneath a rock overhang

#133 - Cave at Gudgeon Harbor

The cave at Gudgeon Harbor is an important source of sand for the Pitcairners. In the back part of the cave Pitcairners load their boats with the construction material.

Two people in a small boat heading towards the cave

#134 - Gathering Sand at Gudgeon

“Gudgeon,” as the Pitcairners call their sand cave, gives up its treasure grudgingly. Boats must enter the cave, be loaded with sand and leave before high tide completely submerges it.

Image of a bulldozer in front of a cliffside

#135 - Pitcairn's Bulldozer

Though small and isolated, Pitcairn has a bulldozer which lightens the back-breaking work the islanders previously had to do. The dozer was air-dropped onto the island!

Group of people working to unload wood from a boat

#136 - Unloading Miro Wood

Having just returned to Pitcairn from neighboring Henderson Island, Pitcairn men unload Miro wood logs which they will use in carving curios to sell to those on calling ships.

Image of a concrete cistern next to a house

#137 - Catching Rainwater

Beside most Pitcairn homes is a concrete cistern into which rainwater, caught on the tin roofs of island homes, is stored for various domestic uses.

Image of a woman carrying a large palm leaf

#138 - Palm Leaves for Weaving Baskets

A Pitcairn belle is almost hidden by a giant palm leaf from which she may weave baskets or curios that will be offered for sale on ships that call at the island.

Image of a girl wearing a palm leaf crown

#139 - Palm Leaf Crown

A Polynesian-like palm leaf crown enhances the beauty of a Pitcairner.

Image of hands weaving a basket

#140 - Basket Weaving

The fingers of Pitcairn women seem always busy as they weave intricate designs into baskets they will sell aboard ships that call at the island.

Image of someone putting plastic strips into a curio

#141 - Making Curios

Colorful plastic strips are sometimes used in preparing the curios Pitcairners will sell to visitors on ships that chance to stop at the island.

Image of three woven items and two hand-carved items on display

#142 - Items for Sale

Hats, bags, baskets; wood-carved turtles and flying fish are but a few of the items Pitcairners make to sell or barter to visitors. Note “Pitcairn Island” woven into the basket.

A wooden item amongst woodworking tools

#143 - Carving Miro Wood

Wood lathes on Pitcairn Island turn out beautifully crafted trays and bowls and boxes from the dark-hued Miro wood. Islanders will sell these beauties to ships’ passengers and crews.

Image of a wood carving made to look like a shark's face

#144 - Carving with Sharks Teeth

When Pitcairner-carved curios of sharks and other fish look like they have sharks’ teeth embedded in them, it’s not an illusion. They actually are sharks’ teeth.

Wood carving of a bird in flight

#145 - Beautifully Carved Bird

An almost ready-to-fly winged grace characterizes many Pitcairner-carved birds.

Wooden carved vase

#146 - Carved Vase

For many years Pitcairn’s men have carved wooden vases which they sell to visitors and others. Most of the vases feature a carved hand holding the vase itself.

Wooden carved fish

#147 - Carving of Fish

An element of fantasy often seems to possess Pitcairn men as they create carvings of fish for sale to those who come to Pitcairn or otherwise order their curios.

The handles of wooden carved walking sticks

#148 - Sturdy Walking Canes

Interesting and sturdy are the walking sticks carved by Pitcairners. During World War II the islanders carved and sent to London 500 of the sticks to help the walking wounded get about.

Image of hands holding a paintbrush ready to dip into paint on a palette

#149 - Painting Crafts

A good portion of the days of Pitcairn women may be given to applying their painting skill to various crafts they prepare for sale to passengers and crew on calling ships.

Image of a painted hattie leaf on display

#150 - "Hattie Leaf"

A brightly colored “Hattie Leaf” curio is ready for sale or barter. The leaf is named after Miss Hattie Andre, a missionary teacher who educated the islanders in curio-making skills.

Image of a man carving a piece of wood

#151 - Pitcairn Longboat

A model of a Pitcairn longboat begins to take shape under the skilled hand of a Pitcairner. The models are a popular item in the islanders’ crafts catalogue.

Image of a carved ship on display

#152 - Carving of HMS Bounty

Complete with carefully crafted wooden sails, a model of HMS Bounty is ready for shipment to an overseas customer of a Pitcairn islander.

Image of a woman holding two ship models through an open window

#153 - HMS Bounty Models

From the window of her home, a Pitcairner displays the latest carved and rigged models of HMS Bounty which will be sold as one of the island's most popular curios.

Four Pitcairners sitting around a display of handmade crafts

#154 - Display of Carvings and Baskets

In this view of Pitcairn crafts, the islander sitting at left is astride a Miro log from which most Pitcairn wooden curios are carved.

Image of tables full of crafts ready for sale

#155 - Curios Ready for Sale

Ready for sale to visitors who will be coming onshore are a host of the island’s hand-crafted curios.

Image of a dark green plant with many leaves

#156 - Ti Plant

The deep green-colored ti plant was used in distilling the alcoholic beverage which led to fighting and bloodshed during the first years the mutineers were on Pitcairn.

Image of a man holding a wrapped box, standing in front of several people sitting

#157 - Christmas Day Celebration

Christmas Day, celebrated by all at The Square on Pitcairn, is usually a warm day because of the island’s Southern Hemishphere location. But the festivities include gifts and food for everyone--just as in cooler climes.

Image of a burning model ship in the waters of Bounty Bay

#158 - Traditional Burning of HMS Bounty

Bounty Day on January 23 is a public holiday on Pitcairn, complete with a picnic, perhaps boat races, and the traditional burning of a model of HMS Bounty in Bounty Bay.

Image of the wooden skeleton of a longboat

#159 - Constructing a Longboat

In earlier days Pitcairn's men built their own longboats from woods found both on Pitcairn and from elsewhere. Today aluminum boats are used to meet calling ships.

Image of the wooden skeleton of a longboat

#160 - Pitcairn Longboat under Construction

The hardest to find of the woods used in constructing Pitcairn’s longboats was a sturdy timber of hardwood to serve as the boat’s keel. The work was long, hard, and exacting.

Image of several men moving the longboat

#161 - Taking the Boat Down to The Landing

Once construction was completed on Pitcairn’s wooden longboats, which were built high above Bounty Bay in Adamstown, the vessel had to be carefully manhandled down the steep “Hill of Difficulty” to The Landing where in-the-water testing began.

Image of a large wave crashing against a dark cliff

#162 - Waves Crashing Against the Cliffs

Seen from a distance, the waves that crash the cliffs of Pitcairn may not seem big, but this one is at least 75 feet high.

Image of waves crashing against the coastline

#163 - Frothy Giants

Pitcairn’s coasts may be relatively calm at one moment and but an hour or so later lashed by gales which whip the seas into frothy, watery giants.

Large waves crashing in the ocean

#164 - A Constant Roar

When the waves crash on Pitcairn like this, the voice of the ocean is an almost constant roar in the ears of the Pitcairners living a few hundred feet above in Adamstown.

View of the calm ocean, with two trees framing the top corners and the silhouette of shrubbery in the bottom left corner

#165 - The Unbroken Ocean Horizon

An evening view of the unbroken ocean horizon from Pitcairn brings with it the brooding, lonely quality of life on the tiny isle that is lost in the nowhereness of the South Pacific Ocean.

Image of a pretty sunset with silhouettes of palm trees against it

#166 - Sunset on Pitcairn Island

Sunset as seen from The Landing at Pitcairn brings to a close this virtual tour of the isle made famous by the landing of the Bounty mutineers there in 1790.

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Contact Herb Ford:
PHONE: 559-592-0980 or
559-732-0313
EMAIL: hford@puc.edu

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