Adamstown – Pitcairn Island


Pitcairn_Panorama22The Pitcairn Islands have the smallest population of any democracy in the world. The island is about 2 miles long, and one mile wide.

The island is located in the “naval” of the South Pacific Ocean, 4000 miles from the Panama Canal, 4000 miles south from San Diego, and only 3450 miles from Auckland New Zealand. Although Easter Island is claiming to be one of the most remote populated islands, I think Pitcairn Island is more remote since it has no airport, and only receives a regular supply ship (with mail delivery) every 3 months. It is 1285 miles east of Easter Island, and 1350 miles Southeast of Tahiti.


The tiny white bar lying in the lower left is in Bounty Bay and is the storage building for the longboats. Sloping up to the right is the only concrete road on the island. It is aptly called the Road of Difficulty and leads up to Adamstown.

Pitcairn’s claim to fame is told in stories like Mutiny on the Bounty. The mutinous sailors set Captain Bligh and 18 loyal sailors adrift in a 23 foot open boat. Bligh survived a seven week journey of 3600 miles to Timor Island. The mutineers returned to Tahiti. Nine of them and 18 Tahitians moved to Pitcairn Island. Only one of them has a marked grave on the island. The other eight died violent deaths by murder and suicide. The town is named Adamstown after the last survivor, John Adams . The HMS Bounty was set on fire and burned to the waterline before sinking in Bounty Bay at the base of the town. On January 23, the citizens celebrate with a burning of a model of the Bounty. On Christmas, everyone gathers in the center of town and gives everyone else on the island a gift.


The population is 49 permanent residents. Three were in New Zealand at the time. Simon Young and his wife from California moved to the island 14 years ago. They are the newest residents on the island, and are the only ones with no lineage to the original mutineers. The school has 8 students. There are about 10 others on the island, like the teacher, doctor, police officer, customs officer, and pastor, that are working on a one year contract.



On the Saturday we visited, 33 came out in their long boat to sell their crafts, curios, carvings, honey, and black pearls to the travelers on the Pacific Princess, and to buy supplies from the ship to take back to the island with them. Potato chips, chocolate bars, wine and spirits are popular. Other items may have been ordered and delivered as well. The only religion is Seventh Day Adventists who celebrate the Sabbath on Saturday. That is why more did not come out to the ship. Can you imagine 600 people from the ship arriving at an island that has a population of less than 60?

They have no airport, but do have two tennis courts. They are a territory of Great Britain and are administered from New Zealand. They use NZ dollar currency and a supply ship comes with mail every 3 months. Post cards mailed in early February would leave the island in March. They have recently been connected to the internet, but it is a satellite link, is slow (256 Kbps) and expensive ($100 per month for 2 GB of data). Power is expensive since it is generated by diesel engines which only run for a few hours in the morning and a few in the evening. Wind power has proven to be even more costly. Solar is being considered now.

The British Territory includes 4 islands. Henderson, the largest is 168 Km away. It forms a line with Ducie and Oeno Islands at 475 Km and 128 Km respectively from Pitcairn Island. Only Pitcairn is populated and all homes are on the same side of the island. Some people are working to incorporate the islands and surrounding ocean into the largest maritime reserve.

I suggest you do more research before your friends drag you off to start a new community on an uninhabited Pacific Island.

My video clip is on utube.

IMG_3827-(2)Saying farewell to Pitcairn Island as the Pacific Princess sails west to Tahiti.

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One Response to Adamstown – Pitcairn Island

  1. Doug Jarvie says:

    First picture has been scaled down to be seen in smaller screens.
    Please report any other problems you find.

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