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Pitcairn Island
Report from John and Jean Frazier
April 1998

Map of Pitcairn Island

Pitcairn from Akademic Shuleykin (Marine Spirit) before landing

On April 18 we made it to Pitcairn Island. Again the weather was on our side, but even with favourable conditions this is not an easy landing. The islanders told us it had rained for roughly the previous week and that we probably had about the best conditions of 1998 for landing. There is a protected harbour, but you go through some rough swells before getting there. All we have to say is that if we saw this in good conditions we would hate to see what they call rough conditions.

An overview shot of the Bounty Bay landing platform with Zodiacs

Many of the locals were set up at the base of 'The Hill of Difficulty' near the harbour with tables of wood carvings and letters including cancelled stamps. We were hoping to find Tom Christian, but it turns out that he was still in New Zealand. We instead met up with Betty Christian, Tom's wife. She was an absolute treasure. She offered us a ride up the hill on her ATV as she needed to go turn on some electronics at the building that housed the transmission equipment. She then rode us to the town square.

When we did visit Tom and Betty's house she was kind enough to let us come in.

Many people on the island have ATV's. Betty gave us a nice tour of the island. For an island that only has two square miles you'd swear it has far more exposed land. It really is a beautiful island.

Betty Christian and John Frazier standing next to her ATV in the town square

The people were incredibly open to us. Our expedition leader, Geoff Green, had done something last year when he visited and it was so well received his heart was set on making it happen again. We had two large BBQ grills that I would think were built from 55 gallon drums. If you picture how fun it was getting in a Zodiac to travel to the island, then think how big a challenge it was to get 2 BBQ grills onto the island. These were transported to the town square at Adamstown along with all kinds of food from the ship so we could enjoy a joint BBQ with the entire island. Geoff knew how much the Pitcairners appreciated this last year and it was his goal to fulfill their expectations. It was truly something special to sit and eat with the locals. They are so incredibly hospitable. These people apparently have been very heavily researched and written about throughout history and even though some of the accounts have not been 100% favorable they still make you feel like family. We think all the passengers got a day that will live with them for a lifetime.

Photos and Text by John and Jean Frazier

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