Tag archives for Pitcairn Islands
Herein a reader will find an account of a typical morning in the life of the Pitcairn Islands Expedition Team, on board the Claymore II, owned and manned by a crew of colorful New Zealanders.
We arrived at Henderson Island at dawn. It was like the typical view that people in office buildings have on their walls, to inspire dreams about where they’d rather be.
This morning we arrived at Henderson Island, where in 1820 three survivors of the wreck of the whaling ship Essex lived for more than 4 months after their ship was sunk by a bull sperm whale, and while their companions made a horrific journey through storm, starvation, death, and cannibalism until finding rescue in the waters off South America.
With the thickness of the vegetation, the intact nature of the forest, its relative richness, the complexity of substrate, difficulty of travel, and lack of frequentation in this place you would be finding new and amazing species of plants for decades to come. I was ready to devour every detail I could of Henderson.
In an unprecedented FB Live Event, Ocean Explorer, Enric Sala will be calling in for an interview via satelitte phone from the remote Pitcairn Islands. Join us for a live conversation on the National Geographic Facebook page Wednesday, March 28 at 2:30pm ET (7:30pm UTC). Post your questions there or in the comments section of this blog post. Then tune in for the live interview and post more questions as the conversation develops.
The coral reefs of Ducie Atoll are some of the last tropical marine paradises, memories of what the ocean was like before extensive human impacts.
After 5 days at Pitcairn Island we sailed to Ducie Atoll, one of the least visited places in the ocean, uninhabited, and as far as we know, unfished.
Today, after a rained-out attempt at filming the sunrise, we took to the beach to survey the trash that was strewn all about this uninhabited island. Then the mystery of the dead petrels thickened.
See just-taken photos of the top fish found around the remote Pitcairn Island by NG Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala as he and his team work to discover just how healthy these faraway waters are.
We had a big assignment today, to census all the petrels in the forest and try to figure out what species they are. It is kind of like Christmas when you do your first transect in a new place: you don’t know what you are going to find.
Last night the boat’s engines went silent around 3 am. I got up at 6:30 and could already see this most southern of all atolls on Earth low on the ocean. A few petrels and masked boobies showed to greet us. Today would be exploration day.
Beyond the island’s halo of muck caused by four days of relentless rains, we found clearer deeper waters and an unexpected coral reef, teeming with fish.
The trail we followed to the see ancient Polynesian rock art at a place called “Down Rope” was one of the steepest, scariest stretches of trail I’ve ever been on, and totally worth it.
As Enric Sala’s Pitcairn Expedition team arrived at its namesake island, NG Explorer-in-Residence Mike Fay took to the trails, lead by a barefoot tour guide up to Christian’s Cave, where the legendary mutineer is said to have watched for the British ships on his trail.
We made it to Pitcairn Island this morning, shortly after sunrise. We saw the island appear exactly like it has been described dozens of times – like a tall ship coming out of the horizon.