Henry In Pitcairn II - Where in the world is Pitcairn?

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I have now been on Pitcairn for almost a week and we have already established that it takes a very long time to get here. I am exceptionally grateful that I do not have to endure another 32 hour boat journey in the near future. However, to truly appreciate the isolation of my temporary island home, we need to look at some geographical facts and figures.
 
The Pitcairns are a group of four scattered islands (Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno) at the extreme east of French Polynesia in the South Pacific, of which only Pitcairn itself is currently habited. Even the distances between the islands themselves are substantial, with Ducie and Pitcairn separated by 475km of water. However, it is the distances between the Pitcairns and the rest of the world which are truly staggering. The nearest inhabited landmass is in the Gambier Islands, 540km to the west. To find dry land in the east you must travel over 2000km to Easter Island, if you can find it in the vast nothingness of the Pacific. If you fancy a quick trip to the nearest continent, the distances become truly gigantic, with Pitcairn separated from New Zealand and South America by a colossal 5,500km of deep blue ocean.
 
St Paul's Pool Pitcairn
 
Even as I look at these numbers yet again, I am struggling to truly process the remoteness of this tiny island. To put it (fairly) exactly, the desk I am sitting at is 14,481km away from my hometown of London. It is safe to say that I will not be popping home for the weekend.
 
Given these enormous distances, you are probably wondering how on earth anybody ever found these islands in the first place. It is believed that the first Polynesian settlers arrived on Pitcairn around 900AD, and lived here until around 1450. However, to find the origins of modern Pitcairn, my next post will delve into one of history’s most famous nautical tales…

 

Henry Duffy

 

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