The ‘endless’ journey begins

by Ana Pinto on

My journey to one of the most remote places on earth has begun! I’m lucky enough to be part of an exciting new conservation project involving the Pitcairn Islands - ZSL is working with partners to help this isolated community to protect its amazing marine life by ensuring that there are plenty of fish in the sea for years to come (sustainable fishing)! We’re also working to spread the word around Britain and the world about this fascinating group of islands and their wildlife.

Boarding the aeroplane to Mangareva.
Boarding the small plane to Mangareva.

Not many people have heard of Pitcairn, even though it is a UK Overseas Territory just like Gibraltar and Bermuda. Some people have heard about the Pitcairn Islands because of the history of the Mutiny on the Bounty. Nowadays, the islands only have 54 people living there and they all want their home to become the largest marine reserve in the world to protect their extraordinary wildlife!

The Pitcairn community depends on sustainable fishing and on people that come to visit the island (tourists) in order to have a secure future. I’m heading there to help the local community to attract more visitors and to work with the local school to tell the world about these beautiful islands they call home!

Google Earth map showing Ana's route to Pitcairn
There are no direct flights to Pitcairn! All visitors must arrive by boat.

After two long flights from London to LA and then over to Tahiti, I eventually board the final flight before Pitcairn. This short flight takes me to the southern-most group of islands in French Polynesia to a place called Mangareva. The flight to Mangareva stops briefly at an island called Hao to re-fuel, and as we take-off again, I spot a few small atolls (little islands) from above surrounded by endless deep-blue ocean.

The view from Ana's window of the ocean below.
From my window on the plane, I saw beautiful atolls in the vast ocean below.

Our small plane approaches Mangareva’s local airport. The airport is a short boat ride away from the main island - the lack of flat land available on the actual island means that the local airport has to be on a ‘Motu’ or atoll instead of the main island to allow for a suitable runway. As we approach the village of Rikitea, the beauty of yet another French Polynesian island is breath-taking. Turquoise waters surrounding the village’s colourful houses and a few idyllic beaches dotted along this beautiful coast line.

The village of Rikitea
Mangareva island, looking towards the village of Rikitea

I am lucky enough to stop in Mangareva for a few days - the closest neighbours to the Pitcairn Islands. A chance to enjoy being on solid land before finding my sea legs and getting on the boat to my final destination!

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