Pitcairn Island, in the South Pacific about midway between Australia and South America, consists of the island of Pitcairn and the three uninhabited islands of Henderson, Duicie, and Oeno. Its closest neighbours are the Gambier Islands and Tahiti to the West, but even these are several hundred miles away.
“Islands are metaphors of the heart, no matter what poet says otherwise.” – Jeanette Winterson, Sexing the Cherry
The island, which is the last remaining British territory in the Pacific, has a standing population of some fifty people, many of whom are descended from crew members of the famed HMS Bounty.
In 1789, the Bounty was the setting for a now-legendary mutiny, when crew members enchanted by the idyllic life of the native Pacific islanders overthrew their commander, burned their ship in a nearby bay, and settled on Pitcairn.
The descendants of First Mate Fletcher Christian, the eight other mutineers, and the dozen or so Tahitians who accompanied them still inhabit the island. In addition to English, the residents of Pitcairn speak a dialect that is a mixture of Tahitian and 18th-century English.
Today, the descendants of those sailors mostly make their living off of farming, fishing, and selling their extremely rare postage stamps to collectors, but even with modern transportation they still remain one of the most isolated communities in the world.
There is no airstrip on the island, and getting there from the mainland requires hopping a ride on a shipping boat out of New Zealand, a journey that can take as long as ten days.
“No man is an island, entire of itself.”
– John Donne, No Man Is An Island
In 2014, only 48 people live on the island. According to some sources, the entire population is listed as Seventh-Day Adventist. If all 48 people are indeed practising Christians, it would make Pitcairn Island the most religious nation in the world, with a religiosity of an absolute 100%.
Actualy, it sounds like an ideal place to go, although I would drop their religious percentage to 99.5%.
Those extremely remote places have always fascinated me.
I used to live on the seacoast of Baja California in Mexico – hardly remote, but fascinating – about 10:30 every morning, a pod of dolphins used to swim by, feeding.
Each evening, from my balcony, with a rum and Coke firmly in hand, I could watch the sun sink into the sea – I used to imagine I could hear a “Hissss –”
Interestingly – and you should consider this for another post – we never actually see the sun rise or set – both are optical illusions, due to the bending of light by the atmosphere and the gravity of earth – we see the sun “rise” minutes before it actually does, and similarly, “set” minutes after it is actually gone.
I would like to hear their dialect, it sounds interesting!