By Sabrina and Kristian
In comparison with the blue horizon, clouds, and water we’ve been staring at for weeks, where seeing anything at all was worth noting, it was surreal to see a shape so extraordinary. Pitcairn island emerged from the ocean like a heavy-set cloud, more impressive and tall than we had imagined.
Over the course of our approach for 5 hours in light breeze, we could see increasing detail. The Canyons and peaks took shape. The imposing ridges became clear. Then we could see trees! What a delight after weeks on the ocean.
It was a lush green jungle of palms, bare crumbling steep cliffs and birds circling overhead. We feasted our eyes on all these details, hungry for so much variety. Look at the red rocks, the salt spray hanging above the foliage! Look at the pinnacles jutting out… and now the houses of Adamstown perched on the cliffs! It was all rather unbelievable.
Approaching the island reminded us of Isla del Coco: a tall rock sprouting in the middle of the ocean. Once we got close, it was reminiscent of home in the Channel Islands of California, yet morphed with tropical islands from fantasy paintings. It was fortress-like in its steepness, yet soft hued from the sun backlighting the sea mist, which clung to the cliffs.
Hearing the voices of the islanders over VHF with their strong Kiwi accents & jovial spirits caused our minds to wander with intrigue. ”Welcome to Pitcairn!” they beamed. It’s hard to imagine the lives of solitude and isolation Pitcairners have on this rock in the middle of the Pacific with only 49 residents and very seldom visitors.
We circumnavigated the tiny island of 2 miles before sunset to scope out potential anchorages. Everywhere was very rough, with intense surge and swell. We settled in at Bounty Bay for its good sandy holding ground, which would at least keep Aldebaran in place.
As night fell, the golden sliver of the Moon and the Milky Way traced an arc over the tall island. A few dim lights twinkled from the houses. Watching this magnificent scenery, a sense of accomplishment came over us. We had sailed three weeks to get here, which is the main way that Pitcairn gets visitors: approximately 30 yachts per year make a stopover.
We’re excited to go to shore tomorrow morning, weather permitting, and see what life is like here!