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VP6DF Pitcairn

Dave, WJ2O will be active as VP6DF from Pitcairn Island, IOTA OC - 044, 30 May - 10 June 2024.
He will operate on HF Bands.
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Pitcairn Island: a tiny paradise in the Pacific Ocean

Pitcairn Islands is an archipelago of five islands. It is located in the South Pacific Ocean. Four of the islands are uninhabited, and only one of them is inhabited by people, and even then only a few - only 122 people. Less population density can not be found on the entire planet. By the way, it became inhabited because there was fresh water on it - a stream, while on the other four islands it is not and was not. Now the source, the brook, is dried up, so the inhabitants carefully collect rainwater in artificial reservoirs.
The islands are the property of Great Britain. By the way, the only one in the Pacific Ocean. Pitcairn Island is small - only a mile long and two wide, and it is of volcanic origin. The island got its name in honour of the brave midshipman Robert Pitcairn, who took part in the British expedition of Philip Carteret in 1767. It was he who first spotted this part of the land. But there was no possibility for the expedition to land because of bad weather. Carteret wrote down the information about the location of the island incorrectly, being wrong by 3 degrees in longitude - about 200 miles.

The fascinating history of the first settlement

The first settlers on the island arrived in 1790. They were mutineers from the famous British ship Bounty. And the story went like this.
The British learnt about a wonderful bread tree with tasty and nutritious fruit growing on the island of Tahiti (located near Pitcairn). They decided to lead an expedition there to bring the breadfruit seedlings to the West Indies. Slaves had to be fed somehow. And this is a simple, cheap source of nutritious carbohydrates.
A small ship, HMS Bounty, sailed for Tahiti in 1787. Captain William Bligh was in command. Originally the ship was supposed to reach the place via the Drake Passage, thus rounding South America. But the storms that continued for a month prevented the plan. The ship had to turn east and, passing the southern tip of Africa, to reach the island, passing the entire Indian Ocean. After spending ten months at sea, the crew stayed in Tahiti for six months.
In the spring of 1789, the "Bounty" sailed from the island, but there was a mutiny on the ship. It should be said that the sailors on British ships were on the rights of slaves. But after living on the island and making friends with local Tahitian women, they felt freedom. The result was a mutiny led by Bligh's mate Christian Fletcher.

The captain and 18 men loyal to him were put on a boat and sent to almost certain death (by the way, all but one man survived and managed to get to the Dutch colony). Fletcher returned to Tahiti, but soon realised that the British would find them here and punish them. And so it was with those who remained in Tahiti. The others, taking with them their Polynesian girlfriends and six other natives, found the uninhabited island of Pitcairn, where they settled. They took everything they could use from the ship, and burned the hulk of the ship, thus destroying its traces.
At first everyone lived peacefully, but after about six years the English began to overpower the Tahitian men, who in turn outnumbered the English. The scuffles left one man, John Adams, 8 women and 25 children. And life went on peacefully again.
In 1823, a British ship sailed past the island. That's how Pitcairn became known to civilisation. Today, almost all the islanders are descendants of the Bounty mutineers. And already 15 years later, in 1838, Pitcairn officially belonged to Great Britain. The local museum tells about the history of the island.

VP6DF Pitcairn IslandPitcairn Island. Author - Stephen (Steve) Brown.

How things work here

The island has a single population centre, the town of Adamstown, which is more like a village. There's no airport. There isn't even a decent dock to accommodate large ships. Bounty Cove can only accommodate longboats, which is how tourists come here. Likewise, cargo is also brought here.
In the past, the barges were only locally made wooden ones. Now they're all aluminium. They are based in a garage at the marina. The population moves around on quad bikes. Every family has them. However, there is one passenger car owned by a local entrepreneur.

How to get here for ecotourism enthusiasts

If you want to get to Pitcairn, you must first fly to Tahiti, then fly by plane to Mangareva Island, and then take a ferry to Bounty Bay in less than a day and a half. The roads on the island are asphalted only for 500 metres. This rise to the town is called the Hill of Difficulty. Beyond that, the roads are dirt roads only.

What to see

There are not many sights to see. The museum we mentioned. There is a local shop. Groceries are delivered to it four times a year. However, the locals do not feel the lack of provisions. There is even cat food on sale.
A church has been built. In 1886, Adventist John Thaw arrived here. Now Adventism is the only religion on Pitcairn. There is a library in the grounds of the cultural centre. It has a good selection of books and DVDs for children and adults. There is also a post office.


The head of the island, the High Commissioner, resides in New Zealand. The local Unicameral Councils are half elected by popular vote - that's 5 people. And another 5 people are appointees, who serve for a year.

The only public holiday is considered to be the birthday of the Queen of England. The locals know English, which is considered the official language, but among themselves they communicate more often in Pitcairn language. It is a mixture of English and Tahitian. It is impossible for newcomers to understand this language.

Settlement on the island is carried out in Pitcairn dollars. In value they are equal to the New Zealand dollar. It is not possible to exchange currency here. The main income is from tourists. Also the treasury is actively replenished by selling local unique honey (bees on the island are free from diseases), products of local craftsmen, soap, cosmetic products. The local population is not a stranger to work, many combine several positions. Most often the salary is from 50 to 150 dollars.

Do children study here

Children aged 5 to 13 on the island receive free compulsory pre-school and primary education. The school programme is the same as in New Zealand. Teachers are appointed for a term of 1 year. The school has a cyber security policy. Children go to New Zealand for tertiary education.

What about doctors

Before 1944 there was no medicine as such on the island. The locals treated themselves as best they could. Then the pastor's wife was the nurse for a long time. Since 2004, the position of a doctor was introduced, who is sent here for a period of six months to a year. He is assisted by a local nurse. But for more qualified help one has to go to Tahiti or New Zealand.

Local hospitality

There are no hotels on the island, but tourists are always welcome here, as 80% of the annual income is provided by the tourism sector. Tourists are accommodated in local houses. Among the population there is even a queue in the reception of newcomers, so that no one was offended. Accommodation costs $70 per person per day. Some locals have built separate houses for rent.
Life resembles that of a village. Food is cooked on gas cookers, as electricity is terribly expensive. Gas comes from cylinders and electricity from a diesel generator. In ordinary houses there are two grids: 220 V from a common diesel generator and 12 V from a small battery. That's why people have 2 switches on the walls. The rich also have their own generators.
Those arriving on the island are assigned the best room, which is clean and even has internet. As for cuisine, despite the richness of the local nature, islanders prefer to eat imported frozen hams and sausages. There are a couple of cafes, but they are open very rarely, like once a week or two.
The locals get important messages from the radio. There is one in every house and you can listen to foreign programmes on it. There is a 128 kbit wireless network. Satellite phones are also common. Houses have televisions and the signal comes from a satellite dish. Many people have DVD players at home. The local government cares about the development of tourism and sees the future of the state in this.

VP6DF. Where is Pitcairn Island located. Map.

VP6DF Pitcairn. Sunrise 07-17-2024 at 15:14 GMT sunset at 02:04 GMT
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