1-24-2013 Cruising of Pitcairn Island

Happy Birthday Doug!!!! Smile Smile 

The most important thing that could happen today was to celebrateP1010852 Doug’s birthday on the ship.  While we had part of his celebration with our table last night – with cake and song – today is his actual birthday.  So, we began it as we would have at home – with a birthday parade . . singing Happy Birthday and bearing gifts.  When we were with Rob & Ted and their families at Christmas time, they recorded a birthday greeting on our little tape recorder that I brought with me on this trip.  We had done the same thing in 2010 and it was great to hear the birthday wishes “from home” complete with distinctive grandchildren’s voices and messages.  As it was then, it was the “best” gift for Doug today . . and I, of course, enjoyed hearing it as well.  Great way to start the day.

We took a walk on the deck and then had eggs benedict for breakfast to celebrate his birthday.  Had to hurry to clean up because this was the day we were to sail around Pitcairn Island. 

There are around 50-60 people living on the island currently, and in the past, they have come to greet our ship in their longboat, get supplies, and then board our ship to sell their handicrafts (honey being their most popular thing to sell us) and tell us about their life on this almost deserted island.  However, our captain announced last night that 35% of this small population had contracted the H2N3 flu virus – the one that is rampant in N. America now – and were highly contagious. So for passenger health and safety reasons, we would not allow them to board our ship.  It is believed that they caught this virus from a cruise ship that came by two weeks ago.  It was a major disappointment because it would have been such an interesting experience meeting and talking with these descendants from Fletcher Christian (more about that to come.)  Also, I had heard so much about their honey, I was hoping to be able to stock up on some jars to bring home. However, they were still able to send their longboat out to our ship to pick up the supplies they had ordered. 

Even though they couldn’t board our ship, we were still able to sail around their island and see it from all sides.  It is small, but a beautiP1010909ful little island.   This picture shows the side of the island where they have their small village.  The boat ramp is in the left front and the town sits up on the hillside.

Actually there are four volcanic islands that make up the Pitcairn Islands, but only Pitcairn (the 2nd largest) is inhabited.  The islands are a British overseas territory, the last remaining in the P1010934Pacific.  The four spread over several hundred miles of ocean and have a total area of 18 square miles.  Pitcairn, the one we saw, was only about 2 miles across.  This picture is the back side of the island – more rugged and with some caves.

The island is best known as home of the descendants of the Bounty mutineers and the Tahitians who accompanied them.  Needless to say, P1000576the ship showed the movie, Mutiny on the Bounty, today and there were talks about Captain Bligh and Fletcher Christian and their ship, the Bounty.  And as we circled around the island, we were served Bloody Blighs and vegetarian Fletcher rolls on deck by our costumed staff.  It was great fun.

The last thing we saw before sailing off from Pitcairn was a small P1000640sailing boat that had left Nova Scotia and was going to Australia.  It was the Picton Castle and was such a fun sight to see.  It looked like we had just left the movie set of Mutiny on the Bounty!  I was happy to be doing my sailing on our bigger ship.

Tonight was formal night.  The theme was Mutiny on the Bounty so the staff was costumed in pirate outfits and the dining room was decorated like a ship.  We had an officer with us at our table tonight – one of the ship’s nurses.  She was really interesting and a great addition to our table conversation.  She lives in Saudia Arabia with her husband and works part time on cruise ships as a nurse.  A great dinner of lobster for me and filet for Doug.

After dinner, we went to see the movie Mutiny on the Bounty.  When it was over, we still had time to catch the ship’s show, Nick Page, a singer from London’s West End.  He was very talented with a strong voice.  He sang one of Pavarotti’s opera pieces which was wonderful.  After that, we decided to check out the late night scene in the Crow’s Nest.  What we learned was – there is a venue for everyone on this ship!  After a stroll around the deck, getting a bit wet as we tried to see the full moon, we returned to our cabin.  It was a great way to spend a birthday (that was Doug’s report about the day!)

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