Throughout my life I've wanted to travel to the South Seas and explore those special places that are removed from the tourist crowd. Many have special meaning for those of us that like adventure. Places such as the Marquesas, Bora Bora, Huahine, Rarotonga, Aitutaki, Easter, Manihi, Mataiva, Pitcairn, Palmyra and more.
One of my favorite stories was "Mutiny on the Bounty". With the help of the Internet, I began exploring some of these places and how they fair today and how you might reach them. As it turns out, nearly all are easily reached if you have the funds to support your adventuresome spirit. The usual way has been to reach them via private sailing yacht. The Marquesas are legendary to all yacht owners who have the time and skill to sail to the mid Pacific.
Times are changing and what was once a choice for the privileged few can now be enjoyed by many. Freighters and cruise lines are now stopping regularly at many of these ports. Only Palmyra is still pretty isolated but that will be changing in the next two years.
My trip will commence November 2003. Foillows a few of those places that started out on my "wish list":
With the help of the TV series, "Survivor", its now straightforward to go to the Marquesas. One of the most popular ways is through a freighter called "Aranui 3" that leaves and returns via Papeete. It takes 16 days and hits all the major ports. Recently, Princess Cruise Ships has started excursions to these islands as well via the "Tahitian Princess".
The Marquesas are famous for several painters and writers such as Paul Gauguin. It also has
a history of canibalism. In a way, its sad to see this beautiful area become more accessable
and spoiled but that seems to be progress. Better take advantage of it while you still can.
Several cruise ships stop at Pitcairn Island but passengers are not allowed to disembark.
The locals will come aboard the ship for a few hours to sell their wares. Pitcairn has quite a history as it is one of the most remote islands in the world. Of course, it was the final destination for the mutineers of the "Bounty". It took many years to find them because the island was plotted incorrectly on the british charts of the day.
Ham radio has played an important role for many years as it was the only means of communication to the outside world. VR6TC was the call sign of Tom Christensen as I was growing up. It was always a pleasure to hear him on the radio from such a far off distant land.
Permission to land is a challange. Both from the government administation point of view and the need for excellent seamanship. Landing at Pitcairn has never been easy because they are very exposed to the open seas. Those that do get permission must do it throught the use of a local "long boat". Some persons that have stayed on the island have mixed feelings. Several books have been written about their stories. Living in isolation can create some eccentrics.... not all is a bed of roses.
The Internet is coming to Pitcairn! They have their own country symbol now: .pn and anyone can create their own domain such as: yourdomain.pn The income is used for the residents. At present, the population is only 38!
If you want mystery on the high seas, this is the place to go. "Palmyra Atoll" is close to the equator, very hot and rainy. Its always been an idealic location for sailors. Its had a sinister history. Read about The Curse of Palmyra Island. Its reputation was re-instated back in 1974 for the dual murder of a sailing couple, Muff and Max Graham by two hippies. Ham radio played a key role in solving this case. Read "And the sea will tell" by Vincent Bugliosi which does an excellent job of telling the story. A movie was also made.
The island was privately owned for many years but was sold three years ago to the Nature Conservatory. It has an important population of birds and other critters that are not readily found in other parts of the world.
Limited tourism is expected to reach these islands very soon.
I selected the Star Princess and you can see the rest of the story by going to: The Story.
Last modified: 12/28/03