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Pitcairn Islands

Pitcairn Island Adventure 4

Off to Pitcairn Island

sunny 27 °C
View Pitcairn March 2009 on erodrigo's travel map.

At 3.30 in the morning just when we where about to hoist anchor and steam to Pitcairn an oil line sprung and the whole aft deck was splattered with oil. Our trusted Jack had to work for 5 hours to get the problem fixed. But finally he did and we where able to leave at 9 in the morning. It will take up to 20 hours to cover the 120 km (75 miles) from Oeno to Pitcairn
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When the Pitcairn people go to Oeno, like us they use GPS to navigate. They take 2 longboats fill it with everything they need including 20 litre barrels of fresh water and they make the trip in 9 hour. You do the math!
After a few hours problem number …. (I lost track) arose. Due to the oil line breaking there was now some diesel fuel in the oil lines. But there is nothing Jack can do at open sea so we headed on.
Finally at 2.30 in the morning we reached Pitcairn Island.

Posted by erodrigo 20:54 Archived in Pitcairn Islands Comments (0)

Pitcairn Island Adventure 3

Landing at Oeno Island.

sunny 26 °C
View Pitcairn March 2009 on erodrigo's travel map.

Today we loaded the Dinghy with our stuff in waterproof bags and headed for Oeno to spend the night on a deserted island.
There is only one small opening in the outer reef and it is an about 1 meter deep sandy part in the all around coral.
We approached the gap and big waves pushed us on in, just at the moment we where in the hole a 2 meter high wave caught up with us and we went sidewards and almost tipped over, if it weren’t for the skilled steering of Andrew, he got the boat straight again and got us trough the hole.
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At the moment we where trough the engine died. Turned out that the wave had made the fuel line come off, but Andrew put it on again and it was all smooth sailing for the last 500 meters to the island. We could finally let our adrenile rush calm down
Once landed on Oeno we unloaded our stuff in an old shed. The Pitcairn people are building a new one now because for them Oeno is a holiday island where they spend in average one week each time they go. It is about 120 km (75 miles) from Pitcairn Island.
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The rest of the day we walked around the island and snorkled the inner reef. In the evening we heated up canned Spaghetti on an open fire, had canned pineapple for dessert and topped it off with some freeze dried coffee, yes we are really true survivalists. Altough we did get some coconuts out of the tree and eat the meat and drank the milk at a big bonfire we started at the beach, Alcohol is not allowed on Oeno.
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On Sunday morning we packed up and headed out again. After an other adreneline rush going to reef and hitting some 2 meter waves head on we returned to our boat.
After our breakfast it turned out that our wonder worker had got the compressor working and he had filled up some bottles with air and we could go diving. So we put on our scuba gear and hit the water.
The visibility is amazing and the untouched corals beautiful. There aren’t many fish around but we did see an astonishing beautiful Nudie Branch, with green and black colours and grey spots.
After returning back to the boat we went back in the old rythem of eating and sleeping as we set sail for Pitcairn Island.
If the wind stays calm we should reach Pitcairn Island around 23.00 hours tomorrow.
Kurt told us the original plan to go to Ducie is no longer an option because of the state of the engine.

Posted by erodrigo 20:52 Archived in Pitcairn Islands Comments (1)

Pitcairn Island Adventure 2

Friday the 13th: Oeno Island

all seasons in one day 26 °C
View Pitcairn March 2009 on erodrigo's travel map.

After 60 hours at sea we finally reached our first Pitcairn Island: Oeno.
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It is a miracle we arrived at all, but more about that later on.
Rock ‘n Roll is not a dance it is a nautical term! You never danced like this when you have not been to the South Pacific. For almost 60 hours our boat was rocking and rolling on the waves and we danced along with it. And this is called calm weather, wirh winds up to 40 km (25 mph). But we made it.
Now for the problem, we can't land at Oeno because the equipment on board is not working. The compressor is out of order and so diving is no longer an option. Our chief engineer is doing his utmost to get the thing working. For floating the dinghy however an electrical compressor was at hand.
Because the state of the machinery on board is not good, every 6 hours 1 of the engines has to be switched of and checked to diminish the risk of overheating. For this reason the cooling system is checked for an air lock and if it is there the system has to be refilled.
Every 18 hours both engines have to be stopped and our miracle workere Jack has to do his magic for 2 hours to get the motors up and running again.
Last night the crew was even hosing the engine room because apparently some water had come in or the cooling system sprung a leak, they wouldn’t say.
The skipper considered turning back, brcause of the faulty engine but our wonder mecanic fixed it and so we went on.
I am sure we are no longer going to Ducie and even if the skipper says he will go I will not come with.
But on the positive side, we caught a Red Coral Trout and so we have fresh fish for dinner.
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Posted by erodrigo 20:49 Archived in Pitcairn Islands Comments (0)

Pitcairn Island Adventure 1

Mangareva: Mutiny on the Bounty Bay

sunny 27 °C
View Pitcairn March 2009 on erodrigo's travel map.

Today we arrived at Mangareva airport, Gambier Islands (French Polynesia), in an Air Tahiti ATR72. Within minutes after arriving 7 passengers out of 8 for the Pacific Expeditions travel to the 4 Pitcairn Islands had found each other. I guess we all looked the adventurous type ;-)
After the watertaxi had brought us to the main island we where picked up by our skipper Kurt. He brought us and our luggage to the Bounty Bay (our 14 meter vessel for this trip).
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Upon arrival we met the other two crewmembers:
- Andrew, Man of all trades, from Pitcairn,
- Jack, Chief engineer, from Tuvaly
- Kurt, Skipper, from Austria living in Thailand
There was supposed to be an 8 passenger, but he never showed up. We where now with 3 Americans, 1 Polish-American, a Norwegian guy and me and my cousin from the Netherlands. Off the 7 we where with 6 divers, so finding a buddy for diving would be no problem.
After our briefing about safety and regulations on this trip, the 3 Americans and the Norwegian guy disappeared to town and we 3 stayed behind, because we where supposed to go to the Gendarmerie (Police) at 3 to get our passport stamped.
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So at half past two we left for the Gendarmerie with our skipper and at thye police station we met the Norwegian guy who told us the 3 Americans had jumped ship and he was about to do the same.: MUTINY
What happened? It turned out that the three guys thought that the Bounty Bay was beneath their standards and they wanted to go dive everyday. Well obviously they had not read the website very good because they had booked the trip to Ducie where there might be the odd possibility to dive. The Norwegian guy tought this was a diving trip too and said goodbye to us as well.
The problem remained though, since the 3 Americans didn’t say to the skipper, saying they where leaving, he remained responsible After a long 2 hour search he found them and asked them about their plans and returned back to the boat. By that time it was to late to leave jarbour because the risks in the Gambier Island atoll was to great. So we had already lost one day, I guess we should sue them for missing a day of travel.
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Wednesday 11 of March
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Finally we left port with a 15 hour delay, after a 2 hour navigation trough the Gambier Island atoll we hit the Big Blue, we where now on the Pacific. For the coming two days there’s nothing more to do than to sit eat and talk, what a hard life we lead. It is just the Polish American guy and us two Dutch guys plus the 3 headed crew, it is almost a personal cruise.
For a calm sea it there where some big waves from 2 up to 4 metres.
We past Temoe atoll after 6 hours and some booby birds came to say hello around lunchtime.
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After Temoe there is no more land until we reach the Pitcairn Islands.
From now on it is all Pacific Ocean and trying not to fall down when you are walking on deck, because the boat is really rolling nicely on the waves.
We did however took on a extra holiday task, upon request we said to the skipper we all take 2 hour night watches.

Posted by erodrigo 20:43 Archived in Pitcairn Islands Comments (0)

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