Pitcairn Island, British Overseas Territory

2019 HAL World Cruise

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

 

Pitcairn Island, one of four tiny islands in the group, is the only one inhabited.  This last remaining British Overseas Territory, located in the remote South Pacific, is the furthest inhabited land from any continent on the earth!  There is no airport; there is only one circuitous road; there is no TV reception although TVs with DVD players are numerous; there is no internet but the HAM radio tower keeps the inhabitants in touch with the outside world; there are only about 4 dozen people living there.  All are descendants of the mutineers of the HMS Bounty and their Polynesian companions.

The mutineers arrived on Pitcairn in 1790.  They set fire to the HMS Bounty in order to sink her and hide her from discovery.  The wreck is still visible underwater and was, in fact, discovered by the National Geographic explorer Luis Marden in 1957.

Today, half the population of Pitcairn came aboard the MS Amsterdam.  The pictures will tell the story about our day.  You all know the story of Mutiny on the Bounty!  We met the descendants of the Bounty Mutineers!

We anchored in Bounty Bay and awaited the Longboat from Adamstown.
We anchored in Bounty Bay and awaited the Longboat from Adamstown.
This is Bounty Bay and the  Longboat Shed.
This is Bounty Bay and the Longboat Shed.
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This is not a large island. Pitcairn is the only inhabited island of the group.
This is it!  A full view of Bounty Bay and Adamstown.
This is it! A full view of Bounty Bay and Adamstown.
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What we are looking at here is a switchback on the “Hill of Difficulty Road!” Aptly named!
The houses look quite nice.
The houses look quite nice.
Our guests are coming alongside.
Our guests are coming alongside.
The stern line is set.
The stern line is set.
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And half the population of Pitcairn climbs the ladder and comes aboard! Please note that there doesn’t seem to be much merchandise there. Hopefully, there is more under that plywood floor!!!
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And yes, there was more merchandise stowed under the temporary plywood floor of the longboat! Carts and carts were brought up to the Lido Deck.
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Thank Goodness! Even more merchandise. 1200 passengers, who spent the last 5 days at sea + an abundance of new and interesting wares equals…..
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…..a mob scene! I managed to buy a golf shirt by snaking my arm into the mass; pulling out the first thing I touched; and holding up cash with my other hand. Success: size close enough, color OK, souvenir bagged!
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Rog is pointing to Pitcairn on the globe. It truly is in the middle of nothingness. Notice the shirt.
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Got the logo; bought in Bounty Bay; so who’s gonna know it was manufactured in Honduras! Don’t tell!
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One table was set up to stamp the passports of passengers who so desired–US $5.00.
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Some people are buying postcards with a Pitcairn stamp to send out of Pitcairn on the next mailboat, scheduled to arrive in Mid-March. US $3.00/card (stamp included.)
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And all too soon, the day is over and the longboat comes back to pick up our guests.
We say farewell to Pitcairn Island.
We say farewell to Pitcairn Island.

Now another couple of days at sea as we sail to Papeete, Tahiti.

Alesund, Norway

2018  HAL Voyage of the Vikings

Thursday, August 2, 2018

 

The city of Alesund is a very special place.  It spans several islands linked by tunnels and bridges and casts a spell on visitors with its distinctive Art Nouveau style of architecture.   The city was chartered in 1848, but it was on a dark and stormy night in 1904 that the entire city center was destroyed by fire.  Over the next three years, the city was rebuilt, almost exclusively in the Art Nouveau style.  Today, Alesund is an important fishing port, centrally located on the Norwegian Sea.

We have been here before and were enchanted by the charm of the architecture.  The history of the area encompasses the Viking Age, but this was an agricultural area and settlements were separated by great distances.  The Sunnmore Museum, just outside of town (9:00am-4:00pm daily, 7.50/pp for seniors) details the lifestyle of the early peoples along with their architecture, industry and community.

One “must do” activity in Alesund is a visit to the Fjellstua Lodge atop Mount Aksla.  You can walk up the 418 steps if you are so inclined, but the little Alesund City Sightseeing train will take you there ($24.00/pp/rt with a stop at Sunnmore, too.)  As will the HOHO for $38.00/pp.  And as will taxis for about 100.00/hour!

Of course, there is nothing wrong in simply walking around the charming town, shopping the quaint shops and enjoying a lunch or libation in a lovely café.  This is a fun, entertaining and interesting port!

Docked in Alesund with a view of Mount Aksla.
Docked in Alesund with a view of Mount Aksla.
The city is, literaly, right across the street from the ship!
The city is, literaly, right across the street from the ship!
All sorts of services are available as one exits to the city center.
All sorts of services are available as one exits to the city center.
Now that looks like some serious fun!
Now that looks like some serious fun!
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The tourist train runs to Sunnmore, up to Aksla view point and into the city center.
There were 4 of us, and this is the option we wound up doing!
There were 4 of us, and this is the option we wound up doing!
The Sunnmare Museum of Viking houses and culture.
The Sunnmare Museum of Viking houses and culture.
Sunnmore Museum
Sunnmore Museum
Turf Houses dominate the displays at Sunnmore.
Turf Houses dominate the displays at Sunnmore.
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The huts on the right are called Kyrkjebuder. They once lined the roads between a church and boathouses on the shore.
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“Church huts” were useful for several reasons: storage for goods due to be shipped, as well as received and awaiting transport to home; or for storage of the hymnals, Sunday clothes, toiletries and other items useful after a long carriage ride to church.
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Boat-building Workshop. Many farms had workshops for building boats. Income was often augmented with fishing and the farmers often built boats for themselves (and others as an additional way to make money.)
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This is a Fjordmannstova. It was built as temprary lodging for those winter fishing forays when shelter was needed but it was too far to return home while the fishing was good. These huts were for the both the crew and equipment.
The boat hall at Sunnmore has several Viking boats.
The boat hall at Sunnmore has several Viking boats.
Even a longboat!
Even a longboat!
Longboats would usually tow a smaller boat behind to carry supplies.
Longboats would usually tow a smaller boat behind to carry supplies.
There are several replicas in the water--but the motors are disconcerting!!!!
There are several replicas in the water–but the motors are disconcerting!!!!
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The Fjellstua Lodge atop Mount Aksla –that zigag path is 418 steps going up! We were glad we had hired the cab!
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View from the top of Aksla with some islands in the distance and our ship (as well as a couple of others!) docked on the left.
View from the top of Aksla.
View from the top of Aksla.
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There is a cafeteria at the top. Both inside and outside seating. The menu appears to be the same in either location.
As is the view.  But it is a bit warmer inside!
As is the view. But it is a bit warmer inside!
The sausage and french fries were quite good.
The sausage and french fries were quite good.
The hamburger was amazing!
The hamburger was amazing!
But the end of day libation remains part of our habit pattern!
But the end of day libation remains part of our habit pattern!
View from the top of some islands and bridges.
View from the top of some islands and bridges.
A map of the tunnels and bridges.
A map of the tunnels and bridges.
The church on the island of Giske built around 1050.
The church on the island of Giske built around 1050.
Giske on the left.
Giske on the left.
Alesund
Alesund
The architecture of Alesund.
The architecture of Alesund.
The oldest house that survived the fire of 1904.
The oldest house that survived the fire of 1904.
Alsund Church
Ålesund Church
And I will close this post with the Viking Laws!
And I will close this post with the Viking Laws!

 

Next, we visit Eidfjord, Norway.