Monday, October 8, 2012

The Plant Nursery on Pitcairn Island

The Plant Nursery
The outside entrance way to the nursery
Pitcairn Island has a plant nursery. The building is quite substantial and there is plenty of equipment for propagating and nurturing plants. 
Plastic pots, potting mix and tools
Sometimes there are vegetable seedlings for sale.  There are also trees and shrubs ready to plant out. 
I went looking for an avocado tree and a mango tree but there were none there.

But I did come away with passionfruit vines, pawpaw and two lime trees which I have planted in the grounds of the school teacher’s residence.

Long Ridge on Pitcairn Island

Long Ridge
One of the best walks on Pitcairn Island is down Long Ridge to Water Valley and then back up the Water Valley Road. This walk offers wonderful views of Tedside on the western side of Pitcairn.
Descending the upper part of Long Ridge.
Matt's Rock and Young's Rock in the sea

View of Long Ridge taken from Gannet's Ridge
As you descend the rocky ridge you have a view behind you looking up to Gannets Ridge. 

Looking back up towards the top
To your right you are looking toward the ridge of Christian’s Cave.  Ahead of you is the panorama of Water Valley and Tedside.  The circular donut ring of rock in the water is called 'Garden'.  The rock jutting out into the sea is called 'Isthmus'.  This will be the site of the western Harbour that will be built providing additonal access to Pitcairn in bad weather.

Water Valley below the ridge

The ridge itself is solid rock so even though the drops are sheer
you feel confident that your feet won’t slip.It is relatively easy to climb down
Brenda Christian and Ruth sitting enjoying the view before descending from the ridge
and climbing down to Water Valley along the cliff edge.

An aerial view of Long Ridge

St Paul’s Pool Pitcairn Island

St Paul’s Pool

The jewel in the crown that is Pitcairn is surely St Paul’s Pool.  We have been here for eight months and yesterday we managed to swim in this beautiful rock pool. 
Ruth swimming in the pool
The two huge pillars on each side
 We have visited the pool many times but on these occasions we found it to be too dangerous for swimming. The strong waves crash into the pool between two high pillars.  At times the waves crash right over top of these which is an amazing sight. The waves flood the pool and then a strong current flows out the other end like a river going back out to open sea.  In the past people have been caught in the current and swept out. It pays to ask the locals for advice for when to swim.

Descending the wooden steps to the pool

The pool itself is teeming with life.  Many varieties of fish and sea creatures live in it. Paul and I tried our camera underwater and were pleased with the results.
My height gives persepective to the size of the pillars.
The waves crash right over top of these in rough weather.
The pool has numerous species of fish
An eel came out to see what I was doing with my camera

Red Ridge on Pitcairn Island

Red Ridge
Red coloured soil on the ridge
Gudgeon’s Cave is directly below the Red Ridge.
Having negotiated the Down Rope climb we were ready for more.  Brenda Christian suggested going down Red Ridge.  Red Ridge is named after the colour of the soil in that area.  I looked at an aerial photo that showed the ridge line from out at sea but I could not imagine how anyone would be able to climb down there. 
Descending the ridge

But Brenda led the way and we followed, down the Red Ridge across a large slip formed during the February 2012 floods and up the ridge on the opposite side of the slip.  We were walking on the edge of a cliff for much of the way. 
Looking over the edge
Very steep with not a lot of handholds
 In the next photo you can see the Red Ridge in the background that we descended.  Then we crossed a large slip and climbed the ridge on the side in the foreground. It was a wonderful day. What a truly magnificent island Pitcairn is. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Down Rope

Down Rope

Down Rope refers to a place on Pitcairn Island.  It is a small sandy beach accessible by boat on a calm day or down the cliff face from high above the beach.  Engraved on wall at the base of the cliff are ancient petroglyphs carved into the rock wall. Tourists who come to Pitcairn often inquire about going down there.  The track is narrow and nearly vertical in places and there is no rope.  Maybe in the past there has been a rope hence the name.  You need nerves of steel and a good head for heights to negotiate the route. 
                                               Looking towards the beach from the sea

                                         Standing looking at the petroglyphs on rock wall                                        

After my successful climb up to Christian’s Cave I decided that I would be prepared to give Down Rope a try.  My reasoning was that if it was too difficult for me then I would turn around and retreat up the cliff face.  Brenda Christian (pre-school teacher) is also on school holiday this week so she agreed to be the guide for Juergen Schuman and myself.  We successfully got to the bottom of the cliff and enjoyed a few hours on the sand and explored around the rocks before climbing back up.

                                                       I'm standing at the base of the cliff

Climbing back up.  Brenda behind me.