What It's Like To Live On A Tiny British Island In The Middle Of The Pacific

Back in 1789, British sailors in the Pacific mutinied on the HMS Bounty and settled on Tahiti and Pitcairn Island.

While the mutineers on Tahiti were later arrested by the British, those on Pitcairn were able to start a community with Tahitian companions.

In 1838, the Pitcairn Islands officially became a British territory.

Today there are 48 people living on the tiny island, all said to be descendants of the Bounty mutineers.

As the population dwindles, the once stiff residency requirements are becoming increasingly lax in order to attract more residents. Those looking to live permanently on Pitcairn without prior family ties to the island are required to submit an application to the Island Council and the Governor.

Your best shot is to offer “skills which will be beneficial to the Pitcairn community,” according to their government website.

TonyprobstTony ProbstTony Probst sailing towards Pitcairn Island in 2012.

You can also visit — but getting there isn’t easy.

One frequent visitor is Scottish-born Tony Probst, 54, who has been an avid explorer since he was a child, spent almost 15 years sailing around the world with his parents.

“I find that I like to go to places that most people have never heard of or care about,” he said.

Probst, who has visited four times since 2011, has been dubbed the island’s ambassador by the natives. With his permission, we are publishing some of his favourite pictures of Pitcairn.

The British Pitcairn Islands includes four small volcanic islands in the Pacific. Only Pitcairn is inhabited, with around 50 residents.

Much of the Pitcairn terrain is rocky ...

... but that doesn't keep islanders like Brenda from exploring.

Declared bankrupt in 2004, islanders depend on tourism as an economic stimulant. Since the island is so difficult to get to, there have been very few visitors.

Prior to the arrival of the mutineers, Polynesians were the first settlers on Pitcairn. Here is a picture of ancient petroglyphs found on the southeast side of the island.

There is only one sandy beach, located right next to the petroglyphs.

Here's another view of the beach.

This is what their swimming pool looks like. The boats dock on Pitcairn Island is also a popular place to fish.

Jacqui Christian, 7th generation descendant of the Bounty, takes a moment to pause on a narrow path called Down Rope.

'I love Pitcairn and I think we have the most amazing piece of the world to live in ...

... it is green and rugged with the clearest royal blue ocean you'll ever see,' Christian said.

Here is one of the few dirt paths on Pitcairn Island. Residents use these paths when riding on their motor bikes.

'In 5 years time, 80% of the population will be over 65,' Christian told me. Pitcairn's oldest person is 87-year-old Irma, pictured here on her motor bike.

This is Emily, one of 8 children on the island. Pitcairn's youngest person is 3-years-old. Next year two teens will head to New Zealand for high school.

Sue O' Keefe and native Pirate Pawl say life on the island is far from idyllic. 'Things can be a struggle financially with high costs for services such as Internet and electricity. Monthly cost for 2 GB of Internet is $US100 and power bills are $US400,' Sue said.

'Having said that, we can stand at our doorway and watch migrant humpback whales play in the water below us ...

... and at night we can lie back on our deck and admire the stars above without pollution blocking our view,' Sue said.

Here is a picture of Sue and Pirate Pawl's home on Pitcairn. When asked about safety on the island, Sue said, 'Anywhere on the island, day or night I know I am perfectly safe from assault.'

In general, most homes on Pitcairn have large openings instead of actual doors. This is an indication of how safe the island is.

Pitcairn residents get all of their electricity powered through the generator pictured here. The generator stays on for only a couple of hours a day and is shut off at 10 o'clock sharp.

Most islanders make use of all the fresh fish surrounding their home, but there are some islanders who don't eat seafood for religious reasons.

The most common cause of death on the island is old age. Probst has taken photos of headstones and calculated that most people on Pitcairn live to about 90 years.

'Life here at the moment is anticipating the arrival of our quarterly supply ship,' Christian wrote via email. Islanders rely on these shipments because everything from candy to clothing must be shipped in from New Zealand. E-readers and iPad's are the most requested items.

Honey is Pitcairn's only export. In this picture, islanders pack boxes of their bottled honey.

'No one on the island has full-time employment and most work a number of different jobs. The average annual wage here is approximately $US4,200,' Sue wrote via email.

'Where else in the world can you say that you can have the whole population turn up for your birthday party?' Sue wrote. 'Everybody here does know everyone else not only by name but by their ancestry as well.'

Extremely isolated and with no hospital, islanders must travel to New Zealand for major medical treatment and can't return for another 3 months. 'If you're lucky you can get treated for more minor conditions such as dental problems or minor operations in Tahiti and return within 10-14 days,' Sue wrote.

Around 300 miles away, Probst took this picture of Pitcairn outlined in the moonlight and Venus.

Islanders told me their favourite thing about living on Pitcairn was being able to view the stunning sunsets and sunrises from any point on the island.

You've seen life on a tiny Pacific island ...

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