” The Sea Rebel ”
March 7, 2013 • 808 views
THE SOUTH SEAS
The South Seas was a term that struck terror to many sailors in the early days of wooden ships sailing the globe. Not just because of the perils involved but the length of time such voyages entailed. When ships left the ports of England, Spain and the Netherlands for the South Seas these men knew that they would be gone for years and not just months and days.
The names of some of these captains have become legendary. People like James Cook, Abel Tasman and William Bligh. While most of the islands, especially the smaller ones, were uninhibited some were not. The ancient Polynesians had journeyed there before them and settled in some of the most remote spots on Earth.
As my ship the Pacific Princess left the port of Callao, Peru on February 7, 2013 we too set sail through the South Seas on our way to Australia. Our first planned stop was at the world renowned Easter Island, famous for its stone heads. It is 2,033 nautical miles to Easter Island from Callao, Peru. Many on board thought that landing there might be the highlight of the voyage. It was not to be. Easter Island, like the Falklands, and various other locations is one of those places that are sometimes unsafe to land. So it was for us that day (2/12/2013) as the large swells prevented us from tendering ashore. So it was on to Pitcairn Island.
1117 nautical miles later we were at Pitcairn Island. Pitcairn Island, of Mutiny on the Bounty fame, is very small. When we arrived there on February 15, 2013 only 50 people were living there (only 8 of which were children). About 30 of them came in a small boat from the island and visited with us and sold us items (their honey is some of the best on Earth). I met Jacqui Christian, a 7th generation descendant of Fletcher Christian of the Bounty. It would be 1,188 more nautical miles before we would finally reach landfall at Papeete, Tahiti.
On February 19, 2013 we reached Tahiti. Tahiti is as beautiful as they all say, although after that many days at sea and that many miles our views might be a little distorted. The Arahoho Blowhole is certainly worth seeing.
2,215 more nautical miles later we reached Auckland. Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand. Auckland reminded me of San Diego and nearby Devonsport reminded me of Coronado — civilization at last.
The vastness of the South Seas is daunting and to think that people did it in small wooden boats centuries before is truly amazing.
Now we headed for Tasmania.