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14 Facts About The Pitcairn Islands

Bounty Bay Harbour / Copyright Andrew Randall Christian 

The UK announced the creation of the world's largest marine reserve around the British overseas territory of the Pitcairn Islands last week. To celebrate, we have drawn a list of 14 things you didn’t know about the Pitcairn Islands

 

1  The Pitcairn Islands consist of four islands, Ducie, Henderson, Oeno, and Pitcairn.

2  Only the second-largest island, Pitcairn, is inhabited. It has a population of 56, all men and women who are direct descendents of the Bounty mutineers and the Tahitians they brought with them in 1789.

3  While all islanders speak English, their first language is Pitkern, a creole language that has derived from 18-century English dialects and Tahitian. 

4  The Pitcairns make up a total land area of just about 47 square kilometres (18 sq mi). The fastest way to travel around Pitcairn is by quad-bike or foot and you can view some of the footpaths of Pitcairn on Google Streetview

5  The volcanic islands are are situated in the central South Pacific and are one of the world's most remote island groups, with the Gambier Group of French Polynesia lying 390km to the west and Easter Island (1,900km) and Salas y Gómez (2,300 km) to the east.

6  The mutineers re-discovered Pitcairn Island by chance after it had been misplaced on Royal Navy charts. 

7  Shortly after their settlement the men and women set fire to the HMS Bounty

8  In contrast to the islands low population, the flora and fauna on the islands is abundant. 1,249 known species, including 365 species of fish, 22 species of whales and dolphins and two species of sea turtles live on the islands. Two of the fish species found here are endemic to the islands, the Henderson triplefin (Enneapterygius ornatus) and the many-spined butterflyfish (Hemitaurichthys multispinosus)

9  The Pitcairn waters are in a near-pristine condition. In fact, the clarity of the water allows corals to grow at depths greater than expected in Pacific reefs.

10 At some sites, visibility can reach a staggering 75 metres. 

11  The area is also home to the world’s deepest living plant known to man - a species of encrusting coralline algae.

12  The newly created Pitcairn Islands Marine Reserve encompasses 834,334 square kilometres (322,138 square miles) and will protect one of the two remaining raises coral atolls.

13  40 Mile Reef is the deepest and most well-developed coral reef on record.

14  The sea surrounding the Pitcairns boast 69 seamounts, underwater mountains formed by submarine volcanoes. 

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