"NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC" CONDUCTS EXPEDITION TO PITCAIRN

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PAPE‘ETE, Tahiti, French Polynesia (February 5, 2002 – Tahitipresse)---For three days, January 24 - 26, photographer Yves Gellie of "National Geographic" magazine, accompanied by journalists Bertrand de Lesquen and Frédéric Fouche and Gallimard publishing house illustrator Christian Heinrich, explored the British island of Pitcairn, located at 2,200 kilometers (1,320 miles) southeast of Tahiti.

"For the third time since the establishment of ‘National Geographic,’ the magazine organized an expedition to Pitcairn -- in order to have a snapshot of it at the dawn of 2002," explained Yves Gellie to Tahitipresse.

The visit was carried out during the annual celebration of the epic voyage of the nine English "Bounty" mutineers who, on January 15, 1790, after the mutiny (April 28, 1789) in Tahiti against their captain William Bligh, set foot on this uninhabited rock of 4.6 square kilometers (1.84 square miles).

The mutineers were accompanied by twelve Tahitian women, a baby and six Tahitian men.

On January 23, 1790, the mutineers burned their boat in order to make sure that nobody would flee from the island and disclose their hiding place to the British Admiralty.

The team of reporters embarked for Pitcairn from the island of Mangareva (Gambier Archipelago) aboard the "Revi," a French Navy tugboat.

"The population (of about 50) gave us a warm welcome," said Claude Bourgeois, captain of the "Revi."

"To tell the truth, it is a beautiful community administered by Steve Christian, the mayor, who belongs to the eighth generation of mutineer Fletcher Christian."

The ship delivered fuel to the inhabitants, who see only two cargo liners a year.

The Pitcairn economy relies on fishing, the sale of vegetables and fruits to the few boats that stop over, and, primarily, on the sale of postal stamps, which are much sought-after by philatelists around the world.

Pitcairn remains a British colony whose governor, Martin Williams, is the High Commissioner in New Zealand.

For additional reports from Tahiti Press, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Sources: Agence Tahitienne de Presse. 

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