Through the years since the first
definitive issue of Pitcairn stamps was released in 1940, the philately of Pitcairn
Island has enjoyed a much-sought-after status among stamp collectors throughout
Cruise Ships 2013
The Guide to Pitcairn states that after Folger's discovery of the community in 1808, the pattern of communication was essentially one of irregular naval and merchant ship visits.
The opening of the Panama Canal in 1914 brought new life to the island and changed the connection with Pitcairn's neighbors with New Zealand becoming a more important link than Tahiti. However, passenger service via the New Zealand Shipping Company and he Shaw Savill and Albion Company were eventually withdrawn which left only cargo vessels to call en-route, and this vital connection provided needed supplies for the islanders.
In recent years, the worldwide increase in interest to cruise the world's oceans has led to a new vitality within the Pitcairn Community. The following commentary has been kindly provided courtesy of the Pitcairn Islands Tourism Department:
With the number of visiting cruise ships steadily increasing each year, Pitcairn's cruise ship season is always a busy time. Typically, it starts around October or November and runs through into April of the following year.
The size and type of ship ranges from small expedition vessels that carry 100 or so passengers to huge ocean liners carrying up to 3,000 passengers. With this in mind, Pitcairners must find time to get into their studios and workshops to create their carvings, curios and artwork. These days there's a huge range of Pitcairn keepsakes available, from jewelry to all types of wooden carvings, bowls and platters; caps, tee-shirts, hand-woven traditional baskets, Bounty and longboat model, handmade soaps, and, of course, Pitcairn's famous pure honey.
Most cruise ship companies confirm their plans to visit Pitcairn at least a year or more in advance of the date of their ship's call at the island. The notification is confirmed by the island's immigration officer, and an announcement is made of the pending visit over the radio to all island residents. The ship's name, arrival and departure times are added to the Cruise Ship Booking List which is ever present on th Public Notice Board at The Square in Adamstown, Pitcairn Island.
As the day of a ship's arrival draws near, the Immigration Officer, Tourism Coordinator, Pitcairn Mayor and Provisions Officer start corresponding via e-mail with the ship to coordinate activities for the day the ship will be at Pitcairn. This varies, depending on roles and whether the ship's Captain intends to land passengers, or feels it is safer to have the Pitcairn community go on board the vessel to set up the Pitcairn Island Curio and Craft Market, deliver a lecture, and mix and mingle with passengers for a few hours.
These days some 35 to 45 Pitcairn residents might go out in the island's longboats to the ships who invite the community aboard. Once the longboats are alongside the ship the sometimes dangerous process of boarding the ship begins: Pitcairners who are unwell or perhaps a little too frail to climb the Jacob's ladder up the side of the ship are encouraged to allow friends and family to take their goods on board for them - ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to trade and benefit from sales.
Landing passengers from the ship onto Pitcairn Island is always at the discretion of the ship's captain, and that decision depends on weather and sea conditions of the day. If the captain's decision is that passengers may not go ashore, it means the earlier described longboat trip out to the ship. If the captain agrees to allow passengers to go ashore, then Pitcairners must set up their goods on trading tables along the main road or at The Square in Adamstown on the island. Either way it's always a happy and exciting time with no one really sure which way it will go until the ship's captain has made his or her final decision.
If the decision is to land passengers, the ship's Captain will opt to use either the ship's own tenders (boats) or the Pitcairn longboats to ferry passengers ashore. And, with the first arrivals everything falls into place. Tourism staff welcome the passengers as they arrive at the landing at Bounty Bay, and provide them with walking maps and general visitor information. A handful of local quad bike operators provide taxi services up the steep Hill of Difficulty from Bounty Bay to The Square in Adamstown. Once everyone is ashore, these bike operators offer tours of the island to those desiring them.
Frequently, after several days at sea, many passengers prefer to walk about the island at their own pace, taking in Pitcairn's natural and built attractions. And, for such a small island, there is a lot to see: the Seventh-day Adventist Church where the treasured Bounty Bible is housed; the Pitcairn Islands Museum; the historic island cemetery; and, of course, the local market.
Those who are fit and healthy wander up over the hills to the top of the island and beyond, visiting St. Paul's Pool, Pitcairn's Highest Point; Ship's Landing Point, and, if they're lucky, coming upon the island's one and only Galapagos tortoise "Miz T."
For many cruise ship passengers going to Pitcairn Island is the highlight of their trip. Whether they are able to land or not, most state that having the opportunity to personally meet the descendants of the famed Bounty Mutineers and learning about their day-to-day lives, is what really makes their time at Pitcairn so memorable. And it's a mutual experience. Over the generations, Pitcairners have forged lifelong friendships with passengers, captains and crew members who have visited via cruise or other ships. At the close of a typical cruise ship day both visitors and Pitcairners are refreshed and revitalized - satisfied with the day's events, sights seen and friendships made.
The year 2013 will see eight cruise ships visit Pitcairn, with eleven expected to visit in 2014. These ships are often very large, and like those shown in this stamp issue, each carrying 2,000 or more passengers, some 40 times the population of tiny Pitcairn Island!
Technical details: The designer of this stamp issue is Denise Durkin of Wellington, New Zealand. The printer of the stamp issue is Southern Color Print, Dunedin, New Zealand. The printing process for this stamp issue is Offset Litho. The pane format of the stamps is 2 panes of 10 stamps with central horizontal gutter. The stamp size is 50.00 mm x 35.71 mm horizontal. The perforation gauge is 14.40 x 14.00. The stamp denominations are $2.00 x 4. The paper on which these stamps is printed is Tullis Russell 106gsm. Taiwan Yellow/green phosphor stamp paper. The period of sale for these stamps is April 24, 2013 for a period of two years. The Pitcairn Islands Philatelic Bureau acknowledges the valuable assistance of Carnival UK; Prestige Cruise Holdings, and Princess Cruises in connection with the preparation of this stamp issue.
Pitcairn Stamp Issues
(Click small stamp
images to see larger views.)
Below is a listing of all Pitcairn stamps issued since 1940 when Pitcairn Island began issuing its own stamps