National Geographic : 1949 Jan
The National Geographic Magazine Charles Allmon With a Good Toe Hold, Alan Pierce Feels as Safe as on Deck 70 Feet Below Alan obeys the old rule, "One hand for yourself, the other for the ship." His back to the wind, he bal ances across the foreyard, keeping constant guard against a sudden lurch. Bare feet clutch a special foot rope needed at yard's end. Old-time sailors often used sea boots whose heels gripped ropes as a cowboy's grip stirrups. Neither darkness nor storm stops work aloft. Yankee's sail tenders jestingly say that when the ship rolls they can almost wash their faces in the sea. sea, they stand as monuments to a vanished golden age (page 18).* Another major sport on Easter was trading with the natives. In return for textiles, in cluding some worn shirts, crew members picked up half a ton of curios. Some were foot-high, red stone copies of the heroic statues (page 7). Yankee Takes Gifts to Pitcairn From Easter the Yankee set her course for Pitcairn, an island that means a lot to us. As we approached, we never had so many hands in the rigging looking for land. Three girls and eleven boys were having a hilarious time aloft when, from the masthead, Al Pierce shouted, "Land ho!" Pitcairn lay 40 miles ahead. This mile-wide island, rising 1,000 feet above the South Pacific, was deliberately chosen for settlement by reason of its very loneliness (pages 20, 22, 24). Captain Bligh's English jack-tar mutineers and their Tahiti brides, burning the stolen Bounty so they could never leave or be traced, settled here in 1790. The last survivor, John Adams, was rediscovered in 1808 (page 33). The mutineers' great-great-grandchildren, according to our private census, numbered 132 on Pitcairn; a few others were working or studying in New Zealand. Having visited the island on each Yankee voyage, we have made fast friends. And, like the Wittmers, the Pitcairners appreciate our visits because we bring needed goods. This time we bore a ton of presents, includ ing 20 pounds of precious rat poison for Pit cairn's only enemy. Gifts were sent by various * See "Great Stone Faces of Easter Island," 11 ills., NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, February, 1944.