National Geographic : 1942 Jan
The National Geographic Magazine Dr. Raymond A. Dillon Sunday School Meets on the Hard Benches of Pitcairn's Courthouse Portraits of King George V and Queen Mary of England look down on the group. Lumber in this building was sawed and planed by hand on the island. Once there was a jail, but it long since has fallen into disuse. Current for electric lights is supplied by a gasoline-driven generator. miles away, to get logs of miro wood from which they make furniture, canes, and inlaid boxes and build their boats. The wood has been exhausted on Pitcairn. They took their lives in their hands for this task. The first voyage was successful. The second time they were becalmed fourteen days and nearly ran out of food. The third time they could not find the low island and ran into such a storm that the boats nearly foundered. This year the skipper agreed to take them to Henderson and bring back a load of logs in the Yankee. All but five of our crew, includ ing Fritz, stayed on Pitcairn, while 45 island ers piled aboard the Yankee. A longboat was towed astern. We hoped to make the trip in a quick over night run, load logs on Friday, and sail back on Saturday, their Sabbath. However, the wind came around ahead and prevented us from making it, so the skipper asked the islanders if they would load the ship on Satur day. They answered that they would go back to Pitcairn with no wood rather than work on their Sabbath! Wild Rides through Henderson Surf When we reached Henderson Island Satur day afternoon, 15-foot breakers were rolling in on the coral reef. Going ashore, the loaded longboat caught a sea wrong and smacked the reef. Twice again the heavy craft struck be fore the men could jump out and haul her up the beach. That afternoon the islanders scouted around, but did no real work until their Sabbath ended at sundown. Sunday morning, an hour after daylight, the first boatload of wood headed out through the breakers. We hove to a couple of hundred yards off the island while they piled the logs on deck. The Yankee crew took turns going ashore in the longboat, and what wild rides they had!