“There is no safe harbour on Pitcairn. Bounty Bay is a tiny inlet, and a trained coxswain must aim the aluminium longboat at the rocks and wait for the swell, turning the tiller abruptly at the last second to enter the bay safely.
Passing cruise ships rarely land, instead, islanders sell their wares aboard by heading out on the longboat and climbing onto the ship by rope ladder. Here, more than 3/4 of the islanders sit aboard the longboat, Moss, heading out to a cruise ship. If this longboat were to sink, Pitcairn would have been decimated.
The longboats are also used to ferry cargo and passengers to and from the Claymore II. In desperate times, the longboats have also been used for medical evacuations to Mangareva, where navigation is conducted solely by compass, and islanders must cross hundreds of miles of open ocean before landfall.
On Pitcairn, the longboats are the island’s lifeline. Without them, the island would be completely cut off. When the men stood trial on Pitcairn, they ferried their own prosecutors to shore in these boats. When the trials first took place, many islanders were worried that prison sentences would kill the island due to the lack of longboat crew. However, once convictions were handed out, they were allowed out of HMP Pitcairn to man the longboat. Though there was some talk of training the women to be able to crew the boat, to this day there has never been a female coxswain.” – Rhiannon Adam
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Big Fence / Pitcairn Island
The Pitcairn Islands are the last British Overseas Territory in the South Pacific. Pitcairn was permanently settled by the infamous Bounty mutineers and their Polynesian captives in 1790, and their descendents, now numbering fewer than 40, still live there today.
The tiny, isolated, volcanic island measures just two by one miles, is 400 nautical miles away from its nearest neighbour, and is the least populated jurisdiction in the world. Due to the infrequent supply ship schedule (the island’s only direct access), Rhiannon Adam was trapped on Pitcairn for three months, spending two of those living at Big Fence… READ MORE
Rhiannon Adam is a photographic artist, born in Cork, Ireland, in 1985. She currently lives and works between London and the US.
In 1992, her parents sold everything they owned and bought a live-aboard sailing boat, Jannes. From that point, her childhood became nomadic, moving from place to place, mainly around South America and the Caribbean. She eventually moved to London as a teenager to live her with aunt, enabling her to begin mainstream education. She later studied at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and at the University of Cambridge.
Adam’s work is centred on research-based, long-form, social documentary projects that make use of analogue photographic processes and archive materials, as well as her on-going obsession with Polaroid and the materiality of the photographic image. Her early life experiences have had a lasting influence on her work, with a focus on remote communities, the concept of utopia, and the fine line between fact and fiction… READ MORE