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    Re: on finding Pitcairn Island
    From: Henry Halboth
    Date: 2004 Sep 17, 11:48 -0400

    Pitcairn Island certainly was remote and miss-positioned at the
    time of the Bounty incident, but it appears to have been far from
    unknown in the context of these events. The mutiny in the
    Bounty took place on April 18, 1789; the mutineers dallied a bit
    and did not land on Pitcarin until early 1790, and Bligh returned to
    England on March 14, 1790, to a hero's welcome - well, initially
    at least; the mutineers were discovered on Pitcairn Island in about
    1808, by the Ship Topaz, out of Boston - apparently looking for
    seals on what her crew thought to be a disserted island.
    In the "Naval Gazetteer or Seaman's Complete Guide", by
    The Rev. John Malham, 1795 London edition, it is noted that ...
    "Pitcairn Island in the South Pacific Ocean is in lat. 25 deg. 2 min. S,
    and long. 133 deg. 21 min. W ..."; it further gives a short
    description of the island, and concludes with the statements
    that ..."it has some mountains of considerable size that may be
    seen 15 leagues off to the SE" ..., and that ... "the variation off
    this island in the year 1767 was only a deg. 46 min. E." ......
    Realistically, it may be inferred from these statements that Pitcairn
    had been know of since 1767, or perhaps even earlier, although
    no indicators of a landing can be deduced. It is certainly possible
    that Fletcher Christian knew of this island and/or that information
    with respect thereto was readily available aboard the Bounty -
    the chance that local knowledge with respect to it's general
    location may well have been acquired in Hawaii is certainly also
    a valid consideration. Given the rather large error in the reported
    longitude, a search along the recorded latitude would, of course,
    in any event have been necessary. It also remains to be explained
    why Pandora in her search for the mutineers did not think to look
    for Pitcairn and bring the story to a rather quick ending.
    Knowledge of Pitcairn's true position, subsequent to 1808, improved
    rapidly - Norie's 1839 edition gives it as 24-04 S. & Long 130-09-30 W;
    and Bowditch 1958 edition as 25-04 S. & 130-05 W.
    For those interested in Pitcairn generally, Irving Johnson, in his
    voyages during the 1930s, visited the island regularly, and had a
    number of write-ups in the National Geographic magazine of that
    era, from which much contemporaneous information can be
    obtained in archive.
    I don't know that John Malham's work has been previously
    referenced on this site. His 1795, two volume Gazetteer claims
    to be ..."a full and accurate account, alphabetically arranged,
    of the several coasts of all the countries and islands in the
    known world: shewing their Latitude, Longitude, Soundings,
    and Stations for Anchorage, ...", etc., is a valuable guide to
    knowledge of the relevant era. He also lays claim to being the
    author of ..."Navigation made easy and familiar, and other
    works on naval affairs" ...I am unfamiliar with anything but his
    Gazetteer, and wonder if any member of this List can provide further.
    On Fri, 17 Sep 2004 08:46:01 -0500 "Sellar, William E."
    > I'm mostly a lurker on this list, but I learn a lot from you all.  I
    > have read some about Polynesian navigation.  Is it possible that the
    > Polynesians that the mutineers took with them knew of the existence
    > of
    > Pitcairn and directed the Bounty there?  I have no evidence of this,
    > just a speculation.
    > Bill Sellar

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