Did or Could Seabirds “Halo” Pitcairn Island for Fletcher Christian?




Albert, Donald Patrick

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Terrae Incognitae


How did Fletcher Christian, leader of the mutiny on the Bounty, find Pitcairn Island when the supposed location was 342 kilometers west its actual location? This study in applied historical geography explores whether seabirds were potential navigational beacons pointing to the whereabouts of Pitcairn Island. Flight distances were extracted from seabird foraging range studies that employed global positioning system (GPS) with tracking devices. These data were used to construct foraging range buffers around Pitcairn and the other three islands of the Pitcairn Islands (Oneo, Henderson, and Ducie). The results indicated that seabirds extend island sighting distance and perhaps guided Christian to Pitcairn Island.


The accepted version of an article published in Terrae Incognitae


GPS, Fletcher Christian, historical geography, HMS Bounty, Mutiny on the Bounty, seabirds


Albert, Donald P. 2018. Did or Could Seabirds “Halo” Pitcairn Island for Fletcher Christian? Terrae Incognitae 50(2): 99-114.