Ducie IslandThe Ducie Island
Exploring on Ducie Island alone to comprehend, divide, transform.
Like Ducie, a lonely island far away from everything is always intriguing - after a few nights at Sea to see the coast, drop your anchors and smell the scent of the country. However, to appreciate the nature of an island, there is nothing better than to set a foothold on shore and spend the nights there.
At the end of the 3 day long Ducie Island coastal survey, the science is over. and we were expecting to abandon this little bit of ground without setting our feet there. It is so remote and far from any other country that you would never come here by accident.
Until now we had to be satisfied with viewing the island from Taras Decks with a pair of glasses or with pictures of our dron. The Ducie is a thin arched stretch of ground, 2 kilometres long and several hundred metres high. A huge reindeer and some islands close the loop.
On the finite - and inaccurate - map of the island, there is a path to the tunnel within this area. As we didn't know the tide and the enormous ripples on the island's riff, we quickly discarded the opportunity to be left ashore by a canoe. So as not to regret anything, I chose to try one last one.
Monch, the divemaster, took me to the other side of the island, where the sea seemed less powerful and after a few metres almost disappeared: it is my door. Approximately 50 metres from the bank we paused without being able to continue because of the riff. Then I hopped into the river and floated to the bank, while I pushed the dumpster in front of me.
Here, like around Ducie, everything is coated with hard rock shells. Eventually I put a foothold on the sand, which is actually a giant heap of crumble. I' m alone at last on this desert island. When I had stowed most of my gear in the shadow and took off my neoprene suit, I started to explore the island along the coast.
Although we are several hundred kilometres from every populated country, the beaches are covered with rubbish borne by the currents: tanks, boxes, buoys and moorings, etc... Besides recluse and other shrimps, bird life is everywhere, in the sky and on land: solid fregates, disguised gannets, storm-pets, and exalted little albatrosses.
They are Murphy's petrels: 90% of the world populations of this breed on Ducie. I' ve taken many pictures, among them plants: The Council of Pitcairn, which gathers 6 of the 50 people of the Ducie Islands, asked us to take pictures of the Ducie flowers when we land them.
For them, the island's inherent richness is still largely unexplored. A further wish of Tara's scuba divers was to shoot under the waterbed. So, I went back to get my scuba gear and got ready to pass through the thin woodland to get to the other side of the Laguna.
I put on my flippers, masks and snorkels on a grey and fossilized grey celery. And after 15 mins. I turned around. As the daylight faded, I rushed back over the flora to retrieve my possessions near the bath. At last I had a few moments to take a snack with a nice full moons and the screams of tens of thousand people.
Awake almost every hour: once because of the bird fights right under my hammock, and another once to check if my bivy was standing as the tarpaulin was fluttering in the squall. When the light of day came, I wanted to shut my sight for a few moments, when all the island's birdlife agreed to serenade.
So I got up and started a fire on the shore to get warmed up. I was greeted with amazement by a large number of disguised tits as I was nibbling on the fire, eating lebkuchen, savouring the dawn and the opportunity I had: for one single evening I was the only resident of Ducie Island.