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Ducie Island, Pitcairn

Ducie Island is an uninhabited atoll in the Pitcairn Islands, a British Overseas Territory located around 1,350 miles southeast of Tahiti. Just two square miles in size and ringed by reefs, Ducie comprises four small islets or motus: Acadia, Pandora, Edwards and Westward. Portuguese sailors first spotted Ducie in 1606; it would be 185 years before another European, British Captain Edward Edwards, sighted the atoll again. Edwards had been charged with arresting the Bounty mutineers who settled on neighboring Pitcairn Island; yet after observing Ducie in March 1791, he inauspiciously changed course, thereby missing the other Pitcairns and their renegade inhabitants. Ducie’s large, shallow central lagoon features a number of caves, which often generate whirlpools. Although there is little vegetation and no fresh water, the island serves as a nesting ground for several species of seabirds including the red-billed and red-tailed tropicbird, great frigatebird, white tern, blue noddy, and both masked and red-footed booby.