When the Bounty arrived in Tahiti, its crew were greeted with the most astonishing goodwill by the natives, to whom pale skin denoted royalty. After ten months at sea, sailing 27,000 miles, the impact of this overwhelming hospitality can only be imagined. To men whose remembrances of their homeland were primarily of filthy harbours and bleak moors, here were emerald lagoons and golden sands back-dropped by stupendous peaks shrouded in gossamer haze. And in place of the poxy harlots of Portsmouth, here were beckoning the voluptuous, raven-haired daughters of Polynesia. The climate, the sunsets, the total ambiance of the island made the senses swoon. And the food was ambrosia - fresh, real meat, suckling pig, exquisitely textured fish, and exotic fruits in luxurious abundance. These delights were eagerly pressed upon them, together with garlands of flowers and, most enticing of all, women.

The naturalist, Phillibert Commerson, wrote that the Tahitians knew 'no other god but love; every day is consecrated to it, the whole island is its temple, all the women are its idols, all the men its worshippers'. The mating of the sexes was 'an act of religion, joyfully performed in public'. To the Bounty's crew, the concept of Free Love was as welcome as it was alien to their upbringing and they adopted it with instant enthusiasm. The breadfruit plants were gathered in three weeks. They stayed for another twenty. Bligh was far too conscientious and ambitious to have taken this decision without good reason, and probably fear of impossible weather around the Horn was that reason.

Christian, called 'Titreano' by the eager Tahitian 'wahines', shared many a bed with them until he chose to form a steady alliance with the chieftain's daughter, Mauatua (also called Mi'Mitti), whom he renamed Isabella. This tropical idyll came to an end on the fourth of April, 1789, when the Bounty, with a thousand breadfruit plants aboard, plus many gifts from the island chiefs to King George, finally set sail for the West Indies.

Norfolk Island History in Detail

Early Days
The 'Bounty' Connection
Seeds of Mutiny
The Open Boat Journey
Starvation on Norfolk
Fate of the Bounty Mutineers
The Noble Savages
Second Settlement
Hell in Paradise
Pitcairn to Norfolk