Ducie Island

Ducie Island /ˈduːsi/ is an uninhabited atoll in the Pitcairn Islands. It lies 535 kilometres (332 mi) east of Pitcairn Island, and 354 kilometres (220 mi) east of Henderson Island, and has a total area of 1.5 square miles (3.9 km2), which includes the lagoon. It is 1.5 miles (2.4 km) long, measured northeast to southwest, and about 1 mile (1.6 km) wide. The island is composed of four islets: Acadia, Pandora, Westward and Edwards.

Despite its sparse vegetation, the atoll is known as the breeding ground of a number of bird species. More than 90% of the world population of Murphy's petrel nests on Ducie, while pairs of red-tailed tropicbirds and fairy terns make around 1% of the world population for each species.

Ducie was first discovered in 1606 by Pedro Fernandes de Queirós, who named it Luna Puesta, and rediscovered by Edward Edwards, captain of HMS Pandora, who was sent in 1790 to capture the mutineers of HMS Bounty. He named the island Ducie in honour of Francis Reynolds-Moreton, 3rd Baron Ducie. In 1867 it was claimed by the United States under the Guano Islands Act, but the United Kingdom annexed it on 19 December 1902 as part of the Pitcairn Islands. Due to its inaccessibility and the distance from Pitcairn Island, Ducie is rarely visited today.

Native name:
A satellite photograph of an atoll consisting of four islets with an interior lagoon. The largest island has a "C" shape and is dominated by vegetation. The other three are smaller and have sparse vegetation. The islets are surrounded by dead coral and the ocean. In the lower right corner of the photo, a compass indicates the orientation of the island.
NASA photograph of Ducie Island
LocationSouth Pacific Ocean
Coordinates24°40′09″S 124°47′11″W / 24.66917°S 124.78639°W
ArchipelagoPitcairn Islands
Total islands4
Major islandsAcadia, Pandora, Edwards, Westward
Area0.27 sq mi (0.70 km2)
1.5 sq mi (4 km2) (lagoon included)
Highest elevation15 ft (4.6 m)
Ducie is located in Pacific Ocean
Location of Ducie Atoll in the Pacific Ocean
Location of Ducie Atoll within Pitcairn Islands


The island was discovered by a Spanish expedition led by Portuguese sailor Pedro Fernandes de Queirós on 26 January 1606, during an expedition that began in Callao, Peru.[1] Supported by Pope Clement VIII and Philip III of Spain, Queirós was given the command of the San Pedro, San Pablo and Zabra. The fleet was nicknamed Los Tres Reyes Magos ("The Three Wise Men"). The objective of the expedition was to take soldiers, friars and provisions to establish a colony in the Santa Cruz Islands.[2]

Ducie Island was the first of eighteen discoveries on the trip. Queirós named the island Luna Puesta (roughly, "moon that has set"). On the same day, he also sighted two more islands, one that he named San Juan Bautista ("St John the Baptist"), and the other La Encarnación ("the Incarnation"). It is unclear which one was Henderson island and which one Pitcairn.[3] The confusion was later compounded when a chart produced by Admiral José de Espinosa marked Ducie as La Encarnación, rather than as Luna Puesta.[4]

The island was rediscovered and named Ducie Island on 16 March 1791 by Captain Edward Edwards, of HMS Pandora, who had been despatched from Britain in 1790 to arrest the Bounty mutineers.[4] Edwards named it in honour of Francis Reynolds-Moreton, 3rd Baron Ducie, under whom he had served earlier in his career.[5] HMS Pandora turned northwards from Ducie and, because of this change of course, Edwards did not sight the other islands of the group. If HMS Pandora had maintained its course, it would eventually have reached Pitcairn Island and found the Bounty mutineers.[6]

The crew of the whaleship Essex, which a whale had attacked and sunk in November 1820, mistakenly believed that they had reached Ducie after a month at sea in two whaleboats. In fact they had reached Henderson Island.[7] Captain Thomas Raine of Surrey, who was searching for the survivors of Essex, in 1820 made the first recorded landing on Ducie.[3] Frederick William Beechey, who arrived in HMS Blossom during November 1825, wrote the first comprehensive description of the island. Beechey's expedition did not land in the atoll, but members of the crew sailed around it in small boats.[8] Based on Beechey's survey, the first Admiralty chart of the island was published in 1826. For nearly a hundred years it was the only available map of the island.[9]

Ducie Map 1826 Beechey
Map of Ducie island published in 1826, based on the descriptions of Frederick William Beechey

On 5 June 1881 the mail ship Acadia ran aground on the island while returning from San Francisco, Peru after unloading its cargo. On the way to Queenstown or Falmouth for new orders, Master Stephen George calculated a route passing 15 to 20 miles (24 to 32 km) to the east of Ducie. George left the first mate in command at 6 am. Half an hour later, the first mate saw a white line, which he disregarded on the assumption that it was phosphorescence in the water. Later, realising that it was land, he manoeuvred to avoid running aground, but failed. The look-out excused himself by saying that he thought that the white land was a cloud. The crew made several unsuccessful attempts to re-float the ship, after which the master sailed one of the ship's boats to Pitcairn Island. He was assisted there by the local inhabitants and returned aboard the Edward O'Brien, an American boat, to rescue the rest of the crew. The incident was later investigated in a court in Liverpool, where the ultimate cause of the wreck was left undetermined, though possible causes included a calculation error by the master or an unknown current that carried the ship to the island. The court declared the master not guilty of any wrongdoing.[10] A stone marker with a memorial inscription is located at the landing point on Acadia Islet. It was unveiled to commemorate the recovery of the anchor in 1990. The wreck lies offshore from the memorial stone in about 10 metres of water.[11]

In 1969 the atoll was proposed as an "Island for Science",[12] and was later recommended as a Ramsar Site.[13] Major expeditions that came to the island to record its biota include the Whitney South Seas Expedition in 1922, the National Geographic Society-Oceanic Institute Expedition to Southeast Oceania of 1970–71[12] and the Smithsonian expedition of 1975.[14] More recent expeditions include the MV Rambler Expedition by the Smithsonian in 1987,[15] one by Raleigh International in the same year,[12] the Sir Peter Scott Commemorative Expedition to the Pitcairn Islands of 1991–1992 (aka The Pitcairn Islands Scientific Expedition),[16] In 2012, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala produced Sharks Of Lost Island including Ducie and all the Pitcairn Islands.[17] Because of its inaccessibility, Ducie is rarely approached,[18] but cruise ships make one or two landings per year.[19] In addition, unrecorded visits are known to be made by freighters and tankers that dump residues on the island or in the nearby waters.[18]


Although Captain Edward Edwards discovered the atoll in 1791, Ducie was not considered a British possession.[20] In 1867 Ducie was claimed by the United States under the Guano Islands Act, which established that an uninhabited territory with guano deposits could be claimed as a US possession, so long as it was unclaimed by any other country.[21] Despite claims on several other territories, based on various documents such as the Guano Islands Act, neither the United States nor the United Kingdom recognised the sovereignty claimed by each other. Neither of the two considered that the mere discovery of an island was sufficient to claim sovereignty over it,[22] and often a formal act of possession was considered the proper procedure to claim rights over a territory.[20] Ultimately, the United States did not assert its sovereignty over most of its claimed territories.[22]

Under the 1893 Pacific Order in Council, Pitcairn Island was governed by the High Commissioner of the British Western Pacific Territories in Fiji.[23] On 19 December 1902, commissioned by R. T. Simmons, the British Consul in Tahiti, Captain G. F. Jones and a group of Pitcairners visited the nearby islands and annexed them to the United Kingdom.[24] In 1903 Ducie was annexed by the same procedure[25] and placed under the authority of the Western Pacific High Commissioner.[23] R. T. Simmons stated in a dispatch to the Foreign Office that James Russell McCoy had assured him that the islands had always been considered as dependencies of Pitcairn, and that he and other Pitcairners had frequently visited them in the past. This claim is contested by Donald McLoughlin on grounds of the distance between Pitcairn Island and Ducie Island and the lack of a suitable boat to navigate the distance between the two, casting doubt on whether they had ever visited Ducie.[3]

On 4 August 1937 Captain J. W. Rivers-Carnac, commander of HMS Leander, reaffirmed British sovereignty over Ducie by hoisting the Union Flag and placing boards proclaiming the island to be the property of King George VI.[3] Ducie was one of several islands thought valuable for potential seaplane bases, though they did not materialise.[26] In 1953 the Pacific Order in Council ceased to have effect and the British Governor of Fiji was appointed Governor of the Pitcairn Islands, which became a separate British colony.[27] A new constitution for the Pitcairn Islands was enacted on 10 February 2010, establishing that Ducie and the rest of the islands are ruled by a governor designated by the British monarch, presently (As of 15 February 2019) Elizabeth II. The governor has a duty to enforce the provisions of the constitution.[28]


Islets of Ducie Atoll
Islets of Ducie
Ducie02 AKK
A beach on Acadia Islet

Ducie lies 290 miles (470 km) east of Pitcairn Island and is claimed by some to be the southernmost atoll in the world at 24 degrees south latitude.[29] However, Middleton Reef is at 29 degrees south latitude, so the assertion on behalf of Ducie Island is doubtful. Ducie Island's land area is 170 acres (1 km2) and its maximum elevation, occurring on the Westward islet, is 15 feet (4.6 m).[30]

Ducie is located 620 miles (1,000 km) west of the edge of the Easter Plate. It was formed approximately 8 million years ago,[31] after Oeno Island was formed by a hotspot that later caused a magma leak generated in the Oeno lineation. The leak spread over fracture zone FZ2, which was formed by the third movement of the Pacific Plate.[32] The atoll is part of the Oeno-Henderson-Ducie-Crough seamount, speculated to be part of the southern Tuamotus.[33]

The atoll consists of four islets: Acadia, Pandora, Westward and Edwards.[33] The last three of these can be accessed on foot from Acadia at low tide.[29] The islets were named by Harald Rehder and John Randall, who visited the atoll during an expedition by the Smithsonian Institution in 1975.[34]

  • Acadia Islet, along the atoll's north and east rim, is larger than the other three islets combined, measuring 140 acres (57 ha).[29] Very long and thin, the islet is largely forested and is composed of ridges of coral rubble. It is named after the Acadia, a ship that was wrecked on Ducie in 1881.[35]
  • Pandora Islet, in the south, is the second largest. It is composed of sand and coral rubble that borders the lagoon. It is named after HMS Pandora.[36]
  • Edwards Islet lies immediately to the east of Pandora Islet and has the same characteristics. It is named after Edward Edwards, captain of HMS Pandora.[36]
  • Westward Islet, west of Pandora Islet, is the smallest. It appears sandy from a distance, but the soil is composed of coral rubble and dead shells. Its highest point rises 15 feet (4.6 m) above average sea level. It is named after the Westward, the ship that carried the members of the National Geographic Society and the Oceanic Institute during their 1970–71 expedition.[30]

The atoll has a central lagoon, accessible by boat only by way of a channel 100 yards (91 m) wide located in the southwest, between Pandora and Westward Islets.[37] It has a maximum depth of 52 feet (16 m) and its bottom consists of sand and coral.[38] Whirlpools in the lagoon are common, caused by caves that drain the water from the lagoon into the ocean.[18]


The vegetation in the atoll is sparse, because of the lack of fresh water.[18] Only two species of vascular plant are currently known to grow there[39] – one of the smallest such floras on any island.[40] Acadia, Pandora and Edwards Islets are forested with Heliotropium foertherianum,[41] but Westward Islet is not. Pemphis acidula has also been recorded on Ducie; specimens were found during an expedition in 1991.[29]

During the expedition of Hugh Cuming in 1827 and the 1922 Whitney South Sea Expedition, Lepturus grass was found on Acadia Islet.[42] However, it disappeared when storm waves deforested the island some time before the Smithsonian expedition of 1975.[43] Thus H. foertherianum now dominates the vegetation of the islets.[44] Additionally, there are a number of species of coralline algae, including Porolithon onkodes, Porolithon gardineri, and Caulerpa racemosa.[38]


The atoll is populated by several species of birds, fish and reptiles. In the lagoon, sparse living coral still can be found;[29] the dominant species is Montipora bilaminata (family Acroporidae).[38] Most of the coral in the lagoon is dead, presumed to have been killed by influxes of cold water.


Though no terrestrial birds are found on the atoll,[19] Ducie Island is known for the seabirds that breed there.[11] Birds that have been recorded nesting on the atoll include the red-billed tropicbird, red-tailed tropicbird, fairy tern, great frigatebird, bristle-thighed curlew, masked booby and red-footed booby. A number of gull species, including the sooty tern, blue noddy, brown noddy, lesser noddy and white tern, have been recorded, as have several members of the family Procellariidae: Kermadec petrel, Trindade petrel, Murphy's petrel and Christmas shearwater.[45]

The island is particularly important for Murphy's petrel, as more than 90% of its world population breeds on Ducie.[46] Around 3000 pairs of Christmas shearwaters, about 5% of the world's total population, can be found on the island too. Meanwhile, the red-tailed tropicbirds and fairy terns that breed on Ducie are around 1% of the world population of each species.[29] Phoenix petrels, which previously inhabited the atoll, apparently disappeared between the Whitney expedition in 1922 and the 1991–92 Pitcairn Scientific Expedition.[19] The island has been identified by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area (IBA) principally for its colonies of Murphy's, herald and Kermadec petrels, and Christmas shearwaters.[47]

Murphy's petrel, Ducie island

Murphy's petrel chick

Fairy Tern, Ducie Island

Fairy tern

Red-Tailed Tropicbird

Red-tailed tropicbird

White Tern, Ducie Island

White tern chick


In the lagoon there are around 138 fish species, which also inhabit southeastern Oceania, the Western Pacific and the Indian Ocean.[48] The lagoon is noted for its poisonous fishes and dangerous sharks.[49] The yellow-edged lyretail, the blacktip grouper, and the greasy grouper are known to cause ciguatera poisoning.[48] The lagoon is also inhabited by Galápagos sharks and the whitetip reef shark.[50] The Galápagos shark is dangerous to humans,[51] while the whitetips are seldom aggressive unless provoked.[52] Five species are found exclusively around the Pitcairn Islands: Sargocentron megalops (a species of squirrelfish), the spiny butterflyfish, the Henderson triplefin (a species of threefin blenny), an unnamed species of Alticus (a genus of combtooth blenny) and an unnamed species of Ammodytes (a genus of sand lance).[53]

Terrestrial vertebrates

Lizards that inhabit the island include the white-bellied skink (Emoia cyanura), photographed by E. H. Quayle during an expedition in 1922, and a lizard reported in the journal of an expedition in 1935 by James Chapin. The species of the latter was uncertain, but it was thought to be a gecko, possibly either an oceanic gecko (Gehyra oceanica) or a mourning gecko (Lepidodactylus lugubris).[54] The 1991–92 Pitcairn Islands Scientific Expedition found specimens of both the mourning gecko and the white-bellied skink.[55] The only mammal known to inhabit Ducie is the Polynesian rat;[42] In 1997 there was a successful project to eradicate these by Brian Bell (WMIL) and Graham Wragg (S/V Te Manu),[56] to aid the conservation of bird species threatened by the rat population.[57] Green sea turtles feed on Ducie, but have not been seen to breed there.[29]

See also


  1. ^ Brand, Donald D. The Pacific Basin: A History of its Geographical Explorations The American Geographical Society (New York, 1967) p.136.
  2. ^ Paine, Lincoln; p.122
  3. ^ a b c d "History of Government and Laws, Part 15". Pitcairn Islands Study Center. Pacific Union College. Retrieved 10 July 2011.
  4. ^ a b Edwards, Edward; p.60
  5. ^ Heffernan, Thomas; p.80
  6. ^ Edwards, Edward; p.5
  7. ^ Whipple, A.B.C p. 150
  8. ^ Beechey; p.60
  9. ^ Rehder, Harald A.; Randall, John E.; p.6
  10. ^ Board of Trade p.1
  11. ^ a b McKinnon, Rowan; p.249
  12. ^ a b c "The Wetlands: Ducie Atoll". Wetlands International. Pacific Union College. Retrieved 17 July 2011.
  13. ^ Ramsar; p. 3
  14. ^ The Royal Society of New Zealand, p.161
  15. ^ Paulay, G (1989) Atoll Research Bulletin NO. 326
  16. ^ Benton T. G. and Spencer T., eds. (1995). The Pitcairn Islands: Biogeography, Ecology and Prehistory. 422 + xxxi pp. London: Academic Press
  17. ^ "Sharks of Lost Island". National Geographic. Archived from the original on 18 June 2013.
  18. ^ a b c d Stanley, David (7th edition); p.286
  19. ^ a b c Ramsar Information Sheet: UK62001; p.4
  20. ^ a b Orent, Beatrice; Reinsch, Pauline; p.444
  21. ^ United States Department of Justice; p.555
  22. ^ a b Orent, Beatrice; Reinsch, Pauline; p.443
  23. ^ a b Ntumy, Michael A.; p.253
  24. ^ Rehder, Harald A.; Randall, John E.; p.7
  25. ^ Orent, Beatrice; Reinsch, Pauline; p.445
  26. ^ Orent, Beatrice; Reinsch, Pauline; p.447
  27. ^ Ntumy, Michael A.; p.254
  28. ^ The Pitcairn Constitution Order 2010; p.28
  29. ^ a b c d e f g Ramsar Information Sheet: UK62001; p.2
  30. ^ a b Rehder, Harald A.; Randall, John E.; p.11
  31. ^ Spencer; p.5
  32. ^ Spencer; p.1
  33. ^ a b Vacher; Quinn p.410
  34. ^ Rehder, Harald A.; Randall, John E.; p.9
  35. ^ Rehder, Harald A.; Randall, John E.; p.12
  36. ^ a b Rehder, Harald A.; Randall, John E.; p.13
  37. ^ Rehder, Harald A.; Randall, John E.; p.15
  38. ^ a b c Rehder, Harald A.; Randall, John E.; p.14
  39. ^ Procter, D.; Fleming, L.V.; p. 90
  40. ^ Frodin, D. G. (2001) Guide to standard floras of the world: an annotated, geographically arranged systematic bibliography of the principal floras, enumerations, checklists, and chorological atlases of different areas, Cambridge University Press, 2nd ed.
  41. ^ Quayle, Ernest H.; p.392
  42. ^ a b Rehder, Harald A.; Randall, John E.; p.18
  43. ^ Rehder, Harald A.; Randall, John E.; p.8
  44. ^ Fosberg et al. p.18
  45. ^ Rehder, Harald A.; Randall, John E.; pp.18 20
  46. ^ IUCN (2010); "Pterodroma ultima".
  47. ^ BirdLife International. (2012). Important Bird Areas factsheet: Ducie Island. Downloaded from "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 10 July 2007. Retrieved 2013-03-20.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) on 2012-01-21.
  48. ^ a b Rehder, Harald A.; Randall, John E.; p.26
  49. ^ "Ducie Island". Pitcairn Islands Study Center. Pacific Union College. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
  50. ^ Rehder, Harald A.; Randall, John E.; p.17
  51. ^ Edwards, A.J.; Lubbock, H.R. (23 February 1982). "The Shark Population of Saint Paul's Rocks". Copeia. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. 1982 (1): 223–225. doi:10.2307/1444304. JSTOR 1444304.
  52. ^ Compagno, L.J.V. (1984). Sharks of the World: An Annotated and Illustrated Catalogue of Shark Species Known to Date. Rome: Food and Agricultural Organization. pp. 535–538. ISBN 92-5-101384-5.
  53. ^ UK62001; p.3
  54. ^ Rehder, Harald A.; Randall, John E.; p.20
  55. ^ The Royal Society of New Zealand p.162
  56. ^ Ford, H. (2012) Pitcairn Island as a Port of Call: A Record, 1790-2010, 2d ed.
  57. ^ MacLean; p.198

Bibliography of sources

  • Beechey, Frederick William (1831). Narrative of a Voyage to the Pacific and Beering's Strait: to co-operate with the Polar Expeditions: Performed in His Majesty's Ship Blossom, Under the Command of Captain F.W. Beechey ...in the Years 1825, 26, 27, 28. H. Colburn and R. Bentley.
  • Besant, Walter (2007). The Mutineer: A Romance of Pitcairn Island. Echo Library. ISBN 978-1-4068-2375-2.
  • Edwards, Edward (2009). Voyage of HMS Pandora: Despatched to Arrest the Mutineers of the "Bounty". Books on Demand. ISBN 978-3-86195-087-5.
  • Fosberg, F. Raymond; Paulay, Gustav; Spencer, T; Oliver, Royce (1989). "New Collections and Notes on the Plants of Henderson, Pitcairn, Oeno, and Ducie Islands" (PDF). Smithsonian Institution Press.
  • Frodin, D.G (2001). Guide to Standard Floras of the World: an Annotated, Geographically Arranged Systematic Bibliography of the Principal Floras, Enumerations, Checklists, and Chronological Atlases of Different Areas. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-79077-2.
  • Gill, B.J (22 July 1993). "The Lizards of the Pitcairn Island Group, South Pacific". New Zealand Journal of Zoology. The Royal Society of New Zealand. 20 (3): 161–164. doi:10.1080/03014223.1993.10422857.
  • Heather, Barrie; Robertson, Hugh (2000). The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand. Viking. ISBN 978-0-670-89370-6.
  • Heffernan, Thomas Farel (1990). Stove by a Whale: Owen Chase and the Essex. Wesleyan University Press. ISBN 0-8195-6244-0.
  • Hight, Edward; Ward, C.W (1881). "Board of Trade Wreck Report for 'Acadia', 1881" (PDF). Board of Trade.
  • IUCN (2010). "Pterodroma ultima". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 15 August 2011.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  • Maclean, Norman (2010). Silent Summer: The State of Wildlife in Britain and Ireland. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-51966-3.
  • McKinnon, Rowan (2009). South Pacific. Lonely Planet. ISBN 978-1-74104-786-8.
  • Moore, John Basset; Wharton, Francis; United States Department of Justice, United States President, United States Department of State (1906). A Digest of International Law: As Embodied in Diplomatic Discussions, Treaties and Other International Agreements, International Awards, the Decisions of Municipal Courts, and the Writings of Jurists. United States Department of Justice.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  • Ntumy, Michael A. (1993). South Pacific Islands Legal Systems. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-1438-0.
  • Orent, Beatrice; Reinsch, Pauline (1941). "Sovereignty Over Islands in the Pacific". The American Journal of International Law. American Society of International LawStable. 35 (13).
  • Paine, Lincoln (2000). Ships of discovery and exploration. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 978-0-395-98415-4.
  • Procter, D.; Fleming, L.V. (1999). Biodiversity: The UK Overseas Territories (PDF). Joint Nature Conservation Committee. ISBN 1-86107-502-2.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  • Quayle, Ernest H. (September 1921 – March 1922). "Journal of Whitney South Sea Expedition of the American Museum of Natural History". American Museum of Natural History. 3.
  • Rehder, Harald A.; Randall, John E. (15 January 1975). "Ducie Atoll: Its Story, Phisiography and Biota" (PDF). Smithsonian Institution Press.
  • Spencer, T (October 1989). "Tectonic and Environmental Histories in the Pitcairn Group, Palaeogene to Present: Reconstructions and Speculations" (PDF). Smithsonian Institution Press.
  • Stanley, David (2000). South Pacific Handbook (7 ed.). Avalon Travel. ISBN 978-1-56691-172-6.
  • Vacher, Leonard; Quinn, Terrence (1997). Geology and Hydrogeology of Carbonate Islands. Elsevier. ISBN 978-0-444-81520-0.
  • Whipple, A.B.C (10 November 1952). "Three-Month Ordeal in Open Boats". Life Magazine. Time Warner Inc. ISSN 0024-3019.
  • "Pitcairn Islands: Introduction" (PDF). Ramsar. Wetlands International. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 July 2011. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
  • "Ramsar Information Sheet: UK62001" (PDF). Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Wetlands International. 13 November 2004.
  • The Pitcairn Constitution Order (PDF). Her Majesty's Stationery Office Limited, Queen's printer of Acts of Parliament. 2010.

External links

Coordinates: 24°41′S 124°47′W / 24.683°S 124.783°W

125th meridian west

The meridian 125° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, North America, the Pacific Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole.

The 125th meridian west forms a great circle with the 55th meridian east.


An atoll ( , , , , or ), sometimes called a coral atoll, is a ring-shaped coral reef including a coral rim that encircles a lagoon partially or completely. There may be coral islands or cays on the rim. The coral of the atoll often sits atop the rim of an extinct seamount or volcano which has eroded or subsided partially beneath the water. The lagoon forms over the volcanic crater or caldera while the higher rim remains above water or at shallow depths that permit the coral to grow and form the reefs. For the atoll to persist, continued erosion or subsidence must be at a rate slow enough to permit reef growth upwards and outwards to replace the lost height.

Clown coris

The clown coris (Coris aygula) is a species of wrasse native to the Indian Ocean and the western Pacific Ocean.


A DX-pedition is an expedition to what is considered an exotic place by amateur radio operators, perhaps because of its remoteness, access restrictions or simply because there are very few radio amateurs active from that place. This could be an island, a country, or even a particular spot on a geographical grid. "DX" is a telegraphic shorthand for "distance" or "distant" (see DXing).


Ducie may refer to:

PeopleEarl of Ducie, title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom

Barons Ducie, see Earl of Ducie

Sir Robert Ducie, 1st Baronet (1575-c.1634)

Henry George Francis Reynolds-Moreton, 2nd Earl of Ducie (1802-1853)

Henry Reynolds-Moreton, 3rd Earl of Ducie (1827-1921)

David Leslie Moreton, 7th Earl of Ducie (born 1951)

Henry Ducie Chads (1788-1868), officer in the British Royal NavyPlacesDucie Island, Pitcairn Islands

Ducie River, Queensland, Australia

Earl of Ducie

Earl of Ducie is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1837 for Thomas Reynolds Moreton, 4th Baron Ducie. The family descends from Edward Moreton (17th century), who married Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Ducie. Their son Matthew Ducie Moreton represented Gloucestershire in the House of Commons. In 1720 he was raised to the Peerage of Great Britain as Baron Ducie de Moreton, in the County of Stafford. He was succeeded by his son, the second Baron. He was also a Member of Parliament and served as Lord-Lieutenant of Gloucestershire. In 1763 he was created Baron Ducie, of Tortworth in the County of Gloucester, with remainder to the sons of his sister Elizabeth Reynolds. This title was also in the Peerage of Great Britain.

On his death in 1770 the barony of 1720 became extinct. He was succeeded in the barony of 1763 according to the special remainder by his nephew, the second Baron. He assumed the surname of Moreton by Act of Parliament in 1771. He died childless and was succeeded by his younger brother, the third Baron. He had earlier represented Lancaster in Parliament. Lord Ducie assumed the surname of Moreton by Act of Parliament in 1786. Remote Ducie Island in the South Pacific is named after him. He was succeeded by his son, the fourth Baron. In 1837 he was created Baron Moreton, of Tortworth in the County of Gloucester, and Earl of Ducie. These titles are in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.

His son, the second Earl, represented Gloucestershire and Gloucestershire East in the House of Commons. He was succeeded by his eldest son, the third Earl. He was a Liberal politician and served as Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard from 1859 to 1866 under Lord Palmerston and Lord Russell. His only son Henry Reynolds-Moreton, Lord Moreton, sat as Member of Parliament for Gloucestershire West. However, he predeceased his father and on Lord Ducie's death the titles passed to his younger brother, the fourth Earl. He was a sheep and cattle farmer in Queensland, Australia, and also held several political offices in the state government. His son, the fifth Earl, was a dairy and fruit farmer in Australia. He was succeeded by his nephew, the sixth Earl. He was the son of the Hon. Algernon Howard Moreton, second son of the fourth Earl. As of 2010 the titles are held by his eldest son, the seventh Earl, who succeeded in 1991.

The Hon. Augustus Macdonald (who assumed the surname of Macdonald in lieu of Moreton), younger son of the first Earl, was a politician and writer.

The family seat now is Talbots End Farm, near Cromhall, Gloucestershire. The ancestral seat of the Moreton family was Tortworth Court, Gloucestershire. Another family seats was Spring Park, Gloucestershire, which was demolished and replaced with the incomplete Woodchester Mansion.

Essex (whaleship)

Essex was an American whaler from Nantucket, Massachusetts, which was launched in 1799. In 1820, while at sea in the southern Pacific Ocean under the command of Captain George Pollard Jr., she was attacked and sunk by a sperm whale. Stranded thousands of miles from the coast of South America with little food and water, the 20-man crew was forced to make for land in the ship's surviving whaleboats.

The men suffered severe dehydration, starvation, and exposure on the open ocean, and the survivors eventually resorted to eating the bodies of the crewmen who had died. When that proved insufficient, members of the crew drew lots to determine who they would sacrifice so that the others could live. A total of seven crew members were cannibalized before the last of the eight survivors were rescued, more than three months after the sinking of the Essex. First mate Owen Chase and cabin boy Thomas Nickerson later wrote accounts of the ordeal. The tragedy attracted international attention, and inspired Herman Melville to write his famous novel Moby-Dick.

Francis Reynolds-Moreton, 3rd Baron Ducie

Francis Reynolds-Moreton, 3rd Baron Ducie (28 March 1739 – 19 August 1808) was a British politician and naval officer.

He served in the Royal Navy, being commissioned lieutenant with a date of seniority of 12 April 1762. By the outbreak of the American War of Independence he had been promoted Captain and was stationed in the West Indies in command of HMS Monarch. He commanded Monarch during the Battle of the Chesapeake in September 1781 and remained with her throughout 1782 and saw action during the Capture of Sint Eustatius, the Battle of Saint Kitts, the Battle of the Saintes and, the Battle of the Mona Passage.

From 1784 to 1785, Reynolds-Moreton served as Member of Parliament for Lancaster before inheriting his title from his brother Thomas.Ducie Island, in the Pacific Ocean, was named after him by Captain Edward Edwards of HMS Pandora, who had served under Ducie during his time in command of HMS Augusta.He married twice. Firstly in 1774 to Mary Purvis of Shepton Mallet, by whom he had two sons: his heir Thomas, and Augustus John, who became a Lieutenant colonel in the 1st Foot Guards. After Mary's death, he remarried in 1791 to Sarah Child, widow of the London banker Robert Child.

Geography of the Pitcairn Islands

The Pitcairn Islands consist of four islands: Pitcairn Island, Oeno Island, Henderson Island and Ducie Island:

Pitcairn Islands as a group of islands (25°04′00″S 130°05′00″W)

Pitcairn Island (main island) (25°04′S 130°06′W)

Henderson Island (24°22′01″S 128°18′57″W)

Ducie Island (24°40′09″S 124°47′11″W)

Oeno Island (23°55′26″S 130°44′03″W)Pitcairn Island is a volcanic high island. Henderson Island is an uplifted coral island. Ducie and Oeno are coral atolls.

The only inhabited island, Pitcairn, has an area of 5 km2 (1.9 sq mi) and a population density of 10/km2 (26/sq mi); it is only accessible by boat through Bounty Bay.

The other islands are at a distance of more than 100 km (62 mi).

Wikimedia Atlas of the Pitcairn Islands

Henderson petrel

The Henderson petrel (Pterodroma atrata) is a ground-nesting species of seabird in the family Procellariidae. Adults measure on average 37 cm. It has a uniform grey-brown plumage. It is classified among the Gadfly petrels.

It is found in the Pitcairn Islands, and possibly in French Polynesia, though confusion over the taxon makes reports of this species in the Marquesas, Tuamotus, Australs and Gambiers uncertain. Breeding colonies formerly existed on Ducie Island, but were wiped out by invasive rats by 1922. It is now believed to nest uniquely on Henderson island, which was declared a World Heritage Site in 1988. The International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies it as closely related to Pterodroma arminjoniana and Pterodroma heraldica. Its natural habitat is the moist subtropical scrub found on that island. The endangered habitat of this species was identified in 2007 as requiring urgent action to restore it.During Captain Cook's first voyage, Daniel Solander recorded in his manuscript on 21 March 1769 his observations on a new petrel, on which he named Procellaria atrata. Solander's account only became known when Gregory Mathews published it in 1912. Mathews renamed it Pterodroma atrata, since dark-plumage birds of this species were considered to be dark-morphed herald petrels. It was only as late as 1996 that evidence was provided that these birds were specifically distinct from pale-morph herald petrels.Millions of pairs of Henderson petrel used to breed on the island several centuries ago. Brooke calculated breeding pairs to be around 16,000 in 1991/2. Contemporary colony numbers are estimated to be about 40,000. The Pacific rat (Rattus exulans), thought to have been introduced by local Polynesian traders, has almost wiped out the existing colony, devouring 25,000 petrel chicks per annum. To save the species from imminent extinction, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, in a last-ditch £1.5 million project, mounted an attempt to achieve a massive rodent cull to exterminate the predator population on the island. This attempt to re-establish a rat-free habitat took place in August, 2011. Though there was some success in reducing the rat population, the cull was not complete and the RSPB decided to undertake further research before attempting another cull. In 2015, a research team had completed a number of studies on the island, but a decision on how to proceed had not yet been made.

List of Guano Island claims

The United States claimed a number of islands as insular areas under the Guano Islands Act of 1856. Only the eight administered as the US Minor Islands and one each annexed by American Samoa and Hawaii remain as possessions of the United States. Any other unresolved claims if they exist are dormant, and have not been contested by the United States in many years with the exception of Navassa.

List of non-marine molluscs of the Pitcairn Islands

The non-marine molluscs of Pitcairn Islands are a part of the molluscan fauna of the Pitcairn Islands.

Pitcairn Island: 24 species of land snails and one semi-terrestrial gastropod

Henderson Island: 16 species (7 families) of land snails and two semi-terrestrial molluscs

Ducie Island: less than six species of land snails

Oeno Island: less than six species of land snailsThere is a high degree of endemism of these species.

Pitcairn Islands

The Pitcairn Islands (; Pitkern: Pitkern Ailen), officially Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands, are a group of four volcanic islands in the southern Pacific Ocean that form the sole British Overseas Territory in the South Pacific. The four islands – Pitcairn proper, Henderson, Ducie, and Oeno – are scattered across several hundred miles of ocean and have a combined land area of about 47 square kilometres (18 sq mi). Henderson Island accounts for 86% of the land area, but only Pitcairn Island is inhabited. The nearest places are Mangareva (of French Polynesia) to the west and Easter Island to the east.

Pitcairn is the least populous national jurisdiction in the world. The Pitcairn Islanders are a biracial ethnic group descended mostly from nine Bounty mutineers and the handful of Tahitians who accompanied them, an event that has been retold in many books and films. This history is still apparent in the surnames of many of the islanders. Today there are approximately 50 permanent inhabitants, originating from four main families.

Redfin worm-eel

The redfin worm-eel (Scolecenchelys laticaudata, also known as the pearlbelly snake-eel) is an eel in the family Ophichthidae (worm/snake eels). It was described by James Douglas Ogilby in 1897, originally under the genus Myropterura. It is a marine, tropical eel which is known from the Indo-Pacific and southeastern Atlantic Ocean, including the Red Sea, East and South Africa, Ducie Island, and Lord Howe Island. It dwells at a depth range of 1 to 26 metres (3.3 to 85.3 ft), and inhabits lagoons and reefs, forming colonies in sand sediments in confined areas. Males can reach a maximum total length of 35 centimetres (14 in).

Teardrop butterflyfish

The teardrop butterflyfish (Chaetodon unimaculatus) is a species of butterflyfish (family Chaetodontidae).

Utetheisa pulchelloides

Utetheisa pulchelloides, the heliotrope moth, is a moth of the family Erebidae. It is found in the Indo-Australian region including Borneo, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Papua, Seychelles and most of Australia. The species was first described by George Hampson in 1907.

Adults undertake extensive and frequent migratory flights and can reach the most remote oceanic islands, such as Henderson Island and Ducie Island.


Westward may refer to:

The cardinal direction West

Westward, Cumbria, a settlement in north-west England

Westward (series), a series of games video created by Sandlot Games

Westward Islet of Ducie Island

Westward Television, a former ITV franchise in the South West of England

MV Westward, a motor yacht

MS Westward, a cruise ship operated by the Norwegian Cruise Line 1991—1994

ASP Westward, a local newspaper company in Texas

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