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A short drive in the Southern Hemisphere


Saint Helena Island, South Atlantic Ocean

On Monday 20th October we dropped anchor at Ascension Island, weather was cloudy but warm. We stayed for only a few hours before making tracks for Saint Helena, ETA Wednesday afternoon.

We arrived in Jamestown, Saint Helena on Wednesday 22nd October. After completing immigration formalities (and paying £12 each “landing fee”) and a short ride in the liberty boat, we finally had terra firma beneath our feet by 1200.  By 1230 we had validated our driving licences at the Police Station and picked up our rental car (Ford Escort – dodgy fuel gauge and the drivers’ door doesn’t unlock).  Whilst picking up the car, our landlady caught up with us and guided us out to “the country” and our home for our time on the island, (we live next door to Napoleon).  After a quick look around, we drove back to the wharf to pick up our bags from customs, they only needed to look into the one with the full case of Guinness…?

Our first impressions of the island are good, it seems somehow lost in time, in a more pleasant time where everybody knows each other and they are polite, courteous and friendly.  If only the UK could somehow turn back the clock...

We're ashore on the island for nine days whilst the RMS carries out a shuttle run to Ascension and back we decided to explore the back country as well as the usual tourist haunts of Jamestown.

On the first day ashore we practiced walking straight. We also picked up our rental car from Dannys U-Drive and met up with Anita and settled into Briar Rose Flat. On the second day we decided to visit the Napoleonic sites, seeing as we were living next door to Napoleon's first home on the island, Briar Rose Pavillion. After the pavillion we visited Longwood and then the tomb in Alarm Forest. Napoleon had just popped out for a while...

We still hadn't shaken the inertia from our limbs by Friday morning so we thought we would take a quick climb up Jacob's Ladder.

From Jamestown at the bottom to Half Tree Hollow at the top - 699 steps in all!

We didn't count the steps on the way down...Our legs were like jelly afterwards so we needed a refreshing beverage for medicinal purposes!  We wobbled down to the quay to watch the unloading of the ship which was still anchored in the bay. 

In order to recondition our limbs after the ladder, the weekend was filled with various walks (and drives) around the island, starting with a walk to Flagstaff Bay.

 The next day, we thought we should go for a walk to stretch our muscles which were starting to complain about those 699 steps, and to hunt for the endangered Wire Bird.  We chose a walk graded 2/10 and ‘easy’, that is if you don’t count the steady incline, having to scramble up the hill at the end to reach the top and the rock scrambling to reach the edge.

 We returned to Jamestown to find that the ship had sailed away and left us here…Ah, well! I can think of worse places to be marooned; as I think Napoleon would probably agree. After Waterloo he was exiled to St Helena until his death in 1821, staying first in Briars Pavilion (next door) and then at Longwood House to the East.

 By Sunday our legs had totally seized up and we decided to go for a ‘Sunday afternoon drive’ around the island, stopping frequently to look at the views and to stretch our increasingly stiff legs.  We met Jonathan the famous 150 year old tortoise and sampled one of the Islands delicacies – fish cakes!  The other local dish is goat curry which we have yet to try.

Here's Gill saying hello...even the tortoise is taller than Gill!

And some typical Saint Helena Landscape

We now five days relaxation until the ship comes back to pick us up…We then re-embark the RMS on 31st October to continue Southwards for the remainder of the sea voyage to Cape Town arriving on 5th November.

Where is RMS St Helena now?


Its probably raining in the UK!