Position around: 15° 56' S - 05° 43' W
My trip to St. Helena
from Monday, October 20th 2008
until Saturday, November 22nd 2008
This report is dedicated to all the friendly people on St. Helena and Ascension
(1) Sue Steiner, Robin Liston; St. Helena, Ascension, Tristan da Cunha; Second Edition September 2007;Bradt Travel Guides Ltd. England; ISBN-10: 1 84162 198 6; ISBN-13: 978 1 84162 198 2
(2) Ian Mathieson, Laurence Carter; Exploring St. Helena: A Walker's Guide; First published by Anthony Nelson Ltd., Oswestry, Shropshire, England; ISBN 0 904614 49 2
(3) NN; St. Helena - 500 Years of History; Designed and published by Anchor Marine and associates, England
(4) Graham Avis; An Introduction to the History of Ascension Island; Second Edition September 2001; Ascension Heritage Society
Monday, October 20th 2008
The last few days at home in Munich have been a bit hectic. However, the idea to take a taxi to Munich airport was famous due to the fact, the S-Bahn (Munich's local train service) ends up at the airport's visitor center. It took less then one hour from my home to the gate. As usual I am too early. It is a clear and nice day. The sun is shining. May be one of the last warm days at the end of autumn.
My flight to London Heathrow is in time. At Heathrow I took a bus to Oxford at 3PM. Half way to Oxford it starts to rain cats and dogs. A horrible welcome. In Oxford I took the bus to Carterton. The driver in the bus to Oxford explained the stops and everything else. Also he called a taxi for some passengers. In the bus to Carterton I get no information from the driver. How the people know where they have to leave the bus, I do not know. My destination for today is Carpenters Bed and Breakfast in Brize Norton.
But why I am going to Brize Norton. A very little village having nothing around. I am on the way to fly to Ascension Island in South Atlantic Ocean. The one and only airline which approaches Ascension Island is the Royal Airforce. The flight starts at the Brize Norton Airforce Base. I am to days too early. When I booked the flight with Royal Airforce, the flight was scheduled on November 21st. The schedule was postponed to November 22nd.
I arrived in Carterton at the final bus station. Still it is raining cats and dogs. I had no phone number for a taxi service. I ask at the filling station. The clerk requested me to go to the super market. I did and the friendly lady at the information provides some phone numbers for taxi services. One number only was active. Over one hour waiting. Finally I arrived at Carpenters Bed & Breakfast. A nice guest house. Clean and a good breakfast is served in the morning.
I spend the evening in an english pub having my dinner.
Tuesday, October 21st 2008
The morning is clear. No rain outside. The guest house is an old english house. Several fireplaces are in the rooms. The landlady explained, she will recover all the fireplaces. It is a pity, I forgot my floo powder (works for Harry-Potter-Fans only). I had an english breakfast. Later on I walked into the direction to Carterton, passing the main gate of the airforce base. Carterton is a small english village. Even it is difficult to find a coffee bar. A pub was open and so I had a cup of coffee in the pub. I wrote a few postcards and walked half around the village. All day was sun shine. In the evening I encountered an approaching tristar doing touch and goes. I took my camera and get a few pictures of the approaching tristar.
Had my dinner in the pub as yesterday.
Wednesday, October 22nd 2008
Clear of clouds, I am very happy. Today I will go to Witney, a small town close to Brize Norton and Carterton. After breakfast I went down to the bus stop. The bus goes every 30 minutes. One just was gone. I had to wait. It was a bit cold in the morning and the bus stop is located in the shadow. The 6 km bus ride was fast. However due to the reason that there is no indicator about the next bus stop, it is difficult to know when to go off.
The first impression about Witney, it is an old English village like in the middle age. Many small shops, nothing is around the village. I spend a couple of hours in Witney, walked through the roads, had some lunch and some tea. I tried to buy some stamps to write postcards. That was a real adventure. The post office was closed due to sick post officers. The stamp machine outside of the office was out of order. What can I do with my letter I already wrote? There is no post office in Brize Norton. On my return to Brize Norton I do not have the time to go to Carterton because I have to be at the air port in time. So I entered a shop and explained my situation to the lady in the shop. She was so kind to take the letter and she promise to buy a stamp and mail the letter. She did so, the letter arrived. Thank you very much.
Back in Carpenters Bed & Breakfast I tried to enter. That was not easy. The landlady locked the door and let the key in the lock. She did not hear the ring because she was in the garden. I did not know about the garden. So it took about half an hour to find her and to enter.
I took a little nap. At 5PM I put my things together and went down to the airport. Much to early as usual. The Brize Norton airport is located inside an airforce area because this airport is an airforce airport. At the gate I received a passport with picture. A kind airforce officer put me into a van and drove me to the terminal building. Just after my arrival, the check-in was open. My suitcase was checked and I could do something else. I was not in the mood to read. I tried to relax and watched the people. During that I spotted a very important person and his family on the way to St. Helena, the new Secretary (of State) for St. Helena. But at that time this fact was unknown to me.
Around midnight the Royal Airforce started to board the air craft. In 2003 I never could imagine that I would return to that place. Will you please also visit my travel report to Ascension in 2003.
Thursday, October 23rd 2008
The aircraft, a Boeing 767-300, arrived at 8AM on Ascension. I passed the complicated immigration procedure and paid eleven British Pound as entering fee. Leaving the immigration building it was raining. The hotel pick-up service still worked perfectly. The large sign "Tourist Information" in the front of the hotel was removed. My first impression, it seems to be more dismal as five years ago. The canteen now is a self service restaurant. The food might be a bit fast-food like. However, the tea and the cake are fantastic. The Hayes House Hotel is the same as five years ago. The kitchen is locked. Sheep are still walking on the street.
Cable and Wireless still has the internet station available. I was able to log into my freenet mail account. The window opening was complete disabled. For this reason I was not able to read my mails because the mails appear in windows on the display. C&W returned the money I spend. That was OK but for me not a solution
There was a nice dinner to night, fresh fish in pepper. Also I had spoken to Andrew, the new Secretary (of State) from St. Helena. He also is on the way to St. Helena together with his family. A military music group played some nice music after the dinner.
Friday, October 24th 2008
The Hayes House makes some hum all the time. I am not sure about how I slept. The room temperature is about 25 degree centigrade. At breakfast I had toast and weetabix. I ask for information about the ship RMS St. Helena. Information will be published soon.
After breakfast I took my backpack containing my photo stuff and walked into direction Two Boat Village. The colored stone and the boat with the bus-stop sign are still there. However, there is no bus on Ascension, but they have a bus-stop. One of the old alarm clocks still is in the boat. Some new stuff was placed in the boat. The boat was erected to have some shade on walking tours. The sun on Ascension is very hot and often strait overhead. The colored stone has an other story. Everybody who left Ascension and knows he never will come back takes a bin of color and spills it over the stone. I did not do so in 2003 and I did not do so now! The filling station also located on this road was enlarged related to five years ago.
About half past ten I arrived in Two Boat Village. It seems there are still some amateur radio people. The pub opens at 12 noon, I do not want to wait. So I walked on to my next destination, the top of the Green Mountain. Now it is a National Park. A monument at the entrance points it out. On the way up I had seen a few landcrabs, a lot of birds and flowers. Nothing changed on the shape of the top. It was a pity, the nice bananas at the way needed some more time to become ripe. I walked back and returned about 4PM to Georgetown.
There was a nice dinner to night.
Saturday, October 25th 2008
During the night loud music disturbed my sleep. I really did not know how much I slept. In addition to the loud music there was some rain. I was very tired in the morning. Breakfast was not ready at seven o'clock. I walked around without a goal. Breakfast was ready at 8AM.
After breakfast I went down to the museum. I spotted some changes related to my first visit. The museum was improved.
Later on I ask to pay my bill. On Monday still is time. The procedure was postponed to Monday. The military music group played at the Exiles Building. So I kept my camera and went down to the Exiles Building. They played music for about two hours and the bandmaster dedicated to me the "Radetzky-Marsch". Thank you!
There is a little pub called Temptations just behind the police station. I had a baguette and then cake and tea. By the way, Temptations has full service.
I am still very tired in regards to the very noisy night. So I spend the day in front of the Hayes House, sometimes reading, sometimes with tea an sometimes sleepy.
Again, the dinner tonight was famous. They really have a good chef!
Sunday, October 26th 2008
The night was calm related to the very noisy music coming from outside. To day I have to put everything back into my suitcase. Tomorrow I will go by ship further on to St. Helena. I took my camera and went down to have breakfast. Later on I walked onto the hill close to Georgetown. The sky is clear which means a hot day is approaching. Arriving on the top of the hill where these old cannons are mounted it starts to rain.
Two frigate birds flying around. Frigate birds are very large black birds. The wingspan might go up to two meters. Due to the swallowtail theses large birds are fantastic flyers. Frigate birds living from fish but they are not able to sit on water like ducks, gulls or other water birds. One frigate bird glided over the landscape very majestically. The other frigate bird glides up like a glider plane on upwind. The bird glides higher and higher. It was an amazing view, to see the large bird gliding in the sky. Finally the large frigate bird glides away over the Atlantic Ocean. I am always fascinated by these large fantastic flyers. By the way, frigate birds also at home on Galapagos Islands (refer to my Galapagos page).
Georgetown and the Atlantic Ocean is located down the hill. I went back because I like to eat something. However, there was no food and no drink. Both pubs publish opening hours on Sunday during noon but both pubs are closed. A few chocolate chips cookies was the only food I had. I returned to Hayes House, made a tea and had my cookies sitting at the table in front of the House.
In the afternoon I went down to Dead Man Beach. I found a few nice shells. On the way back I passed the cemetery. During my first visit in 2003 I fond a few graves outside the cemetery walls. More graves outside the walls are added. These graves are graves from dogs and cats, sometimes with pictures.
I made my suitcase ready in the afternoon. I put my winter-clothes into a separate bag because I do not need such clothes on St. Helena. I only need it on my return to Germany. I will store these stuff on Ascension.
The dinner tonight was fantastic as usual! No question! I went to sleep early today.
Monday, October 27th 2008
I did not sleep due to the very noisy music from other houses in the back of Hayes House. Getting up at 6AM, went into the bathroom and put the last things into my suitcase. At 7AM I walked to the RMS St. Helena check-in to leave my suitcase. My suitcase was security checked and I went on for breakfast.
After breakfast I went to the hotel office to pay my bill. I explained my anger about the very loud music coming from the houses behind the Hayes House. In about two weeks on the way back from St. Helena I have to stay again a few days in Hayes House. For that I request a room to the road. Really, the lady at the counter shows understanding of my situation.
The ship RMS St. Helena will leave in the afternoon. She already anchored outside in the bay in front oft Georgetown's pierhead. By the way, everybody calls the ship "RMS" which means Royal Mail Ship. I walked again on the hill close to Georgetown. It is so calm up there. Usually no people coming up. Around noon I went back to Georgetown to have some lunch. I had some sandwich and tea.
Some unknown people walking along the roads of Georgetown, people from the RMS. Also St. Helena's Governor arrived with RMS on Ascension for business.
It is time to go on board. I arrived at the RMS check-in building again. RMS anchored of shore due to the inability for a large ship to come close to the harbour. All cargo and all passengers are transported by boat between the harbour and the ship. Related to 2003 now they do have a larger boat for passenger transport called Queen Atlantic. For people who are unable to use the boat transfer can use the so called air taxi. That is nothing else then a cage. The people sit in the cage and lift by a crane onto a swimming container-transport platform. This platform drives to the RMS. An other crane lifts the cage onto the ship and the people are on board of the RMS. However, it is always a show to watch embarking or disembarking of the RMS.
With the Queen Atlantic I arrived at RMS. Somebody guided me the way to my cabin number 36. A very nice cabin, large and with a window. The cabin measures about 5m to 3m and has two beds and a little bathroom. The bathroom measures about 2m to 1.5m and reduces the all over cabin size. This cabin costs a lot of money but I am happy to have some privacy. By the way, the Governor and his wife are also on the ship. Later I find out, they have the cabin next to mine.
I went on deck and inspected the ship. The sun goes down. Ascension in a special light. The top and the bottom of the hills are in shade. In the middle a stripe of a bride sunlight. A view which I can not forgot. It was a pity, my camera was in my cabin. A bit apart I spotted a young lady with a camera. But she also did not take a photo of that light.
Due to the noisy night and the whole day busy, I was not so well. Later I went down for dinner which was excellent. At the bar I tried the St. Helena Spirit. In general, I do not like spirits, so please find the taste by your self.
Tuesday, October 28th 2008
It swung and swung again. The engines make a lot of noise. Vibrations are all over the ship. I had no idea how good and how much I slept. Based on the noisy Hayes House on Ascension I am very tired. Remember, due to very loud music outside, I could not sleep for three nights.
The sky is gray, I spend a lot of time on the ship's sun deck, mainly sleeping. In the time between I watched a movie about St. Helena. I am so happy to have a single cabin! Today there was a bridge visit announced. I was very interested to have a look into the bridge. I went up to the meeting point. Only the lady with the camera was there. I meet her before just after departing from Ascension. By the way, she is doing her Ph.D. on St. Helena's wirebirds. I am pleased that this lady is interested in technical things too! Still tired I went back to the sun deck. In the evening I tested the satellite telephone. I did not get a connection. No satellites in sight. Unbelievable, we are close to the equator.
Wednesday, October 29th 2008
Early in the morning I tried the satellite phone again. Still no satellites, it does not work. I slept well last night. The passengers are requested to put the luggage in front of the cabin at 9:30AM. We will arrive very early, so I have an additional day on St. Helena. RMS was speeding up.
The sky is gray. I went down for breakfast and ask to join a group of people. A few minutes later a lady and a gentleman joined the table too. We all together had some discussions about the new airport on St. Helena, the school system and getting tourists onto St. Helena. After breakfast the lady explained: "By the way, I am Gene and he is Andrew the Governor." Amazing, that morning I had breakfast together with the Governor, his wife and some other official people from St. Helena.
I have to do the immigration paperwork. I have to fill out several pages and to declare expensive cameras etc. I carry a professional camera and lenses in my luggage. I declared that equipment on a custom form. Finishing that paperwork, I went up to the sun deck. Later I had some lunch. St. Helena will be in sight soon.
Many people including the Governor standing on the highest possible point on the port side close to the bridge. Suddenly St. Helena is in sight. It has a shape like a swimming dragon. We arrive St. Helena about 15 hours earlier as scheduled. The passport check takes place on the ship. I received a number which is the ticket for the shuttle boat to the Wharf Steps. All St. Helena visitors and locals arrive the island by climbing the Wharf Steps.
I am in Jamestown on St. Helena now! By entering St. Helena every piece of luggage is checked by dogs and additional x-rayed. After that procedure I met my landlord named Donald (Don). He put my luggage into his car and we drove about 300m or so to his house. Don and his wife Irene running "Harris Guest House" which is located in the Main Street. It is a nice guest house. Don and Irene's sitting room is full with trophies and pictures. My room is large and about three meter in high. Bath and WC is outside of my room. Irene explained, since a few days there is a WiFi installation in the house. Also two English ladies are in the guest house. However, they will leave on Friday.
Later I walked around and had my dinner at Anne's place located in the Castle Gardens. There are two computers at Anne's place with internet access. The price is GBP1.00 for 10 minutes!
Thursday, October 30th 2008
In the morning it becomes light around 6:00AM and the Main Street in front of the house becomes busy. The breakfast in Harris Guest House is good. I had tea, home made rolls, butter, marmalade, honey, cheese and sausage. After breakfast Irene wanted me to keep some rolls with sausage as lunch.
I went out to do some administration work. I need a St. Helena driving license which I get at the police station. The police woman wrote my name and driving license number into a large book. That is the St. Helena driving license valid for three month. I bought many stamps to write postcards and letters to my friends all over the world. The tourist office was my next destination. I booked a guided tour for the "Longwood House" (Napoleon's residence). I could not book the tour for the "Plantation House" (Governor's residence). Three people is the minimum number who will guided through the Plantation House.
I walked through the roads of Jamestown. Suddenly I spotted an amateur radio antenna. The antenna belongs to a shop. I went in and ask about the antenna. The boss is in at Saturday between 9:00AM and 9:30AM. So I decide to return on Saturday.
The "Jacob's Ladder" is not far from Harris Guest House. The ladder has 699 steps. The difference in high is about 200m. I went up and down. It took about 17 minutes to go up. By the way, the record to run up is four minutes.
Again, I had my dinner at Anne's place and met some people from the ship.
Friday, October 31th 2008
The two English ladies depart today. For that reason the breakfast is one hour earlier. Today I will walk into the mountains, south on a hill along Jamestown's valley. Irene still wanted me to keep some rolls for lunch.
First I walked a path indicated as "strongly forbidden". That was true before the west part of Jamestown's valley where secured by wire netting. RMS just departs for South Africa. I passed old defence plants. Slowly I walked south. The sun is overhead. I remember five years back on Ascension. Also there the sun was overhead but it was more gruelling. The sun on St. Helena is not as hot as on Ascension. Walking south on the right there is Napoleon's first residence. Also there is a large dish antenna.
I walked on the normal road to return to Jamestown. The roads are very narrow. In the U-turns the cars sometimes need to go backward and forward. Before the U-turn the drivers use the horn.
Today it is halloween. The children throw balloons filled with water on each other. Again I walked up and down on the Jacob's Ladder (13 minutes up and 7 minutes down). I had my dinner in the Chinese restaurant but three Philippine ladies run that restaurant. The restaurant owns geckos! Later I visit Anne's Place and met Ruben the island's physician (he also arrived on the ship) and John the Bishop of St. Helena and Ascension.
Saturday, November 1st 2008
I slept well. The announced disco sound last night did not occur. I had my breakfast (too much omelet, grilled sausage, fruit, corn flakes and home made rolls.
I went out to visit the radio amateur. His name is John, ZD7JC. He invited me to operate on Wednesday evening. I left John and tried to write picture postcards. However, the wind was strong and I stopped to write. I met two other people who I had seen on the ship. The lady left St. Helena at the age of 13. Now she is around 40 and returned together with her English husband the first time. We find out, we have the same appointment for the Longwood House. Also we will visit the Plantation House together.
I went up and down the Jacob's Ladder (less then 11 minutes up and less then 6 minutes down). As I explained before, people told me, the record for up is 4 minutes. This was the last time using the Jacob's Ladder. The next days I walked so much that I really did not need additional training.
I had my dinner at the Chinese-Philippine restaurant. Later I visit the Consulate Hotel's pub. It was nice watching, the Saints in a pub. However a very drunk man wanted me to talk. He was rude and really I was unable to understand him. So I left the pub.
Sunday, November 2nd 2008
There are no rolls today, because it is Sunday. After breakfast the landlady gave a few bananas to me and I requested to have dinner in her "restaurant" at 6:30PM. I started to walk into eastern direction to go into the next valley. Using the road is an easy way. I walked along the eastern road of Jamestown's valley into south direction. I arrived the top of the road and walked down on the other side of the hill into north direction. On that way a car stopped and a woman ask me weather I would like to have a lift down. The lady named Carol is the mother of one of the country-singer from St. Helena. The Saints like country music. Carol let me out at the start of a little path. Soon I meet an other woman from the island just returning from her morning walk. Suddenly there was a turtle about 100m down in the sea. I tried to mount my long lense onto my camera. The turtle was to fast, diving away. My origin was Ruperts Bay. I walked up to Banks Valley and further on into the direction of Sugar Loft. Sugar Loft was to far away about an additional one or two hours. Dinner is at 18:30h also it becomes dark early.
Long time I was on the top of the plane and watched onto the sea. Sometimes a rabbit visited me.
I must return in regards to my dinner appointment. The path back was down to the valley, really easy. But then the path went uphill between Ruperts and Jamestown. That was difficult, like a few Jacobs Ladder runs. For the last part a friendly Saint drove me down to Jamestown.
Irene did a nice dinner for me. Also it was the only way to have dinner, because everything else was closed. Also I had no e-mail. Anne's Place also closed the internet computers.
Monday, November 3rd 2008
Breakfast time in the morning. In (1) Irene is called a "Motherly Landlady". However, sometimes she forgot to put some breakfast accessories on the table. Today she forgot the honey. During the breakfast I signed the car rental contract. I made the first drive after breakfast to the petrol station. At the petrol station I was not able to open the tank cover. I drove back to Irene to ask how to open the tank cover. Irene also did not know. Then Don told me, I have to use the remote door opener. With the remote, also the tank cover is released. By the way, I usually do not use the door remote. I never know, is the door closed or open? Now back to the filling station.
To day I have the appointment at Napoleon's house in Longwood. I drove into the direction of Longwood. On the first attempt I was wrong, because the road to Longwood is trough a very narrow arch. I returned, saw the sign to Napoleon's house, drove through the arch and arrived at the destination.
It is a nice house with a large garden full of flowers. Nearly nothing is original in the house. The most original parts out of the house are in France.
The tour trough the house was explained by a lady. Also a lady and a gentleman from England joined the tour through the house (Jay and Richard). The lady was from St. Helena. She left at the age of 13 or so. Now she returned for the first time after the leave (I explained before). She and the tour-guide find out, that they have some relationship. Jay and Richard also like to visit the Plantation House. I will buy the tickets in the tourist office.
Later I tried to visit Napoleon's tomb. The gate was closed by a chain and a lock. Later someone told me, the chain was not really around the gate. So it was possible to open the gate.
I decide to drive to "Government Garage". Arriving there, a little bird with long legs runs around. That was the first wirebird in my life. Not far away is "Millennium Forest". From there is a good view onto the desired airport area. Close to Millennium Forest is the Meteorologic Office located. I drove to the office and visit the meteorologists. I learnt, this office is recording the weather only. They do not do the forecast. Garry invited me to the next weather balloon start at 10:30 next day. Every day from Monday to Friday the office starts a balloon filled with hydrogen to report the temperature and other relevant weather parameters up to 30000 feet.
To have my dinner at the evening. I went to a nearly empty Anne's place. I met Susan, the nurse-tutor and Ruben the island's physician.
Tuesday, November 4th 2008
After the breakfast I went down to the tourist office to buy the tickets for the Plantation House tour. That was more difficult as expected. Jay, Richard and me, we would like to go on the 12st. At the 12st the ship will arrive and the "First Lady" who is doing the tour has many guests. After a phone discussion with Jay and Richard and the "First Lady" we decide for November 11st to visit the Plantation House.
After booking the Plantation House tour I drove into the direction of the meteorological office. I will watch the balloon launch. First I had a little walk at the Millennium Forest. Arriving at the office Marc and Garry explain how they do the launch and how careful they have to be with hydrogen. The sensors and telemetry transmitter was fixed at the balloon and the balloon was filled with hydrogen. That was done inside a large hall. Marc wears safety goggles and safety close. Everything was carefully connected to the earth to avoid sparks generated by static electricity. Remember, hydrogen is a very dangerous gas. However it is very light and cheap, for that reason ideal for such balloons. Marc carried the balloon to outside the hall, open his hand and the balloon launched into the sky. Garry inside the office receives the telemetrie data and recorded the movement on a computer. It was great to see such launch and also having some inside view of the meteorologies daily work. Thank you!
Also I saw the first wirebird of the day at the office. All over all I have seen now six wirebirds, about 1% of the world's wirebird population! I went on to Flag Staff. Amazing, I am 600m above the sea. The sea is strait down. The waves running against the island. It is fantastic to watch such spectacle. Later on I saw additional two wirebirds. I count eight wirebirds now.
I went down to Anne's Place for dinner. I met Bishop John and explained how a dimmer works.
Wednesday, November 5th 2008
Today I like to go to Diana's Peak. It is raining until now (high noon). I drove around Diana's Peak and than to Sandy Beach. The road to Sandy Beach is unbelievable. The landscape is more as fantastic, mountains, valleys and canyons. The road is extremely narrow. It also has a very steep rise. Many u-turns are extremely difficult.
Sandy Beach could be very nice but it is not. A lot of wast lays around. It is not possible to swim due to underwater currents. Sandy Beach is one of the few places where it is possible to go down to the sea. The main coastline is a steep coast. The rain increased and so I drove back.
My next destination was New Ground and Rosemary-Plain. The picnic ground at Rosemary-Plain is nice. It is still raining and I returned to Jamestown. There was nice sunshine the whole day! I wrote a few postcards and walked through the roads.
Thursday, November 6th 2008
There was rain to night in Jamestown too. The sky promise more rain. Nevertheless I drove to St. Mathew Church, the starting point to walk to Diana's Peak. It is cloudy and dry. I parked my car close to the church. It is easy to find the path. First I visit "Point Halley". Edmund Halley observed the stars from that position in 1677. I continue the path to the peak. Suddenly I saw a backpack covered in plastic. Around the corner I saw a worker who removed flax to hold the path open. It was his backpack and he works for the St. Helena Conservation. More workers are up to the top. I went on and met the other conservation people. We talked a while and they explained the way to the top. Steps connect difficult parts of the path. Everything around was in clouds. I could not see the landscape around. I arrived at Diana's Peak, found a large plate and a letterbox containing a rubber stamp and a notebook. Now I tell you a secret. Behind the letterbox there is a little switch. I turn the switch into off position and immediately the clouds disappear. The view becomes clear. After half an hour, the switch automatically returned back into the on position and the clouds covered everything into fog.
Yesterday I met two managers from St. Helena Development Agency (SHDA). They told me, Juergen runs the island's print shop and he is from Germany. I will visit him later. It was not easy to find him, because his house is located very far away from a "main" road. It was a nice talk at that evening. He explained, in his print shop he has to do a lot of improvisation to run the print machines. Getting spare parts can take several month.
Friday, November 7th 2008
It is not nice outside. Rain. First I drive to Levelwood. It is rain and a lot of wind. I parked my car in Levelwood close to a little shop and walked down to the sea. It is clear and no rain. I had George Island or Shore Island between the mountains. I spend a lot of time walking down and up. On the way back it starts to rain. I went on into direction of Man and Horse, Blue Hill. The weather condition where as bad as in Levelwood. Additional it was very stormy. So I returned to Jamestown and walked through the roads.
I met John, ZD7JC in the evening to do a little amateur radio operation. Many radio amateurs from all over the world return on my call. Even from Cuba (CO...) It was very interesting to operate for an hour from such remote island.
Today also I returned my car.
Saturday, November 8th 2008
There is still rain in the morning but slowly the weather changed. I bought a few local products. The landlady cleans up the guest house. I walked around in Jamestown. The two pubs are occupied by many people drinking beer. It might be that the pub and the beer is the only "change" in the daily life for many people. Into all directions the people running against the border of the island. The border is the sea. I think, it is not easy to survive on such remote island. The following example may explain how life is on such island. Living on the island it is like living in a small village covered by a large wall around. Nobody might leave the area inside the wall. Communication and mail take a long time to go in and out. Everybody knows what everybody else is doing. That is not an easy life. However, some people like it.
I walked around with my camera. I do not understand why people storing wast on their roofs, old car doors, broken boats and other stuff. A few rusty containers are close to the filling station. One is nearly erode.
I went down to the library. There is one closed cabinet about Napoleon. Other books about Mathematics, Mechanics and Electronics are in the shelves. Also a few magazines about amateur radio are in the library. I found a very new book about geckos, iguanas and dragons. Also some children books are available including Harry Potter.
To night I had my dinner in the Philippine Restaurant. Later I met Garry from the meteorological station. We talked a lot. Still it is light rain. The disco sound from the hotel this night was calm.
Sunday, November 9th 2008 (St. Helena Remembrance Day)
After the breakfast I took my camera, the two large lenses and a lot of memory. I sit on the bank in front of the guest house. It was cold, so I took an additional warm jacket. Susan passed and ask: "Are you waiting for something?" I was waiting for something. Suddenly the parade starts. The police walk in front, then scouts and music. A group of little children joint at the castle garden. The parade walked down to the harbour close to the memorial. A policeman shouted commands like stand, walk etc. The governor and his wife arrived. A few moments later Bishop John walked through the gate together with his retinue.
John was beautiful dressed in his uniform. A few speeches from the officials are done and John performed a mass.
I did not hear to much from the speech and the mass. Nearly all people from the island are together. I took the chance to take pictures.
After the ceremony the little cafe and Anne's Place open. I had a tea and a cake at the cafe and later on a lasagne at Anne's Place. At the later afternoon the place was empty as every Sunday. I sit on a bank close to the tourist office. Irene, Abi and a pastor walked along. The pastor and his wife has a large collection of porcelain-dolls. So I should join the little group to have a look onto all the dolls.
After the celebration of Remembrance Day everything is closed down as every sunday. The birds are singing in the large tree and start to sleep after sun set.
Monday, November 10th 2008
There was rain to night again. It is cold outside. I remembered the soft-ice-cream and the hamburger booth. The two booth are located close to the police station and usually open at sunday evening. Many people have been around, eating hamburger and ice-cream. It is a bit change on the daily life.
I walked down along the valley. I will try to reach the "Hard Break Waterfall". I passed Napoleon's first house. It is smaller but in a warmer area of the island. beside the house is the big C&W dish-antenna. This seems to be the receiving station for the TV service on the island. I was not sure about the way to the waterfall. I ask in the C&W station. A friendly lady explained the way. It seems that the path was not in use for long time. Many spider-webs are over the path. Finally a very small path marked as "Danger" goes into the waterfall's direction. I choose that path and went on. Crossing a little river was difficult. In about 100m I ended up in the "jungle". Additionally I had to remove a lot of spider-webs. I decide to return. The "Hard Break Waterfall" is not accessible via this path.
The seven wonder of the island. Hard Break Waterfall and Fort Knoll are such wonders. The wonders are not accessible. However, the waterfall should also be accessible via St. Andrew's School in Francis Plain.
Tuesday, November 11th 2008
Today I have to change my room. This is additional work just for three days. I have the car today because I will go to the Plantation House and meet Jay and Richard. The Plantation House is the residence of the the governor and his wife. It is rain and wind.
Arriving at the Plantation House, first I saw the "watch-turtles". Yes, other presidents have watch-dogs, the governor of St. Helena has very special. The watch-turtles are assisted by a dachshund which is owned by the governor's wife Jean.
Jean also performs the tour through the Plantation House. Not everything is known, what is located in the house. There are fantastic pendulum clocks (regulators). The pendulum is regulated in accordance to the temperature. Usually the pendulum becomes longer if the temperature increased. Under this condition the clock becomes slower. If the temperature decreases, the pendulum becomes shorter and the clock is faster. A tricky mechanic is able to compensate this behavior. However, Jean has no information about the large clocks. All over all the Plantation House is a nice old house. The library contains old and very old books back to 1700.
After the Plantation House tour, I drove to Dead-Wood-Plane to observe wirebirds. I have seen more the ten wirebirds. The birds are to far away to take pictures. I need the birds below 10m to take picture. The escape-distance of the wirebirds are about 20m. It was amazing, a wirebird stand on the path. I tried to walk carefully into the bird's direction. Each step I moved into the bird's direction, the bird walked away. The distant between the bird and myself was constant 20m. Later the wind increased and the wirebirds are gone.
At 3PM I drove down to the meteorologic office. Garry likes to show the station in Prosperous Bay. He also is a very good observer of the nature. On this tour we saw many wirebirds. A very special thank you to Garry, because I could take many exiting wirebird pictures on this tour.
I returned to Jamestown and find out, I have to check-in my baggage on Friday noon. This is odd because the day is split-up. I can not do much.
Wednesday, November 12th 2008
If everything is on time, RMS will arrive at St. Helena. After breakfast I tried to walk to Francis Plain and further on to the Hard Break Waterfall. I stopped soon after climbing the road at the west part of the valley. The rain increased so much that the walk was no fun. I will try to do it again tomorrow morning. In the mean time, RMS is arrived.
Down in Jamestown the weather was fine. I went down to Anne's Place to check my e-mails. During that I met a French lady who works on a Napoleon conservation project. She ask me how to operate the computers to get e-mail access. I took additional photos from Jamestown and paid my bill.
To night is full moon. If the clouds allow a view, there was a very dark deep space.
Thursday, November 13th 2008
It rains cats and dogs this morning. I will wait until 10AM before I start my walk to Francis Plain. It was raining until up to the evening. I did not go. I met Bruce an other radio amateur and I visit the tourist office to say thank you. I hat my dinner again at the Philippine Restaurant. Later I met Ruben, Susan and Bishop John at Anne's Place. John explained something to the different churches on St. Helena. It was a very interesting evening.
Friday, November 14th 2008
I leave today. Will I ever observe a wirebird again? That questions has two parts. Will I return to St. Helena one day. Or will the wirebird die out soon? It is crazy, some people become homesick. I do not like to return. I like to stay or to go to somewhere else. Restlessly tramp.....
The baggage check-in is at 11AM. Boarding is at 4PM. Everything is in my small suitcase, sometime rain, sometime sun. The weather was odd since Wednesday last week. Sometimes it is dry and then I am able to walk. I know, I am able to live on St. Helena a certain time but not for ever. Sometimes I ask myself, why do I do this, why do I travel to such remote areas? There is no real answer. It is amazing to meet people living in such remote parts on the world. Also it is interesting to meet other people who travel to such remote parts. May be for fun, leisure or work. It is not necessary that everything has a logical reason. Conclusion, without this journey I never would meet Bishop John, I never had seen wirebirds, I never met Nicola, a French engineer who set up to work the big white container-crane in the harbour of St. Helena. I never could speak to Susan, Ruben, Garry, Marc and all others. Every second increased my horizon a bit.
Saturday, November 15th 2008
On the way back to Ascension, the first night on the RMS, and I could not really sleep. Now I am tired and I walked around. Water all over. What are this for small birds here in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean? Starting out of the water and land on the water and disappear. A couple of seconds I stand at the ship's handrail with open mouth. The birds are flying fish! I had never seen flying fish before.
I eat a bit salad. The sun comes out. A large bird follows RMS. Dark, may be a bit gray-white. The bird glides over the waves, turns, touches the water with the end of one wing. I feel better as on the way to St. Helena. For the evening somebody requested me to join the Captain's table.
Sunday, November 16th 2008
I think, I slept well. I get up early to take pictures from the sunrise. The baggage will be collected at 4:30PM. We will arrive at the next day at Ascension. I filled out some paperwork for the Ascension immigration procedure. To night there is a BBQ on the sun deck. Hopefully we do not have rain.
The BBQ was nice. We hat much to eat and to drink. About 160km before Ascension we saw the first birds. Stars are at the sky.
Monday, November 17th 2008
At the morning we had some movement. Ascension is in sight. The island is in fog and in clouds. It looks magically. It becomes light and I feel rain.
I checked-in at the Obsidian Hotel and have room 30 at Hayes House. I walked around and close to the Exiles House a lady ask me about the house. I explained something about the Exiles House in English. I hear an accent in her voice. We find out, we have the same language, she is Helga from Austria. I went on and had some tea and cake. Later I met Helga again. We decide to rent a car for the next day to explore ascension a bit.
I had the dinner together with Helga and Nicola.
Tuesday, November 18th 2008
There is a flight to Brize Norton this evening (or may be not). Today I am a private tourist guide on Ascension. Using the car, Helga and me visit English Bay, Green Mountain, Nasa Site and Wideawake. Also we had lunch in Two Boats. The Wideawake field is amazing. That is the breeding area for sooty terns birds. We walked to the border of the area. The birds did not like us there. The birds attacked us and requested us to leave the area. Breeding birds as fare as you can see. I tried to take pictures from the attacking birds. Out of 300 shots I just get three pictures which are more or less usable. It was difficult to follow the high speed flying birds with my camera.
It was a nice round trip. It was new for Helga and I could see what is new, old and remember the time five years ago. Returning to the hotel, we get the massage, that the airplane arrive one hour earlier as scheduled. Helga returns to Austria, Nicola returns to France by that airplane. We had dinner together and say good-bye to each other.
I had a beer at the bar and suddenly I met Sandra. She is a biologist just arrived with the airplane from Falkland Island. She is on the way back to Germany.
Wednesday, November 19th 2008
Time goes on fast. My vacation is over soon. Everything is fascinating. I do not like to go. I do not understand homesickness. I know wishfulness only. It starts to rain during the breakfast. I start to read a book. Sometimes rain. The sky becomes clean just before noon. I walked into the direction to Comfortless Gove. I chose the way over the "moon landscape". A large stone has the shape of a dragon. I walked around for about three hours.
I met Sandra. She has a car and we drove together to Ascension's beach for swimming.
Thursday, November 20th 2008
It is a nice morning. I had breakfast. Later I found a C&W telephone book from 2006. Some prices are published. An internet dial up costs between GBP12 to GBP20 per month as base. The operation is about GBP0.04 to GBP0.10 per minute. A broadband connection is GBP145 per month for private people.
I went up to the cannon-hill. From there is a good overview about Ascension's capital and the rush hour traffic. The sea is so big! On the left side far away at Dead Man Beach the sea runs against the cost. Then it is calm over there and the waves are at the pierhead. Then the waves are at Long Beach. Everything starts again at the left side of Dead Man Beach. I returned, had a tea and drove with Sandra for a swim.
Friday, November 21st 2008
The last day. Again packing. But first I had a long breakfast. Sandra told, she did not slept well. I paid my bill. I went to take pictures from the cemetery and from waves. I returned to Georgetown and found Temptation open. I had some lunch and a talk to the UK-Commander of the airport base.
The schedule for to night is:
It is a bit of time and I went to Fort Thompson. Later I bought a little WWF turtle.
The check-in starts exact at 18:45. The airplane departs at 22:15. I could not sleep in the airplane. The seats are not comfortable to sit.
Saturday, November 22nd 2008
The plain arrived at 7:15 at Brize Norton. We had nice weather. I catch the bus at 9AM to Oxford and then to Heathrow. I arrived at 12 noon at Heathrow. Much to early to leave the luggage. Due to the one day delay in the Royal Airforce flight, I could not spend a day in London as planed. I arrived in Munich in snow and cold weather conditions. I took the S-Bahn to go to Ismaning. I walked through the snow and arrived at my home .......
Last modification: August 29 - 2010 DF2IR