Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Island of St. Helena

AMARA leaving the island of St. Helena.  Thank you, Debbie for sending this to us!
AMARA and crew arrived in St. Helena on Monday morning.  I always love hearing from Martin when they reach land after a long passage because I know that putting feet on solid ground is always welcomed but a full nights sleep is first on the list.

I got an email from Martin today that I thought I would just share on this post about their visit to St. Helena.

"We arrived in St. Helena yesterday morning, the 24th, for a brief respite from sailing.  It was interesting to explore the island.  One thing you quickly notice is that no one has a cell phone because there is no cell service.  In fact, they have only had TV service for about 10 years, but there is still no airport— so everything comes and goes by ship.  Napoleon was exiled here and died on the island.  We had to see his "prison" which turned out to be quite an estate.  There are lots of gun emplacements in the cliffs from WWI and WWII, and some old British forts from when they fought the Dutch.

Everyone on the island has been really friendly, and we have enjoyed meeting some of the people that we have encountered during our stay.  This week there is a big legal trial going on here and they have had to bring in lawyers and a judge from the UK since their is only one lawyer on the entire island.  We have also heard some questionable things about the health and medical services here.

Today we took a tour of the island and visited a black sand beach that had lots of Portuguese Man-o-War jellyfish wash up.  We also saw the verdant interior and lots of flax plants which was the big industry here back when using parcel twine was common practice worldwide.   A highlight of the day was ringing Bellrock, which was a large boulder that when struck with another fist-sized rock, rings like a bell.  It was entertaining to hear the different tones that we could get each time we hit it.  I'll make sure to send a video whenever we find decent internet again.

The biggest highlight of the day was climbing up Jacobs Ladder, which is a steep cliff face with a staircase that goes up the cliff 669 steps.  Our non-stop climb took 14 minutes, and today we are all feeling it in our legs.  

The 669 steps up the cliff in St. Helena
This afternoon we also brought some local friends out to visit AMARA, and then went for a quick whale watching tour.  We were also able to get in a snorkel dive over a wreck of an old coal ship which sank in the harbor.  Later today we loaded 400 liters of diesel fuel, and first thing tomorrow we will try to get some vegetables before we leave for Brazil. We weren't able to get any in the supermarket today, but we considered ourselves lucky to find some sliced bread, since the bread shelves were empty yesterday.


I'll continue to keep you updated as I hear news from Martin.  

Exciting news here in Utah is that Lily and I have purchased our tickets and plan on meeting Martin and the crew in Grenada later in December.  We are getting excited to spend the holidays in the Caribbean!

Next stop for AMARA is the Ilha de Fernando de Noronha just offshore from the Brazilian coast some 1700 miles from St. Helena.  

Let's hope that the winds are, as always, in their favor.