Saint Helena

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    • Not a soft landing

      May 6, 2022 in Saint Helena ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

      We had heard that getting onto Ascension is not easy. The landing consists of a couple of steel steps or a couple of concrete steps - take your pick. There are also a few thick ropes that you can hang onto for dear life. And you can expect to get wet. So when Craig, Dom and I arrived there in Foblet (with all our goods in a dry bag) we were a bit shocked to see how extreme the swell was. It would recede from the steps then rush back and completely engulf them in foamy water. But we thought, hey, they said it wouldn’t be easy. So after a few manoeuvres, Craig managed to get Foblet alongside the concrete steps and Dom made a dash for it, grabbing the rope and doing a bit of the splits as the water sucked Foblet away. Within seconds he was almost waist deep in water standing on the steps. Craig tried to get Foblet closer again so that I could get off, but another huge surge of water came in, lifted us up and threw us bow first at the rocky wall. We could hear crunching noises as poor Foblet got her nose smashed. We were both hanging on for dear life and there were quite a few swearwords coming out of my mouth. Foblets reverse gear was no match for the force of the water, and within seconds we were smashing against the rock again. More crunching noises and more cussing. And did I mention that 3m Galapagos sharks are spotted around this area every day, waiting for the likes of us! Craig managed to get us away from the landing but Foblet’s nose section was starting to deflate, so we had to try and pump her up whilst negotiating the current. In the meantime, Dom went ashore to ask for some help, and someone came to drop us a stern line from the platform above. But by then it was clear that Foblet needed some attention, so somehow we managed to get Dom back on board and we limped back to FOB. Well, I was so shaken by then that this incident literally drove me to drink - a tequila and a G&T to be precise. A bit later, Okko, one of the guys who was working on the nearby tugs must have seen poor Foblet’s deflated spirit, so he stopped by in his rather large and wonderful rubber duck and offered to drop us on land and pick us up later. He did this for us every day, (another example of the kindness of strangers) and although he made our lives so much easier, I’m not sure that I want to get onto that landing ever again in my whole livelong life! 😂Read more

      Traveler  omw, sounds really scary but also quite funny if you were watching from afar 😁😂


      Traveler  Poor Foblet, is she repaired now. that must have been scary. Surge can cause a lot of damage. glad no one landed in the water 😊


      Traveler  I finally read this all , all I can say thank goodness for tequila... and ok G&T. lol

      4 more comments
    • The sights of Ascension

      May 6, 2022 in Saint Helena ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

      You can only live on Ascension Island if you work there or are under 18 years old. Once you retire, you must leave. So nearly everyone there either works for the Ascension Government or is part of the US or British military bases. There is no tourism and there are no facilities like car hire. But we were lucky enough to meet Herbie, the head of Sea Rescue, who said that his wife Tanya would happily drive us around the island (and keep our shopping in her fridge while we were out - nothing is too much trouble for these kind island people.😊) So Tanya took us to the beautiful but sadly named Comfortless Cove, where you’ll find a most unusual cemetery. She drove us through the US and British military villages. The British village is called Two Boats and there’s also an area called One Boat, because, we’ll, there’s one boat there! We got to see the beaches where the turtles lay their eggs. Sadly, we were not allowed on the island at night time to see them, but every morning from our boat you could see the fresh tracks. It’s also hatchling season, so the friggin’ frigate birds are continually circling the area. We also got to see the Sea Rescue boat being launched for it’s weekly training session. She showed us the many and varied communication structures and the unusual landscape. We visited the museum and had a drink at the NAAFI (not ‘nafi’) bar (Navy, Army, Air Force). A truly fascinating place.Read more

      Traveler  that must have been fascinating. I am loving all the facts you are sharing, so interesting 😃👏


      Traveler  Agree,


       enjoying your journey with you ! [norma]


      Traveler  Very interesting! Did not realise who lived on the island and the requirements to continue living there. Contribute to the economy or you get excommunicated!

    • Go figure!

      May 6, 2022 in Saint Helena ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

      The story goes that the Ascension Government ordered some road signs to warn drivers of the wild donkeys that roam around. Firstly, the company that supplied them had run out of donkey signs, so they naturally sent some camel ones. And secondly, the government actually put the camel signs up! 😂Read more

      Traveler  two signs for the price of one ..beware of humps in the road and beware of camels


      Traveler  That donkey is adorable!


      Traveler  But where is his hump?!

      8 more comments
    • The greenest mountain

      May 7, 2022 in Saint Helena ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

      In the mid-1800s Darwin visited Ascension and later encouraged another botanist, Joseph Hooker, to import plants to the island so that when planted they could capture the rain and improve the soil. Over 200 different species of exotic seeds and seedlings were shipped from Kew Gardens, as well as Argentina, Europe and South Africa. These were planted on what is now known as Green Mountain. The fittest survived this eclectic mix slowly spread to cover the whole mountain. There is now a tropical rain forest at the top of the mountain, which is in stark contrast to the surrounding black volcanic soil. And believe it or not, I climbed to the top! Well, we drove half way up, but still. It was one of the most beautiful walks I’ve ever been on. The plants are a lush green and very varied. You walk through fine grasses waving in the wind, and then through a forest of bamboo that reaches the sky. You can find Cape gooseberries, ginger and banana trees in between the Norfolk Island pines, mosses and prickly pears. The best part is that it is cool and the top is misty and there are no snakes on the island to worry about (much to Craig’s disappointment). There are also surprisingly hardly any bugs. Craig saw one little ladybird, and that’s it. It was a steep climb for the likes of me, but the spectacular views from the top made all the huffing and puffing well worth it!Read more

      Traveler  Sounds amazing, could really imagine it


      Traveler  must have been good to stretch those legs...sorry no bugs for Craig though. looks beautiful forests one of my favorite places to be. enjoy xx


      Traveler  looks like the kelp on a cape dive. awesome 👌

      6 more comments
    • Day 122

      Georgetown, Ascension Island

      April 15, 2015 in Saint Helena ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

      We spent tax day sailing to an island of 800 people that is about as far away as you can get from anywhere. The folks here are either military, BBC or researchers as the island has no permanent inhabitants. It is basically an airport in the middle of the Atlantic that can be used for such strategic things as a refueling station for the Falklands Islands War back in 1982 and with it's 2 mile runway it was a backup landing strip back with the space shuttle was flying since it could actually take the Shuttle.
      Now it is a bunch of satellite towers and sensors that are probably pulling all the internet traffic that we are using right now into the NSA computers. :-)
      Unfortunately the waves were too high to safely get on land with all the old people we have aboard but the researchers brought some slides and a video onboard which was very informative. Probably better then walking around the little island but I was hoping to get a sighting of the green sea turtle as this was one it's nesting areas and they set up to 300 a night coming up and laying eggs.
      Now for the big slog across the ocean. 6 days at sea ending in the little prison island of Devil's Island off French Guiana. The weather has been good so far so we are expecting bad weather as we just can't be this lucky the entire trip so I will let you know if we start rocking and rolling. :-)
      Read more

    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Ascension, Île d'Ascension, Остров Вознесения

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