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_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Marcy home Walvis Bay Angling Club club AFASyn Ushuaia Marcy and crew

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Marcy Anchored with the Saints

Fort and Surf SH

Our passage from Africa was comfortable, if not fast. We ran in light winds for days without touching the wheel or the sheets. We were under a poled out jib and the spinnaker using the boom as an extra long pole for the spinnaker sheet.

Spin sheet on boom

It was exciting to see the island appear under a cap of clouds.

land ho St Helena

We anchored flying the Q flag as usual. We were told to remain on board until a doctor could come on board to check us for swine flu. Soon he arrived in one of the little ferry boats that service the anchorage and cleared us to go ashore.

Marcy Jamestown

St Helena ferry

On the ride to the famous “steps” Ginger asks the ferryman about island facilities. The steps are set in the quay. We we timed the ocean surge and jumped ashore at the same spot where countless navy captains and Napolean himself did.

Ginge and Ferryman

St Helena provided us with a nice break in the Atlantic crossing. It's not a large island, and the anchorage is deep and rolly (being just an open roadstead on the ocean,) but it is fun to explore and has a long and interesting history. It is famous for being Napolean's jail and final resting place. The locals, called Saints, speak English but with a dialect we have a very hard time understanding. So we smile and nod our heads.....

Anchors and cannons are everywhere. Hundreds of years of Royal Navy presence have left their mark.

anchor and cannon

We enjoyed the very English feel of the town. We saw churches, historical plaques, gardens with topiary, and a public library – said to be the oldest in the southern hemishpere.

country church

Jamestown gate

topiary

SH public library

There is even an olympic sized swimming pool built in the old moat.

Jamestown moat . pool entrance
pool lifeguards . water wings for all

We found it easy to complete our errands in town. We visited the customs and immigration offices.

waiting for immigration

We chatted with the prison warden while we waited for immigration to arrive.

SH prison warden

We visited the bank, conveniently located in the post office, to get some St. Helena pounds. No ATM on this island

SH post office

SH bank

Ginge at bank

We took showers in an ancient port structure built into the cliff wall.

wharf showers

inside shower bldg

We found a cafe with internet to catch up on our correspondence.

internet and coffee

You know it's a small island when you see single digit license plates.

car no 6

Remember the doctor who checked us for fever? He and his wife encountered us walking in town and kindly offered to take us for a drive in the “country” and off we went for an eight hour tour. The island is covered with one lane roads and hiking trails.

Ginger Elza and Sarel

Bird's eye view of town . Jamestown and bay

It was wonderful to see the luscious green vegetation inland.

SH green country . hillside road

We visited the governor's country house where Jonathan, the famous tortoise, lives with his friends. It's a bit scary when you get close because they take in a big breath and then exhale and start moving. Then it becomes clear that the breathing is in preparation for a push-up so they can be properly scratched on the head.

Jonathan

Ginge and Jonathan

After the tour, Sarel and Elza invited us home for coffee. Home for them is Maldivia House, where Napolean stayed sometimes.

Maldivia entrance

Maldivia front porch

Back on board, we attacked the repairs needed before setting out again. The jib needed some work and we spent the better part of two days wrestling with the stiff material rerunning the leech line.

Jib repair 2 . Jib repair 4

There is a set of steps (699 of them) running up one of the hills surrounding Jamestown, called the “Jacob's ladder.” It's a sailor's must to climb it, so we headed ashore early in the morning before the day got hot.

G n P on ladder

The view of the town and anchorage from the top is spectacular.

Jamestown from Ladder Hill

Heading down . a long way down

Down went faster than up, and back at the “steps” we launched Red Dogfish to paddle back to Marcy. We were reminded of the Marquesas in French Polynesia as we carefully timed our loading operation between ocean waves. The grab ropes are a great addition to complete a tricky process.

Quay launch SH

Marcy is ready to set off again, so we're heading off refreshed after our enjoyable stay at St. Helena.

SH plant

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