09 April 2011 | South Atlantic
We arrived at the anchorage in James Bay, St Helena, at 10:55 on Thursday morning and were soon going through the clearing-in process with HM Customs, the immigration section of HM St Helena Police Department and the Harbour Masters office. We were soon fleeced of UK Pounds 12.00 each and another UK Pounds 27.00 for "harbour fees". Let me quickly explain, there is no harbour in St Helena - you drop your anchor in the anchorage and pray you do not drag anchor during your stay.
After completing the formalities, we visited Ann's Place, the local yachtie restaurant or eatery and had a burger and chips - good quality high cholesterol grub fit for any yachitie that has not had a good greasy meal for a week or two. Then the crew went back to the boat with our four filled drums of water and replenished our water reserves on board. I then took Dave back ashore and introduced him to the Standard pub and some local life. I think he enjoyed the visit with the exception of some "old duck" who first tried to hit on me, saying she liked young yachties - the poor old lady was getting into her late 70's or early 80's. When she had no response from me, she hit on poor Dave, telling him proudly that she was still sexually active! I nearly died laughing but had to step in to try and save Dave, telling her that she should be ashamed of herself for trying to pick up my partner as we were a gay couple. Her response was: "Oh, I love happy people". Go figure!
Well, Friday arrived with a bit of a light drizzle and all of us heading back to shore to let the crew climb Jacob's Ladder, 699 big steps of hell. I, a bit wiser and knowledgeable about the climb, remained in the town, getting some fresh bread and rolls and having an interesting discussion with Mike, the owner of the local Independent newspaper and FM radio station. Well, the discussion was over a beer - no a couple of beers - actually, quite a few beers. Today (Saturday) I cannot, for the life of me remember how many beers, nor what we discussed. I also cannot remember going back to the boat but must have, as I did wake up this morning in my bunk! I also woke up with the keys to Mikes car in my pocket and was told by the crew that he, Mike, had lent his car to me to take everybody on a tour of the island.
So, this morning it was into the "country", as the islanders call the interior of this small island. We visited Napoleons house, where he was held prisoner and died, the site for the proposed airport, the governors house with the tortoises in the garden and a few old fortifications. I handed Mike his car back with much appreciation and headed back to the boat to sleep off my hangover, still lingering from last night. Mathys and Josh are ashore to experience the local "atmosphere" whilst Dave and I are taking it easy on board the boat. I do not think my body could take another sip of anything with any alcohol in it!
Tomorrow is full maintenance of the outstanding work needed on the boat - we have already cleared a number of items off the list. And then we will check our water tanks once more and raise anchor and start a slow sail to Ascension Island. The winds over the next week are not that good so we will just take it easy and try and arrive there the following Monday.
Regards from all aboard until the next blog post. John.
Oh, the photo above is of Jonathan in the Governors garden - 180 years old and still going strong!