St. Helena Island

Saint Helena Island is in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and is one of the world's most isolated islands. If you start crossing the Atlantic Ocean at the border between Namibia and Angola, Saint Helena Island will appear just less than half way to Brazil. Because of this extreme isolation, Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled here from Oct 1815 until his death on 5 May 1821. It is the most populous of the United Kingdom's territories in the South Atlantic with a population of 4,255 at the last census in 2006. Main Street of Jamestown is described as one of the best examples of unspoilt Georgian architecture anywhere in the world and the whole island has been officially proposed to the UK government as a mixed World Heritage site. Saint Helena's most famous resident, of course, was Napoleon, who was exiled there by the British. Apparently Elba was not far enough away. He died there, and you can visit his beautiful grave site in a flower-laden glade, but his remains were disinterred and are now at Les Invalides in Paris. You can visit his two residences on the island. He stayed at The Briars for about two months, and lived the rest of his life in a house in Longwood. Both can be visited by appointment.

Two animals are of note. The giant earwig was the largest in the world: between two and three inches long. The species was made extinct by researchers who collected them all. The second species is a happier story: although endangered, with only about 300 remaining, the Saint Helena Wirebird is a plover-like bird with long beak and legs. It is a land bird, and can be found in open areas. The playing fields behind the high school are a particularly good place to look without having to take a longer hike. The Wirebird is Saint Helena's national bird. Read more about St. Helena;

Wikipedia
Wiki Voyage
Noonsite

Port of entry - Jamestown

Arrivals by yacht

Call St. Helena Radio on VHF channel 16 when about 10 nautical mile away from the island to announce your arrival. They will notify Customs and Immigration of your pending arrival. Your failure to do so might evoke fines and penalties. Also discuss with them the best mooring buoy suitable for your yacht.

Report to Customs & Immigration

Upon arrival, immediately contact Customs & Immigration on VHF Radio channel 16 and take further instructions about when and where to checkin. Usually, Customs will visit your yacht and take care of all proceedings. DO NOT go ashore until you have cleared it with the officials - this might lead to your arrest.

Mooring Buoys

There are two types of mooring buoys - some are white and others are yellow in colour. The yellow buoys are for yachts with heavier displacements and the white buoys are for lighter boats. Radio customs of VHF channel 16 to find out which buoy is best suitable for your yacht.
Heads up!
Do not take valuables ashore and then sell/donate/gift these to the locals without permission. This is an infringement of the local customs laws as taxes are payable on all such valuables. Locals are known to entice visitors to do this, then report them to the authorities and later collect a reward.

Landing jetty

Unless you have a very light dinghy which you can man handle and lift out of the water, you will have to make use of the water taxi to get to shore and back to your yacht. The water taxi runs a hourly schedule but frequently responds to "Come and fetch me" calls - hail them "Water Taxi" on VHF channel 16. In rough weather, the jetty poses some challenges as the jetty is some what higher than the water and the water surge throws the boat around. The taxi will motor up to the jetty and try and keep it against the concrete wall. Grab a rope from the over hanging rail, get your timing right and then jump onto the jetty. On occasion, be prepared to get a bit wet - usually it's nothing serious.

No cell phones

CellPhonesDon't expect the usual comfort, conveniences and technology of the modern world. There is no cellular or mobile service provider and the entire is without cell/mobile phones.

Limited internet access

Internet

Public Internet access is only available at a few select places and it is slow. Telecommunications are particularly expensive — don't expect to be able to use the Internet for extended periods of time. There are Wi-Fi hotspots in the Consulate Hotel and in Ann's Place for £6/hour (as at Jan 2015).

Credit and Debit cards

Credit and debit cards are not accepted in shops. However, there is a bank at the top end of Main street which will allows cash withdrawals from selected credit cards - Visa is best.
 

Bring British Pounds

Withdrawing money on your credit card or changing foreign currency in St. Helena is expensive! It would be best to arrive with British Pounds which are perfectly acceptable.

Tungi Distillery - pronounced "Toon Gee"

Tungi
 

St Helena is one of the world’s best kept secrets and the ‘St Helena Distillery’ even more so. It really is the most remote distillery in the world! The distillery uses German-made Holstein spirit distilling equipment imported and installed in 2006 and is run by Head Distiller Paul Hickling. Paul, originally from Wales is married to a St Helenian and trained in Germany. As a proficient qualified distiller he oversees every step of the distilling process. If you’re a connoisseur of spirits, then browse the finest that St Helena has to offer below. Tungi is the local St Helenian name for the prickly or cactus pears. The plants (Opuntia vulgaris) were originally brought to the island by the colonial ivory traders from East Africa in the 1850’s. Tungi cactus now grows wild and organically in the dry coastal regions of the Island. The Distillery now makes White lion, a spiced Rum, also Jamestown Gin, Midnight mist a coffee liqueur made with pure Saint Helena coffee and lemon valley Lemon Liqueur. The coffee liqueur is quite good!

Beware the water taxi owner

Initially, the water taxi owner might seem very helpful with all your requirements - but beware! He is a greedy, obnoxious and quite vindictive. If you dare buy diesel fuel other than himself, you will get his full wrath and he will overcharge you for his water taxi service. Especially so from 19H00 and later at night! We paid over 50 British Pound for his water taxi to take us to our yacht one night - 2 people and it was less than .5 nautical mile away.
 

Diesel

Diesel is readily available - but it is expensive as all the fuel gets imported from South Africa. There are a couple of places where you can buy diesel but you need to compare prices. They will bring your diesel to your yacht with a fuel barge and pump directly into your tanks. Not knowing the quality, we took the precaution of running the diesel through filters before pumping it into our tanks.

St. Helena Fish Cakes

Fishcakes
 

Recipe for the famous St Helena Fish Cakes. If you’re looking for a taste of St Helena, then look no further! The Island’s cuisine is wonderfully varied with Malay, British, and Chinese influences. Each dish has their own special ‘Saint’ twist, especially the spices and curries.

Different types of fish are a staple diet for Saints, tuna fish cakes being a speciality. However pumpkins also feature heavily, along with local lamb, mutton, pork and beef. If you want to try out a traditional St Helena dish, then download this recipes for the famous St Helena Fish Cakes. Yum!!!

Tours

There are several tour operators in St. Helena and the moment you get ashore, you will be coaxed to go on a tour (at quite a hefty price) - although this makes it easier and saves you time finding out about places to visit. Alternatively, start chatting to a local and then hire your own car to drive around this small island.

 

Napoleon

Napoleon Bonaparte, also known as Emperor Napoleon I, was a military and political leader of France whose actions shaped European politics in the early 19th century. He was exiled to St. Helena in 1815 - he died there in May 1821. You can visit the house he stayed in, listen to the "parrot" style narrative and visit his now empty tomb.

Scuba Diving

There are numerous places for excellent scuba diving in St. Helena. Although we did not do any diving whilst we we there, we noticed daily diving excursions leave the jetty every day. The water is warm, clear and there is an abundance of sea life.

 

Spearfishing

The crystal clear waters of the island will have you itching to get into your dive gear as soon as you sail into them. The best would be to make contact with the locals who will be more than happy to advise even escort you to the best dive sites.

Like

Sue liked and enjoyed St. Helena. She says that she will be happy to retired there. The people are incredibly friendly and you will get greeted by everybody you walk past in the streets. For all means and purposes, crime is virtually non existent!

Dislike

Wiets disliked St. Helena Island, not because of the people or the island itself - but for it's isolation and lack of activity. One is literally cut from the world and as far as Wiets is concerned, there are only two kinds of people who would want to stay there; either you do not want the world to find you or you want to get away from the world. The place is expensive, there is not much to be found in the stores, fresh produce is minimal at best, most of the meats/fish are imported frozen, communication with the outside world is a problem - all in all, a throwback to the early nineteenth century.

It is a tiny place with less than 5,000 people (as at Jan 2015), for this reason there is no real substantial commerce - it seem like everybody is somehow eeking out a living. Just about everything gets imported mainly from South Africa which adds to the selling price of the goods and it seems like the Saints (as they they are called) are quite happy with this arrangement. During our 2 weeks there, barring a bit of subsistence farming, I did not see any commercial farming. Yet there are sufficient space for local farming. Asking around about this, the consensus is that the Saints are lazy and quite happy getting things inmported from South Africa. This explains why the fresh produce we encountered were sparse, mostly wilted and at the end of it's fresh life. Napoleon was and still is the biggest attraction but his body is not there anymore. We were there for two weeks and that is about as much as I could tolerate.

However, it does remain a very convenient stop over from yachts sailing from South Africa to Brazil or the Caribbean. There is a distinct feeling of greed, that yachties are getting ripped off and taken advantage of by a few select people offering typical services. Sad!

     

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Comments (1)

  1. sadsf

Good

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