Day 100, Year 6 Arrival in St. Helena
Date: Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Weather: Overcast, Foggy, with Drizzle; Winds SSE 8-10
Temperature: Water and Air 74 degrees F
Latitude: 15 55.035 S
Longitude: 005 43.072 W
Miles Traveled: 1878
Location: James Bay, St. Helena Island
1878 miles in 339 hrs 20 mins (14 days 3 hrs 20 mins)
Sailing Hours-319 hours 05 minutes
Motor Sailing Hours-20 hours 15 minutes
Average Speed-5.5 knots per hour
After a squally night, we sailed along the rugged northern coast of St. Helena at 6:45 am GMT and then motored the last twenty minutes into the anchorage at James Bay. I came on watch at 5 am this morning and took note of the lights behind us. Mark and I both thought it must be a fishing boat as we were very close to the eastern coast of St. Helena. But as I watched, I realized the lights were those of a sailboat under power. After days of seeing no boats, I couldn’t believe we were approaching the island in company with another sailboat. As it turns out, the boat was Kiboti from Spain, not a boat we have ever seen before, but hope to meet while here. As we closed in on James Bay, a small ferry boat came out to greet us and show us the way to a mooring ball. And on the mooring ball right in front of us was Kire with Paul, Lisa, and their two little ones aboard. We sailed with this German couple from Mossel Bay to Simon’s Town and it was wonderful to find someone here we know. They swam over to say hello and to invite us to join them in on an island tour tomorrow. They arranged for this yesterday but thought it would be fine to add two more. Perfect. And by 10:00 am Customs had come to the boat to check us in and we were on the ferry to town. There is no dock here. Cargo and passengers alike, even if it is the Queen, must all take the reasonably priced ferry into the concrete bulk head where you grab a rope and pull yourself ashore as the ferry does a little dance trying to stay in place as the surf rolls in. It was calm today, and should be that way the rest of the week, so hopefully we’ll not have to leap ashore in wicked surf. It’s tricky enough when it is calm. The town is as advertised. It is like stepping back in time, but not really back all that far. Jamestown reminds me of small town USA in the early 1950’s. We dropped our laundry at a Anne’s Restaurant and the waitress said she’d pay the woman who’d pick it up and we could pay her later. Nice. We went in one store looking for water jerry jugs. They had none, but told us where to go. A little later we saw a woman on the street and she asked if we found the jerry cans. She remembered us and took the time to make sure her advice had panned out. Everyone wants to talk and everyone wants to be helpful. It is by far the friendliest little place we have ever stopped in all our travels.
But that said, I must add that the appearance of the island is almost surreal. It looks like the mountains were violently thrust out of the sea helter-skelter and then a number of volcanoes erupted pouring dripping lava over the mountains kind of like melting ice cream, and then this flow was stopped dead in its tracks and frozen in time. There are shades of olive green, brown, and rust on the mountains and there is a huge network of wire netting around Jamestown, keeping the mountains from collapsing into the town. And then there are those 699 steps (I think I reported some higher number in an earlier log) that go straight up the mountain. I’m really not sure I’m ready to tackle this one, neither up nor down, but we shall see. When I had to climb 4 flights of stairs to the Customs Office this morning, my knees almost collapsed under me. But there are those who have run up the steps in five minutes. Count me out on that one!
|110201 Day 100 St. Helena–Arrival|