Monday, 18th January, 2016

Luna Quest
W. Eric Faber
Mon 18 Jan 2016 20:06
Noon Position: 15.55S 5.43W Jamestown in St Helena

Daily run: 104 logged miles

The wind held last night giving us a steady sail to St Helena. Our arrival time was before midday, or 10am St Helena time, which is GMT. Arriving at St Helena in daylight hours gave us a good impression of it: one huge uninspiring volcanic lump, its main feature being jagged and barren. Looking from seaward, it is difficult to see any spontaneous natural vegetation. The islanders do, of course, grow as much as they can themselves wherever they can, but St Helena is almost entirely dependent on imports. It does not export anything itself and relies on a £32million grant from the British taxpayer plus another £10million from customs and excise. There are 4000 people in the island and taxes are not a priority.

Jamestown is accessible from the sea only as there is as yet no landing strip or airport. Access is gained at a small solitary layered landing jetty where a little open ferryboat, that plies between any visiting craft and the jetty, heaves up and down the heavy swell. The visitor must aim his first step ashore just as the ferry boat's gunwale heaves level with one of the layered landing jetties (layered so as to account for the rise and fall of the tide and the heaving sea). To help him not fall or slip, he must hold on to a heavy dangling rope with knots in suspended from a gantry. There is no other way to get ashore as the heaving surf breaks thunderously against the seawall and elsewhere around the island. However, we did spot two huge mobile cranes that no doubt are there to help offload heavy equipment etc from barges.

There is no marina and no harbour. Luna Quest has been allocated a mooring buoy about half a mile from the landing jetty as have been all other boats. The scene in the shallow bay is one of swaying craft on a heaving sea. One task we had to complete was to investigate a piece of loose flying tape at the top of the mast. Choosing our timing carefully, we shinned up to top to discover nothing untoward and simply removed the offending piece of tape.
Any refuelling or taking on water has to be effected by jerrycans using the little ferryboat that operates once an hour. We managed to bring two full water jerrycans back today, but we shall have to make the trip several times if we are to have enough water before Thursday, when we are due to set off again on our 2000-mile crossing to Brazil.

The next blog entry is likely to be on Friday, 22nd January.