Eclectic St. Helena

As always, I end up taking lots of pictures that don't really fit into any particular blog post or story I tell, but I think they're interesting enough to share with you. See what I mean. St. Helena is sometimes called “the Galapagos of the South Atlantic”. It is home to over 500 endemic fauna species and 85 endemic flora, all evolved since the island's volcanic beginnings c.14 million years ago. We saw several species of birds, of which only the wirebird, is endemic.


We saw peaceful doves, pigeons (they're everywhere), pheasant, tropic birds, noddies and boobies. More species like sooty terns (wideawakes), petrels, shearwaters and gannets were seen offshore.

bird collage

We couldn't find a dedicated bakery in Jamestown. Solomon's supermarket bakes bread daily and people wait in line for it to come out of the oven, just after 10am. Then, they wait in line to slice their bread on the automatic, do-it-yourself, bread slicer. I had to ask a local for instructions in order to get our bread sliced.

diy bread slicer on st. helena island

We began doing Internet at Anne's Place, a cruiser hangout, when there are cruisers visiting. We ended up doing Internet at The Consulate Hotel. The price was the same, but they offered free hot showers to cruisers, the cafe served good French press coffee and the garden area was a pleasant place to do Internet.

consulate hotel


marcie doing internet at the consulate hotel st. helena island

We met a fellow on the wharf who trained bio-security and search and rescue dogs. He had Poppy with him that particular day whose specialty was drugs. We were safe, we didn't have any. She was also a good ball fetcher and we played with her while chatting with Paul. When we headed down to catch the ferry, much to our surprise, she jumped aboard with us, and took a ride out to the boat. It took all our efforts to keep her from jumping aboard Cups with us.

poppy on the ferry at st. helena island

Prickly pear grows wild on the island and the locals make a clear alcoholic spirit known as tungi (pronounced toon-gee) from it. We tried in vain to taste some without buying a whole bottle, but without any luck. It seems the best place to do a tasting was at the St. Helena Distillery (near Longwood), the most remote distillery in the world. We missed our chance. Darn!

tunga st. helena island Some days the anchorage was calm and serene, other days the wind and waves were up. Surge is a definite problem at the ferry dock, especially at high tide. We had to time our exit and entry from the ferry very carefully on high surge days.

big waves on st. helena island


big waves at the ferry dock

Throughout the island, there are “gates”. White Gate, Red Gate, Longwood Gate and more. They're quite scenic and were traditionally used to contain pastured livestock.

white gate

Gnarly old thorn trees lined the road on the way to Diana's Peak and reminded us of some old fairy tale forest.

gnarly old thorn trees on st. helena island

We spent lots of time on the island, but once back on Nine of Cups, we had a chance to relax. David used up some old lines to make some ocean plait rugs.

david has a cuppa on deck of nine of cups

Last, but not least, the Jamestown Gut viewed from the top of Ladder Hill. The local word “gut” means valley in Saint lingo.

jamestown gut on st. helena island

Just one more St. Helena blog to go and then we'll move on. Stay tuned for “Then and Now”, our view of how things have changed since our last visit in 2007.