Arrival in St. Helena

a great old pic of jelly anticipating st helena Day 13

Arrival at St. Helena Island, South Atlantic Ocean

Passage stats:

  • Total miles sailed - 1,396
  • Total days: 12.25 days (294 hrs)
  • Average speed: 4.75 knots
  • Hours motored during passage:  4

A mild enough night livened up with several showers which had the watch crew scampering to get everything down below and out of the rain and then hauling it back up again once the brief shower finished...only to repeat the same exercise three more times during a three hour watch.

The 0600 change of watch had us 50 miles from the anchorage off Jamestown under a thick, grey sky. Cups quickened her pace like a horse heading for the barn. About 45 nm out, the shadowy silhouette of St. Helena Island came into view on the horizon. Literally a mountaintop, its craggy peaks are quite impressive poking out from its submarine depths towards the sky. It was certainly a welcome sight for sailors who've just spent nearly two weeks at sea. I remember the first time we arrived at St. Helena. Jelly cat was aboard then, and she paced the deck continuously. She could smell land long before we sighted it and when we finally did have the island in view, she was totally enthralled. It's one of our favorite pics of Jelly.

About 20 nm out, we radioed ahead to let them know we were approaching. They welcomed us and as we neared the mooring field a few hours later, Port Control radioed us with instructions to pick up any available yellow mooring. There were a couple small yachts tied up, but none appeared to have anyone aboard. I had my lasso ready with a huge bowline in the end to pick up the mooring. We did a drive-by and after one failed attempt determined my bowline, though huge, was plainly not huge enough. I tied a new one and we cruised by, but I missed again (Annie Oakley I'm not). David tried his hand and missed as well. These were not your round mooring balls, but rather huge,wide, flat mooring discs with rings on top. The bowline couldn't slip easily down its sides as it would with a ball. On the fourth attempt, I altered my strategy a bit and voila...we were attached.

Cups has a lot of freeboard and therefore we're pretty high off the water. Maneuvering the mooring close enough to put lines through the ring was a challenge. We could, of course, have launched the dinghy, but the wind was up, plus we're lazy. With much finagling, David managed to get our mooring lines through the ring by hanging off the side of the boat. No photos...we were too busy...but they would have been interesting. He lost his hat in the process...this has been a two-hat passage unfortunately.

Once settled on the mooring, we confirmed with Port Control that we could check in in the morning and then went about tidying up Cups. We finally sat in the saloon with a glass of wine and relaxed. A long day after a long passage and here we were...all moored on a mountaintop in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean. Welcome to St. Helena!