Crutse around the world 2013

Trip Start Jan 04, 2013
Trip End May 01, 2013

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Flag of Saint Helena  , Saint Helena,
Saturday, May 4, 2013

On day 100 we spotted the rugged coast of Saint Helena from the observation deck at 6 o'clock in the morning, this is one of the most isolated islands in the world. It rises out of the Atlantic reaching an altitude of 2700 feet, but unlike Pitcairn it has a better landing place for tenders. Although when we went ashore we had a very difficult time docking taking about 10 minutes to tie up securely enough to allow the passengers to exit the tender and climb the steps to the street level. They could not allow those passengers with scooters to go ashore today. This island has no airport so all commerce is by ship, although they are going to build an airport. We found a few taxi drivers and tried to negotiate with them, but as usual it took multiple tries before we could make a deal with a driver only he had a SUV with three rows of seats and he wanted to full all of them before leaving so we saw another couple with a single woman and that did it. Off we went to drive through the town in a valley between two barren cliffs with hardly any greenery. Most of the 4000 people work in services and the rest working for the government. On the way up the mountain he stopped to show us where Napoleon stayed at first, until Longwood was completed, the heart shaped waterfall was a disappointment because there was no water coming over the falls. Once out of the town all the rest of the island was very lush and green. The high Knoll Fort built in 1874 and situated on top of a mountain could be seen from one third of the island and could accommodate everyone in the event of a successful invasion. Next he took us to Napoleon’s tomb where we walked into Sane Valley, chosen by Napoleon, and is empty because his body was exhumed in1840 and sent back to Paris. There is no inscription on his tomb because the British and the French could not agree on what should be written.

Next was Napoleon’s home from 1815 until 1821 when he died, It was a farm house that was remolded for him. It is well preserved and they had a guide in each room of the house to explain and answer any questions. We drove by Halley’s Mount where Edmund Halley studied the stars here in 1676, and we passed acres of Thorn trees along the way. These trees were used to make fences since they were able to put the branches into the ground and they grew into a living fence also the leaves were used to feed the cattle. We could see Lot and Lot’s wife at Sandy Bay Ridges in the distance, these rock formations are on a ridge close to the sea.

Next we visited Plantation House built in 1792 by the East India Company as the home of the Island Governors, and the islands oldest resident Jonathan the tortoise. Jonathan stayed far away from us and I had to use a telephoto lens to get any pictures of the tortoise, who they say is 177 years old, possibly the oldest of his kind. At the end of the path enclosing the tortoise I followed another path with a sign saying Butchers grave. It was a narrow overgrown path with some wet spots along the way and it lead to two graves that dated back to 1777. Both were slaves one was a butcher and you could still see a clever on his stone probably indicating his profession and the other grave was his wife’s with a skull and cross bones on her head stone, but no one could tell me what that meant

We passed by a cottage with Chinese lettering on the front, Chinese labor was imported beginning in 1810 and the colony grew to 650 at one point. He stopped at Jacobs Ladder constructed as an inclined plane in 1829 to haul manure up from the stables in Jamestown and take goods down. It is 600 feet high and has 699 steps and goes from the right side of the town to the top of a ridge, our guide said that he would go up and down it many times a day.

After he left us we walked around the town and walked in and out of the shops finally going to a restaurant where we tried their specialty fish cakes and a couple of beers. We also paid for 30 minutes of wi fi service to check emails. On our way to the pier we came across a fellow passenger lying on a stretcher waiting to be put on the tender and taken back to the ship. We asked his wife what happened and she said he went to the bathroom and on coming out tripped on the stairs and fractured his ankle. Just that morning Mary Ann and I were talking about how easy it is to get hurt just one second of inattention and your down. We saw his wife in church this morning and she said they would continue with the cruise, because he had a lot of swelling and they would wait for it to go down before doing anything. There have been a few passengers who had to leave the ship because of medical problems, but that has to be expected on such a long cruise going through difficult terrain. 

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