"Four Months on St Helena Island" Saint Helena by AlettaCrofton
Saint Helena Travel Guide: 123 reviews and 359 photos
Mervyn and I were rushed to the Cape Town harbour by my excited brother and mother who were convinced that we were going to miss the Royal Mail Ship (RMS) bound for St Helena Island on that autumn morning. Departure was scheduled for 10h00, but we only drifted out of the harbour the following morning at about 8h00.
We had a C-deck budget cabin in the stomach of the ship. (see Travel Tips).
The cabin contained double bunks with a tiny hand wash basin with hot and cold water as well as a small wardrobe. Outside our door in the passage way was a row of toilets and showers, as well as a laundry room.
A buffet breakfast and lunch was served every day. Alternatively one could go downstairs to the dining room for meals.
There were comfortable lounges to sit and relax in.
The sun deck was our favoroute place on the ship. There we relaxed in the sun during the day and watched moon and stars during the long nights.
For us- it was the best place on the ship!
Every morning coffee and a newsletter detailing the day's activities were delivered to our cabin.
We reached St Helena Island on Friday morning just before sunrise. In the dim light we could see a large, dark object on the horizon and the closer we got, the more visible the huge black rock became.
We did not know what to expect on or in or over that rock.
The RMS anchored a distance from the island in the deep sea.
Before we disembarked, home affairs officials came onto the ship to check our passports. Then we were loaded on a small motor boat along with about 8 other passengers and taken to the land.
A familiar face - one of the friendly RMS "hostesses" - was waiting at the little steps leading onto the island and gave us each a hand and welcomed us to the island. We were told to get into a huge bus and were driven about 100 meters to "customs" - a large shed where we had to find our luggage and "declare" our goods.
After the formalities at customs, as we walked out onto the harbour, dozens of friends and their family members came forward to introduce themselves and welcome us.
Little did we know that what was intended to be a 6 week long holiday was going to turn into a 4 month long stay on this intriguing island.
Our first two weeks we stayed with a South African friend Sharon, who married Timmy, a Saint, and were living in Half Tree Hollow with their baby daughter, Megan.
The following two weeks we spent in Jamestown with a friend, Anita Mgellan, who was house sitting for a man named Horse. Horse and his wife were from Brazil and built this lovely house in Jamestown. They were well loved by the saints until one day out of the blue the government deported them. No-one could tell us the true story of what happened there.
From Jamestown we moved on to Levelwood in the country, to spend our last two weeks with Gillian and her family.
Our friends in Levelwood took us to so many places of interest on the island. We could walk up Diana's Peak for example - a wonderful experience. See Tips.
As our visit in Levelwood was coming to an end we heard on the radio news that the RMS had been experiencing engine problems and that after a brief stop at St Helena, she was going to return to the dry dock in England. There was no way for us to get home.
Our friends were used to the ship's ups and downs and told us that we were going to stay with them for as long as necessary. When we eventually boarded the ship two months later, its one engine was still not 100%. But we made it home - although it took 6 days instead of 5!
- Pros:Friendly people, safe environment, fresh air and much more.
- Cons:NO CONS in my book.
- In a nutshell:Much more precious than the beautiful landscape are the people that inhabit this island.
If at all possible, try and attend a home party with a 'home-made' band. We were honoured to attend a few get-togethers... more travel advice
Befriend as many of the local people as you can and visit them in their homes. Listen to their stories of the the... more travel advice
- Attend a local event
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AlettaCrofton's Related Pages
Saint Helena Travel Guide
Member Travel Pages
- "St. Helena - Isolated in the South Atlantic"
- "St Helena"
- "Four Months on St Helena Island"
- "No place like home"
- "St. Helena"
- "The Island of St. Helena"
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