OK, now I task you to think of somewhere isolated, somewhere that takes time to get to, somewhere that requires lots of planning, somewhere that you can’t just leave and come home at anytime.
St Helena fits into that description exactly, well for the moment. It is a 47 square mile islands that is one of the remotest settled islands in the world. It lies in the South Atlantic Ocean some 700 miles from Ascension Island which is also very isolated but does have an airport.
Getting there from UK. For this part of the description I am only looking at the fastest method. There are other routes with times taking many days and months longer. I guess it all depends on what and why you are visiting.
As there is no airport, although one is hoped to be completed in the next few years, one is left with travelling on the RMS (Royal Mail Ship) St Helena http://rms-st-helena.com This ship carries just about everything those living on St Helena requires. It also has space for 100 plus passengers. Considering this is a small working vessel passengers are extremely well looked after and treated to fine dining and entertainment organised by the crew.
OK so we’ve determined that RMS is the only method of getting to the island. So the next thing to do is work out when it calls. This requires a degree of flexibility as the routes vary depending on it’s schedule.
As I said my criteria was speed. So times and places looked like this :-
London Heathrow (UK) to Johannesburg (SA) connecting to a flight to Walvis Bay (Namibia). Overnight Walvis Bay awaiting the arrival of RMS up from Cape Town (SA).
Walvis Bay – board RMS for a 4 day journey to Jamestown, St Helena.
Jamestown – 6 days whilst awaiting the return of RMS from Ascension Island.
Jamestown – board RMS for 4 day return to Walvis Bay
Next day fly Walvis Bay to Jo’burg then transfer to flight to London UK.
That is about as quick as you’ll do it – 16 days – so as you can see that does make it isolated. The realisation that you are a minute spec on an equally small island in the middle of a great ocean does focus the mind.
Having set the scene I’ll put together some photos and a few notes in my next post.