On our first three days in St. Helena, we handled the country arrival overhead, spent some time exploring in and around the main center of Jamestown, and made a trip to the St. Helena Distillery for a tour and tasting. The island most famous as Napolean’s place of exile has a rich and varied history that is very much in evidence as we walked about. We also took on fuel for the 3,650nm run to Barbados, filling every available tank to capacity. There is no fuel dock at St. Helena–fueling is done via barge brought out to the boat. We were expecting that keeping the heavy barge from bashing against Dirona in the heavy swell of the completely unprotected anchorage would be a challenge. But our big ProStock marine inflatable fenders did their job and the whole process went remarkably smoothly.
Trip highlights from January 4th through 7th. follow. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at http://mvdirona.com/maps
Customs (left) and the Harbour Master came out on the harbour ferry to clear us through. We had to wait an hour or so while they cleared the RMS through, but they were fast and efficient once on board. We then rode back them on the ferry into Jamestown.
We stopped off at the bank to exchange the remainder of our Rand for St. Helena Pounds. Converting less-common currency gets more difficult the farther you are away from that country, so we try to convert at the first opportunity. In Cape Town we could sell Mauritius Rupees, but not Vanuatu currency.
Jamestown is on the lee side of St. Helena for the prevailing winds, but big swell still pounds into shore. The wave action has carved complex patterns into the volcanic rock. This blow hole occasionally ejected a spray of water as we watched.
We continued walking the road as it twisted up and back towards town. This brick support keeps the wall from collapsing. A memorial plaque describes a massive rockfall that killed several people in the 1800s.
Today we took on 1,086 gallons (4,113 L) of diesel. The fueling was done by barge in several trips. (A larger barge is here that might have filled us in one trip, but we suspect it was in use with the RMS.) The fill process was lengthy, but otherwise went remarkably smoothly. It would be difficult to get another liter on board anywhere.
We normally don’t pick up a mooring as most aren’t strong enough for our weight, but when we have in the past on our previous boat, we ran a line from the port bow cleat, through the mooring ring and back to the boat on the starboard bow cleat. We did the same thing here, but with the surge and wind gusts the line is wearing heavily as it slides back and forth along the ring, and the slack has a tendency to get caught under the buoy and wear even more against the barnacles. So we decided to switch to a line attached at a single point to the boat with a shackle on the loop end with plenty of anti-chafe. We’ll then attach the shackle to the mooring ring. Leaving will be a little more involved because we can’t just undo the line and pull it through the ring, but releasing the shackle shouldn’t take long.
This is the original 75ft line we had attached to the buoy. The brown areas are where the line was wearing on the ring. We did have anti-chafe on the line, but the line pulled back and forth so much that the anti-chafe bunched up and rarely was protecting the line.
The constant high swell in the harbour, visible in the background, makes landing and mooring a tender challenging, so almost everyone instead uses the harbour ferry. Lines hung above the harbour steps provide a steadying handhold when embarking and disembarking.
Wyn Jones has been following our blog and shared it with Paul Hicking, Head Distiller at the St. Helena Distillery. Paul invited us to come tour the distillery and even came into Jamestown this afternoon to drive us up. We had a great time meeting Paul, touring the facility and learning about the distillation process.
We tasted the range of products at the distillery, including their signature produce Tungi, a delicious spirit made from a locally-grown prickly pear called Tungi. Paul also brews excellent beer.
Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.
On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at http://mvdirona.com/maps.