Visiting St Helena Island and the Whale Sharks

It took about two weeks to sail from Tristan to St Helena. On this journey I had a three day long gale from the north followed by four days of being becalmed in the South Atlantic high pressure. But after a few days of wonderful, stable and fresh SE trade winds, I arrived near The Anchorage at nightfall, dark was just falling as I approached.

St Helena Yatch Services came out in a dinghy and guided me to the mooring buoy which was truly great, otherwise I would have had to heave to for the night and wait until the morning to moor up as it was too dark for me to approach the moorings. As with Tristan, my navigation computer had missed out St Helena, so I had no proper chart of the island, just a little drawn map in the Pocket Atlas of remote Islands. In addition to this I had the koordinates of the mooring so I had no problems finding it.

St Helena Book

Approaching the island as the sun is about to setApproaching St HelenaCaprice resting at The Anchorage – in the background the ketch La Belle EpoqueCapriceAnchorage

St Helena is a wonderful destination to visit and there I had my first proper experience of connecting with other sailors and socializing around the boats. As I had by this point been alone with the sea for a long time, it was great to meet people, share dinners, hear their stories and talk about the ins and outs of this unique life that long distance sailing entails.

Hiking St Helena 2

I went on a drive and a hike around the island together with a couple from another boat. There are around 4500 people living on St Helena. It is the kind of place where you can leave your computer on a table in a cafe whilst going shopping and it still being there when you return. If you walk along a road a car will stop and ask if you want a ride.

The pace of life has a great calmness to it, the scenery is stunning and the climate perfect, mostly sunny with a fresh breeze and around 20-25 degrees.

Inland the island is really greenSt Helena Green

I arrived there on a Tuesday night, during Wednesday and Thursday I did my bunkering and planning and spent a fortune in the internet cafe (£6 per hour, the internet being through satellite). These days I also decided against fixing the engine here as it would take a lot of time and cost a lot of money.

On the Saturday I went on a trip arranged by James from St Helena Yatch Services to go snorkeling with Whale Sharks. At the top you see me swimming above one of those amazing creatures filmed by my boat neighbour Jürgen, who sails with Claudia on their beautiful steel ketch La Belle Epoque (http://www.fortgeblasen.at)

On the 25th of March we are leaving St Helena behindLeaving St Helena

The day after swimming with the Whale Sharks, Caprice and I set off towards the Azores with the current plan being to stop there and fix the engine and possibly take a break and fly home until the summer.

However as you may be aware, when the voyage proceeded I decided to just keep going and attempt to sail all the way home without making any more stops. I really got into my life at sea and stopping at the Azores seemed like a costly and time consuming hassle without the engine and with all the calm winds around that area.

I always wanted to stay at sea for a really long time, so I started to feel that sailing all the way home now would be a great opportunity to experience this. I only wished that I had packed a little more provistion than I had, but I really hoped to catch some fish along the way!

The day after leaving, becamled…..Hmm maybe I should have fixed that engine after all !!Hm becalmed

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