Exploring St Helena island

By boat to St Helena. Exploring the island and making friends for life

Andrew Cowen
by Andrew Cowen ·

Good morning from Aurora - We have now sailed half way across the Atlantic and the sun is shining!

In fact, we have been so very lucky up until now, blessed with long sunny days of light breeze since leaving St. Helena island. Speaking of which, I reckon it deserves some space on this blog! We have been telling you all about the island before getting there, but how was it actually??

I believe everyone on board agrees with me when I say that our time on Saint Helena exceeded all expectations.

You'd think that after long cold days at sea with few hours of sleep the crew would finally rest, but you are wrong! We never stopped - there is so much to see and do!

Arriving on a Friday, we were welcomed with a karaoke night at "Anne's place" - surely a must visit for anyone who loves Asian food and Karaoke!  Aurora's crew didn't miss the chance and we introduced ourselves to the whole of Jamestown with our rendition of “Surfing in the USA". To our chorale performance, we added an impromptu dance show and, without realizing, we were the soul of the party, jumping in the middle of a crowd of Saints who joined the dance floor infected by our irresistible moves.

During the course of the week, we got the chance to do so many amazing activities. We learnt all about Napoleon’s exile on the island, visited the "Governor's" house and finally got to meet Jonathan the Tortoise - the worlds oldest living animal!  You'd think him to be old, grumpy and fed up with humans trying to get a selfie with him, but actually, he's an incredibly friendly animal. 

From friendly land animals to friendly ocean giants - we went swimming with whale sharks too. Yes, that's right, we swam with a shark! A whale shark! I KNOW CRAZY. 

We went out on a boat with Keith Yon, a Saint who runs incredible fishing and diving trips on the islands. He spotted the animal and suddenly we find ourselves swimming next to this gentle giant. So calm and curious, you forget it's a shark, no fear just astonishment.

Finally, we did manage to keep away from the ocean for a little while going for long hikes. No plan, no navigator, just a map, water and big adventure. When lost, Sarel would keep the mood high with wise phrases such as "if you don't know where you are going, any road will bring you there".

We managed to hike the highest peak on the Island and reach far remote places, but we wouldn't have ever made it back without the help of friendly Saints, always willing to give directions and indeed offer a lift. We ended up driving with influential people such as Ron, Minister of Finance and Joe, an activist who's been arrested at the United Nations in NY for speaking about the Saint's rights - a fascinating way to meet the diverse and friendly people of St Helena.

Eventually people started recognizing us along the streets, in the shops, at the bar because of our dancing, singing , hitchhiking performances but, just as we were feeling at home, it was time for us to leave. It was a great opportunity to spend time here and thank you to all the wonderful Saints who made us so very welcome.

It's time for me to go back on deck where I left Manuel on watch.