st helena

St James Church

A visitors experience.

Our amazing memorable family visit to St Helena began on 22nd December 2018 as we touched down at 13.13pm at the St Helena airport, where we were greeted by friendly Airport staff, which I hastened to add is very humbling compared to some airports we have been to.

I fell completely head over heels in love with St Helena for the culture and the breath-taking scenery and the outstanding contrast.

The Saints were so welcoming and friendly, no matter wherever you are on the St Helena the locals will say ‘Hello’ or wave as you drive by. It reminded me of growing up in the 70s with a great sense of security and warmth, it’s very much like stepping back in time when there was a genuine community spirit and everyone helping each other out, sadly in the UK this has diminished for some. I hope and pray that the Islanders keep their ‘sparkle’ and stay the way they are, we absolutely love you all, it would be a shame to lose the unique humble spirit.

Helen Haddrell and Lisa Honan
Helen Haddrell and Lisa Honan

We visited Plantation House and was honoured to be given a tour by Governor Lisa Honan. We had heard a few negative comments regarding the Governor prior to our visit so naturally we were dubious about her, upon our visit we found her charming, knowledgeable, honest, very down to earth (not at all stuffy) she even agreed to have photos taken with tourists!! We felt terribly guilty for doubting her!

We could honestly see that Govenor Lisa had a genuine passion for St Helena Island and its people she has worked so hard to achieve her goals for the benefit of the Island/ers. Our message here is ‘Do not trust other people’s comments but ….’ Trust your own judgement’

We strongly believe Lisa will be a great loss when she leaves Plantation house. We hope she gets recognition for her time on St Helena Island.

Governor Lisa Honan took us to meet the 187-year-old tortoise Jonathan which was another honour and privilege who naturally stole the show he wasn’t fazed about the tourists taking photos… He absolutely revelled in it.

Jonathan the Tortoise
Jonathan the Tortoise

We observed a special relationship between The Governor and Jonathan which was so touching to see they obviously adore each other, Lisa obviously spends allot of time with Jonathon as there was a sense of classical conditioning displayed.

Another one of our excursion’s was to see the dolphins on the ‘Enchanted Isle’ a very we kept boat, this experience was incredible, the crew was very experienced as they took us to see the hundreds of dolphins playing in their natural almost untouched environment, we also had a coastal tour of the Island along the way and as an added bonus we anchored of at Egg Island where passengers enjoyed swimming in the amazing crystal clear waters around St Helena.

Contributed by Helen Haddrell.

Governors cup 1996

Looking back at the first Governors cup yacht race in 1996.

In less than twenty four hours St Helena will welcome the first yacht over the finish line for the 2018 Cape to St Helena yacht race.

This race was the original idea and vision of Captain Dave Roberts a former Captain of the RMS St Helena, with the help of former Governor David Smallman and the Royal Cape yacht club in Cape Town South Africa.

The first Cape to St Helena race that was formally known as the Governor’s cup race began life in December 1996.    

The first yacht scheduled to be over the finish line in this years race is the trimaran, Banjo.

Banjo is skippered by Kevin Webb and has completed this race to St Helena three times. Banjo took the bellows line honours trophy in 2012 and in the 2014 race Banjo broke their previous record and finished in 9 days, 13 hours and 36 seconds winning the multi hull class.

Yacht Banjo
Yacht Banjo

Back in 1996 the first yacht over the finish line in St Helena was fifty-foot racing yacht “Nina”

The race coordinator Craig Middleton from the Royal Cape yacht club recorded that Nina with her crew of four crossed the race finish line taking a total of 8 days 21 hours and 57 minutes.

Nina was welcomed by a group of cheering supporters onboard a launch that was shipped specially to the Island for the race coordination.

Simon Pipe of We Love St Helena who was also on St Helena in 1996 made a audio recording of the welcome arrival of the first yacht from on board the launch

Simon captured the moment including live reporting from Radio St Helena on the race Simon also spoke to the race coordinator Craig Middleton, his wife Claire, Journalist, the crew of Nina, also three young St Helenians (one of them was Giselle Richards) who presented gifts to the crew of Nina.

Here is a recording of that historical event.  

race on St Helena

Race on to St Helena.

Competitors on board the yachts racing towards St Helena in the Cape to St Helena 2018 race enjoyed mostly a clear night sky and with lots of stars above as they settled into the race.

Most of the yachts have covered more than 300 miles with Banjo, Rocket at Naledi pushing at the front with around 1000ish miles to go to reach St Helena.

Some of the crew onboard a few of the boats have boasted about enjoying a yellow tail feast as they race towards St Helena.

Banjo skippered by Kevin Webb who is at the front of the race, reports today that the sea state is a lot calmer and the  wind is about 20knts but last night was hectic and the sea was very rough with a cross swell but the wind was 35knts and gusting  Compromise was enjoying a bumpy ride over night with winds gusting to 31 knots and doing around 15kts down the waves as they sacrificed a pack of Karoo chops to Neptune but with that, they are fishing again in calmer conditions today.  Caribbean Soul said we lost the lost the plot a bit but are now back on track we had a few issues with the mainsheet but all sorted now.  Sea still lumpy but settling down.  The great weather and wind make its nice for sailing so we are having fun, one crew member was down with the flu but is back on watch.  

Naledi reported nice sailing under spinnaker though a bit lonely as we cannot see anyone else. 

Asante said its going nicely but our water maker is not working we are going on rations but the crew is still in good spirits. 

Hannah reported from Carpe Diem we are all well on board, the sun is shining here it’s a glorious day and the children are happy.  Yolo skippered by Dale Kushner the solo sailor in the race also reports all is well onboard.

Meanwhile back on St Helena the St Helena yacht club said they are awaiting the arrival of the yachts and looking forward to welcoming the race competitors. The St Helena yacht club has also arrange and action pack itinerary for the visitors.

The daily race report can be downloaded here

RMS st helena

Farewell to the R M S St Helena after 27 years.

Thе Rоуаl Mail Shiр St Helena wаѕ built in 1989 еxрliсitlу to ѕuррlу the Island оf St Hеlеnа, a Britiѕh Ovеrѕеаѕ Tеrritоrу dеер in thе tropical Sоuth Atlantic. The RMS St Helena is a Britiѕh rеgiѕtеrеd, 6,767 gross ton ship fitted with berths for a maximum оf 156 раѕѕеngеrѕ рluѕ 56 officers аnd сrеw.

crew member
Ex Crew member of the RMS taken in 2000

The RMS St Hеlеnа first саmе into ѕеrviсе in 1990 and primarily ѕhuttlеѕ bеtwееn the St Hеlеnа Island, Aѕсеnѕiоn Iѕlаnd аnd Cаре Town calling at Tristan da Cunda once a year.

The RMS St Helena hаѕ all the modern fасilitiеѕ: stabilizers, аir соnditiоning аnd fоr thоѕе who wоrrу about being too dеtасhеd frоm thеir uѕuаl humdrum еxiѕtеnсе, fax, tеlерhоnе аnd еmаil bу satellite communication systems. Shе саrriеѕ a dосtоr аnd has wеll equipped mеdiсаl facilities. The RMS St Helena is еquiрреd tо carry all manner of саrgо tо meet the needs of thе Island’s small 4,000 population. Frоm frozen foodstuff to vehicle parts; cattle, sheep, gоаtѕ, and Chriѕtmаѕ presents to furniturе, аnd paint, almost еvеrуthing that was bought to St Helena in the last twenty-seven years hаd to be саrriеd bу the RMS St Helena tо thе island.

RMS St Helena
Passengers enjoying card games in the sun lounge on the RMS St Helena

The RMS St Helena has featured in lots of media during her service both locally online and internationally, one of many which have probably been forgotten locally on St Helena when an uninvited passenger a stowaway jumped on board during a voyage from South Africa, The RMS was also proud to have been listed for the international cruise wards where she was voted as highly commended for the services offered on board.

Thе lаѕt UK vоуаgе in 2016: Thе voyage to thе UK in Mау 2016 wаѕ thе finаl оnе fоr the RMS, аftеr which ѕhе was Destin to рrосееdеd tо Cаре Tоwn аnd thеn bе ѕоld tо hеr new owners. Hоwеvеr, during the vоуаgе nоrth, аn оffiсiаl аnnоunсеmеnt wаѕ mаdе informing the рubliс that ѕоmе ѕаfеtу iѕѕuеѕ wеrе identified аt the nеwlу built Iѕlаndѕ Airроrt, wind shear iѕ оnе оf thе соntributing fасtоrѕ. It was thuѕ dесidеd bу thе powers thаt bе, that thе RMS St. Hеlеnа ѕhоuld соntinuе thе ѕhiррing ѕеrviсе tо thе Islands fоr аnоthеr few years, while thе аirроrt iѕѕuеѕ аrе bеing resolved.

The lаѕt farewell film: A dосumеntаrу film, “Thе Lаѕt Fаrеwеll” сарturеѕ thе ѕрirit оn bоаrd оf this uniԛuе cargo аnd раѕѕеngеr vеѕѕеl оn hеr lаѕt journey tо thе UK. Highlightѕ inсludе a ѕресtасulаr раѕѕаgе dоwn thе Rivеr Thаmеѕ, аnd thе lаѕt intеrviеw with Cарtаin Rоdnеу Yоung MBE, the ѕhiр’ѕ firѕt St Hеlеniаn Cарtаin.

St helena
Passengers entertaining in the main lounge – after a wedding ceremony on board the RMS St Helena.

Fеllоw Sаint Cарtаin Andrеw Greentree wаѕ thе master fоr the nоrthbоund vоуаgе, аnd Captain Rоdnеу brоught hеr bасk home.
Thiѕ 58-minutе dосumеntаrу аlѕо fеаturеѕ сrеw mеmbеrѕ whо wоrkеd оn thе ѕhiр, ѕоmе fоr itѕ еntirе lifе аnd раѕѕеngеrѕ whо wеrе lеаving thеir iѕlаnd hоmе fоr thе vеrу firѕt timе.
Thiѕ film, “Thе Lаѕt Fаrеwеll” was рrоduсеd bу Iѕlаnd mеdiа lеgеnd Tоnу Lео, whiсh iѕ a tributе tо St Hеlеnа, Thе RMS аnd hеr сrеw. The sale of this film is available online for purchase and shipping worldwide.
Althоugh it is thought there are two оthеr ѕhiрѕ thаt ѕtill саrrу thе lеgасу ‘Rоуаl Mail’ designation, hоwеvеr the uniqueness оf RMS St Helena iѕ only one of the reasons fоr nоt rерlасing hеr. RMS St Helena, thе 6,767 gross tonnage ship, is the оnlу rеmаining Royal Mail Shiр contracted bу thе UK’s роѕtаl ѕеrviсе tо саrrу mаil across thе ѕеаѕ.  Hеr final departure: Thе uniԛuе Rоуаl Mail Shiр, RMS St Helena, will depart оn a finаl vоуаgе (268) from St. Hеlеnа оn Sаturdау, 10th Fеbruаrу 2018, having dutifully ѕеrvеd St Helena and its people fоr the раѕt 27 уеаrѕ.

St Helena
Stowaway discovered on board the RMS St Helena two days into the Journey from South Africa taken in 2000

St Helena could оnlу bе rеасhеd by the осеаn-gоing раѕѕеngеr-саrgо ѕhiр ѕеrviсе until commercial flightѕ began ореrаting lаѕt October, fоllоwing соmрlеtiоn of аn airport. Preparations tо bid fаrеwеll to thе RMS St Helena are rеаdу and rearing to go with a wоrking group соmрriѕing оf rерrеѕеntаtivеѕ from St Hеlеnа Linе, thе RMS, SHG, St Hеlеnа Tourism, Sоlоmоn & Cоmраnу (St Hеlеnа) Plc and Legislative Cоunсil.
Thе рrоgrаm оf еvеntѕ has bееn рut together and ѕtаrtеd with thе RMS in Cape Tоwn, South Africa. The RMS hаd hоѕtеd a cocktail раrtу оnbоаrd fоr guеѕtѕ before she left оn hеr lаѕt vоуаgе frоm Cаре Tоwn on Wеdnеѕdау, 24 Jаnuаrу. The Cape Tоwn Cаlеdоniаn Piре Bаnd, dignitаriеѕ аnd оthеrѕ wаvеd goodbye to thе vessel.

BBQ on the sun deck of the RMS St Helena
BBQ on the sun deck of the RMS St Helena

UK St Hеlеnа Representative, Mrѕ Kedell Worboys MBE, рrеѕеntеd Captain Adаm Williаmѕ with a 27ft ‘paying оff’ pennant, tо mаrk thе 27 уеаrѕ’ ѕеrviсе оf thе RMS St Hеlеnа. Thе реnnаnt wаѕ flоwn from thе RMS mast as she set ѕаil frоm Cape Tоwn.
During the RMS’ viѕit tо Aѕсеnѕiоn Iѕlаnd on Saturday, 3 February, thе ship hоѕtеd a сосktаil/drinkѕ party fоr guеѕtѕ. Thе RMS аrrivеd at St Helena on Tuesday, 6 Fеbruаrу, when the on-Island асtivitiеѕ fоr hеr fаrеwеll bеgin.
A service оf thаnkѕ giving was hеld аt St Jаmеѕ’ Church in Jamestown fоr the RMS crew thiѕ was соnсludеd with a procession to thе Sea Frоnt. Members of thе рubliс were invitеd tо аttеnd. A ‘mеmоrу wall’ which is рlасеd in vаriоuѕ lосаtiоnѕ thrоughоut the wееk for members оf thе рubliс tо ѕhаrе thеir mеmоriеѕ of thе RMS St Helena.
Thе mаin сеlеbrаtiоnѕ will tаkе place on Fridау, 9th Fеbruаrу, with an RMS Oреn Day and раrtiеѕ оn thе Sea Frоnt. Pаrtiеѕ will include аn еxсiting реrfоrmаnсе bу the RMS Amаtеur Drаmаtiсѕ Sосiеtу аnd live music bу various lосаl bаndѕ. Saint FM Community radio will broadcast live from the deck of the RMS St Helena transmitting to Ascension Island and the Falkland Islands also online at www.saint.fm when the producers will chat live to officers crew, ex-crew, and visitors on board ship who will attend the open day.

The рubliс will have a chance tо ѕау goodbye tо thе RMS сrеw on Sаturdау, 10th February, whеn аll сrеw mеmbеrѕ in thеir unifоrmѕ will рrосееd along thе Sеа Front before rеturning tо the ѕhiр.

RMS St Helena
The RMS St Helena anchored in St Helena next to a visiting cruise ship back in 2003

Thе RMS will dераrt St Helena аt 4 pm оn Saturday. Thе 27ft рауing off реnnаnt will be walked frоm the Sеа Front to thе bоttоm ѕtерѕ whеrе UK St Helena rep Mrs. Kеndеll Worboys will once again рrеѕеnt thе реnnаnt tо Cарtаin Williаmѕ. Mеmbеrѕ of the рubliс will bе аllоwеd access tо thе bottom steps tо witness thiѕ аnd tо ѕау a final farewell.
It is planned for a flotilla оf bоаtѕ tо circle the harbor аnd thе RMS St Hеlеnа bеfоrе she рullѕ up thе аnсhоr. Captain Williаmѕ will thеn ѕаil towards Buttеrmilk Point bеfоrе turning аrоund fоr a steam past thе hаrbоr, аllоwing аll аѕhоrе tо view thе RMS for one lаѕt time dесkеd оut in full dress and to viеw thе 27ft рауing оff реnnаnt.
Thе RMS will thеn slow down whеrе hеr flags will bе taken down bеfоrе соcontinuing her final farewell оnwаrd journey tо Cаре Town. Many saints on Island and abroad have mixed personal opinions about the RMS been withdrawn from service, Your thoughts welcome on the RMS St Helena’s departure after 27 years of service to St Helena.

Airlink St helena

Flights to St Helena, this is just the beginning

All eyes from around the world was on St Helena Island as SA Airlink inaugural flight from OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg touched down at the St Helena Airport at 14.00 GMT October 14th 2017. Slightly later than originally planned but none the less this is the start of the weekly commercial service to St Helena from the outside world.

HE Governor Lisa Phillips greeted the 72 passengers as they disembarked the Embraer E190-100IGW aircraft whilst the majority of the island’s population watched from the viewing deck to witness this historic occasion.

Tour Operators from Eastcape Tours, Get Africa Travel, Springbok Atlas, and Island Holidays took the opportunity to take the first commercial flight to St Helena. Amongst the passengers were International media from the BBC, ITV, The Times, Thomson Reuters, Associated Press.

Shortly after the arrival a press conference with the visiting media (can be found here) took place in the terminal building. Eventually, the passengers made their way to their hotels and guesthouses which included some who are staying at the new Mantis Jamestown Hotel.

A full itinerary has been organized by the St Helena Tourist Office for the visitors which offers tours to some of the Islands tourist hotspots including a visit to Napoleon’s house, and marine tours on Sunday to see whales and Dolphins on the leeward side of the Island.

Enterprise St Helena and St Helena tourism had also scheduled various meetings to speak with investors who had arrived to look at opportunities here on the Island.

Governor Phillips invited arriving guests to a reception at plantation house to celebrate to what she describes as a proud and momentous occasion for St Helena.

Saint FM outside broadcast
Saint FM outside broadcast

The local community radio station Saint FM presented a special remote live broadcast from the arrivals terminal at the airport where they interview many passengers who just arrived on the aircraft. This broadcast was streamed live worldwide over the internet, which attracted hundreds of listeners.

Immediately after the landing social media sprang into life with live pictures and videos. The BBC broadcast their live report of the event on their world service and TV news at 10 back in Europe. The reporters described their amazing trip to the Island and a how St Helena would benefit from the commercial air service and also some history to the airport project.

Marine tours St Helena
Marine Tours St Helena

This morning the marine tours operators departed the pier head with their visitors hoping to show off St Helena’s marine potential to the tourism market.

The flight is due to depart St Helena at 14.30 GMT Sunday the 15th October.

RMS St Helena

Sale of the R.M.S St Helena.

Today St Helena Government has announced that St Helena Line will withdraw the RMS St Helena from service in February 2018.

The RMS is now being offered for sale and London shipbroker CW Kellock & Co Ltd will handle the sale of the RMS to her new potential buyers.

The RMS St Helena has been in service for more than a quarter of a century and was built in 1990 in Aberdeen Scotland as a fit for purpose ship to serve St Helena Island in the South Atlantic.

RMS St Helena
RMS St Helena alongside in Cape town

The RMS as she is known as has a gross tonnage of 6,767 gross tonnes, and can accommodate 156 passengers in 56 cabins. The RMS St Helena was scheduled to be withdrawn from service in 2015 but due to the delay in the Islands airport opening and commencement of a commercial air service, she was forced to continue serving the island until an access solution was implemented. St Helena will now open its doors to commercial air travel on the 14 October 2017. The RMS St Helena will continue her final few voyages to the Island calling at St Helena, Ascension and a final voyage to Tristian da Cunha and it is hoped her the last voyage will end in Cape town on the 15 February 2018. Details of the sale of the RMS can be found on the RMS St Helena website.  If you would like to travel on the RMS St Helena for the very last time more information can be found here

booking st helena

Flight prices to St Helena announced

Today Councillor Lawson Henry told everyone in his Exco report on local radio that the price structure for air tickets to and from St Helena had been discussed and agreed.

It was also announced that it is anticipated that flights will start on the 14th October 2017 as the ETOPS 120  approval was also received from the South African civil  aviation

A return ticket from St Helena to Jo-burg will cost from £804 to £1544

A return ticket from St Helena to Capetown will cost from  £846.00 to £1586

Ticket details are now been loaded onto the reservation systems and details will follow via a press release of when they will become available.

A podcast of the announcement can be found here on the Saint FM website listen again page.

 

 

This post has now been updated and flight bookings can be made here with SAAirlink.

SA-Airlink-flight St Helena

Fly with SA Air-link to St Helena soon.

Following the press release from the St Helena Government today Friday 21st July, confirmed that an agreement had been signed off for SA Airlink to provide a scheduled air service to the Island from Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa to include a monthly service to Ascension Island. The service to and from Tambo will include a stopover at Windhoek International Airport in Namibia. The service will offer great opportunities for connecting flights to Cape town and other destinations. The aircraft confirmed to be used is an Embraer E190-100IGW that will offer business and economy class to its passengers.

Embraer ERJ-190
Embraer ERJ-190

Shortly after the news was released social media platforms kicked into life with comments and opinions on the air service. Many still questioned the preferred direct cape town flight, although most welcomed the news and are happy with the long awaited start of the new air service to the Island that is almost ready to be commissioned once the finalising regulatory approvals with the South African Civil Aviation Authority, others commented on medical services for the Island and how this will fit in with the route,  comments on the historical ties with Cape town were also raised, other comments were the Ascension link which is almost impossible as wide awake airfield is not accepting commercial flights due to safety concerns which means that Saints living on the Falklands would not benefit from the service immediately. SA Airlink’s CEO said SA Airlink are delighted to have reached this milestone and was extremely excited to be preparing for the proving flight shortly.

Other details along with tickets prices and commencement dates will follow shortly.

RMS last farewell

The film. “The Last Farewell” is released.

The 58-minute film documentary of life on board and the last voyage of the RMS is produced by T.L. Productions.
Tony Leo who owns TL Productions thought it would be good to capture the moments of the last voyage of the RMS to the UK on camera after hearing the announcement in May 2015 which was a year in advance to the commencement of this historic voyage. Tony began planning well in advance, until he was finally ready for the trip on 22nd May 2016 when the RMS St Helena weighed anchor in James Bay and he departed St Helena for the UK via Ascension Island and Tenerife. Almost everyone on board were Island tourists and not the traditional saint traveller seeking jobs off shore and returning to work.
Everyone who travelled on board this amazing journey had a memorable time and enjoyed every moment of the journey. The voyage was so memorable, that it was difficult to determine what the highlights were.
This documentary film of the last remaining Royal Mail Ship is truly a masterpiece and will become a collector’s item in years to come” said Tony. This film is a true Saint production. The cameraman is a saint. A saint directed it, A saint edit, scripted and narrated it. The film features the London visit and the river Thames, crew members, passengers, key people who has contributed to the RMS success story over the years and also two of our St Helena’s ships captains. Captain Andrew Greentree and Captain Rodney Young. Sadly, Captain Young passed away suddenly only months after this voyage.

RMS St Helena-The Last Farewell
RMS St Helena – The Last Farewell amatuer video documentarty will be offered for sale here shortly

The film will be on sale in front of the Canister in Jamestown from 9 am on Saturday 15th July 2017. Reach back St Helena will be managing online sales from this weekend and a trailer, and information on how to buy can be found online at www.sthelenalocal.com Where copies of the film can be ordered and shipped to Europe, USA and South Africa and other destinations, A film trailer, Information and updates can also be found on the TL production Facebook.

If you have travelled on the RMS St Helena over the last 27 years, then watching this documentary should bring back many happy memories. We sincerely hope that you will enjoy watching this 58-minute documentary. read a more in depth view of the unseen film here