St Helena conference live

The 2019 St Helena Conference live from Jamestown.

This weekend St Helena welcomed the participants and speakers who will take part in the 2019 St Helena conference. This is the second St Helena International conference and this years regional conference will focus on the Natural Capital of the South Atlantic from the 11th to the 15th March 2019.

The 2019 conference which is organised by SAERI in partnership with other St. Helena organisations will take place in the Islands capital (Jamestown) at Anne’s place which has been chosen as the conference venue.

St Helena was recently selected by the South Atlantic Environmental Research Institute (SAERI) to implement a Natural Capital Assessment project .

Speakers from around the region who will speak at the conference has flown to St Helena this weekend to prepare for the first regional conference to be hosted on St. Helena.

Local organisations linked to the Natural Capital project will also be presenting at the conference this week. The event will start on the 11th of March with internal workshops and meetings, and the conference venue will open at 0900 with an opening presentation from Islands Governor Lisa Honan.

For the very first time the conference will stream continuously live audio across the internet from the conference venue in Jamestown, details about how to listen live to the conference will be made available soon; updates will be available on our Facebook page and twitter feed and also directly from the Conference website

The conference programme is also available here

wine cooler

Exhibition – Wine of Exile

What does a Wine Exhibition in Groot Constantia, Cape Town have to do with St Helena?

These are the questions I seek to answer in my quest for discovery, come journey with me, from my experiences at the airport, to full coverage of the wine exhibition in Cape Town.

My expedition would not have been possible without the following agencies and in particular I mention SA Airlink and St Helena tourism working in partnership with independent media, I would also make mention of The French Consul, ‘Michel Dancoisne-Martineau’ whose vision continues to inspire me.

Every journey has a beginning and an end, mine will begin on 19th February and end on the 26th February, included in the journey is Governor Lisa Honan who will along with the director of tourism, Helena Bennett will be representing St Helena at the exhibition. The exhibition is called Wine of Exile – The wine of Napoléon on St Helena and takes place from the 21st February to the 21st June 2019 at the Groot Constantia, Manor House, Groot Constantia Wine Estate.

I have no pre-conceived ideas, like you, I am intrigued and curious about the outcome, the significance for St Helena and in doing so I hope to bring the exhibition closer to home and let you decide it’s importance.

As a member of the Bicentenary vision group one of our important tasks is community engagement, Councillor Lawson Henry who is the Chairman of the group recognises that the exhibition presents a remarkable opportunity to join the dots, ”Napoleon’s legacy forms an important part of the island’s history and is very significant for St Helena as we seek to internationally promote the branding, the wine exhibition is an excellent example of raising awareness of the island’s tourism potential  and from this we would hope that local businesses and organisations also feel empowered in their creations to showcase the island and everything it has to offer , with newly gained knowledge and sharing of skills and ideas we hope to create a lasting impact”

The French Consul, Michel Martineau who is already in Cape Town and with other agencies working in preparation for the event said “For the last centuries most of the wines drunk on the island have come from Cape Town, there are historical, human, economical, sociological and political bounds existing between Cape Town and St. Helena. We hope to promote the close relationship which always existed between these two countries and therefore to encourage South Africa to visit the island and vice-versa. In addition, we aspire to promote the Napoleonic heritage through emblematic and relevant items: the wine-cooler from Plantation House and some glassware from Longwood house used by Napoleon on the island and then finally to show how St. Helena cares for its heritage”

Wine of Exile
Wine of Exile

Among the invited guests at the opening of the exhibition will be His Excellency Mr Christophe Farnaud, Ambassador of France to South Africa, Mr Jean Naudé, Chief Executive Officer of the Groot Constantia Wine Estate and Ms Rooksana Omar, Chief Executive Officer of the Iziko Museums of South Africa,  

 It is understood historically that from 1815 to 1821 while Napoleon was exiled to St Helena, he would order a wine called ‘Vin de Constance’ from Constantia in Cape Town but what is even more amazing is that this wine estate continues to produce the same wine that Napoleon used to drink often referred to as “Wine of Napoleon”. In addition, this year there is a double celebration of the 250-birth anniversary of Napoleon on the 15th August.

Readers may recall a session of EXCO where the Governor informed Members of the forthcoming exhibition at which she “sought approval from Members to loan to the exhibition the wine cooler which was part of Longwood New House furniture now displayed in the dining room at Plantation House and to permit the St. Helena Napoleonic Heritage Ltd to export for the time of the exhibition a few items presently at Longwood House”

The other exhibits, which belonged to Napoléon or that he used during his stay on this island, are issued of the collections of Iziko, the Napoleon Foundation, the Government of St Helena, Groot Constantia and the National Domains.

There is to me a lot I can learn from this trip, how does South Africa perceive St Helena and what useful relationships if any can be forged? The man/woman on the street will ultimately have his/her opinion. My senses tell me and I have written a great deal about this, in as much as we would like to feel that we can always rely on others, this is not always the case and this fact should not take us by surprise, both Charles Clover of the Blue Marine Foundation and Michael Binyon of the Times said last week that Brexit is taking up most of the UK government’s attention, the fact that we are not featuring very highly on their priority list is not our fault however though we find ourselves in mourning I believe that energies are best expended on actually trying to make things a little better.

From the outside looking in, it looks like nothing much is happening but if you’re on the inside you may observe a great deal of effort is being made to promote the island and gain recognition, the wine exhibition is just one way of getting the world to sit up and take notice of us. Much more needs to be done, there is no illusion, the road ahead will be laden with difficulties, take a deep breath, we’re not done yet.

It is my intention to create a series of articles and interviews for audiences both on St Helena and abroad, I hope you will share the journey.

Contributed by Tammy Williams.

About Tammy – Tammy who was born and bought in Jamestown St Helena is the Station Manager of Saint FM Community Radio Station, Tammy also owns her own highly rated local Guesthouse  business (Harkate Guest House) which welcome come visiting tourist and business clients when visiting St Helena.  

St Helena money

No more round pounds: new coin for St Helena

British territories around the Atlantic Ocean are soon to begin minting their own versions of the 12-sides British pound coin, reports the Accountancy Daily website. St Helena and Ascension will add their own design to blank coins supplied by the Royal Mint, it says. The new coins will share space in the purse with Island coins featuring turtles, endemic plants and – on the two pence coin – donkeys. On St Helena, notices appeared in shops towards the end of 2018 announcing that British circular pound coins would no longer be accepted. 

Read the story here.

St Helena Welcome

Carpe Diem completes Cape to St Helena 2018.

James Herne and his family sailed their 38 foot Carpe Diem proudly over the finished line tonight and completed the 2018 Cape to St Helena race, we are home said Hannah. “what a memorable moment for James Hannah and their family”

Also on board is an additional crew member Rob who raced with them from Capetown to St Helena. The Cape to St Helena Race is the biggest yacht race on St Helena which started in 1996. just ahead of James was SY Ronin who also crossed the line tonight. James was met by a launch and also the awaiting media .

The landing steps was also filled with onlookers welcoming James and the crew ashore.

300 meters before the finish line Saint FM spoke to Hannah on board an this is what she had to say.

Meanwhile back at the yacht club a large crowd was waiting to welcome the Carpe Diem crew home. A short first interview podcast is available on the Saint FM website

The welcome:

Cape to St Helena position

Racing from The Cape to St Helena on boxing day.

With westerly winds blowing lightly and fluctuating from about 12 knots across Table bay in Cape town, fifteen yachts gracefully sailed of the start line at around 14.00 local time this afternoon to begin the 2018 Cape to St Helena race.

Some of the yachts taking up their position are familiar with this passage, as they had participated in the race before. Although the winds are predicted to build, it is forecasted that they will move south over the next day and will become moderate thereafter and it should be all downwind sailing conditions.

A spokesman from the Royal Cape yacht club said there was a special buzz at the club today prior to the race as family and friends came down to say good bye.

Other Boats and spectators who supported the race came out today and said goodbye to the competitors, some of which sailed with the racegoers towards the coast as it’s a popular time for holiday makers to sail up the coast to begin their holidays.

Competing in the race is the 38-foot yacht Carpe Diem skippered by James Herne from St Helena. James has on board a South African crew member, his 13-year-old son Josh, and wife Hannah and their two younger kids. Carpe Diem is described as a dark horse in this race.

Immediately after the race I spoke with Andrew Collins from the Royal Cape Yacht club to give us an update on the race to St Helena.

You can listen to what Andrew said here.

Carpe Diem

The unforgettable Journey – Carpe Diem – Cape to St Helena 2018

It was only a few weeks ago many supporters, friends and family gathered at the landing steps in Jamestown St Helena to wave farewell to the crew of the yacht Carpe Diem who was about to set sail on a 1700-mile journey to Cape town to prepare for 2018 Cape to St Helena yacht race. This a was journey that had been carefully planned with the help and contribution by many local St Helena people and Island organisations.

cape to St Helena
Cape to St Helena

The Cape to St Helena yacht race which was formally known as the Governor’s cup race was invented by a former Captain, Dave Roberts of the RMS St Helena, along with the help of then Governor David Smallman and the Royal Cape Yacht Club which resulted in the very first governor’s cup race been invented on the 8th of December 1996 starting at table bay in Cape town.

After the first race which was proven to be a great success a team from St Helena was invited to part take in this exciting scheduled event and the 2018 race was no different.

This year Carpe Diem a Bavaria 38-foot boat owned by St Helenian born James Herne was entered into the 2018 Cape to St Helena race but this was not an easy challenge for James as his boat was moored in St Helena after he and his wife Hannah and their 3 kids had recently returned home to settle in St Helena after circumnavigating around the world.

James an experienced skipper with 75000 nautical miles under his belt, and now the commodore of the St Helena Yacht club James was keen to compete in the race and was offering up the opportunity for a St Helena crew to share his passion to be part of this event.

After weeks of planning and making sure that all the logistics were in place James was ready to sail his 38-foot Carpe Diem back to Cape town in readiness for the race.

The challenge to get Carpe Diem into race mode was not straight forward, the training and recruiting of a St Helena crew began and the planning began and in typical St Helena fashion, the support of the local St Helena community behind him was helping to fund raise for the event with every one making sure this was another success.

Finally, James and his son Josh and three selected St Helena crew members, Andrew Turner, Michael Owen, Dennis Owen got underway and team Carpe Diem departed Jamestown harbour.

As the journey progress, local media reported “The journey was progressing well despite experiencing some calm weather on route and having to motor for a few hours the crew on board was doing amazing and in very high spirits.

A YouTube video shot during the trip showed the crew enjoying their time on board and some of them also managed to swim during the calm period along with some great onboard home cooking.

Video of first leg. St Helena to Cape town. Team Carpe Diem/St Helena

Posted by James Hannah Herne on Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Social media messages flooded the internet with well wishes and support for team Carpe Diem, despite been a little behind schedule the St Helena yacht club finally confirmed that team Carpe Diem had arrived safely in Cape Town at 5.15 am on December 18th.

Shortly after the arrival the same day The St Helena independent and Saint FM broke a news story that three crew members, the Owen Brothers and Andrew Turner had called it a day and would not be competing in the Cape to St Helena race on board Carpe Diem, although it was not clear at the time the reason for this sudden decision however the three crew members had managed to secure flight tickets and would be flying back to St Helena on the Saturday flight.

James and his 13-year-old son Josh who was still determined to compete in the race continued working to repair and fit new sails, thirteen-year-old Josh spent four hours dangling from the mast sorting out Nav lights, while the boats race tracker was been fitted parallel task continued to resolve the main engine starting issue which incidentally gave trouble on arrival in Cape Town.

There had been no communications or update from the departing crew after they had left Carpe Diem which meant that they also left some of their personal belongings on board.

The news story soon appeared online and social media viewers sprung into life and many conversations were discussed openly including statements that the breaking news was inaccurate, meanwhile while pro supporters of the race offered words of encouragement for the remaining Carpe Diem crew to continue the race and motivated them to go and win it for St Helena,

A group of social media followers even reached out asking who would be keen to crew the boat, Steven Ellick a saint who now lives in the UK offered to help crew the boat, while others suggested that maybe something could be done to get a St Helena crew in place to compete in the race.

RYC St Helena
RYC St Helena

After much discussion James told his followers on Facebook that after a long conversation online with his wife Hannah and the kids who were back in St Helena, that they had made a decision that the family would fly to South Africa from St Helena to join them in Cape Town to crew the boat and the 1700 nautical mile Cape to St Helena race would be back on, and everything would be plain sailing for the rest of the Journey, however this was short lived as another twist appeared on the horizon, when it was discovered that the Carpe Diem had to prove to South African Immigration authorities that the three departing crew had left the country, This issue potentially could have stop Carpe Diem leaving South Africa said James and he would have not been able to compete in the race after all, however with some support from St Helena this was rectified within a few hours with the help of immigration officials.

Speaking to James live from Carpe Diem we asked James how he was he getting on despite a rollercoaster two weeks and whether he was ready to be on the start line of the 2018 Cape to St Helena race.

castoro 7

Unusal floating visitor to St Helena

On Friday the 26th February a very unusual visitor approached St Helena from the North West horizon at a speed of approximately 3 knots. The unusual visitor the CASTORO 7 a 79.97m pipe laying submersible floating rig was towed by a high-powered anchor handling tug The Skandi Admiral. The Skandi Admiral who also passed closely to Ascension Island a week earlier called at James Bay as they required some ship Chandlery services.

This service was delivered to the Skandi Admiral by WA Thorpes and Sons with the assistance of The Gannet 3 on arrival.

W.A Thorpes offers Chandlery services to all passing ships and yachts and has been operating on St Helena since 1865.

The Skandi Admiral, Is on route towards the Cape of Good Hope with the next port of call: Port Louis, Mauritius 25th April 2016.

The SKANDI ADMIRAL picked up two from the Island of Curacao in the Caribbean on the 22nd December 2015 after the 40,282 GRT CASTORO 7 had lain idle for 13 months.

This job is a slow one with the average speed being just 3 knots over a distance of 12,600 nautical miles which is likely to span seven months. Castoro 7 in Jamesbay

Skandi Admiral

The Norwegian built and owned 83.30m long SKANDI ADMIRAL is one of the world’s most powerful tugs with a gross tonnage of 4,370 and a bollard pull of 243 tons

The CASTORO 7 measures 79.97m long by 59.09m wide and a transit draft of 11.5m (Ex Viking Piper) is one of the world’s most efficient semi -submersible pipe layers. The CASTORO 7 has an excellent global track record of performance, including successful pipe lay and trunk line operations in the North Sea, West Africa, the Mediterranean, Brazil and the Gulf of Mexico.

The CASTORO 7 has the ability to lay pipes with a diameter of 8-60 “with a fully automated welding system. The 41 Year old CASTORO 7 departed the island of Curacao, in the Dutch Antilles on the 22 December 2015 bound for Alang, India to be scrapped, a total distance of 12,600 nautical miles at a speed of 3 knots. It is thought that the last time a tug towing a large structure of this size was seen in St Helena 3 years ago.

More info and great photos can be found here.

Thank you to Bruce Salt for supplying additional information and great images.

Free car seats for children to Islands road safer

The St Helena Police Directorate will provide children’s car seats to families on St Helena as a result of a study that was carried out during road safety campaigns on the Islands Road.

car seats for St Helena children

The Study found that some Children were vulnerable during car Journeys especially when children were travelling in laps of passengers or not securely fastened inside of vehicles.

Seats will be given free of charge to families that earn an income less than twenty five thousand pounds. Families who don’t qualify for free car seats will pay the full price that will range from forty two to sixty five pounds. The process to claim a free car seat requires the applicant to complete an application form that can be obtained from Ogborn house, Island Crèches and Primary schools which will be available on April 01 2016.

Chief of Police Trevor Botting commented that he urges all families requiring a seat  to submit applications at the earliest as seats will be issued on the 9th April 2016.

Trevor also said that he want to continue along with his dedicated team to work with the St Helena community to make the roads on St Helena safer and he hopes that this initiative plays a real role in helping to achieve that. “Together we can make a difference”


Police Officer retires after 28 years of service to the crown.

This week The St Helena Police Directorate said good bye to a retiring serving officer after 28 years of service. Merlin George (Assistant Superintendent of Police to Chief Inspector) completed his final day of work on 29th February 2016.

Merlin Joined the St Helena Police service as a police constable on 22nd October 1984. In 1985 Merlin married Helen and the same year he was posted to Ascension Island Police Detachment. Helen who was also a serving police constable at the time was incidentally the first female Police officer to serve at the Ascension Island detachment. During the 2 year tour on Ascension in 1987 Merlin attended a fourteen week course of initial police training in Ashford, Kent UK.

Merlin George retires after twenty eight years
Merlin George retires after twenty eight years

In 1989 Merlin returned to St Helena and was promoted to a Sergeant, In 1992 Merlin returned to the UK where he attended a criminal Investigation course in West Yorkshire, In 1997 He returned to Ascension and after a few months in post Merlin took command of the detachment as acting inspector which later resulted in him being promoted to Inspector. In 2000 Merlin returned to the UK and trained with the West Mercia Police as a Firearm’s Incident Manager during that time he relocated to Sussex to gain some experience in community policing this is where he enrolled on a police Inspector’s operational command and management course, as part of this course he also experience patrolling Brighton’s High Street. On return to St Helena Merlin was promoted to Assistant Superintendent. Merlin also held the position as Deputy Chief, Chief of Police. Merlin’s original retirement plan was to retire in August but continued to work for another six months, during which time he perform the functions of Director of Policing from 15th January to 19th February whilst the Chief of Police was on overseas leave, therefore ended his career on a high.

During Merlin’s career he was awarded three medals one long service and a good conduct medal, along with a golden and silver Jubilee medal, also a commendation from The Chief Justice for bravery during a firearm’s Incident. Merlin said his career was a great challenge over the years but also rewarding and he had learnt a lot about life.

I am sure the community of St Helena and the Police Directorate will appreciate the twenty eight years of dedication and knowledge that Merlin bought to the community.

Chief of Police Trevor Botting Said ‘ Chief Inspector George has served the communities of St Helena and Ascension with pride and exceptional manners during his time with the Police Service. He has been a great support to me personally and his attitude to his work reflects the values of the Police Service. The local communities should be grateful for over 28 years of dedicated service’. I wish Merlin well in his retirement’

Feel free to wish Merlin a happy retirement and congratulate him in the comments box below.

charabanc_st Helena

The 1929 Charbanc tour St Helena

How many of you have been to St Helena and have enjoyed the unique experience of the Island tour aboard the 1929 Charabanc that is owned by corkers tour service.

This is a unique experience and the only service of its kind, even after the airport is commissioned this is a must do and go to Island experience.

Tracy the owner of the tour service is part of the over sixty year old family run business which is located in main Street Jamestown.

The 1929 Charbanc tour is always fully booked on ship days and it is hoped that it will be the same when the new Comair Boeing 737-800 arrives on Island with tourist from Jo burg and also when Atlantic star delivers their long haul passengers from London to St Helena.

Corker’s tour service boasts about their history in the industry also they are renowned to be one of the most popular with the only 1929 Charabanc on St Helena.

Corkers also offer private tours and also group tours around the island that can be tailored to tourist requirements.

You can learn more about their services and what they offer here.

If you have used this service or experienced the 1929 Charabanc Island tour before while living or visiting the Island please leave them a review at the bottom on this page link.

Corkers looks forward to welcoming you aboard the Charabanc the next time you visit.