25 days after setting out, Tristan passengers still couldn’t land

Three and a half weeks after first sailing from Cape Town, passengers on the beleaguered MV Edinburgh finally reached Tristan da Cunha on Monday 17 June 2013 – only to find they could not go ashore.

Sea conditions were too rough at Calshot Harbour and Captain Clarence October decided to  sit out the weather in the lee of the island.

They finally got ashore – along with fresh provisions and long-awaited mail for the islanders – on Tuesday 18 June.

The ship departed from South Africa on 23 May 2013 on what should have been a seven-day voyage, but turned back only 403 nautical miles from the island because of technical problems.

A tug was sent out to intercept the vessel, taking spare parts that were used to carry out repairs at sea.

The ship reached Cape Town on 6 June for further repairs and sea trials, while the 11 passengers – including children and a Foreign Office official – spent the weekend at Tristan House.

The vessel set out for the island again on Monday 10 June, with the Tristan website commenting: “If any voyage deserves good weather with a following wind, the possibility of a six-day transit and an immediate landing of passengers, it is this particular sailing.”

It was not to be.

Islanders were also keenly awaiting the landing of supplies: rationing had been introduced at the store in the settlement.

Read the full saga on the Tristan website.

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