St Helena Online


Cruise writer finds a film set waiting to be discovered

Sandy Bay’s arid landscape could be the setting for a science-fiction fantasy and Diana’s Peak would need no make-up for a role in a remake of Jurassic Park, according to writer Captain Greybeard on the Cruise International website.

He highlights the familiar attractions of St Helena in a stylish piece, but many might challenge his statement that the “incredible blue waters” around the island offer no safe location for swimming or sunbathing.

The Captain finds the cabins on the RMS St Helena “as basic as those on a cross-Channel ferry” but is nonetheless keen to spend more time in them: “It’s a long journey,” he says, “but it’s one I’d like to make again.”

Perhaps he wants a second taste of victory in the ship’s quiz.

The full article is here – and it’s worth a click just to see the superb accompanying photographs, including one of a tropic bird flying over Jamestown.

Raymond and Cynthia achieve a uniform kind of fame

Click the pic of Raymond and Cynthia to find out how to order Jon Tonks's book, Empire
Click the pic of Raymond and Cynthia to find out how to order Jon Tonks’s book, Empire

Nearly a million people read The Observer newspaper. And in the final issue of 2013, they have been treated to a picture of Cynthia George and Raymond Hudson, posing in their scouting uniforms on Jamestown seafront.

The photographer, Jon Tonks, has a thing about uniforms.

The Observer says they illustrate the strangely British, but not-quite-British culture of the South Atlantic islands he features in his new book, Empire.

The picture of Raymond and Cynthia is one of the thousands Jon took for the book – 400 rolls of film in all.

During a five-year tour of the UK’s South Atlantic territories, he’s photographed firemen, police officers and the governor of the Falkland Islands in their official garb, and others besides.

Observer writer Sean O’Hagan says the book highlights “the often absurd traces of an older kind of Britishness that linger in these in-between, out-of-the-way territories”.

It also, we’re told, “evokes the everyday oddness of life” in these remnants of the British Empire.

Scouting, of course, is found all over the world, so there’s nothing odd about two Saints wearing their uniforms – Raymond as “an honorary member of the St Helena Scout Group”, and Cynthia as assistant beaver leader.

Jon, whose pictures of the territories previously appeared in the 50th anniversary issue of the iconic Sunday Times Magazine, travelled 50,000 miles in the course of his project, and spent 32 days at sea.

He visited the Falklands, St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, where he photographed two lifeboats that had been hurled up a cliff by storm seas.

The Observer’s verdict on his arduous mission: “It was worth it.”

Signed pre-launch copies of Empire can be ordered from Jon’s website, here

Click any of the thumbnails below to see larger images from Jon’s book:

SEE ALSO: ‘Nationettes’ star in Sunday Times Magazine

READ MORE: Empire, by Jon Tonks – Observer review

Astronaut chases a white herring

By Guy Gatien

So, International Space Station Astronaut Chris Hadfield—commander of Expedition 35, so you better take him seriously, folks—tweeted a picture of a certain volcanic island in the Atlantic that looks like the head of a giant fishbone skeleton made of clouds.

Still with me? Well, see for yourself:

Canadian Astronaut, currently living in space aboard the International Space Station as Commander of Expedition 35.

Swirling spectacle over St Helena – visible from space
Swirling clouds over St Helena, photographed from space

Amazing gallery of images by Commander Chris Hadfield 

All secure: airport ship is first to dock at St Helena

The NP Glory 4 has become the first ship ever to dock at St Helena. The ocean-going landing craft dropped her bow ramp on to the new jetty at Rupert’s Bay shortly after 08:00 local time on Wednesday, 11 July 2012.

First to come off were several heavy construction vehicles that had been secured on the deck of the vessel – nicknamed the Basil Read ship, after the airport construction company that has chartered her for the duration of the island’s airport project.

Click on the pictures to see them full-size. The St Helena Community website has some excellent shots looking down on operations, here. A gallery of pictures of the ship sweeping into James Bay has also been published on the St Helena Air Access website, here.

Basil Read ship arrives off Jamestown
St Helena’s airport supply ship, en route to a place in history
Airport supply ship set to make island history

Colin’s left foot: an international symbol of St Helena spirit

(A broken link to Colin Lawrence’s picture has now been sorted)

The images in National Geographic’s annual photography competition feature sunsets, waterfalls, beaches, characterful faces and wondrous creatures from around the globe – and Colin Lawrence’s toes.

They’re poking out from the flapping remnant of his left shoe, and to photographer Tiffany Devereux, they epitomise the spirit of St Helena.

Of all the marvels of St Helena’s people and landscape, it was Colin’s toes that stuck out – so to speak – when she came to choose an image to submit for the 24th annual National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest (entry: $15 a time).

The prizes include a place on a photographic expedition to the Galápagos islands, but the chances of winning are small. Last year, the competition attracted 13,000 entries.

A caption tells how Colin ripped the top of his shoe when his foot slipped while he was driving. The sole was still good, so he carried on wearing it. “To me,” writes Tiffany, “Lawrence’s statement is a metaphor for the resilient people of St Helena.”

The picture can be seen here. And click here to see more of her highly distinctive St Helena images – along with a blog about her 2009 trip to the island.

Risky photography: St Helena rock fall protection gallery – Marc Lavaud
St Helena through a lens: Phil Douglis

National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest 2012

Basil Read ship arrives off Jamestown

The Basil Read ship at anchor, with local boats in the foreground of the picture
The Basil Read ship has brought construction equipment for the airport project.

The supply ship for St Helena’s airport project has arrived off the island for the first of what promise to be many visits.

The NP Glory 4 turns into James Bay, dwarfed by the scale of cliffs
HARD TO PORT: NP Glory 4 turns into James Bay

A gallery of pictures of the ship sweeping into James Bay has been published on the St Helena Air Access website, here. It will be updated as unloading progresses.

Members of the crew of the NP Glory 4 – known as the Basil Read ship, after the airport contractor – went ashore soon after arrival in James Bay.

On Wednesday, 11 July 2012, the ship is due to become the first ever to dock at the island.

St Helena’s airport supply ship, en route to a place in history
Airport supply ship set to make island history

Jamestown’s Jubilee jamboree – in words and pictures

Words and pictures: St Helena Government

St Helena joined other UK Overseas Territories and countries around the world to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with a weekend of celebrations.

First was the annual Garden Party at the Governor’s residence, Plantation House, to mark the Queen’s Birthday, where around 300 invited guests assembled in glorious weather to enjoy eats and drinks.

His Excellency, Governor Capes, gave a speech and also presented awards to staff members in recognition of their contributions to the public service.

The big event of the weekend took place on Monday 4 June on the Grand Parade in the capital, Jamestown, where the theme for the day was a traditional “village Fair”, with stalls selling everything from food and drink to jewellery and souvenirs. Members of the public turned out in the national colours of red, white and blue, in blazing sunshine.

The day began with the gathering of all island contingents, including the Scouts, Guides, Brownies and Rainbows, for an inter-denominational service and official opening ceremony.

During the ceremony Governor Capes presented 54 Diamond Jubilee medals to personnel from the St Helena emergency services in recognition of their service to the people of St Helena and the United Kingdom.

The celebrations continued throughout the day, with orchestral light music, a treasure hunt, folk music, line dancing, novelty sports, the Jacob’s Ladder Challenge, and a firework display in the evening.

A Little Miss and Miss Diamond Jubilee Contest also took place with 23 young girls between the ages of 4 and 15 years taking part to win the crown.  Royalty-themed floats decorated in the red, white and blue colours of the Union Flag also paraded through the streets of Jamestown in the afternoon.

The highlight of the day was the lighting of the beacons, when St Helena joined the rest of the Overseas Territories and the Commonwealth, lighting five beacons around the island to form a Diamond shape. Governor Capes lit the first beacon on top of the arch on the Grand Parade at 7pm local time (8pm UK time).

Musical entertainment then carried on into the evening.

Governor Capes said:

“The Diamond Jubilee celebrations in this most loyal of British Overseas Territories underlined the great affection for Her Majesty among the people of St Helena. It was tremendous to see young and old, side by side, taking part in making this a happy and memorable occasion.”

Beach tragedy overshadows Tristan jubilee commemorations
St Helena Day ‘best to date’, says Nick

GALLERY: The wreck of the Queequeg

Click to see the wrecking of the classic yacht Queequeg at Jamestown, St Helena, on 6 September 2011. All pictures are published by kind permission of Bruce Salt. See report below.

Marley stays cool in the shades

Brown dog wearing white sunglasses sticks nose in shiny bowl of waterMarley’s the name and cool is the game. That’s Marley as in Bob, the music legend. Waggae music, I think they called it. I’m working on the dreadlocks: just gimme time.

Now it’s all very well these Saints wearing their underwear on the outside and running around with their feet strapped to planks of wood, but I’m here to tell you St Helena Day ain’t the big day of the year as far as us dogs is concerned.

Not compared with the Doggy Day Out, which must be twice as important as St Helena Day, because it happens twice as often. We jus’ had another one a couple of months back.

We have our silly sports too, but we run around strapped to something far sillier than a plank of wood:

Dog wearing sunglasses, tongue hanging out after drinking, slobberingWe’re strapped to people instead, on leads. And most of them are as daft as two planks of wood. Sometimes they let go, and then we just hang loose.

Doggy Days Out are not cool. They’re run by the St Helena SPCA, and they’re hot. But a dog’s gotta chill, and a shiny bowl of water only goes so far. Hence the shades. And the slobber.

Okay, maybe not the slobber.

(Pictures of Marley taken at Kingshurst Community Centre, reproduced by courtesy of Matt Joshua)

A political animal at Blue Hill?

St Helena Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Facebook)
Tiger speaks: confessions of the community centre cat