An island that I once called at regularly on the ‘Mail’ run, little seemed to have changed since my days of calling. Once again, an anchorage port and as we rounded the headlands on our approach, a ship was already there: the R.M.S. “St. Helena”, (the RMS being Royal Mail Ship). She replaced our Union-Castle ships when they were withdrawn from service.
Being a volcanic island, the sides steeply shelved into the abyss, so it was necessary to get in close, over the rocky bank, to be able to anchor. The weather was favourable for tendering and so, by 10 a.m. the first of our guests were making the short journey to the pier. Some had tours arranged, one of the main ones being to Longwood House, the building in which Napoleon Bonaparte had spent his last days after being exiled here by those pesky Brits. He was buried here, however his remains were exhumed and he now lies in his beloved France.
A walk along the sea-front, camera in hand and then through the gate of old town walls, built by the Brits as a defensive measure. A Main street greets you, taking a step back in time, for the buildings have hardly changed since the 1800’s, only the names on hotels and stores mark the passage of time. The barracks, the prison amongst others, are still there to see. Times are changing further inland though, for I am told by a ‘bobby’ (aka policeman) that a huge airport project is underway, when finished it will be capable of taking long-range aircraft and this will surely change this isolated island.
I walk briefly through the town, taking photos for the blog amongst which is the steep steps, rising steeply to the look-out point, high above the town; many of the guests are brave (or fit) enough to climb, others take the easy route — a minibus.
I come across a store selling Steak and Kidney pies and Cadbury’s chocolate, too difficult to resist and so very British and I walk back, hoping the chocolate won’t melt before I get it back to the ship.