We’re here! After 10 nights and 11 days of sailing, it appeared. St Helena. A big, black magma rock. We pushed hard to make it in 10 days and then even more so to make it before sunset. It would have been criminal not being able to see the island come into view, to take in her contours and be welcomed by the whistle of long-tailed white birds (I’ll find out the name).
The last 20 miles felt long but it gave us the chance to absorb our surrounding. To convince ourselves that we truly did just cross a large ocean in a small boat. That we had arrived at one of the most remote places on earth.
On the afternoon of Thursday 27 April, as we approached our swing mooring, we were greeted by a fellow South African yacht “Noanka”. The skipper smiling and waving from its deck happened to be the very same friendly stranger who was on the jetty the day we finally left Cape Town, who rolled streamers over our bow and waved us off. John, Katya and Jaden’s friendship started with them directing us onto our swing mooring. On board visiting them was yacht “Cashflow’s” Erik – another young South African who made our journey sound like a trip to our granny’s. He sailed solo for 28 days and made it to St Helena in good spirits. Hats off!
We were able to fasten before dark and proceeded to enjoy a beautiful sunset on the foredeck, not being allowed to leave the yacht until morning when customs and immigration could legalise our stay.
By morning, we headed to the island on the harbour ferry (£1 each way) where we finally formally met the Noanka crew.
Once stamped in, we visited Ann’s place (restaurant and bar) where Oloff and Muir spent two nights sleeping on their floor 8 years ago (a story for another blog).
John, Katya and little 3 year old Jaden joined us and extended an invitation to dinner that evening. We would cook the fresh tuna John had caught. We prepped a few side dishes, picked up Erik and had a beautiful evening on Noanka with new friends-for-life. Both Noanka and Cashflow sailed off the next day. Bon voyage and see you in Brazil / Caribbean.
Ongemak’s crew split up from here to experience this stunning island. Isolde and Oloff immediately dug into the history and culture of the island while Muir and I checked into a hotel. In between, we’ve shared some stories and experiences of the island’s magic.
Oloff and Isolde happened to get back to the boat one afternoon to be greeted by a WHALE SHARK. They jumped in and swam with it for a few minutes. Muir and I had to go back to the boat to get a few things for our hotel stay. We snorkelled there and on the way, a MANTA RAY joined us. It was so fascinated by us that it wouldn’t leave us for a good 30min. It kept on swimming closer and closer until I questioned which species is exploring which.
Both these experience were, in the words of the tellers, mind bending. In fact, this entire trip and the story of this life that is unfolding daily is reshaping reality in a beautiful way. Pinch me.
More photos to follow.