Arrival at St. Helena Island…..Day 8.5

Arrival at St. Helena Island…..Day 8.5

June 2nd, written aboard on the morning of June 3rd, 2013….(Western Hemisphere) +0 GMT/UTC

1380 miles, 8 days 8 hours – averaged 163 nm/day.

Yesterday started as a blustery sail with the somewhat diminishing winds from the night before\’s 30 & 40 knot gusts. I was a bit concerned as we would be arriving at St. Helena after dark, that we would have too much wind as we approached the island. However, around noon local time, the winds started to abate to the 20-25 knot range and by the time we hailed \”land ho\” at 3:30 pm, the winds were mostly in the low 20\’s.

Despite the overcast and haze, we spotted St. Helena which actually has peaks (on second review) as high as 850 meters (2,750 feet). As such, under ideal conditions it could be spotted at over 30 miles. At about 25 miles out, we shouted as the sailor\’s of old did….\”Land Ho\”.

Unfortunately, we would not arrive to the anchorage until around 9pm local time, but we did have pretty good visibility all the way and only lost the sun as we go to first contact with the island. Friends Dave & Kathie (now en route to Grenada from our next stop Ascension), gave us a nice email on what to look out for as we arrived. There are no real natural obstructions, but there is a mooring field with lots of lines and in the dark, it could have been an issue. Winds can gust on the NEast corner of the island, but they didn\’t seem too and we had two reefs in the main \”just in case\”.

We hailed St. Helena radio on channel 16 at about 20 miles out, not expecting to hear them yet. However in a clear and loud voice came back a young woman who welcomed us to St. Helena. She gave us directions to the mooring field and procedures for clearing in to the island.

Dave and Kathie had informed us of the nice, new big mooring here with only one issue. You have to get your own lines attached to the top. Now in day light with normal conditions, that would not be such an issue, but it was pitch black, it was blowing and it was bumpy. This anchorage is notorious as well for it\’s \”rock and roll\”.

When we were about a half mile from the mooring field, a nice young man\’s voice came on the radio and asked if we\’d like help finding the moorings and tying up to one! I immediately accepted his kind offer and in the smallest dinghy imaginable, James (a local), his wife Hannah and there three babies (too young to even call kids), arrived, led us to a mooring and helped us get the lines on. Wow!, now that\’s friendly folk. We\’ll find James and Hannah ashore and thank them again profusely.

This anchorage does rock and roll, but we \”rectangular boats\” (as Dave & Kathie like to call us), do a lot better than the \”monomarans\”. We are moving about a bit, but not like the three other monohulls here which look like bucking broncos. We might, as Dave suggested, tie our stern off to another mooring can to align us with the swell. There are 23 moorings here for small boats, six of them for larger small boats (like us).

We\’re charging the batteries, making water and doing the laundry. We had a great night\’s sleep and as soon as it\’s 8 a.m., we\’ll call ashore and see if they want to come to us or if they want us to come to them. There is a shore boat here (2 pounds sterling round trip per person) and we\’ll definitely take advantage of that. Also, they will bring fuel out here, right to the boat so we can top off. We\’ll need about 75 gallons (just less than 300 liters).

Feel free to write, we love to hear from you!
If we can find internet ashore, we\’ll try to do a blog on the overall trip and what we find here ashore in PHOTOS!
Scott & Nikki