Off to St. Helena!

Posted: March 6, 2014    Categories: Travel

In 2011 I did a post listing the 13 places in the I most wanted to visit but haven’t yet. To date, I’ve only visited one of the places on that list: Lord Howe Island in Australia.

Today I’m embarking on a trip in Cape Town to cross off the second destination on my list: the island of St. Helena.

For those of you who have no idea where or what St. Helena is, here are some quick facts:

  • St. Helena is located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on approximately the same latitude as the Namibian/Angolan border.
  • St. Helena is a British Overseas Territory and the capital of the territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha.
  • St. Helena was discovered by the Portuguese in the late 16th Century and settled by the British in the mid 17th Century. There were no native inhabitants on the island.
  • As of 2014, St. Helena is only accessible by ship. There is no airstrip on the island. The only regular transportation to the island is the R.M.S. St. Helena which visits every three weeks. The ship takes five days to reach St. Helena from Cape Town.
  • They are building a runway which will finally provide an airlink from the island to the rest of the world.
  • St. Helena was where Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled and died. France still has a small consulate on the island to manage the house where he lived.
  • The population of St. Helena is approximately 4,200 people. The people of St. Helena are called “Saints”.
  • The currency on St. Helena is the pound, however, they have their own notes which are printed at St. Helena Pounds, not pounds from the Bank of England.

St. Helena is the most remote place I will have ever visited. Certainly a huge feather in my travel cap. I’ll have no internet during the five days there and back on the boat, but will be posting some photos and updates during my 8 days on the island.

This trip is sponsored by the St. Helena Tourism Board and I’m extremely grateful for inviting me to visit their island. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m looking to make the most of it.

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