Walking to the Ponds
The walk is around 3 miles each way of which 50% is uphill. The terrain is the bare volcanic rock which is spectacular for the myriad of colours it comes in, although keep focused as it’s quite treacherous underfoot!
Although not perfect for picture taking, the light grey sky meant temperatures were bearable, imagine the heat from these rocks if the sun was streaming down on them all day!
Around 20 minutes up the first section of the journey my breath was starting to become more pronounced and from then to the top I had to rest every now and then. My companions included two children, one only five years old who zipped up the rocks like a mountain goat. I was mortified!
Views are spectacular and the sea crashing below can be heard even at the highest elevation. Nesting Booby birds were one of the highlights, we came across one pair nursing their offspring.
Boobie birds with their chick
Reaching the ponds involved scaling down a long rope which deposited you on a deserted beach with streams, rock stacks and the ponds. It was well worth the pain
(although I think I was the only person feeling any!) .
Arriving in this surreal landscape I was taken by the fact that we were the only visitors that day. If this was in the UK the place would be teeming with photgraphy buffs and sightseers. I think this place is always going to be like this unless they change the access to it which in many ways I hope they dont. There wasnt a scrap of rubbish on the beach nor any noise other than the crashing of the waves. A gentle warmth radiated from the dark rocks making the idea of a swim pretty tempting.
After an hour or so relaxing with a picnic and taking pictures we headed back up the rope ladder and made it back up the rocks, past the Booby birds, endemic plants and down the other side.
Boy was I glad to see the vehicles. The pictures I have taken don’t meet the standard of the one in the Tourist office which means another trip, I best get into practice!
Remembrance Sunday Jamesown
The Remembrance weekend was marked in St Helena by a Sunday Service beside the Ocean at the Cenotaph.
Many of the islanders attended, with the Police, Scouts and Guides marching through Jamestown. Wreaths were made from tropical flowers rather than the traditional poppies.
On the day before I was invited to a special celebration at the Briar’s Pavilion which is the first place that Napoleon stayed when he arrived in St Helena.
The event was hosted by Michel Martineau who has been on the island for 25years in his role as honorary French Consul. He was using the occasion to recognise the work that Mike Dean, our outgoing Tourism Manager has done in his three years here. Many of the island’s residents came along to enjoy good food, wine and company in some very special surroundings. One of the highlights of the party was two enormous cakes featured as centrepieces.
The RMS St Helena made it to Jamestown with only one engine functioning. This caused some angst as many of us are expecting shipments over the next two voyages. My container containing car and personal effects is one. Of more importance to the island are the plethora of Christmas items for the local shops and returning family.
The ship will be picking up spares in Ascension Island so all should be on schedule.
One thing that did come off the RMS this time was FRUIT. Now in the UK we just stroll down to the local store and pick what we fancy with the knowledge that if more is required we just go back for more. Well here it’s different!
The word got out that fruit was in town! One of the girls in the office asked me if I wanted some fruit. When I responded that I would get some tomorrow I was told it would be all gone by then! I hurriedly gave her some money and out she dashed. Half an hour later she returned looking flustered. “I got peaches and plums but they have run out of grapes!” She headed out again in search of grapes but to no avail which was a shame as she wanted them for her children.
Later on my way home I was walking past one of the small stores which was closed when I heard a “psst”….looking around it was the lady who owns the store. She said in a stage whisper “have you got your fruit, cos I got some if you want some”. Well what an offer! I didn’t take her up on it as living alone there is only so much fruit I can take!
Why is it like this you might ask?
Well the island has no cold store so anything that comes off the ship has to be stored by individuals in their own fridges.
The ship takes 5 days to come from Cape Town so the ripening process is already as week gone by when the RMS gets to Jamestown. How this is going to impact my training restaurant I can only guess and plan accordingly. I think even
with the arrival of an airport there is a need for more cold storage on the island. The farming community have to harvest their products to meet market needs which means that Thursday and Friday are the best days to get vegetables from the shops.
Something I MUST remember!
Deserted building on cliffs between Jamestown & Rupert's Bay
My latest trip started in the UK where I said farewell to my husband and family for a much longer period than any previous visit.
This time I am going over to St Helena to work for the next three years.
My car and belongings are in a container on the high seas and will join me in mid-November.
My husband will be coming over in February and other family members have promised to visit at some time during my time on the island.
The role is to Project Manage and participate in the upskilling and training of the hospitality sector on St Helena.
This will include organising short training sessions and longer accredited courses in most disciplines within hospitality and catering. It will also involve working with local businesses in order for them to make the most of the opportunities coming with the opening of the airport in three years time.
Having been on the island for just over a week I can say there has been progress on the airport project with the sound of building works audible across Jamestown.
On my work front, progress has been made toward starting the hospitality training. We are initially focusing on giving locals a taste of what this is all about. This will be done by way of opening a small training restaurant (30 covers) which will be run by the students. It’s exciting stuff and even more so considering that I am working with a small budget and trying to get as much equipment as possible from local sources. There will be a couple of purchases made, one being an espresso machine as there isn’t a commercial one on the island at the moment.
Kitchen equipment will be bought when we know there isn’t something on the island which can be utilised, at the moment I am hunting down food preparation sinks and stainless tables.
Our first goal is to get this up and running in order to make the most of the increase in population on St Helena over Christmas and the New Year. We are expecting more than usual this year as the biannual Governors Cup Yacht Race is being held, with yachts racing from Cape Town to St Helena.
If anyone reading this who is in hospitality and has some old restaurant equipment (Small or Large, Kitchen or Front of House) which they would be happy to donate from the UK, please email me or contact me via LinkedIn. It would need to be suitable for commercial use up to 50-100 persons max.
I am aiming to keeping this blog going now every couple of weeks so do keep in touch with developments here on the lovely island of St Helena!