St. Helena

Tentatively Optimistic

20th April 2017

There must have been some government officials that did not have a very relaxing Easter holiday trying to organise the surprise cancellation of the voyage to St Helena. The RMS has now arrived in dry dock and the engineers are hard at work restoring the ship to full working order. The cargo has thankfully been taken care of and is being transported on the MV Helena which is being put to work ferrying all the belongings the island needs to the little island in the South Atlantic.

However, the biggest headache has been for the people. It has impacted on the unfortunate people stranded in Cape Town who assumed that the ship would be in full health when they boarded on the 14th April. Only ten or so passengers have been able to travel on an Ocean Explorer vessel which will take about a week to arrive on island. The rest have either given up and gone home, hopefully to claim the costs involved from the insurance companies. Or are waiting the next voyage in Cape Town. For the St Helenians, whose home is here, that’s all they can do.

Then there are those who are on island and very much wishing they could leave. These include people that have come to the end of their contracts and looking to start new jobs overseas. Some, were meant to be on the cancelled voyage at the beginning of April creating a backlog of people requiring exit from St Helena.

Ascension island’s runway is closed for the foreseeable future so the ability for people to leave via that route is now slim to none. Sadly, our airport is still not open to commercial flights so that route, unless you have your own private aircraft is a no-go too.

It is wonderful here, if you enjoy the peaceful serenity of isolation then this place is a dream. Coupled with a great close-knit community, that has become increasingly closer due to our increased isolation, it can be a little slice of paradise. But people need to travel for various reasons and not getting marooned in the South Atlantic is pretty essential.

I am cautiously optimistic that Bernie’s voyage on the 4th May will go ahead. They can’t have three cancelled voyages- surely… But I also wouldn’t be surprised if they may need longer than a couple of weeks to fix it. We can only watch and wait and read about the ‘outside world’ from the news and on a different note, try and figure out who the hell to vote for in the June general election.




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