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Showing posts from January, 2023

One last Picture post from Ascension

Ruth II's incredibly generous owner Liam has instructed me to post once more before we leave.  1. Things went a bit bananas yesterday up the mountain - that's my midnight lunchbox sorted for some time. 2. The note on the door of the church.... 3. ...and the reason why. The island has a resident wild population, along with rabbits, rats and other imports.  4. The "Dew Pond" just below the highest peak - Charles Darwin was given the job of trying to sort out water for passing ships and his solution was to try to create a rain forest and planted loads of trees. Not sure if it worked.... 5. ... but there was plenty of money spent on water collection systems - if you zoom in you may find a wild black sheep! 6. The Red Lion was not a pub unfortunately - think it was where all the water workers lived.  7. And finally - this is our way off the island - cling to the ropes as you jump on to a dinghy or ferry

Back to Sea - bound for the Equator and beyond

We have has a lovely but very rushed visit to Ascension Island - we are leaving late today for the Cape Verde Islands off Senegal and we expect this 1500 NM leg of our Voyage to have a number of different stages.  T he pic of the Navionics screen may help - a closer inspection of same will show appropriately the position of the equator.  The first stage is a continuation of before, the SE trade winds that have carried us North North West since Cape Town should take us a fair bit, with luck we might get very near 0 degrees Lat before we start to enter the Doldrums (or Inter Tropical Convergence Zone as it is now called).  Apparently in the ITCZ we could get anything, calms, heavy squalls, torrential rain, hot humid sticky bunks guaranteed. Right now our weather guru Chris Tibes advises that it is centered North of the Equator, and perhaps relatively narrow, which would suit us admirably. That would make Stage 2 as good as possible.  Once through the ITCZ, we will

Ascension Island - What a welcome

The crew of Ruth II have been so beautifully welcomed to this most remote place in the South Atlantic.  From the very beginning, despite the fact that the supply ship mentioned in the last post was being unloaded every worker and official have gone out of their way to make things easy and us as welcome as possible.  The immigration officer started by making us coffee, the port foreman took our gerrycans to a filling station and delivered them back to the steps, and the Base Commander invited us for drinks later.  Having sorted the ship, we eventually relaxed and started to take in our surroundings which are so different to St Helena.  It appears that because of a lack of fresh water Ascension was ignored by the competing Maritime Powers for centuries, and it was only when Napoleon was in danger of being rescued by the French that the Royal Navy eventually garrisoned it.  It is sill clearly of military importance, the Airfield has one of

Life on the Ocean - one remote Atlantic Stop to the next.

We are now 36 hrs stopped again, having arrived at Ascension Island yesterday morning.  Mary has already done a report on last night's nocturnal activities on the beach with the turtles - an amazing experience for all of us to see these large  prehistoric creatures completing their mission in life.  So two more picture posts in succession now should bring you up to date with our continuing adventures sailing Ruth II northwards up the South Atlantic.  There is a lovely rhythm to life once at sea, and once we were 2 hours out from St Helena it was like we had never stopped such was the resumption of routines.  So again if the captions go out of sequence you know now what to do.  1. We have had some lovely sunsets, this one was on our second night.... 2. .... interrupted just half an hour later by a largish trawler which for some reason has AIS turned off. It came as a bit of a shock as we hadn't seen a ship or fishing ve

Pinch Me

 I think , no I'm positive, that our first evening ashore on Ascension was the best of my life so far. As we came into the anchorage there were magnificent green turtles in the water around the boat. Ashore on the deserted beach, turtle tracks to turtle nests. We set off at sunset hoping to see one come ashore to lay her eggs. James has worked with sea turtles ( Is there anything this man can not do?), so he guided us on the best conservationists practice to view these precious sea creatures. Walking in silence along the waters edge , one came ashore in front of us her shell glistening in the moonlight .We instantly lay flat on our bellies to let her go calmly by. Once they've made their way up the beach and start to dig you can snipe up behind them and witness the miracle of their life cycle begin. Lots of turtle digging and sand flying everywhere and lots of suppressed human giggles as she splattered us with flying sand! Pushing ourselves forwards

Ascension Island Arrival

Photo is from 0900 this morning as we sailed around the North Coast of Ascension - we dropped anchor in a bay off Georgetown at 1100.  Ashore now but it's been a bit frenetic which I hope to explain better tomorrow but for now a quick update will have to do.  We are here probably till Monday morning, and have been running around with diesel top up and shopping for fresh stuff. Essentially everything is closed tomorrow Sunday and unless we did it all by now we would be stuck till Thursday next - as said, explain tomorrow better.  One quick observation of the Ascension finger post - just as well we are not trying to bring Ruth II to Italy! Crew all good and we seem to have an invite to the base commanders house tonight... Cheers TC

Day 3 from St. Helena

1600 - Thursday Jan 26th It's getting noticeably hotter each day we voyage north - the midday sun is now well to the south of us being at a declination of about 18 degrees. Our latitude is decreasing by nearly 3 degrees each 24 hours and tonight we will move into single digits crossing 10 South most likely. I say all this as I have now had two sessions with Par and the skipper on the joys of celestial navigation. Par is a dinger with the sextant, it doesn't matter that the boat is rolling around shunting the horizon all over the place, within minutes he has his angle and then the fun starts! Anyone who remembers the days of log tables for easy multiplication before cheap electronic calculators - if you can remember that pain then just multiply it by ten for the joys of getting your fix! Anyway, not ready to give up quite yet. We have a long voyage ahead and hopefully by the time we are going past Gibraltar I might have the hang of it. Last night was the

Day 2 from St. Helena

1300 - Wed 25th Just over 24 hrs at sea now, on our way towards Ascension Island, all going well we might arrive there in another 3 days. The crew have slipped easily back into sailing mode, in fact I think everyone is quite happy to be back in routine. We literally picked up the watch system which worked so well on our previous leg and there is a rhythm again to our lives which went missing in harbour. Essentially there is one person always nominated to be "on watch", so by day we each do 3 hrs on and by night 2 hrs. The nights tend to be on your own (rule is lifejacket always on in dark) looking with only the stars and sometimes a planet or the moon for company - it is quite peaceful generally and a great time to gather thoughts. Yesterday James produced lovely focaccia bread which had sat for 5 days in the fridge before being baked, served with cheese for lunch. Par produced a lovely butter chicken curry for dinner last night. Your author had snuck

Goodbye to St Helena

Saying farewell as we are going to slip our mooring later this morning. We are on Plan A which is Ascension Island,  700NM to the NW of here - Plan B is probably sailing close by but continuing to the Cape Verdes directly. I rather like Plan C which would be to head for Brazil and enjoy the trade winds for a bit longer, but unfortunately that would add some 2,500NM more to our voyage to the Med so not practical I'm afraid. The first photo is of Jonathan in the lap of luxury in the privacy of the guvs garden - think he came here some 160 odd years ago when he was a teenage tortoise at the age of about 50. Anyway the key to a long life appears to be not to rush and sailing the trade winds from island to island suits that ambition.  The early governors used to live in the castle at the landing in Jamestown in the wettest part of the island only later building a house in a sheltered valley which hopefully the other photos will help illuminate.  W

Swiming with Whale Sharks

We are not the only ones to voyage to St Helena in January - our arrival coincides with the annual visitation of the largest fish in the Oceans and some brave sailors from the Oyster Rally went below the surface to check them out.  They seem to stop here from January to March, and hang out off the coast - a bit like basking sharks they are kinda vegetarian (and somewhat bigger). Anyway rather than trying to sound knowledgeable about Whale Sharks, among the pics are both sides of the information sheet on the dive boat; for anyone interested in reading further above them.  Our trip the day before yesterday took us back around the coast to some seamount, and our lumpy few hours of looking for them gave the chance to appreciate the volcanic miracle that is St. Helena. A quick glance  at our ocean chart shows a straight line of islands off the coast of Africa, becoming seamounts along the ocean floor culminating with St Helena - the dot at the end of the exclamation mark!

Peggy West

St Helena is a wonderful ocean stop and Peggy West (of Galway) is probably best proof of that.  She is skippered by Belfast man Roy who sailed from Ireland in 2003 and has been here off Jamestown for 3 years. He plans to leave on his 50 year old Nicholson 35 for Grenada next week; a voyage that at Peggy's 100NM a day should take about 5 weeks.  Roy seems ready, as does Peggy (the mainsail cover came off this morning) so I would like just to wish safe passage on behalf of Ruth II for their next leg of the voyage home to Ireland. 


We have been getting our St Helena bearings sorted ever since our arrival 48 hours ago. There is so much to the island beyond Jamestown, however the port and town do deserve a dedicated blog post.  Landing on the wharf is like stepping onto the set of the Onedin Line, the swashbuckling TV series that aired on Sunday nights in the 1980s. The houses are a mix from Georgian and Victorian times, there are signal stations, forts, Churchs, protective gates and walls etc and an open ocean anchorage under high cliffs which give great protection from the trade winds and little else.  Yet there are signs of much changes coming for the island. A new container wharf along with an oil offload terminal which are recent constructions in nearby Rupert's bay means that commercial shipping facilities will be much improved. The monthly supply ship from Cape Town (a 5 day voyage) is now complimented by a new air service meaning that the St Helena is no longer totally out of reach except