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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 the longest runways in the world (for emergency Space Shuttle landings) and almost all structures have military origins. 

Yet is has gorgeous beaches, crystal blue water, and unique wildlife, the highlight being the return between January and March of 10,000 Green Turtles to lay their eggs. We see them all the time swimming past Ruth II heading for the beach, and back out to sea again exhausted - Mary's post from last night has a lovely picture of one on the beach at night. 

We were dropped today in the center of the Island so that we could climb to the peak by Base Commander Kim and her Irish husband Ciaran, where we got our selves a bunch of wild bananas and great views. 

Anyway to the pics. 

1. Our official transport - note flag. 

2. Bamboo forest on the way to the highest peak - Charles Darwin tried planting trees here to help sort the water shortage...

3.... He tried all sorts - this one could compete with Game of Thrones 

4. We did get to the peak ( just as we did in St Helena). 

5. Banana portage back to Ruth II 

6.  Irish Bar - many thanks for all the hospitality to our hosts and their son Conor 

7. Wide-Awake - runway is over 2 miles long