blank [Saint Helena Island Info:Could you live here?]

Could you live here?

Some of what you need to consider

blank [Saint Helena Island Info:Could you live here?]

Sprinkled along the waste of years. Full many a soft green isle appears: Pause where we may upon the desert road, Some shelter is in sight, some sacred safe abode.
John Keble

There’s lots of information on this website about visiting St Helena, but what about moving here to live permanently? Is it what you want? Are you up to the challenge? Think so? Read on…

This page is in indexes: Island Detail

Houses in St Paul’s [Saint Helena Island Info:Could you live here?]
Home?

Below: Do you want…Can you cope with…How to live hereWhat to bring (and what to leave behind)Thoughts on bringing a vehicleRead More

It has been (jokingly, we think) remarked that St Helena’s first resident was dumped here in disgrace and his best friend was a chicken, so you really can’t expect normality from life on the island…

Lopez humour [Saint Helena Island Info:Could you live here?]

This page describes the practicalities of life here. You should also read our Saints page for more about the people you would be living amongst.

Do you want…

A more relaxed lifestyle. One where you can leave your car unlocked and come back and find not just the car but all the contents too? Where people smile at you when you pass them in the street, and are always happy to stop for a chat? Where kids can play outside, unattended, and you won’t worry if they don’t come home until they’re hungry? Where you won’t get mugged or robbed in the street and there are no ‘no-go’ areas. Where great scenery is just a few minutes drive away, or even on your doorstep. Where you can drive the entire island and not see a single traffic light, and you can park all day in Jamestown without paying a penny{1}? Where work stops at going home time and the rest of the day is yours to do with as you please? Where the weather is warm, the air is fresh and the night-time skies dark? If these things appeal to you, then St Helena may be a good place for you to live.

Yes,” we hear you say, “of course everybody smiles at tourists, with armfulls{2} of spending money, but not everywhere is quite as welcoming when you try to move in and live there permanently.” It’s a fair point, and it’s true that a very small number of Saints are suspicious of incomers - but it is a very small group. Wherever you go in the world you can expect to find a few people like this. Most Saints remain as open and welcoming to incoming reidents as they are to passing tourists. The others don’t matter. Be open and friendly with the locals and they will be open and friendly back. People-people get on well here.

So can any place be so perfect? Are there catches? Well, yes, there are some issues about living here. Some are just matters of acclimatisation and others can remain a problem, possibly forever.

St Helena is good if you like an outdoor life. It’s good if you have small children, where the safety and security mean you can give them far more freedom to roam than most anywhere else and the schools follow the UK curriculum so they won’t miss out on their education. And it’s great if you like being with people.

But…

Can you cope with…

Below: The laid-back attitudeShortagesPaperworkBeing disconnectedTeenager issuesHealthThings that don’t workIt may sound daft but…And finally…feeling abandoned

The laid-back attitude

St Helena is relaxed, but is it too relaxed? Some find the lack of pace disturbing. If you’re used to a world where everyone rushes to meet your needs then you may find the laid-back attitude of Saints hard to adjust to. If someone says they’ll meet you at 10am, they will probably turn up somewhere between 10 and half-past; or maybe the next day; or not at all. This goes for tradespersons too (plummers; carpenters; etc.). Think mañana, then add a bit. If that is going to stress you, this is not a good place to live. The flip-side is, of course, that nobody will mind if you’re a little bit late yourself. Read more about timekeeping on our Time page.

By way of an example, a chap wrote to us about progress on his application for a job with the Government of St Helena. Ten days after he was supposed to have heard the results of his application he wrote that “It’s all taken a little longer than expected…”, to which we replied:

This is all part of the selection process, to make sure you are suited to life here. EVERYTHING on St Helena takes “a little longer than expected”. If you get frustrated and give up you wouldn’t have lasted five minutes on St Helena. Think ‘mañana’ but with rather less urgency.

Sorry, no potatoes [Saint Helena Island Info:Could you live here?]

Shortages

These, especially of food, can be an issue. You go into a shop and they say they don’t have any potatoes. Neither do any of the other shops. There may be a few in tins, if you can ferret them out. And if you get agitated about it the shop assistants look puzzled, or even pitying. Running out of things is part of life here. Much of what is needed for everyday life is imported and, with limited cash flow, keeping enough stock to meet an unexpected jump in demand is just not possible. This is especially the case in February and early March; the retailers spend all their money in September/October buying Christmas stock, but until this is sold (in December) they have no funds for ordering food until January, so once the Christmas food runs out there is a shortage of just-about everything. So shortages will occur, and there is no point in getting excited about it because there is nothing you can do. Your request will be declined politely, maybe even with a fatalistic smile, but that’s it - it isn’t on the island so you can’t have it until the next ship arrives - or maybe the one after that. Here you don’t find a recipe then set out to buy the ingredients; you see what you can buy and then look up (or make up) a recipe to use them. One thing is interesting, however: there never seem to be shortages of beer or cigarettes. And on the plus side, once you get integrated into the local culture people will pass on tips about what’s available where. You also need to be aware that many of the goods sold here are ‘seconds’, i.e. devices with known defects that could not be sold at full price in the UK, though they are sold without discount here.

Paperwork and administration [Saint Helena Island Info:Could you live here?]

Paperwork

You’d think on a small island where everybody pretty-much knows everybody else paperwork would not be a problem but, sadly, St Helena was colonised by the British, and both paperwork and administration can be a nightmare. Take a simple example: a chap buys a drill in a shop, intending to do some DIY, and also buys some drill bits. When he gets home he finds that the bits are the wrong type for the drill and do not fit. So he goes back to the shop, and they agree with him that the bits do not fit the drill (maybe they could have pointed that out at the counter…). It then transpires that they do not have any bits to fit this drill. Neither do they have any drills that take the bits he has bought. (This is not unusual.) So he asks for a refund, expecting a simple hand-back-the-goods/collect-the-cash process. Ah, no. They write him out a slip of paper. He has to take this piece of paper across the road to the offices there. After a brief wait the person behind the desk examines the piece of paper, then stamps it and gives it back to him. He can then take it back across the road to collect his refund. Is this piece of administration necessary for the proper running of the business? Probably not, but that was their way. So don’t imagine you will be leaving paperwork and administration behind you when you get off the ship. And with this comes an obsession with minutiae. One chief auditor resigned because he was told that when auditing the Post Office he would need to count and tallk every single postage stamp. It is not uncommon to receive a (printed and delivered) bill for a debt of under 10 pence; and monthly reminders (also printed and delivered) until it is paid!

The connected world [Saint Helena Island Info:Could you live here?]

Being disconnected

If you want to live in a connected world, this is certainly not the place for you. The Internet is slow and expensive. Compare the prices and options here with what’s available where you live. Mobile ‘phones are available but with limited coverage. Some satellite ‘phones work here but they can’t be bought locally and neither can operating contracts. (Please see our Communications page for more.) So if you live your life in the connected world, St Helena could be a big disappointment. But then who needs the Internet anyway, when you can hear everything you need to know (and all the gossip too) just by chatting to people outside the market?

Teenager issues

Small children do well here [Saint Helena Island Info:Could you live here?]

If you have small children they will do well here, but you may encounter a few issues when they reach teenage. Education is not a problem unless your child is determined to do obscure ‘A’-levels that aren’t available through Distance Learning. There just isn’t quite as much for teenagers under 18 to do outside school as there might be elsewhere. What we have is:

  • The New Horizons youth centre for under 18s, with a strong emphasis on sporting activities;

  • The In+ventive Club for the more arts & crafts orientated (opened 2016);

  • The ‘Geek Boutique’ computer gaming emporium, which caters for those who like electronics-based entertainment (opened 2016);

  • There are also Scouts and Guides.

The Internet is costly and limited, so you can’t live online. Games consoles, iPods, laptops and all the other paraphernalia teenagers seem to need today are expensive to buy your own, and if they go wrong there is nobody who can fix them. St Helena is a better place to bring teenagers than it used to be, but it is still not ideal.

Medical care [Saint Helena Island Info:Could you live here?]

Health

If you are not relativly fit and healthy, and particular if you suffer from any significant chronic complaints, you might want to contact the Government of St Helena to check that your condition can be managed here. You should also ask about the cost - Non-Saints pay the full cost of medical treatment. The local medical services are excellent for most general complaints but anything more complex requires a trip to Cape Town (at your expense). Diabetes is, however, well managed here because about 15% of the population are diabetic. High blood pressure is also common{3}.

Similarly if you are disabled you need to be aware that there are no laws requiring businesses to provide disabled access and no protection against discrimination on the grounds of a disability. Some buildings in Jamestown have limited wheelchair access but most are reached by steps from the street. Even the hospital has only limited wheelchair access! People will be delighted to help you overcome any obstacles but you cannot expect to be truly independent unless you are fully able-bodied{4}.

Scrapped Asphalt Plant [Saint Helena Island Info:Could you live here?]
Scrapped Asphalt Plant

Scrapped Bailey Bridge [Saint Helena Island Info:Could you live here?]
Scrapped Bailey Bridge

Things that don’t work

…often for no obvious reason. We’re not sure what the problem is, but it happens a lot. In recent years we’ve had the ‘Bailey Bridge’: supposed to be a pontoon to help with offloading cruise ships, which didn’t work because the sea doesn’t just go up and down, it also goes from left to right{5}; The Asphalt Plant: purchased at great expense to improve the island’s roads, but supplied with parts missing and never made to work; even the Airport: built at a cost of £285million and only when it was built was it discovered that the wind would make it difficult for planes to land{6}. Some say Napoleon cursed St Helena for all time, but this isn’t true{7} - actually it goes back much further than Napoleon. This from the Records{8} for over 100 years earlier (1697):

Two of the Company’s ships lying at anchor were cut off in the roadstead by French boats, which came in under Dutch colours in broad daylight. When their nationality was discovered, orders were issued by the Governor that they should be fired upon, but the powder was not at hand, and the sponges did not fit the guns, so the French ships were soon out of sight.

If you can’t laugh, you probably shouldn’t try to live here.

bubbles [Saint Helena Island Info:Could you live here?]

It may sound daft but…

You can almost never get sparkling water on St Helena; Saints don’t like it so nobody imports it. Magazines aren’t sold here so if you can’t do without Tractor Monthly you’ll need a subscription. And ladies tights are also, apparently, a rarity.

RMS Sailing away [Saint Helena Island Info:Could you live here?]

And finally…feeling abandoned

Some people describe a near-panic that descends upon them the day the ship that brought them sails away, leaving them no way off the island until the ship returns, maybe three weeks later. For most this is a passing moment. Just a few find the isolation distressing. (Once the scheduled commercial air service begins this problem should disappear.)

How to live here

Coming here as a visitor is quite simple. Coming here to live is a bit more complicated. You will need to sort out somewhere to live and you will need a job (unless you have a personal fortune to rely on).

Please note: the following is our understanding of the applicable laws, but we are not legal advisors and anyway the regulations change periodically. Please check your facts with the Government of St Helena before making any decisions. Here are some useful links.

See also our visitors’ Tips and tricks when here.

Local £20 note [Saint Helena Island Info:Could you live here?]

A job on St Helena

If you need to work to support yourself please see our Jobs on St Helena page for more on finding work here.

Can you earn enough to live here, or afford to live here without working? You need to be able to spend a minimum of £10,000 per person per annum to survive here; more if you want to live in style, and that doesn’t include any trips overseas.

Longwood House Napoleon’s residence (not for sale!) [Saint Helena Island Info:Could you live here?]

A home on the island

To find out more about housing go to our Houses page. Properties are for sale here, and are also available to rent.

Even if you don’t have Saint Status you can buy a property with up to 2 acres of land without impediment; larger than that and you need an Immigrant Landholding Licence. This Licence is specific to an individual property, so if you want to sell your acres and buy something else you will need a new Licence.

Similarly, as a non-Saint you can rent a property for up to 1 year before needing a Licence{9}. There are no rental agencies actually on St Helena so there is no central place on the island to contact to arrange a rental. You could try our Accommodation links or the Tourist Office may be able to help.

Approaching St Helena on the southbound RMS [Saint Helena Island Info:Could you live here?]
Approaching St Helena on the southbound RMS

What to bring (and what to leave behind)

When you announce you are coming to St Helena to live (even if only for a year or two) you will be flooded with advice about what to bring and what not to. Much of this is well meaning but wildly inaccurate, even when issued by official sources! In an attempt to provide some useful information we present (below) our list of things to bring and things not to bring. Please note that this is our ‘best effort’ and we’d appreciate suggestions - please contact us

Symbol, Tick [Saint Helena Island Info:Could you live here?] BRING

Technology

Computers; iPads; iPods; Kindles; games machines if you’re into such things; TVs are OK but bear in mind that St Helena’s digital TV system may not be compatible with that in your home country{10}; DVD players are useful - there are various rental shops and at least one has some BluRay discs - bring all your favourite films/TV series and when you get bored with them you can swap with other people. As far as is practicable, bring spare parts, but you do not need to bring computer consumables (ink cartridges, etc.) as these can be bought locally or ordered in via (e.g.) www.amazon.co.uk. CDs are not sold locally; most people download their music from iTunes. See also Mobile Phones.

Medicines

If you take any medicines, bring six months’ supply and also pre-contact the pharmacy (pharmacist@publichealth.gov.sh) to make sure they have or can get stocks.

Books

For some reason books are always in short supply. Like DVDs, bring your favourites and then swap with others.

A good Camera

You can buy cameras here but they are only relatively-simple point-and-shoot types. If you have any capabilities as a photographer it’s worth bringing a good-quality camera and all the associated kit. Digital, of course - you can’t get chemical film processed on the island.

Gear for your Leisure Pursuits

If you like to do something unusual, bring any necessary equipment with you.

Educational Toys

If you have small children and you prefer them to play with educational toys, you had better bring plenty with you. Toys available on St Helena are mostly of the ‘shoot-‘em-all’ or ‘pretty-fairy’ variety.

Internet Banking passwords, etc.

You should make sure you can access your home bank account by Internet Banking, and don’t forget your passwords and any ‘gizmos’ you need to sign on.

Glasses, not Contact Lenses

If you normally wear contact lenses you would be wise to make sure you also bring a good pair of glasses. The optician only visits annually and contact lens wearing is not advised (though many have done so without incident).

Kitchen Equipment

You can buy ktchen equipment here but it tends to be cheaply made and not durable. If you’re into cooking you should bring everything you might need (but see White Goods).

Mobile (‘Cell’) Phones

Local phones are expensive! But (see our Communications page) - your phone may not yet be compatible with the local network phone.

Vehicles

Cars are expensive on St Helena (which is why we have so many Classic Cars in daily use). If you can, bring one, but be very selective. Forget the Lamborghini - the roads aren’t up to it and in any case the speed limit is only 30mph, so it would be a waste. Bring something immensely reliable with a long service interval and a good turning circle (the corners can be tight), and preferably not something too dependent on modern technology, which almost certainly cannot be maintained here. Indeed, why not bring a Classic Car? Bring as many spare parts as you can.

See also some futher notes below.

Freezer-Blocks

This may sound stupid, and maybe it is, but you can buy ‘cool boxes’ here, but not the freezer-blocks to go in them! Why is not clear.

Symbol, Cross [Saint Helena Island Info:Could you live here?] DON’T BRING

Foodstuffs

Unless you have a special dietary requirement it’s not worth bringing food. If you do have a dietary need you should bring about six months’ supplies and also arrange with someone in your home country to send you periodic re-supplies. See also Medicines.

‘Dress Clothing’

Apart from if you get invited to a funeral or a ‘do’ at Plantation House, you will almost certainly not need to dress up. And nobody will care, or even notice if you wear the same thing twice. Bring ‘smart casuals’ instead, with perhaps one or two ‘Dress’ outfits.

A Digital Radio

We have no Digital stations. All you need for the St Helena stations{11} is a good quality FM radio. You don’t even need AM{12}!

‘White Goods’

An official document sent to us{13} advised bringing White Goods. This is totally unnecessary. The island has reasonable supplies of Fridges, Freezers, Cookers, Microwaves, etc. Prices are probably higher than in your home country but not excessively so{14}. However, see Kitchen Equipment.

Antiques

Particularly those made of wood. The White Ants problem may be under better control than it was in the late 19th Century, but it has not been eradicated. Most local woodworking is in termite-resistant species but your ancient oak sideboard may not be so lucky. Similarly the saltiness in the air can corrode metals.

‘Gifts and greetings cards’

Another peculiarity of the official instructions issued to us, and completely unnecessary. The moonbeamsforall.com: Moonbeams Shop • opens in a new window or tab [Saint Helena Island Info:Could you live here?]Moonbeams Shop can supply all your needs, as can several others.

House Move Cartoon [Saint Helena Island Info:Could you live here?]

Thoughts on bringing a vehicle

A reader sent us the following comment on our suggestion above about bringing a vehicle:

The reality of it is that either a 200TDI or a 300TDI Land Rover in either the 90 or 110 variant is perhaps the better vehicle to bring to the island for visitors who intend stay for a bit or those that intend coming to live here for a while. Government staff being sent here have often commented that FCO have advised them to bring their car and when it comes here it can’t be fixed when there’s a fault. FCO obviously have little to no idea what is and what isn’t needed here. The few that have brought Land Rovers have expressed delight in having brought along a suitable vehicle that enables them to see much further ahead on roads such as Ladder Hill & Side Path and are more than capable in handling the atrocious road surfaces that ruin the suspension on ordinary cars.

TD5 and the Ford Puma Land Rovers are slowing becoming popular but be aware - these two vehicles are computer controlled and so aren’t always easy to fix when a fault develops.

There are a good many 300TDI Land Rovers here and parts are readily available from a few vendors. These vehicles have the refinement of cars and best of all can be fixed by almost anyone with a little mechanical know-how.{a}

Read More

Below: SourcesArticle: “Shopping a daily puzzle on remote St Helena”Article: “Moving from the UK to live on St Helena”

Sources

Official

The following links on the Government of St Helena website will be a starting point for your researches:

Other

Curious Little World - A Self-Imposed Exile on St Helena Island [Saint Helena Island Info:Could you live here?]

Before you make a decision we recommend you read the book ‘Curious Little World’{15} (right). It tells how Rex and his partner Cynthia bought a property here (with no electricity, water or sewage system) and set about doing it up. As Rex writes, “You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll be glad it’s not you. And you’ll wish it was.

You could also read the blog Notes From St Helena{16}, a personal view of life here written by John Turner (this website’s Editor) during his first nine months on St Helena in 2005.

Many other blogs{16} are also available, mostly written by ‘ex-pats’ - that’s people, usually from the UK, who come here to work for a few years before returning home. They are useful for reading about how St Helena differs from the UK and what seems strange to a new arrival, but the authors are never intending to stay long-term so they lack detail in this respect. Search for them on Google™ - ‘saint helena blog’ would be good keywords.

You should also download each week’s newspaper to find out what goes on here.

Article: “Shopping a daily puzzle on remote St Helena

Bangkok Post, 16th April 2015{17}

JAMESTOWN - If you think grocery shopping is a chore, spare a moment for those on the tiny island of Saint Helena who never know what will be on the shelves from one day to the next.

This is like living under Soviet rule,” jokes Francois Haffner, a French tourist determined to eat well on the remote South Atlantic island, famous as the place the French military leader Napoleon was exiled until his death in 1821. “In the first store there is butter, in another there are lemons, and in the third you can find some cream. There are no greens, and eggs aren’t there every day,” said an exasperated Haffner. “The fish comes at 1:00 pm, the bread after 11:00 am -- but no later than 12 noon -- and all the shops close at 5:00 pm.” The shopping schedule requires that hungry tourists and residents dedicate a good chunk of time to planning how to fill their stomachs. “There are no stores where you can find everything, and shopping takes some time,” said Haffner. Still, he is determined never to visit the frozen food section, which was stocked with last year’s Christmas pudding in March.

- Choice is a luxury -

Groceries at Thorpe’s [Saint Helena Island Info:Could you live here?]
The 4,200 inhabitants of Saint Helena have resigned themselves to the reality that choice is a luxury in a place where supplies come only every three weeks on a ship from Cape Town

In contrast with Haffner, the 4,200 inhabitants of the British island are more relaxed about the grocery situation, having resigned themselves to the reality that choice is a luxury in a place where supplies come only every three weeks on a ship from Cape Town. As a result, shopping in the island’s capital, Jamestown, requires some flexibility and a close knowledge of the ship’s schedule.

Of course, you do not want to starve, but it is better not to look for something specific,” says David Pryce, a native of England who studies insects on the island. “A successful islander has to balance patience with spontaneity”, he says. “You have to make the rounds of stores every day. And if you see something, you have to buy it.

However, sometimes excitement over new items causes problems, says Tara Thomas, whose family owns four convenience stores. “When bottled water hits the shop, people bulk buy. They panic buy, and they create another shortage,” she says. “If people had a normal consumer behaviour, we wouldn’t have so many problems.

- Little local produce -

Most produce on the island comes from Britain or South Africa. Little is made domestically. There are cows, for example, but no fresh milk. “We have farmers, but they do not produce enough,” moans Thomas. What little local produce exists is often bartered between islanders or snapped up by hotels and restaurants before reaching the shelves.

Still, some are hoping to capitalise on the scarcity. Mirroring the fashion overseas for self-sufficiency, entrepreneurs have started small-scale farming. Joshua Martin{18}, 39, has set up a business delivering tomatoes and cucumbers that he produces in polytunnels. While his venture is a success, Martin complains there is little coordination between the producers. “Everyone produces the same,” he says.

Then there is the issue of reliability. “The problem is that we are not regular,” says Aaron Legg, a 30-year-old guide who grows bananas. “Retailers cannot rely on us and they have to import.” It’s not for lack of want, says Legg, who plans to start growing onions. “The island imports 70 tonnes of onions a year from South Africa,” he says incredulously. “If there were onions every day on the shelves people would buy more. There is a huge market.

Shop owners worry that with such short supply they will not be able to accommodate an influx of tourists when weekly flights start between the island and Johannesburg in February next year. With the monthly ship service set to end after the introduction of the flights, retailers worry their produce options will decrease. Now they’re in a quandary. “It is not profitable for a ship to come more often,” says Nick Thorpe, one of the leading importers on the island. “I have the feeling that if they want the ship to come more often, they will have to subsidise it,” he says.

Whether or not that will happen is another story.

More stories [Saint Helena Island Info:Could you live here?]

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Article: “Moving from the UK to live on St Helena

By Paul Tyson; published on The St Helena Wirebird 30th October 2014.

Nine months ago my wife saw a job advert; an amazing, if unlikely opportunity, that would change our lives. Without any real regard for the consequences I encouraged my wife to apply, not believing said life-changing adventure could ever become a reality.

Jamestown and Half Tree Hollow [Saint Helena Island Info:Could you live here?]
Jamestown and Half Tree Hollow

At yet, now I sit here with my wife, Bev, and two young boys, Oliver (6) and Charlie (3), in the tropical sunshine of St Helena; a small British overseas territory that is one of the most remote places in the world.

Without a doubt, our adventure started with our journey here, and it is no ordinary journey. St Helena is remote, very remote, 1200km from the West coast of Africa without an airport. After an 11-hour flight to Cape Town and a night spent enjoying the sights and sounds of South Africa’s capital, we boarded the RMS St Helena; one of the last remaining Royal Mail ships that would take us to St Helena, a 5 day journey.

The RMS St Helena has a reputation for leaving a lasting impression on people, and it is easy to see why. It is a throwback to a bygone era with games of dominoes and shove half penny, cricket, and tug o war on deck. The passengers and crew make this journey truly special and interesting. The ship contains an endless list of nationalities, personalities and stories each with their own tail to tell. We met many people from the UK in the same situation as ourselves, off to St Helena for new work and a new way of life.

We also had our first experience of the local Saints, warm, friendly and fascinating people. Always with time to say hello and spin a tale. Life on board is one of routine, based around meal times, but in between, regular entertainment is provided.

Our final night aboard was spent enjoying a fabulous feast on the deck, with barbequed meats, fresh fruit a plenty, and significant portions of cake before we headed off to bed. We had mixed emotions; excited to arrive at the island but sad to be leaving our extended family on board the RMS St Helena.

The next morning, crawling out of bed at 7.30am we made our way to the deck and there she was, the island, the focus of our attention for the last 5 months, the vision in our heads for what feels like a lifetime. What a wonderful exciting moment, shared with others emerging on deck to see their new home for the first time, whispers and murmurings of emotions giving way to a tide of noise and chatter as eventually all 125 passengers appear on deck wide eyed.

I peered at the rock emerging from the sea, imagining myself in the opening scenes of King Kong. As we approached the barren rocky cliffs the island’s secret lush interior is revealed only by the sight of a loan tree, sat on the Island’s highest point, Diana’s Peak (823m). Two things struck me; this is a small island, a spec in an endless ocean.

My mind turned to the pioneering explorers, the Christopher Columbus’s of this World, the excitement and sheer overwhelming joy that must have greeted those brave men who crossed Oceans with no maps, in the hope of forging brave new worlds. St Helena, although a British Territory for hundreds of years, was discovered in 1502 by Portuguese navigator João da Nova, on his voyage home from India and what must he of felt when, like me, he first saw the looming sea cliffs ahead of him?

The second thing that struck both Bev and I was its apparent lack of any recognisable inhabitants. Approaching the South side of the island, a huge wall of rock and sheers cliffs is all that can be seen, this imposing structure changes and becomes more welcoming as we move East round the island, the barren rock face gives way to welcoming peaks and troughs with lush green valleys and dry peaks. Eventually the ship approaches the North of the island, the capital Jamestown and the first clues of the Islands inhabitants and long history comes into view as we weigh anchor to disembark.

From our steady anchor point, Jamestown is clearly visible, a narrow town of colourful houses rising up following the line of a steep sided valley. We get our first glimpse of Half Tree Hollow, a residential suburb of Jamestown perched high on a plateau and our soon to be new hometown. We can even see our new house from here and thoughts of evenings spent looking out across the setting sun over the Atlantic Ocean fill my head.

Before we know it, our time aboard the RMS is through and we disembark onto a small shuttle boat that takes us to the Wharf. Waiting for a favourable wave to lift our boat high enough to step onto the dry land we have a nervous excitement and butterflies in our stomachs. A short shuttle bus journey to the customs post is filled with the chattering’s of expectant and nervous new Islanders.

Can this be true, that we are here; that this surreal dream is a reality; that I and my family now live, on an Island, six miles wide and ten miles long. 1,200 miles from Africa, 1,800 miles from South America in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean; that we live, on the Island of Saint Helena.

To read more and see photos of our adventures on St Helena take a look at my blog, twoyearsintheatlantic.com.

More stories [Saint Helena Island Info:Could you live here?]

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closinghumourimage [Saint Helena Island Info:Could you live here?]

Laugh at funny livehere humour - LOL [Saint Helena Island Info:Could you live here?]


Credits:

{a} Bruce Salt, ZD7VC, 13th August 2016{17}



Footnotes:

{1} Currently, but see the Jamestown Parking Proposals.

{2} Arms full?

{3} A relaxed lifestyle and cases of high blood pressure? The explanation is genetic. Most Saints are descended from Africans, whose biology makes them susceptible to high blood pressure. That and a taste for salted food and sugar explain both the high blood pressure and also the diabetes.

{4} The editor of this website suffered a stroke and walks with some difficulty. There are plenty of parts of Jamestown that he simply cannot access.

{5} Saints told the designer that, but he didn’t listen.

{6} It later emerged that the wind problem had been predicted by Saints but the prediction was ignored…

{7} For other debunked myths see our Myths Debunked! page.

{8} The St Helena Records is a collection of documents dating back to the earliest days of St Helena, held in the Government of St Helena Archives. The Archives can be accessed in person or via email - see our Family And Friends page for more. From the records and other sources we have compiled an events database, which drives our events-based pages e.g. On This Day page. You can search our events database in various ways on our Chronology page.

{9} This rule is easily side-stepped - rent for a year then renew the contract for another year, etc. However there is no rent legislation, so your landlord can freely increase your rent at each renewal.

{10} As long as your TV can accept SCART or Composite video (but not HDMI) you should be OK.

{11} Saint FM Community Radio, S.A.M.S. Radio 1, S.A.M.S. Radio 2 and S.A.M.S. Pure Gold.

{12} Our only AM station, Radio St Helena closed in 2012.

{13} We, the Turner Family, moved here in 2005.

{14} Perhaps the authors of the document thought we still cooked over an open fire and hung meat in trees?

{15} ‘Curious Little World - A Self-Imposed Exile on St Helena Island’ by Rex Bartlett. Toppermost Books, ISBN 978-0-9783927-0-3 2007.

{16} See more blogs.

{17} Reproduced for educational non-commercial use only; all copyrights are acknowledged.

{18} Actually he’s Martin Joshua.



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