Thursday, 24 November 2011

Mail boat to St Helena

St Helena is an island in the middle of the Atlantic miles from anywhere. It's so isolated it was considered a good place for Napoleon to live out his days after his capture. As small islands interest me it's only to be expected that this should be somewhere I'd like to go. What makes this particular island even more fascinating however, is the journey it takes to get there. There is no airport. Not even a tiny airstrip the like of which can be found on islands like Foula or Skerries. So the only way there is by boat. There is a mailboat service that runs from the UK to South Africa and stops at St Helena en route to deliver goods and mail and this mail boat takes passengers. It's something I'd love to do and depending on what the mail boat is really like I might be able to kill two birds with one stone and get both the 'visit St Helena' challenge and the 'travel on a cargo ship' challenge ticked off in the one go.

I've just read that the mail boat is making its final journey from the UK. It will still go to St Helena, but only on return trips to South Africa. And the idea of building an airstrip has been resurrected (it gets talked about every few years and then ends up on the back burner again). So if I want to go to St Helena by mailboat I have to try to do it before 2015 which is when the talk says they will have the airstrip. If the plans go ahead this time, then no doubt this will spell the end for mail boat.

I wonder where else I could go by mail boat?

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