Saturday, January 23, 2010

Have You Heard of St. Helena?

Author: Chris Uyeda
Location: Underway to St. Helena in the Atlantic Ocean
Take a look at the southern Atlantic Ocean and smack dab in the middle is a tiny island called St. Helena. If youve never heard of it, that doesnt surprise me. When I first heard the name I think my reaction was 'You mean the mountain that exploded in Washington?" Its anonymity is not coincidental. St. Helena has been called the most isolated island on the planet. Not so much in terms of geography but in accessibility. St. Helena is about 900 nautical miles away from a continent, which, as far as islands go, isnt incredibly impressive. Hawaii for example is many times that distance. But Hawaii has multiple international airports with hundreds of flights arriving daily. St. Helena has none. You can book a luxury cruise to Hawaii. In St. Helena, you have to get on the mail boat that leaves every week from Ascension Island (probably the second most isolated island on the planet). Aside from its remoteness, the island is most known for being the exiled home of Napoleon, rare stamps, and the oldest animal alive today. It is also happens to be where we are currently headed. The journey will take us the better part of two weeks which leaves plenty of time to speculate on what this place is going to be like. Our lone British compatriot onboard informs us that arriving will be akin to visiting 1950s England. I never went to England in the 50s, so I dont know what that means but the words 'charming", 'slow-paced", and 'really, really expired tea" immediately come to mind. As with everything, well just have to wait and see.

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