Last updated: Saturday 14th April 2018 

The RRS James Clark Ross is now on the long passage back to the UK,  heading for Immingham on the River Humber with a ETA of the morning of May 3rd.  With nearly 4,000 miles to go and just over 800 miles until we cross the Equator.  The latter now looks likely to happen on Tuesday afternoon,  however King Neptune and His Court are still due to visit on Wednesday.

Continuing with my morning at St Helena and this is a picture looking down on one of the schools in Jamestown.  There are a number of schools around the island.

Ladder Hill Fort overlooks the harbour.  The weather during my time ashore was somewhat mixed with spells of sunshine and spells of low cloud and rain, drizzle and restricted views at times.

Looking down from Ladder Hill Fort at Jacob's Ladder.  This I was told is worth climbing but I decided to hitch a lift in a car instead,  saving me some time.  The ladder has 699 steps,  has a vertical height of 180.78m, an elevation of ≥ 40% and a walking distance of 284.07m.  The fastest assent, in 2011,  was five minutes and twenty three seconds!

This,  from memory,  is the Prince Andrew Community High School.  Even through the mist it looks rather nice!

As one gets higher up and away from sea level,  areas become overgrown and very green.  It having rained for the previous three days has meant that it was looking very lush.

Two of the islands radio amateurs.  On the left is Bruce,  ZD7VC,  and next to him is Peter,  ZD7FT.  During my short visit I think I was introduced to nearly all the resident amateurs,  along with one visiting the island for a few weeks.  All will be featured in the coming days.

Another house on St Helena,  which I suspect has an excellent view when the cloud is not so low.

Another visit to a local radio amateur.  Gilbert,  ZD7BG,  who I spoke to on the radio the day before meeting him.  It is thought that this is a first on the island!

Plantation House,  with it's Georgian facade,  has been the historic home of the Governor of St Helena since it was first built in 1792.  Other houses preceded the present house although their exact position is not known.  The first was possibly a wooden house built in 1673.  Two stone houses followed but these residences soon fell into poor repair and negotiations were held with the Honourable East India Company for the construction of the new residence,  Plantation House.

The large area of grass in front of the house is traditionally called the lawn but it is more like a paddock,  enclosed by green iron railing,  it is home to five giant tortoises.

Two of the five giant tortoises.  I did spot two more up near Plantation House but could not see the fifth anywhere.  Five giant tortoises live in the grounds of Plantation House.  They are named Jonathan,  David, Emma,  Myrtle and Fredricka  and range in weight from 55kg to 200kg.  There used to be a sixth,  Speedy.

It is thought that Jonathan was brought to the island as a mature tortoise (which is said to be about 50 years of age) from the Seychelles as a gift in 1882.  This means that he is approximately 186 years old.

In the late 1960s the Governor of the Seychelles sent two young tortoises that were named David and Emma.  Myrtle joined them in 1972.  Frederika was presented as a gift from the Honourary French Counsul in 1991 after she had lived at Longwood House for 19 years.  Longwood House is where Bonaparte stayed on the island.

Whilst eggs have occasionally been produced by the female tortoises in the past none have every successfully produced offspring.

A close up view of one of the tortoises.

The ship will be passing into Grid II overnight and will remain in that Grid until Tuesday when we cross the Equator.

This evening dinner was served from the Wet Lab,  with a choice of five curries to enjoy.  The weather has remained very good today,  sunshine and a fresh breeze.

Previous updates from this trip can be found HERE

Latitude: 12 46.2 S
Longitude: 007 32.4 W
Bearing: 186 T, 3991 Nm from Immingham
Cruise Number: name
Distance Travelled: 215
Total Distance Travelled: 215
Steam Time: 18.4
Total Steam Time: 18.4
Average Speed: 11.7
Total Average Speed: 11.7
Wind: Direction ESE, Force 5
Sea State: Moderate
Air Temp: 27 C Sea Temp: 26.5 C
Pressure: 1016.5 Tendency (3hrs): Falling

Mike Gloistein
gm0hcq @ gm0hcq.com