Skip to content

Ascension Island – the land of turtle porn

January 3, 2017

5 1/2 days sail from St. Helena and we find ourselves in what has to be one of the remotest islands in the world. Or, at least, it ranks with places like the Galapagos, Tristan de Cunha, the Falklands etc for being out in the middle of nowhere. 

However, like all the remote islands in the world they have been taken over by the military/industrial complex and here on Ascencion the place bristles with aerials of all sizes. It started out as a BBC world service Atlantic relay station. It still is. However, amongst the BBC aerials there are RAF and USAF antennaes all watching and listening to the world. There are in fact areas where the signs indicating it would be very dangerous to walk out in the landscape due to extremely intense HF waves! Okay so what am I doing driving along this road amidst all these wires?

I’ll backtrack a minute and just mention some incidents on our sail north to Ascencion.  First off, through a satellite phone (Inmarsat) we have onboard for receiving weather information and a few emails  we learnt of some friends, Ann and Chris, onboard Silver Girl, were about to abandon their boat due to a lost rudder. We got one message and managed to send off a reply of support. One day later our sat phone refuses to connect to the required network.  What! Yes, just at a critical moment we have lost contact with our fiends in need. It’s now almost one week later and we have no idea what has happened and if they were able to safely get onboard the ship that was heading their way to affect a rescue. 

It’s minor to say we are pissed off at our network server. This is the first time in 5 years of use that we have not been able to connect to the sat phone server. If we manage to make contact with them from Ascencion I would not like to be the person on the other end of the line.

Obviously we are very worried about our friends. We were both headed the same way and had future plans that meant spending time with them in the Caribbean and if everything worked out anchorages further along the route. We are desperate for news of their safety but may not hear anything until we make it to better served internet location. 

Other than the above the trip from St. Helena was spent changing sails, checking weather, eating, reading, sunset and bird watching and finally fishing. And yes, we were successful. Having changed my fishing line from 35kg test line to 135kg test line I now have not lost one lure and we caught one 15kg bluefin tuna!  So what do two people do with 35kg of tuna let alone 1kg? Feeling very guilty I threw over 1/2 the tuna and then we gorged ourselves on the remaining 15kgs. Tuna sashimi, tuna steaks, tuna spaghetti, tuna, tuna, tuna. I think we eached turned blue after eating it all!

Ascencion and the part you have all been waiting for – turtle porn!  Yes, it’s the season. Here away from prying eyes and hungry inhabitants the turtles are cavorting in the bay. Flippers are flying, water is flying everywhere, turtle bellies are exposed, eyes are glazed and the turtles are .ucking their way to heaven! The sea around us abounds with turtles in lust. Are they hungry? I think they have only one thing on their minds and that’s how to fertilize those eggs before the females head to shore in the evening to lay their eggs on the beaches. It’s a marathon. Essential to survival and these guys are big. Apparently there is no food soirce here for them. Instead they leave their feeding grounds 4 months prior to arrival here having had little to eat with only one thing on their minds and it ain’t food!

Of course, the turtles provide us with hours of entertainment. They are all around the boat and the bay. We sit in the cockpit and encourage them along in their endeavours with cheers of support and ablutions that keep us in a merry mood. It’s a wonderful sight and all played to a backdrop of one incredible island that combines a lunar lower elevation landscape with a towering (818metres) mountain, Green Mountain. The mountain is the source of the water for consumption of approximately 800 non-permanent residents. Although recently a desalination plant has been added and as a result at the peir the water is sold at the rate of 1GBP/40 litres. The mountain also houses the Chief Adminstrator from the UK who looks down from his kingdom on high and makes proclomations, such as the one in the mid 1990s, that segregation on the island is now finished!  Yes, folks in the 1990s.

We are here till Thursday. The anchorage is again an open roadstead and a north swell is upon us which means I have to chase the keyboard as it slides over the other side of the dining table and with my foot hold on to my cup of coffee. It’s a balancing act and we are looking forward to a smooth and peaceful anchorage somewhere along the South American coastline. It’s a long way, 2100miles to Forteleza and about 2800 to Trinidad!  It’s a long way and am sure adventures will abound – more books, more pasta, more rice and perhaps a mahi-mahi or tuna. 

Hope everyone had a great New Years and fortunes for the new year are in the offering. Just remember to share those fortunes with others!

13 Comments leave one →
  1. January 3, 2017 08:52

    Just in case you have still not had news of Silver Girl Ann and Chris were picked up by a freighter and will arrive in Galveston Tx in about 2-3 weeks. They seem to be OK but have lost their boat.  Details were posted on their Facebook about a week ago.Ps I read all your blogs with interest.  Keep on blogging

    Sent from my Samsung device

  2. Toby permalink
    January 3, 2017 10:17

    If you have a need for green stuff: Try a hamburger with real salad at the US base, served in a great bar with more choice of booze than at False Bay Yacht Club, and US TV blaring non-stop propaganda. Also, fishing is fantastic from your anchorage, just don’t get a turtle (as you wrote, they’re not interested in food). On land I can recommend the telecommunication museum. You may have to look for the key at the hotel.
    Here in False Bay it’s extremely windy today, even the penguins get blown off the rocks.
    Have fun watching the turtles!

  3. January 3, 2017 14:09

    Great sailing you two! What an amazing way to crack 2017! You must miss sedate Victoria, ha…a little chilly at -2 last night, but clear. Usual NYE at the Tate’s, but no piper or Afrikaans rock like last year at False Bay! Miss you guys, have a safe crossing!

  4. Pippa permalink
    January 3, 2017 15:06

    Dear Tony and Connie
    I read today’s post to Penny at breakfast this morning in our sunroom . We always look forward to your news and had been anxiously waiting to hear from you and know all was well after your long sail from St Helena. You transport us to such exotic places as we look out at a slightly gloomy Victoria Day. We were fascinated to hear about those frantic turtles in full f****g form.
    Hoping you can find out that all is well with your missing friends-in-need.
    With love to you both for more adventures in 2017 from Pippa and Penny

  5. Rob permalink
    January 3, 2017 15:42

    Am I not supposed to be there?????

  6. Jo Todd permalink
    January 3, 2017 17:47

    Dear Tony and Connie We were very pleased to hear you had arrived safely at Ascension in spite of the difficulties you’ve had with the satellite phone. I do hope by now you have had news of your friends. I trust that they were picked up safely and you’ll meet up again as you planned. Our only experience of Ascension was as a half way stop to the Falklands when we went to visit Robert who was out there for 6 months. So we weren’t allowed out of the ‘compound’. Prince William happened to be on the same flight from England (RAF Brize Norton) but we weren’t aware of this until someone told us at the halfway stop. There was no first class and he was just another young man in jeans and woolly pully sitting ahead of us. I must say I don’t fancy your diet of bluefin tuna but congratulations on the catch. New Year here is coldish but not that bad and at last the days are getting a little lighter in the mornings. Spring cannot be far behind (says she hopefully). love from us all, Jo

  7. Wayno permalink
    January 3, 2017 18:14

    Hahaha, that was more fun than turtles fucking, mate. Clearly you can tuna fish but can you tune a ukulele? Good luck on your crossing. Be safe!

  8. Sue Donaldson permalink
    January 3, 2017 19:42

    You finally caught a tuna! WTG Tony, and if it was a critically endangered southern bluefin, you should feel guilty indeed–since it was a baby at 35 kg. All the best on dealing with Inmarsat–meh. xxxx

  9. frances cartwright permalink
    January 4, 2017 14:35

    Hey you two, minus 7’C, three days so far encased in ice… toasty inside but this one’s the worstin ’99 Fortaleza had a bad rep, open raodsted?, mostly watch out for theft…we had a good stop in French Guyana, Kourou, rocket launching site… but more growth coming out of brackish water from the jungle… took forever to scrape it off at Devil’s Island (remember Papillon?)which is a good pit stop without clearing in… spooky to walk around abandoned cellsTrinidad is a really good stop, Chaguaramas has everything for boatsIf you go north from there, we have very good friends in Bequia (a must!), they are the owners of Carribean Compass, a boating magazine… will send you data if You wannaat this rate you could join the Vendee Globe passing by…fair winds friends… with you vicariously, ciaomichel & frances

    From: Sage on sail To: paxcinco@yahoo.com Sent: Tuesday, January 3, 2017 2:38 AM Subject: [New post] Ascension Island – the land of turtle porn #yiv8239675255 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv8239675255 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv8239675255 a.yiv8239675255primaryactionlink:link, #yiv8239675255 a.yiv8239675255primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv8239675255 a.yiv8239675255primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv8239675255 a.yiv8239675255primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv8239675255 WordPress.com | tcgibb posted: “5 1/2 days sail from St. Helena and we find ourselves in what has to be one of the remotest islands in the world. Or, at least, it ranks with places like the Galapagos, Tristan de Cunha, the Falklands etc for being out in the middle of nowhere. How” | |

  10. Adrian Bonwitt permalink
    January 6, 2017 08:55

    Hi, just wondering how the hard dodger is working out? Thanks, great reading your blog!

  11. Barrie permalink
    January 6, 2017 13:39

    Wishing you fair winds and calm anchorages in 2017.

    Barrie and Sandra

  12. Patrick Georget permalink
    January 8, 2017 11:35

    Ouhaou! some good news and some bad news my friend! Hope that your are not yet blue! ?hahaha! around Fortaleza there is a lot to see,jericoacoara (désert sand dunes )but touristique place, also lencois marrenhao near sao Louis (désert with 100 of lake),the wind in that place are strong becareful! (In land, on sea I dont know. …must be strong to!?) Big big kisses to you! Happy new year! Patrick. ________________________________________

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: