Almost reaching Tristan da Cunha
Here we are. Sitting in the main lounge of the Royal Mail Ship (RMS) just about 150 mtrs away from Tristan da Cunha, one of the most remote places on the planet. We seem not to be able to get there even when we are this close. The weather is not on our side and our captain doesn’t want to take the risk of going ashore when a cold front is heading our way. It’s a bit sad really, because it doesn’t seem like a risky thing to do and the sea seems quite calm. But well, the captain says so. I’m not sure what to feel about it exactly. I really want to go ashore and meet the Tristainians, but on the other hand I don’t want to get stuck there.
150 meters away from the most remote pub on earth. Though I guess the pub on the boat counts as well, right? It’s been a trip already. 7 days on sea. The first days were horrible for me. I had no appetite whatsoever. Didn’t feel sick to my stomach but my head felt so heavy and light at the same time. Then after the first day, and I have to admit: a magic pill, I started to feel much better. Everyday we met new people like Basil from England: the post stamp writer, Andrew from Birmingham: the lawyer who has a case on both Tristan da Cunha as St. Helena, Austin Foo from Maleisia: the passport and poststamp collector, Brian and Brenda from St. Helena: our fabulous diner partners, Helena from Osla: she works and lives at St. Helena now, Katrina from Serbia: lives in Cambodia and has given her husband a trip to St. Helena for his 50th birthday, Martin from England: he is a marine biologist and works on British territories, Austin English from Texas: he is here just on holiday like us. Well, and many more.
On the boat we kind of live from food moment to food moment. Breakfast is served between 8 and 9.15 in the morning. Afterwards we often have a nice documentary about the islands, then at 12.00 we have lunch and around 16.00 we sometimes have a nice talk of someone who has something interesting to tell, like Aniket from England who has been a vet on Tristan da Cunha in 2015 for 4 months. He showed us fabulous photos of the animals on the islands. I write islands here because Tristan is part of the Tristan da Cunha group, which contains: Tristan itself of course, but also Nightingale (which apparently bursts of wildlife) and Inaccessible (which as the name suggests is inaccessible). And then at 6.45h starts the first diner shift. There are two diner shifts. We are in the first diner shift which we enjoy a lot cause sunset is between 20.00 and 21.00 (depending where we are with the boat). Also, according to Brian our diner companion, the first shift is way less formal. So at the first day on the boat we got a table number and found out that Brian and Brenda will be our diner companions for the coming trip. After Tristan da Cunha everyone can change his or her table, but we are quite happy with our company so we decided to stay together. Anyway, the first diner shift is mainly elderly or really young people (thus; children). Then the second diner shift is quite formal because the captain is present.
The captain is actually quite a young guy. He is very friendly and very down to earth. Today we actually went up to the Bridge, which is where the captain does all the magic. For me it’s just a room full of buttons I’m not allowed to touch. I did touch the roater (roer) and the compass 😉 The captain showed me why we couldn’t go ashore and what is coming our way: the cold front. It seems that he knows what he is talking about but now, many hours later, I still don’t seem to understand what is really bad about this weather. The waves aren’t as big as they were the third day (which was horrible!) and the sun was even shining. But well, like I wrote before, it looks like he knows what he is doing.
So when the second diner shift ends there is some entertainment. We don’t normally go for the entertainment on board actually. During the day they have games and all that, at 6 there is a quiz (the British people do like there quizes) and then after diner there is either a movie or a casino night or something of the kind. So, enough to do on board but we don’t do much really. We mainly read a book, sleep, eat and take photographs. And believe me, we do get tired, a lot even. I just don’t know why.
And while I’m writing that the captain is saying that we will stay at the Tristan Group and will try to land on Tristan tomorrow OR Saturday. Yes!! That would be great. Ok I’m quite happy now, though I did hand in my landing card so I’m gonna get that one back now.