Tag Archives: photography

The dune sea, at sunset

Wednesday 1st December 2021, 4.45pm (day 3,751)

Dune sea, 1/12/21

The flight home. The Sahara looked astonishing: this was a day when I wish I could break my own rules and post more than one photo. The River Niger certainly was worth seeing, a braid of blue and green running through a sandy wasteland. We must have crossed that somewhere in Mali.

But instead I will go with this shot; for much of the three hours it took to cross the desert I was thinking, hmmm, well it’s certainly barren, but more rocky than sandy. But then came this sea, this ocean of dunes, tinged by the setting sun. This must be far enough north to be somewhere in Algeria. Not that national boundaries really mean a lot here. If anything this is Arrakis. Had a gigantic sandworm crested out of this stuff with Fremen on its back, I would not have been surprised.

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Evening on Napoleon Street

Tuesday 30th November 2021, 6.30pm (day 3,750)

On Napoleon Street, 30/11/21

I seem to have made it to the last day in St Helena without a Napoleon reference — so here’s one, a vague one anyway. Not that this shot has anything to do with the man himself, for whom, having heard the stories of his time here, I now feel a little sorry. Anyway: there will be more to come of this place. But it’s time to head home.

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The Standard

Monday 29th November 2021, 6.40pm (day 3,749)

There are three pubs in Jamestown, but The Standard is the only one that seems to be reliably open. This was my penultimate full day in St Helena and while, in some ways, I am looking forward to getting back home, I see Paranoia has broken out again in a big way…

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Jonathan — world’s oldest living land animal

Sunday 28th November 2021, 3.10pm (day 3,748)

Jonathan is a giant tortoise, originally from the Seychelles but resident at Plantation House in St Helena since the 1880s. It is not known exactly how old he is but there is good documentation that he is at least 189 years old, and possibly older. This makes him the oldest land animal on the whole planet, at least among those for which there is evidence.

I was thinking at first, it’s a shame that he doesn’t know he’s a record breaker. But — you know — he looks like such a cool dude, that I think he probably does.

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Sandy Bay, and Lot

Saturday 27th November 2021, 1.20pm (day 3,747)

The spectacular scenery of St Helena is enhanced by the fact that the pattern of vegetation one sees in the UK is reversed. It is the coast, the lower levels, that is rocky and barren, and the mountains which are covered in lush vegetation: all down to the fact that the rain falls high up, but not low down. This is taken from the Blue Hill area, looking down to Sandy Bay, past the basalt pillar known as ‘Lot’ (and his wife is somewhere over to the right of this image).

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Evening on the sea wall

Friday 26th November 2021, 6.25pm (day 3,746)

Boats in evening, Jamestown, 26/11/21

Jamestown is one of the very few places in St Helena where you can actually get down to sea level, and that, plus its place on the leeward side of what can be a rather windy island, is why the town is there. There’s no actual harbour, though. The boats and yachts congregate out to sea, and this evening, caught a few rays.

I have to move into different accommodation for the last few days of my stay and am unlikely to get internet access for the remaining time here; so the next few days probably won’t be uploaded until I get home on December 2nd. See you then.

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Bare hillside

Thursday 25th November 2021, 5.40pm (day 3,745)

Bare hillside, 25/11/21

Until the 1500s St Helena was covered in forest. Then humanity arrived, and even if people didn’t cut down the trees themselves, they released goats onto the island, which munched away at any new shoots for the subsequent half-millennium. Although some recovery has been made recently, in places, a lot of the lower parts of the island look like this as a result. It’s attractive, in its way, but it’s also dead land. Only about 21% of the island is cultivated with another 11% afforested. 54% is classed as ‘barren’. Two years ago today I was in Java, another steep volcanic island; but one festooned with terraces, every inch used to support the population. The contrast is notable.

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Tammy of Saint FM

Wednesday 24th November 2021, 8.00am (day 3,744)

Tammy, radio woman, 24/11/21

Tammy is clearly the driving force behind St Helena’s radio station, Saint FM (I could give you the frequencies, but you’re not going to be able to pick it up right now unless you are on a boat somewhere in the nearby South Atlantic). I was an interviewee not just once, but twice today — the first very early, so apologies to Saint listeners if I sounded a bit fazed.

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Back to school

Tuesday 23rd November 2021, 11.30am (day 3,743)

I am an educator, yes — a teacher if you like — but that doesn’t mean I hang around schools very often, if at all. This morning was an exception, however, and here’s where I spent it; St Helena’s only secondary school, opened in 1988. This is, of course, a model, which resides in the reception area, but it’s as good a way as any to get a feel for the place. The eponymous Prince visited in 1984 and obviously made a big impression on the islanders. Whether, in light of more recent events, they are thinking of changing the name, is not yet recorded.

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Briars Pavilion and the Heart-Shaped Waterfall

Monday 22nd November 2021, 10.35am (day 3,742)

Heart-Shaped waterfall, 22/11/21

Briars Pavilion — the first home of St Helena’s most famous resident, Napoleon Bonaparte. When he arrived here in 1815 post-Waterloo, he lived here for the first couple of months while his more permanent home (Longwood House) was being prepared.

The Heart-Shaped Waterfall — well that is its official name, and you have to say that it is appropriate. But it seems they only turn it on during the winter months (May – September).

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