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A far far corner of the world

sunny 62 °F


It was a four days sail through the South Atlantic from South Georgia to the British Overseas territory, Tristan da Cuñha. Three of those days were exceedingly rough. This morning we reached this little rock, the top of a volcano, the most isolated inhabited place on earth. Tristan is 6.8 miles in diameter and 6,700 feet high. You can’t really see its volcanic cone because a cloud covers it, but you can see that there is almost no place that looks like a harbor.

Tristan currently bans all passengers except local residents, since it is one of the last Covid free places on earth. Tristan has an uninhabited neighbor called Inaccessible Island. You can imagine why we didn’t go there, but The Expedition Team hoped we could go to another neighbor called Nightingale Island. The weather forecast: high winds and large swells, BUT .... when we arrived the seas were beautifully calm and the sun was shining brightly and the temperature was in the 60’s. The Team practically did a jig; they each told how many attempts they had made to go ashore (3, 13, 21, etc.) and how overjoyed they were to put us in our Zodiacs today. So we scooted over to watch a colony of Northern Rockhoppers cavort and twitch their eye hairs and play with their seal buddies and then we went back to the ship (seen in the distance).

As we sailed to Tristan, the sea sparkled, and Edinburgh of the Seven Seas (???), the island’s settlement, came into view. Through our binoculars (thanks, Bruce) we saw the local schoolchildren wave and cheer at us, the first ship they had seen in two years. (Did we say this was an isolated place?)

Tristan was newsworthy in 1961 when its volcano erupted and the lava came within feet of the settlement (see the black stuff in the photos). The residents were evacuated to the UK where they struggled to communicate because their English is 16th century in form, shivered in the cold, and had no immunity to the flu. They rejoiced when their little island was declared safe for them to return in 1963.

One additional observation: in this tiny place with 241 residents, in the ocean’s middle, TWO churches: Anglican and Roman Catholic, serve the community. Does God smile or weep?

Posted by HopeEakins 15:55 Archived in Tristan da Cunha

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I love the photos, H and B!! They "illuminate" your test. Your mention of "exceedingly rough" seas reminds me of similarly rough nauseous days on a troopship going to and from Korea in 1953 and 54. NOT fun!!
Hal B.

by BuckinghamHal

Glad you finally placed your traveling toes on solid ground. or maybe you didn't - just wave to school children from your zodiac?

by Seabury

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