We spent the first couple of days on Ascension Island recovering from our passage before delving into hiring a car and exploring the island. The cars we hired were reminiscent of the Mr Dinn cars in Langkawi, Malaysia, in other words old, barely holding together but will just get you from A to B. We hired the cars with our friends, Ants and Div (from Divanty), Max and Ava eagerly went with them, which meant Tristan was stuck with us.
You would think in such a small place its not possible to get lost, however we couldn’t find the road to get to the beach, after a few failed attempts we asked a local, who set us straight. To get to the beach we drove through the volcanic landscape, what I imagine perhaps Mars would look like. We stopped for some obligatory photos before passing a myriad of BBC transmitter aerials, which form part of the BBC Atlantic Relay Station before reaching English Bay.
Volcanic landscape of Ascension Island.
The water and beach at English Bay is beautiful, but it does have strong undercurrents which have caused a few drownings. While in St Helena we had heard that Ascension had, had its first shark attack with a St Helena resident on holidays there being bitten. We have discovered since arriving in Ascension that there are a large number of Galapagos sharks, we have had one nudge our dinghy. We have been advised not to dive, due to the sharks. There was another shark attack in July after our time in Ascension.
Ants and Div with Max and Ava at English Bay
Just before we arrived in Ascension Island, a tourist was bitten by a shark, the first time that has happened.
We happened to spot some empty turtle shells, green turtles breed on Ascension Island. On closer inspection we saw the nests, a couple of dead turtles and large frigate birds hovering above. At the bottom of one nest we saw a turtle which we assumed was dead until we saw his/her flippers move. Max went down and put it in his hat and anxiously raced it down to the shore. We all excitedly watched as the turtle slowly made its way into the water. Hopefully this is one of the few that will survive.
Lone baby, green turtle on his way to the water at English Bay
We enjoyed a relaxing lunch with Ants and Div before making our way home.
Day 2 – Of our Car Trip
We had a leisurely Sunday lunch over at the British RAF base with Ants and Div before driving up the steep roads, which our car struggled with, to get to Green Mountain. With the rest of the island so desolate it is amazing to see this mountain of greenery and also so much cooler up there. Our walk up to the farm at the top of the mountain took us past some wild raspberries which Div and the kids enjoyed before walking past a couple of greenhouses growing indigenous plants. We wandered around the grounds and looked through the windows of the old farmhouse. Although the farm is closed down, there was, who I imagine is the caretaker out in his garden tending his plants. On our drive back down we did spot some land crabs hiding in the old stone walls. Amazing to think that Darwin had a hand it turning this desert into a green oasis.
Green Mountain: View from Green Mountain, Ascension Island land crabs, Red Lion Farm, wild raspberries and Ava under a rock arch.
Time to Go
We had planned to go to shore to use the internet but were told that due to weather changes no one was allowed to come to shore as it was too dangerous. We went on deck to have a look and shore enough there were huge waves crashing meters above the area we clambered from the dinghys to shore. The weather was supposed to get rougher so we made a decision to refuel and head off. Refueling in the increasing waves was a bit of a challenge, but worse was when one person from each boat had to go to shore to check out. They sent a boat out for a crew member to go ashore and I definitely opted for Andrew to be the person from ours, he did admit it was a little scary. Once checked out and all fueled up we headed for Brazil.