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Cruising Updates for Ascension Island

By SY Gryphon 2 — last modified Mar 23, 2015 03:23 PM

Published: 2015-03-23 00:00:00
Countries: Ascension Island

Report by SY Gryphon 2, visited February 2015

Approach - There are no offshore dangers but beware the shallow patch close to the pier where the swell can sometimes break. The main hazard is a floating pipeline. When not in use it is moored out of the way to the NE of Clarence Bay. When in use it is pulled over to a position where it joins the tanker to the pier head. This position is shown in Ocean Passages and Landfalls. If making a night approach the tanker would be obvious but if it is not there and the pipeline is not in use then it should be possiible to go close north of the moored lighters and small craft to avoid the pipeline moored to the NE and marked by unlit yellow buoys. The green leading lights avoid it but do lead very close to the moored lighters. Call on Ch16 Ascension radio 24 hours and Ch8 for HM after 08.30.

Anchoring - In sand with rocky patches in about 12 metres. The closer to the shore the more rocky patches. We anchored slightly south of the previously recommended position 55.02S 14.24.07W and had the anchor a little fouled by rock. There was some swell while we were there but it never became uncomfortable. However, conditions can change very quickly at Ascension we were told.

Landing - The steps and ladders are similar to St Helena with a gallows and ropes to help landing. It could be impossible to land if the swell is high. When a ship is in the harbour launch will take you ashore for free if called on Ch8. At other times the dinghy needs to be tied off the steps with a long rope to a nearby mooring buoy to keep it clear. We used a weighted rope that kept the dinghy clear successfully.

Formalities - The harbour master or mistress is in the end office of the buildings on the right of the pier and the Police for immigration are behind the building with the clock tower. There are fees to pay of about £17 to the HM and £20 pp for each crew member to the Police (the Police do not accept $ but HM does). If staying more than 3 days a form obtainable in advance from St Helena Police needs to be faxed through, although it is also possible to complete it on Ascension if necessary. They prefer it in advance.

The current Harbour Mistress can be contacted by email kitty.george@ascension.gov.ac You need proof of Health Insurance (including medical evacuation) but apparently can buy locally in St Helena for £22 for 5 days.

Facilities

Water - Is available from a coin operated metered tap on the pier £1 per 45 litres.

Diesel and Petrol - From a garage at One Boat, a village about 2 miles away.

Hire Car - £15 a day from the Obsidian Hotel.

Shop - The supermarket has a reasonable selection of food but only frozen bread and little fresh stuff unless the RMS St Helena has been in. There is a Naafi at the UK base where there is better bread we were told (frozen and part baked) and gin at slightly cheaper prices but otherwise not worth the trek.

Restaurant - We had an excellent meal of fresh tuna at the Obsidian but it is usually necessary to book. There are other places that may serve food but none were open when we were there and apparently all require a booking.

Money - There are no ATMs but everywhere takes $ and £. The supermarket will change dollars and a few businesses like the hotel will accept credit cards. We changed dollars at the shop but did not try to withdraw cash, it is likely the hotel can also help. Make sure on leaving you have no local currency as it is not valid anywhere else apart from St Helena.

Chris & Lorraine
SY Gryphon 2

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